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Comment: She might be chubby, but she's fit! (Score 1) 192

by nick_urbanik (#48956815) Attached to: Perl 6 In Time For Next Christmas?

but Perl is that slightly chubby girl with the wry smile that is always reliable and willing to go to the dance with you.

Perl still runs fast.

And, before running, detects typing mistakes in variables when you "use strict;" (which, of course, your editor automatically inserts). Python has this little problem that such mistypings are still a run-time error. When the code that uses them executes. Oh the horror.

Comment: Good luck with that, Duke. Another case study. (Score 1) 320

by nick_urbanik (#48372441) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

I worked in a computing department in a college that had a lecturer from a particular university co-located, sitting close to my desk. I was interested in plagiarism management, and was using the Moss system from Berkeley together with code I had written to manage plagiarism in an unofficial way in my programming classes.

Official paths were blocked at my college by a rule requiring expulsion and exclusion for a minimum of two years, so plagiarism "did not happen" there due to this "death penalty", so I was on my own.

The lecturer from that university told me about efforts to clamp down on plagiarism exceeding two-thirds of first year computer science students at his university. The head of the school at his university announced the initiative to punish those that were identified as guilty. The students demanded each have a proper hearing, and students from the law faculty offered to help in the representation of these hundreds of students. In the hearings, students were demanding compensation from the university for loss of their intellectual property due to the "obvious lack of security" of the assignment submission system. There were other, more complex and more imaginative defences. There were few lecturers and staff to represent the school, and unending numbers of students, each requiring a minimum of a 45 minute hearing, with appeals and other procedures demanded in addition. The lecturer told me that the head of school backed down, admitting defeat.

Let's hope Duke has a more positive outcome.

Comment: What Keeps You Off Windows in 2013? Freedom! (Score 1) 1215

by nick_urbanik (#43951457) Attached to: What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?
Windows comes pre-installed with loads of crapware to make money for the OEM.

I hate that.

Linux comes unencumbered with Digital Restrictions Management, without the need to paff around with anti-virus software.

All the software on my Linux system comes with source code. I can change that. I can fix it when it breaks for me. I can share my changes with any one else. I'm not stuck with hanging on the phone sending the vendor data I know they won't need to solve the problem. I love all that freedom.

Comment: Re:But who are their competitors? The Gimp! (Score 1) 658

by nick_urbanik (#43651587) Attached to: Adobe Creative Suite Going Subscription-Only

The Gimp is software that I am now happily familiar with, and want to improve my knowledge of.

I buy books to learn more about how to do things I want to do with the Gimp.

My hope is that money will become available to pay Gimp developers to more rapidly produce such wonderful things as the GEKL support and make the Gimp more useful to professionals as well as people like me.

Comment: None of the above; it depends... (Score 1) 262

by nick_urbanik (#43502591) Attached to: Who should have the most input into software redesigns?

I can't vote here.

If someone is paying me, then they get to say what will change. I might tweak it to do something that helps others, especially if it helps the work that pays me. And I always aim to do it right. But if no one is paying me, then the most important input is from me. If other people want something implemented, I will always listen.

But that is all obvious, isn't it?

Comment: Release many times daily: testing and automation (Score 1) 182

by nick_urbanik (#41626217) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Often Do You Push To Production?
We usually make several production releases every day. We have a complete configuration management system (conform) that totally automates building a server and releasing software. We have a complete dev environment and two test environments. We test code in pre-production first. But the key is our automation. It automates releases and rollbacks. Without complete automation (and competence), we would be submerged in paper work and bleary-eyed midnight releases like other teams in the company.

Comment: Re:Laugh (Score 1) 133

by nick_urbanik (#41108285) Attached to: Robot Learning To Recognize Itself In Mirror

Your brains are not special

It never ceases to amaze me how many so easily dismiss the difficulty of replicating the ability of even animal brains to control their own motion. To replicate all the abilities of the human brain is something that some young slashdotters too easily dismiss as within the reach of their peers (though not within their own personal reach).

Comment: Re:lots of options (Score 1) 195

QuickBooks has scary limits built in. They suck you in with the entry price, but at some point if your business is successful and actually has multiple customers, you will exceed the built-in limits. Then it's time to upgrade. Not "it's time to think about upgrading" you have to upgrade right away because you have exceeded the limits and the version of QuickBooks you bought won't work any more. Expect to spend several thousand dollars.

LWN documents this happening.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor