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Comment: Re:COM is windows only... (Score 1) 251

by leabre (#30182550) Attached to: New Microsoft Silverlight Features Have Windows Bias

Often times the new functionality can do the same, but does it differently. Or does the same but makes it much easier to perform the tasks. I don't know about you, but I find it significantly easier to write a diagramming utility using WPF than GDI+. Sure it can be done using GDI/GID+, but WPF is more epxressive in many respects. Sure I can write my line of bussines app using ActiveX controls or MFC, even WinForms. But I find it easier to write pretty apps in WPF than with WinForms/GID+ (even with 3rd party controls).

Now, if you want to talk about ODBC -> DAO -> ADO -> ADO.NET -> Linq2Sql -> EF -> Who knows what else, then we can talk. They do not have their act together regarding data access, it changes way too quickly. But, at least you can still use ADO.NET with any current .NET app if you don't want to use Linq2Sql or EF.

I'm an architect for high performance computing back-ends and have created frameworks myself for the company, or taken over existing. When envisioning and prototyping the next framework that will take us into the future, I've had to sacrifice backwards compatibility in some cases too, simply because the current way is inexpressive enough to accomplish the new simplified or better way of doing things, or the design itself is the problem and there is no easy way to work around that without 10 million adapters and bridges.

I don't make excuses for Microsoft, nor do I always like that I have to learn something only to relearn it again, but I'm sure there is some of that with Java and Linux as well as Windows and .NET. I welcome that we don't have to use WinForms anymore, I much prefer WPF.

I also welcome that I'm not forced to use EF or Linq2Sql because I think plain ADO.NET is better in some cases (or I'm just showing my age). In any case, Microsoft does have a take-over-the-world syndrome that is downright disheartening at times.

Comment: Re:StupidPeopleTrick (Score 1) 371

by leabre (#27028041) Attached to: Hope For Multi-Language Programming?

There are times where multiple languages can be beneficial. For example, I'm primarily a C# developer but for the problem domains I must solve, sometimes a Fortran.NET or Prolog.NET would be much more suitable than C#. Prolog is better at logic and fuzzy logic, and Fortran is clearly better at mathematics. I'm not terribly interesting in changing IDE's or using different compilers and trying to interop with multiple languages, but in the .NET variety, if they were available, it would be very convenient to use the various syntaxes to express myself more efficiently.

Supporting such a hybrid could be an issue for some. But in general, I don't think C# is good for everything (it can certainly do everything, but C-derived languages aren't good at expressing everything -- such as SQL or Logic, or Functional, for example). Lisp isn't very good at expressing everything, either. But you could use the best language (or domain) for the task and be more productive that way.

Comment: Re:Unwatchable (Score 1) 151

by leabre (#26952215) Attached to: Netflix To Offer Streaming-Only Service Plans

Actually, for me, one who likes to own DVD's, I'm okay to ditch the collection as long as I can stream it online. I've been aching for a way to pay some fee (I'd rather not pay-per-view), and have access to a complete inventory of content I can watch/stream anytime I want. To me, that is the same as having it on my shelf, albeit I'm at the mercy of my ISP and Net Nuetrality. I'm also at the mercy of the content provider to change their pricing structure and limit availability of certain content to which I'll be interested. Also, Netflix doesn't stream the "extras" but not that I care, I don't watch them most of the time, anyway. But in DVD's that have A and B versions of a scene, Netflix doesn't provide that also.

My larger point though, is eventually someone will have a complete library of content that I can subscribe to and stream whenever I choose, and for me, that is the same as having a complete library of DVD's, and is more cost-effective then renting the media or buying the media and eliminates the desire to pirate the media (for many I'm sure, but not everyone).

Comment: Re:And Still Ugly As Sin. (Score 1) 451

by leabre (#26792545) Attached to: Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features

Oreilly can do that because they produce and publish the content, for the most part, or other producers involved in the Safari scheme. But Amazon produces nothing except an ebook reader. So it will not be so easy for Amazon to offer a subscription service to Kindle. It would probably be too costly to license all the books, or convert the books into ebook format for those that are not.

Comment: Re:Very tempted to get this (Score 1) 451

by leabre (#26792505) Attached to: Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features

That's the reason I stopped purchasing ebooks. Back in 2001 I purchased some ebooks and them my system crashed, and all the ebooks I had purchased (about $300 worth) I had to purchase again. In addition, I purchased a very expensive college textbook (another $300 book) that had an ebook version of itself, which is the only reason I purchased the book, so I can read it elsewhere electronically. Only, the service that activates the book was no longer in business and could not activate the book. Since I had opened the CD, the book was no longer refundable. After that point, I do not purchase DRM encumbered media, period.

My concern with the Kindle isn't actually DRM in this case. I could accept that I must use a dedicated device to read, and if that device is lost or stolen, I hear that you get a new device and can download your books again, so long as Amazon still supports that in your time of need. Hence another problem with DRM encumbered media, you can't look at how things are today, you must look at the possibility of the publisher changing its terms or going under or being sold to another company (such as the media producers themselves) and being more hostile to your desires.

With Kindle, my biggest problem is the cost of technology books. They are nearly 10% lower than their printed counterparts ($50-70 books in general). It is not worth it when I can purchase the same books used for roughly $15-20 or even less. I have a personal library of more than 900 programming related books and while I used to purchase them new, tha last 300 or so are all used and about 60% less than even Amazon's already discounted price new. Kindle, is nearly the price new so it is not cost effective for me to purchase. I think that the distribution costs of ebooks are nearly zero, and the production cost to write and copy-edit are so low, that the price of ebooks that can't be resold should be roughly 10% of the original retail price. At that, I might purchase.

But any higher, I don't see any bargains in paying $350+ for the reader, than nearly 90% the price of the book new, and possibly losing my ability to use them in the future if Amazon gets stung by the economy or whatever. Also, most of my tech books must be read in color. Sometimes, for the higher quality paper in some books, adds to the experience of the book in question though the material should speak for itself, I always enjoyed reading high quality prints as opposed to those on recycled newspaper.

Until then, I'll just keep buying paper books. Plus, I can donate or sell the ones that I truly have no use for anymore. Try that with a Kindle book.

Comment: Re:The problem with Core i7 (Score 1) 234

by leabre (#26396157) Attached to: 45nm Phenom II Matches Core 2 Quad, Trails Core i7

I picked up two rigs using Core i7 920 with 12GB RAM and ATI Radeon 4850 and 24" monitors. I could not be happier. These are by far the best machines I've owned so far. Oh, I should mention, though they shipped with Vista 64-bit, being an MSDN subscriber and software developer of high computing applications, I ended up installing Windows Server 2008 Datacenter 64-bit and it works flawlessly (I enabled the Aero theme and glass)

Comment: Re:Repeat repeat repeat (Score 2, Insightful) 352

by leabre (#26309627) Attached to: Interesting Computer Science Jobs?

I know it is anecdotal but the majority of people I've worked with that are within about 5 years of college graduation with CS degree are among the least capable I've worked with. Among those that are self-taught and haven't a degree (or have a degree in an unrelated field), within their first 5 years or so are also among the least capable I've worked with. Those with degrees tend to be more stubborn mainly due to their indoctrination.

I don't mean any of this negatively. I myself am attempting to get my CS degree (dual computer engineering), after 15 years of practicing it and working up the ranks. For me, it is because it is what I want; I do not require it. There is little that I've been learning in these classes that I didn't already know. I studied all the books and topics on my own for many years before I took the classes in school. Being a practitioner I actually find the university frustrating as I have to be dumbed down to get a grade. When I complete an assignment differently than expected because there was a defect in the textbook (that I opted to correct) I get a bad grade (granted I wasn't asked to correct the mistake, but I don't like being forced into servitude, either, especially after being freely creative for so long before the class); funny considering revisions or errata of the same textbook eventually recognized and corrected the same defect. My statements are more a fact of the state of education and that I believe it does not truly adequately prepare students for life as a programmer. Rightfully so, CS is not software engineering, but most people opt for it because it is the closest available topic.

