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Comment: Re:Motive (Score 1) 267

by Dutch Gun (#48671611) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

And frankly, we're all human beings, lines on a map are just drawn to divide up stuff, shouldn't we all care that millions have starved to death there?

A lot of us do, but when both NK and China have nukes, it's a tricky proposition to effect change. Would China happily leave NK out to dry, or would they send their tanks in? If their backs were up against a wall, would NK retaliate by sending over a nuke in a shipping container to one of our port cities? Also, with a recent look at our history, freeing up the Iraqi people hasn't gone all that swimmingly, what with the Islamic State forming their own little territory and chopping off every westerner's head they can.

It's great to say "we need to help them", but what you're saying is "we're going to send a lot of young American men and women into harms way, and many of them will end up dead or maimed. It's something that needs to be weighed very, very carefully. Despite our military and economic power, we can't simply march in and right all the wrongs in the world. I wish we could... I really do. But the world isn't that straightforward.

Comment: Re:Action movies are boring. (Score 1) 324

Modern action movies are incredibly boring.

Action movies are awesome if you care about what happens to the characters. I think too many directors and writers seem to forget about this part, or maybe are just inept at creating interesting and empathetic characters. For all the billions of dollars that Hollywood spends on flashy effects, it's always astounding to me that one of the most difficult things is still apparently writing good dialogue and creating interesting characters.

Comment: Re:*sips pabst* (Score 2) 342

by Dutch Gun (#48666731) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

kept Tom Bombodil in the first one

What crucial plot point did Tom Bombodil advance, especially in a two hour movie adaptation? One could argue (and Peter Jackson in fact did argue) that if he adapted the books precisely, much of the dramatic tension of the movie would have been dissipated for no good reason. For instance, Frodo actually waited around for many months after getting the ring before starting out on his journey. Read the description of what Tom Bombodil looked like again, if you haven't recently, and think about how ridiculous he would have appeared on screen. Or how about how flippantly he treated the super-scary-bad One Ring? As heretical as you might think this is, I think even the book would have lost very little except length if Tolkien had left those chapters out.

While I disagree with some of Jackson's introductions of unnecessary elements or changes in LOTR, I agreed with his decision to trim unnecessary storyline fat, and focus more on action. After all, movies are a visual/aural medium, and can convey different elements better than books can. Books are great at providing depth, detail, and backstory, but frankly, reading about battles in great detail would probably be rather boring - you'll notice Tolkien wisely avoided doing this. I've suffered through some books that made me read through a giant battle blow by blow, and now I understand why that's not necessarily a book's strength. Movies, on the other hand, do better at *showing* you a world, and it would be a great disservice to try to copy the strengths of the written word instead of providing what film can offer somewhat uniquely. I think it's entirely appropriate for a movie to show a battle in detail when a book may have given it just a paragraph.

Comment: Re:The good outweights the bad (Score 1) 201

by Dutch Gun (#48666543) Attached to: The World Is Not Falling Apart

I'll propose modifying your "The world is an awesome place now" with "many places in the world are great, but many places are not". It really depends on where you live. We probably won't see it in our lifetimes, but if any luck, our grandchildren or maybe our great grandchildren may see a larger world that's starting to enjoy a lot more what we in the first world currently enjoy. It seems like we're making progress, so I'm hopeful.

In terms of providing economic improvement, I think it's important not to focus on redistribution, as that's a short-term means to an end, and taken to extremes, can cause as many problems as it attempts to solve. Rather, we need to make sure equality of opportunity is provided for people to climb the economic ladder on their own. Disparity in income is not necessarily a problem so long as we provide a way for people to improve their own lot in life by working smart and playing the rules of the game fairly.

Comment: Re:people still watch that crap? (Score 3, Insightful) 106

by Dutch Gun (#48643959) Attached to: Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

1) the opening theme music. It's absolutely horrible. I don't know WTF they were thinking with that whiny emo crap.

They were thinking: "Hey, kids like this shit, right? We need to appeal to the younger crowd. That's where the money is. So we'll toss the old symphonic opening scores. We'll also sex it up a bit with a hot-bodied Vulcan in a skin-tight suit. Oh, and we'll make sure to fabricate a few excuses to strip that suit off and smear a bunch of oil on her. This is gonna be big! ... Plot? Shit, the writers will figure that stuff out. Don't bother me, I'm figuring out the important stuff here!"

