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Comment Re:buyer beware (Score 1) 167

I've seen some *amazing* replies on SO that must have easily taken the programmer an hour or more to craft. The great thing is that answers of that quality tend to get voted up highly, and lots of people seem to point links to that page, so Google ranks it quite highly.

For a long while, my top rated answer on SO was this joke.

I have written one or two answers of which I am quite proud and that took me an hour or two to craft, but my current top rated answer by a mile is a two line snippet of code demonstrating how to split a string in Objective-C.

What's hilarious to me is when I get to a SO question, and you have the inevitable jerk that tells the person asking the question to just "Google the answer". My inevitable thought is: how the hell do you think I got here, you self-righteous ass? I saw a great response from someone else as well, which was: "someone has to first answer the question before Google can link to an answer."

Soon after I started posting, somebody added some code to the site that refused to allow any answers with embedded as a link. I was outraged for about five seconds.

Comment Re:Wouldn't this lead to Natural Selection? (Score 1) 167

So you made two claims and you're refusing to supply any evidence for either of them.

In the first case, a simple declaration of your interest should suffice.

In the second case, if the problem is a serious one, you should be able to go to StackOverflow today and pick out some examples.

Comment Re: False metric (Score 1) 231

I know C really well so I very rarely look anything up online on it. If I do need to remind myself of an API (and printf is a good example, i can never remember the format specifiers), I'll probably use the man pages installed on my computer rather than going to the Web. The same for any language I use regularly, even Java. I'l download the API documentation onto my laptop so I can still use it when offline.

However, I recently had to write some enhancements for a web site written in classic ASP and, pretty much literally the code for every line I wrote had to be Googled. Going off my web searches, you would assume I only use classic ASP and never anything else.

Comment Re:Mixed (Score 4, Insightful) 350

Not a good idea. The last time I had to do a hard tap on the brakes (enforced, not voluntary because the car in front stopped), with a tailgater behind me he nearly lost control and only just avoided veering into the next lane.

The best thing to do with a tailgater is to gently allow the gap between you and the car in front increase to give yourself a margin of error so you don't have to hit the brakes hard and then let the tailgater past at the first opportunity. It's better to have such idiots in front of you than behind.

Comment Re:British Intelligence? (Score 3, Interesting) 187

That's not the point at all. It's not about keeping the backdoors secret but about stopping people from advertising that they exist. Companies like Apple and Google and Facebook and even the BBC would comply with the request to put back doors in but they would put a notice on the log in screen (for British customers only) along the lines of

        "Although we respect your privacy, be aware that, by order of the British Government we have to make your data available to them on request".

There's nothing like having a reminder every time you use Facebook, that your own government wants to snoop on you for driving up opposition.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 418

I'm the new British ambassador for the People's Republic of China. Before I leave, I go to my boss who hands me a USB stick containing a couple of terabytes of one time key. I use it to encrypt my messages home while in China and when it runs out, I pop home for a "holiday" and to get a new USB stick.

The premise "if you can transmit the key securely, then it's most likely that you could have transmitted the message itself securely" is false in general.

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.