I do not have a college education, am a sr. software architect for a fortune 500 company, and I often end up teaching some of those CS undergrads a thing or two about when and when not to use certain data structures/algorithms, optimizations, or to stop thinking like a robot and make up their own mind about how to solve a tricky problem. I sometimes hold training for some of them and discuss how to augment the functionality of some data structures and algorithms to solve variations of the problems that those structures and algos are good at. I'd think they would have been through that already.

Electrical and computer engineers are different altogether, they are truly smarter than the typical CS grad of the one's I've encountered or worked with.

Most don't even know why GOTO statements are "evil". They never read the book (or heard of it) yet they religiously hold firm to avoid them because they would have had bad grades in class if they had used them. In other words, they are shoveled a level of dogma and do not quite think for themselves. Then when they come to me, they want me (or other mentor types) to hold their hand while they are afraid to do anything for themselves until some point in time where a light bulb goes off in their head and they realize that it is okay to think for themselves.

Not to stereotype, it is just an observation. Degree or no agree, certain people are made for code and other technical wizardry and others are along for the ride. In either case, their first few years in the work force and they are not very capable (with the odd exceptions here and there).

I've come to realize that CS actually really isn't about programming as much as people think it is. It's more or less a type of preparation but their first few years they don't have an anchor with which to apply the knowledge and think for themselves. Most people will need guidance their first few years; CS degree or not.

When it comes to hiring, that is the reason I don't care so much about whether they have a degree. If they can demonstrate ability to fill the open position competently, I'll hire them. It is not always easy to know whether the person is a good candidate, but when it comes to interviewing for positions related to high-performance computing and heavy parallel computations/computing, it is not so easy to fake your way through an interview. You can either do it or not.

Comment: Re:Here comes the Eula (Score 1) 409

by leabre (#26054493) Attached to: Maryland Court Weighs Internet Anonymity

We're too sue happy in this country. Years ago, if I had experienced any major customer service problems with a company I would complain or write a letter or whatever. Years go by where I read about how everyone is suing and my endless thoughts about what a tragedy it has become to be in this country and potentially be sued for anything and that I don't want to ever be like that.

A few weeks ago I had problems with a major OEM accidentally charging me 2.5x the invoice amount for some desktop workstations I purchased. When trying to resolve it through their customer service and the folks in India saying they cannot access my records (for 5 days straight at all hours of the day)... I eventually contacted a sales rep in the US that had instant access to my records and cancelled the order then created a new one. Instead of crediting the incorrect charge, it charged again, in addition to the new correct charge. Actually, it was only holding the funds and hasn't charged but totaled $20k in pending state holding my card so close to the limit that my monthly revolvers would have failed. My immediate reaction was to call an attorney rather than call them up and attempt to resolve it. In the end, their India support center still couldn't access my records but when I managed to contact the sales rep in US he had access to my records instantly again and the issue was resolved after the OEM called my creditor card issuer.

My point here is merely: it has become the American way, so-to-speak, to sue because it nearly has come to the point where either a) many are opportunists and see it more likely to win a civil lawsuit than the lottery, b) just have to make a statement and throw their superiority around, or more likely c) it has gotten to the point where the threat of a lawsuit or the act of a lawsuit is nearly the only way to get results these days because business and customers alike (or citezens/aliens) just don't want to take responsibility for their own actions anymore.

Regarding the merchant in question, for all I know he does have a filthy shop (I've seen many in my day, just watch Kitchen Nightmares) and if so, the correct response should be to clean it up before a health inspector arrives. Will he sue the health inspector for writing in a formal statement that the shop is filthy? But if it is clean and someone is making such accusations and customers decide to go elsewhere, perhaps a lawsuit is warranted if the perp refuses to make an apology.


Behind every great computer sits a skinny little geek.