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

by SlideRuleGuy (#46206949) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

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

by SlideRuleGuy (#45390887) Attached to: Where Does America's Fear Come From?

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

by SlideRuleGuy (#45279427) Attached to: How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System

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

by SlideRuleGuy (#44755669) Attached to: Schneier: We Need To Relearn How To Accept Risk

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...)

Comment: No, it's about the fun. (Score 0) 479

by SlideRuleGuy (#44434181) Attached to: Remember the Computer Science Past Or Be Condemned To Repeat It?

You've missed it. Things get re-invented every generation because doing so is where the fun is. Simply tying together primitives written by somebody else sucks all the fun out of the whole process. No matter that they'd be done 10x as soon. Programming is supposed to be fun, and nothing, not even common sense, is going to remove that fun.

I've known so many programmers that had working components at their fingertips that could do everything they needed, but wanted to do it themselves so the code would be *theirs*, and not somebody else's.

Comment: Re:Not acceptable? (Score 0) 1501

by SlideRuleGuy (#44296329) Attached to: Kernel Dev Tells Linus Torvalds To Stop Using Abusive Language

Slavery works. Human experimentation works. Spying on every citizen in the country works.

This. If your only guide is simple expediency, then we are all in a heap of trouble because you can justify absolutely anything with enough selfishness. There's a very thin layer of civility separating us from the rest of the animals. It took us a long time to develop it. Some of us think it's a good thing that we've risen above the rest of animals. Let's not intentionally scrape that layer off.

Or to approach this from a less abstract angle: psychological studies show no correlation between how assertive someone is and how correct they are about what they think. Being able to win a verbal argument says nothing about one's technical abilities. No correlation at all. So for all of you out there with a strong resemblance to the north end of a southbound horse, you got nothing on the rest of us but your ability to be abusive.

Comment: Past wisdom (Score 0) 297

by SlideRuleGuy (#43535913) Attached to: Overconfidence: Why You Suck At Making Development Time Estimates
"No software project plan ever survives contact with reality." - Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, paraphrased.

"It's not the known things that get you, or the known unknowns, it's the unknown unknowns." -- heavily paraphrased from Donald Rumsfeld

Just a little wisdom from a related field...although many days it feels like they're the same thing...

Comment: Re:FORTH (Score 1) 704

by SlideRuleGuy (#42714809) Attached to: What Early Software Was Influential Enough To Deserve Acclaim?

Oh not again. When will we let that language die??!!??

I programmed in it for 6 years right out of college because the employer was desperate for anyone who didn't value their career too highly. I was only saved from it because I had C experience in school. It might have been a good scripting language if only people thought in RPN, but alas, we don't. One of the worst languages I've ever used, right down there with T-SQL and 4-D.

Comment: Re:Article summary: "I am a Mac fanboi" (Score 1) 704

by SlideRuleGuy (#42711641) Attached to: What Early Software Was Influential Enough To Deserve Acclaim?

It's not an accident that "computer science" looks forward. It's because people like to program, and a significant part of the enjoyment of programming is doing everything from scratch. I've met people who will turn their noses up at existing code in favor of writing everything from scratch, because "that's where the fun is".

So yes, we too hate studying the history of old applications because then we'd be forced to admit that it has been done before, and probably better than we could have done it. And then where would the fun be?

NIH ("not invented here") is a huge part of why software engineering is still stuck in the cottage industry stage...

Comment: Re:Stupid buzz words (Score 1) 265

by SlideRuleGuy (#42531691) Attached to: Does All of Science Really Move In 'Paradigm Shifts'?

Kuhn's focus is pretty outdated now. Until someone comes along and really exposes the effects of grants and funding, industry versus gov't research, publish-or-perish, groupthink, tenure, hard versus soft sciences, science foundations, career/income pressures on scientists, and so on, they won't fully understand science in postmodern times.

Just read /. comments from scientists over the years. They confirm the huge effect these things have on the progress of science.

Comment: Re:You don't (Score 1) 683

Been around long enough to know that the "best" code is what your superiors expect you to produce at that particular moment. It may need to be one or more of the following: {fast (in running speed), quick to produce, high quality in terms of having few bugs, easy to understand, easy to extend, compliant with a particular standard or standards (coding, security, etc.)}, and probably a dozen more such factors. You cannot optimize very many of these at the same time.

What really stinks is that if your boss or co-workers are out to get you, software is so subjective that they can always fault you for one of the above factors that you didn't optimize for.

Oh, and you'll never get people to understand the above, to be able to use it in your own defense...

Comment: Re:Hold your head high ! (Score 1) 684

by SlideRuleGuy (#42040537) Attached to: Young Students Hiding Academic Talent To Avoid Bullying

Studies (don't have time to look up the Scientific American article at the moment; it was entitled "Violent Pride") show that bullies are most often narcissists. In other words, they bully because their self-esteem is actually pathologically high. They believe themselves to be above the rules, and so can abuse whoever they choose. It's not an inferiority complex that they suffer from.

The traditional story of bullies being low self-esteem sufferers is a myth, and needs to be dispelled as quickly as possible, because it results in all the wrong sorts of solutions.

+ - Virus-free file transfer via USB stick? 2

Submitted by SlideRuleGuy
SlideRuleGuy (987445) writes "With malware jumping into systems from USB sticks, I am looking for a way to ensure that my sticks only carry what I put onto them. This is different from mere USB drive encryption, where malware could simply be encrypted alongside my good files, and hop to another machine upon decryption. To achieve this goal, it would seem to suffice to fill all (and I do mean “all”) unused space with a pattern, and then write an encrypted hash of the entire stick in a known location on the stick. The driver on the receiving end would read the entire stick, and verify the hash. I am aware that USB sticks can mark blocks as “bad”, thus leaving room for a virus to hide. For this reason, the driver would have to be specific to a particular stick brand/model, so that it would know the exact size. Once any blocks were marked “bad”, the stick would be destroyed. Does anyone know of such a driver/app, or is anyone working on such a thing? Seems like it shouldn’t be too hard (how many times have we heard that?), and ought to be in big demand these days."

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid