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Comment Re:Games are pretty much complex PROGRAMS (Score 1) 237

And that can lead to some pretty bad programming habits. There are exceptions, and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're one of them.

You might not need to know the details of an internal combustion engine to make a hobby around driving a car, but you do need to understand the complexities of lift and drag and such to fly an airplane. Software's at least as technical as flight, even in many pretty simple games.

If one knows nothing of data structures, control statements, and even error handling, then one is likely to write inefficient, unresponsive, and even faulty software.

Certainly it isn't as much fun learning the technical details right away, but writing software is a technical undertaking. If one is going to skip the technical bits, then one's going to end up doing it wrong. It might become easy with practice, but it's pretty heady, technical stuff, and some people won't get it and will be driven away from it.

That said, these kids don't need to start out understanding heuristic pointer manipulation in C/C++ or inline assembly. However, they should properly learn some basics like for() and if() and how to create and handle structures or classes, like what it means to pass those as parameters. Even a simple game of rock-paper-scissors requires conditionals and input handling. If you want to make a "simple" Pacman or Asteroids or Tetris clone will require knowing where many things are on the playing field, many of which are moving, most of which will interact with each other and game controls. That's a lot of "make it up as you go" that has opportunity to learn some good data handling and coding practices along the way.

Given that Blender is in the list, the easy assumption is OP has some idea of writing a 3D game, and that's going to require some rather technical understanding, whether just for the modeling, or if including kinetic skeletal animation. Even if a library does the hard bits, some understanding of matrix-based multi-dimensional math will be required; how's that for needing some basics for ya? Blender makes that kind of easy with its game engine requiring scripting in Python.

Comment Re:This is madness (Score 1) 1167

Calculator shows that $27.63 is $57,4740 for 52 40-hour weeks (a "typical" 2080-hour year). It should be the case that a typical "two week" vacation is covered in that, but if you use 50 40-hour weeks, it comes out to a rounder number, $55,260. If one was just unaware of how weeks work in a year (and even 52 40-hour weeks doesn't round right), using 4 40-hour weeks in each of the 12 months is $53,049.6.

I'm an IT worker who doesn't get overtime. I work hourly, and am paid for every hour I work, but it's the same rate no matter how many in a day or week or pay period.

Comment Anyone Can Do It (Score 1) 1

Much of my time is spent cleaning the Java code of those that don't understand why it even works. The "help" it gives in managing memory and pointers and the other bits it hides, and the forgiving nature of the targets of much of the output (web apps, mostly) make it an easy language to work in. Given the ease of the language and the helpfulness of the tools, the level of skill required is pretty low, which means a lot of not-as-savvy-as-should-be people work as Java developers (and PHP and VB and others).

My current project still has 1500 warnings in the code, which is 10% of what it had when I started working on it, which was a third of what the previous project started with. There were actually a few dozen errors in the JSP that went into the web-app (missing included files)! Many of the warnings are signs of sloppy habits (e.g., unused variables), but others are signs of not knowing how things work or having poor grasp of logic (objects may not have been assigned before being used)--the former are just annoying but the latter can cause problems. The point is, if you leave the warnings in place, the ones that mean something get buried in the mass of those that don't--clean them up and don't have any, and your software will be better for it.

It took a lot more to become a COBOL developer. The language is strict enough to encourage strict habits. Java doesn't have such a high bar, and because of it, a lot of "low hanging fruit" tend to get picked to work on the software.


Submission + - 'Google Earth' Like Application For Mars Surface (

esocid writes: A new software tool developed by the HiRISE team in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab allows members of the public to download high-resolution images of the Martian landscape almost instantaneously and explore the surface of the Red Planet from their own desktops, similar to Google Earth. The images produced by HiRISE are in the gigabyte size range: Up to tens of thousands of pixels across and more than 100,000 pixels high, the images are big enough to be murals on your living room wall.

"You can really get into it in very interesting ways. The ability to see surface features from orbit around Mars and then to zoom right down onto the surface from HiRISE — that's breathtaking." said HiView developer Bradford Castalia

Comment Low is Relative (Score 1) 653

Done right, outsourcing can save money overall. Done wrong, it's a headache for everyone, and an arguable pouring of money into a bunch of wasted spin.

Ultimately, for any project, it comes down to planning and management as well as execution. You can hire a room full of $100/hour US programmers who also will not get anything done if they aren't given any direction. Similarly, if the skills of the team don't match the work to be done, it's wasteful for a whole different reason.

