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Comment: Cars aren't the most expensive element anymore ... (Score 1) 453

by Qbertino (#48445527) Attached to: In a Self-Driving Future, We May Not Even Want To Own Cars

In private powered transport, cars aren't the most expesive element anymore. Unjamed roads and especially parking space are. In Europe at least.

So, yes, if we'd all take a step back and turn on our brain, no one would want to own a car, they'd rather own the right to use a reservationable parking space. Cars would be used on-demand.As they are in the car-sharing offerings poping up all over Europe - even in Germany! German automotive manufacturers actually are scratching their heads, because there is a whole generation growing up in Germany just now that simply isn't interested in buying cars.

Our cities are absolutely packed with them. ... Germans spend 4.7 Billion man-hours per year in traffic jams.
So, yes, there are tons of insentives to move the burden of ownership somewhere else, away from the private owner.

Comment: Probably some truth to that ... (Score 1) 367

by Qbertino (#48445465) Attached to: Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

There's probably some truth to that.
Three possible explainations:

1) I could imagine that overall presence of higher education is more dense in Europe than in the US.

2) Right now, life in general probalby sucks more in the US than in central/western Europe, hence the need for more distraction.

3) The US is used to quick sensations in media due to their TV history. In Europe the viewing habits are more ... 'sophisticated' ... although they have degenerated massively since the 80ies. Even prime news today is unbearably stupid and dumbed-down compared to two decades ago.

Comment: Small? Specialize and get billing, taxes, ... (Score 1) 175

by Qbertino (#48442367) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

Small? Specialize and get billing, taxes, legal and ERP covered. Legal and taxes are other people, billing an ERP can be done with online tools like FreshBooks or small to midsized softwarepackages like Lexware.

What practices you need is up to you - especially if you code alone.
It also depends on the code you write. If it's just custom ABAP scripting for a handful of clients at a time, point and click testing and a few manually checked testpositions ought to be enough.
If you want to deliver software to a wide range of customers, perhaps even online, with demo-versions and stuff you *have* to have your pipeline standing, even and especially if you are alone. You want to be able to compile and deploy a hotfix wih a mouseclick.

Ask yourself: if the worst possible szenario happens with my software, will I be able to fix it inmediatel? If the answer is yes, with a few night-shifts and my leet Google searching skill I ought to manage somehow - that's OK. If the answer is no, compiling for XYZ takes days of time each time around - then you're doing it wrong and need to automate your process (more).

As for the business itself: Specialize in a field and a subset of that. There is no other way you can keep up with the big boys as a small shop. ERP, Web, Embedded, DB, etc. They all have their ups and downs and each have countless subcategories you can specialize in. Do it! Do not look left or right, unless you don't have any customers in the current field.

Good luck!

Comment: Re:How about we beta test on Venus? (Score 1) 361

You people talk about terraforming mars or venus as if that were so easy.

Newsflash: Mars and Venus are very far away. Like, I mean, enormously freaking huge distances.

It took rosetta 10 years to rendevous with a comet that's basically crossing through earths nearest neighborhood. And that was a satellite the size of a car. And it did not have to transport and sustain humans and their life-requirements.

Until significant advancemens in getting stuff to orbit, massive advancements in material and propulsion technology and massive advancements in synthesizing materials, food, air and water have come by, we're pretty much stuck on this planet. If these advancements don't come, then we're stuck here for ever. We might aswell learn to behave that way.

Bottom line:
If humanity is to dumb to stop itself from killing itself on this planet, it has nothing lost on some other planet. That's my opinion anyway.

Comment: What do you mean by "hackable"? (Score 1) 194

by Qbertino (#48436983) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?

If we're talking about the kind of hacks you'd normaly think of when thinking of cars that would probably be some 2-3 decade old ex-soviet military car. In a pinch you can repair those with a paperclip. Some of them also have awesome features. I've heard of a transporter that can deflate and inflate its tires... while driving! They used that feature to adjust the tires to the ground the transporter would pass over. More traction in snow and sand and stuff like that.

