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Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 497

by JoeMerchant (#47746905) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

You might be surprised, my first medical app on Qt was targeted to OS-X, for a whole year, but as Director of Software Development, I chose Qt to hedge my bets against the day that OS-X got thrown under the bus for "business reasons." And, yes, especially in 2006, the Qt App was still in Carbon, while Cocoa was what all the cool Objective C kids were doing that week - and our in-house OS-X champion threw a hissy fit about it. Nobody else cared - it was a good looking app, just not quite up to the minute with latest OS-X styles.

So, two things happened by mid-2007. One, Qt updated to use Cocoa, and 95% of the OS-X champion's complaints about the app were solved for us by the trolls - zero code changes required by us. Two, the suits decided that we were merging our design efforts with a larger project that was Windows based, so OS-X did get thrown under the bus, as predicted. It took about 8 man hours to convert our Qt App from one that was written on OS-X, exclusively for OS-X, never tested on anything but OS-X, to running identically on Windows - and 7 of those man hours were wrapped up in converting OpenGL code....

I'm in medical now, and the primary target is Linux - but lots of use cases call for operation under Windows too....

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 497

by JoeMerchant (#47746545) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

I suppose it depends on your target market. I've written mostly for medical and military, and they never had complaints about Qt's ui. Even did a server based app with no UI, and Qt still made sense as the library because of the cross-platform requirements - lots of shared memory and other stuff is "wrapped up" and platform details handled by the library. I guess I've always been in small enough companies that "outsourcing to the trolls" was the better option - we'd never have delivered anything cross-platform if we had to hire multiple teams for implementation on each.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 497

by JoeMerchant (#47746527) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

One thing I have learned to love about QObjects is their family tree and how it (mostly) garbage collects for you, when you use them properly. I really like the fact that my objects clean up their entire child structure as soon as they go out of scope - without a bunch of delete code required.

But, yeah, a testing team with valgrind will usually find a bunch of (trivial) "leaks" in my code, too - I'm talking about single objects that are created once and not destroyed before exit - technically, I don't call those leaks, but valgrind does.

Comment: Re:What's the point? (Score 1) 497

by JoeMerchant (#47743929) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Gotta throw my perennial plug in for Qt/C++ for portability. As long as your target is desktop only, Qt is super portable, mature, and relatively complete.

Yes, they are just starting to get into serious mobile support, and I notice a lot of the "completeness" suffering as this transition takes place (old libs like QFtp are now "an exercise for the programmer" to port and include in Qt5 based projects.)

We had a Qt vs Python vs VB/Excel contest once - effort was roughly similar between the three to really do the job at hand, VB only won because the start and end point for the data was in Excel. The thing I find about most language comparisons comes down to "where is it socially acceptable to cut corners?" The scripting languages are very oriented toward the quick and dirty, zero error checking, zero declaration, zero structure programming - and if that's what you want, great. C++ enforces declarations and type checking on you - which, if you're doing anything of size, you actually do want. By the time you beef up a Python script to handle the edge and error cases and do all the stuff that the C++ program is probably doing at default level, then the Python isn't so quick or slick anymore.

Comment: Re:They always told me I was so smart... (Score 3, Interesting) 243

by JoeMerchant (#47737301) Attached to: It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

I also figured out that intelligence was a liability, and I've still seen very few environments where that wasn't true, and all of those only well after childhood.

Intelligence isn't a liability. Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability. Telling people, "I am smarter than you, so you are wrong" is a liability.

You don't have to tell people you are smarter directly. I spooked the hell out of a girlfriend who had a crazy 3 on 5 off (with other kinks in the pattern) schedule because, after 2 weeks, I had it figured out and when we were making plans for something next week, I told her when she was working and when she was free: "how'd you know that?" "Well, you're working tomorrow and it's time for the 4 week long break..." "I only know my schedule by looking it up..." "Oh...."

People who perceive you are smarter (whether you are, or not) will often treat you as a threat.

Icahn has called CEOs the survivors of the corporate world, but says it's the "survival of the unfittest": "[The CEO] would never have anyone underneath him as his assistant that's brighter than he is because that might constitute a threat. So therefore, with many exceptions, we have CEO's becoming dumber and dumber and dumber."

Comment: Re:But is it really plankton? (Score 4, Interesting) 116

by JoeMerchant (#47709071) Attached to: Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Well, the cargo ship is one possibility, but when you consider the scale of the oceans and just how close the ISS is to them: if the Pacific Ocean were a sheet of Letter sized paper, the ISS would be zipping along 1/4" above it, and the ISS has been skimming along near the Earth's surface like this for years and years.

Now, think about hurricanes, typhoons, winter storms, and everything else that violently churns the ocean surface - aerosolizing some tiny fraction of it, but still including billions upon billions of plankton that go for a flight every year. Most fall back into the ocean, but some inevitably fly quite high....

What would be amazing to me is if these sea-launched plankton could actually hitch a ride on the passing ISS without getting lethally damaged in the transition. I suppose that on their scale, hitting a wall moving hundreds of miles per hour might not be as disruptive as it is for larger, multicellular organisms.

Comment: Re:Monorail (Score 1) 79

by JoeMerchant (#47684217) Attached to: Google Sells Maine Barge For Scrap

Or, people could grow up and learn to work without needing coworkers in close physical proximity peer-pressuring them into being productive.

The arcology (from 1990s SimCity) or Google's mega structure may never come to pass if we develop sufficient network infrastructure that people can work from their homes, eliminating commute times completely. Sure, physical jobs still need physical presence, but information pushers (read: 90% of government, and most larger corporations), can push that information through video telepresence. I rented a car from the airport the other day, two people sitting at the counter were helping customers in lines 3 deep - then there's this little video kiosk, I walk up to it, pick up a telephone handset, and voila, an agent for the company located hundreds of miles away helps me, just as quickly and efficiently as the flesh and blood counter reps, probably better because he didn't have to get up and drive to the airport during morning rush hour in a big metro city. The people cleaning the cars and guarding the exit still need to be present, but the counter workers could have 20 square foot "office cubes" located in their homes, where they could work 5 or 6 hours a day, be more productive for the company, and spend 1/2 as much time on their workday.

Comment: Re:A rather simplistic hardware-centric view (Score 1) 145

by JoeMerchant (#47663863) Attached to: The Quiet Before the Next IT Revolution

The article starts with the observation that the hardware bottleneck is mostly gone, if you can afford to supply basic coffee to your employees, the IT hardware doesn't cost much more than that - contrast that to 1991 when the PC on my desk cost 2 months of my salary, and our "network" was a 4 line phone sitting next to it (modems came to our office 5 years later).

Then, let's dream about what's next... you can dream, can't you?

Comment: Re:Horseshit (Score 1) 145

by JoeMerchant (#47663787) Attached to: The Quiet Before the Next IT Revolution

If the "transcontinental railroad" is truly built, then the cloud won't be going down (for any significant amounts of time) in the future.

How often do you venture out onto the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system, stymied that you can't use it in the normal fashion (yes, rush hour in metro areas still needs work, mostly population control, I say, but...)?

If your "cloud is down" more than 5 minutes per day, or has a big (multi hour) outage more than once a year, then you have not yet arrived at modern (2014) IT nirvana.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.