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Comment Re:COBOL isn't hard to learn (Score 4, Interesting) 280

Indeed. If there is a market for COBOL programmers (and it's clear there is), then the obvious solution is for unis and colleges to spit out more COBOL-literate CS graduates. Honestly, if I was ten years younger, I'd probably delve into it myself. It is, after all, just a programming language, and hardly on the same level of trying to learn Sanskrit.

As long as you have a real fall-back so your career doesn't dead end. What can easily happen is that you do X then more of X because it's the only place you get a salary/career development until you've done X so long nobody will really hire you for anything else. I see this with for example some SAP consultants, essentially SAP customers want to hire you for your SAP experience and the rest of the world doesn't care that you have a general IT degree 5 or 10 years ago because your experience is all SAP-specific and they don't run SAP.

Now they're probably safe since that ERP is burrowed so deep into many companies they'll never get out, but for something like COBOL you could end up doing it for some years and then the legacy system is shut down and nobody wants to give you anything but a junior non-COBOL position. That is if they'll even hire you or if they'd rather have a recent college graduate. Or you might have to relocate to find one of those increasingly rare positions that actually value your COBOL experience, which of course only makes it harder at the next crossroads.

If you write cell phone apps as a hobby and can show them a portfolio or something, maybe you'll get away with it. No, you're not a dinosaur who only knows an outdated language and best practices from 50 years ago. Or some other way to be able to transition away from that COBOL career more smoothly. Some of my older colleagues noted that the parking inspector at work used to be COBOL programmer some 20 years ago, they updated their skillset and apparently he didn't.

Comment Re:Scoff at me all you want (Score 1) 141

The problem here is that you can't expect much rational and intelligent discourse on Slashdot these days, so that comment calling you paranoid is no surprise at all. Remember, this site is chock-full of far right-wing nationalists and objectivist libertarians, like much of the tech industry only much more concentrated here.

Comment Re:So what's the issue? (Score 3, Interesting) 205

How about someone in the bank just puts here age in like 10 years younger than she is, what's the big deal if their system thinks he is 106 instead of 116?

Well, the bank is usually allowed to issue IDs that many people who don't have a driver's license and don't want to carry their passport use. Intentionally falsifying records like that is not something I'd do without explicit approval from my boss in writing, because a note is unlikely to prevent such false documents from being issued. And that would probably escalate all the way to legal, who might have to check whatever agreements they have with the government, who will then probably say no. It's just not worth my own skin to be customer friendly.

Comment Re:Yes, inherently unpredictable, needs percentage (Score 1) 214

*and* some panicky manager started having $deity damned _daily_ meetings about it.

This is my favorite bit when something very unexpected happens and managers make us twice as late by creating a ton of overhead about when/how/why/re-estimating/re-planning and plain old nagging to get it fixed. If what you care about is getting it actually done, let me work. If you need an alternative other than not delivering I can help you find that, but other than that you're not helping. You're slowing us down. This is particular frustrating when you're not 100% assigned to a project, yeah I'm supposed to spend 30% of my time on this... you spent 10% of your time, maybe that made sense to you. But you just spent 33% of your development time on BS, was that worth it? That way we have the same meeting in a few days on how nothing is happening.

Comment Re:Troglodytes (Score 4, Insightful) 195

All of them, and make no mistake Hillary would have been just as bad.

No, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have been. I think it's reasonable to assume she would have continued the same kind of policies as Obama. And it was Obama's FCC that started to take Network Neutrality seriously to begin with.

There is no justification for claiming a "Both sides" position here, just as there isn't with 90% of what Trump is doing.

Comment Re:Unrealistic for you, maybe (Score 1) 527

Insurance is for accidents, not routine maintenance. Its that way for your car, it should be that way for you too.

Well that would be nice if we could simply swap parts and be back in factory condition. The reality of it is that many of us have or will get problems that sneak up on us like back problems, heart problems, eye problems, bad shoulder, bad hip, cancers and such that come gradually or relapse or are semi-chronic that you can't just trivially cure but do a lot of medication and preventative measures but ultimately you don't really control and the insurance company knows long in advance that you're a hot potato that probably will require expensive treatment in the future. Catastrophic insurance works great for a major trauma like a car crash. It works much less well when they more you'll depend on your insurance in the future, the more the insurance company will want to get rid of you.

Comment Re:It's pretty simple (Score 1) 269

I happen to like cold water, at least in the summertime.

