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Comment: Re:The title says it all. (Score 1) 2219 2219

Also, it's worth noting that this response from timothy was written only after a fairly serious effort to replace slashdot.org with something better (as noted in both our sigs). The suits are thinking something along the lines of "We're going to lose to a competitor! Do something!" and decided that we'd trust timothy more than some PR flak. Of course, the fact that they'd think that indicates to me that they do not know their community - timothy is actually one of the less-respected "editors".

Comment: Re:There's no need for a new bill ... (Score 4, Insightful) 535 535

What the ISPs really want is all the benefits of being a common carrier without any of the responsibilities. And that's exactly what they got with the Net Neutrality ruling. Given that AT&T is in the running for the top campaign donor in the country, it's unlikely that will change anytime soon (Seriously, it would be easier to list the politicians not on the take from AT&T).

Comment: Re:It's incredibly frustrating... (Score 4, Insightful) 535 535

And then I won't want my hard earned money going to poor people like I was.

Also, if the government didn't force me to give any of my money to those people, then I'd be rich.

(Seriously, a lot of people think that this is the only effect of government programs designed to help poor people, even when they know people who are benefiting from those programs.)

Comment: Re:And A Rebuttal (Score 1) 360 360

There's another argument here as well: If you've made a really successful game, but the copyright is going to run out before you retire, you'll be more motivated to make a second successful game because you know your gravy train is going to dry up. And yes, that works for all kinds of copyrighted things: For example, many one-hit wonders happily call it quits because that's good enough, rather than trying to write more hits.

Comment: Better Austin Powers reference (Score 1) 202 202

Gentlemen, phase three. We place a giant "laser" on the moon. Let me demonstrate. ... The laser is powerful enough to destroy every city on the planet at will. We'll turn the moon into what I like to call a "Death Star". ... Since my "Death Star" laser was invented by the noted Cambridge physicist, Dr. Parsons. I thought we'd name it in his honor - the Alan Parsons Project.

Comment: Re:Developers are like dentists (Score 1) 308 308

That's not entirely true though: There is such a thing as objectively bad code. Bad code takes forever to run, has security holes a mile wide, is extremely verbose and repetitive, makes unwarranted and undocumented assumptions about how the universe interacts with the code, and of course has no automated tests whatsoever.

Now, when you discover this, the right approach is not to rewrite the whole thing, but instead to isolate and fix one small part of the problem. Fixing that one small part of the problem usually goes like this:
1. Create a complete (with 100% case coverage) and passing unit test suite for the one small piece. If there's a bug in the program that makes correct unit tests fail, first verify that it is in fact a bug in the program and not your tests, then make the smallest possible change to make the tests pass.
2. Write the new and better version that satisfies all those tests.
3. Put the new version in place in a test environment, and manually poke at it for a while to ensure that everything that relies on it works properly.
4. Then, and only then, make it live.

Comment: Re:Make a real assesment (Score 1) 308 308

If you're a contractor who's just started, there's also a polite way to bow out or reset their plans: "After evaluating the situation more closely than I was able to during contract negotiations, this is not a task I am capable of completing to your expectations. I have put together this estimate of what it would take to do what you asked for. Would you like me to continue with the goal of meeting this new estimate, or would you like to find another contractor that might be able to better suit your needs?"

Comment: Re:TWO 21st century public domain distribution mod (Score 1) 24 24

Doing A does not preclude doing B. In fact, they'd probably enjoy it if someone volunteered to do B.

My guess as to why they did A is:
1. There's the "ooh, shiny" effect that makes donors to the project know that their money went to what the grant applications said it was for.
2. The people who put it together probably believe (with good reason) that they might have expertise in fitting the maps together, and the goal of the project was more to make use of that expertise to make things more coherent than it was to simply put the maps online.
3. The maps are almost definitely available in their library to those who want them. They may even already have simple digital scans of the book available since it's public domain.

Comment: Re:No, never! (Score 2) 321 321

Well, you're right that it would be bad for you personally: Supply and demand means that scarcity of qualified engineers raises the price (a.k.a. your income) of engineering services, whereas a surplus of qualified engineers lowers the price.

That doesn't mean that all immigrants are bad for you: Immigrants engaged in any other profession increase economic activity overall, which increases demand for all sorts of things, which may well increase demand for engineers.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

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