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Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 572

by TemporalBeing (#47427337) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

"Of course, all of this was done in software designed by people without any engineering experience at all...go figure."

You don't need to have an engineering degree to write a price of software that implements calculations and algorithms that are needed for an engineering project. Programmers turn math, algorithms, business methods, ideas and the like into code. That's our skill, understanding your needs and expressing it in a way a computer can understand.

I was just noting the irony. That said, I would personally put forward that people doing programming in the real world need a software engineering degree, not a computer science degree as you don't do computer science when writing real-world applications - you apply the principles of Computer Science in an disciplined/engineering methodology.

But then, software engineering as a discipline is in such poor shape that it is not really helpful to anyone but NASA and DOD as currently defined, and that needs to change.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 572

by HiThere (#47426643) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

I simplified. The actual contractor subcontracted to a foreign subcontractor (with the appropriate requirements). Their actual failing was that they didn't test that the supplied parts met the specs. (This would have been difficult to do without disassembling the subcomponent.)

So, yes, I agree that it was criminal fraud. But I don't think it was ever prosecuted.

Comment: Re: Weird question, but... (Score 1) 177

The problem domain isn't "monitoring plants with only an AA battery for power" though. It's a host capable of running Linux and assorted toolchains for embedded software development. I know that there are systems for all kinds of applications and the power envelopes they prescribe. That's not the issue. The issue is that someone proclaimed that "electricity is expensive. Douche bag." And that's not true. Electricity is cheap. Cheaper than hardware which is incredibly cheap itself. And that holds true even for the very low end, where a tiny amount of energy is sold in an expensive package, but a finished system will still cost more than the batteries it takes to run it for a couple of years before it is replaced, yet the hardware is sold at prices which almost make the devices disposable. For perspective: How many smartphones does the average person buy per year? Still think a low to mid range quad core desktop system is expensive?

So I do development and I want to cut my costs down. I presently have a desktop at home with a 600W supply and a server with a 250W supply, as well as laptops with 60-90W supplies. As I use the desktop for other things (e.g playing DVDs, Netflix, etc.) I'm satisfied to leave it for now; laptops might get replaced by tablets or chromebooks.

But the server? I keep it on a UPS, and would love to be able to keep it up for a very long time. On the UPS it would only get between 10-30 minutes if power fails (APC 1500). I am very interested in switching it out for a few lower power devices. In fact, I'm targetting replacing it with 3 devices (a Rasberry Pi for authentication, a Udoo for disk storage, and a Routerboard for firewall support) with a total power envelope of 50W.

Do I still intend to do software development on the server? Yes.
Do I still intend to do DNS, DHCP, Samba, WebServers, etc on the server? Yes.

But you know what - unless I'm building something targetting a mainframe, some heavy video driven application (e.g games, autocad, etc) then I really don't need a very powerful system. Point being - a beagleboard, Udoo, or Rasberry Pi really is sufficient for most people doing software development....well, unless you're trying to use Eclipse or Visual Studios, but then you're just asking for trouble.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 572

by HiThere (#47418683) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Personally I usually prefer geany or Kate. Vim is ok if you're already in a terminal environment, or if you're in a tight RAM situation, but that is a rare condition.

Note, though, if I'm working on Java, I prefer NetBeans, because I don't know Java all that well. So it's nice to have a tool that says "you need to include this particular library", or "that syntax is invalid". If I were to really learn Java, however, I'd probably prefer geany or Kate.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 3, Interesting) 572

by HiThere (#47418617) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Bad example. The $10,000 hammer was because of the paperwork required to buy a single hammer for a high security project. Yes, it was extreme idiocy, but it WAS following the rules as specified, and the CIA wasn't involved.

If they'd been buying 100,000 hammers it would have made a lot more sense, and the increment in the cost wouldn't have been so absurd.

What's really sickening is that there was a project that carefully specified the particular alloys and heat treatment that the nuts and bolts were to have, paid for them, and the contractor supplied off-the-shelf nuts and bolts from a hardware store. This was determined after the cause of failure was found to be a split nut. The spec'd one wouldn't have failed. The cheap nut ended up costing a lot more than $10,000.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 572

by TemporalBeing (#47417233) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

There's a different between learning to build a basic house and a skysraper. Only the best civil engineers are ever going to do the latter.

I'd be amazed if a Civil Engineer could design a skyscraper, and I'd be more amazed at the firm and its insurance backer that allowed them to, and the construction company that did it.

Why? A Civic Engineer doesn't design skyscapers. They decide only where the skyscapers can go and make sure the location can support it.

It's the structural engineer that designs the skyscaper based on the concepts from the architectural engineer that the client wanted to put in the space that the civic engineer told them they had on the land they own.

Of course, all of this was done in software designed by people without any engineering experience at all...go figure.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 4, Interesting) 572

by TemporalBeing (#47417189) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Somebody didn't read the article:

"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 this is more of deluded statement than anything. In the old days you typically had to have an Electrical Engineering degree to do programming - at a time when having a college degree was not the norm. This only filtered out of that circle as geeks took interest before college and tools became easier and costs were greatly reduced. The point: programming has always been done by a small group - the "elite" - at any time in the history of computer systems.

Our goal was to allow regular people without extensive training to easily and quickly build useful software. This was the spirit of languages like COBOL, Visual Basic, and HyperCard. Elegant tools for a more civilized age. Before the dark times before the web."

Again, progress has certainly occurred towards this, but the fact of the matter is that most people are not interested in being creative the way programming requires you to be. They'll be happy to play around with HyperCard or Excel long enough to get some basic thing done, but they'll be atleast equally happy to pass it on to some one so they can focus on what their actual job in stead of trying to figure out how to make a fancy little graph.

