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Comment: Re:Affirmative Action (Score 1) 529

by Reziac (#49763981) Attached to: Harvard Hit With Racial Bias Complaint

Another consequence is that because it digs deeper in the pile, it tends to put a lot of affirmatively-actioned applicants in over their heads, who otherwise wouldn't have qualified academically. So it actually increases the failure rates among those minorities. And this is somehow seen as evidence that we need more affirmative action...

Comment: Re:Kaspersky is not special (Score 1) 275

I bought the Hacking Exposed books.... they were enlightening: Linux isn't really 'safer' than Windows; it just has a different set of vulnerable points (fewer of 'em, but penetrating deeper into the system and more likely to persist across versions). If you want true security, run Netware.

The patching system may be the real culprit, tho: It's been pointed out that when a Windows version becomes "unsupported" there's an abrupt cessation of newly-found vulnerabilities. Why? Because the bad guys discover the holes mostly (perhaps entirely) by reverse-engineering the official patches ... which with Windows, tend to be monofocused on a single bug, making the hole fairly easy to ID, and thereby paint a handy target on unpatched machines. Conversely linux updates are, to my grok, more likely to address a bunch of stuff at once, making any single hole harder to identify. Likewise, Windows service packs (which address a bunch of stuff at once) have not typically been followed by a rash of newly-found vulnerabilities.

Comment: Yes, but not for the sake of playing (Score 1) 168

by msobkow (#49753613) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Video games got me into computers because I decided I wanted to program a version of "Space Invaders" for the TRS-80 Model I, Level I.

I wrote an intro screen in BASIC, but it was too slow.

So I taught myself machine code and POKE'd it into memory, and got the intro screen working.

I never did finish writing the game, but I learned a lot about the basics of programming and how computers worked.

From that 14-year-old project, I was hooked; taking Computer Science in University became an obvious choice.

Comment: Re:I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 263

by msobkow (#49750317) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

Well, one thing is for sure. Sitting on your arse for three years won't teach you ANYTHING of value for your next job.

Research the market. Pick something. With three years, pick several things. Try. Learn. Do.

The world isn't going to just hand you a career on a silver platter -- you have to take responsibility for your own life and develop your own skills. You have to make decisions, and take responsibility for them.

Comment: Re:I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 263

by msobkow (#49750271) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

People who are confident in their own ability and who are willing to learn from their mistakes appreciate honesty.

It's only the pathetic little whining "everyone gets a trophy" kids who think it's "mean" or "cruel" to tell someone the truth.

If you want a trophy for mediocrity, go back to elementary school. This is the real world. You can fail; you WILL fail; and how you DEAL with failure is more a measure of your professionalism than your "'733T skillz."

Comment: Java is just a tool like any other language (Score 4, Interesting) 378

by msobkow (#49750165) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

No language is inherently good or evil in and of itself (save for PHP, which is evil incarnate.)

It is simply a tool for expressing logic. A means of structuring data.

Some are elegant for certain classes of problems, some are abused to fit problem sets they aren't suited for.

The sole benefit of Java to me is it's portability for core logic, even though I know that once you're dealing with user interfaces and heavy duty multi-threading, there are "write once, test everywhere" problems with the language.

Java isn't even predictable on my Linux box. It randomly crashes for no apparent reason while running code that has run cleanly thousands upon thousands of times in the past. Yet after years and years of successful runs of my pet project (, I had Java 7 on Ubuntu crash a couple weeks ago during a run. The compiler itself crashes on a regular basis; several times per week.

As to why all the Java articles lately? Oracle's "Java World" conference is coming up, so it's time to beat the drums, sacrifice the sheep, and burn the entrails on the altar of the language. The high priests are out in droves preaching the gospel.

E = MC ** 2 +- 3db