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Comment Re:COBOL isn't hard to learn (Score 5, Interesting) 356

Indeed. If there is a market for COBOL programmers (and it's clear there is), then the obvious solution is for unis and colleges to spit out more COBOL-literate CS graduates. Honestly, if I was ten years younger, I'd probably delve into it myself. It is, after all, just a programming language, and hardly on the same level of trying to learn Sanskrit.

As long as you have a real fall-back so your career doesn't dead end. What can easily happen is that you do X then more of X because it's the only place you get a salary/career development until you've done X so long nobody will really hire you for anything else. I see this with for example some SAP consultants, essentially SAP customers want to hire you for your SAP experience and the rest of the world doesn't care that you have a general IT degree 5 or 10 years ago because your experience is all SAP-specific and they don't run SAP.

Now they're probably safe since that ERP is burrowed so deep into many companies they'll never get out, but for something like COBOL you could end up doing it for some years and then the legacy system is shut down and nobody wants to give you anything but a junior non-COBOL position. That is if they'll even hire you or if they'd rather have a recent college graduate. Or you might have to relocate to find one of those increasingly rare positions that actually value your COBOL experience, which of course only makes it harder at the next crossroads.

If you write cell phone apps as a hobby and can show them a portfolio or something, maybe you'll get away with it. No, you're not a dinosaur who only knows an outdated language and best practices from 50 years ago. Or some other way to be able to transition away from that COBOL career more smoothly. Some of my older colleagues noted that the parking inspector at work used to be COBOL programmer some 20 years ago, they updated their skillset and apparently he didn't.

Comment COBOL programmers aren't all old (Score 1) 356

There's a COBOL shop in my small town that contracts for corporations and the government. I know several COBOL specialists in their 30s. It's actually an extremely lucrative field to get into these days, with good pay and job security.

Rewriting all that COBOL code in some other language would be bound to cause major problems.

Comment Re:So what's the issue? (Score 3, Interesting) 212

How about someone in the bank just puts here age in like 10 years younger than she is, what's the big deal if their system thinks he is 106 instead of 116?

Well, the bank is usually allowed to issue IDs that many people who don't have a driver's license and don't want to carry their passport use. Intentionally falsifying records like that is not something I'd do without explicit approval from my boss in writing, because a note is unlikely to prevent such false documents from being issued. And that would probably escalate all the way to legal, who might have to check whatever agreements they have with the government, who will then probably say no. It's just not worth my own skin to be customer friendly.

Comment Re:Yes, inherently unpredictable, needs percentage (Score 1) 216

*and* some panicky manager started having $deity damned _daily_ meetings about it.

This is my favorite bit when something very unexpected happens and managers make us twice as late by creating a ton of overhead about when/how/why/re-estimating/re-planning and plain old nagging to get it fixed. If what you care about is getting it actually done, let me work. If you need an alternative other than not delivering I can help you find that, but other than that you're not helping. You're slowing us down. This is particular frustrating when you're not 100% assigned to a project, yeah I'm supposed to spend 30% of my time on this... you spent 10% of your time, maybe that made sense to you. But you just spent 33% of your development time on BS, was that worth it? That way we have the same meeting in a few days on how nothing is happening.

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 1) 540

Insurance is for accidents, not routine maintenance. Its that way for your car, it should be that way for you too.

Well that would be nice if we could simply swap parts and be back in factory condition. The reality of it is that many of us have or will get problems that sneak up on us like back problems, heart problems, eye problems, bad shoulder, bad hip, cancers and such that come gradually or relapse or are semi-chronic that you can't just trivially cure but do a lot of medication and preventative measures but ultimately you don't really control and the insurance company knows long in advance that you're a hot potato that probably will require expensive treatment in the future. Catastrophic insurance works great for a major trauma like a car crash. It works much less well when they more you'll depend on your insurance in the future, the more the insurance company will want to get rid of you.

Comment Re:Asset forfeiture? (Score 2) 82

Of course, this is the same country that allows asset forfeiture. I'm sure your wallet is guilty of some crime or other...

