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Comment: Ahh... Pascal. (Score 4, Interesting) 346

by fahrbot-bot (#48899753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

My university actually taught/used Pascal in the classroom in the early/mid 1980s and I graded programs written in it. Kernighan's criticisms of Pascal on BSD are spot on - I know, I tried using it for a (more) serious project. The semester project for my Operating Systems class was to simulate an interactive operating system - in Pascal.

The system used for the class was the University's IBM 4381 mainframe running MUSIC ("McGill University System for Interactive Computing") and the version of Pascal had *lots* of libraries and features.

I was a undergraduate research assistant (working on an AI project, funded by NASA, in LISP and Prolog) and had an account on the VAX-785 running 4.3BSD and wanted to use *that* (on my schedule) instead of standing in line to use the IBM. My instructor said "sure", but I'd have to port the support libraries he wrote for the assignment. Unfortunately, the version of Pascal on BSD was just the basic language - as specified in the Language Definition book by Jensen and Wirth. Porting the code from the "richer" version of Pascal on the IBM/MUSIC to the "basic" version on VAX/BSD was simply not possible.

So, I asked my instructor if I could, instead, do the semester project in C. He said "sure", but, again, I'd have to port his libraries from Pascal to C. Now... I didn't know C at the time, but porting his code to it and doing my semester project in it was a great introduction - and I passed the class. All-in-all, this experience help me out immensely with my CS career as I do a LOT of cross-platform work in many programming languages - though not Pascal :-)

Comment: Re:Serious question (Score 1) 106

by fahrbot-bot (#48899425) Attached to: Twitter Moves To Curb Instagram Links

How many people here actually use Twitter?

I created an account years ago, never posted anything, and I don't read anything off of twitter... I'm 26.

I'm 51 and created (parked) an account in 2012 and have one tweet posted from April 2014 -- after they changed the site style/layout and started nagging people with a sample "first tweet" for those w/o any tweets. It says: "Shut up Twitter; I'll tweet when I want to."

Sometimes, I post a tweet or two, but usually delete them after a while once any current relevance passes. Ya, that's not how you're suppose to use it, but so what. If you're not promoting something and/or yourself, Twitter is just a pointless waste of time - like all the rest of the social media sites.

Comment: Re:Insurance (Score 3, Insightful) 181

Don't forget about barbers, hairdressers, and interior decorators. Just imagine what would happen to our civilization if people could cut hair, or pick out curtains, without a license from the government.

Or police! We could have unlicensed/untrained police shooting or choking unarmed men, women and children ... oh wait... I guess, they'd technically be called militia, vigilantes or terrorists, so that would probably be okay then.

Comment: Re:Insurance (Score 1) 181

Why, exactly, should Uber drivers get to drive passengers using regular non-commercial drivers' insurance?

I once drove some of my daughter's friends home from a birthday party. Should I have had to have a commercial driver's license?

You probably need something else because, apparently, you can't read. The OP said "insurance" and you replied with "license"; OP said "drive people around for a living" (many over time) and you replied with "I once drove some of my daughter's friends home" (many one time). Seriously, OP offered *one* short paragraph and you fucked up reading comprehension 101.

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 661

by fahrbot-bot (#48871717) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

I don't live anywhere near a sea, and furthermore, we have long, long brutal winters here. And there's lot of people living in places like me. So.. tell me again why I would fight against rising temperatures?

So rising seas won't *directly* affect you, but, even in your area, as temperatures rise, there are probably plants and animals that could die off, local aquifers may dry up (due to changes in rainfall patterns)... In addition, unless you live in a completely self-contained/sustaining bubble, you get things from other places in the country/world... Ultimately, eventually, we're all in this together.

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 661

by fahrbot-bot (#48870139) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

I wonder how they will feel about their lifestyles in 100 years, when they have to keep buying longer and longer snorkels just to get around in the non-tangible seawater surrounding their homes?

Do you have any idea what a snorkel is, or how it works? Have you ever used a snorkel? If you can't understand the physics of snorkel use, how can you possibly make the judgement that anthropogenic warming is real?

Ya, I know how a snorkel works and the physics involved - it was a joke, lighten up.

