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Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 1067

I'm getting beat up pretty bad for posting this question. Perhaps deservingly. And I was also quite surprised to see the "your submission is on the front page of Slashdot!" email. But since you asked, let me try and explain a little about what I was thinking.

First, I think everyone took it a bit too literally when I said "system wide setting". Maybe I phrased it wrong, but I wasn't suggesting that I flip a switch and suddenly everyone's code that's ever been written suddenly stops throwing div by zero errors. Clearly, as evidence by the many great comments in here, this would be a bad idea.

But here is my scenario. I work with an medium sized application. We have thousands of users daily. Inside the application, it displays hundreds (possibly thousands) of statistics based on data from a database. A lot of them are fairly complicated to compute and a good portion of them involve some sort of averages. We update this application very frequently and include new statistics that our customers are asking for. We're a small shop and we try to write as many unit tests as we can, but with limited # of devs and a micro budget, we can't cover as much as we'd like. New features ALWAYS take priority.

The data we receive for this application comes from about 25-30 different places and formats. Manually entered, csv files, xml files, email, faxes, etc. etc. We pretty much cater to anyone who wants to use our system and send us data, regardless of format.

Now here's the issue. Our customers use our system in very different ways. For some, a certain set of key metrics are very important to them. Others could care less about the metrics. But the point is, most of these are NOT VERY IMPORTANT. It's just fancy features we roll out to try and make our app more appealing. When one crappy little statistic happens to divide by zero and we don't trap that scenario, the whole thing takes a shit. And that sucks for user experience.

There's a very good chance that if the system is dividing by zero, it's because of the crappy data they sent us. In which case, the customer doesn't care or would understand if we told them it was off because of their data. But if they get a Div By Zero error message and can't move forward, they get really pissed.

So, all I was really saying is, in MY APP, I want to be able to set a flag that says Div By Zero just equals zero. So when my lazy programmers (including myself), forget to test a scenario for the weekly build, we don't end up spending the next day scrambling to get a hotfix out because the system is crashing for a bunch of users.

I know that doesn't fly very well here in the Slashdot crowd. And I've really enjoyed reading all the responses (even the derogatory ones). I was just frustrated and figured I probably wasn't the only one who has experienced this before. So I posted a dumb question... sue me.

Submission + - What's the harm in a default setting for div by zero? 2

CodeInspired writes: After 20 years of programming, I've decided I'm tired of checking for div by zero. Would there be any serious harm in allowing a system wide setting that said div by zero simply equals zero? Maybe it exists already, not sure. But I run into it ALL the time in every language I've worked with. Does anyone want their div by zero errors to result in anything other than zero?

Comment Re:Wrong answer. Switch file formats first, then a (Score 1) 273

Maybe I am missing something, but isn't OOXML the default document format MS Office versions since 2007? They seem to already be using open formats.

I know it's not very popular around here, but your argument was that open formats could allow users to use the software of their choice. Any office productivity suite is free to implement the ECMA-376, ISO/IEC 29500 standards used by MS Office.

The reality is, the competitors don't do a very good job of supporting it. But isn't that the same argument as MS not doing a very good job of supporting ODF?

Comment Re:a non-addition to the team. (Score 4, Interesting) 90

I've used Azure extensively. My experience greatly differs.

1. You just need a Microsoft Account. It can be created with any email address and not necessarily a Microsoft TLD. There is nothing specific to IE. The entire process can be done with Firefox.

2. It is not unreasonable to have to verify a new subscription via email. This is common place in environments where security is rather important.

3. The fact that you have Linux as an option is rather surprising. Azure is primarily a Windows cloud computing environment which a very large group of businesses are interested in. If you're looking to deploy an enterprise cluster of Linux servers and services, you're probably in the wrong place.

4. Seriously? Why would you navigate away from a "provisioning your server" processing dialog? You didn't have an extra browser tab to peruse Slashdot with?

5. I've never seen this occur, but I'll take your word for it. If it was a mistake, then they clearly deserve some criticism. But are you suggesting you want them to provision your new server for you? Do you expect them to be logging every configuration change you made so they can reproduce every thing you did on another server instance in another datacenter? I'll concede that this is an unfortunate error on their part, but honestly, you can delete and re-create servers with a few clicks of the mouse.

6. There is not "an ocean" of more capable cloud computing environments available. Particularly if you are have strong ties to a Windows environment. Active Directory is included in all of the subscriptions for free. Use it if you want, or ignore it. It's your choice.

Your rhetoric is the only thing that is "bad comedy" here. Like it or not, MS has a pretty successful enterprise software business. I don't see how them sharing some of their insights into this industry as anything but a positive for the open source community. Or do you believe their massive research investments should be kept under lock and key? Or maybe you believe that a huge team of talented engineers has absolutely NOTHING to contribute to OCP because the company they work for has produced a few unsuccessful products. Either way, I think attitudes like yours are detrimental.

Comment Re:And this is only sign-up (Score 1) 559

Sure, the sign-up process would be simpler. I'm talking about everything else that happens after that. Imagine the system that needs to be created to administer every aspect of health care for all 350 million Americans. Tracking patient visits, expenses, coverages, drugs, etc. etc. along with all the financial distributions to thousands of hospitals, doctors, clinics, pharmacies, etc.

I imagine you could model something from one of the existing insurance providers systems, but would any of those really scale to 350 million users? Are you going to require all existing medical software providers to integrate into a master government health care system? All of that sounds like it's exponentially more complicated than this sign-up process. If they are having this much difficulty with a process that basically amounts to 1. Read your tax record to determine subsidy eligibility 2. Display a list of available health plans and the cost. 3. Let you pick one and send the data off to the corresponding insurance company, then I have no faith in them developing a system that would manage everyone's health care.

Comment Re:Issues (Score 1) 376

1. You are misinterpreting my point about trading places. We are essentially arguing the same thing, but at different price points. Yes, your mom would gladly pay a couple thousand in taxes to jump to 30K income. But remove the arbitrary line of $24K and the same argument applies to all salaries. Someone making $10K / year would gladly pay $500 in taxes if it meant their salary could be increased to $19K / year. The point being, no matter what salary level you are at, there is always someone who would trade you places (even if it meant they had to pay a little in income tax).

2. I wasn't arguing that we should reduce taxes on the rich. I'm only saying everyone should pay something. They are not mutually exclusive. Whether it's $75B or $1B in additional tax revenue, it's still a significant amount of money that could be used. No, it's not going to solve the debt crisis, but a billion dollars still buys about 25,000 new teachers like your mom.

3. Like you, I have been on both sides of the income spectrum. The first year I filed taxes (working part-time in college), I was absolutely shocked to find out I was getting a refund check for the exact amount that I paid in. What was so special about me that I was exempt from paying my share of taxes? It wasn't a lot of money so neither paying it throughout the year nor receiving the small check back at the end of the year had any siginificant effect on me. However, 10 years later, seeing ~35% of my salary go to taxes and still having to pay more at the end of the year, I realized what all the hoopla over taxes was about. I didn't complain too much (obviously I was living better than before), but I assure you it wasn't a "barely-noticeable" tax.

Honestly, I don't think we are too far apart on our views. I applaud you for wanting to help those 10 families by paying an extra $1000 in taxes. I wish there were more people like you. But I also don't think you are giving enough respect to wealthy people. Most are not selfish, greedy and completely unware as you characterize them. As your $1T figure illustrates, they are already paying 90% of the taxes to help the less fortunate. That's pretty generous if you ask me.

Like I said before, I'm not suggesting giving the wealthy more advantages so they can further take adavantage of the poor. I'm simply saying everyone should have some skin in the game. Whether it's $10 or $500 doesn't matter. We should all be doing our part for the greater good of the community.

Comment Re:Issues (Score 1) 376

My point was that the line is arbitrary. He was mad that people complained that his mom didn't pay any taxes, and his favorite response was to say his mom would have easily traded places with them. I was pointing out that there are many that would consider $19K / year and a decent job a serious upgrade, and would happily pay a few extra dollars in taxes to get it.

I don't accept that people cannot afford to pay anything. No matter how much you make, you can afford to pay something. If you make $12K / year and go to college, paying $10 in income tax is not going alter your life and prevent you from finishing school.

It is not shortsighted to expect everyone to pay something for use of common services. It is shortsighted to foster a mentality that you get something for free because you are poor and other people will pick up the tab.

Comment Re:Issues (Score 1) 376

So, because you were in college and your mom was a teacher, you don't think it's fair for you to pay even $1 dollar in income taxes? But at some arbitrary number, it's fair because YOU see that as an acceptable standard of living? Who decides that? Plenty of poeple would easily trade you spots and gladly pay a few dollars if they could have your college education and your mom's secure, respectable job. We all need to pay for common services. It's really that simple.

Comment Re:Issues (Score 1) 376

You don't have to collect from the lowest end of the spectrum. You'd simply be returning less to them. We already process their returns, so there's no additional loss. There are many cases when the amount returned greatly exceeds the amount paid in. So, why is having everyone pay something wrong? $10 from 47% of the population turns into a really big number.

Comment Best bet (Score 4, Insightful) 249

Sell, pawn, or throw pretty much everything away and get new stuff when you get there. If you are paying for the shipping, I'm willing to bet almost everything you are shipping is not worth the cost to ship it. Ship the sentimental stuff (pictures, videos, gifts, etc) and take the super important things with you on the plane. I'm pretty sure a used ink cartridge for your printer is not worth shipping across the globe and waiting 8 weeks for it.

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