It doesn't have to be, here's how it goes:

It looks like you're carrying lots of money. Drug dealers carry lots of money. Hence I will confiscate this money as possible drug profits. If you can show a paper trail in court, you can have it back some day. If you can't, tough. If you need the money right now, tough. Oh and there's no presumption of innocence and no free legal aid since it's a civil matter, if you lose as you very well might you'll also lose a ton on lawyer and court costs.

One joint was sufficient to confiscate a sailboat. A cheating husband's wife lost their jointly owned car because he was illegally using it to have sex with prostitutes. People's homes have been confiscated because their kids or tenants have been selling drugs out of their room. Rental companies have lost their property because the people who rented it used it for smuggling, even though the company wasn't even a suspect. Basically you can get robbed without any fourth amendment protection, it's insane.

Comment Re:Do we really need more people? (Score 1) 188

In most wealthy countries, kids are a liability because you have to feed, clothe, and shelter them without them delivering any kind of return on investment. In poor countries they tend to be an asset because they end up being extra farm hands, laborers, etc.

The value of child labor is quite modest, they work at slave labor rates. The primary reason to have kids is to have them support you economically and otherwise when you're elderly and they are young adults because being old and childless is harsh in many poorly developed societies. High risk of child death leads to "insurance", 95% of the women have an extra child because 5% of them will die. Losing a child is of course always a tragedy, but in the western world you'll still get to live at a decent nursing home and have most your needs taken care of so you don't need a fallback plan.

From what I understand, the population boom in Africa is not really necessary anymore. But it takes quite some time from you stop needing it until people realize it. Not to mention a lot of cultural momentum, if it's normal to have five kids many women will have five kids. And as you get wealth the pyramid starts turning, instead of having five kids to support you maybe it's you who want to divide your wealth on two kids and not six poor kids. It's a lot of psychology involved, not just economics.

Comment Re:Beta testing self-driving vehicles... (Score 1) 53

Well, eventually they will figure it out how to make self driving cars safer than more than 99% of human drivers. When that happens, I'm not sure, but it will happen. Now, if you introduce them too early, a very risky and unsafe version of self driving cars that is maybe safer than 20% of the human driver population, but less safe than 80%, then anybody of those 80% using a self driving car would mean a safety risk.

Except that's not really how it happens, you don't need to be a race car driver to be a good street driver. A good street driver is merely consistent, appropriate speed, paying attention, obeying the traffic rules. It's not a skill level, it's a fail rate. You do things right for a year or five years or twenty years and then for some reason you fuck up. As in failed to yield, ran a red light, didn't see the pedestrian, fell asleep at the wheel, didn't check their blind spot, lost control of the car fail. I can guarantee you that all the SDC test vehicles are better than 100% of humans at not rear-ending anyone.

If it's not coming officially it's coming unofficially with all sorts of assistants where technically you drive yourself. And people will ignore it, but we'll dismiss them as Darwin awards.

Comment Re:Unimpressive performance. (Score 2) 144

Scroll down to the CrystalDiskMark 4K test, it kills the 960 Pro with 307 MB/s compared to 62 MB/s read performance. Big transfers or deep queues? SSD better. Short burst of performance at low queue depths? Super quick. Write speed is not super impressive but assuming the primary goal is to read from slow storage and cache it's good enough. The downside with this and all hybrid systems is of course that it's not consistent. Scan through a big folder of 20MP+ photos, what happens to your application cache? Quite possibly evicted. I like to have an application drive (SSD) and media drive (HDD) and manage it myself. But for the more average user who wants a single big volume this looks like an okay pairing.

Comment Re:Okay, but... (Score 1) 177

They do. All Tesla Superchargers in Europe have standard Mennekes connectors. They have to, by law.

Everything you said is wrong, so I assume you're trolling. Tesla uses a special connector so it can connect to Type 2, others can't fully connect to the Tesla superconnector, it's not the law and nobody else gets to charge at their superchargers.

