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Comment Re:Sue Blizzard (Score 1) 130

The original suit filed by blizzard was in the US, but they cannot file suit using that law as it is criminal. They would need to get a prosecutor to take it up on behalf of the state, and it is likely not a big enough deal to do that (nor should they, this is better handled as a civil suit.)

They may have some difficulty in Germany, as while I am not familiar with German law it is usually required that the issue the court will decide has taken place in that country. It is my understanding that all of this took place in the US (the original suit, the settlement, and the location of the copy of source code in question).

Comment Re:Well, not quite (Score 1) 130

As someone who was formerly a consultant I was asked to do illegal projects every once in a while (ranging from "go tap and monitor all telecommunications traffic to this address" to "build this sports betting site" to "crack this software" to "lie under oath as an expert" to "retrieve our competitors source code").

Vetting your clients and their projects is part of that line of work, and is the responsibility of the contractor or their organization. You fail to do this at your peril, it can and does end in jail time if you produce a program which breaks the law.

Now my position gives me final say in what our company produces as a product, and I regularly shoot down ideas which would not be legal (usually these are somewhat tame aggressive marketing schemes, but occasionally a product idea is blatantly criminal.)

Comment Re:A bot that flagrantly violated Blizzard's TOU (Score 1) 130

Normally I would agree, but in this case Blizzard owns the server they accessed.


The terms of use may or may not be enforceable, but they definitely constitute what would be considered authorized access to the server owned by Blizzard.

Comment Re:Sue Blizzard (Score 1) 130

While this is not really a big enough deal to interest the feds... not only is there a law, it is among the oldest of laws related to computers.


Violations of the following parts would likely make it past a grand jury (although it would not exactly be the most solid case.)
  18 U.S.C. 1030
(2) (c)
(5) (b)
(5) (c)

Comment Re: Sue Blizzard (Score 1) 130

I am not sure about Germany, perhaps that is why they are suing in a German court rather than US (the original suit was in CA.) In the US the contractor would own the code even if the contract specified a number of hours and not a specific deliverable unless:

1) It was a contribution to an existing work
2) The copyright was transferred after the software was written by specific assignment.

As long as the contractor wrote all of the code in question he likely owns the US copyright (which may or may not be the case, there are a lot of small software companies who do not employ a programmer and use contract work for everything.)

I am not sure it would even be a problem for blizzard US to have the source in the US... I would think they at least need to have it or a derived product in Germany before they could sue over the German copyright.

Comment Re: Catch the rounded ones early (Score 1) 300

I have had that happen a couple of times over my career (as a consultant though, not an employee.)

I always greatly increased my rate when returning, usually double what I was charging. If they cancelled work in a hostile manner and had to come crawling back a couple of weeks later I knew I had them over a barrel.

Comment Re:I disagree, all vectors of learning are good (Score 1) 300

The difference is that debate is "soft" while programming is "hard". I mean this in the sense that if you have an ok argument which is not perfect it can still be effective, but there is a lot less room for error in programming. Your code is accepted by the compiler (or interpreter) or it is not, and it works as intended or it does not.

Running into problems which are complex, have multiple solutions, and there is a definite working or not outcome is important to teach logic and attention to detail. How early this should be done is a question.

Comment Re:Not everyone becomes scientists... but (Score 1) 300

He said he thought it would be a good idea, not that they do. While we are at it, they should also teach basic cooking and nutrition. Far too many people cannot cook for themselves, and get tied to fast food and snacks (which has horrible consequences as you get into your 30s and later, especially when combined with a complete lack of exercise.)

A basic class on programming is useful not only to give a minor understanding as to what this machine can do, but also to teach logic and determine who has an aptitude for it.

Comment Re: Catch the rounded ones early (Score 1) 300

What are they going to do, fire you and make the problem worse? It makes my company extremely nervous when I am on vacation, but when I inform them I am going it is not a question.

If you are forbidden vacation time you need to take a long hard look at your realistic value, and if you think you are valuable you should grow a spine.

Comment Re:allowed a vacation? (Score 1) 300

I am with you there, "allowed" is for chumps.

I usually inform work I will be out six months in advance if I can, as I am aware of how disruptive it is (with exceptions for funerals and other events which cannot be anticipated.) I do not phrase that as a question, I am informing them of when I will not be there.

I never get bothered by my boss while on vacation unless it is of the utmost importance, although my employees feel more free than I would like to contact me anyway.

Comment Re:Power for businesses (Score 1) 103

It is no guarantee that he will have a successful career, but it is a good starting point. No college teaches you everything, once you get out and spend some time in the real world you will understand that better (or find another career, the wash out rate in industry for cs graduates is pretty high.) We are at full employment in the industry right now, so anybody who graduates with a degree or even takes a class in prison is probably getting a job of some sort. This is a boom and bust field though, and it tends to shed those who are not in the top third or so every once in a while.

Speed coding definitely has its place in industry, and the major architecture decisions are not made by people who just entered the field unless it is something stupid simple like a basic CMS. A lot of people who do not have a formal education miss things like algorithmic efficiency, but that alone is not even close to enough to optimize a program well, and I can refer them to a reference for what they would miss during a CS degree (which proceeds at such a slow pace that someone who will end up doing well can likely cover it in their free time in less than six months with a little motivation... they already know how to program after all.)

You probably only think you have worked on a big project, I would put the starting point on that at a few million lines of code. You do not have time to make a substantial contribution to a code base like that over a class or two.

Looking around the office at people with at least ten years in the field and who are not assigned disposable tasks (with commensurate pay), it is almost evenly split between those with a degree and and those who do not have one. The thing is that most with a degree do not have it in CS.

You learned maybe 20% of what you need to have a moderately successful career in school if you are really lucky, paid attention, and went to a top university. That does give you a leg up, but only against those with no real experience. I will almost always take someone with four years of paid work as a programmer over someone with a degree, and in my opinion the best degree to see on a programmer is in physics or another hard science anyway (for a pure programmer at least... I give some weight to a degree in the subject the programs I expect them to write will cover.)

In short: A new programmer needs a lot of training no matter if they have a degree or not, what I want to see is logic and the ability to learn from a written reference. I do not feel a CS degree is a good indicator of that, even if it should be.

Comment Re:Power for businesses (Score 1) 103

It does, however, mean he can code. This puts him above the majority of the college grad applicants I see.

Before someone comes in to explain that computer science is not about programming... that is fine, but I am not interested in hiring that kind of employee. I want people who can program, and when the interesting problems come up I would rather assign it to someone who has demonstrated practical ability, as they usually tend to be better with both current theory and novel solutions as well.

Nobody sane trusts a new programmer with important tasks anyway, and nobody really cares if or where you went to school when you are measuring experience in decades. Winning competitions helps to land your first job, which is also what a degree does.

In some ways the degree is more of a risk, as this is a field where being able to learn from a book is required if you are to be competent. If you needed someone to hold your hand and walk you through it you will be a poor programmer, where someone who picked up a book, studied on their own, and can now write a working program has already shown they can do this.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.