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Comment pros and cons (Score 1) 85

There are definite advantages to a solo-programmer project.

For starters, you can take shortcuts you couldn't take in a team, because there is a reason that you have all these coding styles and guidelines and templates and levels of abstraction and frameworks and all that other stuff, and the reason is "you are not the only person working on this project".

Well, if you are a lot of these constraints disappear. I love to write code with a low amount of abstraction, because yes, I understand its advantages, but if I need to hop through 20 levels of abstraction before I find the place where the actual (potentially buggy) calculation is being done, that's just a chore. In a team, where other people re-use your code, you want modular.

There are projects you can do alone. In fact, a lot of applications can perfectly well be written by one person with enough time. I've got probably a million lines of code in various projects that are all one-man projects or started out that way.

And frameworks make your job easier not more difficult. There is so much stuff in them that you don't have to re-invent or write yourself. I wrote one complex web-app using pure PHP and I don't want to ever do that again. With Symfony2 (my choice ATM) or whatever other framework you like, you can have a basic app running in one day.

What I find to be the problem more and more is not that you need more programmers. But that you need designers and graphics artists and UX experts to make a competitive software, application, website, etc. today.

Back in C64 times, you could draw a couple sprites yourself, even if you were not an artist. Yeah, they would not look as great, but it was good enough. Today, peoples standards are higher and while you can make a 12x21 pixel that looks similar to what a real artist might make, you will not do something that comes even close at 128x128.

So in summary: Absolutely, you can code a reasonably complex application with one programmer. Aside from a few edge cases it is really hard to create the whole application with everything as one person. Though in parts you can simply buy what you can't make yourself. Icons are not a problem to get for free or for money, for example.

Comment Re:Does any one care? (Score 4, Interesting) 281

Yes, because this data set gives us interesting insights into so many topics. From figuring out what your chances of actually meeting a woman on such sites, to demographical analysis (how does the data set in the AM database vary from the average demographics? How can we explain the difference? Self-reporting bias (i.e. presenting yourself better than you are), of course, but maybe there is more?

Blackmailing these people really is just skiming the surface for easy-to-catch fish. If you dig deep into such a dataset, who knows what you can find?

Are their profile texts included? I'm sure you can do so many interesting linguistical analysis if you have both the texts and the demographic data. I know this has been done in the past on other dating sites for research projects, but here you have an even more specific set. We can measure deception in written language - do these profiles show above-average signs of deception, or are these people who deceive their spouses honest to their potential online partners?

Comment Re:Really? (Score 5, Funny) 281

Depends on the body mass of these people, which thankfully are included in the sample (well, at least their self-reported body mass, but we have good studies showing the statistical discrepancies, so we can extrapolate).

If we assume that 4 people can comfortably fuck on a king-size bed, and for simplicity assume such a bed to be 2x2 m then a football field 6400 m^2 (american football) oder 7140 m^2 (european soccer) is the equivalent of 1600-1785 orgies. Let's leave a little space inbetween for walking, etc. then we have 1500 women and 4500 men on such a football field.

The analysis says 12,000 women, so that's 8 football fields. Since that includes only 36,000 men, the remaining ca. 32 mio. need to fit in the stands, meaning 4 mio. per stadium. The largest stadium in the world is, interestingly, in North Korea and it fits 150,000.

So, by flawless math and logic, we can deduce that a lot of those male profiles are either fake as well, or gay (which means we need to add a couple stadiums with same-sex orgies).

There, put it into football fields for you. Happy?

Comment Re:Updates (Score 1) 268

I can do it myself, in which case I may screw up my vehicle.

Which is basically saying that you can't do it yourself. Which is good. If you don't know enough about recoding a car computer, then you don't know enough to make sure your recoding doesn't break something important that only shows up when you're going 150 mph.

Comment Re:Judging by the story so far... (Score 1) 349

Times change.

When these morals were created, the reality was that you'd get married to someone your parents selected, usually for economic (lower classes) or political (nobility) reasons. You would marry that person sometimes without seing them even once before the wedding. And you were expected to keep that marriage intact, because through that marriage your family would get the (whatever reasons there were for the marriage in the first place).

However, the reality was also that people understood marriage as such an institution. They looked for love outside the marriage. A lot of kings had official mistresses. Even more had semi-official ones. I dare say that if one didn't have even one known mistress, people probably suspected that he's gay.

Same was true on other social levels, just not so blatantly (not everyone can afford to be so open about it). We have enough poems and songs that make it quite clear that people then were not so different from us today.

Women were another topic, because their infidelity was more serious - if your son is going to inherit everything, it's kind of important that he really is your son. Not so important how many other sons you have somewhere else. In fact, might not be a bad idea to have a few in reserve.

Nothing is so simple when it comes to us humans. That our marriage partner is also our soulmate was a happy coincidence for most of history, and only recently has become more or less expected.

Comment Other: Dating Sites Economy (Score 1) 349

As I see it, the primary outcome will be the implosion of the dating sites market.

We all suspected that they are 90% men. Now we know that's true, and more data analysis will clear up the picture more (I'm still skeptical of the first results, as they strike me way too low even all things considered. Maybe they added that last_read field later and old accounts never updated it or something?).

Other sites will now feel the pressure. So far they could point to some database statistics and say "we have x% women, for real". Now people will say "AM said the same".

We know that there are real women on real dating sites on the real Internet really meeting with real men in the real world. I'm pretty sure most of us have at least one case of a couple that met online somewhere in their social circles.