Comment: Re:Why the FBI thinks it's North Korea (Score 1) 340

There's a difference between trusting in the government not to snoop on it's citizens and trusting in the FBI's competence in tracking down crimes of this matter. Question their methods, but I'd advise you not to question their competence. I don't think they'd risk undermining their credibility as one of the world's leading forensic and criminal investigation units to place blame where it doesn't belong. What's their motivation to lie and damage their credibility? North Korea doesn't exactly pose a major threat to us, nor are they constantly in the news here in the US.

Comment: Re:polish != Polish (Score 4, Insightful) 148

by Dutch Gun (#48631553) Attached to: Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

You know, one could argue that case sensitivity in file systems actually demonstrates the difference between the *nix vs. Windows philosophies pretty well. Disclaimer: I'm a Windows guy, so let me know if I'm making unfair characterizations.


*nix is about power, flexibility, and user control. It favors command-line interaction through discrete commands, applications, and scripts. This makes it extremely suitable for power-users and administrators who are willing to invest the time to become proficient in using these tools. Visual interfaces are often built on top of these command-line actions, which can create a slightly disjointed experience for more casual users who don't understand what's happening under the hood or can't easily fall back to command-line use when needed.

File system design: A file system should give back exactly what was put into. We should provide maximum flexibility and utility, even if it comes at the expensive of user-friendliness. The entire system should not be dumbed down to protect users who can't even figure out how to properly name their files, because there may be legitimate use cases for case sensitivity in file naming.


Windows is about user-friendliness. Visual tasks and interactions are emphasized over command-line actions. Applications are often extended through proprietary extensions or internal scripting rather than through command-line input and output. Because the system is build with visual interaction in mind first and foremost, users never have to interact with a command-line. This makes it easier for casual users to achieve faster results with less training, but can come at the cost of a more shallow understanding of their computers (e.g. if the visuals change significantly, users may become confused).

Filesystem design: We can't really think of a reasonable use case in which a user would actually want to create two different files in the same directory that only differ by case. In reality, it would probably be the result of an mistake, and this may cause confusion for users. Therefore, we'll just restrict the functionality to eliminate that potential error. We're willing to write a bit of extra code to preserve case but to discard it when disambiguating files.

Comment: Re:I blame Microsoft (Score 4, Insightful) 148

by Dutch Gun (#48630445) Attached to: Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

Karma be damned...

One could alternately argue: do you feel it's a good thing for something.dat and Something.dat to reference two different files? Because that would never confuse users, right? Shall we next talk about forward slash versus backslash in path separators, and how one is obviously much more logical and intuitive than the other? Or maybe we should get into line endings, or perhaps how there really shouldn't be any distinction between text and binary files? UTF-8 vs UTF-16?

Newsflash: different operating systems have different conventions and different quirks. I'm going to take a wild-ass guess and predict that you believe the choices of your preferred OS are obviously the correct choices.

Comment: Re:503 (Score 3, Interesting) 394

by Dutch Gun (#48622643) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Yep, same here.

On topic, Google, I appreciate the focus on security, but stop deciding to simply implement however YOU THINK the web should be working. Ok, technically, it's just a change in the browser, but the semantics are obviously meant to "encourage" everyone to switch to HTTPS. However a good idea some of us think that is, it's not up to you.

This is why people are getting freaked out about the power you hold. You're starting to demonstrate that you're not afraid to *use* that influence to simply push things to work however you want them to. You've already done that once already by pushing forward an SSL-related change far ahead of when it really needed to be, and now it looks like you're floating a trial balloon to go one step further.

Am I overreacting here? Or is Google going too far, too fast with this?

Comment: Re:Embrace (Score 1) 217

by Dutch Gun (#48622277) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

You're aware that, right now, you can build cross-platform apps entirely in Microsoft Visual Studio, right? And porting .NET is part of that interoperability I was talking about. The next version of Visual Studio is going even further with it's cross-platform support.

Oh, make no mistake, they're trying to get Windows mobile kickstarted as well. I think at the moment they're just looking at the cold, hard facts. iOS and Android are absolutely dominant in that market, and if Microsoft understands one thing, it's how difficult it is to unseat a dominant market position. After all, Linux has had excellent and *completely free* offerings on the PC for years, yet it's hovering around 1%, even with the backlash by many users against Windows 8.

So, I think the strategy is to deal with the certainty that iOS and Android on mobile and Linux on servers are not going to be disappearing anytime soon. That doesn't mean that they're not going to work hard to make a viable Windows mobile platform - I think they could potentially crack into the market with some moderate success at least, but I don't think anyone, either inside or outside MS, realistically thinks that they have a prayer of dominating mobile like they did the desktop.