Just because a developer in India (or Manila or Singapore or in Russia or whatever) is getting paid a fraction (third, quarter, fifth, tenth, or less) of what a similar developer in the US or Europe might make doesn't mean it's a low-cut rate in that country, nor does it mean that it hires less capable talent. Even in the US there's a spread of relative wages because relative cost of living changes.

Others have pointed out that the example $14/hour is a lot in some places. In those places, you're potentially getting the topper talent. It's up to the reader, manager, or whatever to judge whether the talent is comparable; whether comparing Saint Paul to San Jose, or Milwaukee to Mumbai. And that judgement should probably weigh in some of the time zone, cultural, and other geographic-based differences, as well as the experience of the individuals and groups involved. No matter where one looks, one should hire the right skills for the task.

I worked with one outsourcing group that had an interesting approach. Rather than stick people to a task for which they may or may not have the appropriate skill, a team is assigned and when a task comes up, someone capable would be selected from the crowd of waiting talent. The billing was only for the people working, not for the people waiting, so it was a bit of a win-win. If your plan and workflow are such that a bevy of developers can just pick a task to finish, instead of arbitrarily assigning tasks because tasks need doing and developers are waiting, then it doesn't matter where the developers are sitting. I've worked successfully with "in" and "out" sourced groups in this fashion; a developer will look at the tasks that need doing and pick something they can do well. (Yes, of course, some of the "low hanging fruit" constantly picked the "easy" tasks, or just didn't do well, but that had a benefit of removing the "easy" tasks from the list so the "better" devs could focus on the "harder" tasks.)

Comment Re:I'm stuck for now :( (Score 1) 685

I work on Windows XP, Windows 7, Mac, Solaris, CENTOS, Ubuntu (older and newer), and more. They're all a little different, but really when you get into your tools (in this case Eclipse), it's more about the shifts in keyboard than anything GUI. The fonts and icons and toolbars and window frames and so on all change a little between the platforms.

Other than the not-yet-made-or-released UI/theme editor for Unity, making it so tweaking the themes is hard, there's not much worse in Unity than in the other UIs. There are forum posts to help find the CSS and other files to change (Google for "unity orange css" and you'll find them) what you really can't stand (color/size-wise, anyway).

Beyond that, it's taskbar or dock, menu in window or desktop, and eye-candy things like snapping windows to an edge.

Comment Re:I'm stuck for now :( (Score 1) 685

Download and unpack a fresh Eclipse Indigo release. After starting, go to the help menu, pick the Market place. Search for Subversive (by Polarion), ignore the "cannot find" warning, and install that. Restart Eclipse. It will prompt you for an SVN connector--choose one of the SVN Kit connectors as it's a pure-Java and doesn't rely on external SVN to be installed. After installing, restart Eclipse again. Open the perspective SVN Repository Exploring or Team Sharing (and then SVN Repositories view). Add your sever. Check-out your project. Start working.

Comment Re:Depends... (Score 1) 289

As I sit here working on a Java web app written almost 10 years ago, updated continuously since, but still with threads of old libraries and methodologies within, I think the half-life is a little bit of a weak comparison to make.

TFA is all about staying on top of your unnamed vendor's magic moving technology. It isn't about technology skills in general. Heck, it isn't mentioning anything specific either. Well, there is that one line about staying up with PL/SQL.

Comment Re:Tax planning and rich people (Score 1) 2115

And I agree wholeheartedly with that. I had a semantic issue with "aren't earning," which they are.

A dollar is a dollar, I think, and it shouldn't make a difference where or how you earned it: tip, wage, bonus, dividend or other capital gain. If we're going to stick with an income-tax based government, we should make the tax system easy to undertand and treat every dollar the same, insofar as taxes are concerned, and no matter who earns them.

Smarter people than me (in economics and finance) have better details. Sadly, I think they get mired in politics, and too often with people dumber than me (in economics and finance).

Comment Re:Tax planning and rich people (Score 1) 2115

People aren't earning nor working for multi-million dollar annual incomes, they are enjoying the benefits of others work by collecting dividens and stock profits.

While one might argue that those receiving dividends and stock profits aren't working for it, it is earning, but is often taxed as "gains" instead. It is still income, though.

Comment Re:China (Score 1) 130

Word. I use the IP blocks from to configure ip-filter to stop systems in the top ten malicious countries ( from getting SSH and SMTP access to my servers. This dropped the amount of relay-attempted e-mail to practically nothing (by three orders of magnitude, from 10Ks of attempts to 10s of attempts), and unknown user attempts to less than a quarter of what they had been.

Yeah, I might miss a little bit of legit e-mail, but if they really need me, we can work out a specific allowance or they can use an otherwise accepted (and content-filtered) server.

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