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Comment: its why devs cringe. (Score 3, Insightful) 134

by nimbius (#47575953) Attached to: PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification
As a devops (christ i hate that word.) engineer, the fact that the lack of a formal specification was overlooked for 20 years has been and is currently a big red flag for any legitimate software project. It was the knee-jerk reaction to Jakarta/Tomcat/Struts and ultimately java based, head first strict-type coding that turned programming projects into concentration camps. It emerged during a period when programmers were still struggling to determine how to present content to users sustainably, instead of having to write the entire page in perl. IMHO this is too little too late.

This is entirely opinion, but having lived with web n.x for 15 years, Python has emerged a juggernaut to contend with in RESTful coding environments. it learned from PHP's mistakes and walked away from perl with a firm understanding of what made it uncomfortable from the debug standpoint. things like CherryPy, TurboGears, pylons and even pecan can turn a proof of concept in a day, and can easily and quickly be scaled across the infrastructure.

Comment: its only property when its the RIAA. (Score 4, Insightful) 106

by nimbius (#47573457) Attached to: Countries Don't Own Their Internet Domains, ICANN Says
whenever we need to seize a domain in the realm of the DMCA, ICE (immigration, customs enforcement) can and does SEIZE the domain, so it must in fact belong to someone. Domain registrars were forced across the country to de-list wikileaks often due to local circuit court judges on behalf of private entities, but mostly due to quiet pressure from the United States government against its payment card processors. .uk and .fm sites are managed by agents of their respective governments, as are .ru and .au, so it would be strange to insist a country manage, yet never own their TLD.

Offtopic i know, but another thing that strikes me as absurd is the lawsuit. "Plaintiffs who successfully sued Iran, Syria and North Korea as sponsors of terrorism" include who exactly? and of these plaintiffs how many are willing to admit they openly ignore their own governments sponsorship of terrorism? The suit seems rather silly.

Comment: theres no money in procedural rigour. (Score 0) 161

by nimbius (#47570411) Attached to: The Problems With Drug Testing
testing drugs is monotonous, time consuming work normally outsourced to college grad students. When these arent available, or are unwilling to accept such a droll assignment as part of their education, the task can and certainly is reassigned to members of the medical community desparate to regain good standing. Test subjects are often compensated at a level only seen as commensurate to an audience of the destitute. $250 to test a drug that at its worst can kill you, is quite a bargain for someone who hasnt seen shelter or a hot meal in a month. Finally, the nature of the drug generally has to be questioned.

In many countries Americas "breakthrough" drugs are categorically refused on the ground that they do no more than placebo, and are sometimes just too god damn dangerous. In the united states, all a pharmaceutical company needs to do is essentially demonstrate an overall level of safety, not the effectiveness of a given prescription drug to ensure its acceptance in the market. That drug is then paradoxically marketed directly to the public. Everything from asthma medication to narcotics for chronic pain and insomnia are presented to the end user and the question duly raised to them, "Ask your doctor is $DRUG is right/ok/good for you." The commercial is then interlaced with a laundry list of side-effects and dangerous if not outright fatal complications that can develop as a result of using the particular drug being marketed. Results from drug tests and studies are sometimes mentioned, but are always downplayed as "a small number of" or "users may rarely" in describing what exactly could come about as a negative consequence of using a particular drug. We dont test drugs to make sure theyre safe. We test them to make sure their safe enough not to damage the ROI and marketability of a drug by introducing too many outright fatal or debilitating side effects.

Comment: I'm calling bullshit. (Score 4, Interesting) 507

by nimbius (#47549443) Attached to: Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture
how do we get from prescription pain meds, to heroin abuse, and then back to Silicon Valley? this article is incoherent.

the pain medication abuse is largely impacting armed service veterans with chronic and debilitating ailments requiring decades of supportive therapy (including PTSD.) its increase is commensurate to the increase in injured veterans returning from 2 recent foreign wars and proportional to the level of service received in a privatized healthcare system. its easier to say "maybe you should just take pills forever" instead of prescribing cost-prohibitive specialists to diagnose and effectively treat the problem. Pills are also much more easily attainable than psychological and psychiatric counseling as every war we enter, ends with the military pretending PTSD and brain damage are new and exotic injuries never before seen.

The heroin epidemic is a byproduct of the housing collapse and unemployment, but arguably more tangible this time because we're not just incarcerating minorities. when you take everything away from someone, render them homeless and destitute without healthcare or shelter, and spend your evenings in the news media demonizing them then you arent permitted to question where or why this "heroin epidemic" came from. Its from the same culture that thinks ER visits are equivalent to healthcare for the destitute.

the silicon valley "drug culture" exposes what criminal justice and law enforcement have known for decades. narcotic use in low income and poor communities mirrors that of affluent communities. Arrest, sentencing and incarceration however are far easier if your target can only afford the public defender and never completed highschool. What San Jose and Silicon Valley are dealing with now is an epidemic of affluent drug convictions that will not just roll-over with an 11 year plea bargain and pound rocks at rikers to stuff the city treasury. These drug users have families, friends, participate in their community, and most importantly can afford to litigate disproportionate sentencing in order to force municipalities to retarget their efforts in a more fruitful direction. Namely, treatment, rehabilitation, education, and reform of existing drug laws.

