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Comment: Re:sickening (Score 2) 789

If you want your kid to learn to stand up for himself, would you pay a couple of other kids to beat him up until he finds the nerve to punch back, or would you send him to a self defence class? The first is likely to end in physical or psychological trauma, the second more likely to instil confidence as well as help keep potential bullies off his back.

What schools like these are doing is teaching him that his place in the hierarchy is being the classroom punching bag, and that he will be punished if he fights back or complains. Yes, life can be like that too, but only if you let it. School should be teaching him how to deal with such issues, not forcing him to suck it up.

Comment: Re:Rewarding the bullies... (Score 4, Insightful) 789

And, what if this kid commits a Columbine-esque revenge scenario?

Appropriately, the page with TFA has an ad encouraging me to "Win an AR-15 from Sebastian Ammo". Google is getting scary...

As for the action taken by the school, one really has to wonder as to what kind of cretins make up the school administration. And what they could possibly have hoped to achieve by filing charges, other than a nasty (and well deserved) publicity backlash? Although for a society run by lawyers, that's perhaps what one would expect. Squeaky wheel gets a beating, and a teenager gets hauled in front of a judge on charges of "disorderly conduct" in a school. Seriously... Can any of the officials involved in this case look in the mirror and tell themselves that they are doing the Right Thing?

Comment: Re:Well, who better to... (Score 2) 98

by JaredOfEuropa (#46765443) Attached to: Google Looked Into Space Elevator, Hoverboards, and Teleportation
I think you hit the nail right on the head: besides projects they can undertake themselves if a study shows they are more or less feasible, they are looking for longer term investment opportunities. The article didn't mention any of that, but it seems reasonable that Project X is not just about turning ideas into products, but also a factory of patents, and a way to get the jump on competitors when it comes to buying companies that do actual research into promising new tech.

Comment: Re:Nothing new here (Score 2) 224

by JaredOfEuropa (#46765061) Attached to: How 'DevOps' Is Killing the Developer
I see plenty of this, but it rarely has me worried. You have to take these Excel / Access "applications" for what they are: they typically exist as job aids for single persons or small teams. Is it pretty or sustainable? No: if the author of the application leaves and something needs to be changed or fixed, no support org will touch it with a 10 foot pole. This is where the difference between risk avoidance and risk management comes in. Risk avoidance means shaking your head in horror, and removing Access and VBA from workstations. Risk management means educating people about when it is appropriate to use such a tool, and when it isn't (like time or mission critical situations). Oh, and if the software does break and the original programmer has left, just hire a contractor to fix things. In my experience, they rarely need more than a few days for a fix or a simple change. Sometimes I just do it myself.

Why do we allow this? Because it is extremely cost effective, and it rarely causes trouble.

Comment: Re:We don''t do tax returns in the UK,you insensit (Score 1) 385

by JaredOfEuropa (#46757297) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
Same in the Netherlands, with the addition that the tax office will receive from your banks and employer complete financial data on your wages, taxes withheld, bank balances, mortgage payments, assets, and debts. These days they send you a tax return with all the relevant data already filled in; all you have to do is add any additional income they don't know about (not applicable to most people), or any additional expenses that are tax deductible (medical bills & such). For most people that means a quick check and signature before returning it digitally.

Many people with their own company, freelancers, and people with a lot of liquid assets will hire an accountant. We have such a byzantine set of rules on deductions, financial aids and exemptions that it pays to know the rules and be creative, and a good accountant can find the loopholes for you. With a top income tax of 52% (which already kicks in at 55k euro or so), 21% VAT and ever rising council taxes, I feel no qualms for dodging the system where I can.

Comment: Re:Surely ironic (Score 4, Insightful) 275

No single feature on the iPhone was a game changer, it was a combination of many incremental improvements. For example, the use of a capacitive touch screen that could be operated with a finger, and the UI to match. Back then pretty much all smart phones had to be operated with a stylus or at best a sharp finger nail. A small improvement, but huge in terms of usability, especially for short tasks.

There were already many smart phones around at the time, but if you saw someone dicking around on one for a few minutes at the bus stop, chances are it was an iPhone. Apple's small improvements added up to a lot of usability.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Score 1) 236

Not this "software engineers aren't real engineers" crap again. Those real engineers make plenty of mistakes too,sometimes costly ones, sometimes even deadly. And they too hide behind the "shit happens" excuse from time to time, after signing off on a disaster. I recognize that software engineering is not nearly as mature as other fields of endeavor, but you're doing the profession of software design a disservice comparing it to bloodletting and leeches.

Comment: Re:Why not? (Score 2) 236

It is good to take responsibility if you screw up, and I would like to see more real engineering rigour in software development. However that doesn't mean the guy making the mistake should be the scapegoat. The best of us can make mistakes, but the fact that these mistakes make it into the final product is not only our failing, but a failing of the procedures in place as well. If your process cannot cope with a single human being making a mistake, then it's the team, manager and company failing, not just the solitary engineer. Software engineering processes suck pretty bad in that regard, but "real" engineering practices have their failings too. Thinking of the famous "woodpecker" comparison between architects and software engineers, I'll say the world is damn lucky that real-world construction is way more forgiving when it comes to small errors translating to big issues, even if it's failure modes are a usually a lot mor noisy, dangerous, and costly.

Comment: Re:Short term - long term (Score 1) 477

by JaredOfEuropa (#46714651) Attached to: New French Law Prohibits After-Hours Work Emails
French companies can have 24x7 coverage, however they cannot force people to work after hours. Those people who elect to work odd hours or overtime are paid for doing so. Sounds just fine to me: it prevents a race to the bottom, and looking at the statistics French workers do just fine in terms of productivity. From personal experience, I've never noticed that the French liberal (commie, sensible, unproductive, fair, take your pick) approach to work/life balance translates to slacking during the hours that they do work. Working with them gives about the same results as with German, Belgian or Dutch firms (cultural differences aside).

Contemptuous lights flashed flashed across the computer's console. -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy