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Comment Re:lemme guess (Score 1) 530

Really, all methods of estimating intelligence (which is ill-defined anyway) are full of bullshit. The big advantage of IQ tests is that they have a different sort of bullshit, and may find intelligence (or lack of it) in people who don't seem intelligent.

Some time ago, children who did badly in school were usually considered stupid, with the usual caveats for those who overcame that and went on to do neat stuff. When IQ tests were introduced into schools, they revealed that there were a lot of children who were doing badly despite being intelligent, and often helped get these students into environments that were better for them. (Then, of course, some schools tried classifying children on IQ and related tests, and putting them into different tracks, which shows that not all educators are actually intelligent.)

You have to be intelligent, in some sense, to score high on an IQ test. (You don't need to be competent; I've known MENSA members I wouldn't trust with a burnt-out match.) Some studies have found a modest correlation between IQ and success, with the correlation going away at higher levels of IQ. Another person I know underwent a cognitive evaluation, and one of the things in several pages of detailed discussion was an IQ score. The tests are useful in some circumstances. Just don't expect a single number to tell you everything.

Comment Re:Why perl? (Score 1) 263

Man, you don't know what the old COBOLs had (I know nothing of the evolution of the language in the past thirty years or so).

The data structures were laid out byte by byte, so it was possible to MOVE something to something else with totally different internal structure. Alternatively, MOVE CORRESPONDING with some of the subobjects named the same (and therefore moving) and some named something different in a hard-to-spot way.

A "paragraph" was a collection of one or more "statements" with a label attached. You could make this as fine-grained as you liked. You could then write PERFORM ... THROUGH ... statements, meaning that your subroutine calls had not only specified entries but specified exits, so you could overlap them as you liked. Of course, there were no local variables, but you really don't need them for obfuscation.

And, of course, the "ALTER" verb to change labels of "GO TO"s.

I think I could have written great obfuscated COBOL, even better than what one of my colleagues wrote for production.

Comment Re:Web Server development (Score 1) 263

I'm not exactly an expert, which may be why anybody else who kinda knows Perl can figure out what I've written. Seriously, I don't play code golf (minimizing characters to write a program), and if I did I wouldn't put it into production.

Comment Re:fed law disallowed any consideration of errors (Score 1) 156

How do you sneak a biased juror past the process? Either side can ask questions of potential jurors, and answering them falsely is perjury. Perjury is very likely a valid reason for a retrial, and the judge apparently didn't find that it happened. Either side can ask that a juror be removed for cause. I don't know how it is everywhere, but in my limited experience as a candidate juror each side could, at the end, name two jurors they just didn't want.

In other words, Samsung's lawyers have nobody to blame but themselves for letting this guy on the jury. What he'd already said should have been a flag that he might be biased, and it's Samsung's lawyers' job to find out.

If either party here qualified as a "little guy", I'd have a lot of sympathy for the one who couldn't afford to lawyer up properly. However, we're talking about two huge corporations, who have the money to hire excellent lawyers, and who should know how to handle lawsuits.

Comment Re:Woz Deserves More Noteriety Than Jobs (Score 1) 70

The technology field would have been completely different? Within months of the Apple II, both Radio Shack and Commodore were selling computers that you could just buy, take home, plug a few things in (the TRS-80, anyway, don't remember if you needed to plug anything on the Commodore Pet), and run. These weren't cases of "Gee, Apple made something new, we should copy"; they were cases of "Gee, you can actually make a small computer that people can use now".

If there were no Apple, small home computer technology would have been delayed by months, which would have essentially no effect by now.

What Apple did was popularize the WIMP interface (I think the MS-DOS-based ones were generally inspired by the Lisa), revolutionize on-line sales of music, and redefine several things (smart phones, tablets) into great successes that other people copied. I don't think Woz was involved in that.

Comment Re:We are the 30% (Score 1) 724

Aside from your sense of entitlement, you aren't going to convince me that $99/year is HUGE in the first world, or for access to a place to make money, or that the people who charge that are "greedy dicks". It can be for hobbyists in less developed areas, of course, but I question how many have iDevices. People hoping to make money in less developed areas would find $99/year cheap to enter first world markets.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 1) 412

We've got a selection bias here. Many charitable institutions are tied to churches or are in some other way explicitly religion-based. Then there are the other charitable institutions without obvious ties to religion. I know of none (there probably are a very few) that are openly and explicitly atheist.

First, lots of atheists don't feel like it's important to self-identify, since it almost by definition is a smaller part of the atheists' lives than the theists' lives. Second, there is a fair amount of anti-atheist bias in US society, so it's useful not to self-identify. Third, an avowedly atheist institution would likely run into bias problems with being charitable. It's a lot easier just to not talk about religion than to argue about it.