But now the serious sites will have even higher pressure to prove that they are not fakes, and the scam sites will have even higher pressure to scam better. There will be some casualties.

Laws? Nah. Nobody will put forward a law to protect adulterers, not in the US. People would point to the 10 commandments and ask for his head.

Financial? I'm pretty sure there are some people in the dump who have since divorced or for some other reason don't fear any social fallout and will sue AM. But does it matter, in the big picture? Nah.

Emotional? Probably there will be some marriages breaking now, but frankly speaking, they were already broken. At the same time, and people will hate me for saying it, there is some good evidence that such traumatic betrayl can actually improve relationships. You know, instead of hiding shit and growing more and more distant, now it's on the table and it's make or break. I'm not making this up, I just read it from psychologists in this field.

Security? You've got to be kidding. Nothing here is new, from an IT Security perspective. Maybe some companies will look at it and say "that shouldn't happen to us", but as soon as they realize that security is more than hiring a consultant for a week to tell you what you already know, it will get buried in the usual pile of things-that-IT-should-really-do-really-soon-but-it-shouldn't-cost-anything.

Comment Re:Very sad - but let's get legislation in place N (Score 1) 705

AM is actually a good example.

With the data analysis coming out now, it becomes clear that not the fact they couldn't keep customer data secret will damage them, but the fact that the data reveals their shady business strategy (for example that almost all the women profiles are fakes or inactives).

Many companies have skeletons like that in the closet. You think Facebook or Twitter user numbers represent actual, active users? Of course not. If the true numbers were reliably exposed, their customers (advertisers) would not be willing to pay prices based on the inflated numbers anymore.

Comment Re:commentsubjectsaredumb (Score 1) 311

There is enough to do.

There is not enough willingness to pay for it. Look at what artists make. No matter if they are musicians, painters, writers, actors or anything else. 1% of them makes 99% of the money, the rest would get a real job if a) there were real jobs for people with artistic talents and b) they were not driven by passion instead of greed.

Look at the jobs that require humans instead of workers. Teachers, nurses, policemen. Some of the worst paid jobs if you put it in relation to what is required of them.

The problem is that our entire economic system is stuck in the industrial age. People who produce tangible objects are paid well, and people who own the means to production earn well. In IT we have the one exceptional field where knowledge workers earn pretty good. Everywhere else, if what you make is not tangible, it doesn't earn you as much as it should.

There is enough to do. I could easily give 10 people work just from the things that I have in my head that I'd like to see done. Unfortunately, I'm not a billionaire, or I would. Instead I try to do them by myself, in addition to working for money.

I personally cannot wait for the day someone makes this brilliant breakthrough that replaces all the jobs that we all know can and should be done by machines. It will be ugly for a few years, but it will force us as a society to re-evaluate which kinds of activities we consider worthy paying for, and how to pay for them.

Comment shortsighted vision (Score 2) 311

from TFA:

We may be a reckless and hedonistic species, but weâ(TM)re not going to replace ourselves into extinction. Thatâ(TM)s just silly. Someone still has to design robots, train them, fix them, and streamline their processes.

Firstly, human being do a lot of silly things. Saying something is silly means absolutely nothing on the axis of "likely to happen".

Secondly, I see nothing that prevents robots in principle from designing, training or fixing other robots. In fact, we already have most of the components for such things in place.

What robots can't do, at this time, is to decide about purpose. They can do things, and even figure out better ways of doing them by themselves, and very soon they will be able to decide independently what to do in order to reach a given goal. But the goal-giving is still human.

But, I don't think that's a god-given. Where do our goals from? They're basically just what's bubbling up from this sea of desires, interests and good old instincts. The ultimate goal is a question as old as mankind, and as silly. We don't have a goal, really. What we consider goals and purposes are just higher-level to-do items, and a sufficiently complex computer program can come up with equivalent things, in principle.

So in summary, we very much may replace ourselves into extinction. And on some level, we even need to do it. Our biological machine is as primitive and flawed as it is beautiful and brilliant. The same will be true for machines we design, but with self-replicating machines, the evolutionary cycles can be much faster in the same way that language and writing have dramatically increased the speed at which we humans develop compared to animals who only have genetics to pass on whatever they learnt.

Comment Re:When you define anything as "cheating"... (Score 1) 705

The lesson: Big sins usually start off as small ones

The real lesson: If you want to control people, make them feel guilty about something they have little conscious control over.

I cannot control my instincts, there are dozens of studies proving that many things like noticing something of interest in your environment happens unconsciously and your conscious mind is only informed after the fact and then makes up a story about how it was responsible.

I can control my actions. Standing up and hitting on that woman is something that does not happen unconsciously.

Any religion that makes me feel bad because of things not under my control, instead of for that which is mine to answer for, is evil.

We also try to remember that if God has forgiven us our sins against Him, then we also ought to be willing to forgive those who sin against us. Most marriages can be saved if both partners are willing to save it, and, sometimes, even if one of them is not.

That is true, and needs to reference to imaginary friends.

Comment Re:Trust is basic to civilisation (Score 1) 705

Judging from divorce rates, movies and other stories and general impression, I would say that at least half of all marriages already seem to be a lie held together by financial needs and the interest of providing the children a home.

Infidelity is just one of the many lies.

I understand your logic. I don't understand why we as society single out infidelity so much over all the other problems that a marriage can have.

No, of course I understand. Because we are still animals and our instincts tell us that all the other shit that's going on is not so important as long as we can be sure our offspring actually has our genes. Because for all the importance we attribute ourselves, we're just the train that our genes ride on their way to the next generation.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith