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Comment Features have Costs (Score 5, Insightful) 388

When I was a younger programmer, I thought, "Features are great! Always add a feature, if it could help someone!" I overestimated the value of the feature, and didn't think at all about the costs of the feature. "I mean, how long does it take to implement this? 10 minutes? A couple days? What's that matter, vs. the utility that this would provide?"

What I didn't realize at the time was that every feature basically adds an exponential cost, and has an impact on everything else going on in the codebase. Features introduce new possibilities, and new possibilities create new state combinations, and new state combinations create new bugs and new need-to-test circumstances. New features usually have a user interface impact, several new features have a dramatic user interface impact. New features need to be supported by new or future-self programmers, who have to understand and navigate around the code. If the product is ported, the feature needs to be ported as well. New features also require additional documentation, and if the product is localized the new documentation requires new localizations.

I've heard that "the skilled Go player is reluctant to make a move." I think it's similar for the application developer, and for much the same reason.

Comment Re: oh no (Score 1) 423

A few years ago I came across my old BBS number during a Google search and decided to call it and see who answered.

It rings once and then...a modem sound.

Freaked me out until I discovered it was just a fax machine that actually blasted that noise on answering.

Comment Is the Content actually Deleted? (Score 5, Interesting) 88

There's something bothering me about the article and Facebook's announcement --

It talks as if photographs and content are deleted forever, but it's carefully carved out the language in a way such that they never directly say that:
* "The Instagram community has shown us that it can be fun to share things that disappear after a day, so in the main Facebook app we’re also introducing Facebook Stories, ..."
* "Your friends can view photos or videos your story for 24 hours, and stories won’t appear..."
* ...We’ve also added Direct, an option that’s designed for sharing individual photos and videos with specific friends for a limited time."
* "When you send a photo or video via Direct, your friends will be able to view it once and replay it or write a reply. Once the conversation on the photo or video ends, the content is no longer visible in Direct."

"view ... for 24 hours," "...a limited time," "...view it once..," "...no longer visible..."

OK, but nowhere does it ever actually say DELETED.

Given that there is likely going to be sexual and personally sensitive (black-mail?) content here, isn't this a big deal?

Comment Why do you believe that? (Score 5, Insightful) 456

"People desperately need a universal solution which is secure, decentralized, fault tolerant, not attached to your phone number, protects your privacy, supports video and audio chats and sending of files, works behind NATs and other firewalls and has the ability to send offline messages."

I don't see the sense in that. There's so much evidence to the contrary.

May as well say people desperately need a universal language. May I interest you in Esperanto?

Comment Re:GUIs and AIs and Ohs (Score 2) 169

Oh, be careful, friend! I made the grave mistake of suggesting on Reddit that we've kinda/sorta/maybe become too enamored of CLIs and that just MAYBE a GUI MIGHT have prevented this, and I got hammered mercilessly.

You don't want to say anything that doesn't equate to worship at the feet of the almighty, great and awesome CLI around the wrong people.

Comment Fundamental Missing Features (Score 3, Insightful) 449

Forget compiled languages. That's not fun.

We want command based (imperative) languages that can be run in a REPL for fun. BASIC basically fits this.

Take Python as a contemporary example. Now look at how many basic features of interactivity are NOT enabled in an easy way in Python by default: LOCATE, INKEY, SOUND, PLAY, SCREEN, PSET, LINE, CIRCLE, PGET.

Just these. You can't do ANY of these things in Python with a basic install. "Yes," if you have tkinter in your install, you kind of can. But it's hairy and complex. It's not anywhere near as simple or accessible as BASIC. Pygmy makes some of these things possible, but those are further steps of installation away, and the interactivity feels further away.

Line numbers are incredibly simple (read: understandable) as a flow control model. "Why Johnny Can't Code" outlined the problem with mandatory complex abstract control structures.

I think there are basic fundamental missing pieces in the contemporary programming environment, and that the industry is worse for it.

Comment Movie Makers do NOT get money from candy. (Score 1) 341

...that by offering you new titles so early they are going to lose on all the overpriced cold drinks, and snacks they sell you at the theatre.

This is incorrect. Movie theaters make ZERO money on ticket sales for the first few weeks, then a small portion of the ticket sale, and then eventually a good portion. Pretty much ALL ticket money goes to the makers of the movie.

THE REASON why you have those overpriced drinks and such, is because it's the only source of income for the movie theater itself.

Comment Re:In retrospect, (Score 2) 134

One could make a very strong argument that gun owners played a big part in getting Trump elected.

The Democrats continue to yammer on about gun control despite a HUGE portion of the population being against gun control (yep, I said it - the polls the liberals like to say showing the opposite are BS, plain and simple, and it wouldn't be at all surprising to find out a majority are actually NOT on their side). Most people think guns cost the Democrats control of Congress after the AWB was passed and most gun owners very likely went for Trump, and not because they legitimately thought he was a good candidate, I bet many in fact did not think that, but because they knew how bad Clinton would be for gun rights, and that matters a great deal to them. Gun owners are a highly mobilized voting block, possibly larger and more reliable than any other block, and a bigger one than the left seems to think, and so it could very well be that guns played a large part in this result.

I'd say that's a meaningful change at least, though whether it's for the better is debatable.


Computer Issue Affecting Some Airlines Resolved: American Airlines (nbcchicago.com) 17

American Airlines said Friday Sabre had faced a brief technical issue that impacted multiple carriers. The issue has, however, been resolved. From a report on NBC Chicago: A technical issue at with a computer IT firm briefly caused technical problems for airlines in the United States early Friday afternoon, according to American Airlines. It was one of several air carriers affected by the outage at Sabre, which tweeted about 12:45 p.m. ET that it was working on recovering from unspecified issues customers were facing. American didn't provide more details about what systems and airlines were affected. Reports on Twitter indicated outages at American, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue; all three responded to several tweets about saying computers, kiosks or the website not working.

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982