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Comment COBOL programmers aren't all old (Score 1) 193

There's a COBOL shop in my small town that contracts for corporations and the government. I know several COBOL specialists in their 30s. It's actually an extremely lucrative field to get into these days, with good pay and job security.

Rewriting all that COBOL code in some other language would be bound to cause major problems.

Comment Re:OP fired because of this article (Score 2) 214

Legally, it's a grey area. If your employment contract has morality clauses, for example, you can be punished for things done outside of work. However, usually that is limited to situations where your contract explicitly states it, which usually happens when working for religious institutions (or, occasionally, schools). You can also be fired for actions that reflect badly on your company, but that assumes that A. people know the author works for that company, and B. they have reason to somehow connect the two. And of course, in at-will states, your employment can be potentially terminated for any reason, though in many, the implied covenant of good faith might give the author grounds to argue that this was without cause, done out of malice arising out of personal embarrassment on the part of the management team.

The bottom line would be that the author should contact a lawyer who regularly deals with employment law in that part of the country, because whether he has a case or not is highly dependent on where the author is located, and I'm pretty sure it won't be open-and-shut no matter where the author lives. However, the fact that the author has not revealed where he works does open the opportunity for the lawyer to point out that bringing this to court will cast their company in a very bad light publicly, whereas an out-of-court settlement for... say ten years' salary will not. Depending on how terrified the company is, such (entirely legal) blackmail might actually be more effective than bringing a suit.

Comment No problem (Score 2) 41

You can have that however you have to accept a few things:

1) Costs are going to go way up. You aren't going to pay $50 or $100 for a software package, it'll be 5 or 6 figures. You'll be paying for all the additional testing, certification, and risk.

2) You won't get new stuff. Everything you use will be old tech. You'll be 5-10 years out of date because of the additional time needed to test and prove things. When a new chip or whatever comes on the market it'll be a good bit of time before it has undergone all the validation it needs to be ready for such a critical use.

3) You will not be permitted to modify anything. You will sign a contract (a real paper one) up front that will specify what you can do with the solution, and what environment it must be run in. Every component will have to be certified, all software on the system, the system itself, any systems it connects to, etc. No changes on your part will be permitted, everything will have to be regression tested and verified before any change is made.

If you are ok with that, then off you go! The way I know this is how it goes is that we have shit like this, we have critical systems out there and this is the kind of shit they go through. They are expensive, inflexible, and out of date compared to the latest mass market shit. If you look at the computers that control a fighter plane or the like you'll be amazed at how "dated" they are. Well they are that way because development took a long time and once they are developed, they continue to be used, they aren't changed often.

Now if that's not ok, if you want the free wheeling environment we have now where you can buy new tech when you like, put things together in any configuration, and run whatever you want that's cool, but accept that means problems will happen. You cannot have it both ways.

Oh and also with that critical stuff:

4) There will be no FOSS. If there's liability for losses, nobody will be willing to freely distribute their work. They aren't going to accept liability for no payment, and aren't going to accept that if their code was used by someone else they might be liable.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Gone Again!

As always, if slashdot has borked the text, just go here.
She was gone again, shortly before my elderly cat died. I refer to my muse, of course.
I looked everywhere I could think of, to no avail. Stolen again? I went for a walk, on the lookout for that aged black aged Lincoln with that blonde and that brun

Comment Re:Yes, but... (Score 1) 214

In my experience, what makes it chaotic is the vast expanse of code that you didn't write personally. I've seen big chunks of functionality have to be completely rewritten because even major frameworks from major companies like Apple sometimes have bugs that are showstoppers when used in some way that the original author didn't expect. Most people normally assume that external dependencies already work when estimating, because after all, those are major frameworks written by major companies with testing resources.

Now extend that to code written by random engineers with limited testing resources. Normally, you assume that your internal code works, because after all, people are using it every day. But what happens when there's an edge case you didn't notice? If it isn't a crash, a bug in a suitably complex app often isn't easy to track down, and even when it is a crash, it might be some subtle multithreading race condition that can be utter misery to debug. And the larger the app, the more opportunities for untested code paths to suddenly find themselves on the hot path. This is why estimating is hard; you aren't just estimating how long it will take to get your code working; you're also estimating how long it will take you to fix everybody else's mess.

