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Comment: Re:And many, many more (Score 1) 347

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48035663) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Do you really think changing to metric means we'll stop using d/m/y dates?

Of course not. I'm just demonstrating the hypocrisy of the argument. A lot of people in this discussion aren't really arguing that we should all use SI/metric units across the board, they're just saying they want everyone else to use them when they do.

And for liquids, I've been buying 2L bottles for decades now, and you don't order "0.28L," you order (in Germany/Åustria) "kleine" (0.3L) or "grosse" (0.5L).

So do we, when we buy soft drinks. But in my country, we order beer as a half-pint or a pint, and everyone knows what they're getting. Are you suggesting not only that we should change our units to fit your preference but also that every drinking establishment in the country should buy a complete new set of glassware that will hold different volumes that are more convenient in the new units as well and presumably that everyone's prices should slightly change to match?

Comment: And many, many more (Score 0) 347

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#48035161) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

So, we've got:

1. Speeds (mph) and fuel (mpg in an X gallon tank)

2. Lumber (2x4)

Let's add a few more:

3. Milk (pints)

4. Beer (pints)

5. Ingredients in menus (pounds and ounces)

6. Human weight (stone, pounds and ounces)

7. Human height (feet and inches)

8. Vehicle heights for bridge clearances etc. (feet and inches)

9. Time (hours, minutes and seconds)

10. Date (days, months, years)

And that was just stream of consciousness, without a pause to think of other examples.

Seriously, standards are great. They help us to communicate unambiguously. And we have standards in the UK, and they are what I just listed. No-one here goes to the supermarket to buy 227g of cheese and 1.14L of milk. No-one goes to a car showroom and asks whether the fuel economy around town is better than 7.84L/100km, and most people's instinct would be that a higher number was better even if they had that reference point. A few people might describe their height in metres, but most people would say something like "five foot nine".

For projects where international collaboration is required, sure, agree a standard up-front, and it might as well be SI. Likewise for scientific and engineering applications, everyone is a professional and can agree to use SI. But for day to day life? You'd better hope someone going to a supermarket or a pub knows the same units as everyone else, because asking for 0.28L of beer at a crowded bar isn't going to make you any friends.

Comment: Re:Start menu usage dropped in lieu of what? (Score 1) 258

I have LibreOffice installed on one of my systems, and it has always been unhelpful about how it works with the task bar on Windows 7. I don't know what they're doing wrong, but nothing works quite right with either the task bar or jump lists.

LibreOffice is, however, the only one of 20+ pinned applications on the system that has this problem. I don't know whether OpenOffice has the same problem, but if so, I'd say it's an anomaly.

Comment: Re:Fork less! Patch More! Now is the time to MERGE (Score 1) 258

I don't have a strong opinion on the management and practicalities of Linux itself; clearly Linux is already stable enough to run useful software on it, because servers all over the world are doing it today. But any operating system, no matter how good, has little value unless there is software to run on it. Right now, you simply can't buy a lot of serious professional software to run on Linux, and the open source equivalents to things like Excel and Photoshop don't cut it.

Comment: Nadella seems like a hype-driven choice for CEO (Score 4, Interesting) 258

They appointed Cloud Guy to run the show, at a time when Cloud was a buzzword. No big surprise there from a trendy board/investor point of view, but to anyone with technical chops that move went against basically every major strength Microsoft had left and played straight to their weaknesses.

Based on historical trends, I suspect MS get 2-3 disasters with Nadella at the top before he gets forced out. The difference this time is that now Microsoft itself can probably only survive 2-3 more disasters on the Vista/Win8 scale before it ceases to be a major player in the industry at all.

The worrying thing is that there is no clear successor, with neither Linux nor OS X having the application base to be comprehensive competitors to desktop Windows yet, while the average web app is still a child's toy in comparison to serious software (and often a child's toy with serious security and privacy concerns). It is possible that the 2010s will be remembered as the decade when progress in software development reversed and the industry became dominated by cheap, "good enough" software that left professional/power users out in the cold, though I have some hope that OS X and the relatively polished, diverse and sometimes disruptive applications running on it will take over before all is lost.

