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Comment Re:Software Engineering as unskilled labor (Score 1) 141

But programming is simple! A child can do it! Why, just the other day my little nephew Marvin showed me a program that makes a box move around on the screen why going "boop! boop! boop!". Then little Cindy showed me the website she made full of pony pictures! With kittens!

Comment Re:Is the NYT Racist? (Score 1) 227

I know, I know. The Roman process of decimation meant "to reduce by 1 tenth". But the modern-day meaning of the word is almost invariably "to reduce TO 1 tenth".

You can whine all you like, but the English language is mutable. "Nice" flip-flops back and forth from being an insult to being a compliment. Political Correctness has done much the same to make word "special" an insult. It happens. Get over it. For the purposes of this discussion there's no ambiguity. Now where's the popcorn?

Comment Re:How gracefully does it fail? (Score 1) 146

Capacitors discharge rapidly when shorted, that can make them more hazardous than batteries in certain situations.

Also less forgiving of sloppy loads.

An ideal storage capacitor would have some sort of valve mechanism where you could store fast, but limit the discharge rate.

Comment Re:Explosions are not that easy (Score 5, Funny) 146

Do you have any comprehension of the amount of energy stored in a tank of gasoline?

Do you have any comprehension of the amount of energy stored in a 3-oz bottle of distilled water?. E=mc^2. If I didn't slip a decimal, the blast radius should run to approximately 6 miles.

Comment Re:Well, now we know she h8s the US Constitution (Score 1) 488

Tab-card machines are digital computers. They operate based on the presence or absence of holes in the cards.

The simplest of the tab-card machines was the sorter. You "programmed" it by turning a screw that moved a wire-brush sensor to one of the 80 column positions, then ran a deck of cards through it. There were 12 pockets and when a hole was detected at the corresponding column/row, a deflector would send the card into the corresponding pocket.

IBM also made more sophisticated unit-record devices, including some with primitive arithmetic-logic units. Those devices were programmed using wires jacked into plugboards that were imprinted with markings that indicated which holes wired what data source or destination. All digital signals again.

Comment Re:This about project management, not security (Score 1) 62

Settle down and let the drugs wear off. You're dripping foam on the carpet.

If there's any "whipped-up" indignation I have, it's because the whole Federal process is so infamously turgid that it doesn't support democratic participation and shoulders aside the Main Street businessman in favor of specialized Big Businesses. Basically, if you want to deal with Uncle Sam, you have to dedicate a significant amount of resources specifically to dealing with Uncle Sam. Not to mention a fair amount of expertise in Federal-specific processes and interactions. A pet Congresscritter or 2 won't hurt either.

In IT, depending on where you get your stats, how bad things have to come short to be defined as "fail", and how you define "big", somewhere between two-thirds and 90% of all IT projects fail. That's irrespective of whether the customer is the New York Times, the State of California or the Federal Government. So the idea that simply being a Big Business contracting to the Feds magically makes for success carries no weight with me. The Big Business vendors who have repeatedly failed at some of the previously-mentioned project sites carry Big names like IBM, Oracle and SAP.

Comment Re:This about project management, not security (Score 1) 62

There are valid reasons for an entity with lots of experience working for the government to win contracts like this. "Bob's corner firewall shop, viruses killed ded" isn't going to win any 1B multi department government contracts & would fail miserably if they tried.

And this is a good thing?

Comment Re: This about project management, not security (Score 1) 62

From what I've seen, the bulk of the "scientific-technological elite" are working 80-100 hour weeks in fear of losing their soon-to-be-offshored jobs and have no time to meddle with the running of the country.

Unless you want to count people like Mark Zuckerberg as "technological elite".

Comment Re:Raytheon IS known for software (Score 1) 62

I was told that apparently at one time, if the taxpayers paid for it, the taxpayers owned it (subject to military restrictions). And that Prime Computer was founded on exploiting that fact - taking some NASA software, designing hardware to run it more optimally, and making a product line out of it.

Likewise the RBase DBMS, which was supposedly developed by Boeing under government contract.

True or not, those were products that date from before the days when certain political powers pushed to privatize everything and universities weren't out to monetize everything they did.

Comment Re:Hacking 'Round Encryptions (Score -1, Troll) 91

Around here, the people who style themselves "Libertarians" are twerps who want to be able to drive their BMW's down well-maintained public highways while screaming "Tax is Theft!"

And they're registered as Republicans, not Libertarians.

Republicans are demonstrably just as much into government control as Democrats. The only difference being in what they want the government controlling. Just because Reagan said something once doesn't make the Republican Party a Libertarian party. Especially since by today's uncompromising Republican standards, Reagan judged without his name attached would be condemned as a flaming Liberal.

"Ask not what A Group of Employees can do for you. But ask what can All Employees do for A Group of Employees." -- Mike Dennison