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Comment: arduino (Score 1) 608

by ecloud (#47424947) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

But on the flip side, it amazes me that some not-so-geeky people manage to make use of Arduinos. The whole package is a not-so-thick veneer over plain Atmel C programming, and yet it opened up the chance for many times more people than would have ever managed with the Atmel-provided IDE. And then there's Processing for an even less-geeky approach.

Web technology is just stupid... all the usual languages are bad ones, and even if you manage to find a cool language to develop in, you still have to use it to translate everything to XML and Javascript at the end. Web 3.0 will hopefully happen eventually. The language of the future should be declarative and imperative at the same time, extensible at the metalanguage level so that it can be adapted for every task on both client and server, and with elegant syntax too. I don't enjoy web programming as much as writing applications and frameworks, not because I couldn't learn enough about the technology but because it's kindof disgusting. And now it's hard to switch away from "the browser" to something else, because the replacement would have to be more compelling on so many levels that people would actually use it, and avoid getting corrupted too early with commercials and spying and malware and crap. It should be clean and elegant and there should be some kind of self-enforcing social contract that keeps it that way. I suppose that part is impossible though...

Comment: mitosis (Score 1) 324

by ecloud (#46326231) Attached to: Schneier: Break Up the NSA

Experience has shown that cell division is just a precursor to further growth.

How about we go back to having an unambiguously named War Department which is in recess whenever there is not war (which should be most of the time), and abolish the rest of the agencies that are determined to make enemies of everyone possible? Policing the people should be a matter for the states anyway.

Comment: We saw it coming (Score 5, Informative) 535

by ecloud (#44743673) Attached to: Official: Microsoft To Acquire Nokia Devices and Services Business

I worked at Nokia from 2011-2012. Everyone was saying then that the reason for Elop (who was otherwise so useless) was to devalue Nokia enough that it would be a good deal for Microsoft. And here we are... the other shoe drops. But there will be a third shoe when he becomes CEO of Microsoft. They deserve each other.

Comment: Re:Let's go retro... (Score 1) 590

by ecloud (#41822083) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Stands In the Way of a Truly Solar-Powered Airliner?

That's a good idea actually. It just takes a lot of space relative to the cargo it can carry, but the sky is big so what the heck. I suppose it's just not going to be fast enough for passenger transport.

Maybe if the envelope was e-ink, you could make it rise by turning it black (to absorb sun) and fall by turning it white. Or use a tether to raise and lower the cargo so that you don't have to completely land in order to "drop-ship" something. Not that it would work so well when the wind is blowing...

Comment: Re:Arizona (Score 1) 344

by ecloud (#37979414) Attached to: Setting the various household clocks ...

Yeah that was nice, I lived in Phoenix until this summer; but have now moved to Oslo, so I had to change the clock for the first time ever. The result is that the sun goes down even earlier, like 3:30 or something, and it's quite dark by 4:00 PM. But it will still get worse.

Funny how Russia decided to just do DST all year.

Comment: thanks and good luck (Score 1) 1521

by ecloud (#37212566) Attached to: Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda Resigns From Slashdot

Yeah it's been a while hasn't it... I think I've read at least 80% or so of the days since sometime in the 90's, it might've been 97; it's like smoking must be (not that I've tried), addictive and fills the awkward moments. You guys threw a cool party "get sloshed with slashdot" at a silicon valley Linux conference in 1999 I think (celebrating the Andover money I suppose); I and a friend from the local LUG rented a minivan and drove from Phoenix for that (well, for the conference, not only the party ;-). I hope the site is not going downhill in any way after your leaving. But I can appreciate the need to find some other meaning to life after such a long time in one gig. ;-) So good luck with whatever you end up doing next, and thanks for all the news and entertainment for all those years. As they say, time flies like arrows...

Comment: Re:Jury trials are fundamentally flawed (Score 1) 528

by ecloud (#36079080) Attached to: When it comes to jury service, I ...

On capital punishment... the trouble is what to replace it with. Prisons are also barbaric and uncivilized and a waste of life. Plus they cost more. Plus there is the tendency in the US to privatize them, which leads to perverse financial incentives to put more people in prison. So we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Yet no-one has figured out how to get rehab right. And if rehab were successful, it would be too much an invasion of a person's privacy; it must be, in order to be successful: to change the person's way of thinking (which led to the undesirable behavior), permanently. If it were successful then the application might be broadened, until a pretty large fraction of the population is in some kind of rehab/reprogramming, even more than to the extent that we have too many in prison now. As now, society could just continue to say that when you commit a felony you lose your rights, sorry about that. Then continue lowering the bar, until there are a lot more felons available for the service of the state (or the privatized institution).

So whatcha gonna do? I think first of all we should quit putting people in prison for not-so-serious reasons (number one being drug offenses) and find quicker, more effective punishments for all the fraud/theft type stuff (e.g. some sort of multiplicative restitution when possible, or a better education and a chance to start over in cases where that might work better). What good does it do for taxpayers to pay Madoff's room and board for life, even as badly as he screwed up? He still has a useful brain, and after being so thoroughly discredited as a financial guy, maybe could go on to do something completely different, if we let him. He could be put back in square one with only the most basic possessions, and allowed to start over in a different field.

In cases where murder 1 is 100% certain (which as you point out, is never) I don't in theory have a problem with capital punishment. It's no worse than the murder, and there are people with such twisted ways of thinking that they cannot live normal lives without doing things like that. But yeah, there are all the incorrect convictions to worry about. But I'm not sure that life in prison is better. Maybe if prison were more like a constrained but semi-normal life, were there aren't opportunities for further murder, and no opportunities to get raped by the other prisoners, but there are opportunities to do something good. I don't care about the perception of "justice" from outside as much as whether we have a solution which works in the best way, what to do with this human capital which has gone awry. We haven't been going towards that kind of goal at all. I think all the efforts we have made are bad enough, that you can't just say capital punishment is the one thing which is so barbaric that it ought to be banned.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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