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Comment: What about a mutual spying arrangement? (Score 1) 109

by DickBreath (#47522179) Attached to: Dutch Court Says Government Can Receive Bulk Data from NSA
If we pay you to spy on our citizens, because we're not allowed to do it ourselves, then will you pay us to spy on your citizens because you cannot do that yourself?

It's good for the global economy because money changes hands. (Nevermind that no actual goods or benefits to society are procduced.)

Everyone is happy. (Nevermind citizens in the global police state.)

Comment: Re: Not usable (Score 3, Insightful) 125

And Microsoft seems to just love, and perhaps even encourage this particular confusion. In fact their poor branding would seem to have been deliberately designed to cause confusion leading to people buying an RT device and then discovering that it doesn't really run Windows apps. It only runs the tiny library of Windows 8 RT apps.

Comment: Re:Miami Vice (Score 1) 125

Your own argument about western culture arriving slightly delayed in the developing world should have caused you to conclude that the developing would would think something like:
1. If westerners aren't buying this Windows 8 crap, then why are they sending it to us?
2. If westerners are using non-Windows tablets, then we should be too (but perhaps just a bit delayed)

Yes, it's hammer time. For Microsoft. And it's about time.

Comment: Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (Score 5, Informative) 300

by DickBreath (#47457273) Attached to: Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees
> And yet, they are still making gobs of money. In fact, they are more profitable than ever.

I remember in the late 1970's when IBM people were laughing at these 'toy' microcomputers. HA HA! Those toys will never be like real computers. Certainly not a threat to IBM which is making gobs of money. In fact, IBM is more profitable than ever.

IBM introduced a PC in 1981. Thinking they might sell up to two million. By the mid 1990's IBM had lost the PC market, abandoned the PS/2 attempt to re-monopolize it, and eventually got out of the PC business completely. Before the end of the 1990's IBM had re-invented itself. Think the same thing won't happen to Microsoft? You may be too young to remember, but in the 1980's, even by the late 1980's it was completely laughable to even consider that IBM might find itself on hard times. But it happened. And just a few years ago it was laughable to suggest that Microsoft might lose its industry dominance. Not so much laughable anymore.


> Moves like this don't really help anything.. not even the bottom line, since the massive cuts crush morale and limit the ability of the company to innovate to keep ahead of the competition.

Moves far more radical than this may be the only way Microsoft stays around in the long term. We'll see what Microsoft looks like in a decade.

Comment: Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (Score 1) 300

by DickBreath (#47457031) Attached to: Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees
You lack faith in Microsoft, sir.

Windows 8 is going wonderful! Everyone loves the new UI. That is why Windows 9 will never bring back the Start menu. Just watch, you'll see!

PC Sales are not being affected by the new mobile device trend. Microsoft will dominate mobile devices and phones any day now! You'll see!

Oh, and some day Microsoft will make a dent in data centers, and Microsoft Azure Cloud will become important. Of course, Azure Cloud is the only cloud service that was built for Windows instead of Linux workloads. And Windows is used by some large* computing cluster users, um, somewhere. And businesses using Linux workloads would be happy to trust their business built on Linux to Microsoft, a company that to this very day is working to destroy Linux.

(*and by large, I mean much larger scale than you are thinking if you are thinking of Windows)

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 2) 608

by DickBreath (#47418945) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
I learned BASIC in 1977, about the same way, and about as quickly.

And I was writing a few BASIC programs shortly thereafter. But they are today what I would call TRIVIAL. Things that I would do in a single method of a modern language. With much better style, correctness, comprehensibility and maintainability.

Having just learned programming myself doesn't mean I was by any means an expert ready to work on big commercial problems worth lots of money. It took years more to learn a lot of important things. Structured Programming (aka giving up GOTO). Encapsulation. Information hiding. Data structures and dynamic memory. Algorithms. Understanding performance classification of algorithms. Understanding how the machine works at the low level. Writing toy or elementary compilers. Learning a LISP language (pick any one, they will teach you the same important and valuable lessons). Learning databases. How they work as well as how to use them. Read a few good books on human interface design before building a complex GUI program. I could go on and on.


> You can't learn how to build a highly optimised, always available, secure e-commerce trading platform in 8 hours.

Correct. The point here I think is that to have all of the valuable skills that makes you good at something, and fast at it, and apparently able to recognize the solutions to problems very quickly is -- lots and lots of study and practice. Years of learning. Failures (hopefully on some of your own toy problems first rather than commercial ones). Figuring out how to debug complex systems -- without or prior to the existence of source level debuggers.

I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who cry because employers want skilled programmers. Well, professional sports teams want skilled players. And modelling agencies want beautiful people. These things come with some combination of luck of the draw and effort to take advantage of it. (Those models don't eat donuts, for example.) I also think computer geeks should be able to cry and whine that humanities studies are unfair.

Comment: In the old days . . . (Score 1) 608

by DickBreath (#47414683) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
From TFA (the friendly article, or whatever other F-word you prefer) . . .
> In the old days there was a respected profession of application programming.
> There was a minority of elite system programmers who built infrastructure and tools
> that empowered the majority of application programmers.


I think it is still that way. But now there is a third class who think that breaking into the application programming is some kind of godlike elite skill because it requires you to actually know more than the mere syntax of a language. Programming is racist and sexist because it requires you to even learn the syntax of a programming language. Why can't the computer just do what they say? Why do they need a special language? Why should it be necessary to learn to design complex databases, and understand in memory data structures and algorithms? Why focus on gaining lots of insight in order to come up with vastly superior algorithms?

In short, from what I see on some programming boards, what some people seem to want is a high paying position where an untrained monkey could get a computer to do what the boss wants, and then collect a paycheck -- um, no. Direct deposit.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 5, Insightful) 608

by DickBreath (#47414587) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
That may be true, but you miss the deeper underlying issue that TFA (the friendly article) is whining about.

They want to be able to be a programming superstar by reading a book such as:
* Learn Programming in 24 Hours!
* Learn Brain Surgery in 24 Hours!
* Learn Rocket Science in 24 Hours!
* Learn To Be A Concert Pianist in 10 EASY Lessons!

Various programming boards are flooded with people who want to know how to break into programming for big bucks, quick, overnight, but don't want to actually do the hard learning.

Comment: Oil companies will be thrilled to hear this (Score 1) 32

by DickBreath (#47369363) Attached to: Hierarchical Membrane For Cleaning Up Oil Spills
They will no longer need to worry about oil spills. Many of those silly, and very expensive 'safety' precautions can now be avoided. Saving costs increases shareholder value.

The only real drawback to this solution seems to be that the membrane's ingredients do not include ground up kittens and babies.

Comment: Re:At least the elected still have to listen (Score 3, Interesting) 164

by DickBreath (#47281091) Attached to: US House of Representatives Votes To Cut Funding To NSA
Yes. This can be circumvented. If these people can get around the clear wording of the constitution, then they can do anything.

Black is white. Up is down. Secret courts can issue secret overly broad warrants to secretly spy on everyone all the time. People can be secretly compelled to secretly hand over their secret keys and keep this a secret. People can be compelled to help spy on you and keep this a secret. People can be secretly arrested, and taken to secret prisons. We have secret trials with secret evidence. Defendants are now not even allowed access to the secret evidence against them. I thought I had heard everything when a government official said that their interpretation of the law was secret. (I'm sure they were thinking this keeps the enemy from knowing.)

So yes, these people can go on with business as usual. All they need is a hand waving rationalization to make it all okay.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

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