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Comment Re:It's just an issue that's gotten too polarized (Score 5, Insightful) 618

This is one of those things that SXSW doesn't want to burn a lot of calories on trying to wrangle. SXSW is still mostly focussed on music and movies. Nerds fighting over video game politics are not in the wheelhouse.

Put another way, you go to SXSW to have a great time. You do not go there because you want to fight over ideology. Nobody from the alt-rock music scene is making angry Tweets because the alt-country guys have a venue, nor vice versa. As far as SXSW is concerned, both factions are music fans who might find common ground, but otherwise are not interested in open warfare.

Activists on games, they're not so chill. (They'll become chill, after gaming has passed through the "Fonzie Barrier," where rebellion and fear mellow and become folksy humor.)

TL;DR: SXSW isn't interested in burning resources on your gay slapfight over who's right on the Internet.

Comment Re:"an act of social provocation"? (Score 1) 367

The funny (tragic) part is that the kind of people who tend to be strongly pro-gun, also tend to be strong against social programs that could prevent a great deal of the violence typically associated with guns.

Ain't that the truth...

It's not really the truth. If you doubt it, go to the neighborhoods in your city most thoroughly covered by "social programs."

I wouldn't go there unarmed, but that's up to you.

All of those violent neighborhoods would benefit from more of the law-abiding residents being armed to the teeth. The old saying goes "an armed society is a polite society," as nothing deters assholery so much as the sudden onset of room temperature-ness.

Comment $8 million robots (Score 1) 33

The last meaningful America's Cup races were held in the late '80s. Somebody squinted hard enough at the 12-meter rules and entered a multi-hull. Now it's just a matter of who spends the most money on a carbon fiber boat with a wing sail. This is a sailing race of fundamentally unseaworthy vessels. It would be literally be safer to cross an ocean in a dinghy than in one of these monstrosities.

Come September, do yourself a favor. Watch Deep Water on Netflix. Read any book on Ernest Shackleton. Read any Lin and Larry Pardey book. You'll finish all three before the America's Cup race is over, and you'll know more about sailing than watching every second of the America's Cup races.

Comment Re:OS X Upgrade Fear (Score 1) 362

I have a late 2008 15" MBP on Mountain Lion. It's fine.

Upgrade to the maximum RAM you are capable of. (A good practice at all times.) Mavericks will be a different beast, and it's well worth waiting to see on a 5+ year old machine, but you're probably fine.

Comment Re:We should build software like we build software (Score 1) 432

It's actually fairly common for construction projects to run into changes. While nobody requests to turn a shed into a skyscraper, large changes that touch many disciplines occur quite regularly.

The difference between AEC and programming projects is a long history and legal framework that deals with these changes. Projects are given a budget, and that budget is often paid out at milestones--design development, 95%, construction documents, etc. If the owner requests a substantial change, or if a change is required because of unknowable circumstances, the budget is either revised or the work is value-engineered to fit--and this reality is reflected in the contract signed at the beginning.

The problem with programming projects is that there are not very many really good programmers, and programming is not suited to throwing more warm bodies at the problem. AEC is plate spinning, while programming is juggling. You can hire a bunch of folks to help keep the plates spinning, but you can't just send in somebody to help juggle.

Comment Re:Comment-free programming (Score 1) 399

Auto-documentation is good stuff nowadays. Everything changes so much, and so quickly, that enforced documentation standards lead to better understanding of the underlying API or intent.

(As an example, why is PHP so popular? It's not because it's beautiful, or elegant. It is, however, very accessible, largely due to good documentation.)

Good comments--that are not prescriptive for whatever autodoc tool you use--are invaluable, but bad or marginal ones do more harm than good, especially in interpreted languages. You can condense 4 lines of comments into a 22-character, well-constructed function call/local variable and accomplish the same goal.

Comment Re:Just require activation (Score 1) 167

For extra points you could probably modify the registration process in all kinds of manners which would confound an automated and replay attacks. Chances are that for the average forum it would be sufficient that no script would even bother to defeat it and would simply move onto softer targets.

This is the answer, more or less. For small-to-middling forums, reducing spam is pretty easy. A few volunteers to delete the ones that get through suffices for the rest.

It breaks down to 1) keep out easy drive-by spammers, which means registration with a valid email address and some kind of barrier to detour the smarter bots (ReCaptcha and the like); 2) filter posts through Akismet or similar method; 3) have a community large enough and engaged enough to want to zero out spam posts.

The third step is the hardest, and has nothing to do with spam posts.

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. -- Cartoon caption