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Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 554

by Calibax (#47416805) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

I agree. Most of the time it's trivially easy to adapt to new procedural languages. And the more often you do it, the easier it becomes.

However, a primary problem is that although the syntactical differences are comparatively minor, the libraries may be structured very differently. You may well spend a great deal more time adapting to the gross differences in philosophy as well as the discovering the idiomatic nuances of the libraries.

Comment: Re:ZFS, Apple! (Score 1) 396

by Calibax (#47236301) Attached to: One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

I would hesitate to call GE Healthcare a small company. I doubt that Lawrence Livermore National Labs would be considered small as it's part of the government. Joyent is the company that supports node.js.

Anyone can sue anybody about anything, but winning is different matter. ZFS is considered safe from a legal point of view.

Comment: Re:ZFS, Apple! (Score 2) 396

by Calibax (#47236213) Attached to: One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+

No they would not be sued by anyone.

Sun open sourced ZFS under a permissive license. Oracle close sourced it again. However, a number of companies are supporting derivatives of the open source version.

ZFS is available for a number of operating systems today. A non-inclusive list:
FreeBSD from iXsystems
Linux from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and also Pogo Linux
SmartOS from Joyent
OmniOS from Omniti
Osv from CloudOS

In addition a number of companies are using ZFS in their products:
GE Healthcare
Great Lakes SAN
Nexenta Systems
Spectra Logic
WHEEL Systems

ZFS can detect and correct silent corruption when configured to do so. I have a NAS that has 24 TB of raw storage, 16 TB of useable storage, running under OmniOS. I have well over 10 million files on the NAS (it is used as a backup for 8 systems) - I haven't lost a file in 4 years and I don't expect to lose any.

Comment: I'm very confused by this story (Score 4, Insightful) 284

by Calibax (#47059451) Attached to: White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

The GOP has made it very, very clear that anything that Obama favors will automatically receive a negative from the House of Representatives that they control. They have done this multiple times. They have openly stated that their primary objective is to oppose Obama on everything.

Now I'm supposed to believe that Obama pressured the GOP to weaken the bill? That seems... laughable. The GOP would never bow to Obama's requests - they have their image to consider. It seems more likely that the GOP revised the bill because Obama said he supported it in its original form.

It's also strange that the mainstream press doesn't seem to have picked up on such a monumental achievement by Obama. I'd have expected that any such successful pressure from the White House on the GOP would be a major headline in most newspapers that cover US national politics. But the best we get is a press release from the Center for Democracy and Technology. The EFF also had a press release about the amendments to the bill but they don't suggest that the White House or Obama was generating any pressure for the changes.

Comment: Re:Nobody Works from Home? (Score 1) 216

by Calibax (#46999169) Attached to: Who controls the HVAC at work?

I work from home often. However, I installed solar energy about 11 years ago. I have to rent the meter (around $6 a month) but other than that I haven't paid for electricity since that event. I have natural gas heating, and the cost of that has been reduced substantially over the past few years.

My point is that I leave the thermostat set to a low of 72 degrees and a high of 76 degrees and let the system figure how to keep the house in that range. Works well, all year around. Very comfortable.

Comment: Just don't make programming classes mandatory (Score 2) 138

by Calibax (#46864995) Attached to: Programming Education Making A Comeback In Primary Schools

Understanding computers in one thing. Understanding how to program them is something else entirely.

My 17 month old understands my iPad, sort of, and has done for a few months. She can unlock the device, page through it to find the couple of apps she likes, fire them up and interact with them. On my laptop she knows ho to use the trackpad and left-click on buttons. I have no idea where she will be computer-wise by the time she's in first grade, but one thing seems sure, she will know how to use one.

But programming is not necessary to understand how to use a computer, no more than being able to repair your car's brakes is necessary to use a car. In some fairly rare circumstances extremely useful, but not something that NEEDS to be learned to be a good driver - mostly it's sufficient to know how to use the brakes.

By all means, offer programming classes, but don't require people to take them to graduate. Attempting to learn programming if your mind doesn't work the right way (detail oriented, highly logical) would be torture indeed. Understanding how to use them should be sufficient for most people.

Comment: Re:good (Score 4, Insightful) 79

by Calibax (#46847171) Attached to: How the Code War Has Replaced the Cold War

Instead of global thermonuclear war, we now have to worry about WoW going down. Seems like a good tradeoff to me.

Instead of WoW, worry about the national infrastructure. Imagine all the SCADA devices insecurely connected to the Internet going down more-or-less simultaneously. No electricity, natural gas, or water distribution systems, no sewage treatment, etc. After a few hours/days without electricity the backup systems would start dying, so no phones or Internet either.

So no WoW, as you pointed out. But that would be the least of our problems :)

Comment: I've been programming for 45 years (Score 1) 306

by Calibax (#46516869) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?

I started programming professionally in 1969 with Fortran, followed by COBOL in 1970, Algol and IBM 360 Assembler in 1972. Since then I've coded projects in Basic, Simula, ESPOL, NDL, Databus, PL/1, PL/S, Rexx, Forth, Pascal, and half a dozen different assembler languages such as 6502, 6800, 68000, x86, Datapoint, PDP-11 and PowerPC. My current languages of choice are C, C++, C#, and JavaScript, although I can do Transact/SQL, Visual Basic, and Python if needed.

Here's my point. A computer language is just a way of expressing simple commands. The concepts are pretty much the same across most procedural languages. A DO loop is a DO loop, regardless of what you call it and the exact syntax. A much bigger issue is learning the idioms and the libraries associated with each implementation of a language. Just like human languages, the more of them you know, the easier it is to pick up the next one.