Naturally, charitable institutions without religious affiliation of any sort may well have been started by Christians, and many doubtless were. We can't just assume these are all due to atheists. This leaves an unknown and potentially large number of them that were started by atheists, and the only way we'd know would be to research the founders of each and every one in detail. Since there are a lot more Christians than atheists in the US, I'd expect most of these institutions to be started by Christians, but it's not something we're going to get numbers on.

If we go on the only numbers we've got, the ratio of nonreligious charitable institutions to ones that profess some sort of religion is a lot higher than the ratio of atheists to theists in the US. If you want to prove that Christians found charitable institutions more than atheists, proportionately, you've got a lot of work to do.

Comment Re:We are the 30% (Score 1) 724

You will get absolutely no sympathy from any long-time developer.

Back in the 80s and early 90s, compilers weren't free. They could cost several hundred dollars, and I paid thousands of dollars for them over the years. That's what you did if you wanted to write a program on your computer using a language other than BASIC (and sometimes even then).

Nowadays, you can download the full development kit from Apple. You can program to your heart's content without spending a dime, as long as you already have the computer and net connection. What you can't do is put apps in the App Store, or test them on your iDevice.

If you can afford computer and connection, you can afford $99/year. That's less than a WoW subscription. Moreover, it comes with the chance of earning it back, should you write something salable. Heck, you can write it for free, test it on the simulator, and then pay your $99 once you think it'll be worthwhile.

Kids these days. Just because you can get high-quality development systems for free now doesn't mean it's a fundamental right.

Comment Re:"voter suppression" (Score 1) 338

Yes, the system is ripe for abuse, and by that I mean the Minnesota Constitutional amendment process. The "Voter ID" amendment basically outlawed absentee voting, but you wouldn't know that from the ballot text. It took some searching to find the actual text of the measure. (There were legal shenanigans going on, and I want four of the six Minnesota Supreme Court Justices removed from office.)

Comment Re:Lib Arts Assoc Degree for $3000 (Score 1) 368

I'll second that about the courses not being useful.

My son graduated from high school with something over half the credits he needed for graduation. This included a very large chunk of math, and a good deal of science and engineering. (In a decent school system, there's lots of opportunities I never got, provided you have a combination of determination, ability, and wanting to in the first place.) An AA from a community college would be extremely unlikely to be this STEM-heavy.

Now that he's in college, a lot of the credits just aren't working into a degree program. He doesn't have to take any more math unless he wants to be a math major, and not all that many courses for that really, but that's unlikely to shorten his education much. The science and engineering courses aren't consider suitable for the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering. This means that he has to take all his major requirements (unless he switches to math), and that isn't going to happen in two years.

What he mostly got out of it, besides learning a whole lot and gaining confidence in himself, is that he has the course selection priority of a junior, and will get senior's priority from the sophomore year on. The courses also satisfy a few distribution requirements, but those wouldn't be a problem in the first place.

Comment Re:Not possible any more (Score 1) 368

FWIW, I recently paid a tuition and dorm statement of a little over $10K for fall semester. Spring semester will likely be the same. My son is living in a dorm (St. Paul campus, but the intercampus shuttle buses work great) and taking a fairly heavy load in the College of Science and Engineering. What specifically do your figures ($3K higher than mine) represent?

Comment Re:Say what you want. (Score 1) 147

The problem is that you're putting computer and networking services in a very special place.

Sure, you can manage computers like that. You can cook healthy and tasty meals accounting for any dietary restrictions by starting with raw, fresh, ingredients. You can do maintenance and some repairs on your car, even a modern one. You can do your own plumbing and electrical work. All of these require time and learning, and sometimes talent in addition. I can go on.

And, at some point, almost everybody's going to saw "screw this" to one or more of these, and rely on what's already readily available. They will take their car to a mechanic, or bring in a plumber or electrician, or go to a deli or buy packaged food, or call somebody to remove that dead tree branch over the house, or get professional hair treatment, or go to a doctor. I don't see that computer systems should be privileged.

Most of the things in the last paragraph are regulated for our safety. There are people who make sure that our food is reasonably healthy, from raw ingredients to restaurant meals. They won't make everybody conform to my saturated fat intake, for example, but I won't be eating outright poison, and I can find the saturated fat content so I know what to avoid or limit (a lot of things). I can bring in an electrician and be confident that his or her work won't burn down my house. In all cases, I can find somebody who will take my money and deliver more or less reliable goods and services. We hand over control of our stuff or delegate choices very frequently, and nobody seems to find it odd to go to a beautician.

Since computers and networking have become almost ubiquitous, shouldn't we have some sort of assurance that we get something like the quality we pay for without signing over vital rights? The police don't have the authority to search my car when it's at a mechanic. They don't have authority to plant listening devices in furniture I buy. If I have a new roof put on, and it blows off in the first wind, I have assorted remedies, including (if it comes to that) legal action. Why can't we have computer and network services available like that?

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