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Comment: The End of All Timelines (Score 1) 209

Ah, no, that's not our future. In ten years global conflict, greed, and social pushback will cause civilization to collapse, reducing the world to an agrarian economy similar to the mid-nineteenth century. Technology of all sorts will be condemned as the cause of our problems, to which the solution will be ignorance, intolerance, and cultural isolation. Anyone who disagrees with the opinion of the majority will be purged from society. As a result, all digital Timelines will simply ... end.

On a more positive note, at least the Net Neutrality debate will end as well.

Comment: The Brick Wall Principle (Score 1) 323

by Prototerm (#48655727) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

No violence, no meanness, no cruelty. Teach kids that the world doesn't revolve around them. If they're polite, considerate of others, say "please" and "thank you", then the world may give them some of what they want. If, on the other hand, they're demanding, insulting, and inconsiderate of others, they end up kissing an unyielding brick wall. Sort of like the golden rule turned on its side: you get what you give, no exceptions. And you know what the hardest part of this principle is? Mom and Dad have to practice it themselves every day. Kids imitate the parents, so if you spank and yell at them, well, guess what? You're teaching them that violence is perfectly okay. You can do whatever you want to others as long as you're bigger or are in a position of authority.
Cause ... meet Effect.

Comment: Keeping it Simple (Score 1) 240

by Prototerm (#48140171) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

I'm with you on this. As a programmer, the thing I hate the most is "Gee, Mom, look what I can do!" code -- obtuse code written to impress rather than be simple, obvious and functional. And yes there are indeed times when something mind-bendingly complex is needed to achieve the required goal, but by and large, the KISS principle applies. As to the article's main point, I have to ask what is the purpose of breaking backward compatibility: Making it faster to produce readable, easily maintainable code, being the first one on the block to use something new and shiny, or simply to appear to be one of the Elite? Always keep in mind, however, that programing is more an art than a science, and creativity often comes from the simplest of tools, not the most expensive or the trendiest. And creativity is why we fiddle with all these bits, right?

Comment: Re:Why Math matters (Score 1) 241

by Prototerm (#47487327) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Bur how often do you need to understand those things to implement a typical computer program that helps a user get something done? Oftentimes, you simply need to know one is better than another and get on with it. Of course, you'd need that understanding to, for example, work on the TrueCrypt sourcecode. But generally? I don't think so/

Comment: Programming != Math (Score 1) 241

by Prototerm (#47487269) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Programming isn't, strictly speaking, math. Not like calculus or algebra is math. It's something else entirely.

I have a rather annoying learning disability, and have suffered from it since I was in first grade: I have a great difficulty memorizing things. Now, even with that rather annoying problem, I managed to be near the top of the class in both grade school and high school. What happened is I learned early on how to analyze the patterns behind the subjects I was expected to memorize and when test-time came was able to reconstruct most of the required information based on those patterns. Perfect example of this is spelling. I figured out what phoenetic combinations ruled English, and used them to pass tests. Armed with those rules, I only had to remember one or two odd words per week. In history, I found myself being able to understand and explain historical trends and influences. Names and Dates, on the other hand, gave me (literally) a headache. Simple math was easy (just a small number of consistent rules, after all). Sort of. Word problems in math, on the other hand, were difficult at best.

After I graduated college, I bought myself a Commodore 64 (they were just on the market) and dove right into both Basic and Assembly language. Both were easy for me to analyze and comprehend. Logic may be a branch of mathematics, but to me it's more obvious than anything in the math textbooks. Calculus is (for me) as obtuse and illogical as it gets. "If a water tank with a height of 15 feet and a circumference of 20 feet is 2/3 full of water, with a 1/8 inch hole a foot above the bottom, how long will it take the water level to drop to the hole?" Just plug the hole, whydoncha? Jeez!

Interestingly enough, I also have problems with computer word problems. Just give me the code (any code -- C, C++, C#, pascal, basic, assembler, SQL) and a little time, and I'll tell you what's causing the bug you're seeing. Now, after all these years, I'm the one everyone comes to when faced with an intractable computer problem that no one else seems able to solve. And I still don't like math.

Comment: Re:Not the phone (Score 1) 243

by Prototerm (#46932685) Attached to: The Feature Phone Is Dead: Long Live the 'Basic Smartphone'

I'll do you one better. My dumbphone costs me $100 US a year for voice and messages (I turn text messages off, though -- the phone's too small to type on with my fat thumbs), and any money I don't spend on calls gets rolled over to the next year. The phone doesn't use data, and I don't need it to. Email and Internet's what my laptop is for. Why would I want to spend $35 each month when what I've got now is more than I need? Oh, and that $35 is just the starting point. After you add state and federal fees, it's more like $50 a month.

Comment: Bad Idea (Score 0) 175

by Prototerm (#46675873) Attached to: Linux Developers Consider On-Screen QR Codes For Kernel Panics

I'd file this under the "Gee, mom, look what I can do" school of programming. It makes the assumption that every Linux user in the known universe has a smartphone and enough data minutes left in the month to play around with a QR code and a web page. I'm a great believer in the "KISS" principle: Keep It Simple! Your powerful computer just fell down and can't get up, so now you want to make it create and display a fancy bit of graphics? This sort of error is too important to rely on playing "stupid computer tricks"! What if it's a text-only server installation and there *is* no GUI available to display the QR? What if displaying the QR code *itself* causes an error? I'd hate to be using version 1 of *this* change! Besides, this sort of fancy error display belongs in User space, not the Kernel (IMHO). Simplifying the error message with ordinary, everyday language the user can actually write down with (gasp) pencil and paper is a much better approach than trying to impress people with how 1337 you are. /rant

Comment: Nothing New Here (Score 1) 141

by Prototerm (#40553707) Attached to: YouTube-MP3 Ripper Creator Takes On Google

When I was a teenager, I made copies of streaming audio all the time ... using a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a pair of alligator clips attached to the speakers of a table radio -- all to capture the latest "top 40" pop tunes in glorious monophonic sound. That was back in the sixties, and the music world didn't come to an end because I didn't spend money I didn't have in the first place, nor did the huge multinational music companies crash and burn in bankruptcy. However, later on, when I *did* have money to spend I collected thousands of record albums and 45's. Even later, I re-purchased everything on CD's.

Tell me again why this sort of recording activity is *costing* companies money? Seems to me that it's more of an investment in the future.

How can you work when the system's so crowded?