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Comment News to Me... (Score 1) 105

Here in the San Francisco bay area, AT&T has been running an ad for the last couple months or so on one of those electronic billboards advertising gigabit fiber service. Well, if they're actually offering it somewhere on the peninsula, I have no idea where, because every time I check on their site, they claim it's not yet available in my area, despite the fact that I've seen their trucks running around the area apparently putting up new cabling of some sort. Google seems to have gotten bored with Google Fiber, so I'm not holding my breath for them anymore. In fact, the only ISP I know is offering gigabit fiber service in the bay area is Sonic.net, in a very slow, limited roll-out.

Comment BASIC (Score 1) 625

BASIC, back in the day. I started teaching myself at 13, on a TI 99/4A. The school I was attending at the time had barely heard about computers, much less come up with a way to try to teach someone that young about them. I was actually starting to dabble in assembly language on that machine, and managed to get a sprite to move in response to me moving a joystick around. The school may have been woefully uninformed, but the public library was a pretty good resource.

A fortunate move to upstate New York put me on a track to pick up some classes on BASIC and Pascal at the high school and Watfiv and assembly language at a local university that had a high school summer program. My senior project in high school was a graphing program that generated several kinds of graphs using Apple Pascal and the turtle graphics package that came with it. The system could barely handle it, but it was pretty spiffy. I wrote my own keyboard input routines that would allow me to set up fields of a specific size that would only allow certain characters to be typed into them.

College was more Basic, which I was entirely fucking sick of by then, and some scripting languages. I got my intro to REXX there, which was much nicer than Basic. I switched schools into a more CS-oriented program and picked up C, Ada and COBOL. By then I was starting to hear about this newfangled C++, which really sucked back in the early '90's, let me tell you. They didn't even have a STL yet. They started talking about adding templates to the language a few years later.

By then I knew my way around C pretty well, but mostly had to work on the shitty proprietary languages of the 90's. I got into some work that involved actual C programming in the mid 90's, and had a pretty solid decade of C programming. Since 2005 it's been a pretty steady mix of Java and C++, along with a bit of maintenance on some really badly-designed projects in Perl, Ruby and TCL. I'm currently doing a mix of C++ for hardware-level access to some specialty hardware I'm working on, and Java to provide some web services associated with that hardware. I might get into some Javascript to put it all together, but I'm going to try to leave that to the guys who are more comfortable with Javascript than I am.

I don't see much new coming along the road. .net, go and rust are all sufficiently close to Java or C++ that they really don't interest me. Maybe if someone offers some large briefcases full of cash to work with them. I'd be more interested in doing some hand-optimized assembly language and perhaps some GPU programming, but that would probably take another decade to get good at.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

If you look in the FEMA site, they say that they provide gramts to perform repairs not covered by insurance. And no, they don't do a needs test. Now, the typical rich person does not let their insurance lapse just so that they can get a FEMA grant. Because such a grant is no sure thing. They also point out that SBA loans are the main source of assistance following a disaster. You get a break on interest, but you have to pay them back.

Comment Re: The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

I understand your point about view land being desirable even though it's a flood risk. I live a mile or so from the Hayward fault. But I have California's risk pool earthquake insurance. The government wouldn't be paying me except from a fund that I've already paid into. I imagine that the government does pay some rich people in similar situations, but as far as I'm aware disaster funds go to the States from the federal government and should not in general become a form of rich people's welfare. Maybe you can find some direct evidence to show me that would make the situation more clear.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

What you are observing is economics. As a city or town population grows, the best land becomes unavailable and those who arrive later or have less funds available must settle for less desirable land. Thus many cities have been extended using landfill which liquifies as the San Francisco Marina District did in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, or floods. Risks may not be disclosed by developers, or may be discounted by authorities as the risks of global warming are today.

Efforts to protect people who might otherwise buy such land or to mitigate the risks are often labeled as government over-reach or nanny state.

Comment Re:The problem with your explanation (Score 1) 307

Oh, of course they were caused by misguided engineering efforts. Everything from the Army Corps of Engineers to Smoky Bear goes under that heading. The most basic problem is the fact that we locate cities next to resources and transportation, which means water, without realizing where the 400-year flood plane is. Etc. We have learned something since then.

Our problem, today, is fixing these things. Which is blocked by folks who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, or even cause and effect at all. They don't, for the most part, register Democratic.

Comment The problem with your explanation (Score 5, Insightful) 307

The problem with your explanation is that it's fact-based, and stands on good science. This is the post-truth era. Thus, the counter to your argument will be:

  • Evidence for a human cause of erosion is thin and controversial, and is being pushed by loony liberals.
  • We need those oil and shipping jobs, and jobs building and maintaining levees, not more regulation that stifles them!
  • Cause and effect is not a real thing, except for one cause, God is behind everything.
  • This is part of God's plan for us. The end time is coming, and when the Rapture arrives it will not matter that Louisiana's coast has eroded. Cease your pursuit of unholy science and pray to save your soul!

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 338

so far hasn't done anything irreversible.

I think the first victims have been farmers who can't bring in their crops. Just the people who voted for him in California's central valley and wherever else we depend on guest workers. I don't see citizens lining up to pick those crops. The small family farmers, what's left of them, will feel this worse, the large corporate ones have the lawyers necessary to help them break the rules and truck people in from South of the border.

The second group of victims will be the ones who need health care that doesn't come from a big company. It's a lot more difficult to start a small business when there is no affordable way to get health care. And that is the case for my own small business - I'd be in bad shape if my wife left the University. I think that's the real goal - to keep people from leaving employment in larger companies and going off on their own.

Comment Re:So... (Score 4, Interesting) 338

Donald Trump, unfortunately, satisfies a common desire among the populance to right things by means that won't actually right them. It's a desire to rid Washington of inaction by cleaning it out of the current folks who don't seem to get anything done: and then you find that the things they were working on are harder than you understood. It's the feeling that you can get things going right by having a manager who lights a fire under the responsible people: just the way that bank managers pressured employees to increase revenue or be fired until those employees started opening accounts fraudulently for customers who hadn't asked for them.

What I am having a hard time with is how our country gets back out of this. I fear Humpty has had such a great fall that there is no peaceful recovery.

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