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Comment: Flawed article (Score 1) 425

by pauljlucas (#49620345) Attached to: The Programming Talent Myth
Ultra-marathon running is used for an analogy. The thing about running in any race is that nobody else is affected by one's running ability. If one is a mediocre runner, one doesn't negatively affect one's co-runners; nor the quality of one's product (because there isn't one); nor the profitability of one's company (because there isn't one of those either); nor the satisfaction of one's users or the security of their data (because there aren't users either). Hence, it's not clear that running is a good analogy.

There are also some careers where nobody wants a mediocre practitioner. When one's freedom is on the line, nobody wants a mediocre lawyer; when one's life is on the line, nobody wants a mediocre doctor. Therefore, why should it necessarily be the case that companies would want mediocre programmers? Some programming does have life on the line: software in cars, planes, nuclear reactors, or Therac-25 radiation machines; or people's or company's finances: software in banking or stock trading.

There are also some careers where you simply can't succeed at being mediocre, for example any kind of research scientist: if you don't publish good work (and have the kind of innate ability to enable you to do good work so you can publish), you simply won't succeed. How do you we know whether programming is the kind of job where one can be mediocre and succeed?

I've interviewed lots of candidates, many of whom claim N years experience in language X. I'm often stunned at how much many don't know -- stuff that anybody who completes a CSX101 or algorithms or data structures course should know. Is that mediocre?

Comment: Re:Misleading assertions (Score 3, Informative) 188

by pauljlucas (#49206393) Attached to: The Origin of Life and the Hidden Role of Quantum Criticality

Why are we carbon based and not silica based? Either works just fine.

No it doesn't. If you do the chemical equations for respiration using carbon, you end up with CO2 as a waste product that's easy for an organism to get rid of since it's a gas. If you substitute silicon for carbon, the equations still work but you end up with SiO2 as a waste product -- sand -- a solid that's pretty much impossible for an organism to get rid of.

Comment: Re:Maybe this is good! (Score 1) 325

If the ability to add an SD card is a feature you want and, after reading Apple's specs, you discover that Apple devices don't accept SD cards, you should simply not buy an Apple device. While the merits of the other aspects of the lawsuit are debatable, the lack of SD card support isn't. Nobody put a gun to these people's heads to buy an Apple device.

Comment: Re: Stupid (Score 1) 130

by pauljlucas (#48415371) Attached to: Sony To Take On Netflix With Playstation Vue

Just use cash, its infinitely easier than all this nonsense.

Before heading out, you have to check whether you have enough cash on hand. If not, you have to stop by the ATM. To pay, you have to pull out your wallet and look through it for the required bill(s). If you pay with large bills, the cashier may opt to examine the bills carefully to ensure they have the necessary security measures signifying that they're genuine currency.

If you choose to pay the exact amount, you also have to pull out coins and pluck out the required ones. If you didn't use coins, then the cashier has to give you change back. You have to accept the change putting the coins in one place and the bills, if any, in another. You should also count the change to ensure the cashier gave you the correct amount.

Yeah, that's so much easier.

Entropy isn't what it used to be.

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