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Comment Difficulty (Score 5, Insightful) 258 258

Windows 3.1 was so complicated that even a Boeing propulsion scientist couldn't figure out how to open a word processor.

What a useless statement. An astrophysicist might have had a difficult time setting his VCR to record All My Children while he was away at work. Just because someone is an expert in one field doesn't make them all-knowing.

Raymond has also posted several articles about the history of the Explorer interface, including one about the origin of the Start Button and one about the taskbar.

Comment Re:4%...?!? (Score 3, Insightful) 257 257

I didn't even finish reading the poll options when my eyes caught the Cowboy Neal option at the bottom -- all other choices were instantly made invalid! But yeah, I was also disheartened to see only (now) 5% chose it :(

But still, celebrate! Netcraft confirms it: Ding Dong, Dice is Dead! Call up Natelie and tell her to heat up some grits.

Or something like that.

Now just get rid of these asshat in-line polls and put them back on the sidebar where they belong!

Comment Re:Autistic-friendly business environment (Score 1) 36 36

I was going to point this exact thing out, so it's great to see you already did.

Reading that list astonished me, because it's such a perfect description for how I wish my workplace was. And yet, when I say I wish it was quieter so I can focus on programming, I'm asked why I hate teamwork and collaboration and am told just to wear headphones.

Comment Re:While they're at it, let me boost the volume. (Score 2) 151 151

I am sick and tired of videos at "max volume" capping out at around 20% of my system volume. I can't hear shit. Why does this keep happening, and why am I unable to find a more powerful volume control than the standard system one?

For Windows, if the media is coming from Flash, you might check and see if the Flash application volume got turned down. This happens to me on an irregular basis -- I will adjust it up and then at some point it gets turned way back down to around 5%.

If the Flash and Firefox application volumes are up, the system volume is up, and your physical speaker knob is up, then it could be the media was simply recorded very poorly or maybe your soundcard drivers have yet another volume you can adjust.

Comment Re:The next great copyright scam (Score 2) 93 93

Then why should it get a benefit of a monopoly rent and free government support at the expense of free expression?

For the same reason that you get it, when it comes to your own works.

What kind of a reason is that? It sounds like you're saying that we should just set limits based on whatever the greediest want -- after all, it means it applies to everybody, so it must be fair, right?

There's a phrase for that: tragedy of the commons. Our shared culture, of which creative works are a large part, is being gobbled up and locked away behind effectively infinite imaginary property laws. Just because anybody can do it doesn't make it right or acceptable.

Comment Re:Funny (Score 1) 172 172

Oh, I agree if we're talking about some kind of major.minor.revision version number system. Stuff like Firefox doing just integer version numbers makes the version pretty useless for anything other than putting on your webpage in a big font size.

The Windows thing is just build number, which generally is completely meaningless when it comes to compatibility checks or that kind of thing.

Comment Re:Funny (Score 4, Interesting) 172 172

It's Windows 10 and the build number for the RTM is exactly 1024 * 10, and it takes 10 bits to reach 1024.

It's something of a tradition for Windows releases to have cute build numbers.

Windows 95: 950
Windows 98: 1,998
Windows 98 SE: 2,222
Windows ME: 3,000
Windows 2000: 2195 (the NT folks tried to stay boring)
Windows XP: 2,600
Windows Vista: 6000
Windows 7: 7,600
Windows 8: 9,200 (they wanted it to be 8,888, but that is not a multiple of 16).

Windows 10 being 10240 is certainly cute, being 10 * 2^10.

But I wouldn't get too worked up over it. As Raymond says:

There’s not much point in trying to “conserve” build numbers. They’re just numbers. They don’t cost anything. The important thing is that no two builds are given the same build number.

Comment Re:MUMPS, ancient and rarely used (Score 3, Insightful) 166 166

I have a doctor friend who, before becoming a doctor, was a CS grad. He's in his 50's now. When I told him we hired someone from Epic Systems that knew MUMPS, he exclaimed, "They still use that?! MUMPS was going out of style back when I was an undergrad!"

Yep, and MUMPS is still used at Epic, though they call it M and claim to have made customizations and improvements to it. I was offered a job there a few years ago and they go to great expense to attract recent graduates with high starting pay (more than $84,000 in Wisconsin), unbeatable benefits including the most amazing health care plan I've seen, and a pretty cool campus.

Unfortunately it wasn't enough for me to overcome moving to Madison, working long hours, and (most importantly) becoming an expert in an all-but-dead language. When I investigated career paths at the time, the only path MUMPS offers appeared to be (1) work at Epic for a couple of years and then (2) consult for Epic's products for the rest of your career.

If you want to see the very worst 1966 has to offer today:

A Case of the MUMPS
MUMPS Madness
Revenge of MUMPS Madness!

It's kind of like the worst parts of COBOL, Javascript and PHP were all mixed together and then baked at 400* until charred and smoking.

Comment Re:Most Important (Score 2) 485 485

First things first: We have to make sure that no banker ever loses so much as a Euro, no matter how bad the investment. That's primary in this deal.

That's what really bothers me about this whole thing -- it's a reminder that Big Finance no longer needs to evaluate the risk of their investments because they'll never again be held accountable for them. Listening to the coverage of the Greece problems gave me flashbacks to the subprime mortgage crisis, among others. Letting bad investments bite these mega-corporations in the ass isn't even on the table.

I try to empathize with the Greek people, since the majority of them are probably being dragged through this due to no fault of their own, but I honestly hoped the EU wouldn't have come to an agreement, and Greece would just have to default on all the loans and declare insolvency. Even that probably wouldn't have put any real burden on the big investors (oh, the IMF owns the colessium now? how nice), but I'm sick and tired of bad investments only being bad for Joe Taxpayer (or in this case, Hans Steuerzahler).

Comment Re:Fuck McAfee (Score 1, Insightful) 75 75

I already have security esstentials and ClamAV and one other one that I don't quite remember right now (bitdefender?) installed. I figured it couldn't hurt to add another one.

Poe's Law strikes again...

Installing one anti-virus suite is a questionable decision. Two is moronic. More than that and you probably should stick to a LeapFrog.

Comment Re:I remember... (Score 1) 208 208

Firefox's plugins are both it's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness. The "API" isn't really an API at all, it's just Javascript running in the browser process where it can hack about with the UI. It's extremely insecure and prone to conflicts, or breakage as the UI changes.

And with great power comes great responsibility.

Addons have nearly unlimited control over the browser, allowing them to do all sorts of amazing and useful things. Part of the price of this is a flexible framework -- using Javascript inside the browser's context instead of some limited DSL or something -- and another part is a more fragile connection to the user interface -- directly creating and manipulating XUL via the DOM -- which really isn't horribly fragile since they've pretty good about keeping element IDs and class names for a long time.

Security between addons isn't an issue, since they're intentionally not sandboxed from each other (and that wouldn't even make sense). Keeping them isolated from web pages is simpler, since that's already required for core browser functionality. The biggest issue is making sure addons themselves don't expose the user (such as Greasemonkey's unsafeWindow), but again, that comes at the expense of the power that addons can wield.

at the expense of requiring add-ons to be rewritten.

This would kill Firefox, so they will never do it, and I'm fine with that. We would undoubtedly get something worse than we have now (e.g., Chrome's limitations).

Comment Re:My Plans for Firefox (Score 1) 208 208

They should have done nothing.

Completely agree, and it's what makes me more angry than anything else related to the mess that is Firefox today.

They utterly discarded their core user base, the people who loved and brought the browser to the point it was, chasing some pipe dream of market share percentage points. They became convinced that trying to maintain that share was more important than anything else, and so, like an anorexic person, went on a self-destructive rampage trying to achieve that impossible and truly undesirable goal.

Firefox should have let Chrome cater to simpletons, if that's the direction Google wanted to go. We now have four(ish) primary browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE/Edge -- all of which seem to be made for the clueless. All the edges have been sanded down, extra buttons and knobs removed, and privacy only an afterthought. Instead of a bright standout in that lineup, Firefox is just another loser, trying to blend in with the "cool kids".

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde