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Comment: Google got in early and now is not as good. (Score 1) 205

by hessian (#46800775) Attached to: Google and Facebook: Unelected Superpowers?

When I first used Google, it was a competitive search engine. I kept using Altavista for a number of years; what ultimately made Google win out was the number of pages it indexed.

Now, I find Google's results are less than encouraging. Too much attention is paid to what products I might want, and how to bump pages like Wikipedia, YouTube and Google news to the top of search results. Google has its interests at heart before mine, and having my interests come first was what made Google a good product.

As it turns out, this is the path of monopoly that most companies, governments and social groups embark upon. They start out struggling, but when they gain power, they turn toward a defensive role which seeks to maintain position and instead of becoming more effective at their task, becoming more effective at widening margins.

The result is a less useful product and a stronger company. To justify itself, said company will begin various social engineering and charity products to convince all of us that they're good guys who are not evil. The reality is that their self-interest has eclipsed ours and now we are lambs to the slaughter.

Comment: We make a huge assumption here: (Score 1) 360

by hessian (#46800755) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

That means that we're looking at about three times more equality in Europe than the US.

That assumption is: "equality is good."

Universal good is a difficult concept by itself. Equality is a concept of mathematics, not the more complex nature of reality.

I'd rather have us pick good people and hand them lots of money so they can do even better things with their new power.

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely," you might say. To which I respond: only if you assume people are identical. Many can handle power, but not all.

Comment: Open Source gone corporate? (Score 1) 332

by hessian (#46800731) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

About $1 billion has been poured into linux development - that is the only reason why it has any quality. Same goes for mozilla and the other minority of good open source projects.

That, and that originally Linux had a semi-fascist leader in Linus Torvalds.

Having corporate pressure on Open Source has generally seemed to improve it, but there are other projects into which money was dumped and results were less than inspiring.

Take OpenOffice. If it were a workable piece of software, it would have dominated offices across the world already. And yet...

Comment: Needs strong leadership (Score 1) 332

by hessian (#46800713) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

A few open source projects have high code quality. Most are mediocre programmers with an attitude of "let me join, I can code" duty-abandonment. I've seen more projects fail not far from the start because of this attitude or the "everyone is an idiot, I'm doing it my way" which is more prevalent of perl/php/python/ruby script writers. Ever notice how there are more "frameworks" for doing things in another language than there are often actual projects to use said libraries? That's about the extent of C the framework writer knows.

Not trying to contradict your point, but I think this is where the need for leadership comes in: choosing what gets done and who does it. If open source could allocate its resources more efficiently, it could do a lot better.

This, by the way, is the exact same problem found in closed-source for-pay software projects. If leadership is sloppy, everyone does what they're comfortable doing, which is usually reinventing wheels and making the "fun" parts of the code work while the other parts are wobbly.

Take this malloc issue in OpenSSL. This was an entirely unnecessary thing for OpenSSL to do, but you see wheel-reinvention repeated in things like Perl.

Can you expand on this?

Comment: Great post on another topic. (Score 1) 332

by hessian (#46800673) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

I disagree. Most open source projects have high code quality. For one once you have your code available for everyone to see you make a greater effort to make something decent. For another most developers I know do not like having bugs on their code. I have known a couple of occasional open source projects with poor code quality which were led by artists or other non-programmers who do not know how to do better but the number of bugs is usually less than in equivalent closed source software I know of. Documentation can indeed be a problem as since the software is constantly evolving even if someone makes the effort to document it that documentation soon gets obsoleted and useless. The best examples in documentation are usually when it is tightly integrated into the code but this is usually only doable in frameworks and other technical products like that.

This whole thing is a non-sequitur. I am speaking of the methods required to make quality software, which involves leadership and the talent (to a degree) of the people involved. It was not a jeremiad against open source software or closed source software; it's an observation about the need they have in common for strong, clear leadership.

Comment: We've come a long way since the 1880s (Score 3, Interesting) 180

by hessian (#46799095) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

In the present day, the steam plant is located far from the occupants of the car, thus the cars are safer. But otherwise, it's the exact same technology. That's progress(tm)!

Come to think of it, have we made any really startling breakthrus since the internal combustion engine and computer itself? I mean, other than obvious stuff like improving those gadgets and linking them together.

Comment: Fear of Hitler? We should fear Stalin instead. (Score 1) 733

by hessian (#46799077) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Some things work best when lots of resources are focused on them, and having a strong executive can be very effective if the roles also come with accountability, which is of course where autocrats and many politicians fall down.

This is not a popular idea because it requires people to get over their personal drama and work together toward a goal, instead of finding reasons to justify doing whatever they personally want to do.

However, it's true. Strong leadership gets results. This country was much more "fascist" back in the days when we actually invented real stuff, instead of just moving bits around like a big game of "Puzzle."

Comment: Open Source is still software development (Score 3, Interesting) 332

by hessian (#46799071) Attached to: OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

Multiple eyes on code, security, these are things that are great about open source, except they aren't. This is a prime example of how bugs get through anyhow, major bugs. So it is now shown beyond a shadow of anyones doubt, open source is NOT superior in these respects.

Our modern malady is to look at methods, not histories.

Great software comes from great leadership and good-to-great talent. But mostly, it involves someone having a good idea and following it through.

Sometimes, that's a single programmer (Bill Atkinson). Most commonly, it's a group that needs a leader.

The quality of that leader then determines the quality of the product. But both industry and open source find this idea terrifying.

Industry would prefer to avoid this and promote exchangeable, replaceable cogs to the position of program/project manager. These people tend to be aggressive and thoughtless and produce gunk software.

Open source would prefer to avoid it because the big secret in open source is that people do what they want to do, not what needs doing. This is why products usually have the "fun, interesting parts" done but lag behind in the stuff no one finds thrilling, including finishing the boring parts of the code, debugging, documentation, etc.

Leadership is essential. The difference is that in open source, you can't fire people, so you can't tell them what to do.

Comment: Disagreed (Score 1) 391

The *only* reason he's in Russia is *we* trapped him there.

There are more sanctuary countries than Russia. Also, he opted to take the full unencrypted archive with him.

All of this was drama to cover up his desire to release the files to Russia. Now he's on TV, obviously repeating a Putin script.

He's Kim Philby the second and nothing more.

Comment: Skynet target mode (Score 1) 121

by hessian (#46796117) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

When Google finally reveals its true name, Skynet, this is the technology that will allow its T-1000s to exterminate most of humanity.

But don't worry, they'll be sure to take an instagram of your death and post it to your Google+ livestream so your friends and family can mourn.

(There will also be ads for bereavement-related products. Neither Google nor Skynet are monopolies, honest.)

Comment: The problem with Political Correctness (Score 2) 375

by hessian (#46795779) Attached to: Beer Price Crisis On the Horizon

I get the whole general protection of the average citizen from crimes, but we really need to shrink the reach and scope of these bastards.

That's the reason for political correctness: to expand the scope of government past immediate risks to ideological risks. It's a power grab.

The correct way to deal with this is not to be anti-politically correct, but to stop being politically correct. That deprives government of its justification for its new powers.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas