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Comment COBOL programmers aren't all old (Score 1) 371

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:It's true (Score 2) 286

Pixar was unique in Silicon Valley companies in that we had deadlines that could not move. The film had to be in theaters before Christmas, etc. I'd see employees families come to Pixar to have dinner with them. I took the technical director training but decided to stay in studio tools, first because Pixar needed better software more than they needed another TD, and second because of the crazy hours.

Comment Re:Missing option: None (Score 1) 174

Yeah... Try that in a multilingual environment.... I dare you. I routinely work with five languages in a day, but my phone only knows one. Okay, it knows four of the five, but I have to select one.

It also assumes it does understand what you said. My experience is: it doesn't even when I do talk English to my phone. Obviously that is my fault. I'm not going to deny that.

Where I live, you see/hear no one use these systems.... For good reason.

On a decent keyboard, all of those are -by the way- faster than what you say. You conveniently omit the "Sir/Alexa/OK Google/Cortana" detection phrase, then your inquiry, then the processing, then the verification of what has been detected, then the acknowledgement of the fact that detection has worked correctly. Otherwhise you get such things as "When date LGBT closet tonight". Not really acceptable.

Comment Re:Fortran (Score 1) 630

My father showed me basic when I wanted to use the computer as a calculator (basic arithmetic). I discovered programming.

He then saw talent in me and bought me a Turbo Pascal book (in my mother tongue... English would not have worked at that age) and a copy of Turbo Pascal (I presume from work, but... I don't know where exactly he got it from).

... and that's how he awoke my interest in computers and ultimately the profession I would choose.

Thanks dad...

Education

Slashdot Asks: What Was Your First Programming Language? (stanforddaily.com) 630

This question was inspired by news that Stanford's computer science professor Eric Roberts will try JavaScript instead of Java in a new version of the college's introductory computer programming course. The Stanford Daily reports: When Roberts came to Stanford in 1990, CS106A was still taught in Pascal, a programming language he described as not "clean." The department adopted the C language in 1992. When Java came out in 1995, the computer science faculty was excited to transition to the new language. Roberts wrote the textbooks, worked with other faculty members to restructure the course and assignments and introduced Java at Stanford in 2002... "Java had stabilized," Roberts said. "It was clear that many universities were going in that direction. It's 2017 now, and Java is showing its age." According to Roberts, Java was intended early on as "the language of the Internet". But now, more than a decade after the transition to Java, Javascript has taken its place as a web language.
In 2014 Python and Java were the two most commonly-taught languages at America's top universities, according to an analysis published by the Communications of the ACM. And Java still remains the most-commonly taught language in a university setting, according to a poll by the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. In a spreadsheet compiling the results, "Python appears 60 times, C++ 54 times, Java 84 times, and JavaScript 28 times," writes a computing professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding "if Java is dying (or "showing its age"...) it's going out as the reigning champ."

I'm guessing Slashdot's readers have their own opinions about this, so share your educational experiences in the comments. What was your first programming language?

Comment Knowledge of capabilities is "sabotage"? Really?? (Score 1) 100

Yes, that's entirely possible. And yet, the technology has plenty of legitimate uses and should not have been sabotaged.

Knowledge of the capabilities of a large-scale deployment technology that affects such a large proportion of the populace can hardly be construed as sabotage, especially when there is such potential for abuse.

As an analogy, it would be one thing to leak the specific movements of a police investigative team. ("Psst! There's a bunch of cop cars headed toward your warehouse where you keep the stolen cars.") But it would be perfectly legitimate to give the capabilities of the police. ("Psst! There are over 100 police officers in this city who are going to keep an eye out for stolen cars.")

Comment Re:IMAP & SMTP (Score 2) 70

That is because you assume that "Apps" are the same as "Applications" or "Programs". That isn't really the case: "Apps" come from the mobile space and are usually touch optimized dumbed down versions. Often they are just fronts for web applications, instead of full native applications. Applications or programs like Thunderbird are not "Apps", they stand on their own and talk SMTP and IMAP and are compatible with all servers that speak these open protocols. That is inherently superior than proprietary "Apps" that do not talk open protocols.

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.

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