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Comment: Re:Article's arguments are weak. (Score 1) 360

by NorbrookC (#46151835) Attached to: Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Core reason why? Their limited shelf life. I happen to own the original Doom series, and in a fit of nostalgia, I decided to reload it on my new computer. After a hell of a lot of tinkering, as well as using an open-source engine mod, I was able to get it running again. More often than not, I've ended up chucking my old games simply because it's not worth the effort to get them working again. Yes, I have DOSBox on my system, but seriously, what's the point?

Manufacturers aren't going to be marketing them, and to be honest, few people are going to go through the effort of trying to make it work on new systems. So complaining that they shouldn't move into the public domain long after their day in sun is done feels more like "my precioussss..." than any economic argument.

Comment: Re:Not really (Score 1) 209

by NorbrookC (#42093641) Attached to: Does Even Amazing Partisan Tech Deserve Applause?

The problem is that in trying to make his point, he's pointing at various commercial sites as "good examples," when in reality they aren't quite up to what he's talking about. I also note that there is nothing stopping him ... or any of the complainers here ... from developing and fielding such a system.

Comment: Why do we need a renaissance? (Score 1) 193

by NorbrookC (#40923499) Attached to: Will Online Learning Disrupt Programming Language Adoption?

Seriously. Considering the amount of bitching, griping, moaning and whining I've seen about businesses failing to move to new operating systems and carrying around large amounts of legacy code, it doesn't appear that there's a pent-up demand for brand-new languages. The OP seems to be operating under the assumption that "if you build it, they will come" when it comes to programming languages, but the real world seems to be of a different opinion.

Comment: Not surprised at all (Score 1) 218

by NorbrookC (#35231364) Attached to: 10% of IT Pros Can Access Previous Jobs' Accounts
It's always been a problem, and I see it hasn't changed. One of the things I remember from leaving one place a decade ago was just how many systems I had access to as a function of my job as a system admin, and the number of user accounts with that - including support vendor accounts. Even though I was ethical enough to tell them what I had access to, and that they needed to change all those passwords, it turned out that they didn't. I learned that when I was recalled as a contractor, and it turned out I didn't have to get a set of new passwords for the system, about half of the old ones still worked. Even worse, the ones that still worked were ones that gave me root access.

Comment: Re:This is a Big Deal (Score 2) 541

by NorbrookC (#34847730) Attached to: Autism-Vax Doc Scandal Was Pharma Business Scam
What bothers me about it was that no one at Lancet, not the editors or the peer-reviewers, bothered to question the data and the assumptions to begin with. I'm also curious to know just what role the other co-authors had in this paper. Were they just "courtesy additions," or were they complicit in this research? Having written a few research articles, I can only think of one that went through without a request for revisions, or additional data. Most of the time, we were put through the wringer.

Comment: Re:Dead Media Project (Score 1) 498

by NorbrookC (#34671940) Attached to: What's the Oldest File You Can Restore?
About 5 years ago, I was able to recover data I'd written on some old (circa 1990) diskettes using an old 486 computer I had in my "spares." which worked surprisingly well. One of the challenges was that I'd used an archiving program called ZOO, and a lot of my data files were stored in that format. It took some digging to find a program that would extract the files, and then saved them onto a hard drive, which was then written to CD. The files themselves were actually from the mid-80s, and fortunately, were in an ASCII readable format, although the word processor used to create them (WordStar2000) was long obsolete.

Comment: Re:Easily swappable parts (Score 1) 151

by NorbrookC (#34164056) Attached to: Bloom Laptop Designed For Easy Disassembly
Exactly. It's a problem across many industries - just ask any auto mechanic. The people designing the product aren't thinking in terms of servicing the product. I've had to disassemble an entire laptop just to replace a case fan. I had to buy specialty tools just so I could remove and replace the hard drive on another laptop. Those are just some of the examples I've had to deal with - and yes, each of them have been "top of the line" laptops. What was frustrating was that it shouldn't have required that much effort - I mean really, why the hell would you use a screw head type that no standard fitting matches?

Comment: Re:Simplicity (Score 3, Insightful) 394

by NorbrookC (#34007032) Attached to: Taco Bell Programming
It seems to me that the point is that programmers have a variant of "if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail" saying. In this case, they have a huge toolbox, so every time they need to drive a nail, it means that they must design and use a methodology that will, eventually, cause the nail to be pushed into place, instead of just reaching for the hammer and getting the job done.

Comment: Re:Survey Shows How Stupid People Are (Score 1) 427

by NorbrookC (#33876204) Attached to: Survey Shows How Stupid People Are With Passwords
A good point. One of the other things I saw there was the assumption that people are going to easily remember passwords - and that they have a limited number of places they use them. Neither assumption is true, and particularly so these days. I have over thirty different sites I visit on a regular basis that require me to use a password of some sort - including this one. Keeping those straight using the "strong passwords, changed regularly" rule would mean that I'd stop visiting them after a while, or not bother participating - mainly because I lost the password or forgot it. That is, unless I committed the oldest security violation of writing down my passwords.

Comment: Re:Too close to the subject... (Score 4, Insightful) 396

by NorbrookC (#33271060) Attached to: How Can I Make Testing Software More Stimulating?
When I wrote code, I knew how the program was supposed to work. I made the user interfaces "obvious" - to me. So my "testing" was along the lines of "does this compile properly," and "does it output what I expected it to?" The rude awakening came when I handed off the "finished" product to someone else. All sorts of errors I hadn't thought about handling happened, people were confused by the user interface, and more than one "oops" cropped up. While the "boring" testing you're doing on your code may catch the obvious things, it's always better to have someone else test it.

Comment: Not surprising (Score 1) 305

by NorbrookC (#32885732) Attached to: Do Home Computers Help Or Hinder Education?

Very little about studies like this surprise me. I'm of the age where I went to school before computers - or even calculators - were used in schools. Amazingly enough, somehow I managed to learn to read, write, and do arithmetic (and later on advanced mathematics) without them. Are they handy, and useful? Yes, absolutely. The advent of relatively cheap calculators made my college years a lot easier than it would have been otherwise. Computers have made a lot of what used to be very onerous and time-consuming tasks simpler, easier, and faster. I know that because I had to do them by hand at one time.

That said, what I have noticed is that a lot of people have become totally helpless when the technology fails or isn't available. I've watched people struggle to add a simple column of numbers or make change when a calculator wasn't available. Something I consider trivially simple - even do in my head - they can't without technological help. GPS navigation systems seem to have caused many to have forgotten how to read a map or follow directions. What appears to have happened is that the technology isn't teaching them anything except which buttons to push. It's not teaching them the actual skill.

Comment: Re:Question (Score 3, Insightful) 370

by NorbrookC (#30916304) Attached to: Ubuntu Moves To Yahoo For Default Firefox Search

I doubt it. Firefox has always given users the ability to change the default search engine. While Google was paying Mozilla to make Google the default search on those products, it doesn't necessarily affect other deals made.

This is interesting, but I don't think it's all that big a problem. Although it's fun to get all paranoid about Microsoft - with some justification - I don't see this as an attempt to "take over" Ubuntu.

A Fortran compiler is the hobgoblin of little minis.

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