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Comment: Re:A short, speculative cautionary tale... (Score 1) 407

by k31 (#49557387) Attached to: Using Adderall In the Office To Get Ahead

This is more like how caffeine, sugar, and intentional sleep deprivation became such popular parts of "normal employee" life.

There's even several works of fiction parodying it (Limitless is the most obvious one, Idiotocracy also), but the key thing is that the smartest thing to do is to work less whilst earning more. Bankers figured it out back in the pre-common era, but it is only within the last decade that the systems which allow this to be so have become fully global and also fully replaceable. Google, Apple, Microsoft, WoW, Second Life, and Minecraft all "make bank" in different ways, and if their general principles are applied to any type of business, in the medium to long term, such will make bank also.

By the dedication of customers, and creating a self-sustaining enterprise, rather than worrying too much about competition. Google isn't really worried about Bing, the NSA, or the MPAA, but pretending it is is a good way to protect their cash cow, spycraft, and legal piracy going.

To realize stuff like this, though, you have to read less and think more. Restfully.

Otherwise, sure, you'll do more TPS reports (Office Space reference) but even after Judgement Day you'll not realize that you're fuel for the forges of Skynet (Horde of Warcraft / Terminator mixed metaphor).

I should probably get some sleep.

Comment: Re:Bull (Score 2) 55

by k31 (#48217825) Attached to: Microsoft Exec Opens Up About Research Lab Closure, Layoffs

Not really.

Somebody has to do fundamental research, but then they have to have big coffers to defend those patents in court -- big companies can win the war whilst losing every battle, like Sony did versus the makers of Bleem. Sony lost in court but Bleem went out of business in the meantime, and the employees scattered, some working for Sony anyhow.

Similarly, if you want to advance anything nowadays, you have to be working for a company that is already successful, and if you can do your job and find time for research, then why have a separate research department which is not doing anything towards development?

There is enough leftover wisdom from the Space Age to give tons and tons of innovations, but in fact, there is profit to be made by doing two things:
1) the same thing, but with less burden (financial, cognitive, or social) on the customer -- e.g. Netflix vs Cable, WIMPs vs. CLIs, any so-called social media which does not require you to actually take a shower, get dressed, leave the house, or even own a house)
2) things which were done before but with less specs, e.g. "HD remakes" of older games.

Microsoft, in particular, is now in a state of maintaining its monopoly at all costs, which is a well understood problem, and a matter of maintaining mind-share and blocking competition rather than growing market share or being competitive. It does not need research at all.

It can just buy (or license) it, and bully those who do not comply with underhanded legal tactics (patent trolling, sue-to-death, et cetera).

Comment: It is simple survival, (Score 1) 554

by k31 (#48052165) Attached to: Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista

Windows XP was basically the pinnacle of operating systems. Having no where to go but down, Microsoft did go down, with Vista which most people hate. Luckily, tablets became popular and Apple made the App store a viable thing, so Microsoft now had stuff to copy and create a superficial reason to "upgrade".

Only by crippling Windows XP, by refusing to support it for later versions of support systems, such as DirectX and Aero, were the new distributions made relatively better, but as fundamental platforms, Windows XP already did it all.

It is a similar thing to the PS3 to PS4 transition. The PS3 was more than good enough to run any game, and only the awkward 8-core setup made it slightly more difficult. ... we're reached a n era of technology where things are only goign sideways or down, or chvign superficial changes ,

rather than going up in any way.

The whole thing needs a re-think, but I've been reading articles and books saying that for at least 15 years now, so I don't think it will come by complaining....

Comment: Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (Score 1) 197

by k31 (#47689075) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

Thanks for the info.

I think the article overall is just a clever ad for it. Just like everything has Surround now, even if you don't want it, everything will come with Atmos, even if you don't want it. It is not a fad, it is just a next step up. I see it helping home theaters and enterprising people could make viewing rooms like the "love hotels" in Japan, since you know, making your own job is all the rage now again.

Comment: Re:Just let me do brain surgery! (Score 2) 372

by k31 (#47519097) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'

This reminds me of the mythical Programmers' Stone project, and how the solution AGC had was to live as a hippy without any money.

Not, you know, what most people want to do.

I agree with the insightful replied below (or now, in parallel): there is a lot of stuff that impedes productivity.

However, I would go further and say, what do you expect to happen if you create an unfair environment from the start? The only way it could get better is if computers were used as tools to empower people, and that hasn't happened since the 8-bit era, and even then, it was by accident.

Microsoft, Google, Slashdot, and the GNU / Linux project all became big because they empowered people to do what they wanted, at the time. Even with all the problems, Microsoft still makes the best widely available stack to move from idea to product, and they will continue to do so, because Apple only wants clients with "disposable income", but Microsoft wants mindshare first and taxes behind the scenes to maintain their position.

So as long as you want money up front (Apple, most employees, FOSS in general as consulting fees or attention of peers) and aren't setting up to rule the world (Google, Microsoft) by saturating mindshare, things are going to go the way of "big government", or any big groups, and become so full of red tape that no real innovation can occur.

Serving the needs of the many requires that you understand how different people are, and how little most people want to pay for something. The concept of "investment" may never be mainstream, and anything which allows people at all levels to make money, most of which does not come directly back to you, then you would be able to dominate minshare... but if you want only competent, professional people on your platform then you will eventually get people who are confident at being professional rather than everyone, including those who want to make the world better or express something new.

So, if you want to have fun, forget about the professional toolset... it is designed to increase operational level work at the expense of expression, because most of what professionals do is not new, and the more operations it takes, the more hours can be billed and the more job security is created, and the more documentation is left behind in the actual code, even if you do get hit by a bus or try to strike.

If you want to have fun, get a Raspberry Pi or build your own stack or deal with something that gets you closer to your goals shorter. Or become a novelist, plenty of novelty there.

The future, if there is any, won't be visible by the professional world, anymore than emulators for game systems can come from the corporate world, or meditation can come directly from big pharma.

Comment: A few years ago, (Score 2) 199

by k31 (#46516965) Attached to: A Call For Rollbacks To Previous Versions of Software

there were articles complaining that software was never updated on mobile devices, even though the technical facility to do so was.

Now that is is being updated, complain about that, too.

If companies kept a backwards compatibility support team, the cost of new products would be higher... and you would complain about that, too, I suppose.

Comment: Flaw in the analogy: (Score 1) 716

by k31 (#46224069) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should Developers Fix Bugs They Cause On Their Own Time?

The wall-builder is basically repeating a skill. He should be able to build a "good enough" wall that doesn't have major holes, or fall down on its own.

The programmer is translating intention into code, which interacts with other code, a lot of which is buggy. The specifications may be unclear. The time it takes to do it is uncertain. In other words, he is doing art-for-hire. Even if he is "good enough", we cannot call programming a deterministic activity devoid of creativity and which people can be trained to do, rather than enabled and inspired to do.

If what they want is a solved problem, bundled in an easy to use interface that hides details, they would buy software, not build it... which is basically why people do buy software in the first place. (And why I don't think there is any future in traditional programming on a large scale.)

So, the analogy is what is wrong. Artisans and Artists may have similar names, but what they actually do is totally different.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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