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Comment Re:Why shouldn't this be public anyway? (Score 2) 39

Because people are stupid.

HIV is pretty much non-contagious as long as you don't exchange some sort of body fluid. Now, I don't know how you go about in your everyday life, but I don't routinely have people spill blood, semen or other stuff coming out of their body into mine.

But people are stupid.

Remember the H1N1 craze? Swine flu? Or any other of the sky-is-falling pandemics? SARS anyone? Yes, they are contagious. How many cases did we have around the US and Europe? Was it more than a dozen combined? People went apeshit over that crap. Mostly because they didn't have the first clue about it other than "oh it's killing people, watch out!"

And now imagine these people should interact with people who actually carry a deadly disease. No matter that there is no sensible way they could get infected, they WILL go bananas over it.

HIV is already a disease that puts a terrible weight on your psyche. Making these people outcasts for no reason whatsoever doesn't really help it.

Comment A relevant programmer koan (Score 1) 393

(shamelessly copied from the jargon file)

Tom Knight and the Lisp Machine

A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Comment Yes you do. (Score 1) 393

Sorry, but the line "or it has been done by someone else" alone is enough to dismiss what is said as rubbish.

There is a lot of things this world needs desperately. Another batch of cargo cult programmers is not among them. You needn't invent the wheel twice but you should know what makes it turn so you don't install it sideways. If you do not understand WHY you do the things you do, at the very least you will end up with very inefficient code. At worst with very insecure code.

Comment Re:Nelson: Ha Ha. (Score 1) 321

Maybe pay is a problem for IT, but it usually isn't an issue at all for programmers. For example, here in the Bay Area, at roughly $90-$150k per year, the hourly rate would still be better than most jobs even if it required working 80-hour weeks. The problem is that most people can't survive an 80-hour work week for more than a couple of weeks, and even a 40-hour week is horribly inefficient and, frankly, exhausting at times.

The 40-hour work week is optimal for menial tasks that require very little thinking. For a technical workforce that spends most of their day thinking and trying to solve complex problems, workers are most efficient when working six or seven hours per day, not eight, and certainly not 12. Long before they reach the 50-hour mark, they're actually getting less work done per week than somebody working a 35-hour week, because they have less energy and are less focused. In fact, I rather suspect that the optimal work week in tech is somewhere closer to 20 hours, and that even a 35-hour week involves significant loss of efficiency.

What we need is for employers to hire twice as many people, pay them half as much, and work them half as long. Doing so on a broad scale, however, would require some serious changes, particularly in the way we try to attract people to the field. But it should be done, not just because employees would be happier with a better work-life balance, but also because employers would be getting what they paid for instead of only about two-thirds of it.

Comment Re:Work-life balance (Score 1) 321

I mostly agree, except for this one:

Things that don't matter: Lunch or snacks (free or otherwise)

I'm currently working for a company that feeds us three days a week. I'm very grateful for that, because we moved from an area that had a few restaurants within easy walking distance to a new location that has none. At our exit off the 101, there's one restaurant that's kind of like a Denny's (not fast at all), one Mexican restaurant, and that's it. None of them are within walking distance (okay, so there's one Mexican food truck, but...), and the shared parking lot for those two restaurants is always full. Other than that, there's no food until you get all the way to the next exit off the 101 in either direction.

Worse, when you do go one exit away in either direction, you similarly find only two or three restaurants, also with inadequate parking. Most of the time, I end up driving three exits north on the 101 to where there are enough restaurants to actually be practical (including a few with drive-thru windows), but that means burning about half of my lunch hour just driving to and from the restaurant.

So yes, it doesn't matter even slightly whether an employer provides food for free, or even provides it on-site, but it matters a great deal whether there is ready access to food within a reasonable walking distance. If there isn't, and if the employer doesn't provide food, it can get rather annoying. :-)

Comment Re:no purpose left (Score 1) 161

This may be the popular opinion, but it's simply not true. Anybody who has developed in flash/Actionscript and also HTML5 knows that the difference between the two as a developer is stark.

HTML5/javascript is a series of layered hacks on hacks on the foundation of a script thrown together by Netscape in a few weeks. There are loads of browser-specific behaviors to be aware of, and the core functionality that there is a plethora of javascript libraries (jquery, prototype, and too many others to name) that try to create the semblance of continuity across all the different, slightly incompatible browsers.

I really, truly don't understand why Adobe has chosen to just sit on their fingers with flash rather than deal with its issues. Either Adobe is almost criminally stipid in their handling of Flash, or the actual Flash source code must be unbelievably awful.

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.

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