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Comment Re:Radical thought here (Score 1) 307

My experience has been the exact opposite. For example, the only competent Java developers at my company have been myself (no degree in anything) and a guy with a degree in physics. We've spent the last two years cleaning up the mess created by the completely incompetent jackasses who came before us, one with a Masters and the other with a Bachelors in CS. The situation was similar at the last company I worked for.

The open source community has much higher standards than the academic and commercial communities. In the OSS world, nobody will take you seriously if you publish a Java library without Javadoc. But in the commercial world, highly educated shitheads still think MS Word is an appropriate format for API documentation.

Comment "Rare talent" my ass. (Score 1) 608

Judging from the projects I maintain and the third-party libraries I've had to deal with, being a programmer doesn't even require knowing how to program.

That said, the author does make some good points. I cut my teeth on Java, and my standards were set by Sun's (mostly) well-thought-out APIs and comprehensive documentation. Now I'm an Android developer, constantly infuriated by Google's shitty APIs and half-assed documentation. Google's terrible design decisions have made Android is an incredibly challenging platform, and the industry's response to surging demand for Android apps has been to simply lower its standards for software quality. The author is right, it doesn't need to be this way.

Comment The 98th percentile is nothing. (Score 1) 561

The distribution of intelligence follows a normal curve, but intelligence itself follows a power law curve. It's very steep at the high end. I test around the 99.5th percentile, and I judge all my friends to be at least in the 99th, else they wouldn't be my friends. But my arrogance is tempered by knowing that within that half-percentile above me -- well over a million people in the US alone -- are many who can look down on me as I look down on the 99th percentile. They are the real gods of our society. Even at the 99.5th percentile, I will never be more than a second-tier demigod.


See also: how to lie with statistics. More meaningful, but still not at face value the way you seem to wish, are the intentional homicide rates: 4.8 per 100K in the US, 1.2 per 100K in the UK. You can't take these numbers at face value because homicide is not uniformly distributed in the US. It's strongly correlated with poverty, which in turn is strongly correlated with certain races and neighborhoods. Eliminate those hotspots by addressing poverty, and the US homicide rate is comparable to the UK's. In fact, the US rate for all violent crimes except homicide is already much lower than the UK's.

Comment The problem is how programming is taught. (Score 1) 294

When it comes to Java, it begins on day one with the standard "Hello, World" teaching people to write a procedural program in the static context before they even understand what an object is. And then they learn about object inheritance. Years later, they read Effective Java and find out their entire CS education was a lie. Meanwhile, they've been churning out utter shit as a contractor in Hong Kong or Bangalore or San Francisco... and every company who's been using their horrible code has been paying dearly for it.

Comment I can't imagine the use for this. (Score 1) 249

I can see how a military e-reader could be useful. I was an avionics tech in the Marine Corps, and our technical library probably weighed a couple tons. It was absolutely mandatory to have the manual in front of you while working on something, no matter how well you knew the gear. But part of my job was to replace pages in these manuals as changes came down from on high. I doubt there are any standing orders that never change at all. An e-reader that can't be updated would be quickly outdated.

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The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.