For a moment I thought it was that actor on Murphy Brown. Maybe it should have been.
1219 publicly visible posts • joined 15 Oct 2009
Florida Man, in addition to his other mistakes, has "sold" his Fortress of Floritude to a company "controlled" by none other that Florida Man Junior. With the expressed agreement, no doubt, that he be allowed to reside and continue all his activities, legitimate or otherwise, in that place. This is evidently to prevent said Fortress from being breached by the Evil Empire of the Law. As a bonus, he gets funds which will aid him in "campaigning" (no doubt against his imminent incarceration).
Of course, Junior, being a chip off the old block, may have ideas of his own. Including, possibly, deciding that Florida Man needs a dose of what King Lear got, sent off on his wanderings, perhaps with New York Mayor Emeritus as Fool (a part he appears to have rehearsed for in recent years).
Looking forward to Florida Man and Fool braving the blasted heath in a storm. In orange, of course.
Anybody care to speculate about the exact location of the company hired to do the archiving? Perhaps one located in a country famed for bait-and-switch staffing, exaggeration of capabilities and certifications etc.? Oh the physical archives may have stayed in the USA, but it's rupees to bhajis that the staff were located elsewhere.
When Richard Feynman went to teach in Brazil, he encountered a system of education that produced people who could spout answers to questions on demand, providing the answers were those they had learned by rote. So asking about "Brewster's Angle" (relating to the polarization of light reflected from the surface of a transparent medium) he could get chapter and verse from students who actually had no idea what polarization or refractive index meant, and couldn't say why light reflected off water might be polarized.
I include this because it's exactly the kind of "learning" we can expect from AI as related to medicine or science.
Every time this sort of debacle happens I'm reminded of the cartoon where the owners of a company are looking at, on the one side, huge computer stacks tended by white-coated acolytes, and on the other, an old guy hunched over a desk.
Caption: "You mean we need all that just to replace Fred?"
Similar story from Reddit: Severely incompetent client of industrial equipment installer orders and signs for an ISDN line without checking to see if it actually was installed. It was not, at least not at the client. The clueless telecom tech inexplicably did the job at a random building somewhere else in town. Inquiries by the equipment installer were stonewalled. Which building got the line? Sorry, client confidential. Well disconnect it! Nope, against company policy to enter a building without a contract.
Second line was correctly installed, leaving incompetent client on the hook for both lines. But installer was happy, at least as happy as you can be with such a client.
It's not just idiocy. When actual evil is at work you stay away, regardless of the opportunity cost. The company could quite easily have hired the dev and then stiffed them at the end, or claimed that the work was not done to spec. At worst, the dev could have been sued for some trumped-up reason.
Marketers, influencers, and a host of “leadership” coaches, copy writers, and content creators are all over social media telling everyone how much time and money they can save using ChatGPT and similar models to do their work for them
Who will break the news to them? What little relevance they had in the world will disappear, and them with it.
Elephant in the room: what was Cellmark doing with Social Security Numbers in the first place? There is no legitimate need for them outside of employment and banking. Unless Cellmark were coordinating with govt. databases, they should not have been requiring clients to submit them.
The techno-kludges of the fanfold era were quite monumental. I remember pictures of large cabinets in which the paper hung as if to let the ink dry, there being some reason to not have it sitting in a stack.
And then - a miracle. Somebody realized that printing miles of paper for people to inspect for problems was a Really Bad Idea.
What was to be done? Answer: print out only the items that looked off. Yes! Exception processing!
Of course, competent programmers are more expensive than old fogies with reading glasses and those funny appliances to keep their shirt sleeves from getting ink on them. But once a problem gets big enough, even the most resistant corporate drone will shell out.
The problem is how big it has to get before the shelling out occurs.
The company has extended automation from Jira to Confluence to make that sort of thing easier: finishing the new version would auto-create the new branch, see the release notes posted for approval, and marketing alerted it’s time to publish that blog post.
What? The idea of marketing being ready to do anything other than insist on last-minute changes is mind-boggling. Certainly if Atlassian are keen on bringing marketing closer to developers, many developers will be updating their CV's. Not to mention the project managers who won't enjoy being bypassed.
As for Confluence, if it's any better than a plain old Wiki I have yet to see it. My recent experience tells me that it's only as good as the people using it. Garbage in, garbage piled everywhere.
Ah yes, the days of mysterious beams flashing from one end of campus to the other. We never did get the lowdown on who was doing what, but there were plenty of candidates in Chem, Physics etc. Green was probably Argon-Ion, Red the HeNe. The only laser I ever worked with produced a 1 microsecond pulse at 1.06 microns, so no showing off with that one. Neodymium YAG glass, if anyone cares. Part of the rig was a delay line consisting of 100m of coax still wound on its reel, artlessly placed on the floor. Simple but effective.
You know, you could have quite a lot of fun setting up websites for these nutjobs, and then having "technical issues" just as their plans were about to come to fruition. Of course, letting the PTB and the PIC listen in on a side channel is a temptation to which you should not succumb.