However, I really don't like icemakers in freezers. 1) They take up a lot of space, and 2) they use tap water, which is nasty. There doesn't seem to be a way to easily plumb them to use the RO water I buy, so the icemaker in my freezer just sits unused, wasting space. And no, those crappy filters they put in fridges these days are not a proper substitute. 1) They're not reverse osmosis, they're just shitty charcoal filters, and 2) they're horribly expensive to replace.

They should make icemakers easily removable. I'm perfectly capable of making ice myself with trays, which lets me use the water I prefer and not the nasty tap crap.

Comment Re: God no (Score 2) 204

Um, I don't know about you, but while I do admittedly charge my phone on the bedside table, the phone is sitting usually face-up. That means the main camera is pointed at the table surface directly below it so it's useless, and the front-view camera is pointed at the ceiling. The only thing that front-view camera is ever going to see in that position is the belly of one of my cats when they decide to walk over it. (Sometimes the phone is face-down, but this isn't really any different, except that hackers will now have a higher-resolution view of my cat's underside.) The mic is definitely an issue though.

The devices that come to mind immediately as a real danger in this way are these new "smart TVs", since on these any camera is pointing directly at the users in their normal TV-viewing positions. If the TV is in a bedroom, that means it's probably pointed at the bed and has an excellent view of whatever activity happens there. And why a TV could possibly need a camera and microphone, I have no idea. If we ever get to the point where we're Skyping people over TV screens, I can see the use, but we've had Skype-like technology for ages now and it's only rarely used for video chat it seems, and never on a TV that I've ever seen or heard of.

Comment Re:Asset forfeiture? (Score 2) 82

Of course, this is the same country that allows asset forfeiture. I'm sure your wallet is guilty of some crime or other...

It doesn't have to be, here's how it goes:

It looks like you're carrying lots of money. Drug dealers carry lots of money. Hence I will confiscate this money as possible drug profits. If you can show a paper trail in court, you can have it back some day. If you can't, tough. If you need the money right now, tough. Oh and there's no presumption of innocence and no free legal aid since it's a civil matter, if you lose as you very well might you'll also lose a ton on lawyer and court costs.

One joint was sufficient to confiscate a sailboat. A cheating husband's wife lost their jointly owned car because he was illegally using it to have sex with prostitutes. People's homes have been confiscated because their kids or tenants have been selling drugs out of their room. Rental companies have lost their property because the people who rented it used it for smuggling, even though the company wasn't even a suspect. Basically you can get robbed without any fourth amendment protection, it's insane.

Comment Re:Do we really need more people? (Score 1) 185

In most wealthy countries, kids are a liability because you have to feed, clothe, and shelter them without them delivering any kind of return on investment. In poor countries they tend to be an asset because they end up being extra farm hands, laborers, etc.

The value of child labor is quite modest, they work at slave labor rates. The primary reason to have kids is to have them support you economically and otherwise when you're elderly and they are young adults because being old and childless is harsh in many poorly developed societies. High risk of child death leads to "insurance", 95% of the women have an extra child because 5% of them will die. Losing a child is of course always a tragedy, but in the western world you'll still get to live at a decent nursing home and have most your needs taken care of so you don't need a fallback plan.

From what I understand, the population boom in Africa is not really necessary anymore. But it takes quite some time from you stop needing it until people realize it. Not to mention a lot of cultural momentum, if it's normal to have five kids many women will have five kids. And as you get wealth the pyramid starts turning, instead of having five kids to support you maybe it's you who want to divide your wealth on two kids and not six poor kids. It's a lot of psychology involved, not just economics.

Comment Re: Correcting myself (Score 2) 713

I am pretty sure that "we don't want shopping malls to fall on our heads" count as a strong government and public interest.

Yes, I agree, but we're not talking about people misrepresenting their qualifications designing buildings, we're talking about people saying they're qualified to discuss timings for amber lights.

Restricting phrases like "I am an engineer" in the context of someone making final technical decisions concerning building design arguably makes sense, but it's no longer "narrow conditions" when you restrict such a vague, ambiguous, phrase under all circumstances.

I say arguably because if the conversation is something like:

Isaac: I say old bean, you're putting the wrong tensile cable on that suspension bridge of yours. Here, use this rope, should be strong enough
Isambard: Who the fuck are you? What is this crap?
Isaac: You can trust me. I'm an engineer!
Isambard: Oh OK. Hold a moment. There. Oh fuck, the bridge collapsed! I thought you said you're an engineer!
Isaac: I am. An IEEE certified software engineer! I know PHP! Whoopwhoop!

...then that law is obviously a waste of time anyway.

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