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Comment: Re:Incredibly wise advice (Score 1) 120

by stonewolf (#47761829) Attached to: The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

Your first point is very very true and is exactly what I did. Kids are worth the cost. Sure, I would be a multimillionaire if we had not had kids, but what the hell. Not getting married may be a good idea but I have been married for 37 years to an ME and that is a wonderful way to spend your life.

TheGrumpyProgrammer

Comment: Re:nah, how many jobs pay you to take online class (Score 1) 157

by stonewolf (#46913863) Attached to: Kids To Get the Best CS Teachers $15/Hr Can Buy

Not very long ago... 20 years or so, all employers paid technical empolyees to take classes. The classes were even often taught at the companies location. Local colleges would send full professors to teach classes that started just after the close of business so that they were convenient for the workers. It was normal to give employees time off during the day to take day classes. The employees were oftern paid for time and the employer allways paid for the tuition, books, and lab fees.

Technical employess used to be considered a valuable asset. Now they are not.

Stonewolf

Comment: Re:A sputnik moment?? (Score 1) 157

by stonewolf (#46913793) Attached to: Kids To Get the Best CS Teachers $15/Hr Can Buy

"Sputnik moment" I do not think it means what they think it means. I turned 5 years old just a few days before Sputnik was launched. My father, who was in the invasion fleet on the way to Japan when the only nuclear bombs used in war were dropped, was working at the Hanford plant in southeast Washinton making plutonium for more nuclear bombs. For a family outing we went out and watched a simulated nuclear explosion.... That is what my life was like when Sputnik showed up in the sky.

Sputnik meant that suddenly every point in the US was subject to nuclear destruction with no warning. The level of fear was so high you could walk on it. For the rest of his life my father kept a survival kit in the trunks of his cars because he knew that the only hope you had for surviving a nuclear war was to be far enough away from where the bombs come down Burrowing under ground was just a way to bury yourself.

A "Sputnik moment" is a moment when every little bit of security you thought you had disapears. I suspect the people of Boston had a minor "Sputnik moment" when the bombs went off. The fear and anger I saw after 911 as not 1% of what the US experienced when sputnik appeared in the sky. The fear and anger were backed by huge frustration because unlike 911 we could not invade the USSR because we did not want to try to survive a nuclear war. Instead of spending time and money destroying them we spent the time and money making sure that if they tried to destroy us, we WOULD destroy them.

Stonewolf

Comment: Re:sputnik moment? (Score 1) 157

by stonewolf (#46913431) Attached to: Kids To Get the Best CS Teachers $15/Hr Can Buy

Back when I got my BSCS in the '70s CS and all other engineering students were allowed to take any upper division business classes they wanted to no matter if they had the prerequisites or the 3.5/4.0 GPA required for business majors to take the same classes. In other words, the business department comsidered a sophomore in engineering to be superior to a senior in their own department.

At that time a BSCS required work equivalent to a doctorate in buisness. Even with the dramatic reduction in the requirements for CS degrees since then a BSCS is still the equivalent of at least an MBA. Not to mention that most people consider a 50 year old MBA to be highly experience while a 40 year old code monkey is considerred to be over the hill and good only for checking reciepts at the door at Sam's Club.

So, yes, why would anyone bother to train to be a code monkey these days? I made sure my kids did not make the same mistake I made...

Stonewolf

P.S.

I would gladly take $15/hour to teach CS. I've even taken the courses and passed all the tests to be able to do just that. Guess what? Public schools do not want MEN to teach classes. They especially do not want MEN who expect to be treated like humans. But, if they would allow me to teach I would happily do it for $15/hour because that is better than the $0/hour I can make as a 61 year old software engineer.

Comment: Re:Proof that capitalism doesn't work (Score 1) 163

Ruining it? You must be joking.... Or, merely naive? Forcing AT&T to increase performance while decreasing price might, must might, reduce their profit margin from nearly infinite to something you can compute with long double precision. Remember AT&T used to make over 1200% profit on caller-id. And that was computed using the special accounting rules that only AT&T and the baby bells get to use.

Comment: Re:no, telcos 20+ years old don't get same conditi (Score 2) 163

I live just out side of Austin (groan... there goes my property value...) and I've been watching this mess for a long time. Austin started to build a network like this one back in the '90s. Then the telcos used their pet politicos to get a law pass in Texas that makes it illegal for a City to build its own network. That was the end of high speed Internet hopes for cities in Texas. Then, AT&T. Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast got pissed off because the cities were requiring them to build out what passed for high speed Internet through out entire cities if they wanted to build it at all. So..... they went to their pet politicos (the folks we refer as the people in the owners box at the legislature) and got the law changed so that only the state gets to tell them where they can or can't build their networks, so AT&T is putting in fiber to the curb in new developments with million dollar homes and in working class neighborhoods you are lucky to get minimal DSL.

Now Google is rolling out gigabit Internet to with in half a mile of my home, but not to my home. I could just cry. This is going to kill Round Rock. And, believe me, ever since Dell moved here Austin has been gunning for Round Rock.

Comment: Just of couple of comments... (Score 1) 709

by stonewolf (#34714122) Attached to: Why Teach Programming With BASIC?

Just tried your system out. Found a few bugs.

I coded an infinite loop. Then I typed "run" and then I realized that there doesn't seem to be anyway to halt a program once it is running. There must be a big red octagonal button on the screen with the letters "STOP" in it that actually stops the program.

I tried to code an IF statement. I had to look up the syntax because "if i 0 then goto 2" got a syntax error. I can almost forgive using the C like "if()" for the if statement but using FORTRAN like "LT" for "" is pretty nasty if you ask me.... But, you didn't :-)

You have a "declare record" statement when just "record" would do. Using "declare" make sense if you are planning to add more things to declare, otherwise it is just a waste. And, seriously, no "for .. next" statement, no "if ... then ... else..." statement, no while statement, no multi-line statements at all. I see that you have reserved some keywords for those so it looks like you are planning to add them in the future. Please, these are critical parts of any language. I know for a fact, having done it, that it is f(&#$@#*$&^King easy to implement those compared to some of the things you have already added.

I tested what would happen if I typed "run" for a program that has a syntax error. It went away forever. No error messages, no output at all. It just stopped reacting to the keyboard. This is a serious bug.

The documentation is really really really poor. Very few examples. No real introduction. You use things like "boolean-expr" but do not define that anywhere it the document.

"turn" is great, but you need left and right also. Kids understand left and right. Positive and negative angles are a bit harder for them.

Palettes? Really? It is very hard to find a computing device that can run a modern browser that is not using RGB pixels. Why put this ancient cruft in the way of kids? Color values are RGB in the range 0 to 1. There are no palettes anymore.

Sprite maps? Nostalgia is an addictive drug, but like all drugs it is damaging when used to excess. Why not just have a place on the screen to browse and drop graphics that can then be used in your program?

I've written an ANSI standard BASIC compiler, I've written a Logo interpreter (or 2 or 3 :-), and I've taught courses in which the final project was a Lisp interpreter. In fact, I've written many compilers, interpreters, and even a linker once. I've also used both basic and logo to teach kids aged 5 to 12 to program. And, I have to say that while you have a good idea your implementation is far from ready for use by kids if I can break it in 5 minutes doing exactly the kind of things kids do.

It looks to me like you have focused on the "cool" parts, the graphics and the math library, but have skipped, or at least skimped on the critical part. The critical part is creating a system that works, followed by the documentation needed to use it.

BTW, WTF is "proof" for? It is left over from back in the day (your nostalgia is showing...) when you actually had to type in code that was published in magazines. OMFG!!!!! We live in a world where magazines have websites (in reality a few websites still have magazines) and flash drives are nearly cheap enough to show up in cracker jack boxes (yeah... I'm old, I learned Basic and Logo on an Univac 1108a :-). We do not do that anymore!

You have a good idea. But, shake off the nostalgia and make something that acknowledges the 21st century.

Yes, I know I have been harsh on you. If I didn't really like the idea of what you are doing I wouldn't bother to find the flaws, let alone spend the time to point them out.

Stonewolf

P.S.

I've recently managed to eliminated the use of paper in all the classes I teach. Doing that has really pissed off the English teachers who still insist on paper and give tests using blue books.
 

Comment: Re:Knee-jerking != making an informed argument (Score 1) 494

by stonewolf (#34592364) Attached to: Avoiding DMCA Woes As an Indy Game Developer?

As you said the DMCA is about copyright and not about ideas. He did copy the idea, but that is not the question. Anyway, ideas are protected by patents, not copyrights. If there were any patents on Pac-Man they should have expired by now.

You say that the question is whether or not he copied the artwork or code. Sorry, no. It does not matter if he copied the code at all. If you go to his website you'll see that he clearly copied the artwork. Copying does not mean getting a copy of the orignal art work. It does not mean running something through a copy machine or type "cp" in to a command line. A copy is a copy if the copier had access to the original and the copy looks "substantially" like the original. That is why you are violating copyright if you draw a picture of Mickey Mouse. Humanity made copies long before there were computers. Copyright law goes back centuries.

For further reading I suggest you all go look at:

Atari v. NORTH AMERICAN PHILIPS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CORP
http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F2/672/672.F2d.607.81-2920.html

which is the federal district court ruling on a similar case from 1982. It just happens to cover exactly the same circumstances but 28 years earlier. It goes into depth on the method used by the court to determine that an illegal copy had been made and covers the law and precedents that applied up through 1982. This isn't a case of the DMCA making something illegal that used to be legal. This is a case of the owners of Pac-Man using recent law to rather politely and cheaply stop a blatant case of copyright infringement.

Like I said earlier, they could have sued him and left him penniless for the rest of his life. All they did was stop him from being able to continue to distribute their property. The new version of the game he has posted is most likely still in violation. All he did was change a little art to make it look a little different. Considering the existing precedent it would be a cheap suit to prosecute. It is the same circumstance as the one I pointed out from 28 years ago. I bet the court would just give them a summary judgment based on screen shots. The scum bag who asked the question would be sitting with a bill for legal costs and damages that he would probably never be able to pay off.

Stonewolf

Comment: Re:Try having an original idea (Score 1) 494

by stonewolf (#34591454) Attached to: Avoiding DMCA Woes As an Indy Game Developer?

You should take your own advice. If you follow the link and look at his artwork he clearly stole the design of the characters and the overall look of the game. He is lucky he just got a take down notice and not a suit for damages. He would likely be having his income garnished for the rest of his life to pay that debt.

Stonewolf

Comment: Re:Try having an original idea (Score 1) 494

by stonewolf (#34591400) Attached to: Avoiding DMCA Woes As an Indy Game Developer?

Copyright and trademark are two ways the law (also known as the basis of civil society) establishes the existence and rules for intellectual property. Once you accept the concept of intellectual property then you must accept the concept that taking someones intellectual property is theft just as taking someones physical property is theft.

So, yes, this scum bag created a game that is essentially a clone of Pac-Man and even use the same images for his muncher and the ghosts. You don't have to actually use the original art work. If you make a copy of a piece of art, even by your own hand, then you are breaking the rules of copyright. After all, what does the word mean? Copyright literally means "the right to make a copy". Making a copy without permission is theft.

Using the a trademark with out permission is not only theft from the owner, but theft from the buyer. The idea of a trademark is to insure that when it says "Gucci" on the bag you are getting something actually designed and made by "Gucci". When you make some that looks like Pac-Man, but isn't you are stealing from the owner of the trade mark and from customers who are not getting the real Pac-Man.

So, yes, this is about copyright, trademark, and theft from both the owners of the trademark and copyrights and from the people who purchased it.

The person who posted the original question is a thief who is looking for information that he hopes will allow him to continue as a game developer without continuing as a thief. This is a good goal.

The easiest thing to do in his case is to be a little bit creative. If you want to do a game based on the Japanese folk hero Paku he should research the legend and design a new game. If he wants to just be inspired by Pak-Man then he should be inspired by it enough to create a new game that includes the basic ideas but is not the same game, with the same style of art, with characters that look just like the original characters, and without the same scoring and strategy.

As an example, take a look at the relationship between "Dungeons & Dragons" and "The Lord of the Rings" or even "Bunnies and Burrows" and "Watership Down". Not to mention the relationship between "B&B" and "D&D". (And think of how lucky were are that AFAIK there is no A&A, C&C... Z&Z"!)

The key is that "inspired by" does not mean that it is a near perfect copy down to the art work. A near perfect copy is theft. Inspired by can be great art.

I would suggest that the person who asked the question should get an education. I would suggest starting with a book on the intellectual history of the world. Failing that, at least find, and read, three or four books on the basic concepts of law and especially intellectual property law.

If anyone doubts the importance of intellectual property law let me point out that the basic rights most Americans take for granted were added to the Constitution in the form of the Bill of Rights, aka the first ten amendments to the Constitution. OTOH, The legal basis for US intellectual property law is in the core of the original text of the constitution. The founding fathers all came to agree on the need to guarantee intellectual property rights. But, some of them thought it was a bad idea to limit the states right to control religion, speech, the press, weapons, searches, and the states power to use torture to extract a confession.

Stonewolf

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