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Comment Re:The consortium needs to finish human languages (Score 1) 236

That guy needs to get off his high horse. White people designed computers. White people designed unicode in an effort to allow non-white people to use computers. White people apparently made an honest mistake when creating the code points for a complex, and to them largely unknown language. And apparently white people must fix it, because I don't see this guy doing anything but bitching about it.

Oh, and I'm a white person whose family name contains a character that is not in ASCII either, a situation that has pretty much forced my family to adopt a different spelling (using either 'y' or 'ij' instead of Dutch lange-ij, a character I cannot even write here). So much for white superiority, then...

Comment Re:The Onion had it right (Score 1) 118

Of course, no one in their right mind would even consider the possibility that black people invest in research to stop a disease that is rampant in their own countries... Black people shouldn't have any kind of responsibility for their own lives. They _need_ white people to provide them with food, medicine, etc. And to think otherwise is racist.

While food and medicine is ok, please keep in mind that white people shouldn't attempt to provide free transportation and jobs. That's also racist.

Comment Remove features as well (Score 1) 133

Pruning the tree, so to speak. I regularly identify features that are candidates for pruning:

- Because they are disruptive in the code base (needing an inordinate amount of developer effort to keep them working in a changing environment, or because they make testing much more difficult, etc.)
- Because they are disruptive in the user interface (needing a lot of screen space while barely being used)
- Because they are disruptive in the user manual (if you cannot properly explain it, perhaps because it relies too deeply on internal knowledge, or because the set of conditions that cause the feature to work is just too large)

Some of these I propose to the customers for removal (I work on a rather specialized industrial application, so the number of customers is not that large). Others I break in a subtle way and wait to see if anybody complains. If they don't, the feature is gone in the next version.

Writing software is a lot like gardening. You shouldn't let your garden grow wild, it's ugly.

Comment Re:The joys of youth (Score 1) 149


My comment on being locked in specifically referred to the long train of Microsoft technologies that arrived, flowered for a short while, and then whithered over the years while I was working on this thing. One of my first choices as a young engineer was to use the win32 API instead of MFC. MFC proved to be a dead-end, so I feel fully justified in choosing what was (officially) the more difficult option. I forget the names of the others... Silverlight is a good example. I feel for anyone who invested in that. And .NET is on the way out, _in my opinion_ (feel free to disagree) - relying on that is a good way to be obsolete a few years from now. But there certainly were others. Who is using COM now, except to interface with specific Microsoft APIs? DCOM? ATL? OLE?

Modernisation is something I've always done during quiet periods. None of my customers needed (or need, even today) IPv6 support, but since adding it was fairly straightforward I've done so anyway. None of my customers needed unicode when I introduced it either, but we have since added a German customer who certainly appreciates being able to use that German S character. Could they have lived without it? Probably. Could we have built in unicode support while already under high load to tailor the software to their site? I very much doubt it. And consider this: the competition for this bid was a package I also happen to know, that crashes when you feed it any character that has the high bit set, so that was one point in our favor then. IPv6 will eventually make sense, and when some customer convenes a Tiger Team for Emergency Network Migration to IPv6 they will call me in, and I will nod sagely and say "click that checkbox over there, and it uses IPv6 instead."

My language of choice is C++. I find the hatred that language gets on /. astonishing - it is not only a powerful language that results in very fast programs, but also a well-established standard supported by multiple vendors with multiple compilers. Over the years I've compiled this project with Visual C++ 5, 6, 2008, 2012, 2013, and now 2015 (see me chase those versions!), acc, and uncounted GCC versions. I'd truly hate to be stuck with a single-compiler language.

We rely on plenty of external packages as well. The underlying database is currently Postgres. Before it used to be Oracle. Our SQL usage is not so arcane that we coulnd't run it on other SQL-compliant databases - a few specialty functions for things like checking database sizes would have to be rewritten, but the bulk of the software would run out of the box.

We have our own drawing API (about 7 primitives, nothing too fancy). It used to do win32 only. Then it got the ability to do X11 as well. Then we changed it to Cairo. We print using the same API - originally through xprint, and now through Cairo + CUPS. It may sound like a lot of change, but it was all confined to a handful of classes, with the rest of the software never knowing the difference.

Anyway, just rambling on now ;-)

Comment Re:The joys of youth (Score 4, Insightful) 149

Your advice means I would be stuck using Visual Studio 5, and GCC 2.8.0. Hope you don't mind me 'chasing versions'...

I have, however, refrained from chasing every Microsoft fad over the years, meaning I'm now in charge of a modern C++11 application, happily running on Linux and Windows, in 32-bit and 64-bit mode, and with full support for things like unicode and IPv6. Instead of hoping that Microsoft would get off their lazy ass and finally update MFC, or something...

There was a question here on slashdot on how to plan for 20 year development cycles the other day. I'm almost at that point now, and let me tell you what keeps an application alive:

- don't get locked in to single-vendor technology that might disappear on a moment's notice.
- hide API's inside your own classes. That makes ripping them out and replacing them with something else so much easier.
- stick to standards.
- invest in regular modernisation. Do it when reasonably can, not when you absolutely must.
- refactor whatever stinks.
- keep your own skills up to date. Apply as needed.

Just my two cents, of course...

Comment Re:In favor of paid copyright protection (Score 1) 93

Their lobbying clearly indicates they want indefinite copyright. I'm simply asking them to put their money where their mouth is - and in the process stop bothering the rest of us with ridiculous copyrights on ancient works that have no economic value whatsoever. It is not at all an unreasonable request that the user pays, so to speak - that copyright holders who want protection beyond a reasonable timeframe, also get to pay for enjoying that protection.

