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Comment Aren't these really math challenges? (Score 5, Insightful) 103

I've taken part in a few of these (long ago), but the 'coding' was always extremely minimal. Winning came down to being good at math, knowing things like how to find intersections between a circle and a line, for example. It's cool if people know that, but in my experience with practical for-profit coding for the last twenty years, such problems hardly ever come up - and if they do, it is as a very small part of a much larger piece of software.

In my opinion, the skills demonstrates in this type of coding contest have almost no bearing on any kind of coding carreer. By which I do not mean to downplay their obvious mad c0ding skillz, these are some very smart people, but the article suggests these guys would have high value as corporate coders, which I find rather doubtful.

Comment Re:libertarian that supports a BIG (Score 1) 1291

Basic income applies to ***everyone*** - it is touted as one of the advantages since you can then stop checking if someone qualifies or not. If you do not grant it to everyone than the entire machinery of checking and verification remains intact, removing one of the main arguments (the cost saving aspect).

There are about 300 million people in the US. At a rate of $800 per month (the lowest you gave), the total cost will be 2.9 trillion per year. Total government spending is on the order of 3.5 trillion per year, including everything - military, wars, social security, high ways, education, health care, etc. Of this budget, social security accounts for about 0.7 trillion, or 20% of the cost of basic income.

This is all basic math and publically accessible sources. How the fuck can you claim that "eliminating existing programs" will already give you 75% of the needed budget? Are you really that simple? Have you never even bothered to look at this for more than five minutes? And the same goes for everybody who voted this up.

You can have your basic income if you give up on military spending, healthcare spending, education spending, highways, the space program, etc. Or you can fund it through a massive money-printing program. But wait, you have "forgotten about inflation", so that's not a concern. Inflation is not real. Giving everybody free cash has no consequences in the real world.

Drug addicts do not get any cheaper when you give them money either. They will just use it to buy more drugs instead of shelter, food, etc., and then _still_ require society to pay for their non-drug needs.

As for the Canada program: it was not funded by the town itself, but required external funding, and the program has since been stopped. If it were truly such a massive success, don't you think it would instead have spread throughout the country?

Comment Re:The geek as "libertarian." (Score 1) 128

Right now they have, essentially, infinite protection for free. The entire cost of that protection is born by society, and they have the entire benefit. In the new plan, at least they get to pay for that privilege. The cost should be high enough that there is a real trade-off to be made: keep a work under wraps, or donate it to the public domain.

Also, you might be distressed to learn that Lovecraft passed away, and is thus unlikely to get great enjoyment out of any renewed income streams.

Comment Fix the documentation (Score 3, Insightful) 616

We have Googling and trial&error because documentation of APIs is universally deficient.

I just spent two days trying to figure out why my OpenGL 3.2 context would not initialize on Linux. In the end I found it was because I was not using a private colormap. It doesn't make any kind of sense to me, even now, and even knowing what to look for I wasn't able to find any kind of warning in what is laughably called a "manual" (it sure looks like a quick list of function calls without any structure and barely any explanation to me, but YMMV).

How many times do we have to see this:

int CreateContext (int, void*)

"this function creates a context. The first parameter is flags. The second is used to pass additional information."

and are left wondering:

- what _is_ a 'context', what do I need one for, and what is its lifetime?
- what flags can I pass? What do they do, _in detail_?
- what "additional information" can I pass? Is it mandatory? Is it flag-dependent? What structure should it have?
- can there be errors? How do I see them? How do I decode them into something human-readable?
- if I delete the context, will it take any associated items with it, or do I need to free those manually?
- what sort of thread-safety can I expect?

The problem is not skill level, although it certainly helps to be equipped with knowledge of other APIs and the right level of paranoia. It is, for a very large part, badly designed and even badlier documented APIs. And it really doesn't matter where it comes from, amateurs or pros, open source or closed, it's all painfully bad. The best you can usually hope for is a list of function calls, but almost never any sense of how it hangs together, good explanations of parameters and return codes, and let's not even start about thread safety...

