Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:*sigh* (Score 2) 358

I think there is (unsurprisingly) a lot of misunderstanding among the CS crowd about what an English major actually studies. I was not one myself (journalism and Russian language double-major), but from what I understood from my English major friends in college, it's not poring over obscure grammar rules for four years. It's actually more of a degree in writing and communications, learning how to structure and present information in essay form. It's also studying the various kinds of writing out there for different purposes - ranging from artistic to practical - and learning about how other writers have communicated in the past (literature) and what can be learned from them and applied to written communications today.

I graduated as a double major: English with a writing concentration, and Philosophy with a religious concentration. I know, the McDonalds track, right?

It's not that hard to understand how someone can look at an MFA student writing poetry for their degree and scoff. However, "English" covers a ridiculously broad spectrum, especially as the definition of a "text" has been broadened to include any context where meaning is being communicated. Ethnographies focus on culture and the spoken and unspoken messages inherent in both our interactions and our environments. The fundamentals of literary criticism can be used to deconstruct and examine everything from works of art to advertising campaigns.

I picked up Philosophy as a second major because I needed a better grounding in where English-as-a-degree is currently grounded. I learned more grammar from my Philosophy classes, because in the upper-level English classes it's just assumed you know how to write. If you don't, how'd you make it that far?

No, an English major is not immediately useful for developing a piece of software, but an English major is useful if you're having a hard time understanding why releasing a decapitated and bloody bikinied torso might offend a significant segment of humanity. Recognizing that connotations are as important as denotations might help bridge certain contentious issues of race and gender that are making more and more frequent headlines. Skill at reading environmental and interpersonal dynamics can lead to subtle changes with dramatic improvements for development teams.

English majors aren't flashy. Chances are slim we'll create for you the next billion-dollar software idea. We're a long-haul sort of investment, which I can understand is distressing for fast-paced companies like Google. We can make what you do and how you do it better, but not always in easily quantifiable ways. Worse, when those ways are quantifiable, they tend to seem blindingly obvious, never mind that you couldn't see the forest for the trees before we came along.

I don't begrudge anyone dissing on English majors. I do it myself because I think it's fun. But I pursued the degree I loved, knowing full well that it wasn't going to earn me six figures anytime soon, or maybe even at all. I'm still happy where I am and with the education I have. Moreover, someone like Bock who dismisses the skills of an English degree gives me a good idea of where their head's at and what's really important to them. Namely, not aligned with what's important to me, so it's not really an opportunity lost.

Comment Re:It's not a choice (Score 5, Insightful) 728

Perhaps I misread the poster's intent, but I took the conversation as:

"It's not a choice, so pardon the man."

"What if it were a choice? Then the conviction should stand?"

To be convicted of a crime and chemically castrated for being a homosexual is inhumanly wrong. Whether that homosexuality is a choice or not bears absolutely no weight.

Comment Re:who selected these games? (Score 1) 183

Shadow of the Colossus took the prize in the PS2 category. As I recall, SotC was far more successful than Ico, plus SotC gets brought up constantly in any "Games are art" debate. As such, I'm not surprised that Ico may've been bumped.

I'm not sure how a Tony Hawk game made the honorable mention list, but having not played it, I'll reserve judgement.

Comment Re:So depressing (Score 1) 127

I find it hilarious how the post about Billy Mitchell being a douche bag prompted dozens of posts about the editing methods of the film, about how one shouldn't judge a person because of those edits, and how the movie is more fiction than reality. Someone posts that Steve Wiebe is a bad father based on the exact same film, and everyone takes it as rote truth. Love it.

Comment Re:Dear FSF (Score 4, Funny) 1634

You're absolutely right. It's such a shame that no one has yet determined a way to break the locks that bind the iPhone and the iPod Touch to the App Store. You could even say these devices are imprisoned, jailed. If only some intrepid group of hackers could find a way to break these devices out of jail, allowing those that wish it a way to modify their devices or install "unauthorized" applications onto them. If only there were some way to get the word out, and allow those that wish to make use of this mythical hack to find it. Perhaps some day such technology will exist.

Pirates as a Marketplace 214

John Riccitiello, the CEO of Electronic Arts, made some revealing comments in an interview with Kotaku about how the company's attitudes are shifting with regard to software piracy. Quoting: "Some of the people buying this DLC are not people who bought the game in a new shrink-wrapped box. That could be seen as a dark cloud, a mass of gamers who play a game without contributing a penny to EA. But around that cloud Riccitiello identified a silver lining: 'There's a sizable pirate market and a sizable second sale market and we want to try to generate revenue in that marketplace,' he said, pointing to DLC as a way to do it. The EA boss would prefer people bought their games, of course. 'I don't think anybody should pirate anything,' he said. 'I believe in the artistry of the people who build [the games industry.] I profoundly believe that. And when you steal from us, you steal from them. Having said that, there's a lot of people who do.' So encourage those pirates to pay for something, he figures. Riccitiello explained that EA's download services aren't perfect at distinguishing between used copies of games and pirated copies. As a result, he suggested, EA sells DLC to both communities of gamers. And that's how a pirate can turn into a paying customer."

Comment Re:Luck (Score 1) 646

I read "goodluckwiththat" and wished it to the kid honestly. If there's any chance this sets a precedent for what can and can't be done with DRM'ed media, it's worth a shot. Wonder if he'll stick to his guns when they offer him a settlement. Cynicism tells me "No."

Comment Re:Go look for another job. (Score 4, Insightful) 681

People need to understand a simple concept: if you wouldn't feel comfortable saying something in front of a packed auditorium, you probably shouldn't say it in a public forum online.

Absolutely. If you're comfortable voicing the opinions you put online anywhere else, then you're probably going to be miserable working for a company that refuses to hire you based on those opinions. If you're an asshat who likes to piss people off, then you're not likely to be working for anyone too long, anyway.

I'm not a big fan of the trend towards using online personas against people, but I see it as a reverse filtering effect. "You don't like me. I don't like you. Glad we know this now."

Slashdot Top Deals

Disk crisis, please clean up!