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Comment More junk at the expense of knowledge (Score 3, Interesting) 165

So there are more entrepreneurs, creating more IOT gizmos and more Googles and more plastic that ends up in landfills, pushing us faster towards the Singularity. Is that being a successful person? A successful society? I didn't go to college and grad school to get a job or create a network: I went to become educated. I learned things that I could not have learned on my own because formal education provides rigor and a support structure that forces you to continue through it. Today, at 60, my biggest regret is that I did not finish my PhD and I am thinking about going back to school to study what I love - physics. Besides family, knowledge is all that has meaning to me at this point.

Comment Just make manufacturers liable for damages (Score 2) 87

It is very simple. If software providers were at least partially liable for damages caused by security breaches, the situation would rapidly change: we would see companies hiring programmers with "security training", etc., and programmers would start caring about software security - because that would be where the jobs are. The total lack of liability today is the core problem.

Comment A menace until they have transponders (Score 1) 32

Until they have transponders, they are a menace to sport aircraft, which often fly at low altitude when landing or taking off from a field, for amphibian aircraft, a lake. Given that striking a drone will usually destroy an airplane and kill the passengers, it seems reckless that they can be allowed over public land above 100 ft. They have been declared to be aircraft: they should have transponders.

Comment Fails to acknowledge what is different now (Score 1) 540

It is also true that for centuries people did not go to the moon. And then, in 1969, they did.

History is not always a guide. In fact, due to technology, history never repeats - only human behavior patterns repeat.

What is different how is that it is very likely that AI will attain human level thinking ability within the next decade. And that _is_ a game changer.

Comment Re:Software updates (Score 1) 143

Indeed! Although to be honest, as a fairly loyal Mac user, I have not found Apple's software to be any more reliable than MS. The software is FAR, FAR more usable and intuitive. My iPhone sometimes has to be restarted (about once a week - I can't swipe, but restarting fixes it). The iTunes app is a horrible mess (unlike most Apple software, its usability is very poor, due to inconsistency in various parts of the app). The original Apple TV (version 1) was so bug-ridden that I actually started keeping a list of all of the things that went wrong - most had to do with race conditions. And the Mac's Mail program often crashes (say, once per week). Not a big deal. I think the problem is that application software is not very reliable in general - it is too expensive to make it reliable. But do we want to run our cars on that? I want my car's software to be rock solid, because when software fails, it fails completely (i.e., hangs). Most analog/physical systems in a car give some kind of warning and fail gracefully (not all). But in my Saab, sometimes the _entire_ dashboard will go dark unexpectedly, and the next day it works again. That's a Saab, but I have heard that Jeep's might have that problem, and it sounds to me (thought I don't know) like software bugs.

Comment Re:was it intended to be secure? (Score 1) 97

"limited experience with a tool-poor scripting language..." - which are you referring to, Ruby? If so, Ruby is not tool-poor.

"...but in return, a lot of problems become quite a bit easier to solve." - Yes, I agree with you. Perhaps our disagreement is our perspective: I advise organizations, and so I tend to be on the side of maintainability - and that requires languages and tools that are naturally maintainable - not ones that require great effort to craft maintainability. I think that you advocate for the developer - and particularly the advanced developer. Yes, I agree that scripting languages enable you to code more quickly, although I have found the refactoring can introduce lots of bugs with scripting languages, unless you have a very high coverage unit test suite, which I try to avoid, and compilers help me to avoid that - saving me a huge amount of effort, and instead allowing me to focus on behavioral tests which are far more stable when one refactors.

I will note that I have seen very, very expert developers create mountains of unmaintainable code very rapidly, and not even know that their code was unmaintainable.

Comment Re:was it intended to be secure? (Score 1) 97

Aha. Now I know where the disconnect is in our discussion on this. I have been thinking in terms of updates, and you have been (it sounds like) been thinking in terms of fetching data. Yes, for fetching data, you are right, asynchronous is far more efficient, if one can get away with a best effort (eventual consistency) approach, which is usually the case for UIs.

For transactions that do updates, a synchronous approach is far easier to implement, because one does not have to keep track of application state, because (1) one handles failures immediately, and (2) the transaction is atomic (if it is not, then you have to manage state at the application level). E.g., consider a user who reserves an airline seat, but between the time the user received notice of the available seats, the selected seat is given away. The user does not now the seat was given away (and their UI has not refreshed yet), so they click Submit to reserve the seat. In a synchronous approach, the Submit will fair right then, and so their UI will immediately receive a failure response and can update it self accordingly. But in an async approach, the user will receive a success response, and might even close their browser before a failure message is received. Thus, the application then has to have additional logic to record that the user was not notified of the transaction failure, and will likely have to email the user to let them know that their seat reservation failed. Much more complicated.

I.e., message oriented is simpler for getting data, but synchronous is simpler for updates. Do you agree?

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