Comment: Re:More proof (Score 1) 661

by fahrbot-bot (#48869497) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

the consensus view of the American public is that they do not want to sacrifice their lifestyles for the environment, especially in this case since the benefits are non-tangible

I wonder how they will feel about their lifestyles in 100 years, when they have to keep buying longer and longer snorkels just to get around in the non-tangible seawater surrounding their homes? The U.S. Navy, however, is taking climate change seriously: U.S. Navy bracing for climate change

Comment: Re:Misleading summary as usual (Score 1) 321

Leigh Lewis, superintendent of the Triad district, told me that if a student refuses to cooperate, the district could presumably press criminal charges.

I'm hard pressed to see how the *school district* could press charges as they are not a party to, or harmed by, the alleged accusations.

Comment: Re:Can anyone think of (Score 1) 203

by fahrbot-bot (#48868237) Attached to: Healthcare.gov Sends Personal Data To Over a Dozen Tracking Websites

benefited enough people

It has hurt enough people that it is not suicide.

Citation seriously needed - from a reputable source. On balance, if you investigate this honestly, I suspect you'll find that the ACA has helped more than it has hurt. Sure, some people have had to pay higher premiums, but it is almost always for better coverage, and many people complaining didn't have any insurance, but now have coverage - especially people needing Medicaid. Ironically, people in Red states have benefited more than those in Blue states.

Here's a citation: Is the Affordable Care Act Working?, from 10/2014, quoting:

  1. Has the percentage of uninsured people been reduced?
    Answer: Yes, the number of uninsured has fallen significantly.
  2. Has insurance under the law been affordable?
    Answer: For many, yes, but not for all.
  3. Did the Affordable Care Act improve health outcomes?
    Answer: Data remains sparse except for one group, the young.
  4. Will the online exchanges work better this year than last?
    Answer: Most experts expect they will, but they will be tested by new challenges.
  5. Has the health care industry been helped or hurt by the law?
    Answer: The law mostly helped, by providing new paying patients and insurance customers.
  6. How has the expansion of Medicaid fared?
    Answer: Twenty-three states have opposed expansion, though several of them are reconsidering.
  7. Has the law contributed to a slowdown in health care spending?
    Answer: Perhaps, but mainly around the edges.

Comment: Re:So...don't be disposable. (Score 3, Interesting) 263

by fahrbot-bot (#48868009) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

This sounds a little insensitive, but, don't be disposable. You're a Windows admin. Great. So are a million other people. If you're a Windows admin who also knows some programming, there are maybe 250,000 people with your skill set. If you add in that you know some Linux, maybe 100,000 people.

What I'm saying is, if you want to be safer than the average employee, don't be average. Enhance your skill set.

Everyone is disposable. All companies care about is $$$.

Here's my experience, working for a *large* corporation... I have 25+ years (14 at my current company) as a Unix system programmer and system administrator with commensurate Linux and Windows experience - I've worked on just about every type of system from PCs to Cray super-computers. I am currently the lead developer of a three-person team on a cross-platform utility (Solaris,RedHat,Ubuntu,Windows) of about 300k lines of code in about 10 programming languages - 75% of which is my code - that is heavily used by our customers.

I was almost laid off last summer, simply because I was one of the most expensive people in my category of people on the contract. Even pleadings from my two managers to the higher ups that laying me off was inappropriate had no effect. The *only* thing that changed their minds was the realization that I also worked on *another* contract onto which some of my work could be (properly) charged.

Comment: Train vs. hire (Score 1) 263

by fahrbot-bot (#48867769) Attached to: The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees

They're deciding that it's faster and cheaper to chuck people overboard and find new ones than it is to retrain them. The economics of cutting rather than training may seem simple, but it's a more complex calculation than most people believe.

I would tend to agree that the calculation is more complex, but err on the side of retraining current employees. Learning a new skill, especially within your field of study, isn't often that difficult, but, for a new employee, learning the company's policies, procedures and well as documentation, development, build and delivery (etc) processes and the company culture is much more complex and, I would argue, more important. A wiz-bang employee that's not well integrated into the environment is a bigger problem than someone simply needing to learn another programming language. All that assumes, of course, that companies actually care, which, in my experience, large companies don't. "Employees are our most valuable asset" - my ass.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker

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