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Comment: Yes, but not for the sake of playing (Score 1) 168

by msobkow (#49753613) Attached to: Video Games: Gateway To a Programming Career?

Video games got me into computers because I decided I wanted to program a version of "Space Invaders" for the TRS-80 Model I, Level I.

I wrote an intro screen in BASIC, but it was too slow.

So I taught myself machine code and POKE'd it into memory, and got the intro screen working.

I never did finish writing the game, but I learned a lot about the basics of programming and how computers worked.

From that 14-year-old project, I was hooked; taking Computer Science in University became an obvious choice.

Comment: Re:I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 263

by msobkow (#49750317) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

Well, one thing is for sure. Sitting on your arse for three years won't teach you ANYTHING of value for your next job.

Research the market. Pick something. With three years, pick several things. Try. Learn. Do.

The world isn't going to just hand you a career on a silver platter -- you have to take responsibility for your own life and develop your own skills. You have to make decisions, and take responsibility for them.

Comment: Re:I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 263

by msobkow (#49750271) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

People who are confident in their own ability and who are willing to learn from their mistakes appreciate honesty.

It's only the pathetic little whining "everyone gets a trophy" kids who think it's "mean" or "cruel" to tell someone the truth.

If you want a trophy for mediocrity, go back to elementary school. This is the real world. You can fail; you WILL fail; and how you DEAL with failure is more a measure of your professionalism than your "'733T skillz."

Comment: Java is just a tool like any other language (Score 4, Interesting) 376

by msobkow (#49750165) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

No language is inherently good or evil in and of itself (save for PHP, which is evil incarnate.)

It is simply a tool for expressing logic. A means of structuring data.

Some are elegant for certain classes of problems, some are abused to fit problem sets they aren't suited for.

The sole benefit of Java to me is it's portability for core logic, even though I know that once you're dealing with user interfaces and heavy duty multi-threading, there are "write once, test everywhere" problems with the language.

Java isn't even predictable on my Linux box. It randomly crashes for no apparent reason while running code that has run cleanly thousands upon thousands of times in the past. Yet after years and years of successful runs of my pet project (, I had Java 7 on Ubuntu crash a couple weeks ago during a run. The compiler itself crashes on a regular basis; several times per week.

As to why all the Java articles lately? Oracle's "Java World" conference is coming up, so it's time to beat the drums, sacrifice the sheep, and burn the entrails on the altar of the language. The high priests are out in droves preaching the gospel.

Comment: That's important here in Canada, too (Score 3, Interesting) 65

by msobkow (#49747071) Attached to: Australian ISP Offers Pro-bono Legal Advice To Accused Pirates

Although the copyright holders can send out threatening letters here in Canada, they're not allowed to collect the thousands of dollars that they do for "infringement" in the US. They're only allowed to collect *actual* damages.

So if you're a "leech" and just download without sharing later, they can only claim the loss of one copy. If you shut off your torrent after uploading to a 1:1 ratio, they can only claim loss of one copy.

It really takes the wind out of their sails and their idle threats if you know that fact and can respond to them appropriately. Their claims that you could be subject to "thousands" of dollars of damages is absolute BULLSHIT under Canadian law.

Comment: I hate to tell you this (Score 1) 263

by msobkow (#49746171) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

I hate to tell you this, but I wouldn't hire you no matter what "skills" you try to pick up in two months time.

You knew the project would finish someday, yet you spent three years content to sit on your arse and while away the time on the current project instead of learning something new at home on your own time.

You dropped the ball. You didn't plan.

And because you don't plan ahead, I wouldn't want you.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (2) Thank you for your generous donation, Mr. Wirth.