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Comment: Re:Alternate Link (Score 1) 190

by fractoid (#48922813) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Great Software Developer?
I absolutely agree that curiosity (along with a willingness to actually RTFM) go a long way to making one indispensable in a team. However, that brings its own risks with it: If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted. How do you balance the benefits to your career (in terms of increased productivity, reputation etc) against the risks (stagnation, either because they can't manage without you, or because they realise how productive you are and aren't prepared to lose your utility)?

Comment: Re:You nerds need to get over yourselves (Score 4, Insightful) 199

by fractoid (#48911995) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

Programming is absurdly simple. Back in the 80's, you couldn't throw a stone without hitting a kid who wrote games for his home micro as a hobby.

There were plenty of kids who knew how to write "10 PRINT FART; 20 GOTO 10" or who typed in listings from magazines, and I agree that programming at that level is probably accessible to most people - but you can't equate that level of programming with modern software development.

You've probably noticed this yourself, but there are a LOT of really stupid professional developers.

I wouldn't phrase it as "really stupid professional developers". There are certainly a lot of incompetent professional developers, and they're part of what's formed my opinion about some people not being mentally equipped for software development. Do you honestly believe that such a proportion of people who make their living developing software are that bad at it purely because they're lazy, apathetic or unmotivated?

For the obligatory car analogy, most people are probably capable of learning to swap to a spare tyre, change the oil, or top up the radiator (learning some simple scripting). Most people are probably not capable of learning to design high-flow intake manifolds or variable valve timing mechanisms (useful commercial software development).

Comment: Re:You nerds need to get over yourselves (Score 5, Insightful) 199

by fractoid (#48911251) Attached to: Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy
Interestingly, it's not usually 'nerds' who push the idea that software development is something that everyone is even capable of, much less that it's something that most people should try and learn. It generally seems to be people who have grasped the basic idea that "programming means giving the computer instructions" and got excited about it, but never went beyond writing a few loops and some if() statements.

Anyone who's taught programming at a university level will know that even among intelligent students who want to learn, there are a large minority who (while they have many other valuable skills) are just not mentally wired to think in the way needed to develop software. It's a huge waste to try and push these people into doing something that they're not equipped for, instead of focusing on talents that they do have.

Comment: Re:Why would you ever need more than the kernel? (Score 1) 43

by fractoid (#48862437) Attached to: Canonical Launches Internet-of-Things Version of Ubuntu Core
In this case your lawnmower shouldn't have anything more electrically complicated than a magnet and a coil for the spark plug. Maybe if you want to get really fancy, an EFI computer or brushless DC motor controller. But once your lawnmower is doing laps of your back yard automatically, and you want to connect to it from work via your house WiFi to check whether you left the pool cover on or not, it's gonna have an operating system.

Comment: Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (Score 2) 388

by fractoid (#48809529) Attached to: UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them
You raise an important difference between computing teachers and other school teachers. Your friend can legitimately teach the same course every year, because the (say) mathematics syllabus only marginally changes from year to year. A computer teacher teaching the same course for 10 years would be teaching far out-of-date software, languages etc.

Comment: Re:Hypersonic weapons lead to nuclear war ? (Score 1) 290

by fractoid (#48710799) Attached to: War Tech the US, Russia, China and India All Want: Hypersonic Weapons
Yeah, they would like to remind you how they were killed by some tribal faction trying to make the U.S. look bad.

Seriously, that whole region is a mess of different factions who all want to fuck each other up and take over. The U.S. just upset the current top dog when they went in in 2001, and now are copping the blame for what's been happening since the Jews ran away from Pharaoh.

Comment: Re:Liability? (Score 1) 90

by fractoid (#48659331) Attached to: Google Unveils New Self-Driving Car Prototype
That's a good way to look at it. You might even achieve these goals by having all autonomous vehicles be part of a 'union'. You pay fees to the union to own an autonomous vehicle, the union provides insurance in case of accidents where the vehicle is at-fault, and provides software updates for the vehicle.

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.