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Comment: Re:Bullshit name (Score 1) 109

by kemosabi (#45336211) Attached to: Bribe Devs To Improve Open Source Software

My first reaction to your remark was to respond that you're wrong, that for the most part work on open source is separate from work for pay, and that people do it in their own time out of intrinsic interest and not out extrinsic reward overcoming intrinsic indifference.

Paying them would then be pernicious and wrong because it changes there story from "I do this because I'm good at it and value it" to "I do this for spare cash", and I've seen that have a bad affect on people. Their intrinsic sense of reward and their own story about themselves is changed into a sense of extrinsic reward.

What stops me from saying that whole-heartedly is that there *are* aspects of writing software that are essentially unrewarding for many people, and intrinsic interest in making something work (especially just for the person writing code) is very different from the activity of making it work for everyone. Some people will do it from altruism, but many people will get it working good enough for their own needs and be done with it.

So in that turning-the-crank, grinding-out part of the task, maybe there's room for something like this service... though there are other services like it, as others have already pointed out, and I agree that the name sucks.

If I had a mod point, I'd mod you up.

Comment: None of the above (Score 1) 6

by kemosabi (#45166001) Attached to: The Hardest Things Programmers Have To Do
I don't agree with that list at all. It sounds like it was written by people who are just whining about unpleasant tasks, not difficult ones. Writing documentation and tests isn't so much hard as tedious. Dealing with other people isn't so much hard as demanding of patience. Behind many but not all of these things, however, is a common thing we do that's very difficult: maintain self-discipline in our work. That old code is ugly and hard to understand? I'll just rewrite... wait... no... that's just taking the easy way out. That old code has been deployed (successfully) for years and I'll go through the pain and grousing of understanding why it is as it is before I make any assumptions based on my own aesthetics - as if code assessment were a beauty pageant. Writing docs? Writing tests? Crap I hate doing that... hey, maybe there's this trivial little implementation detail that I could... no... I'm going to make myself do the right thing and plow through the parts of it that I don't like and I'm going to make a sticking point of doing a good job, because I know I can. As for design, yes some designs are difficult and understanding what you're trying to do is a key part of doing things right (and not just for software). Yet I've seen the problems of design more of be a lack of self-restraint: framework building and trying to build "the perfect system" are pernicious. Behind it all, there's an imperative to know yourself and keep yourself honest: when something you write can reach hundreds, thousands, or millions of people at once, there's no forgiveness for self-delusion.

Comment: Suggested Reading (Score 1) 397

by kemosabi (#43814091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is the User Experience Too Good?
Chapter 1 of Spolsky's "User Interface Design for Programmers", which is basically this article from his site: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000057.html/. You should try to decide for yourself how much this applies to your situation, but there's another set of articles, one called "Choices = Headaches" that you should look at as well. You may not agree with everything you read, and you won't get a simple answer to your question, but these will be food for thought.

Comment: It's easy... (Score 1) 736

by kemosabi (#42884693) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is It So Hard To Make An Accurate Progress Bar?
... as long as you only care about 0% and 100% done. If you want the progress bar to reflect finer increments of work, say 10%, then it might be hard for at least two reasons: 1. there may be a large variance in different portions of the task tracked by the progress bar 2. exceptional occurrences (network lag, errors, the user suddenly increasing load on the system) can change how long things take In general though, progress bars are no harder or easier than the estimation task for what they should track. The estimation task is hell, partially because of leaky abstractions, partially just inherently. Progress bars with milestones can help, but there's no easy answer to the basic problem: it's the estimation that's difficult.

Comment: Tomb Tapper by James Blish (Score 1) 1365

by kemosabi (#40919447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?
It has a nasty ending that's incredibly sad and is based on an alternate future that would be roughly now. And if you think about how war is conducted and has been conducted since it was written, the basic idea isn't too far-fetched, but was outre when Blish wrote the story. It's in a collection called "Galactic Cluster". I've claimed to various people that this story is basically cyberpunk despite predating cyberpunk by roughly 30 years, and not because of the goggle, by the way, but rather because of the tone and sensibility. I'll lay odds that Gibson, Sterling, Stephenson, W. Jon Williams, and others may have read it. I'll assert that if they haven't then they should, dammit. Oh, and another selection by Blish: A Case of Conscience

Comment: Limited applicability, or effortful (Score 1) 123

by kemosabi (#37253474) Attached to: Crowdsourcing Makes an API For Human Intelligence
Seems like a lot of problems would have to be carfully mapped to such a systems... or, basically, you have to ask a crowdsource systems your questions carefully. It might be tempting to think that a crowd acts like a nondeterministic Turing machine, but it really doesn't because the space of possible solutions it might try to verify is bounded by the pool of respondents (not just the size of the pool, but what you might call the "imaginative range" of the pool). Oh, and this really reminds me of Vernor Vinge's book "A Deepness in the Sky", in which a spacefaring civilization that figures prominently in the narrative uses human slave labor given drugs to give them something like autism or OCD as processing power (they're not the good guys...).

Comment: Start suggesting phrases now... (Score 1) 316

by kemosabi (#36683374) Attached to: IBM Watson To Replace Salespeople and Cold-Callers
... to any friends who might work on the content for these systems. Somewhere an irate customer on a support call could be told to "take a stress pill and lie down" during a suppot call. Of course, the customer will be irate because they were just told, over and over, "I'm sorry, , I can't do that." and "I can see your upset, .". The hold music, naturally, will be "Daisy".
Windows

+ - Vista Validation Totally Cracked

Submitted by
Brian Gordon
Brian Gordon writes "The Inquirer reports that cracking group PARADOX has cracked Vista's activation model. The new crack results in an installation virtually identical to that of a legitimately activated license key, which means that cracked installs are eligible for Windows Updates and will pass WGA validation.

From the readme: Microsoft allows large hardware manufacturers (e.g. ASUS, HP, Dell) to ship their products containing a Windows Vista installation that does NOT require any kind of product activation as this might be considered an unnecessary inconvenience for the end-user. The basic concept of the tool at hand is to present any given BIOS ACPI_SLIC information to Windows Vista's licensing mechanism by means of a device driver. In combination with a matching product key and OEM certificate this allows for rendering any system practically indistinguishable from a legit pre-activated system shipped by the respective OEM."
Space

+ - Revolutionary Robotic Satellite Launches Tonight

Submitted by
airshowfan
airshowfan writes "When a geosynchronous satellite is launched into space, no human ever gets to touch it again, so other than for minor software issues, there is no way to fix it if it breaks, so it has to work perfectly, almost autonomously, for 20 years non-stop. There is also no way to refuel it once it's out of thruster fuel, the reason why it can't last more than 20 years even if it gets to that mark working very well, with batteries and solar cells still going, which is often the case. If only there were a robotic spacecraft floating around the geostationary ring that could change broken satellite components and refuel those older satellites, then satellites would be a lot less risky and would last a lot longer. Does this robotic satellite mechanic sound like science ficion? It launches tonight."

The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form. -- Stanley J. Randall

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