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Comment: Re:Nope! (Score 5, Insightful) 364 364

Is there any other way for a Middle Eastern country to earn our respect, other than to be able to nuke us?

Ironically, Iran is the Middle Country most likely to deserve our respect for things other than having nuclear capabilities. When you look beyond the demented ravings of some of their past leaders, they are on a significantly higher level than their neighbours in many respects. As far as I now, they do actually have a somewhat functional democracy, a rather good education system etc. I have always felt they have deserved better than the press they have tended to get since Khomeiny toppled the puppet shah; they are not saints, by any means, but neither are they devils incarnate. They could be our friends in the longer term, unlike for example IS.

Comment: Re:It's the non-engineers. (Score 1) 125 125

Thus encapsulating much of the hubris and disdain in the comments. Managing, like engineering, is about figuring out how a system works and solving problems to het it to work like you wanted.

Are you not displaying exactly that hubris and disdain here, which you criticise? You may have heard what I said, but you didn't listen. Most managers are simply managers: they eaderly lick the spittle off the faces of their superiors and do as they are told without really knowing all that much about things. Like you they don't listen to the people they manage, which is why a Dilbert-like situation arises, where engineers do what they know is right, if they care, and don't if they don't. The pointy-haired boss thinks he has figured out "how a system works and is solving problems to get it to work like he wants", to quote your own words.

There is a saying about engineers that I think illustrates the difference between them and managers: "Discussing with an engineer is like mud-wrestling with a pig. After a while, you realise that the pig enjoys it." A manager discusses simply to win the argument and get his will, whereas engineers discuss because they enjoy the mental exercise. To them a discussion with a fellow engineer is a win-win situation (sorry for using a buzzword) - even if they lose the argument, they gain insight. There may be managers who genuinely think like engineers, but they are few and far between, and they tend to be leaders, not merely managers.

Comment: Re:It's the non-engineers. (Score 1) 125 125

A very thoughtful answer, which they will promptly ignore.

Having actually read some of the article, I notice that they confuse management with leadership. Any idiot can management - managers wouldn't be able to otherwise - but leadership is harder. Perhaps it is best expressed (accidentally) by an appalling manager I once had: "Managing engineers is like herding cats". What he meant was simply that he found it impossible; but without realizing it, he also showed that he hadn't understood leaderhip.

To the typical manager tries to do, is herding people like they were sheep; theis may work if your staffs are disenageged or simply don't have their own opinion about things. Cats, of course, DO have their own opinion, just like engineers, and will do what they want (just like engineers) - you have to LEAD a cat. A leader shows the way by going first, and engineers (as well as cats) follow because they think it is worthwhile. The problem facing most managers is that they can't lead engineers, because they themselves don't have the necessary insight; in that situation, you either become a poor manager who tries the sheep farming approach and fails, or a good manager, who understands that his job is to act as the barrier against the crap that comes from the rest of the organisation, so his engineers can get on with the important things in life.

All in all, I don't think a real engineer will see management as a step up, except in terms of pay, but many engineers can become good leaders in the real sense.

Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1081 1081

But, if you change, "spouse and spouse" to "a group of spouses", then how do you change "upon death of a spouse, the remaining spouse shall inherit 100% of communal property before probate"? As in, you die, and your three widows each inherit 100%? That's 300%. Where do you get two more identical houses?

Leaving to one side all the emotional bluster that accompanies this subject, I think it is a very interesting, intellectual challenge. One thought that springs to mind is that a group marriage would be similar to a limited company, or possibly a cooperative, and we already have legal experience with that sort of construct. I imagine the romance and intimacy you can find in a 1-1 relationship might be somewhat sparse in such a 'group marriage', but then I've always been a rather old fashioned sort of person. Other cultures provide examples of both polygyny and polyandry, so it isn't unknown.

Comment: Re: How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1081 1081

I haven't read the article, so I may be totally off here; but isn't it about couples? If you are not engaged in a relatioship comparable to marriage, how is it even relevant to talk about equal right? Usually, when the talk is about equal rights for same sex couples, it is about the right to be legally married, so that they have the same sort of status in case of death, divource and so on.

Comment: Tools and architecture (Score 1) 296 296

You mention 'C/C++', and I think you need to realize that the two don't really mix well; in my experience, you go with one or the other, simply. True, you can use C style practices in C++, but then what's the point of using a C++ compiler?

