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Comment: Yes, but not for the sake of playing (Score 1) 58

by msobkow (#49753613) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Video games got me into computers because I decided I wanted to program a version of "Space Invaders" for the TRS-80 Model I, Level I.

I wrote an intro screen in BASIC, but it was too slow.

So I taught myself machine code and POKE'd it into memory, and got the intro screen working.

I never did finish writing the game, but I learned a lot about the basics of programming and how computers worked.

From that 14-year-old project, I was hooked; taking Computer Science in University became an obvious choice.

Comment: Re:I'm extremely surprised... (Score 1) 100

by garcia (#49753167) Attached to: The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police

In Minnesota, the public sector is mandated by statute to release information to the public and be setup in a way which facilitates this action:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/sta...

13.03 ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT DATA.
Subdivision 1.Public data. All government data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by a government entity shall be public unless classified by statute, or temporary classification pursuant to section 13.06, or federal law, as nonpublic or protected nonpublic, or with respect to data on individuals, as private or confidential. The responsible authority in every government entity shall keep records containing government data in such an arrangement and condition as to make them easily accessible for convenient use. Photographic, photostatic, microphotographic, or microfilmed records shall be considered as accessible for convenient use regardless of the size of such records.

I have used this exact quoted statute many-a-time to force local government agencies in Minnesota to not only provide me information, which they were usually willing to do, but for free or very low cost.

I made a request once to a public transit agency who told me it would be several hundred dollars to do. I told them if they had followed the statute to make the data readily accessible by the public, it wouldn't require the work they were trying to charge me to do. Their legal counsel informed them I was indeed correct and I got it for the cost of the media.

Maybe there is a similar statute in this case which drove the decision?

Comment: Re:I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 251

by msobkow (#49750317) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

Well, one thing is for sure. Sitting on your arse for three years won't teach you ANYTHING of value for your next job.

Research the market. Pick something. With three years, pick several things. Try. Learn. Do.

The world isn't going to just hand you a career on a silver platter -- you have to take responsibility for your own life and develop your own skills. You have to make decisions, and take responsibility for them.

Comment: Re:I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 251

by msobkow (#49750271) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

People who are confident in their own ability and who are willing to learn from their mistakes appreciate honesty.

It's only the pathetic little whining "everyone gets a trophy" kids who think it's "mean" or "cruel" to tell someone the truth.

If you want a trophy for mediocrity, go back to elementary school. This is the real world. You can fail; you WILL fail; and how you DEAL with failure is more a measure of your professionalism than your "'733T skillz."

Comment: Java is just a tool like any other language (Score 3, Informative) 299

by msobkow (#49750165) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

No language is inherently good or evil in and of itself (save for PHP, which is evil incarnate.)

It is simply a tool for expressing logic. A means of structuring data.

Some are elegant for certain classes of problems, some are abused to fit problem sets they aren't suited for.

The sole benefit of Java to me is it's portability for core logic, even though I know that once you're dealing with user interfaces and heavy duty multi-threading, there are "write once, test everywhere" problems with the language.

Java isn't even predictable on my Linux box. It randomly crashes for no apparent reason while running code that has run cleanly thousands upon thousands of times in the past. Yet after years and years of successful runs of my pet project (http://msscodefactory.sourceforge.net/), I had Java 7 on Ubuntu crash a couple weeks ago during a run. The compiler itself crashes on a regular basis; several times per week.

As to why all the Java articles lately? Oracle's "Java World" conference is coming up, so it's time to beat the drums, sacrifice the sheep, and burn the entrails on the altar of the language. The high priests are out in droves preaching the gospel.

Comment: Re:What does that even mean (Score 1) 90

Don't count on never, this isn't kerbal space program, I don't think that would garauntee you a stable orbit. Your jump would likely be vertical, so you would see the top of the building move forward, as if you slowed down.

Pretending it is kerbal and there are no other bodies with gravity or uneven gravity etc.... your periapse would be slightly higher where you jumped, and slightly lower at the other side, where you would have a higher speed.

With the right parameters for roof size and starting height, you might have a chance at landing back on the roof after a massive 1/2 rotation jump..... I mean, its already a ridiculous structure right? Why not make it wide too?

What is a kilometer or two between thought experimenters?

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