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Comment Re:Moderate usage okay (Score 1) 417

I have a usage pattern where I end up pairing them with enums and it simplifies so many things (e.g. You practically never need a switch statement ever again).

Care to share the pattern (or a reference)? I googled a bit, but there didn't seem to be one stand-out pattern and I'm quite curious (if you have the time)


Comment Re:Good feedback! (Score 1) 88

Which may effectively doom IoT for consumers.

I suspect that's the idea. If you have something that's cheap and "weaponizable", then society often ends up restricting them in one fashion or another. What's different about the Internet is that the damage one can do isn't geographically restricted, making control a lot harder.

At least in the mind of its creator, something like "BrickerBot" may be the only way to raise the cost of ownership high enough to prevent destruction of the Internet.

I'm constantly amazed that in a flash of misanthropy, someone hasn't built a "BrickerBot" for PCs. These machines are unlikely to be restored (they're generally owned by non-techies with very limited resources) and the maker could easily use the same justification as BrickerBot.

Just to be clear, I still strongly disapprove of BrickerBot.

Comment Re:Apple ][+ (Score 1) 857

Indeed, I spent $1789 of my hard-earned summer job money to buy my Apple ][ in 1979 and was the first person in our residence with a computer in their room.

A fact I was rewarded for by having people in my room day an night playing Dave's Midnight Magic. I learned to sleep through having three people yelling at the screen in my residence room at 2am.

I also ended up having to replace the bloody joystick every six months for my entire tenure at university. I still boggle how someone managed to depress one of the fire buttons *through* the plastic housing on one of them...

Comment Re:What about the delivery of insulin? (Score 1) 94

> Yes, some, but let's not forget the millions of others who can easily prevent it by quitting the damn sugars.

Easily? I don't think that word means what you think it does. Almost by definition, if it was easy, they'd already be doing it.

Or by easy, did you mean "restructure society and re-engineer human dopamine reward systems" type of easy? :-)

Comment Bigger teams require simpler tools (Score 1) 245

The bitter lesson I've learned over the years is that the larger the team, the simpler the tool set and the less clever the implementation must be.

And it makes sense. You pretty much have to target the 10th percentile programmer in your organization or your going to have your systems ruined over time.

In a small organization, you can probably hire selectively enough that your 10th percentile programmer can handle Scala. In a large organization (like Twitter is now), not so much.

Comment Re:Implications (Score 1) 239

Obviously this was meant to be funny, but there's some underlying truth - the skills that are needed for success in our post-industrial society (things like conscientiousness and empathy (needed in many service jobs)) seem to be more prevalent in women.

It's been slowly becoming a woman's world for some time now - and yes, the patriarchy (supported by the men and women of most cultures) has been getting in the way of their natural ascendancy.

Luckily, as a society we're likely to be a little more cognizant of biases as we adjust to this realization. I doubt my sons will end up having to be twice as competent in order to be considered half as good as their female counterparts.

Comment Re:Short-term numbers versus long-term (Score 1) 167

To be meaningful, you need at least two numbers: the number of crashes avoided because of software intervention and the number of crashes caused by driver inattention.

I think that two numbers would be deceptive because almost no-one is capable of acknowledging their inattention. If you found at that that 50% of accidents are caused by inattention, but the autopilot is a 20% *worse* driver than someone paying attention, you *know* that everyone would flee from AutoPilot it on the assumption they won't be part of the 50% failing to pay attention.

One of the primary problems is that humans (in general) are incapable of acknowledging the weaknesses that cause accidents, thus making it very hard to take measures that reduce the number of accidents. Splitting the numbers apart would contribute to this problem.

Comment Re:Yeah ok (Score 1) 254

Sadly, I can be pretty close to 100% sure that some minimum wage flunky has no path whatsoever to channel feedback on an non-retail oriented issue to upper management.

Life's hard enough for retail employees.