I think there are many, excellent reasons to choose C++ for a project, but perhaps not the ones you list. Things like control over memory allocation, cross-platform and networking may not in theselves be compelling reasons for choosing C++, as they can be handled easily enough in C. Cross-platform and networking is all about following the POSIX standard, really, and getting away from the Windows toolkit. That and separating the presentation layer from the business layer(s). This is perfectly possible in pure C - I have done it many times.

The real reason for using C++ is that it supports design patterns well, IMO. Templates and template libraries like Boost are really about that; and design patterns are about adopting an architecture that is well thought through - they are formalized best practices, in a way.

Comment: Re:The problem is that landfills are too cheap (Score 1) 371 371

I don't think so - the real problem is that we produce too much waste, simply. Things are designed to break after a shortish while, or wrapped excessively, or both. Look back at history: only a century ago, most things were expected to last, possibly for generations; but now we are conditioned to think that things like fashion matter, and that it is normal when things just break or stop working. The truth, however, is that the only reason why we produce such obscene amounts of crap, is the idea that our economy must grow, no matter what consequences.

Recycling is wrong - it is the wrong end of the problem, simply.

Comment: Makes no difference (Score 1) 163 163

This is just a marketing stunt, really. Look at strawberry jam, for example - 'No artificial colours' doesn't mean 'All the red in this jar comes from strawberries', it means 'We used beetroot juice' and so on. And of course, 'natural' isn't the same as good either - strychnine and morphine are very natural substances. And 'No added sugar' mostly just means 'We used concentrated something to increase the sugar contect "naturally"'.

But really, breakfast products are no more than cakes and sweet desserts; most yoghurt is nothing more than slightly sour custard. Apparently the only breakfast cereal that is actually healthy, is oatmeal.

Comment: Simplicity (Score 1) 342 342

Albert Einstein once said: 'Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler'. I think that sums up the most important quality a good developer must have. It is very tempting to try to use every known feature of a programming language, and even in a simple language, the result is not pretty - C++ is far from simple, so you can imagine how ugly it can become.

That said, to master a technology means that you are able to use the difficult features with reasonable ease, when the need arises. That includes all the reviled features in C++, such as templates and meta-programming; there is probably nothing in the language that is simply superfluous, and learning how these features are used is a good idea (and an important part of that is knowing when not to use them).

Comment: Will it be realized? (Score 1) 163 163

The company already mulls expanding its production principle to other, lucrative wild animal trades such as the claws of tigers and lions. Pembient is however a young company â" for all their ingenuity, will their ambitions to take on such a colossal black market be realized?

Are you crazy? Of course it will; the people who slaughter endangered animals like this aren't in it to provide their esteemed customers with a genuine article - they just want the money. They will jump at the opportunity to make a fast profit by cheating. Why endanger youself by poaching if you can just mix up some gunk in a printer?

Comment: Re:If there are patent issues (Score 1) 355 355

You just shouldn't bother. It's not worth the risk.

Good summary, but to elaborate a bit:

- Mono is not quite .NET, so incompatible, and with Microsoft's history of making changes that break compatibility, mono is not likely to ever catch up.

- .NET applications are so often not well designed, in my experience. I suspect it may be because of the combination of poor development skills and an IDE that makes it all too easy to make poor design choices. I don't know if it still is this bad, but last I worked with Windows development, the C++ IDE I used had encapsulated network protocols in classes that could then be placed on the application window. Very easy, but unfortunately the Windows desktop is not re-entrant, which means that it is a very bad idea to, in effect, wire a listener for an asynchronous background activity into it. All you need is two network packets right after each other and a slow update of the screen, and the whole things dies.

- There does not seem to be an obvious need for .NET - we already have Java, which is universally available (IBM have even designed a dedicated 'Java CPU') and highly standardised. Just look at the heaps of acronyms: JMX, JNDI, ...

- There are several, very good IDEs that support Java extremely well: NetBeans, JDeveloper, Eclipse and no doubt loads more. NetBeans, for example, comes with features that nag you into adopting a good programming style.

And so on. .NET looks to me like a dead end. It may not be dead yet, but it is definitely not what you would call sprightly.

Comment: Re:Well, yes... (Score 1) 323 323

You get to be a leader by getting people to follow you.

And a corollary to that is that a leader is somebody who goes ahead of the followers. I suspect that Linus has stopped being the one who runs ahead of the development of Linux, and perhaps he is getting a bit frustrated over the position he is in. This is similar to the old problem with revolutionary leaders, in a way: when the revolution is over, there is no longer the need for them and their ability to inspire a great, simple vision; it is time for the grey administrators to take over.

"Experience has proved that some people indeed know everything." -- Russell Baker