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Comment There's a difference... (Score 1) 609

There is a difference between "not knowing math", "not understanding math" and "not doing well at math."

I am horrible at math, and I've been bad at it all my life. I failed Pre-Algebra THREE TERMS IN A ROW in High School. I suck at math, period.

But, I am a successful programmer and developer and I've written a lot of code that does really complicated math... so how does that square?

The difference is that even though I can't do math, I know *what I can do* with it. I know what an Interquartarial Mean will do for me, but I have to look it up in a book every time I use it to know *how* to do it. In this case, yes, it is obvious that I would have a _better_time_ if I knew how to do this stuff without looking in a book, but I've fared pretty well. Lacking math skills doesn't mean I'm a suck programmer, it just means I may have a harder time with code that uses a lot of math.

Someone above posted "Two candidates, one knows math and one doesn't, you want the one who knows math"; that's true if all else is equal, but you never have two candidates for a job you are identical except for one thing. You buy the whole package and if you think their other qualities outweigh their lack of math skills then that's one you choose.

Comment Remember Windows CE? (Score 1) 636

The oldies among us may remember this is also the same problem that Windows CE had in the beginning, mid 1990's. There were at least three different CPU platforms, four form factors with at least as many distinct input methods and an array of mutually incompatible screen setups.

In the early 2000's then Microsoft Decreed several standards for the hardware and the rom customisations. The OEMs whined but in the end it allowed the devices to unify somewhat, albeit painfully. The fact Windows Mobile 7 exists at all is because of this decision.

Yes, you can argue that Windows Mobile (the direct descendant of WinCE) is a failed state, but I think it would also be agree'd that it would have been dead long, long ago had MS not done what it did.

Google has the additional "problem" (if you will) of Android being open-source. With WinCE, Microsoft could be the ultimate gatekeeper but there is nothing stopping any device manufacturer from doing whatever the hell they want with Android. They may try to initiate some kind of "Google Certified" plan to signify that an OS variant meets certain interopability standards... but the LSB has tried to do that on the desktop and, well, has it had the traction everyone hoped?

This becomes one of the larger arguments for the 'Walled Garden' approach Apple has taken and I guess that's the choice you make: stability, predictability that comes with restrictions or variability and instability that comes with openness.

Comment Before commenting, please complete this form (Score 5, Insightful) 104

Before commenting, please complete this form:

Sec. 1 Ruby v Python

[ ] I am a Ruby/Python fanboy/fangirl
[ ] I already have a positive/negative entrenched opinion of Python or Ruby
[ ] I cannot tell the difference between the two languages

Sec. 2 Ruby on Rails

[ ] I assume Ruby == Ruby on Rails

Sec. 3 Other

[ ] I program in PHP for it's robust design, consistent syntax and architectural soundness
[ ] I do not understand sarcasm

Scoring: If you answered any of the above questions in the affirmative, your comments may be dismissed out of hand.

Comment Re:No obligatory Pattern Recognition reference? (Score 2, Informative) 227

obligatory explanation:

In William Gibson's novel "Pattern Recognition", one of the incidental characters is an antique trader who specializes in famous technological pieces. At one point of the story he is in negotiation to buy the Wang word processor that Steven King used early in his career.

"Yes," says Ngemi, with quiet pride, "but now I am negotiating to buy Stephen King's Wang."

Cayce stares at him.

"The provenance," Ngemi assures her, "is immaculate, the price high, but, I believe, reasonable. A huge thing,
one of the early dedicated word processors. Shipping alone will require the funds I had earmarked for the
scaffolding, and more."

Comment Linus on RMS (Score 1) 747

From a interview with Torvalds many years ago:

"I think a lot of the extreme people are much too extreme, like Richard Stallman; He's a very extreme person, and while I admire a lot of his ideals, I don't admire him because he is so extreme that he can't relate to other people; and that's a limitation."

No taking sides for me, just pointing out that RMS has his own issues.

Comment Based on what amounts of traffic? (Score 1) 175

This is not all that meaningful unless you also completely correlate the uptime info with the number of users/requests/whatnot the site does.

The report doesn't explore that sufficiently enough for me. I can make an app that has 100% uptime if it has one request an hour. Downtime is largely caused (directly or indirectly) by load, so in most cases downtime usually increases as user load (defined as user interaction and amounts of user data, and the actions of those users on that data) increases.

Painting with a broad brush you could say, yes, Xanga has the best uptime but they also probably have the lowest user load as well whereas twitter probably has one of the highest (current) user loads and thus lowest downtime.

Operating Systems

Submission + - Bulgarian government will purchase 60k MS licenses (wikidot.com)

bogomilshopov writes: "Today the Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform has announces an order for the purchase of 60 000 new licenses for Microsoft products by the year 2012. The interesting fact this time is that the order is specifically given for this company's products.

According to the Ministry's press release, "The few examples of migrations to other platforms show a necessity of serious financial resources, including for retraining of the staff to work with the new software systems, as well as a long enough period of implementation."

What's wrong with that?

      1. "The experts" don't have a clue what it is all about. Have a look at the motives for choosing Microsoft software
      2. The state will spend millions to purchase those licenses
      3. It will oblige our Administration to use this company's products by 2012
      4. It will give all the data, used or stored by the Administration, in the hands of a commercial organisation
      5. It will surrender the management of all the State Administration's processes on local and national level in the hands of a single company and its products
      6. The purchase of software from Microsoft leads to dependence on one company, contributes to the brain drain and it is unnecessary spending for us tax-payers. The money may be spent on development and research activities for Bulgarian projects and trainings of the state administration to work with open source based software.

The State becomes a hostage of a single company

It is known for years that the Microsoft OS is like a black box. You have put inside it everything you know, but you actually don't know what is inside it and how exactly it works. What will happen if in one nice moment it just starts to change its properties on its own, which is what is happening now according to this news?

What will happen if all your documents disappear mysteriously? Because this black box may start destroying them in this very moment, and according to its license its manufacturer is not responsible and even if he is, it doesn't matter that much since our entire administration works with it.
Sell something to someone and keep your customer a hostage — great strategy! Having in mind that 80% of the state structures are using Windows, what would happen if the OS stops working because it has downloaded the new version of a given file?
You trust something you don't know how it works and what it consists of. You've got yourselves a black box and you are building all your work over it. And it is going to explode soon. 5 millions Skype users already felt what it was like to rely on the black box and its ability to update itself. Great! Bravo! Hurray! And what if the state stops working? I mean if it really stops working? No state administration, police, army, electricity?
The state is paying millions for years so it can depend on private interests? Until when we are going to lack the certainty that we are living in a country which can provide it own security alone?



Submission + - Should 'unlimited' mean unlimited? 2

Tom Colimbone writes: Recently, Verizon Wireless agreed to settle a probe into the marketing of its Internet usage plans and reimburse $1 million to customers for wrongful account termination. The issue was centered around the use of the word 'unlimited' in its marketing campaigns for mobile Internet access. Interestingly, O2 in the UK just changed its iPhone tariff, as many potential buyers noticed that the 'unlimited' data package that came with the iPhone was actually capped at 200MB, which wasn't unlimited at all. Outside of wireless providers this might seem like a bizarre question to ask but should the word 'unlimited' truly mean unlimited and if so, should anyone misusing the word have to face similar repercussions to Verizon.
The Internet

Submission + - Are 'Achievements' in Online Games Worth It? (kotaku.com)

eldavojohn writes: "There's a brief rant by a writer from Kotaku who tells the story of losing his XBox360 'achievements' & rating. Instead of getting mad, throwing the controller & picking up a Steve Ballmer voodoo doll, he simply sat back and reflected on the inane requirements one must complete to achieve something so minuscule. Are we already back to grade school, walking around with the gold star stickers on our chest that we earned from tediously getting every math problem correct? Or, as the article puts it, "Jesus, since when was it fun to force yourself to play through parts of a game just to earn yourself an arbitrary point score?" Well?"

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