Comment: Re:Start menu usage dropped in lieu of what? (Score 1) 258

It is not a good habit to pin apps to the task bar.

Why? I have a large screen and have literally every application I use on a regular basis pinned, as well as Explorer with the directories I most often want to open. For me, the task bar and jump lists were the two UI developments that made Windows 7 a significant win over XP. Most days I don't even open the Start menu except, ironically, to shut Windows down at the end of the day.

Comment: Re:Gobernator (Score 1) 106

Single-issue voters deserve all the bad things that happen to them because of their narrow-minded, short-sighted choices.

If you have any electoral system where

(a) voters get one chance every few years to vote,

(b) the choice of candidates is small, and

(c) there is no effective power of recall or override allowing the electorate to express binding opinions between elections

then everyone is reduced to little more than a single-issue voter.

If you're lucky, you have a candidate available whose policies match your preferences on a range of issues, but that is not guaranteed. If there's no-one you broadly agree with then in reality some issue that matters to you is probably going to determine who gets your vote. Worse, the successful candidate has no way to know why they got your vote, and will typically treat it as a mandate for all of their policies whether you agree with them all or not.

In any case, such elections are only ever decided on a handful of major issues, meaning candidates can have essentially any policy they want on the millions of smaller issues that still affect many people's daily lives.

Comment: UK regulations (Score 1) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47955015) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

I would guess these drones are not flying LOS, therefore disrupting video and telemetry would make it very difficult for a drone operator to effectively maneuver, make any interesting video, and even return the drone back to safety.

This is in the UK, where there are clear legal requirements if you want to operate a drone. People can be and have been prosecuted for violating them.

So it is highly unlikely that any such drones were flying without LOS at close range or that they would be used by any reputable commercial surveillance firm without permission. As the cases mentioned above demonstrate, someone who violates the rules may well wind up in court with a hefty fine, and the authorities aren't going to look sympathetically on any excuses about losing control of the aircraft or being somewhere it shouldn't be accidentally.

By the way, responding to drones by disrupting frequencies using jammers as you suggested would, as a minimum, probably land you in hot water with the communications regulators yourself.

Comment: Re:The Drone Wars (Score 1) 138

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#47954935) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

Plot twist: This is all a big double bluff, and they deliberately set up both the familiar-looking ships and "unexpected" delay in the "shield" that would prevent the leaks. Meanwhile, the real models are being filmed on interior sets no-one knows about at a studio far, far away...

Comment: Re:Change Jobs (Score 1) 275

That is IMHO a much more realistic view. Conflating management with technical leadership is a sure path to bad things happening. Certainly some people can do both, but for any given project at any given time, everyone should know what their current role is.

To answer the original question, I think you can sum up the cause of a lot of programmer fatigue very easily: they got into programming out of a desire to create things, and they found themselves surrounded by a (bad) organisational culture where they instead spend their work time doing anything but create things.

It's not the need for a degree of administration and management that is the problem. Most programmers understand this, and will happily go along with it when it's helpful for the project as a whole. Nor is it the need to create something that serves the needs of the project, even if that isn't the most fun job to do right now. Again, I think most programmers understand that if you're working as a professional then you're being hired to make something that is useful/valuable for someone else, and as long as what they're making is in that category it can be satisfying.

But most programmers are also acutely sensitive to overheads that are unhelpful and requirements that are unnecessary -- not that they really need to be if they're at the kind of shop where those overheads take up most of their time. Geeks will rapidly lose enthusiasm in the face of uninspiring leadership, lack of project progress, and generally incompetent management, and often I suspect it really is as simple as that.

Nothing succeeds like success. -- Alexandre Dumas