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Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 2) 571

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) 571

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) 571

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.

Comment: Re:Next! (Score 4, Insightful) 164

by DickBreath (#47280979) Attached to: US House of Representatives Votes To Cut Funding To NSA
Funny? Why oh why wasn't your post moded Insightful?

A few decades ago the very existence of NSA was a secret. The CIA had a bad rep.

Now the NSA has a bad rep. So it's time to wind down the importance of NSA and introduce a new sooper dooper sekrit spy agency that can do dirty tricks in the dark without oversight, and especially without pesky annoyances like laws and the constitution. Meanwhile the NSA and CIA can both get all the public bad press, criticism, and 'oversight' of pointy-haired congresscritters.

Comment: Re:Run a completely new OS? (Score 1) 257

by DickBreath (#47246435) Attached to: HP Unveils 'The Machine,' a New Computer Architecture
Linux has one 'survival of the fittest' characteristic that guarantees its long term success. It is open source and has a real community behind it.

To briefly address your other flamebait points:

IBM is not the only major contributor to Linux. Major corporate contributors include lots of well known names. In fact, Linux development is largely corporate contributors.

As for the obvious troll is obvious point about SCO, I would just say that SCO turned out to be little more than a bump in the road. A pimple on the butt of closed source software. Your mention of SCO seems unconnected to what leads in to it.

Comment: Re:Not useful to me, but I'll support Intel anyway (Score 1) 230

by DickBreath (#47181815) Attached to: Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility
You could offer the ARM-only and Intel-only APK's on Google Play store, and then offer the larger combined APK file on other stores that do not support processor specific binaries. Make the app version number somehow indicate which one it is, maybe with a one letter value in the version. Then insert these lines into your header files...
#define struct union
#define while if

Comment: Re:Call it the hartbleed act (Score 3, Informative) 105

That argument works both ways. Microsoft has had some very serious security bugs. Therefore, using your logic, all Microsoft software should not now or ever again be trusted. Think Code Red and others. In 1999 on a fully patched NT box you could compromise it with regular HTTP requests to IIS by just using pathnames with dot-dot-backslash and then working your way down the WINDOWS System CMD.EXE and then using it to run TFTP.EXE which was a standard part of the install. You could make the server TFTP down a bad exe from your own server, and then a second carefully crafted Http request to CMD.EXE could execute it for you. Game over.

Microsoft then fixed this by not allowing IIS to accept the dot-dot-backslash business. But you could use percent-sign-hex characters to represent the dot-dot-backslash. Microsoft then fixed that in IIS, but the filesystem would still accept the percent-hex-code characters. So you could double-escape them to get the filesystem to walk you to the CMD.EXE. Eventually they got this right and it was fixed. But there were many other holes. And who's stupid idea was it to run a server process, basically with root privileges?

I could go on. Even recently there was a major IE vulnerability that affected current and past versions.

Heartbleed was one instance of a lapse in security.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 1) 105

> Money saved by the government never translates into money put back in the pocket of the tax payers.

So instead of saving it, the money should just go to vendors?

The money may not go into the pocket of taxpayers, but some or all of it may go into other government expenses. So that $67 million to Microsoft could either lower the budget by $67 million, which you say never happens, and it might not, or it could be spent on other items in the budget. That seems better than wasting it.

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