The real truth that automation and AI expose is that most people are a waste of space. This includes Professors of Rhetoric who, amongst other failings, don't understand that the drones in their classes would be happy with a C or a C+. Finding people who care enough to do something well is hard. You can't do it by awarding participation trophies or passing every failing student on to the next mug. In fact, you discourage those who want to do well by passing those who don't care. The fact that the "don't care" crowd vastly outnumber the "give a damn" crowd means that "democratic" education will always produce mediocrity.
Well, I guess that's our revelation for the week. Apparently even those who are not from northern Europe, are convinced that the acceptable face of venture capitalism is the proverbial white male.
Come to think of it, the company I bailed on last year was just a Harvard and Yale gloss on an Indian boiler room operation.
You can't judge a company by its website.
Bill Gates (for it is he) was so convinced that an install of the latest Windows was bulletproof that, while it was being demonstrated by his VP on stage and on live video across the planet, he pulled the plug on the test PC in the middle of the process.
To say that the VP was "white faced" at that point is an understatement.
The Jupiter mission ship in the movie "2001 - A Space Odyssey" was originally designed with large surfaces for heat dispersion when the on-board nuclear reactor was supposed to be working, running the drive system. These were deleted because they looked too much like fins, which, of course, are for ships that fly in atmospheres.
Instead we had the "seminal" design that we saw in the movie, a spherical habitation module connected to the drive module by a long spine. The novel kept the "fins".
It seems oligopoly is a bad thing unless you're a supplier to HMG, in which case the fewer bidders, the better. The UK had a lot of aerospace companies once upon a time. The myrmidons got tired of dealing with all those proles and directed them to merge into one, the better to engage over lunch at the club.
DEC had a bad case of "firstest with the mostest" which was great in the beginning but produced a culture of corporate arrogance, of the "we don't use standards, we are the standard" variety. They were not ready for the rise of Unix or the advent of the PC clone. They were not alone: several of the "workstation" mini-computer companies just couldn't let go of their proprietary systems, not to mention their huge markups.
...that few are qualified to practise.
I speak from the depths of yet another design doc that tries its hardest to be everything but. Discursive, digressive, talking about what things are not instead of what they are....
And don't get me started on those "look how smart we are" documents.
But let us also ask why that ever larger tome called "Your car and its features" is 98% warnings and 2% stuff you need to know.
He's also working for a law firm, who are considered villains in so many ways, not just for all the litigation, but for charging lawyer rates for work that is done by paralegals, being generally ignorant and entitled in their dealings with IT, etc. etc.
So "cheating" his employer in that case drew no disapproval and more than a few cheers.
Now while working for a certain formerly large and well-known corporation, and later working with former employees, I was made aware of how some people were able to start their own independent operations while also managing projects etc. for their immediate employer. Said people went independent, and then had the effrontery to sell their business back to that employer. Given the amount of backstabbing prevalent among the managerial and executive staff, this was no big deal and really just how business got done, almost like it was the mafia.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, people at a different company were running their churches out of their cubicles. Small time, but just as unethical.
A clear demonstration of the ironclad rule:
The last person to touch the system will get blamed for anything that goes wrong. Anything.
PS, you can start a fire with a computer program. At least, when I was running an unexpectedly long program (in BASIC, no less) using a Teletype terminal (yes, 110 baud, 95 db), the terminal eventually got tired of sitting there spinning its wheels, so to speak, and decided to have a quick smoke. Much to the consternation of all the other inhabitants of the erstwhile seminar room where the terminals were kept. Exeunt omnes.
AI probably won't replace software engineers, but will dramatically change the way they work in the future especially if they can instruct machines using natural language to generate code.
There's an old joke that says, when it's possible to program using English, we will discover that coders do not know how to speak it.
In any case, the trick in software engineering is not to understand code. It's how to deal with vague, ever-shifting and contradictory requirements from clients. When AI can handle that, it's time to worry.
There are laws of society and then there are the laws of nature. Nature wins every time.
We know what it takes to push a vehicle up into the air and make it move sideways, because we've been doing it for 80 years. And then somebody comes along with a claim that they can do it smaller and cheaper.
Nope. Smaller means more power because you're moving less air faster. Cheaper isn't going to happen if you need to have a more powerful engine. Like say, 500 hp.
What does Robinson have to do with this? The eponymous company has been manufacturing flying cars in all but name i.e. small helicopters, for decades. They don't use big rotors because it's fashionable. It's necessary.
There have been a few honest efforts at multi-rotor cars that need modest amounts of power. The rotors are big, of course. There have been some laughable efforts keeping the rotors low to the ground. Be careful disembarking. Like those cars that become aircraft (a good car is a lousy aircraft, and vice versa) there's always going to be an impossible scheme pushed by somebody. Flying submarines, anyone?
So US companies are doing what they've always done: abandon the low end, low margin work to the overseas companies. Possibly the result of management liking shiny sexy stuff instead of what people really want? The only industry that can't flee the country is food processing, where for some strange reason, low margins coupled with high volume work just fine.