"The web is just an enormous stack of kluges upon hacks upon misbegotten designs. This Archaeology of Errors is no place for the application programmers of old: it takes a skilled programmer with years of experience just to build simple applications on today’s web. What a waste. Twenty years of expediency has led the web into a technical debt crisis."

Many of those things are because of people not skilled enough making the decisions - not understanding what's there and trying to fix it, only to realize later when they do understand it better that they royally screwed it up.

Comment: Re:another language shoved down your throat (Score 1) 411

by TemporalBeing (#47416269) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

java was only "the most popular" because it was force fed to people who didn't want it.

I don't think you understand how schools and their curriculae work. Nobody is holding a gun to the collective and independently-operated heads of CS departments to demand which language they use for beginner courses.

Java was historically chosen because it was a safe option; used widely in industry, decent documentation and tools, it supports good programming practices, and it provides reasonably powerful options while being relatively beginner friendly. Java largely replaced C and C++, which are not beginner friendly.

Funny...Java only lasted may be 10 years as the "first" language for CS curriculae. C++ laster longer (15+ years), and C longer than that.

Now unlike with C and C++ they did find bigger issues with Java being the first course - as upper level classes (e.g Networking) found they had to teach kids C/C++ first before they could get into the course material. Not to say that won't still be an issue with'll probably have its own layer of issues.

Needless to say, if I had to learn programming my freshman year of college I would rather have had Python than Java. (I didn't; I learned to program in High School in a far superior manner than taught at the college level; but that's beside the point here.)

Comment: Re: Failsafe? (Score 1) 464

Didn't airbus get yelled at for not stopping the pilot from ripping of the vertical stabilizer.

If so, it goes to the central idea behind Airbus designs, which is the very European mentality of design by committee and the government knows best. Remember, Airbus is a conglomerate of nearly all the European nations.

Comment: Re: Failsafe? (Score 1) 464

That's not how it works at all.

Airliners pretty much since the jet age have had at least some measure of "envelope protection". In the 60s this was pretty simple - just a stick pusher to prevent stalls since stalls in many airliners can easily become unrecoverable. Airbus's envelope protection is much more sophisticated than just a stick pusher.

However when there's a systems failure the Airbus systems will automatically drop to a different control law that effectively works like basic stick and rudder flying.

So if the system is working perfectly fine, but the pilot wants to do something that the system thinks the pilot shouldn't do, then who gets to determine the end result? What if doing what the system wanted to do would lead to the system having an issue? Or if the system did not detect that one of its sensors (and the backups) had degraded because they all failed the same way?

There are a million scenarios where the system thinks it is right and the pilot knows the system is wrong but needs to do something else. Time matters in all scenarios where the plane may be in trouble.

Boeing uses fly by wire now too by the way.

Beoing may be fly-by-wire, but there is a difference between fly-by-wire and pilot vs computer being in control. You can design fly-by-wire such that the pilot still has the last say in the matter without having to have the system enter into a degraded mode first.

Comment: Re:More than cost (Score 1) 142

I know both SAS and R, and I think that for people who've never programmed, the GUI-based version of SAS wins on end-user usability because end-users can click together (simple and limited) analyses on really big datasets. This has far-reaching consequences for the learning curve.

For R there exist attempts at GUI's (like e.g. R-commander) that offer point-and-click functionality but they're more sketchy.

Others have mentioned Rstudio, and that looks like it would fit the bill just fine for those users from a cursory glance; and if they could drop the money on SAS they could certainly drop the money for commercial versions of RStudio and get the extra help.

I think that giving non-programmers access to R will result in a flood of help requests because they really do need some notion of programming to use the R language. With SAS that's more in the background because the GUI tool is relatively well done, and use of the butt-ugly, antiquated and clumsy mainframe-style SAS language can usually be avoided.

Never touched that version. I only had a single desktop license for the small company that I worked at. We had it b/c the guy I replaced knew SAS very well and sold the management on it. Management just wanted the functionality; they didn't care and had the money to spare.

I think that statisticians, real analysts and data-scientists will soon feel constrained by SAS and will prefer to use SAS to prepare a dataset for analysis, and then carry out any actual analysis in R.

If they're feeling constrained, then they'll be looking for better tools. And more likely than not, if they can do it SAS they can do it in R too. So why have two tools when you only need one?

Last but not least, R is still an in-memory analysis program, which practically limits analyses to what you can be fit in core. There are packages that try to extend R in this direction, but I consider them to be poor quality and cumbersome.

Good to know; but that will probably change as things grow. I know SAS is really good at Flat File databases, but not much more; it probably has some similar constraints.

Python on the other hand is aimed squarely at programmers, and nobody else.

Very true, and I never said otherwise.

Comment: Re:C++ wins the day again. (Score 1) 87

by TemporalBeing (#47408473) Attached to: KDE Releases Frameworks 5

KDE and Qt are synonymous with C++. They prove that C++ is the best language around, because the best apps and GUI frameworks around are built using C++. KDE 5 is fast, it's stable, and it just plain great software to use, all thanks to C++.

Then there's Gnome. They're still pissing around with C, JavaScript, and their homegrown Vala poopfest. And Gnome is a total disaster these days! That's what happens when you use inferior languages instead of a professional language like C++. C++ means your code is good, which means that your libraries and apps are good. Other languages mean that your code is bad, which means that your libraries and apps are bad.

There's one lesson here and that is to use C++ if you want to have the greatest software known to humankind. C++ is where it's at, baby!

Just be aware that a Plasma takes advantage of a lot of QML usage - e.g JavaScript. But yes, C++ plus Qt is a phenominal experience.

"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell