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/
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.
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.
Extra points for the Guru Meditation Error! C=
And suppose you don't have a smartphone?
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.
When I was a teenager, I made copies of streaming audio all the time
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.
(Obligatory reference to Carl Sagan)
Until the 1990's, the main route between Philadelphia and Atlantic City had at least two Roundabouts. The earliest time I remember seeing them was during the late 1950's as a passenger in my parent's car. So, this is not a new invention this side of the Pond, but an old one that has been tried and abandoned after decades of use. I had the opportunity to drive this route before they were both redesigned, and I can tell you that the design is only effective when traffic is very minimal. It's extremely hazardous with high traffic volume.
The State of New Jersey clearly knows this, as does any American driver who has experienced what I believe is a misguided attempt at a "Can't we all get along" society. If you've ever seen the original Death Race 2000 movie, or played the Carmageddon series of video games, then you know what the highways are like in the Philadelphia area.
Properly configured traffic lights are much preferred to the risk of physical harm the Roundabout represents.
Everybody's supposed to be using a touch-screen tablet or smartphone these days. Didn't you get the tweet? Why else do you think Gnome 3 and Unity were invented? Next up, Windows 8 with an enlarged version of the Win Phone 7 tile interface to replace that old computer-desktop GUI.
Blu-Ray is pretty much useless for me, and not just because of the high disk cost or DRM-created issues.
First, all the televisions in my house are standard definition, the largest being 32 inches diagonal, the remainder 12 inches. Without large high-def screens, there's just no point as up-converted DVD's look fine. I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat.
Second, my son and I watch all our TV/movies on our computer screens, in a tiny window while we're doing something else. Now, what is the advantage of Blu-Ray once again?
Blu-Ray was invented by electronic companies to get us to re-purchase all of our movies, nothing more. If that works, they'll re-release them again in 3D. If it doesn't work, they'll blame piracy for the failure.
I'm reminded of the Tram Cars that traverse the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J.. Anyone who has ever vacationed there knows well the sound of a woman calling out (via a recording) "Watch the Tram Car, please", since they've been doing that (with the same woman's voice) for at least 50 years now. Since the woman is still alive that recorded it all those years ago, it'd be a hoot to hear her voice coming out of every Prius that passes by.
I'm still on 2000, you insensitive clod! I'm planning to *upgrade* to XP in the next year or so. Provided my hardware can run it, that is. Everyone knows that XP is a resource hog.
But does each astronaut have to pay extra (say another 45 million per bag) for their carry-on luggage?
I've been a professional (and quite successful) programmer for nearly 30 years, and am not too shy to admit that my math skills are practically non-existent. However, that being said, an equally poor memory has polished my *logic* skills to the point where I'm quite adept at designing and understanding computer software (particularly those written in C and assembly language). Although these days, I have the most success (and fun) writing "impossible" SQL queries.
So, I suppose the lesson here is that you can't really generalize that math is vital for computer programmers. Unless you include *logic* as math (and I never have -- it's really a very different animal IMHO). After all, that's why God created computers in the first place, right? To do the math *for* us.