Comment What *could* happen? (Score 2) 183

Yep. Hey, you know what's great? Talking to people. Sex. Building models. Organizing one's rock/stamp/severedhead collections. Writing code. Playing with the cat/dog/cockatrice. Martial arts. Photography. Reading. Taking courses. Exercising. Working out a sane budget. Listening to music. Playing music. Sewing. Legos. Fooling with hardware. Home improvements. Giving the domicile a good once-over at the ultra-picky level, just for the fun of it. Putting the yard in tip-top order. Walking the canine or the cat. Visiting Rome, Paris or Venice (while pretending to be Canadian, of course.) Or just going to see a friend. You know, in person, not with that phone-tumor. Taking a walk, preferably somewhere you haven't been or really love. Etc. Lots and lots of etc.

Television... I just can't bring myself to call that "great." The couch, it really does make for potato generation.

Comment Que? (Score 1) 35

you maintain that anyone from any other country in the world has a right to live in the U.S., but U.S. citizens have no right to live in any other country?

No. However, I maintain that Trump's wall is one of his stupidest ideas.

That's English for "Trump's wall is one of his stupidest ideas", BTW.

Which is not to say that most of his other ideas aren't stupid, because they really, really are. But the wall is special. Like Trump. Short-bus special. Profoundly without merit while at the same time comprising a financial boondoggle of titanic proportions, at the very same time when the country's actual useful infrastructure (not in any way to be confused with border "walls") needs money and effort.

So without regard to political party

Oh, yes. Completely without regard to political party. Just in regard to Trump and any bewildered sycophant who thinks building that wall is anything but a complete waste of time, effort and money.

Also, I like vegetables. So I'm rather appreciative of the workers who pick them. No matter where they come from. I like tacos, too. I would not be in the least bit offended by a taco truck on every corner. Especially if they offered a nice selection of vegetables, but, you know, either way, really.

U.S. citizens have no right to live in any other country

Hmmm. That's a very... interesting... postulate. Let me guess: you live in one of the states that has legalized pot, and you just got back from a test run of every heavy-hitting variety offered, is that it? Did you know that at some taco stands, I've been able to buy Fritos? FRITOS! Lovely, crispy corn chips! And Soda! MMMMMM! Don't Bogart that joint, my friend. Pass it over to Juan.

Comment Re:Leftists are learning about pushing people too (Score 1) 267

One prominent example is minimum wage regulations. While the intent behind these may have been good, what they've ended up becoming are huge burdens to businesses that are already on the brink. It's not economically viable for a business to pay somebody far more than the value they're providing. What is the end result? Fewer jobs, and a lot more focus on automating away low-end jobs. This actually leaves people worse off than they were before the minimum wage regulations were put into place!

That's a very naïve view of reality. For every business that's on the brink, there are hundreds that are doing well, and many that are turning record profits. A business that cannot afford to pay its employees a living wage is almost certainly doomed anyway, so allowing it to pay a less than a living wage is just delaying the inevitable slightly. The business will fail. Let it fail.

Keeping a business on life support by letting it pay a subminimum wage doesn't help anyone in the long term, and doesn't help very many people even in the short term. But allowing businesses to pay a subminimum wage does hurt people who work for all those other companies that actually are profitable, because given the opportunity to pay their employees less, they will do so.

More to the point, if that is the only business providing jobs in a particular community, then that community is doomed. Keeping the business alive a little longer by depressing wages just encourages people to stay in the doomed community and make less and less money, thus making them less and less able to afford to move to a community that isn't doomed. So continuing to pay those employees a wage actually ends up hurting those employees more than it helps, at least in the aggregate, though the individual employees might not believe it at the time.

Comment It is true (Score 2) 460

However, like everything, if a technology comes along to supplant it, in this case, the cost of greener alternatives is lower than coal, it'll simply dwindle and fade over time, with absolutely no need for liberals trying to regulate the crap out of it.

This flawed argument ignores the incontrovertible fact that allowing coal to continue to provide energy on equal terms with other energy supplies rather than pressuring the market to switch to less environmentally damaging sources of energy would do real and substantial harm to us all. The bottom line is: the less energy produced from burning coal and supplied instead from less polluting resources, the better off the world is.

So in fact, there is a need for it to have the crap regulated out of it in a context where it can be replaced with (considerably) less polluting energy sources, which is exactly where we are today.

Comment Re:slashdotters are happy (Score 1) 184

I don't think that's true at all. Most of the pro-life voters I've known are people who genuinely care about protecting the unborn. Most of the pro-life politicians at least appear to be using the abortion issue as a means to get elected (though I suppose it is also possible that they're genuine but clueless). The number of pro-life folks who are actually misogynists is probably fairly small, though I'm sure that they do exist.

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