As an example of good documentation, I'd like to point out Postgres. These guys really work hard on documentation, and it shines as a result. MSDN, assuming you can find what you were looking for to begin with, is not bad either. And on the other end of the scale we have things like OpenSSL, where I believe lack of documentation is in fact part of their business model. That alone should be reason to avoid it...

Comment Re:BINGO (Score 1) 135

Your solutions are not solutions at all. You are basing everything on a combination of trust, and techniques of dubious real-world value. That's fine for a few very specific domains, but in the real world things like "time to market" also matter.

Whitelisting is bullshit. I should not have to rely on a "trusted" list of applications; I should trust that the OS has containers that stop any damage from being done in the first place. And I don't want to give an application either nothing, or the keys to the kingdom, which is essentially what UAC or sudo ask you to do. Let me choose what it gets on a case by case basis: network access, full screen access, access to specific devices and directories, etc.

Can you write malicious software in Ada or Java? Of course, and it's trivial. Can a person with a CS degree write bad software? Don't make me laugh, I see it every day. Those are not solutions at all.

The answer is not trust, it is containers with specific, easily understood access rights.

Comment The final straw (Score 4, Funny) 135

The software Checkpoint makes already prevents any kind of useful work from being done on a machine. Now it takes the logical final step, and just completely stops the CPU from doing anything at all! Our IT department will love it for sure. Anything they can do to slow down actual business processes.

Seriously. We use Checkpoint at work. On a fast machine with an SSD, compiling takes longer than on machines with a normal harddisk...

Comment Re:Doesn't Predate Mohammed (Score 1) 622

Well, for one thing, because I'm not in fact under a rock. I'm not saying there aren't any muslims that aren't good, honest, and peaceful, but if they are, it is _despite_ their religion, not because of it. It is because they are, in all but name, apostate - they have left the core tenets of their faith behind and are living, by any non-islamic standard, decent lives. Great, more power to them!

But there are other muslims who are perfectly happy to do all those bad things I've mentioned and more, in the name of their faith, and they have ample support in the holy texts of islam. All that text is publicly available, you know - we can read it too, and it is really easy to understand where ISIS gets its inspiration when it burns a few prisoners or destroys ancient monuments.

The discovery of this document is actually a great opportunity for islam. It removes just one single fact - the absolute authority of mohamed. If he was so clearly 'mistaken' about the origin of the texts, maybe he was also making the rest up? Maybe he is in fact not a prophet at all, but an imposter, who took an earlier, gentler islam and transformed it into the warlike monstrosity it is today. If you are a muslim, wouldn't you want to know?

At least the world is not going to blame the muslims for shaving some of the sharper edges of their religion, I can tell you that.

Why, by the way, do you assume I'm Christian, and not for example hindu, Jewish, shintoist, Buddhist, or atheist?

Comment Re:C++, hands down (Score 1) 429

I agree on the templates, but I thought we were discussing issues that were specific to C++11 (and later). In general, I find that auto, the range-based for loop, lambdas, deleted functions, override, etc. as well as the new additions to STL all vastly improve code quality. Move semantics, once I understood what it was, felt like a hole I never knew was there that was finally filled.

Comment Re:Doesn't Predate Mohammed (Score 1) 622

And that's such a shame. There's just so much to love in islam: bombings, beheadings, mutilation, pedophilia, apartheid, racism - if it offends human decency, you can be sure islam promotes it. How dare anyone speak out against it... It's one great strength is its ability to take a diverse group of poor, illiterate, angry people and bring them together under the umbrella of arab superiority, against the west and anyone else unlucky enough to be perceived as an enemy. And it's only through violence and mob rule that islam has managed to gain and retain any ground in the world.

Comment Re:The consortium needs to finish human languages (Score 1) 264

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...

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly