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Comment Re:Dad of Ahmed is an Islamic Supremacist (Score 1) 793

That kid may have been innocent, but his father is an Islamic activist trying to intimidate anyone who has any concerns about Islamic activism.

It is perfectly acceptable to condemn a father's actions and still also condemn unreasonable actions taken by a school and police officers. It is even possible for a reasonable person to condemn the opinions of a person and still defend the rights of the person to express those opinions.

I don't know much about the dad, nor do I honestly know much about the kid, but the fact is that a kid was arrested at school when he obviously presented no harm or danger to anyone then held and questioned without a guardian or attorney present. The facts condemn the actions of the authorities and it is perfectly reasonable to demand that people who abuse power be held accountable.

Comment Re:Linus isn't trying to make it black and white. (Score 1) 291

Thank you, you are absolutely right. I suspect most IT jobs have security as one important aspect of a much broader list of responsibilities. (My job certainly considers security of extreme importance, but I'd say I spend maybe ten minutes of my average work day directly on security.)

And look at the means! Systems security has become battle #1 for many, many IT people

That's true, because of course there are many jobs in IT just about security, but that's not the same as saying it is the primary battle of most IT people or even saying it is the primary battle of a significant percentage. If there are a hundred thousand IT people with security as battle #1, that's "many, many!" Nobody cares though, because that's only 1.5% of of the 6,500,000 IT employees in the US.

Vague claims are usually true, and useless.

The more I think about this, the more it irritates me. There are people who educate themselves about risks and mitigation options and build very secure systems within their areas of expertise. I'm in that category. Then some butt-fedora comes along yelling about how things need to be more secure and I then get to explain to my bosses and their oversight organizations why said butt-fedora commentary doesn't apply. I mean, on the one hand, it points out something I'm competent at, but on the other hand, it's a waste of time, because rarely do the oversight people or bosses actually know the difference between what I'm saying and the butt-fedora guy is saying.

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 1) 568

Try that again. It would be nice if these professional associations were only voluntary, and that you can choose to start your own separate organization if you disagree with their philosophies. Unfortunately, you can't in the case of a professional civil engineer, as only one organization is legally sanctioned by most states.

It is this legal distinction that is being asked for by the author of the original article and something you are missing. It also sounds like you need to pay attention to the legal monopoly given to the American Bar Association, its state associated member organizations, as well as the American Medical Association and its legal monopoly. It is this monopoly that I'm complaining about here, regardless of the fees being paid or how they are derived and what you are missing.

It is also the charter and how standards for those professions are created, not to mention other legal restrictions for people in those professions you are mentioning. Is that something you really want in software development?

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 3, Insightful) 568

I would agree that proper software engineering involves about 10% coding and a whole lot of doing a great many other things like documentation, specifications, and debates over interfaces (user, API, and even hardware hooks if you get to the driver level). and last but not least quality assurance testing to proof the system including formal code review. When I was spending more than 10% of my time actually coding, I thought I was making some real progress for the week... and started to get worried.

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 0, Troll) 568

Yep. We wouldn't let self-proclaimed civil engineers build bridges.

Why do we let self-proclaimed programmers write important software?

Who makes that decision to call somebody a proper civil engineer?

A government bureaucrat. All you are complaining about here is that the government is too small and that taxes are too low. Be careful for what you wish, as you wish might just be granted in a case like this. Do you really want software development to be heavily regulated?

Comment Re:Something something question in headline equals (Score 0) 568

Such tests exist, and software developers are legally held to be liable for their mistakes. It is just that most of the time the lawyers involved in software development usually have end customers agree to silly terms in their software licenses that disclaim any sort of liability on the part of its use.... and the customers even agree to such a disclaimer that it is essentially a worthless piece of software that won't ever do the job it was supposed to do in the first place.

It certainly isn't the lack of such tests, or the fact that software is used in literally life critical applications where a bug in its development will kill people or cause great harm to life and property. The software developers who work on guidance computers for rockets certainly know the liability, legal, and professional risks to screwing up are concerned.... and rarely get caught any more making the kind of silly mistakes you are complaining about here.

If only companies like Microsoft gave a damn about reliability rather than clogging up the OS with useless crap, deliberate spyware, and so many back doors to bring down the computer that even a competent security analyst can't even keep track of where a security hole can be found to bring the whole system to its knees. When I see the Microsoft logo on a piece of medical equipment, I just cringe thinking about the potential for screw ups that can happen.

Comment Re:Open your IT consulting business as AC Engineer (Score 1) 568

There isn't a single board that regulates engineers. There are specific certification boards that have been developed from the earlier system of guilds for some specific engineering disciplines, but what seems to be asked here is that something like a guild be established for software engineering.

A decidedly stupid notion, even though a Programmers' Guild already exists and can provide you a nice and convenient letter for certification if you really insist upon the idea. It certainly can't be used as the excuse for why software engineering should not be considered a proper engineering discipline unless you are seeking to make such organizations official and legally required as membership.

Comment Not all programmers are software engineers.... (Score 1) 568

But software engineering is a real discipline and something that exists. It is also something distinctly different from computer science, as the relationship between computer science and software engineering is one that is identical to that to other scientists like physicists and material scientists to mechanical, structural, and aerospace engineers.

The problem is having somebody who has read a book about Visual Basic or taken a two week certification course and then is proclaimed "an engineer"... which is the furthest from what a real engineer actually does.Actual engineering is something that is learned gradually over time and really does require mentorship, apprentices, and many of the things described in this article. The regulation and the other bullshit that comes with compliance to governments is something that can be left out, but is already sadly a major part of software engineering anyway if you want to be truthful. A proper software engineer will understand not only the coding part, but will also know the legal and moral limits of what it is that they are doing as well and be responsible with what they are doing.

As for the data breeches and software failures that were mentioned in the article, that is a pure sign of somebody who was not doing their job, and using tools and I dare say operating systems that are simply not up to the task. Proper software engineering takes a look at everything, including the full software stack going from the BIOS to what the end user is directly experiencing with a user interface and understanding in depth that whole software stack too. Sadly that isn't something taught in most universities any more and definitely can't be picked up by a hobbyist programmer without a whole lot of effort either. If you can't code an assembler or compiler and make that whole software stack from scratch, you shouldn't call yourself a software engineer. I'm not saying you should necessarily ignore existing software nor constantly reinventing the wheel, but it is the level of skill and knowledge that you should have to be considered competent.

On the other hand, those capable of such tasks and doing so in a full time professional manner, that can intelligently communicate with other engineers in other engineering disciplines and make their products (the stuff made by other engineers doing something other than developing software) a whole lot better, they legitimately can be called properly engineers. I will even go so far as to say the worst kind of software developers I've met are electrical engineers who have moved over to the software side of things and don't know that software engineering is its own discipline with its own standards and ideas separate and independent from building gates or power supplies. A few electrical engineers get that it is a new discipline separate from the one they were trained in doing, and can certainly grow into competent software engineers in their own right as they really do understand computer hardware from the ground up. None the less, even these "proper" engineers going into software development need to realize they have gaps in their education.

I would agree that perhaps some companies need to restrict the use of the title "software engineer" to perhaps fewer people than is typical done in the industry. I particularly hate the use of "network engineer" unless there is some actual engineering processing involved in something like that too. What definitely needs to go is the specialized certification like "Microsoft Certified Engineer", unless Microsoft is actually running a real engineering school that is itself accredited. The two week wonder courses particularly shouldn't be using the term at all or calling those who complete such courses anything approaching the term "engineer".

Comment Re:Must be discrimination (Score 1) 445

A few years ago, I realized that I had been valuing other people and myself on a flawed scale. In an nutshell I had placed more value on intelligence than compassion and kindness. I started deliberately trying to think of the world I perceive through a new perspective and it changed me.

This emphasis on income is every bit as invalid. People seem to care a lot about making sure wages are equal, but they don't ask "how worthwhile is the work" when comparing the work of women to men. Women are more likely to be home parents, teachers, health care workers, medical scientists, financial managers, veterinarians, and psychologists to name just a few. All those things I mentioned are about helping other people directly.

I think women are more likely to place the value of their work above the income for their work and frankly I'm a little irritated every time someone breaks out the wage argument like that's all that matters.

You know what else we're probably looking at wrong? We're probably looking at gifted student programs wrong. We're probably looking at the numbers of kinds by race in the end results rather than looking at the things that are successful in transitioning kids from non-achievers to achievers.

Comment Re:Make Blu Rays available from release day (Score 1) 279

I'd rather watch most movies at home than in the theater. If there were copies available for purchase at the same time the movie came out in the theater, there is zero chance people would refrain from making and distributing free copies. It would be very tempting to just download a free copy rather than pay for the official copy or see it in a theater.

Comment Re:Spoilers! (Score 1) 55

Like it spoiled much of anything if you watch the movie. It certainly isn't something like telling people Luke is Darth Vader's son or that Princess Leia is his sister (which really makes watching Star Wars episode IV sort of awkward in some scenes).

I just want to see how many times Matt Damon drops the f-bomb in the movie? Andy Weir uses it about a dozen times in the first chapter and is even the first word of the book.

Comment Re:Where have I heard this before? (Score 2) 255

You're quite right. The good news that instead of only the elite knowing how to read and write as was normal a century ago, now most people can communicate with the written word. The number of interesting things to read and the number of people capable of appreciating it now compared to just a few generations ago is amazing when you stop to think about it. Maybe only one in ten thousand is a great writer, but not that percentage is taken from a hugely larger portion of the population. Likewise with coding, perhaps only one in ten thousand will be a coder with impact, but if that is taken from 318 million instead of 2 million, that's a big impact.

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to work.