Comment: still the vision of 9 years ago. (Score 4, Insightful) 149

by nimbius (#47548659) Attached to: Microsoft's Nokia Plans Come Into Better Focus
"thinking broadly about productivity" just means selling these things to business instead of the general public. Cobbling together a random conjecture about a common business technology, OCR, further serves to endow the commitment. Microsoft knows the only repeat customer for its services as the 21st century rolls along is going to be business.

But thinking that Nokia plays any part in this is rather odd. Microsofts purchase basically forced moody's hand to downgrade its bond status to junk only one year after the purchase. Windows phone was, again, a flop. Blackberry used Microsofts restructuring as a brilliant tactical strategy to make a comeback in the businessworld, when it should have been the other way around. So in the future most businesses will opt for blackberry in the field, and iPhone for the C-Levels. In response microsoft, as they have with Azure, will strap heavily discounted or free phones to business licenses which in turn will be purchased by management in an effort to maintain license discounts on what they do use; namely Windows. These phones will sit on IT workbenches and in random cubes until the batteries rot and the password is forgotten because what microsoft is offering is a solution to a problem that was solved almost a decade ago. Sales will increase, microsoft will pump their nokia stock until losses in other units become unsustainable again, and we'll all collectively groan as another wave of "restructuring" crashes to shore in an effort to convince investors the ship is still sailing.

Comment: the difference is in the definition. (Score 1) 154

by nimbius (#47546171) Attached to: Valencia Linux School Distro Saves 36 Million Euro

European governments can easily claim theyve saved money by switching to open source software, whereas its almost impossible for the american governments education system to do so. Why? because europeans consider employees a resource whereas american government considers its employees an expenditure or overhead.

extra IT and teacher training are considered an expense in america, whereas outsourcing to Azure cloud services means only having to pay the license. We factor pensions and holiday pay into the cost of an educational employee, and morosely enough consider excess vacation time a financial liability. that license fee represents avoiding the cost of all this, so while it might add up in the long term to larger costs, it wont cost nearly as much as 14 new IT staff and 11 new teachers..

Comment: putting OP's bullshit into context (Score 1, Interesting) 132

by nimbius (#47533663) Attached to: SLS Project Coming Up $400 Million Short
sure, the project is expensive but people need to understand there are immense differences between NASA's vehicle and the others. Not to mention all three companies are standing on the shoulders of a giant, NASA, and their projects are all dwarfed by what nasa is attempting to create.

SpaceX: hopefully delivering the CST-100 version 2, but honestly hasnt contributed a whole lot other than a sexy brand to the effort. CST100 was delivered by Boeing.
Boeing: not sexy, just practical. a design ripoff of many other NASA firsts, it is restricted to suborbital and cannot carry cargo.
Sierra Nevada: building what nasa did 30 years ago, this is designed for cargo and people. it is strictly suborbital.

NASA SLS: cargo, crew, suborbital, and interplanetary transport system. SLS is to be capable of lifting astronauts and hardware to near-Earth destinations such as asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and most of the Earth's Lagrangian points. SLS may also support trips to the International Space Station, if necessary.

Comment: this is also known by a different name (Score 5, Insightful) 198

A tale of two cities who subsequently found their mayors and city council ousted in the next election by a multi million dollar political campaign whos donors coincidentally happen to be in "battled attempts to create community broadband networks." These cities later rescind their request, disband the municipal network, and offer local cable companies a grant for unspecified improvements. cable rates increase, another batch of phone support goes to india, and somewhere, in a tropical land far away, a man on a yacht begins a tireless and agonizing journey into the wineroom to select an elusive vintage that can pair with both lobster as well as filet mignon.

Comment: most efficient? stop using cars. (Score 1) 138

by nimbius (#47529927) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?
If this car technology comes to fruition, the initial cost will likely place it in the realm of BMW and Mercedes owners for at least the first 5 years. net gains from it may only be realized 25 years down the road, and its ability to reduce carbon emissions or fossil fuel consumption at whatever scale its adopted will be dwarfed in comparisson to easier, more readily available technologies like light-rail, bicycles, and busses.

Im geneally cynical about efficiency in automobiles mostly due to empirical reasons. Americans have far more pervasive culprits in fuel consumption and carbon emissions than just aerodynamics. Excessive speed, where we consistently drive 15 or more miles per hour over the speed limit on highways, needlessly wastes gas and endangers drivers. Long commutes and low fuel economy standards for our most popular vehicles, trucks and the universally-scorned SUV, also hurt our contribution to fighting climate change. small engines like lawnmowers and weed-eaters that have no emissions system, and motorcycles that have had their original exhaust and catalytic converter/oxygen sensors removed are another side of the issue. Our emergency vehicles and construction equipment largely operates with zero emissions control or fuel economy standard. Finally, a general culture of wastefulness contributes to long idles in parking lots and gas stations as we exploit our transportation as a personal entertainment/climate controlled cocoon in which we emerge merely to take advantage of this weeks savings at WalMart.

