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Comment Same old story that accompanies tech progress... (Score 1) 114

Another variation on the same story we get here every month or so. "Such-and-such is so complex now that the individual is no longer able to contribute anything truly new, as the stuff that one person can do on their own has already been done." That's the price of technological progress, people.

Sure, the exceptions jump out at us, as some of you are posting. But they jump out at us because they are the exceptions nowadays. As things progress we should expect that the serious front-line work will require more than one programmer.

Comment Be very very careful (Score 1) 87

Without knowledge of software engineering and the software world in general, there is a huge risk that the developers will in fact BS the leader 1) because he won't be able to judge the people he is hiring, and 2) he won't be able to filter their advice appropriately once he's hired them.. One hiring mistake, and any startup is finished.

He needs to very carefully hire someone with experience both in software and hiring developers, and then trust that person. It's the only way he'll have a fighting chance. I've seen the alternative happen too many times...

Comment Re:Driving still increasing (Score 1) 285

It's easier and more practical to abandon rural gravel roads that only lead to a few farm houses, which simply become long driveways leading to those houses. So the homeowner isn't trying to drive down them at 70 mph in a sports car, but rather at 20mph in a pickup truck, hence no worries about breaking an axle. The houses slowly fall in value, but are lived in until that generation is gone. The land remains in use as farm land. Problem solved. Happens near where I live, and it's no big deal, simply the evolution of transportation.

Comment Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 1) 1089

You have indeed conflated pro-business Republicanism with rank-and-file conservatism, as I suspected.

A quick glance at a graph of federal spending as a percent of GDP for the last 100 years shows an upward trend no one can miss. Conservatives (but not necessarily Republicans) would like to see that return to pre-FDR levels, but hold little hope of it happening. And I think they would see government stay entirely out of the same-sex marriage debate--taking neither side, but leaving that up to the States or the people. (Seems like I've read that phrase someplace...)

(But I'm glad to hear you opposed Obamacare.)

Comment Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 2) 1089

Politics are dominated by two parties (which are both marching further to the far-right end of the spectrum in a global sense)

Surely you're not calling our slide into a police state, with government consuming an ever-growing percentage of GDP a move to the right. Obamacare was move to the right??

Unless you've redefined the political spectrum recently, these are all moves that liberals I know still applaud. I can hear them clapping. (They're not actually happy, but they never were. Obamacare wasn't far enough for them!)

There are a few actual conservatives left in this country, and they'd still like to see us shrink the size of government as a percent of GDP, reduce taxes, reduce the intrusion of government into our personal lives, and so on. We're getting farther from their goals, not closer. They've basically given up all hope for the US.

Perhaps you're confusing conservatives with Republicans. Repubs abandoned conservatism about a decade ago, leaving the conservatives I know with no one to (willingly) vote for.

Comment Shouldn't be hard to foil (Score 1) 220

With coding standards to follow, and tools that uniform-ify your code, it should be easier to anonymize it than with regular prose. And regular prose is apparently trivial to anonymize: see "Practical Attacks Against Authorship Recognition Techniques" by Michael Brennan and Rachel Greenstadt.

Comment The new literacy ought to be (Score 1) 212

the ability to think rationally and analytically. We live in a world full of people who think with their emotions, and can't reason more than one cause/effect level deep in anything. They are superstitious as a result, and make bad decisions constantly. A lot more good things would flow out of a more rational populace. It might start by turning off the damn television once in a while, too.

In fact, courses in practical reasoning ought to be part of every young person's curriculum all the way through high school and college. Not just a single course, but one per semester, because thinking clearly about things obviously doesn't come naturally to people.

Comment P not needed (Score 0) 127

With Microsoft's P language, Not Invented Here has clearly struck again. From their own documentation and examples, P doesn't support state nesting, which is the most powerful feature that UML statecharts have--and statecharts have had it since their inception (Harel, 1988). Skip P, and go for an open-source implementation of UML statecharts. Check out Boost's implementation, or this free one here: A Lightweight Implementation of UML Statecharts

Comment More engineering than art?? (Score 0) 212

If you think programming is far more engineering than art, then you must be in a highly structured environment, program for the DoD, etc. Out here in the real world, people around me code without a shred of design work or planning of any sort. They just sit down and start typing...whatever organically evolves is what happens. Code is created with no foresight at all. I wish it were more engineering than art, though. Sad to see all the effort wasted so often.

As actually practiced, it should be called a craft, rather than art or engineering. And most developers I watch are quite Amish.

Comment Re:As Simple As Possible, No Simpler (Score 0) 876

In all fairness, UML wasn't meant to express things like individual "for" loops. It's utility is at a much higher level. However, some of its formalisms, such as class diagrams and statecharts are very much one-to-one with actual code. (See this for an example.)

And if you need any more reasons to understand why graphical languages didn't make it, just consider the fact that most of the silly icons had a text window behind them where you could put specific text, even short scripts. Why was that needed if graphical programming was so complete? Just like CASE tools and object databases, graphical programming was just an attempt by vendors to shake some more money loose from unsuspecting clients.

Comment Arnold Toynbee had it 60 years ago. (Score 0) 926

If you're looking for a deeper explanation that goes beyond the "they're all pussies now" kind, read Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History. (Or read the D. C. Somervell's a lot shorter.) Toynbee was amazingly prescient, and if you adjust for a few factors, his cyclical view of history is rolling along as predicted for the U.S. and the West in general.

Where his view needs some adjustment is in two areas: Today, the largest nations can project their militaries anywhere on the globe at the push of a button. This alters how cultures behave at their boundaries. Now that our world is fully divvied up, borders don't shift like the tides. Secondly, with the internet and global media, ideas spread at light speed around the planet. So good ideas and bad alike spread very quickly. But America and the West are a visionless bunch to whom the rest of the world no longer looks for leadership. And we're clearly in decline.

Comment Re:Personalization (Score 0) 507

Sounds like you're saying that as our medical futures become more transparent, each of us is going to have to bear the burden individually for our own health. That sounds a lot like the rugged individualism and personal responsibility angle that everyone here has been bashing...

After all, the demand for health care is potentially infinite, whereas the amount of wealth we have is finite.

Comment Less violent now? (Score 0) 478

Really? You'd think that if you read Pinker's book on the decline of violence, but not if you re-examine his statistics. By examining only the worst events in a particular period, he provides a skewed view of the risk of death by violence. Much better to consider the probability of dying by all violent causes in a particular year/century. Given that some major atrocities in centuries past were exaggerated, it's likely that the 20th century is at least the second and possibly the most violent in the last 2K years. (And killing only gets more efficient with time and technology...)

Talent does what it can. Genius does what it must. You do what you get paid to do.