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Comment Re:Philip K. Dick (Score 1) 1130

What do you mean "deserves to be" he already is

I mean he deserves to be as well known as they are. Here's a simple test: Ask a random non-scifi fan who Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke are. I'm willing to bet they can tell you (at least to the tune of: "scifi writer"). If you asked them who PKD was, I highly doubt they would have a clue.

Simply producing a volume of brilliant work doesn't mean you're going to get the recognition you deserve for it.

Comment Re:Philip K. Dick (Score 1) 1130

I was aware of him from reading about six of his novels in a little high school library on the other side of the planet some time before he wrote "Valis"

Anecdotal

Thus I really think "millions of copies sold worldwide" trumps your "unknown" :)

First, I said "almost unknown" not "unknown". Second, prove it.

I cannot find any references to sales figures for PKD's books, but in his own words (from this interview):

...there is also the very real possibility that if I tried to do the cheapo novelization I would actually fail to do it, literally could not write a commercial novel that would be something that would sell millions of copies

That interview was done in 1981 (a year before he died), "The Man in the High Castle" was published in 1962 and it's one of his most popular and known books. If it had sold "millions of copies ... worldwide", you think he might have known about it. Sure, there's a slim chance it has sold millions since then, but I can't find any evidence of that and we are talking about "while he was alive". It seems you are making things up.

Thus, I really think my "almost unknown" statement (adequately supported, I believe you will find, by PKD's wikipedia entry) and PKD's own words trump your anecdotes and made up figures.

Comment Re:Philip K. Dick (Score 1) 1130

long before Blade Runner was filmed

False

His name has been in pretty wide circulation for three decades

2012 - 30 (three decades) = 1982

Release date of "Blade Runner" = 25 June 1982

Three decades ago (1982) is precisely when Blade Runner was released, it is most definitely NOT "long before Blade Runner was filmed"

Comment Re:libertarianism, socialism not mutually exclusiv (Score 0) 1130

For shame moderators, for shame. Modding me down for making a factual statement?

Seriously?

I can only surmise I was modded down for the sin of simply mentioning "communism", which the moderator obviously doesn't like.

The sad thing is, I never said I did either, but I'm guessing the moderator thought so and modded me down for it.

Ironically, I don't actually like communism, but it's a simple fact that communism is an economic system, whereas democracy is a system of government. They are not the same type of thing. And therefore not mutually exclusive.

It's sad to see the day when moderators down vote someone stating the truth for simply using a word they don't like.

I get mod points at least twice a week, and for this, I am going to dedicate my next 5 mod points to modding up any positive mention of communism I see, even though I don't like communism.

Comment Re:Philip K. Dick (Score 1) 1130

Under != Not

He was virtually unknown while alive, spent most of his life in poverty and even though Hollywood types have been making bank off his ideas since his death, the majority of non-scifi fans still don't know his name, where they do know the name of Asimov etc...

However, even if I did accept that he was wildly successful by your definition, it doesn't change the fact that he's not appreciated as much as he should be, given the quality of his writing.

Thus, he is still very much under-appreciated.

Comment Philip K. Dick (Score 5, Interesting) 1130

He was almost unknown while he was alive, I'd never heard of him until I was an adult, and the only reason most people know about him is because Hollywood has been mining his mind-nuggets post-mortem for decades.

I'm sure the Slashdot crowd appreciates him, but I'd still say he's under-appreciated because he deserves to be up there with the likes of Asimov, Wells and Verne.

Comment Re:Hawii (Score 1) 252

I've never understood why there isn't a larger push for geothermal power plants in Hawaii.

They have the same basic availability and access to it as Iceland and according to Wiki, Iceland gets 66% of its total energy, and 30% of its electricity supply from geothermal.

It doesn't make any sense (rational or economical) for Hawaii to get its energy from burning fossil fuels when they are literally sitting on an massive untapped energy source.

Comment Re:The jerk probably wants to eat and raise a fami (Score 1) 596

I don't think I know anyone who programs for fun, and I've worked in the software industry for over a decade

Sorry, but you probably should not be employed in the software industry. Sadly, it also seems you've spent your entire career working with mediocre programmers.

I've worked as a software developer for 15+ years, and over that time I've been project leader for a number of large software projects - and responsible for hiring new programmers.

From my experience in hiring developers over that time, I've found the single most effective question for weeding out the poor programmers from the good ones is:

What do you code for fun?

This is generally followed up by "Ok, show me some of your code (that you code for fun), and explain what it does."

Early in my career, I thought of this interview question as more of a fluff, "get to know you" question, but it invariably turned out that every crappy programmer we hired didn't code anything for fun, while, without fail, all the really amazing "super-star" programmers we hired *DID* program for fun. So now it's my goto question - I simply will not hire anyone if they can't show me *something* they've programmed for fun. I don't care what it is - a flash game or a database for identifying fungi - as long as they did it for enjoyment.

I think this question works because programming is a creative endeavour, and if you've never had the burning desire to "make a computer do X" or never had the thought "I wonder if I could make a computer do Y?" persist until you tried it - then you will never be a great programmer.

I wouldn't hire someone to produce a work of art if all the art they ever created was commissioned and they'd never created art out of inspiration, burning desire or sheer enjoyment. That would be silly. In my experience, the same holds for software developers.

All this is not to say those who don't code for fun are incompetent, I've met plenty of competent, capable programmers who don't code for fun. However, I've never met a stellar, high-achieving programmer that didn't, and none of the incompetent programmers I've met did.

Comment Answer is relative (Score 1) 342

I've been doing web development for over 15 years, and from my experience, the answer depends on what it is you are building.

WYSIWYG editors (dreamweaver etc...) are good for churning out simple, targeted, cookie cutter sites (e.g. online catalogs, blogs, forums etc...). You can do them fast and quickly. They are good at building straight forward templated designs. WYSIWYG editors are great at abstraction and getting things up quickly, so if you don't care about how it works "underneath" and just need to bootstrap something in a hurry, they'll do just fine. Where these tools fail is in flexibility and maintenance. If you want to target more than one or two browser variants and meet CSS, usability or accessibility standards - it's going to be a hindrance rather than a help to use a WYSIWYG editor. Code produced by these tools is always a nightmare to maintain, it's usually a garbled mess and littered with unnecessary junk. WYSIWYG editors are great if you "go with the grain" and do everything the way the tool is designed to do it, but the minute you need step "outside the box" and do something even just a little different than the way the tool expects it to be - you are in for a world of headaches and unnecessary work.

If what you are building is anything like a large complex site or a real web application, or if you are breaking ground on something new that hasn't been done before, then handcoding is definitely the way to go. Notepad++ is a fine workhorse for such a situation, with all the available plugins it can rival some of the best IDEs out there. If you want to learn more about the underlying bits and pieces, then handcoding is the way to go, there's no better way to learn. If you are working on new and innovative ideas, you really do not want to be hamstrung by using someone else's idea of how things are supposed to work.

In short:

Use WYSIWYG for

  • -small, simple sites
  • -templating
  • -"cookie cutter" sites: catalogs, forums, blogs
  • -fast bootstrapping
  • -abstraction
  • -prototyping

Use handcoding for

  • -standards compliance
  • -multiple browser support
  • -large or complex sites
  • -web applications
  • -anything that hasn't been done before
  • -flexibility
  • -maintenance
  • -learning

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