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Comment Re:Modern Computers do come with BASIC (Score 2, Interesting) 330

You're kidding about VBScript, right? Short of abusing Scripting.Dictionary in some rather awful ways you can't even define data structures in it, and writing code that spans more than one module involves the use of some obtuse XML crap (.scs files) which most people don't even know about. VBScript has its place but using it for anything other substantially more complex than short straight-line automation scripts is lunacy.

You could write some ephemeral JavaScript programs in an .html file that can't even interact with the filesystem, sure, but these creations would be obvious fourth-class citizens on your shiny 21st century computer, which doesn't yield a particularly satisfying experience for the novice programmer.

No, if a kid with an internet connection wants to start programming stuff then in some senses the ground has never been more fertile. Even if you're not willing to leave Win32 you can quickly and easily download IDLE or a win32 build of Ruby, and the latter has plenty of really gentle tutorials to ease a novice into the world of programming, to the point where the interested reader could probably stumble oneward from there through Wikipedia well enough for most of the intermediate concepts to stick. The sort of things you can easily accomplish with MinGW and a bit of Googling today would have absolutely blown my ten year old mind back when anything above the level of BASIC was a forbidden art unheard of outside of obscure BBSes (which show up on your parents' phone bill) or a university library.

On the other hand, a modern PC environment is a frightfully complicated beast compared to an Amiga or a Spectrum. That I think is far more of a problem than the availability of simple tools and documentation these days... that and a more comfortable consumption-oriented environment on a modern desktop that doesn't force you to make your own fun.

Comment Nobody ever mentions the second part of that quote (Score 1) 346

"but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."

Which is basically the most direct way of saying "the NSA has a gun to my head" that that is available to him. Honestly, I'm not all that worried about Google in and of itself. They seem to be fairly transparent about what they do and why they collect that information in the first place, and they are staffed by a lot people with similar views to the prevailing opinion on Slashdot (though these views are necessarily going to be much more moderate than a lot of the views expressed here, or they wouldn't be working for Google in the first place).

No, the fact that Google is a treasure trove of personal information for the United States' various three-letter agencies is far more worrying to me than any ill will on the part of Google, particularly given the US' eagerness to conduct national and corporate espionage to secure themselves any economic advantage for the United States. Or to scour the world for all the entities that they might consider to be a threat, real or imagined. Naturally I'm just another unimportant geek and not a visionary engineer or a trade negotiator, so I shouldn't have anything to fear personally from this system (yet, anyway), but nonetheless I still find this unbridled use of dirty tactics to be morally repugnant. /That/ is the real message we should be hearing about Google, but I doubt that it lines up with the interests of whoever is controlling this particular drawerful of sock puppets.

Comment Re:Another stupid idea that will increase the defi (Score 5, Interesting) 1139

A private consortium tried just that back in 1991 in Texas. Then Southwest Airlines called in a few favours and had the project destroyed (some details on Wikipedia here.). Free market capitalism may or may not have worked here (if it did then one could certainly expect other consortia to follow suit) but the Texas state government never gave us a chance to find out.

Comment Re:This is why I was for the Nexus One (Score 1) 415

Nexus One has precisely this problem, which is why I didn't buy it. It comes with a Facebook app and an Amazon MP3 Store app, neither of which are removable without rooting the phone. Yes there's an officially sanctioned mechanism for rooting and reflashing the devide, but I shouldn't have to void the warranty to remove unwanted functionality.

Comment Re:I do! (Score 1, Insightful) 757

For fifty freaking bucks a month, just so you can send text messages AND make calls? are you fucking kidding me?

My experience of America so far is that for every walk of life there's a government-backed corporate monopoly eager to bend you over the barrel, but even by American standards the GSM networks are fucking highway robbery (yes I know Verizon isn't even GSM, but they're no better in any other respect either). I have my own non-smart phone and I want to continue using it instead of switching to your country's third-world technology.

No, fuck T-Mobile and fuck every other carrier over here too. Why should I beg and show gratitude for something that's a basic service in every other part of the world.

Comment Re:GPU Parallel processing (Score 1) 973

Brute-forcing problems are exponential in key size, though. Add a few more bits to your key, and even if you could turn the entire mass of the sun into Tesla blades, cool it, and power it, then that still wouldn't help you. It's true that the last few years have seen the emergence of commodity hardware with some truly terrifying amounts of compute power, but these security standards are engineered against "turn-the-solar-system-into-a-supercomputer" assuptions of adersarial compute power just to account for semi-unexpected revolutions such as these.

Something else is probably afoot here.

Comment Re:Java too complex (Score 1, Interesting) 558

The problem with "making all those decisions for you" is that writing good programs is hard and writing good frameworks is harder. Therefore, all else being equal the chances are that any given framework will suck. Five years ago Java had several hundred web development frameworks. 99% of those sucked and nobody used them, the others were built on the lessons learned from the sucky frameworks' mistakes, as well as the rare bit of genuine technical vision.

We've ended up with the Spring framework in Java, which is a top-notch web development framework; the first one I've met that really truly does not suck, and web development isn't even the main point of Spring. Contrast that with the decision Microsoft made for your web development needs in the form of ASP.NET, which is pure unalloyed garbage. It's built around some completely ridiculous metaphors and tries to fight every reality of the web platform, leaving you with a programming environment that's about as flexible as a brick. You can build dumb intranet web views that are completely un-abstracted and welded to the tables you've laid out in your SQL Server database, with rather limited control over any non-elementary features over the DBMS, and if you try to step one inch outside of that mindset then it fights you every step of the way.

That isn't even an indictment of Microsoft's technical development practices as it is a reflection of the fact that they only tried once and (since the odds were against them) they blew it. Many Java frameworks that were as bad as ASP.NET or worse came and went, what survives today is far more likely to be made of stronger stuff.

Fortunately for Microsoft that doesn't matter, because in most organisations the people responsible who choose the organisation's preferred technical platforms are not the people who actually have to use them. As long as their effort can be used to rapidly create a facsimilie of the equivalent demos found in the Java glossies and the number printed by wc -l is smaller in their version than Sun's they're fine.

Comment Re:Rail games (Score 2, Interesting) 177

Someone did think of it first: Konami. Notice that they mention Beatmania and DDR as inspirations, but curiously omit Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania...

GFDM are on something like their eighteenth release in Japan at the moment. Konami has been pumping out all manner of wonderful music games for over a decade now, they just really suck at publishing their shit abroad, much to the chargrin of the Western Bemani fanbase (which exists despite their best efforts, and believe me the use of 'despite' in that sentence was intentional).

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