I've never had any formal computer classes. Back when I started there was no such thing as a computer science degree - most university classes in computing were done the math department. But you still have to learn. Buy books, read them, do small projects to familiarize yourself with the languages. Make yourself learn. It's your career, manage it. Make certain you have the skills that are needed, and if you think you don't have the skills you need then be proactive in getting them. Use the Tiobe index to see what's trending up.

I'm at my sixth company at present. I have never been unemployed. I don't code as much as I used to because I'm in an architectural role now, but I still can code and I enjoy it immensely. I'm still the go-to guy in my areas of expertise. I made the mistake of going the managerial route at one point and discovered I hated it. Computers are easier to handle than people - they don't lie, they do what you tell them, and they don't have hidden agendas, and they don't backstab.

18 years is less than half of your working life. Coders will be needed for long time. Application coders will needed for years to come. People will be needed to code operating systems, drivers, environmental software, IDEs, compilers, etc. for many years. Don't give up, and don't believe all you read about ageism. I interviewed for my current gig with a full head of grey hair.

Comment: Re:Cry me a fucking river... (Score 4, Informative) 374

by Calibax (#45976817) Attached to: Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

In the UK, the right to remain silent has been around since the 17th Century. However, it was removed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1984.

Since the UK doesn't have a written constitution, it's impossible to argue that a law is unconstitutional. The question cannot be taken to the European Court of Human Rights, because the tight to remain silent is not mentioned in the European Convention on Human Rights, although the majority of E.U. countries have laws giving that right.

Further, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 make it a crime not to disclose an encryption key to police when asked.

Comment: Re:Cry me a fucking river... (Score 1) 374

by Calibax (#45976639) Attached to: Man Jailed For Refusing To Reveal USB Password

In the USA there is a constitutional right against self incrimination, and the right not to answer questions from the police has been the subject of many movies, both fictional and non-fictional. It's generally considered that "taking the fifth" is a well known act by criminals.

Without doubt it is possible to argue that not answering questions is impeding an investigation and therefore obstructing justice, but it is balanced by a suspect's right to remain silent when questioned by police. Now whether a person can be compelled to answer questions about a password is a different twist on the question "where did you hide the key the safe" or whatever, but I think the answer is well settled in U.S. jurisprudence.

Comment: Re:It's about time! (Score 1) 1431

by Calibax (#45952585) Attached to: Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

You do know that this occurred BEFORE the movie started? The guy who was shot dead (whom you call a jerk) was not texting during the movie, but during the opening adverts. You know who the real jerk in this story is?

The man who shot him had to go to his car to retrieve his gun. This was an intentional and premeditated act of violence that deserves severe punishment.

Now a child will grow up without his father. A wife will have to bring up the child without her husband's help. All because some jerk didn't like the adverts being interrupted.

Comment: Re:The Mac tax is not just cost, it's expandabilit (Score 1) 804

by Calibax (#45793713) Attached to: What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

The title of this story is "How much would it cost to build a Windows version of the Mac Pro", so I described a system I specced that is very similar.

The user wanted a system, I specced it for him. It was built and he's happy. Your comment notwithstanding. And I am hideous :)

Comment: Re:Very Doubtful (Score 1) 804

by Calibax (#45793689) Attached to: What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

The title of this story is "How much would it cost to build a Windows version of the Mac Pro". I claim that the system is an equivalent system to the Mac Pro - and that's the whole point of my listing the system components and the system cost.

In this case the user can't use a Mac Pro because it doesn't support his applications which are written in CUDA - an NVIDIA proprietary language that the user claims is vastly superior to OpenCL for his needs.

I understand that the Mac Pro GPUs are being build specifically for Apple by AMD and are not available elsewhere, so I don't know how you can claim anything about their speed unless you have benchmarked them with the code they are intended to run. Similarly, you say it's "very likely" that the storage is slower, again without doing any benchmarks in the setting they are being used with the intended applications.

In this case, the user needed a new system. He gave me the requirements, and I specced a system that has made him happy. In addition, I think it has some serious advantages over a Mac Pro. And it's fast enough for the user, and in the end, that's all that matters.

Comment: The Mac tax is not just cost, it's expandability (Score 0) 804

by Calibax (#45793253) Attached to: What Would It Cost To Build a Windows Version of the Pricey New Mac Pro?

I recently specced a system quite similar to the Mac Pro. I used a SuperMicro motherboard, a similar Xeon 6-core CPU, 128 GB of ECC RAM, two Samsung 512 GB Pro SSDs (primary and a local backup), and an NVIDIA Quadro GPU. All the other components (case, power supply, CPU cooler, fans) are top quality. My supplier ordered the parts and charged $100 to assemble and test it. The user is running Linux and he's happy with the system - happy enough that he's demoed it around his department and says it has generated much interest. In any case, a new Mac Pro wasn't an option for him as he's using CUDA rather than OpenCL.

The total cost was $4,150. The system has twice as much RAM as the Mac Pro supports, an upgradeable GPU, space for many more drives in the box, and a savings of about $1,500 over an equivalent Mac Pro with 64GB RAM. OK, the box doesn't look as nice, but since it's under the user's desk that's not so terrible.

The cost saving is not the biggest improvement over the Mac Pro. The big items are having an upgradeable GPU and expandability inside the box - Thunderbolt just doesn't have the product base yet. I'm beginning to doubt it ever will with higher speed USB in the pipeline.

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler