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Comment Re:Ban all NUKES NOW - accident waiting to happen (Score 2) 147

Then come back and talk about it once we have a world power grid in place.

Until then, the fact that central Wath Libya, Papunya Australia and Kayenta Arizona are perfect environments for generating massive solar power doesn't help people in Patlong Lesotho, Christchurch New Zealand or Bangor Maine.

It's what's known as "putting the cart before the horse".

Sure, small-scale stuff gets done. But not everyone can afford to drop the cash for a solar array or a wind turbine.
And not every place is suitable for doing so. Or should homeowners in Chicago be forced to climb out on their second and third story rooftops after a blizzard, risking life and limb, just to sweep off their panels? The main problem is that the current grid system(s) (PLURAL) simply aren't built for the sort of distributed input that renewables represents.

Fission nuclear power works NOW. And can tide us over on base load as we ramp up a modern power grid and increase renewables production to handle peak loads. Together, they can tide us over until we can perfect fusion or another form of clean power (vacuum energy extraction anyone?)

Comment Give me a choice (Score 1) 120

I wish I could request paper records. Some old systems are better than the replacement. I would rather not be entered into any electronic system.

The current electronic record systems are notoriously hard to use. Nurses and doctors end up copying and pasting and clicking through these systems with little regard to the accuracy of the data. As a result, when there is a lawsuit, the extremely poor data quality of the medical records ends up hugely supporting the plaintiff.

From a more basic perspective: when I'm the the dr.'s office watching them type in my heart rate and blood pressure and notes, I'm thinking that my data is going into a central records system somewhere in the hospital where everything is in one spot so that it is easy to steal when it is eventually all stolen ( more specifically downloaded by someone who doesn't even need to enter the building. ).

This is how databases work. They put all your eggs in one basket. Plus, you can't have openness ( e.g. the paramedics can get to your records in seconds after finding your driver's license so that they know your pre-existing conditions ) and strong security. The goal of electronic records, making it easy to let a long list of people from the pharmacy to the insurance company to the government "server you better", is completely inconsistent with data privacy. If I can log into a webpage and view my records, it is only a matter of time before those records are stolen.

Comment John Sculley? The guy who nearly killed Apple? (Score 3, Insightful) 118

Sure, the guy ran Pepsico for a while.

But his business management was so damn pedestrian that he took Apple from a growing company with a complete lock on the education and AV markets to an also-ran that became so afraid of innovation (mostly because Jobs had gone wild, running after any and everything, before that) that the company stagnated nearly to death.

He was okay as a brand manager. But absolute shit at actually LEADING the company and bringing forth new products.

Comment Re:MOOCs: my worst education experiences ever. (Score 1) 46

I was about to make the same arguments to see them already listed in this post.

Every single item that in the grandparent post appears to apply only to live and in person lectures. Long. Boring. Pacing unrelated to my personal comprehension speed - whether that was slow or fast. Unable to pause in the middle for any reason. The only thing I could take away was notes - assuming I could write down what was being shown on the board AND listen to the professor AND try to digest it all at the same time, all before they moved on and wiped the board clean.

None of them apply to video lectures which provides unparalleled freedom - as long as you're willing to take the initiative and follow through.

Comment Re:MOOCs: my worst education experiences ever. (Score 1) 46

Both forms require a lecturer who is good in his chosen medium, and more importantly, a student who is attentive and dedicated to learning. If you fail to provide both, you're going to have a bad time.

So I dismiss the idea that video can be 'boring and time intensive' offhandedly. So too may be normal lectures, to the student unprepared to dedicate themselves.

There are many flaws in in-person lecturing that video lecturing solves, the biggest of which is the 'pause', 'rewind', and 'skip ahead' buttons. With subtitles, we do away with accent/language issues. With online quizes and tests for comprehension, we get instant feedback and verification instead of continuing on to appease the 40-200 other students.

All of this, and we still allow for a question and answer via email, forum posts, or even live 'webinar' style office hours - with the benefit that the non-realtime questions and responses can be answered by a larger body of people (professor, ta, other students) without interrupting the lecture, and in a way that maximizes information density.

It may not be the most efficient mechanism when trying to teach a given high quality student, but it provably is if you ever mix even a single lowest common denominator student into any class.

Comment The romance of the code ninja (Score 4, Insightful) 108

- Silently checking in 12000 lines of code in the middle of the night and leapfrogging the entire development schedule by months.
- Spending 72 consecutive hours at the keyboard, sustained by caffeinated drinks and a desire to produce an end product that will make your users - and other programmers say 'Wow!'
- Delving into the voodoo and deep magic of a system, consuming it all and spitting it back out with ease, and being regarded with awe by your peers.

Yeah, these are awesome. The Story of Mel was an early encouragement to me; between it and the movie Tron, it put me on the path to being a software developer.

Lots of folks pointed out pro- arguments, so I won't cover those, but there are an awful lot of cons. 20 years plus into my career, I'm seeing some fatal flaws.

The first is the Bus Factor. A solo developer, whether in a group or not, does not facilitate the dispersal of knowledge. There's a difference between documentation - even the elusive technical documentation - and knowledge, and that gulf widens with each feature, bugfix, and release. In my experience, when a solo developer leaves - for whatever reason - it's often easier to start from scratch than try to maintain their software.

That leads us to the next issue, maintainability. As was described above, a solo developer can skip quite a bit; coding style, documentation, modularization, naming schemes, readability, unit testing, automated build and deployment, and so on. I've had to take over so many projects in my life that required more time to set up a working build and test environment than they did to fix the error I had been brought in to tackle. I used to carry a pack of cd's with precompiled versions of sed, awk, as, and other tools for various *nix platforms (and versions of those platforms) because these were often not just pre-requisites for the often complex script-based builds, but often only came in for-pay packages that weren't on the machine I was expected to work off of. I had a set of about 30 just for HP-UX alone (because you have no idea which version-specific behavior a given build relies on). Put it this way: every build required a port.

Of course, it's not just other people's code. I'd come back to something I wrote a year prior and it'd be horrible.

"Why did /THEY/ do this? Wait ... did I do this? Geeze, I USED to write bad code." - me, every. single. time.

I have a theory that only constant modifications to code keeps away the gremlins that cause bitrot. Leave a piece of code alone for a month, no commits (assuming you're even using version control), and they come in and crap all over your beautiful hacks and graceful architecture, rendering it just barely capable of doing what it was designed to do, and sometimes not even that. Yet, you write your code as if a team will handle it, losing most of the benefits of being a solo dev, and it's usable when you come back to it later.

Communication is next, and it ties into the maintainability above, but on a software development lifecycle level. When someone is silently making architectural changes and off doing their own solo thing, sure, they get a lot done. When you're completely by yourself, that's fine. What happens though, when you're doing solo development in a large company? Suddenly there's no code reviews, no understanding of department or organization architectures, or even just updates to them. Your code usually stands on the back of a whole architectural stack, and without two-way conversations, it isn't guaranteed to hold up. It's not just that you might accidentally reinvent the wheel - it's that you could do it wrong and limit the application (or have it die) later, with an expensive to fix systemic issue. Documentation fits in this category too - and why do documentation when you're a solo dev? You can always answer any question, right? You're available 24/7, so your users and other devs shouldn't need it ...

QA is another huge issue. It's very well established that the worst QA engineer is the developer that wrote the code to be tested. Even with tools giving you 100% code coverage, you're probably missing significant permutations just in your unit tests. Assuming you even do any of that. After all, as a solo developer, even unit tests lose most of their value - no code is modified outside your purview so you don't have to worry about regression or integration bugs, and there's no need for tests-as-requirement-documentation, since there's no need for documentation. All that's before we get to system, workflow, or use-case testing.

The last big con has to do with scaling. It's not that a single user can't manage a large codebase. It's that attention is a finite resource. What attention we apply to one set of features is necessarily removed from others. We can only keep so much in the front of our brain at a time, and often I see the solo developer fumble when it comes to interface/api interactions, thread management and synchronization, and other systemic problems.

So, yeah, I'm drawing a distinction between a solo developer who writes code like a solo developer and gains the benefits and detriments associated therein versus a solo developer who writes their code as if someone else is going to read it and eschews all the possible advantages. Personally, I feel everyone is better off if they'd be the latter, rather than the former, but I think the only way people understand this is via experience.

Comment Re:The Homer! (FP?) (Score 3, Informative) 380

Agreed - a bluetooth connection is all that is really needed, with maybe the ability to act as a larger remote screen (or device mirror) for what's on the phone (for GPS and etc).

Come to think of it, I can buy an aftermarket kit that does that now... (yeah, this one is double-DIN in height, but so is my existing car stereo kit.)

So why buy a car that will have this built-in (and will become obsolete in less than 10 years) when I can just buy a kit that fits into my car now? Hell, I could bolt this under the dash of an old 1960's era car if I wanted to...

Comment Re:The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 380

Yes and No.

First, I agree perfectly with regards to Fiorina... I wouldn't let her run a gas station, let alone the Oval Office (and note that you and I share vastly differing ideologies and politics).

Second, I don't think Cook will become another Sculley. First off, Cook spent well over a decade under Jobs' tutelage, and likely ran the release of the iPad (not sure, but it's a real good guess). Sculley on the other hand was dragged in from a totally unrelated industry after Jobs got the boot, so the leadership shift was abrupt and way out of line with what Jobs had built.

Comment Re:The Homer! (FP?) (Score 1) 380

Then Microsoft bailed them out to avoid anti-trust problems.

Incorrect - Microsoft coughed up the cash because they were facing a massive copyright infringement lawsuit that they would surely lose, and took the settlement way out.

Here's the relevant bit:

Here are some backstory that recasts the myth in a different light:

Microsoft's $150 stock investment was the result of a settlement of a lawsuit. In fact, the investment was just an initial payment for other "substantial balancing payments" that would be spread out over then next few years, then Apple CFO Fred Anderson said at the time.

The exact amount of the settlement is still unknown as far as I am aware. I've seen estimates from $500 million to more than $1 billion.

The two companies would cross-license all their existing patents, and any new patents that would become available during the next five years.

That Apple would make Internet Explorer the default browser for the Mac. If this seems strange, then understand that it meant that Microsoft would support IE for the next 5 years, during a time when IE was the primary browser on the market and when sites were designed specifically to support it.

What was this legal action that gave Apple so much leverage over Redmond? It was a strange one: the Apple Computer v. San Francisco Canyon Co. lawsuit.

Comment Re:Worst outcome? Social. All the fucking prudes. (Score 1) 361

Again, I have no problem with "private" judgements. Honestly, I'm not exactly enamored of most of the people who used the site myself.

My problem is with a select subset who're actively getting their jollies from the fact that people are being caused pain (and not just the AM subscribers), losing their jobs, etc.
My problem is with the select subset that thinks it is "okay" to climb a pulpit and scream their neighbors' sins, generally acting as if they're sin-free, meanwhile completely glossing over the fact that they're no better.

They're the neighbor who's constantly peeping over the fence, into windows, and listening at doors.

I'm not saying I'm pure as the driven snow.

I'm saying I detest such buttinskies as much, OR MORE, than I do cheaters. Probably more, because cheating is a flash in the pan. Big explosion and then it kinda peters out.
Nosy, judgmental hypocrites are pretty much ubiquitous.

Comment Re:Worst outcome? Social. All the fucking prudes. (Score 1) 361

It'd be nice if people would actually learn to fucking read.

I've already said, multiple times, that cheating isn't okay.

But neither is screaming about your neighbor's sins from a bully pulpit.

Glass houses, two wrongs not making a right.

Etc, etc.

And I noticed that you safeguarded yourself behind an AC post.

Why? You have nothing to hide, don't you?

Comment Re:Worst outcome? Social. All the fucking prudes. (Score 1) 361

Sorry, I was brought up to believe that what went on with adults in their private lives was just that. Private.

Was what these people did "right"? In many cases, no.

But there's NOBODY who's straight and moral and upright all the time. Sorry. NOBODY.

So, I say again, people who live in glass houses shouldn't be chucking rocks.

Comment Re:Worst outcome? Social. All the fucking prudes. (Score 1) 361

I made my point.

On one hand, cheating is, of course, wrong.

But nobody elected you, or any of the hackers or other shitty fucking people who're happy these people are suffering now, as arbiters of The Right.


If you don't like that, the only problem here is YOU.

Once you have your own glass house in order, THEN, maybe you can start bleating about "wrong" and chucking rocks.

I didn't say only perfect people can criticize.

I'm saying that the people who ARE criticizing have no business doing so. PARTIALLY because they're at LEAST as much of a sack of shit as the people they're castigating.

Mind you, these are people who are ACTIVELY getting their jollies off human suffering, self-inflicted or otherwise.

As for "stop being an idiot". You first. Demonstrate some of that upright moral character you are intimating you have.

And no, saying that I disagree with people who're getting their jollies off screaming about their neighbors' sins is NOT the same thing as defending those people.

Take a fucking rhetoric class.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll