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Comment But what about the damage done by parents? (Score 1) 239

They never seem to do studies about how the kids turn out who's parents were control-freaks and used things like "video games are evil" and "D&D is evil" and "pogs are evil" to force their kids into the line the parents want them to adhere to.

Admittedly, those are just the excuses those parents use, and as a society our approach seems to be "Well, kids are chattel, nothing we can do about it if their parents are horrible."

Comment Re:Configurability (Score 0) 513

A good AI (outside of some sort of drama-like context imposing constraints on what works) should be configurable, to have as much or as little subservience as you want. That's what ownership means.Your computer should do whatever you want it to.

Personally, I'd rather my daily interactions were mostly with people who don't get off on having slaves. Indeed, that is none of my business, but my experience is that just because something is none of my business doesn't mean that bigots in turn keep their opinions to themselves. I'm sure it's possible that people who beat their kids or pets can be perfectly fine co-workers and otherwise upstanding citizens, but I think it's more likely that they'll be consistent bullies in many areas of their life.

Comment It's never been better. (Score 2) 158

When I was in school, a typing/keyboarding class was a pre-req for the computer classes. It was not at all necessary, I did not _actually_ learn to touch-type until a decade later, and at that point I did it because I decided it was stupid to be looking at the keyboard when I should be looking at the code. But, you know, thank goodness I got to waste that semester on something which was basically useless and which was trivial to learn once I decided I needed it.

Later, the "computer" classes in school had a strong dollop of learning how to use a word processor of spreadsheet. Which may be valuable vocational skills, but they were like a "Math for Living" class when the people forcing everyone to take them thought they were getting "Algebra II".

Even later, it was how to create a webpage. Because HTML is certainly the future and we'll never have WYSIWYG tools to do the heavy lifting to let consumers build webpages easily.

And that's in primary and secondary levels. You can get college-level "Computer Science" degrees having only demonstrated the ability to wire other people's code together. Again, a valuable vocational skill, but _not_ computer science.

I'll give you two opinions about why this happens. First, being able to write code is no more nor less useful than being able to fix plumbing - when it's useful, it's wicked useful, but if that's not your job, you'll probably never develop enough expertise to solve problems you actually see, as opposed to hypothetical classroom problems. Second, the instructors at the primary and secondary level generally don't themselves have enough understanding of the topic to be able to successfully teach it. Which isn't a bad thing, because as I said, it's not a worthwhile thing for most people to develop an understanding of the topic.

Of course, in the end this isn't really much different from many other topics taught in schools. Most people don't ever need to analyze a work of fiction, or calculate the remaining angle in a diagram from the given angles. A big difference is that geometry in 2050 is going to be very similar to geometry in 1750, so you can productively teach the skill based on hundreds of years of doing it, and insofar as it is useful at all, it will continue to be useful. Most of the vocational computer-related stuff they teach today didn't exist 10 or 20 years ago, and much of it won't be useful in 10 or 20 years. The decades-old stuff which is still useful to me as a professional is the esoteric knowledge, not the applied knowledge.

Comment Thanks, Obama. (Score 0) 87

This is the most amazing thing I have ever heard! Scrapy is ... a thing, which ... does ... stuff, and now I can use things which do stuff with Python ... 3 is it? I can hardly contain my joy.

Comment Re:I guess it's easier... (Score 1) 425

How much exercise? What is the correct balance of food? What is the baseline and how do we adjust for age, height, climate, altitude and yes even ethnicity? These are the questions that should be addressed. One hugely effective thing that seems to be proven over and over again only to be immediately forgotten a month latter is that you need to time your meals with your circadian rhythm i.e. only eat at certain times of the day based op when you wake up and when you go to bed. These are the kinds of improvements on efficiency that the rest of us are looking for.

The right amount for you, which involves tracking your exercise and eating habits and looking at the results. If you want to gain weight, eat less than you have been eating, or exercise more than you have been exercising.

The entire point is that you can't build a calculator that will take everything into account. You have to treat yourself as an experiment of one.

Comment Doesn't even matter if they can see some things. (Score 3, Insightful) 49

In a world where the vast majority of people are _not_ out to get you, it simply doesn't matter if they could see some things in some cases. Maybe they're very good at it, so they see 10 true things bad guys are doing and 1 false thing bad guys aren't doing ... plus 100,000 false things good guys aren't doing. Insofar as you have corroborating evidence, the psychic evidence is probably not useful, and if you don't have corroborating evidence, the psychic evidence is too noisy to be actionable.

It would work well if your psychics where absolutely spot on almost all the time, like 99.99% (if you have many thousands of them), and they could do directed seeing so you could have them check each other. But, honestly, in that case a cabal of psychics would already run the world, either through being very wealthy or by being able to blackmail the people who actually do run the world.

Comment Re:Kids Ipad (Score 1) 540

I totally agree. Would you give your kid your credit card, pat him on the head and then send him to the arcade? That's what this clueless putz did.

I think this case is more like "Hey, I know your dad, go ahead and play and I'll put it on his credit card for you."

Except it's really more like "Billy, see that kid over there? Let him play anything he wants for free, even the expensive stuff, we can charge it to his dad."

A 7-year-old kid isn't going to have a strong idea of when things are too good to be true in the first place, and the app store is a mixture of completely free games which are fun and free-to-play games which are designed by experts to trick you into spending money. The default should be opt-out with a prompt, not opt-in with a non-obvious setting somewhere to disable things.

Comment Re:Okay (Score 1) 108

I laughed- if only the MS employees knew that this subversive OS was the one making them their morning coffee (the lifeblood of every corporation) they'd probably be up in arms about it. lol

Seriously? They are probably busy working on important things rather than worrying about whether every random doorknob and lightbulb in the world runs their OS.

Well, at least since Ballmer moved on. He'd have probably decreed no cream because the salesperson sent by the dairy used a Mac.

Comment It will be even worse than today. (Score 2) 279

Ten years ago, I was coding gnarly C++. Today it's even more gnarly because the projects are bigger and the problems more subtle. I think my only way out of this trap will be to make a conscious decision to stop, but even if I opt out, others will be in there doing the same basic stuff to make everything keep running.

The Objective-C knowledge I began developing in 1988 will probably be less useful in ten years, though. If you had asked me in 1995 if I would be intentionally avoiding Objective-C work in 2015 because of burnout, I would have laughed at you.

I hope that my Perl knowledge will be useless in ten years, but I fear that it will be the most lucrative system I know.

In the 80's, software-engineering was an optimistic industry, structured programming had helped so much, object-oriented programming seemed likely to make things easy, logic programming was going to automate a lot of stuff, we were going to move upstream to direct solvers and provers. Sometime in the 00's, everyone gave up and decided that optimism was overrated, software-engineering would never earn the "engineering" part, so instead let's just try to mitigate the vicious cycles to keep them from going too far foul. I think in ten years, things are going to look basically the same as today, with minor evolutionary additions, and we might even argue about whether things have changed enough to be worth talking about.

Comment Re:SQL Injection Trivial to Defend Against (Score 1) 193

Hiring a programmer who doesn't know how to eliminate SQL injection is like hiring a surgeon who doesn't know how to use a scalpel

I'd say it's like hiring a surgeon who doesn't wash their hands before operations. Even if they otherwise do a bang-up job, they could still screw things up.

[Though ... http://news.yahoo.com/clean-ha... ]

Comment Would it kill you to mention the vulnerability? (Score 2) 115

Is it so subtle and insidious that it is simply impossible to name? Or do you just not understand what you're reading?

[Here, let me give it a go: Basically apps blindly trust network input and let it run in their execution context.]

[[Though I suppose when you put it _that_ way, you can't spend your time implying that it's somehow Java's fault.]]

Comment The TSA isn't the scary part, here. (Score 1) 349

The scary part is that the various parties are complaining about the TSA's efficacy rate, NOT about whether the entire program is mis-guided. So the likely response is not "Oh, nevermind then", it is to give them more money and latitude to be more intrusive until they find more of the contraband.

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