Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
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:What makes an engineer in the US? (Score 2) 419

On the other hand, even without a government seal of approval, there are highly-skilled programmers in the world who have written lots of important and well-respected code that runs critical systems and does it very well. These are clearly worth of the name software engineer. The same applies to certain people who do software architecture, and deserve the label software architect.

So it's not that software engineering doesn't exist, or isn't a valid title, the only issue is that there's no defined standard by which to judge whether an individual merits the label.

Comment Re:I'll document it tomorrow (Score 1) 419

and "anybody can understand this by just looking at it, it doesn't need to be explained."

I beg to differ with this one. Code can be so clear and readable that no further documentation is required. It's just that writing such code is hard work, and never happens by accident.

After your code is complete, all tests pass, etc., take another pass and look for anything that isn't clear. Whenever you find a section that seems to benefit from an explanatory comment, try to rewrite it so that the comment is no longer needed. In many cases, this is as simple as moving the bit of code to a well-named function -- essentially you're replacing the comment with the function name. In other cases, renaming variables, or introducing new variables explicitly so that you can provide them with good names does the job. In other cases reordering/restructuring the code so that it has a more linear progression, and addresses subproblems in a logical and consistent way is needed. And sometimes, at the end of all that, there's some part that just requires a comment. In that case, add it, but only after exhausting all other options.

Then, let the code alone and do the same thing again tomorrow when your eyes are fresh. Then get a peer to review it (you're doing code reviews anyway, right?), and get their suggestions as to what isn't clear and obvious. Along the way, keep an eye out for bits of code that are clarified only by function and variable names, and look for ways to ensure that the function can't easily be changed in ways that invalidate the chosen names. Rinse, repeat until you reach the point that no more improvements can be found.

If this sounds like a lot more work than just writing an explanatory comment, you're damned right it is. But it's also much better, because, other than docsctrings, which are great, comments are evil. Over time, code evolves and comments tend not to get updated. I'd much rather maintain hard-to-read code with no comments than hard-to-read code with comments that are wrong. And in easy-to-read code, comments are pointless at best and a waste of time at worst, because experienced developers know that you can't just trust that the comment is correct, you also have to read the code.

Comment Re:This is absolutely sickening... (Score 1) 437

Not "we". It's the dummies. If we had an educated populace, it wouldn't be happening.

But a greater percentage of educated whites* voted for Trump than Hillary. And something like 75% of STEM majors voted Trump. So I don't think a more educated populace will help.

*I use whites because they vote less along racial lines than anyone else. Blacks vote democrat regardless of education.

Comment Re:Robots, robots everywhere! (Score 1) 355

Oh so your ultimate answer is taxation on the AI/robotic overlords in order to feed the masses?

Again, your ignorance blinds you.

Dude, tone down the rhetoric. It really doesn't facilitate rational discussion. Unless your goal isn't to have a rational discussion but just to make yourself feel good by spewing doom. In that case, I guess you're succeeding, but I have no motivation to participate further.

You assume that taxation has been the ultimate answer today, as trillions sit in offshore tax havens, driven by billionaire-funded lobbyists who manipulate governments into funding this kind of Greed. I fail to see how this shit situation will ever change in the future. The end result will be UBI being funded at the lowest legal level, which will essentially mean Welfare 2.0 for the planet.

The problem with money sitting offshore is caused entirely by the foolish decision to tax corporate income. Drop the corporate taxes -- or even reduce the rate significantly -- and that money will come flooding back, because it's not actually doing its owners any good offshore. Instead tax the shareholders on their gains. They can't so easily hide offshore because they actually want to live here.

Comment Re:Robots, robots everywhere! (Score 1) 355

paid for by taxing the owners of the capital infrastructure (i.e. the robots) that do all of the production

You're making a crazy assumption that the owners of the infrastructure will agree to voluntarily pay taxes in order to support useless masses.

As long as the masses have the vote, and therefore the ability to command police and military forces, there's no "voluntary" about it. That said, as long as there's still room for making more money, even with the taxes, they'll do it.

Comment Re:Dilemma Solution (Score 1) 355

Fine, a massive capital gains tax on dividends, on resource extraction licenses, and a massive tax on any income over $500,000, including any "interest-free loans", shares, and any other financial instrument.

Rather than a flat "over $500K", the scale should be graduated, up to very high rates at the top end. Also, it's worth noting that interest-free loans, etc., are already treated as income by the IRS.

If you think taxing corporations is bad, then tax the living fuck out of those that are making the money.

You make it sound punitive. No need for that. In fact, you want to be careful not to remove the incentive for generating even high

Oh, and repeal all corporate personhood. All shareholders will be liable for the misdeeds of the corporation, up to and including imprisonment for death and injury a corporation causes, and seizure of shareholders' assets in the case of insolvency or financial penalty beyond current cash and asset reserves.

Oh, hell no. I'm a shareholder and so are you if you have any kind of retirement investments. There are very good reasons for limiting shareholder liability. If you want to hold someone criminally liable for severe misdeeds, the target you want is the executives who ordered the misdeeds, not the shareholders.

Comment Re:It doesn't take 7 billion people (Score 1) 355

But keep in mind that not all civilizations are technological. Humanity existed for 250K years without computers.

