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Comment Re:/. is getting more and more unbelievable !! (Score 5, Informative) 217

... a notoriously difficult language to learn and particularly, to speak

If the Chinese language is really such a notoriously difficult language to learn (and to speak) there ought to be no one using it anymore, right?

I dunno about you, but I do think /. has gone way too hyperbole !!

Actually, it is considered a notoriously difficult language for westerners to learn. I don't think that is hyperbole. "The hardest language and nearly impossible to learn" would be hyperbole. As someone who did learn Mandarin and spent a couple years in Asia speaking Mandarin with people on the streets pretty much all day every day, I can tell you it's about as different from English as you can get. Having also studied French, I can tell you it's much more difficult than picking up a Romance language. If you wanted to pick apart a section of the quoted text as inaccurate, it would be "particularly, to speak". You could pick apart the fact misplaced comma, or you could just look directly at his meaning. That implies that of the parts of learning the language, speaking is the most difficult. This couldn't be more wrong for Chinese. If you break language into four tasks: speaking, listening, reading and writing, then speaking is by far the easiest. Reading an writing in Chinese is something that most foreigners I met in Asia never even attempted.

Comment Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 839

Easy way to make a progressive consumption tax: Exclude groceries and rent/mortgage on primary housing. For poor people who pay nearly everything they have to those two categories, their effective tax rate is 0%. For those who make more (and therefore can afford to spend more on non-necessary items), their tax rate would effectively be higher.

Comment Nobody claims open source software has no flaws (Score 1) 265

Nobody claims there are no vulnerabilities in open source code. But I bet you'd see some interesting differences if you compare the time between when an open-source vulnerability is reported and when it is fixed to the same interval for a commercial, closed source alternative, you'd see that known vulnerabilities exist for a much shorter time in a well-supported open source product. No, I don't have any source to back that up, just my experience with how long known vulnerabilities go unpatched in Windows, Adobe products, etc.

Submission Ask Slashdot: What is the best country to live in? 1

chubs writes: I keep seeing news articles about the myriad ways the U.S government is trampling on peoples rights and privacy. I see similar stories about other countries as well. Stories of spying, censorship, intimidation and violations of basic human rights seem to be all over the world. Therefore, my question is this: if I were to want to live in a developed country that actually respects its citizens' rights, where would I go? Let's assume there are some basic criteria I would want a candidate to meet. First, they don't spy on their own citizens without suspecting them of committing a crime. Second, they allow free speech, from the right to publicly disagree with government actions down to the right to post a negative review about a restaurant. Third, government officials are elected and there is a fair degree of confidence that this is done by the people and not just paid for by the donors with the deepest pockets.

Comment Re:I am shocked! (Score 1) 144

There are plenty of people in the world who will maintain your vehicle for a reasonable price. Same with your computers.

Yes, and so long as you either 1) don't rely on your vehicle or 2) always schedule your vehicle's problems for times and locations where such a person is available, then relying on them is great. However, if you are driving on a freeway and have your car overheat in an area where there is no cellular coverage (I know there are a lot of urban dwellers here who will never visit a place without cell coverage, but I live in a more rural area where it's spotty at best), and you can't even locate the radiator cap, much less figure out how to add fluid, then you are SOL. Everyone should know how to do basic troubleshooting on anything that they rely on. If an item breaking down is just a minor inconvenience, then it's fine to rely on 9-5 service centers. However, if the item breaking down will seriously disrupt your life or business, then assuming it'll always just work when you need it and giving it no further thought is just reckless.

Comment Re:Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. (Score 1) 144

But the course is titled "an introduction to computer science". Why then does the curriculum of the course not introduce the students to any topics in computer science (except, of course, cryptography). We're not saying an introductory course should go in-depth about any topic in computer science, but it should introduce the field.

If I were a freshman and unsure if I should go into CS or CIT, I would want to take an introductory course for each and have them be sufficiently different for me to make an educated decision on which I would prefer.

Comment Re:I am shocked! (Score 1) 144

Not sure why that should be an apparent problem or concern. I fly frequently - yet I couldn't build or pilot a plane. I routinely benefit from medical care - yet I couldn't perform heart surgery. I drive a car nearly every day - yet I couldn't build or repair one myself.

Contrary to popular Slashdot-aspie opinion, understanding the deep internals of computers is not a requirement for daily life. A small degree of computer literacy is useful in most professional fields, but it is by no means a universal requirement or even universally worthwhile as a pursuit.

I don't need to know how to design a processor to browse the web, type a research paper, or play Angry Birds.

The parent doesn't claim everyone should know how to repair, design, or build their computing device, merely have a general grasp of how it's doing what it's doing. You do not own a plane. You probably don't need to worry about that. If you own a car, then yes, You really ought to know enough about how it works to perform routine maintenance (oil changes, etc). And if you don't have a general understanding of how your body works, there's probably a reason you have to go benefit from medical care so routinely (an apple a day keeps the doctor away, etc).

Comment This sounds really good, but it isn't (Score 2) 104

Allowing encryption on the ham bands sounds like a great idea, especially to slashdotters, because we all really love the idea of our government not being able to listen to everything we say. Unfortunately, there are a lot of governments who really don't like that idea. The only reason Ham operators in your favorite semi-free country of choice can talk to people in much less free parts of the world is because of the ban on encryption. If the UK allows encrypted signals over ham, and a UK ham operator can get signals hitting all over the world, you better believe the Iranian, Chinese, and all other heavy-handed governments that make no effort to hide their censorship efforts will start rounding up ham equipment because who knows what sort of ideas are streaming in from the UK.
Global encryption bans are the only thing allowing ham to operate in large portions of the country. All it takes is one country lifting that ban to spoil it for everyone. There are plenty of other avenues for those who want to encrypt their communications.

Comment Devote your time to logic (Score 2) 387

It's better to devote your time to improving your logic, design and architecture skills. If your career is tied to the continued usefulness of a given language, you're almost guaranteed to eventually find yourself unemployed or forever locked into a maintenance job that doesn't allow you to create anything new or interesting. Hardly what I'd call a "great job", which you seem to believe you must paint yourself into a corner to obtain.
Stop focusing on being a coder and start focusing on being a software developer. Learn about algorithm analysis and optimization. Learn about design patterns. Learn about software architecture. Apply those to whatever language the "great job" employer wants you to use.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A firefly is not a fly, but a beetle.