Comment: the problem is not coding, but coding well. (Score 5, Informative) 368

by nimbius (#47518169) Attached to: 'Just Let Me Code!'
Anyone can write software, but to make it sustainable is a serious challenge. Ive worked at corporations where there was a coding standard that everyone "was expected to know" but it was never told to anyone on their first day (it turns out that was the oreilly perl best practices book.) Im currently working in a shop on a 15 year old application with a confetti development pattern that uses tomcat, jakarta, java, josso, struts, postgres and mysql, as well as a host of other malevolent and unsustainable technology with zero implementation docs and minimal code comments. I understand the love of coding, but as a greybeard i also understand the need for the managerial aspect of it as well so let me try to expound upon what it is we seek to do. im sorry if it comes across in an arrogant way.

standards, practices, limiting scope and clearly defining goals and objectives prevent redundancy and wasted human time, which lets me keep devs longer because im not constantly sandpitting them in your 'just let me code' app. competent documentation and a service framework with a specific workflow ensure your application can and is debugged in a timely manner when it breaks, meaning I dont drive you out of the company with mandatory 24/7 pagerduty. ITIL and SCRUM are designed to ensure you arent a permanent part of the application, and that I can rely on other teams to help support it if or when you decide to leave for your next job at $corporation. Status updates and progress reviews really dont help you though, they help me. I need this information because at my meetings I have to run defense for you, my star coder. I need to know dates, times, and what it is that you're doing because I translate that into simple english for people in charge of my departments expenditures. "hes just coding" is never an answer i can give to my superiors, because ultimately as a management droid im responsible for you. if something breaks, thats actually my fault. and it makes the entire team look bad, despite it just being your code. If there is an unexplained cancellation and I dont convey it to you, that is also my fault and i expect you to hold me accountable. We're a team.

I love creativity, i really do, because it means I've hired a good developer. Find a solution, write an application, code a system, but i fully expect you to design it and come up with a unique and functional way to make it the best. But unlike college, the things you do here will impact the company you're a part of for a long time. your code isnt just getting read-and-shred by the adjunct prof, its expected to perform a useful function for us and as such there are dramatically different standards and practices for how you need to code. im only sorry college doesnt teach this; it can be an uncomfortable awakening for many grads.

Comment: the evil they do is always front and center (Score 5, Informative) 190

by nimbius (#47517355) Attached to: The Department of Homeland Security Needs Its Own Edward Snowden
this is the do everything forever department created after september 2001 and designed to be an intractable part of the amorphous war on terror. to date its various wings include
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: so bogged down by congress it can barely stock the staplers and ink the stamp pads
U.S. Customs and Border Protection: charged with manning our immigration checkpoints that exist, paradoxically, nearly 100 miles inside our borders as well as directly upon them. congress pumps money into these guys, who cant seem to go more than a week without accidentally killing someone across the border.
Federal Emergency Management Agency: home of "secret death camps" for rabid neo-conservatives, and for the rest of us a red flag which completely exposed the bumbling incompetence of the DHS after Hurricane Katrina. their latest campaign has been telling people through billboards about the need to make an emergency plan. As if to tacitly admit theyre just as inept and meaningless as they were 9 years ago
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: packs undocumented immigrants into shanty camps, and really thats about it. Completely neutered after NAFTA for its customs enforcement, and just as paralyzed by congress. Arizona mistakenly began shipping their "illegals" to ICE facilities only to find ICE released them, as it isnt a magic button to get the sheriff re-elected.
Transportation Security Administration home of the freedom grope, these guys are highschool drop outs and police academy rejects itching for a reason to ruin your summer.
U.S. Coast Guard there is no conceiveable reason this agency should not be under control of the pentagon, or something more relevant to its mission, but this is the seventh department its been reassigned to since its creation and like the fat kid in gym class, it probably wont be very permanent.
National Protection and Programs Directorate purportedly does something with "cybersecurity" but its amorphous enough to land firmly in the camp of cabinet level private toilets designed to pitch federal tax dollars into. mostly a 2.5 billion dollar per year dole for government contractors.
U.S. Secret Service they guard the president and for some mind boggling reason, investigate counterfeit currency.

TL;DR: the DHS was designed with no one particular in mind. the first thing our president told us after 9/11 was to "go shopping" and in order to bolster that order from the commander in chief, the consumer confidence index in 2001 got its own department into which lands of home would ostensibly become secure as if by magic. its scope is so broadly defined and its mission so incongruent that it cannot possibly function in any meaningful fashion. Its not off-the-map like the NSA, rather, its largesse makes it incapable of escaping scrutiny.

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?