Comment Re:Pilots don't work (Score 1) 518

Will a child growing up in a UBI household have a different attitude towards the need to get a job or attend school? Is there even any point in getting an education if you know that the state will provide everything - and that there probably won't be any jobs for you anyway?

Well we have research on welfare clients here in Norway indicates it might be "inheritable", but not massively so. So I think it would be more "as a child in an UBI society..." and as for the latter I assume basic will mean quite basic. Here in Norway you have a basic guarantee (sosialstønad) if you are a legal resident and have no savings or other means to support yourself, for singles it's 5950 NOK + housing which in USD is about $700/month, but since Norway is more expensive it's effectively $500/month. And housing can easily mean a 100 sqft room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Essentially if you take your basic needs like food, clothes, personal care, a monthly card for public transportation and misc. household articles the budget is nearly spent. You can afford a microwave, cellphone, a TV, a crap PC and that's it. You're not going to any pubs, cafes, restaurants, concerts, cinemas or theaters. You don't have a car. You're not going on any vacations. You exist comfortably, if all you want is a $15/month WoW subscription. Most people want a little more in life...

Comment Re:FSF = not practical (Score 2) 171

When he started there was no such thing as an entire operating system of free software and no hardware you could run it on. This exists today - it didn't then. It's not as readily and easily available as it should be - but it exists. And, as he rightfully pointed out, if he had compromised the ideal of that existing - it would still not exist at all. It only exists because he never settled for less than that.

Well evil tounges would suggest that without Linus we'd still be waiting on GNU/Hurd. GCC forked off and became ECGS. "Linux libc" forked away from glibc and was only later "gnu-ified" again like ECGS. The rest the FSF made seems mostly to be small utilities, for sure having a GNU/free ls, awk, sed, grep etc. is important but hardly the showstopper. His one (admittedly huge) crowning achievement was writing the GPL, but most the projects seemed to refuse his leadership.

And even then the adoption by some of the core players seemed to be more by chance than ideological success, like Linus primarily wanted to see what other developers were doing to learn so he could run it on his box. User freedom was never a big deal for him nor most other Linux kernel core developers, which is why the GPLv3 was met with a "meh". X11 and Wayland doesn't use the GPL. Apache isn't using the GPL. Android isn't using the GPL except the kernel. It is popular? Yes. Is it the only commonly used open source license? Very far from it.

According to Black Duck GPLv3 + LGPLv3 + Affero GPL = ~10% of all projects and GPLv2 + LGPLv2 ~20% so most projects haven't really been following Stallman since 2007. And that's not counting the non-GPL licenses, my impression is that the Apache license has gained a lot of popularity particularly with corporations like Google (Android), Apple (Swift) and Microsoft (ASP.Net). The kernel is the one project that seems to get away with copyleft because you can run any userspace on top. And because it doesn't really crack down on shims and driver blobs.

Comment Not really (Score 1) 416

I work far more with SQL than programming languages really, but I do work a lot with doing operations on large data sets so I definitively try to avoid looping through a million rows. I use in-memory or temp tables to chain operations without storing state. And that's all neat and well, but without a ton of state in between those set operations to say what's ready, what's running, what's done etc. I'd go nuts. The functional bits are the stretches between the state almost like barriers in computer shaders and other synchronization methods. A pure functional application well I couldn't really imagine it unless it read one file as input and spit out a result, it just flows through the whole application. Every time I try to understand state in FP my head hurts.

Comment Re:FSF = not practical (Score 1) 171

Stallman is more like the kind of political extremist who would tell everybody not to vote because it perpetuates the system. He doesn't force anybody to do anything, he only forces himself and suggests to others. Forcing is what he's against.

And how is this not wanting to use the force of law to impose his ideological views on others?

"Instead of the DMCA, which makes it a crime to show people how to break DRM, it should be a crime to make, import or lease or sell devices with DRM," Stallman says. "Both the players and the media. It should be a crime. The executives of the companies that are now pulling the strings of the W3C, they should go to jail for doing DRM. "

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