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Comment Re:Proud of their work..but does it matter? (Score 1) 145

Yeah, the company I was working for from '89 to '93 had three DOS programs they maintained. We had clients all over the place, so they bought me an amazing 486 laptop with a color display and 4 megabytes of RAM that was the most powerful machine at the company. Our production systems started out as 286 machines that we eventually upgraded to 386 or 386sx processors. They were running DOS and mostly only needed to run one of the three programs we maintained. But I was able to run all three programs (and then some) at the same time on the 486 laptop running OS/2. This was quite helpful to my development effort.

The company had originally experimented with SCO Xenix (not UNIX mind you,) which was actually the original reason they hired me -- they had no experience with a UNIX-like OS. The SCO Xenix OS had costed them $1200 and SCO wanted another $1200 (IIRC) for the C compiler and I want to say adding TCP/IP would cost you another several hundred bucks. We also looked at another multitasking DOS (DR/M DOS or something,) that was in the same price ballpark. So the OS/2 price tag seemed quite reasonable to us. Plus, working with it gave me enough experience with the OS to pick up a contract position with IBM on their tech support line, after both owners at that company died of lung cancer. Probably not coincidentally, it was the last place I worked that allowed smoking in the office. There's probably still a quarter-full coffee cup with a cigarette butt in that office, somewhere...

A friend of mine tried to make OS/2 work for his BBS, but never could get it running on the computer he was using for it. OS/2 was a bit fiddly about the hardware it ran on, at the time.

Comment Re:This opinion isn't new and is still wrong. (Score 2) 411

Everyone was bitching about the new windows 10 look anyway, so moving to Linux/X11 with XFCE or something should be pretty refreshing to them. Especially with it not crapping ads and looking like a glorified facebook feed. The Linux game situation is much better than it used to be -- steam and a reasonable number of games run on it now, and you can even get Worlld of Warcraft to work without too much effort via playonlinux. And Chrome and Firefox always look the same pretty much everywhere. The barrier to entry isn't going to get much lower, I think.

Comment Ooh, Well I Predict (Score 4, Funny) 135

Magic is going to eat both of them. What the hell, right? They're all the same to a CEO. I'm sure AI is the silver bullet that will end all software, but magic is the silver bullet that is going to end AI! Because magic! You still have to tell an AI what you want, and a lot of those guys can barely form a coherent thought, much less put it down on paper. They're too busy synergizing their paradigms! Well magic solves that problem! You don't even have to know what you want! You just wave your magic wand and magic will make you crap daisies and unicorns! And isn't that really what they want?

Comment Re:DIY (Score 1) 131

My first computer was a TI 99/4A my parents got me for Christmas in 1983. I was one of three or four self-taught programmers my first year of college, the other couple hundred had heard it would be a good career. Many of them had never touched a computer before and were not particularly interested in learning about them beyond what it would take to get a piece of paper. Some of them simply had no aptitude for it whatsoever. I don't know how much cheating was going on, but I know at least one guy got caught at it. Presumably the others were better about getting caught. So yeah, that's been going on for a while, and I agree that if they need to cheat, they shouldn't be in CS. But that won't stop them.

Comment BASIC (Score 1) 633

BASIC, back in the day. I started teaching myself at 13, on a TI 99/4A. The school I was attending at the time had barely heard about computers, much less come up with a way to try to teach someone that young about them. I was actually starting to dabble in assembly language on that machine, and managed to get a sprite to move in response to me moving a joystick around. The school may have been woefully uninformed, but the public library was a pretty good resource.

A fortunate move to upstate New York put me on a track to pick up some classes on BASIC and Pascal at the high school and Watfiv and assembly language at a local university that had a high school summer program. My senior project in high school was a graphing program that generated several kinds of graphs using Apple Pascal and the turtle graphics package that came with it. The system could barely handle it, but it was pretty spiffy. I wrote my own keyboard input routines that would allow me to set up fields of a specific size that would only allow certain characters to be typed into them.

College was more Basic, which I was entirely fucking sick of by then, and some scripting languages. I got my intro to REXX there, which was much nicer than Basic. I switched schools into a more CS-oriented program and picked up C, Ada and COBOL. By then I was starting to hear about this newfangled C++, which really sucked back in the early '90's, let me tell you. They didn't even have a STL yet. They started talking about adding templates to the language a few years later.

By then I knew my way around C pretty well, but mostly had to work on the shitty proprietary languages of the 90's. I got into some work that involved actual C programming in the mid 90's, and had a pretty solid decade of C programming. Since 2005 it's been a pretty steady mix of Java and C++, along with a bit of maintenance on some really badly-designed projects in Perl, Ruby and TCL. I'm currently doing a mix of C++ for hardware-level access to some specialty hardware I'm working on, and Java to provide some web services associated with that hardware. I might get into some Javascript to put it all together, but I'm going to try to leave that to the guys who are more comfortable with Javascript than I am.

I don't see much new coming along the road. .net, go and rust are all sufficiently close to Java or C++ that they really don't interest me. Maybe if someone offers some large briefcases full of cash to work with them. I'd be more interested in doing some hand-optimized assembly language and perhaps some GPU programming, but that would probably take another decade to get good at.

Comment Re:He is an idiot... (Score 1) 307

Well, rich people don't have to use the internet. A lot of these guys don't realize that not being rich means that you don't have the same things or opportunities that they do. That's why they tend to think that people on welfare have it so good -- they don't realize that having $2 a day to feed your family means that your family might not be eating for a couple weeks out of the month. They just assume that the pantry will magically be well stocked, the way theirs is. Yes, you don't NEED to use the internet! You just have your help do it! Adjusts monocle disapprovingly

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There is one way to find out if a man is honest -- ask him. If he says "Yes" you know he is crooked. -- Groucho Marx