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Comment: NASA cannot compete (Score 1) 139 139

NASA was a great, even fantastic thing back when there was no commercial motivation to do research on space and powerful rockets. Back when there was little to no commercial launch market.

Now NASA is full of pork.. You cannot kill it because . . . pork. In every congressional district.

NASA is not and never has been efficient. At one time that was irrelevant because of the nature of what they did. Now is is more about letting bureaucrats CYA when something blows up. And to make sure money flows freely to as many congressional districts as possible. The traditional contractors are not designed to be efficient either, except at maximizing how much they can suck from the government teat.

One way NASA might end is that with lower and lower budgets NASA simply cannot do anything. Alternately, they might end because they get budgets big enough to actually do something, making the real inefficiency clear for all to see.

NASA must be held to the same safety standards that commercial providers are held to. Otherwise, a culture of evading or ignoring those safety standards will creep in.

The only role that NASA might have left is projects that require large investment to overcome a lack of commercial motives. For example, going to Mars. Maybe for operating a space station. Probably not for mining asteroids.

Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 2, Funny) 1082 1082

It seems unlikely that there are any gay nerds. Nerds are a fraction of the general population. Gay people are an even smaller fraction of the general population. This would make the existence gay nerds seem highly unlikely.

Similarly, the odds that in the vastness of space, an asteroid could just happen to strike our moon seems so incredibly remote that one could safely conclude that there are no craters on the moon.

Comment: Re:Too late. (Score 1) 124 124

SourceForge could start it again, but make it much less obvious. Simply pre-infect all of the downloads with malware. If caught, claim it was a hack, or that it 'somehow' got uploaded that way from the author. Then offer to fix it. The first few times everyone would believe it.

However, at this point, SourceForge has burned whatever trust it ever had. Soon the only people left are those gullible enough to believe SourceForge.

Something this face palm worthy can only be accomplished by a manager or someone higher up* in the organization.

*Note that everyone except the engineers perceive the value hierarchy to be inverted.

Comment: This is a great idea! (Score 1) 1067 1067

But instead of a system-wide setting, as you suggest, I would propose an Organization-Wide setting so that by gope policy, all computers in the organization could bet set such that div by zero results in zero! Bravo! (Or maybe a country-wide setting dictated by congress? Or a world wide global setting dictated by congress?)

In addition, I am tired of checking for File Not Found errors. When the file can't be found, why not just reformat the drive and create the file for me automatically!

Comment: Re:It's not the adverts in themselves (Score 1) 127 127

Advertisers eventually ruin everything.

I gave up on Cable TV. It is now less than 1/2 content and more than 1/2 ads. And then the ads intrude into the program you are trying to watch with stupid bugs and animated people walking on the bottom 1/4 of your screen. Sometimes they obscure something important in the content of the program. At the same time the content has deteriorated to the point that it is not even worth watching. And content not worth watching definitely means the ads are not worth watching.

Now that was off topic, but then there is the web. Will it turn out the same way? Maybe not because there are no central 'broadcasters'. There can be good sites with good ads and good advertisers who can behave decently and sell products through the ad views they get.

Comment: Re:It's not the adverts in themselves (Score 5, Insightful) 127 127

I think advertisers SHOULD NOT BE RUNNING CODE on my computer.

If you must show me an ad, that's one thing. To ask to run code on my computer is quite something else. Malware has been spread through ad networks, and I promise you it will be again. And again.

Advertisers have only themselves to blame that people block ads. At first web ads were more than tolerable. I was happy to see them, knowing they paid the bills. Then it got worse. And worse. Sites started having tiny bits of content surrounded by ads and you had to click the Next button twenty times to read a ten paragraph article that turns out to be devoid of real information. And other things I could go on about.

Online publishers ought to be careful of the ad networks they get into bed with. Those ad networks should be careful about the actual advertisers. Some of these ads are outright deceptive -- trying to imitate the look of a dialog box on a certain widely used OS. That kind of clever behavior turns out to be bad for ALL advertisers in the long run.

I did say I actually liked the idea that ads paid the bill in the early days. Now I view ads as a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Many of the advertisers have absolutely no sense of shame or restraint. They would tattoo advertisements to the insides of our eyelids if they could. Yes, really.

Comment: Re:What about JavaScript code? (Score 2) 130 130

> JavaScript lacks most of the language features needed for writing robust, reliable software at a large scale.

There is no reason that it should not be possible to write huge enterprise applications in JavaScript. (or assembly language).

It's just that it becomes a huge unmaintainable mess.

The reason for higher and higher level languages, including type checking, is to make the compiler to more and more of the bookkeeping of writing software. You could do it in assembly language if you were willing to do enough bookkeeping.

What JavaScript (and similar dynamic languages) bring is that you can write smaller projects very quickly. See Ruby on Rails for example. But then Twitter started with Ruby, and in 2012 switched to Java for scalability. They said that Ruby was the right language when they started.

Comment: Re:Is this unique to Java? (Score 1) 130 130

> (1) Is this unique to Java?
> (2) I'm betting if you have a large enough pool of open source things, which depend on other open source things . . .

You answer your own question. It may be unique to Java because Java has an absolute embarrassment of open source riches. Some of them have been around for a long time. Bad management leads to big projects not getting upgraded. Not just libraries, but even the Java runtimes that they run on. Just look at how many developers on reddit complain about big systems still running on decrept ancient dinosaur versions of Java, way before even Generics.

Comment: Re:The root cause : poor unit testing (Score 3, Insightful) 130 130

The root cause: poor management (in most cases)

The root cause is not poor unit testing. Not bad developers. It is managers who won't allow the change to be made. It ultimately will always come down to money. They are unwilling to spend on having a reasonable staging environment that closely mimics the production system such that making these changes could be done safely and receive proper testing. And people to do that work also cost money.

In short: management doesn't care, due to money. So the product can just self-destruct. (like SourceForge)

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.