Not in any lifestyle that I would want to live. Nor that I'd call "civilization", at least not for any but the top 0.01%. The GP mentioned millenia of dark ages... but the dark ages were actually significantly better for the average human than earlier ages -- including the peaks of the earlier great civilizations, all of which were built on the backs of vast numbers of slave laborers. Serfdom sucked, but it was better than slavery. Serfs had more rights, were better fed, etc.

I don't disagree with your basic argument, just the part that pre-technological civilization wasn't so bad. It was bad. But there's absolutely no reason to think we're going back to it. The robots are going to dramatically improve productivity yet again and, combined with ongoing technological advancement, usher in an age of abundance in which there aren't enough jobs because there's simply no need for everyone to work. I'm confident humanity will be able to find other ways to keep itself occupied.

Comment Re:Robots, robots everywhere! (Score 1) 355

Your ignorance blinds you. The fact is damn near every fucking example you've brought forth here is at risk within the next 15 - 20 years.

Think about that before you rant again, because much like the rest of society, you have no solution for it.

Solution for what? What is the problem?

The coming wave of automation is going to create an unparalleled era of abundance. The reason many jobs will disappear is because there will be no need for humans to labor. This isn't a problem, this is awesome!

We do have to figure out a way to transition from our current scarcity-based economic structure, with incentives that are focused on making sure as many people as possible work, to a post-scarcity economy that has no need of such stark and powerful labor incentives (e.g. work or starve). My guess is that this will take the form of a universal basic income, paid for by taxing the owners of the capital infrastructure (i.e. the robots) that do all of the production. But because automation will dramatically lower the cost of goods and services, this should be easy to do. The only real obstacles are getting everyone to understand the need to make the transition, and handling the timing so that the need to work is phased out in step with the reduced demand for work.

Comment Re:Dilemma Solution (Score 1) 355

yes, it's going to be funded by taxing the robots, or more likely the commercial entities that employ the robot

That's a bad idea. Corporations never actually pay taxes, they pass the cost to employees, suppliers, customers and investors, in some mix that seems good to them. What you really want to tax is the owners of the capital, the investors. Not only do they not have an easy way to shift the cost onto someone else, they also have a much more difficult time shopping tax jurisdictions to get the best deal... because that requires them to actually live in those other jurisdictions. Well, okay, so the super rich can probably skate around that a little bit by living officially in one place while actually spending their time in others, but not as easily as corporations can, and the super rich don't own the bulk of the capital. Most of it is owned by the upper middle class and lower upper class, largely in their retirement savings accounts.

Taxing people, rather than corporations, allows lawmakers to target the taxes where they want them, rather than letting the corporations figure out who to pass it to. Because at the end of the day it will always be people who pay them anyway.

Comment Re:While its not my cup of tea (Score 1) 618

Are confederate Civil War re-enactors to be vilified, even if they don't share those views?

They will be soon. We've removed nuance from history. The only socially acceptable explanation for why individual rebel soldiers fought is "because they were evil and hated blacks."

Comment Re:Burn it up??? WTF?? (Score 1) 232

Interesting. Is the issue just passing through the Van Allen belts around the Earth, or would more shielding be needed in a lunar orbit, too? If it's good enough for lunar orbit as-is, I wonder if it would be okay to execute the (years-long, I'm sure) transfer maneuver uncrewed, and then resume crewing it once it's beyond the danger zone.

Comment Re:Private Offices (Score 1) 339

I disagree. I think members of the same team should be located together, rather than isolated in private offices. That way, if you need to bounce an idea off of a teammate, all you need to do is to turn around and talk, rather than having to get up and look for them.

... and disrupt three other people in the process. Because, you know, their work isn't as important as your "bouncing ideas".

Besides, a few years ago, someone came up with the concept of instant messaging, which not only is nice for short messages, but can also tell you whether someone is available without having to get up and look for them.

In my opinion, the best approach is a combination of instant messaging, good headphones and an open plan office.

When you want to ask a colleague about something, or bounce an idea off of them, IM them to find out if they're interruptible. If so, you can both spin your chair around and chat. Others nearby are unaffected because they have headphones on and can't hear, but they can easily be pulled in if they're needed. The close proximity and lack of walls also tends to deter slacking (e.g. posting on /.) to some extent, and it enables random conversations that start over coffee runs, lunch, etc. better than if everyone is in offices.

A key to making this work really well, though, is a strong cultural rule against interrupting without asking via IM, and you should never include the question in the IM unless you are pretty certain it can be answered with approximately zero think time. If you ask a question that requires thought or research, the recipient feels an obligation to drop what they're doing to address your question. I usually send something like "Are you interruptible?", or for some of the people I work with closely and who understand it, I just send "MI" (for "maskable interrupt"). They respond with "y" or "n" as appropriate... and keep the IM window open in the corner of one of their screens (multiple, large screens are another must) as a reminder to ping me back when they reach a good interruption point.

Actually, my situation is a little different because I work remotely. At times I've had an always-on video conference going to provide a virtual connection between my home office and my team's open plan workspace. I really need to get that set up again. With that in place, though, the same rules apply, except that I replace headphones with muting the VC and playing music on the speakers on my PC (which is needed to drown out noise from the rest of my house anyway).

Slashdot Top Deals

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

Working...