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Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 509

by mccabem (#47524639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?
They work side-by-side with the laywers...who you think pulled the leavers to allow the real estate bubble to form? Credit agencies are just the lawyer and banker attack dogs....simple as that. Real eestate agents are the salesmen....all the same organization, more or less.

The only upside is that the process is more public than it used to be and there is at least a modicum of oversight these days.

-Matt

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47504683) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
The author didn't call out a specific period as the old days, but I'm not sure how you got the 1930's out of it. (I was still talking about the article.)

The author refers to COBOL which casts a wide net of possible timeframes. But he also mentions VisualBasic in the same breath. Plus, I have to think he's conflating Visual Basic with BASIC. (I'm pretty sure this is even the specific era he's referring to.)

FWIW, they are not the same - the former ruined the latter so far as its intended purpose goes. A pure - and early - example of MSFT's embrace and extend (extinguish) strategy. Which is actually somewhat ironic since they had one of the best implementations of BASIC around back then: Microsoft BASIC.

The reason I'm pretty sure he's conflating is that VB is much later and only a footnote, and doesn't really overlap timelines with COBOL as BASIC did.

So based on the evidence, I'm sticking with 1980's until the author clarifies. ;)

Comment: Re:PPC macs were awful (Score 1) 236

by mccabem (#47487799) Attached to: Nearly 25 Years Ago, IBM Helped Save Macintosh

Macs didn't "make USB", they forced it on their users while giving a big "fuck you" to all of their old customers running anything else. It's not like the old stuff was horrible either (ADB, SCSI).

I'm sure they were out there (probably writing anti-Mac magazine articles), but I didn't know anyone with a Mac who looked back from the introduction of USB. It was superior in every way! It was mere months before I had all the USB adapters I needed...the parallel->USB converter I still use to this day and never - not once since it was first used on my Blue and White "Yosemite" G3 Mac - have I needed to load a driver for it. :) (Oddly, it did come with a driver CDROM.)

[...]

As far as "USB was everywhere on PC's" that's just wrong. At the time Apple switched over, 99% of PC users had never heard of a USB port. I know, I was managing a computer store at the time.

Confirmed! It was a long time before the PC people I know grudgingly started switching to USB. GRUDGING! No respect for something that's actually superior. ;)

Comment: Re:oh i agree... (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47487243) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
To make your analogy complete, all or most of those hammers would have to be so esoteric in design that a layman couldn't even tell where to put his hand!

When in fact, every one of those hammers is meant to be used by the layman! It takes experience (10,000 hours, some say) to become expert with any one of them!
Or to look at it another way, I can pick up a peening hammer and whack a nail in with it just fine. Wrong tool, wrong job, but I can make it work with almost zero instruction.

By contrast, I can't even tell you how to install modern programming environment, let alone how to program even BAD software with one! BASIC on the 8-bit computers was the opposite. Doing nothing more After hours (maybe minutes) of dicking with someone else's program in a magazine, after doing nothing more than turning on the device, you were able to create some interesting programs of your own!

Comment: Re:Totally bogus (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47487189) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

"The bigger injustice," Edwards writes, "is that programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication.

LESS TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE

Remember what Programming the PDP11 was like?

The perspective is supposed to be from that of the microcomputer revolution, which was to have ended that elitism of mainframe and minicomputer "once and forever".

Programming, as a field, is still (apparently) in lock-step with that elitism....evidenced all over this thread! LOL.

It must be very easy to imagine oneself as "An Elite Programmer" and one's programming problems as "the sum of Programming".

I'm a little surprised that it's so hard for so many folks - even if you ARE "elite" - to imagine the layman and his possible computing problems.

Comment: Re:"Rare talents"?! (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47487061) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

[...]Someone with an IQ of 100 can become a perfectly competent Java or C++ programmer with two years of intensive training.[...]

Every personal computer owner could be a computer programmer with from 2 hours to 2 weeks of training. Sometimes less!

I get what you are saying, but you're looking at the wrong paradigm and imagining the wrong use-cases.

I don't need to be a trained plumber to unclog the wife's bathroom sink drain once a month, or even to replace some of the basic plumbing fixtures in the house. If plumbing were like software developing, I would need to be - but not for safety, or any "good reason"...just because the tools themselves were so complicated to use!

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47487003) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
You've got it backwards and upside down.

The point is that you shouldn't have to be able to design an engine just to be able to drive a car. If you design your tool to be used only by an elite, then you've failed in the mission we're talking about.

And your example of the spreadsheet is actually a good one! Visicalc was created in the same spirit as BASIC. Not as a tool for a professional - there were already accounting packages and such for them - but one that would be easy enough for people to use even just to balance their checkbook. Which many did!

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47486967) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
If you happen to be that "very annoyed power user" then how about "the world doesn't have to revolve around you 365 days a year, you already have tons of tools to choose from, so shut your pie hole and wait for the next hundred programming articles that are just for you!" ;) I'm also sorry, if that's you, because that was a little harsh. ;) ;)

Specifically, BASIC was perfect for what it was....neither nerfed nor limited in scope. In addition to other features it had like instant-on, my "BASIC development environment" - an Atari 800 - was far more capable than my needs dictated and performed as expected (crash free). Something I can't say about any modern platforms....development or otherwise.

Of course there really are no modern parallels to built-in BASIC running on a bullet-proof old 8-bit computer like the Atari or Commodore.

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47486911) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
The entire universe of "development tools" has been catering to your (the "pro") every whim for decades and continues to do so....can you get over yourself for the span of one article on /.?

Just because you don't want to be an amateur programmer, doesn't mean nobody wants to. And just because you lack the imagination to see a use-case for amateur programming doesn't mean there are none.

LOL

Comment: Re:Cry Me A River (Score 1) 608

by mccabem (#47486895) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
If the mid-1980's is "the old days"...

...then all you had to do to program was own a personal computer and be able to flick an ON switch...

Bam: you're in a BASIC interpreter.

Source code for whole programs to copy or steal from were never further away than a magazine at the corner store.

As with any true art, the way I (and probably most) learned starting out was copying the work of others....programs were printed line-by-line for the express purpose of copying in most of the popular computer magazines of the day down at the corner drugstore. Compute! was my favorite, but there were a lot. You simply cannot get an experience of learning programming today that's this easy....there aren't any computers set up that way! First you have to set up your development enviro....wha??? Bye, bye amateurs! You have to become somewhat expert just to choose what language to begin with!

I coded plenty of my own apps for household use back then and probably would have continued if the amateur-programmer meme had not been swept up and lost in the zeitgeist. There was brief hope at the beginning of the Web Age that HTML could be a sort of second-BASIC or Hypercard, but the "pros" took over HTML in short order and HTML coding-tools were never integrated into any OS the way BASIC was a part of those old computers in the 1980's.

Web applications like TikiWiki.org are about the only hope now, but are still orders of magnitude more complex than getting into BASIC.

It's also remarkable how "us vs them" many of the commentators on this thread seem to be about a class of "amateur programmers" that hasn't existed in any real form since the late 80's/early 90's.

It's like a slightly comical form of gloating or something.

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