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Comment: There will always be stupid lawsuits (Score 1) 82

by Tony Isaac (#48901901) Attached to: Why We Still Can't Really Put Anything In the Public Domain

Some people will sue McDonalds when they spill hot coffee on themselves. Some people will sue a building owner when they trip and fall. Some people will sue to try to get back their IP that they clearly gave away to the public domain. We can't stop stupid people from being stupid.

Only a (stupid) lawyer could love a copyright loophole like the one described in the article. But we can't live in fear of these people. If somebody dedicates their work to the public domain, we have to trust that they will keep their word. Sometimes they don't, but sometimes people don't honor legally binding contracts, either.

Comment: Ecosystem (Score 1) 330

by Tony Isaac (#48901865) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

It's not the language, it's the ecosystem.

The fact is, I don't want to write every function and class from scratch. With JavaScript, C#, C++, or Java, there are tons of source code snips, classes, and libraries out there to do just about anything you could imagine doing on a computer. This lets me (mostly) focus on what I'm trying to get done, rather than focusing on how to make the tools to get my job done.

After using dozens of languages in my career, I'm pretty language-agnostic. Most of them can do the job. But the ones that make me the most productive, are the ones that are thriving on Stack Overflow and Code Project.

Comment: Belief? (Score 4, Insightful) 218

by Tony Isaac (#48826861) Attached to: Study: Belief That Some Fields Require "Brilliance" May Keep Women Out

The summary, and article, are predicated on the notion that it can't be true that certain occupations require inborn ability.

The truth is, people are born with certain talents and abilities. Some are good at art, some are good at science,, some are good at teaching. Why do we keep trying to force everyone to be equally good at everything?

Comment: There is no sure way to delete (Score 1) 177

by Tony Isaac (#48805153) Attached to: The Importance of Deleting Old Stuff

Once you type words into a computer, whether as email text or documents, you have to assume they will be retrievable by someone at any point in the future. Even if your company has automated retention policies, somebody could easily forward or save whatever you write, an email server somewhere could retain what you sent, a backup system could archive it.

Document retention policies are like school zero-tolerance rules. They are stupid to begin with, and they don't achieve the desired result.

Comment: Poker isn't really about math (Score 1) 340

by Tony Isaac (#48770807) Attached to: Researchers "Solve" Texas Hold'Em, Create Perfect Robotic Player

It's about psychology: guessing what your opponents hold, whether you can beat what you think they hold, or whether you can bluff them into folding.

I'm betting that a good human player could pretty quickly learn how this bot plays, and learn how to react to various scenarios to defeat it...regardless of the math.

Comment: Programming is NOT helped by isolation (Score 0) 294

Programming is a creative activity that is greatly enhanced by teams of programmers being present together in one place. Team members feed off each other, and perform far better than they could in isolation. Sure, programming CAN be done remotely, but not at the same level.

This is true not only at the individual level, but at the corporate level. There is a reason software companies congregate in Silicon Valley, why oil companies congregate in Houston, and entertainment companies congregate in Hollywood. The talent pools for these industries has been built up over a long period of time, and establishing similar talent pools elsewhere is no easy task.

It works both ways: a software company in Silicon Valley has a much easier time finding good programmers than software companies elsewhere, and programmers in Silicon Valley have a much easier time finding good jobs there, than elsewhere.

Comment: Why not use it, if it works? (Score 1) 303

by Tony Isaac (#48727583) Attached to: Anthropomorphism and Object Oriented Programming

If programming were strictly about efficiently providing instructions to computers, then anthropomorphism would be wasteful and counter-productive. Think about all of the code and processor cycles devoted to displaying data as windows, folders, icons, or just plain aesthetics. Those metaphors are highly wasteful of computer processing power.

But the point is, computers are, above all, a tool for people. So why not make them function in a way that is understandable to people? If anthropomorphism helps programmers understand the interconnections of complex software, then by all means, we should use it! If the metaphors break down, fix the metaphor, or use a different one. It's how we think. It's OK if it's not perfect, as long as it gets the job done.

Comment: Multifocal contact lenses (Score 1) 464

by Tony Isaac (#48723313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

I don't like progressive glasses, or any glasses for that matter. I love my multifocal contact lenses, Typical multifocals have five focal lengths, and you can't even see where each ring is, your eyes just naturally move to where the text is clear. There is no going back to glasses for me!

"This isn't brain surgery; it's just television." - David Letterman