An old us-army jeep probably is pretty hackable aswell. As goes for dune-buggies and other kit-cars.

As for hackable electronics in cars - I'd rather add those myself.

Comment: Want one! (Score 1) 56

by Qbertino (#48418195) Attached to: Jolla Crowdfunds Its First Tablet

Awesome specs, looks good, cheap price. This is trés cool. I have been toying around with the idea of getting a Huawei or Asus Cheapo Tablet as a new one, but I think I'll wait until this ones out and take a look at it. Like the Jolla Phone too - but my HTC Desire HD is still holding up, so I'll pass for now.

Comment: Systemd appears to me like the Dolphin of init. (Score 1) 561

by Qbertino (#48417091) Attached to: Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

Systemd appears to me like the Dolphin of init. Dolphin had the clear mission: To be simple to use. They were willing to ditch the superiour Konqueror for it. OK, if for them one mission statement weighs enough to justify that, go right ahead. I think I'd still prefer Konqueror allthough I couldn't say if I'd be bothered to install it if presented with Dolphin as a default. Same with Systemd vs. init.

I personally am not sure if this thing turns out well. It all comes down to how good the systemd camp is at offering incentives to move to it and how well they develop. If the entire thing in the end turns out better than init and has less problems the bickering will stop. If not, Debian will switch back eventually and the systemd camp will be burnt for a long time.

Comment: What does *she* want to do? (Score 1) 107

by Qbertino (#48413587) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

Errrm, what does *she* want to do? Make a 3D thingie fly around and shoot hearts at ponies with it? Then Unity 3D is the way to go. Blender will be more useful to her aswell. There are courses for that. Does she want to draw cool graphics? That's easy: Processing. Does she want to build her own robot? Arduino. ... And so on.

Teaching her Eclipse sounds more like torture to me. But then again, maybe you have a fledgling business programmer here - who knows?

At the age of nine focussing on a neat useful interpreted PL probably is the best. Python, C# (Unity 3D) or Processing (Processing and Arduino) are good choices. JavaScript and Chromeexperiments if she's into stuff that comes out of the Intarweb.

I like the fact that your daughter is into this sort of thing. I wish the mother of mine had supported me more/not prevented me in trying to introduce my daughter to programming. All the best to both of you.

Comment: It *is* the next coming of C. (I'm not joking.) (Score 2) 133

by Qbertino (#48410545) Attached to: HTML5: It's Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile

My understanding is that it is still just HTML, but the way some people describe it, it sounds like the second coming of C.

It is the next coming of C.

The moment the portable devices became web capable - and the web back then already was where most people spent their time when computing - was when the iPhone was introduced. A full-blown non-sucking modern browser on a fully mobile pocket device that the entire world wanted. That was a first. And Steve Jobs said: No,it won't run flash or any other VM. Period.

This eventually killed Flash and pushed *everyone* in the rich client field back to Ajax, HTML and CSS. At the same time browsers became more performant, Google open sourced their acqired V8 engine and moved every thinkable app into the cloud.

FFW to today, 7 years Anno iPhone, and we have a bazillion online devices (classic Desktops, laptops, netbooks/ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones) with nothing but am HTML5 browser that runs JavaScript in common. Google will defend the(ir) web with all their might and they plan to bring the second half of humanity online - with the help of Huawei, Xiaoming and friends. And they're already doing it with a notable pace.
And the devices doing this are so powerfull, they'd run circles around an 80ies liquid nitro cooled Supercomputer. Hence rich clients in pure open standard web technologies is where *everything* that matters in utility and end-user computing today happens. That's a simple fact. Performance be damned, we have 4-8 cores running at 1.x Ghz on even the cheapest of mobile devices. So, yeah, every advancement in the field is a big deal. Web Components, for instance, are a huge step forward. (Google for "Polymer")

And why are web based rich client apps such a big deal, you ask?

From the top of my head:
No deployment, continuous integration, port 80 is always open, no fussing with customers inhouse IT, runs on everything that runs on electricity and has a screen with zero porting. And probably then some reasons.

(Sidenote: That's why we today even have tons of SCADA equipment that runs mission-critical stuff accesible to every highschool kid who can dig up the default password.)

Bottom line:
You got it just right: The web and HTML5 centric frontends actually are the next coming of C.

Comment: Good UI & UX is hard. Really hard. (Score 2) 103

Good UI & UX design is hard. Really hard. It's one thing doing a cleanroom design of UX, an entirely other doing it for real life and various screen-sizes - preferably responsive. It's like with the code itself. In dev it will run and work, but beware of post-deployment if you haven't tested your stuff in every possible situation. I did tons of this stuff with Flash back in the day, and even with Flashs superiour visual & direct manupilation workplace and solid cross-plattform compatilibilty it was hard. I remember doing the UI for a flash-based MMO at a gamepublisher some years ago. We worked for months just to get the pageflow of character configuration and setup right. Video-based UX testing with usergroups and all. We'd discuss how and why the rail of a slider would look like X and not like Y.
Now, with HTML5, CSS and JS and all the screen sizes and mouse vs. tough it's by orders of magnitude harder.

It does not get that much easyer when you go native with Android or iOS SDK. You're app and your workflow will always have something significant that a good UI designer would like to highlight or help out in being intuitively usable - without destroying the page- and workflow the user is used to with other applications. It's a really tough job and each and every time it's like jumping off a cliff and not knowing if the parachute will deploy.

I'm one of the rare cases that's actually reasonably good at both - I have various diplomas in art and design and 28 years of programming experience, but I honestly couldn't tell which is harder. Basically both require very hard work if you want to do it well. Good UI is also where shitty backends are exposed. If the backend can't deliver what the user needs, no UX in the world will fix it. A significant portion of the logic is having the computer do what the enduser needs, fast and efficient. If UX and backend development don't work together or one of them doesn't understand the needs of the other, it almost instantly shows in a project. That's the classic difference between Apple and MS, btw. Steve Jobs basically nailed it in this rare direct comparsion comment.

Bottom line: The apps shown in this rundown on lollypop are the best you can get with boilerplate UX. The article basically is right, good UX looks different.

Comment: No big deal. (Score 1) 276

by Qbertino (#48401057) Attached to: World's Youngest Microsoft Certificated Professional Is Five Years Old

I think the mold on the left yogurt in my fridge is an MCSE. ... Yeah, he was bored one afternoon.

Seriously though, if my kid were a computer prodigy, the last thing I would teach it is something proprietary with such a short half-life as MCP. Basic knowledge of a programming language and TCP/IP would've been much better for this kid at that age. What a waste of talent. ... Put him on the kernel team and Linus accept a commit by him - *that* would be news. :-)

I hope this wasn't some nutty dad driving his kid to do something so he could feel great about himself as a dad.

But maybe the kid is happy and loves his dad and dad loves him back. That's the most important think at that age - MCP or not.

My 2 cents.

Comment: TCP/IP Illustrated (Volumes 1-3), Seneca & Epi (Score 1) 223

by Qbertino (#48390935) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

You'll come back as a TCP/IP Expert - which can never hurt. That aside, I'd take some serious stoic philosophy with me too. Helps you tune into the mood you need if at sometime you're feeling down. Senecas "Letters of a Stoic" and everything from Epicurous is neat aswell.

Maybe you want to check out a little buddhist philosophy while you're at it, since you're in a place where that's the thing anyway.

Other than that, I'd try to find ways of coping with boredom and loss of meaning. Mingle with the locals and learn their traditions - perhaps a musical instrument or their local tales or tibetan buddhist literature. No need to be arrogant or pompous about things we nerds of the west care so much about.

Oh, almost forgot: Learn alpine mountaineering! You're in climbers paradise, stupid! If you get into climbing, you won't get bored and your computer-books will remain unread. Promise. Also there's a lot to geek out about on gear and climbing routes and all that kind of stuff. Ice climbing is a whole field in itself aswell. If that's not enough, take a camera and try to catch some lokal wildlife, if that's your thing. ... Seriously, the books on computing stuff should just be a fallback.

Have fun!

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"