Well, that, and with my luck, she'd find the one retail clerk who was a corporate-drone-hopeful that would defend the practice, and then I'm stuck bailing my wife out of jail *and* figuring out where to send flowers.

Comment Re:Yeah ok (Score 4, Interesting) 254

As someone who knows three people who were Windows-10'd against their will, telling them to waste x hundred hours of time trying to get compensation for the dozen hours (or $200) it took for them or someone else to undo the damage seems a little... counterproductive.

However, when we passed a Microsoft store advertising the Windows 10 upgrade, I did have to stop my wife (one of the victims) from barging in there and giving the staff a piece of her mind.

Comment Re: Of course not. (Score 2) 432

> Take that, along with some scary findings that the US's "PRODUCE MORE NOW! WITH LESS THAN YOU DID LAST QUARTER, OBEY OR BE FIRED! DO NOT DARE ASK FOR MORE THAN THE 1-WEEK OF VACATION ALLOTED TO YOU! CORPORATE HAS SPOKEN!" culture produces unbearable levels of stress, which increases risk for depression.

Well, there's the small problem that the US (and the rest of the industrialized world) has a standard of living many times the rest of the world. To sustain that, we need to be many times more productive than the rest of the world. And that is becoming harder and harder.

We're going crazy trying to stave off the Great Reckoning, when the developed world median income falls into place with the rest of the world. So, yeah, we're a little stressed. Who wouldn't be? But personally, I don't blame anybody but myself. Once we accept we can't stop water from flowing downhill, and accept a 75% drop in income, (and survive the stress from *that*), the pressure to produce 4x what everyone else in the world produces will be off.

And yet... somehow, I keep fighting that day, pushing it off for just one more year, mental health be damned.

Comment Re:What should he do instead? (Score 1) 71

> If you accept the premise that there's a problem* then isn't this exactly the right thing to do?

You are correct *if* there are no associated trade-offs.

But there are *always* trade-offs.

The only interesting question is whether the benefits (fewer children doing things that in some fraction of the cases have significant long-term consequences) is worth the costs (creation of infrastructure to real-time censor images, etc.)

It's not all that different from what asking what costs are acceptable for reducing the level of teenage drinking and driving, another activity that some children are prone to that can also occasionally have disastrous consequences.

Comment Re:Realization... (Score 1) 280

Dear God, you are so right.

Lotus 123 macros were my introduction to the fact that "tools that you don't have to be a programmer to use" actually means "tools that end up being *immensely* more complex than any computer program because we don't actually give you the constructs to program sanely".

To this day, I still find people who loudly claim they are non-programmers because programming is too tough who maintain 'macros' whose complexity put my 100,000 line programs to shame. If they'd been given real tools, they'd probably have created human level AI during their coffee breaks, except, of course, "real tools are for programmers" and that would be 'too difficult' for them to even contemplate using.

I'd feel more shame for what my spreadsheet did to the sanity of the poor soul who came after me, but there was simply no way to sanely code 123.

Comment Re:Realization... (Score 1) 280

> Honestly, I would have hoped that they would/could find another position for those 2 drivers instead of dumping them out on the street. *sigh*

They may have actually done so or, given the trucking industry was booming at the time, they may have found jobs the next day. The boss obviously wasn't losing any sleep over it. (He used to regale me with stories of the games the employee truckers and shippers would play before he instituted some minimal controls on how and what they were shipping. Mostly low-level stuff - hire the trucking firm whose president invited the factory shipper out to his cottage for a few days each summer, or pretend to pick up a non-existent shipment from a customer that was close to a trucker's girlfriend's house, that short of thing.)

But yes, hot and cold is exactly the right description. I was a bit of an approval junky, and my work was being taken seriously by *adults*! And then suddenly, I had cost *real* adults their jobs.

As I said elsewhere, the shame is not improving efficiency, it was that I didn't even consider the *possibility* humans could be affected at all. I guess it was a lesson to learn early...

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