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Comment Re:Yet another rant on hollywood computers, huh? (Score 1) 874

The only real problem with this is that some people could be left thinking that computers do or can do some of these things. But that's more a case of those people not being able to tell fiction from reality, which has nothing to do with how Hollywood tells stories, it has to do with what sort of education and life experience a person has.

In real life these people are called "judge", "senator", "congressman", and they are creating laws based on their misunderstanding of how computers work. So the Internet is a "series of tubes" and if you "send an Internet" to your staff and they do not receive it until the next day, it is because it got caught behind somebody's movie download.

Comment Re:Same? (Score 1) 237

Words represent abstract ideas. "Red" represents an arbitrary volume in RGB space. "Three" represents an abstraction. "Chair" represents an abstraction.

In all human languages the number of ideas is roughly the same (except for English, which has 450K curse words in addition). Foreigners learning English (I am one) struggle to learn the correct sequence of letters that produces the word in English corresponding to a particular abstraction. You struggle to learn the particular sequence of chicken scratch that represents the same abstraction in Chinese. Thousands of words in English, thousands of characters in Chinese, I fail to recognize any meaningful difference.

When I was learning English we were required to write each word 60 times in a row. We were learning between 50 and 120 new words every day. We were learning by heart short (one-page) texts in English which contained most of the new words for the day. As a result, we had a mechanical connection (writing) to the meaning of the word (repeating its meaning while you are writing it), and we also had it committed to memory in context. On top of that, we did weekly and monthly reviews of old words to refresh them in our memory, as well as compositions and translations to force us to apply them to new contexts.

Then I came to the US and realized that I couldn't speak the language. Write, read: yes; but speaking takes a whole new level of understanding. To get to that level you need full immersion. It takes about 3 months or more, depending on your non-speaking knowledge. Some Chinese students never learn plurals in English even after years in the US. Us foreigners will almost always mispronounce the sound "th", as in "there". Such is life.

Comment Re:Oh, that's all right then (Score 1) 409

More than just backups. When you "delete" something your just setting a Is_Deleted flag on their database. As far as facebook is concerned, your information is just as easily available as if you were an active member.

What if you simply change it, say, to something bogus?

They might have some kind of version control system, but a version control system is really a kind of backup with a particular purpose.

This is exactly what you should do. Except that you should phase it in slowly, and the new data should be reasonable (read: believable). The only way you can fight with them having your data and refusing to delete it is to make their data useless by polluting it with noise.

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Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.