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Comment Re:I like this (Score 1) 316

Ah yes, the "I'm better than you because I have thick skin" argument. True, life is better if you're a bit resilient, and it's unreasonable to expect that everyone will play nice. Your language suggests that you have an equally strong reaction to people who want a functional and supportive community. What about that bothers you? I suspect that you, like any other human, have a desire to belong. Since people don't want to be around you (I can't imagine why), you adopt this anti-social attitude and delude yourself into thinking you're a better person for it.

I'm quite capable of dealing with people like you, and I don't even have to ignore you. I don't resort to name-calling or promoting myself at the expense of others. As a result, I get along with people, and get the sense of community I need. You might want to try some steps in that direction, before you kill yourself or someone else.

Comment Re:Python (Score 1) 525

Also being a 'seasoned' developer I'm wondering why not a 'real' language like C as opposed to scripting languages

I'd tend to agree with this. I was learning x86 assembly when I was 12. This is an age where a child can learn a lot, and school won't teach you about a lot of the "under-the-hood" stuff. Actually managing memory and understanding how a computer works at a bare-metal level is a skill that will give you a leg-up later in life. In all likelihood, he won't use C/C++ in the industry, but it is easy to learn managed languages like Java and C# once you learn C. C is all about efficiency, something that a lot of Java programmers could stand to know a little better.

Comment I've dealt with cops like this (Score 1) 2

It seems like he is being harassed because of his background, but the cop does not actually break the law. Using a canine to inspect the car is looking for things in plain sight. And while the video talks about false positives from the dog, the courts accept that a K-9 officer's testimony that a dog has found something is legitimate. Convincing a judge that the officer behaved inappropriately will be expensive, and likely ineffective. Unless the officer has a record of harassment, his testimony will always trump that of a citizen. This is the way courts have been for some time, and has nothing to do with "laws that enable trampling of people's rights". Still, it might be worth going to court just to put the incident on record so that the next time someone has a problem with this same officer, it might be easier to prove a case of harassment.

Comment Prior Art Possibilities (Score 1) 180

A little digging has shown that the plaintiff has a claim on re-definable keyboards, as they relate to assistive technology. However, the idea of remapping keyboards definitely pre-dates their 1995 patent claim (which said nothing about speech synthesis, BTW). Two possibilities that spring to mind are HP calculators, which would have differing keyboard layouts depending on the mode that was set. Thus, multiple symbols could be applied to the same key. This covers the "providing access to higher-level keyboards" part. Another possibility is a synthesizer. Once again, setting modes could change the functions of many keys on the device. Come to think of it, even a pipe organ could fall into this category. Depending on the stops pulled (which could be labelled with a symbol), the organ could take on different voices. Arguably, each voice could be considered a different higher-level keyboard.

Is the patent dead obvious? I suppose not. I hope some better researchers are able to come up with a more concrete example to be used against the plaintiff. I'd hate to see such a useful app die over money. I think the key here is to find prior art on the first patent. The second patent is simply the first patent "as it applies" to speech synthesis.

Comment Re:.my.cnf on shared web hosting (Score 1) 435

As is always the case with shared web hosting vs. VPS, you will have to decide how much control you want over your website. The reason shared web hosting is so cheap is that someone else does the system administration. VPS is not really more expensive, and gives you full control over the site (including direct access to the filesystem). Bottom line: do research to ensure you get the hosting option that meets your needs.

Comment Re:You don't. (Score 3, Interesting) 208

This story has a lot of valuable lessons to be learned. The first lesson, I think, that you can take from your experience is that you are wholly unqualified to deal with the political and management issues involved. Therefore, do not involve yourself in management or politics. The (non-technical) suggestions given have all involved either an upward appeal to authority, or coercive measures. These will only make matters worse for you. If you want to keep your job, and think that you actually have a chance to make things work, ingratiate yourself to some people who can support you if things go south. I doubt very much that you are being deliberately set up as a fall guy. The school, after all, has a need to stay somewhat technologically relevant, but they're doing it on increasingly less money.

I'm guessing you went into education because you want to make a difference. Some people I know did as well, and they all tell the same story. Long, hard hours with very little acknowledgement. I would guess that's a reality of education these days. With a budget that's always short on funds, management will squeeze every last drop of effort from every employee. So, work under the assumption that the people who hold the purse strings are under at least as much pressure as you are. Maybe it's not true, but there's nothing you can do about it except quit.

Off the top of my head, the best people to get on your side are teachers and students. While you can't solve everything all at once, perhaps there are some small problems you can solve for specific people. And, while someone joked about making network maintenance an elective, there's probably some truth to it. I volunteered to help out the sole network admin when I was in high school. Perhaps some bright students would be willing to help out in exchange for some tutoring. The important thing is that some people know who you are and what you do, and can commiserate since your job is just as difficult as theirs. If it's important to you, hang in there. If it's not, then it's probably time to look for something less stressful.

Comment Re:design document vs. documenting source code? (Score 1) 545

I used to lean toward the second camp, but now I lean toward the first camp :)

Glad to hear it. I'm the first to admit that I don't always document well enough, but I'm a build-it-then-fix-it kind of guy. I've been at it long enough to get an extensible architecture off the ground right away. I'd work better with someone that's a get-it-right-the-first-time kind of guy telling me what I'm doing wrong, though.

Comment Re:Measuring readability (Score 1) 545

The developer can add comments, or rename variables, or restructure the code to make it clearer, but the end result should be readable code with fewer bugs (bugs live in hard-to-understand code, simply adding some intermediate variables to a complex formula can make them go away)

"Don't get suckered by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code." -- Dave Storer

This is why I always add my documentation at the end. A good programmer knows how to use his debugger. Properly named variables and methods will allow you to step through a program until you understand how it works. Once your understanding is clear, and you are quite certain that the code is good enough for somebody else, add enough documentation to aid other programmers in using or maintaining your code. The only way to know how much is needed is through the code review. The only exception I can think of to this process is when releasing the source code to the general public or to a client for their own maintenance. Since you don't usually have a code review with them, it's best to go for overkill. A pain sometimes, but a necessary part of a complete product.

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