It is precisely those continuous extensions that I want to put an end to. Instead of extending copyright for _every_ work, do it my way: let the copyright holder choose, but also let them pay for the privilege. Mickey Mouse will be under copyright for a long time to come, but works that are no longer economically viable shouldn't simply be locked into a cupboard and forgotten. My proposal sets them free.

Comment In favor of paid copyright protection (Score 2) 93

This is how copyright should be changed: give every 'work' ten years of free protection - plenty to understand whether it is making money or not. And beyond that, allow for infinitely repeatable five-year terms, paid for at a progressive rate. That way everyone can be happy: basic protection is in place for free, and anything that is valuable can be protected up to its economic value but not beyond.

Copyright owners can be happy: they finally have their infinite copyright - or at least as it makes sense economically.
The public can be happy, as older works will eventually fall into public domain.
The government can be happy, as copyrighted works become a steady source of income.

See, everybody is happy!

Comment Parts of AmigaOS of course (Score 1) 484

Assigns (randomly named identifiers for things in the file system). ARexx (fully integrated, comprehensive scripting support, don't care about the language, throughout the OS and all applications). Screens (the ability to group windows and more importantly tasks together). A design that doesn't require constant disk access and thus remains responsive at all times. I'd also choose any windowing environment that is not X11, and since we're talking Amiga anyway I'll choose Intuition (a sane windowing environment).

You can sort-of pretend all of these things exist in Windows or GNU/systemd, but in reality they are pale imitations of the original. Screens for example - that works because applications have knowledge of them, and use them intelligently, not because you just happen to be able to assign windows to a workspace manually.

Comment Re:Remember Hypatia (Score 1) 494

I love how you have to go back 1600 years to find an example of Christians being assholes. Meanwhile, today, _every single day_, islam kills, tortures, maims, and rapes.

Not good enough for you? Christian faith requires that you love each other; killing is one of the worst imaginable crimes. Islam requires that you hate all who are not muslim; killing others is mandatory according to the quran.

DON'T pretend that "all religions are equally wrong"; they are not. Most of the world's religions are (relatively) peaceful, and will generally leave non-members in peace (neither Boeddhism nor Christianity requires the death of non-believers, and you cannot even become a Jew or hindu except by birth even if you wanted to). There is one major exception to this rule: islam, the very name means "submission", requires that _everyone_ submits and becomes a muslim. And its followers are not only required to use violence to make it so, they are also more than happy to commit atrocious acts to get their way.

The greatest weapon against islam is education. A succesful, educated woman who has become a public figure simply cannot be suffered to live; her example threatens the entire power structure of islam. And that, in a nutshell, is why this poor, courageous woman was murdered.

Comment Re:It's pretty much a given that they saved money (Score 1) 232

Instead of going with a licensed OS like Windows or VxWorks, they saved tens of dollars. Smart thinking and good use of money in these tough economic times.

It would be nice to see other departments try to realize these types of gains.

Vxworks is tens of thousands of dollars, not tens of dollars. Second, what exactly is the added value of vxworks in this? It is good if you need hard realtime operations, which typically implies a solution with hardware in the loop. If you don't have that (and a flightsim doesn't need it) you can use a non-realtime OS like Linux just fine.

Anyway, how is this news? Where I work we have been writing spacecraft simulators for years on Linux... In the past all that stuff used to run on Sun, but really, what's the point in getting a slow, expensive Sun machine if a cheap Dell box loaded with Suse will do the job faster and cheaper?

Comment Re:Back out of Plan Affirmative-Action (Score 2) 153

Really reliable except for a series of Soyuz spacecraft that nearly burned up on reentry, due to the thrust unit not being released properly. They still have no idea what is causing it. See for example: http://www.universetoday.com/2008/04/20/soyuz-crew-safe-after-a-violent-re-entry-and-landing-400km-off-target/

Any landing you can walk away from is a success, and the crew survived, didn't they? How would a shuttle deal with this sort of punishment, you think?

If given a choice to travel on either a Soyuz or a shuttle, I'd fly on a Soyuz in a heartbeat. Not that anyone will ever ask me of course...

Comment Re:Lol (Score 1) 451

There's an interstate in Washington State that has an exit in DuPont (yes, the city and the company). The state was going to build the exit and charge DuPont for the privilege. DuPont said, 'if we can build it to your specs, can we do it ourselves?' The government said yes and DuPont built it for half the price the state was going to charge them.

When corporations do something for themselves it is simply to obtain a service, and the work is done as cheaply as possible.

But when corporations do something for someone else (such as the public), it is a for-profit activity and it will be charged at the usual rates.

Do not mistake the ability of corporations to do something for cheap, for their willingness to do it cheaply for you. Especially on long-term services, where a corporation gets entrenched and other potential bidders face much higher startup costs if they were to take over the contract.

As far as health care, there's a lot more to be said about it than just comparing the government's job of doing other things. I don't know what the answer is there. I think that we've lost the 'insurance' aspect of health care. People want their insurance company to pay for everything (why don't we have car insurance cover tuneups?). If people paid for all the little, routine things and had the insurance for catastrophic things (like cancer, or having a limb reattached), then there probably wouldn't be any "crisis". And I think the whole system would probably be in much better health if 64% of American's weren't overweight/obese. Perhaps you shouldn't get insurance if you've caused your own demise through negligence.

Because everyone is negligent in their own way. You should have looked before crossing the street, you would have seen that car coming. You should not have run 20 miles every day of your life, you knew it would give you bad knees. You should not have visited that hotel, it is well known that large international hotels attract terrorist bombings. It is the ultimate cop-out for insurance companies.

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