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Comment: What do we use a phone for? (Score 2, Interesting) 307

by Dimwit (#48876161) Attached to: Blackberry CEO: Net Neutrality Means Mandating Cross-Platform Apps

I would argue that there should be some sort of regulation that ensures that phones are interoperable with one another for "phone stuff". That is, if you sell a phone in this country, by law it should be able to make a phone call to every other phone sold in the country. The problem is, what qualifies as "phone stuff" is rapidly expanding.

iMessage is a good example. Apple is trying to leverage its dominant market position to make text messaging something that's iPhone only. Remember the whole debacle with people who had an iPhone and then didn't suddenly not being able to receive text messages from other people who still had iPhones. Apple's solution was broken and only partially effective - and I think at least somewhat intentionally so. Same with FaceTime. You want to talk to your friends with an iPhone? Well, you need an iPhone too!

So yeah, we as a society need to decide what we define as "phone stuff". Having the ability to communicate with every other phone for "phone stuff" is critical from an economic perspective, and eventually will also be so from a safety perspective. Requiring inter-phone communications to be standardized isn't too far-fetched of an idea.

(Requiring the same non-phone-stuff apps to work on different platforms though is stupid.)

Comment: So...don't be disposable. (Score 3, Insightful) 263

by Dimwit (#48866889) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

This sounds a little insensitive, but, don't be disposable. You're a Windows admin. Great. So are a million other people. If you're a Windows admin who also knows some programming, there are maybe 250,000 people with your skill set. If you add in that you know some Linux, maybe 100,000 people.

What I'm saying is, if you want to be safer than the average employee, don't be average. Enhance your skill set.

Comment: Re:Slashdot today. (Score 1) 142

by Dimwit (#48759501) Attached to: Scientist Says Potential Signs of Ancient Life in Mars Rover Photos

This isn't even my first Slashdot account, my old one dates from 1998 or 1999.

When I first got on Slashdot, there was meaningful, technical discussion. A good number of actual experts in scientific and technical fields were present. Yeah there were always trolls and people racing to have the initial comment, but I feel like the entire tone of Slashdot has changed. You rarely get technical experts on here anymore, the trolls are just as prevalant if not more, and the entire readership has turned a lot to the reactionary right - scientific stores get inundated with "but that's socialism!" comments. There's even a fair amount of junk science in the comments now.

I read Slashdot now solely for the headlines, primarily because I never got the hang of Reddit. The comment section has been basically useless for a while now.

Comment: I have a laptop and a phone, why a tablet too? (Score 1) 328

by Dimwit (#48696745) Attached to: Is the Tablet Market In Outright Collapse? Data Suggests Yes

Seriously, if my phone isn't capable of doing whatever task I need to do, it means I probably need my full-on laptop anyway. Add in the fact that a tablet either requires wifi or requires cell service but can't make calls and it becomes obvious why the market is behaving this way.

Comment: Some practical examples (Score 4, Informative) 153

by Dimwit (#48611617) Attached to: In IT, Beware of Fad Versus Functional

So over my nearly 20 years in IT/CS, I've seen a few:

I worked for a large retailer. We migrated from an old frame-relay leased-line network to a much more capable multihomed IP-over-VPN configuration to connect all of our retail locations around the country back to HQ. This new system worked well. Our CIO retired, and a new one was brought in. CIO Magazine a year or so later had an article about "Satellite Internet, The Future?" Our CIO then "spontaneously" started lobbying to get us to scrap our efficient, inexpensive, high-bandwidth network for a satellite system.

I can't tell you how many projects I saw rewritten in Ruby on Rails just because that was the new hotness, only to be abandoned later when everyone realized that Ruby is awful.

I myself wrote a bunch of stuff in Erlang not because it was the best language but because that was the new hotness.

Two unchanging things I've noticed are:

A lot of time, the new hotness makes common problems go away or common tasks easier, but ends up making more complex things harder. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but people tend to get stuck in the model of thinking that the new technology has to be used for everything, and they end up shoehorning their complex projects into frameworks that aren't the best choice.

No matter what the new technology is, and no matter how fantastic it is, it's not going to replace C/C++ for systems-level work, and Python and Perl aren't going anywhere. Truly successful technologies have long tails.

Comment: Re:Easier method (Score 2) 448

by Dimwit (#48610993) Attached to: Virtual Reality Experiment Wants To Put White People In Black Bodies

I would genuinely appreciate any stories you have to share - not because I don't believe you, but because Slashdot has recently become so "angry white male" that it's depressing.

(I've been on Slashdot since 1998. I remember when article comments were a welcoming forum. Now it's yet another forum where "liberal" on its own is conisdered an insult and labeling someone as such immediately means they are no longer worthy of consideration.)

Comment: For those interested... (Score 4, Informative) 82

by Dimwit (#48378087) Attached to: Five Years of the Go Programming Language

Go was developed in large part by Rob Pike who has a long history of concucrrency programming going back to Plan 9 from Bell Labs and earlier.

Some of his more interesting papers about concurrency are:

http://swtch.com/~rsc/thread/n... (The Newsqueak Programming Language)
http://swtch.com/~rsc/thread/n... (Newsqueak Implementation)
https://www.usenix.org/legacy/... (A Concurrent Window System)

You can even see some hints of what was to come in his paper outlining the design of the Blit terminal for Unix:

Comment: Re:While you're at it... (Score 1) 242

by Dimwit (#48362879) Attached to: HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

Greg Egan's stuff wouldn't translate well to the screen, I think. I absolutely love his work (Permutation City is one of my favorite books, and I loved Schild's Ladder, Quarantine, and all of his short fiction). The problem is that there's too heavy of a cognitive science/philosophical bent to them. You'd have to have a character sit down a monologue for a while to get everything out.

Optimism is the content of small men in high places. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Crack Up"