So, now we see them making tools and porting frameworks for easier cross-platform development. As a Windows developer, this actually makes me really happy at the prospect of using Microsoft's development tools I already own and know how to use were I to target other platforms, and I think this is exactly the reason they're doing this. Essentially, since I'm using Microsoft tools, it will probably be a no-brainer for me to also target, say, Windows mobile platforms as well. If I were using other development tools, I may not be as inclined to do so.

Comment: Re:Embrace (Score 0) 217

by Dutch Gun (#48621069) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Nah, I don't buy it. I'm pretty sure they hold no illusions of being able to extinguish open source, as I don't believe they're quite that foolishly optimistic.

This is nothing more than Microsoft acknowledging the realities of today's market in which they're no longer the sole dominating platform. They're turning their aircraft-carrier-sized ship in a new direction in an attempt to stay relevant in this more diverse ecosystem. Frankly, I think moving to open source is less important than Microsoft turning into a true multi-platform company, in which it's actually developing for platforms other than Microsoft Windows with first-line applications.

Going open-source is just a means to an end. I don't think you should read much more than that, either positively or negatively in regards to their stance on open source. They're just moving their technologies (like server-side .NET APIs) to other platforms, which will allow current MS developers to easily develop multi-platform code without having to move away from their familiar development environments - meaning Windows + Visual Studio. Visual Studio will soon be able to target Android / iOS and use the LLVM compiler, which would be unthinkable for Microsoft of just a few years ago. This is critical for their own future internal development strategy. They want their own development teams as well as other Windows developers to be able to quickly and easily create applications for different targets using a common set of tools and technologies.

In short, they're broadening their focus from an exclusive Windows stack into more generalized software development and hosting that includes multiple platforms. Linux servers, Android, and iOS are not going away, so why not make money selling software for them? This keeps their business clients happy, as it means their mobile apps don't need to run on Windows phones, which no one really wants, while they can keep using the same Windows OS and software on the PC that they're already familiar with and currently using.

If you want to look at it more cynically, you could say that Microsoft is attempting to keep Windows relevant in a post-PC world by ensuring it can more easily interop with other platforms like Linux, Android, and iOS. The best way for them to do this is to allow Windows PC developers to use their existing tools and technologies to target those platforms.

Comment: Re:Pretty sad (Score 5, Interesting) 156

by Dutch Gun (#48614943) Attached to: Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

Or the modern trend of obsolescence of old media formats.

The simple fact of the matter is that Dr. Dobbs and similar magazines really aren't as relevant in the modern world, and that's why they're being mothballed. They've been replaced by a number of things. Online technical resources are increasingly abundant, and are often more than sufficient to learn about any topic you desire. Nearly every question I have as a professional programmer has likely already been asked and answered, often in considerable detail, on sites such as stack overflow. Various how-to topics are explored on both personal and professional blogs or other programmer-focused sites, and everything is nicely indexed and immediately accessible through the magic of Google search.

The simple fact that Google rarely points to Dr Dobbs' site about things I search for (maybe your searches are different) tends to highlight its increasing irrelevance. As much as I enjoyed reading it a few decades ago, it's time to move on. The world has changed, and some things inevitably get left behind.

Comment: Re:Oh yeah, he was a orthodontist (Score 2) 156

by Dutch Gun (#48614859) Attached to: Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

I rarely max out my AMD quad-core processor and/or 4GB memory. I don't have any software that can smoother the hardware.


A professional videogame programmer


Kidding aside... For most types of applications on the desktop (e.g. business apps that spend most of their time querying a remote database), you can get away with suboptimal code, because programmer efficiency and maintainable code is more important than code efficiency. That's not necessarily a sign of shoddy engineering, although poorly optimized code for no good reason certainly might be. Over-optimizing code where you don't need it can also be highly problematic as well. Even as a C++ programmer, I still prefer to write my game tools in C# whenever possible.

That being said, there are still plenty of specialized applications that demand top performance. Videogames, scientific computing, highly scalable server applications (efficiency = cost savings), and so on. We're also scaling down our computers as well, where you don't have the crazy power you have on the desktop. Examples include smart phones and even smart watches, where run-time efficiency translates directly to improved battery life.

So, sometimes efficiency matters a great deal, and sometimes it doesn't. A good programmer knows when each is appropriate and their tradeoffs, and uses the correct tools for the job at hand.

The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.