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Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 284

Anyone can develop hardware for Windows (and until recently publish drivers with no interference from MS, that has changed and going forward Windows as a platform has and will become less open)

I think that's the kind of issue that some developers are concerned about.

Windows 10, with its automatic updates and push towards everything-as-a-service, gives Microsoft as much control of the distribution chain as it choses to claim, including retrospectively. Developing for Windows 10 is therefore no more future-proof than playing the Apple App Store approval lottery.

The development tools for Windows are increasingly falling behind other platforms as well now. You can't even run the free version of Visual Studio without logging in (seriously, WTF?) and accepting creepy phone-home possibilities in the terms of use any more.

Comment Re:"IT" is on its way out (Score 1) 272

I don't think "the cloud" really has it right yet for very small companies with just a couple of servers and "the guy who also does IT", but in time it will.

One of my businesses is not a million miles past that point today, and I think perhaps you're understating how poor cloud offerings are today for that kind of business.

Every now and then someone suggests we go cloud-hosted instead, and I read around again, trying to work out why so many people seem to love the whole cloud idea. Usually the conclusion is that it would literally add an extra zero to our infrastructure costs and dramatically increase the complexity and number of potential failure points. This is all relative to our current modest set-up, using tried-and-tested servers and networking, with a similarly modest support contract with a local IT firm who know what they're doing and, in particular, provide 24/7 monitoring and support for the key systems in case of urgent problems.

There are numerous hosting or support options today for IT functions that are big enough to need real infrastructure and technical skills but not to have dedicated in-house IT staff. I see little reason any business in that sort of position would benefit from going with heavy cloud infrastructure like AWS, unless perhaps they really do need dramatically varying resource levels at different times.

Comment Re:Epic tone deafness (Score 1) 813

While I wouldn't attribute the form letter response to any intentional malice (likely just a keyword match from a script), it does highlight something politicians have been doing in their stump speeches for a while that really pisses me off.

They all act like "offshoring" and "foreigners taking American jobs" are problems exclusive to the manufacturing sector, and the solution is "retraining" and "more higher education."

The whole problem of IT-sector workers being replaced simply doesn't fit this mold. These people are already highly trained, already have that education, and yet their jobs are still leaving*.

(* though at least its sometimes cyclical, and its not like their entire career field and supporting infrastructure has left the country, but those cycles can still be painful)

Comment Re:Lenovo and apple only? (Score 1) 310

I want to but a new PC laptop too, but it has to run Win7, because just like W8, I won't own another with shitware on it.

IIRC, Microsoft's policy on selling new PCs with Windows 7 preloaded is changing some time around now to prohibit it. Some manufacturers will supply with Windows 10 preinstalled and support downgrade rights, but it looks like that's as good as we're going to get until MS get the message.

Comment Re:Russia Playing Catch Up To Corporations (Score 1) 106

While you may be correct according to the way our system is set up, the objection a lot of people have been raising is more about whether that system is in any meaningful sense democratic at this point.

May was elected by the Conservative MPs who in turn were elected by the people.

May wasn't elected by Conservative MPs, she was appointed after everyone else dropped out of the race due to the political infighting within her party. No-one actually voted for her to be PM at any point.

Those Conservative MPs were indeed elected by the people, but only by the people who voted Conservative in the constituencies where a Conservative MP won. That is actually a rather small proportion of the overall population.

When you're several degrees of separation from the general population actually voting directly to show support for you, I think it's a stretch to claim you have a democratic mandate, even if there's no suggestion that anyone broke any law or that the result isn't what our current system properly determined.

You might as well call the President of the US a dictator because they are elected by the Electoral College rather than by the people directly.

And on the rare occasions when the person who becomes POTUS did not win a majority of the popular vote, people do criticise the Electoral College for much the same reasons. But that is relatively rare and the vote is directly for who should become President, which makes it a very different situation on at least two counts to how the British Prime Minister is selected.

It's not true that May is forcing through policies without a mandate, parliament will have to vote on any new legislation.

True, but there is a great deal of power available to the executive officers of a government even without new primary legislation to support them, and in practice our "executive branch" is controlled by the PM.

May is here to stay whether you have an election or not, get over it.

That is almost certainly true, but at the same time it is a damning indictment both of the incompetence of our current official opposition and of our system of government itself.

Comment Re:Russia Playing Catch Up To Corporations (Score 1) 106

This is an issue that I think we're going to have to address in the UK now. If you favour stronger political accountability and more democratic power then leaving the EU does remove one large layer of indirectly appointed authority that has probably been more influential in practice than the directed elected authority that came with it. I imagine that was part of the motivation for a lot of the Leave voters, even if the media do love to talk about immigration and racism a lot more. But leaving the EU is surely only a first step if that's your goal, and it will inevitably put greater emphasis on the accountability and transparency of our own national government.

Now that it's all going to be down to us, it could reignite the campaigns to reform our own national system of government as well. I wonder whether there will be renewed pressure on how our MPs are elected, because the last general election was even more disproportionate than usual in its popular-vote-to-MPs conversion. There's certainly a solid democratic argument for revisiting how the government is then formed: the coronation of a new PM and with them effectively a new government has happened twice in three Parliaments, and the middle one was a coalition whose policies were hammered out behind closed doors, so long gone are the days when the Prime Minister was merely a "first among equals" acknowledged by MPs by mutual consent and when voters were primarily choosing a constituency MP at general elections. Then we have the House of Lords, which has long been controversial.

On the one hand, I'm optimistic that whatever the pros and cons of Brexit itself, the current interest in how we are governed might lead to reviewing some of the more debatable aspects of our national system. On the other hand, the extremely controversial nature of Brexit may push some people the other way, favouring the devil they know rather than risking an uncertain future controlled by someone else. Apparently we have invoked the old saying about living in interesting times...

Comment Re:Is "ship with" really the big takeaway here? (Score 1) 370

Best course of action --- ask female computer science people (and I don't mean a person who brought Microsoft Bob to an unsuspecting world, but real female computer science people) what obstacles they faced and what would they do to remove them.

I also wish that when people did ask real female CS people for commentary, or to show as representatives of their fields in a public forum, they actually did that. Far too often it seems like they hold up project managers and various support roles as shining examples of "women in tech", rather than actual software developers.

Comment Re:A poor craftsman blames his tools. (Score 1) 531

It seems your fundamental point about a pervasive void* in a language is that programmers should be disciplined enough to use language features correctly. I suppose it does always come down to that eventually. I just think a language could offer more than C does to help programmers achieve that. Idiomatic C code tends to use void* for other purposes as well, as a proxy for generics for example, and that shouldn't be necessary IMHO even in a systems programming language.

Comment Re:A poor craftsman blames his tools. (Score 1) 531

We're talking about what would be an improvement on C but still retain the flexibility that C has for systems programming.

One of my arguments is that C's raw malloc and free don't fit into the type system cleanly and instead rely on void*. I'm suggesting that there should be more strongly typed tools for manipulating dynamic storage, even if it's necessary to add special features to the language to support them. Many C-style languages have something broadly along the lines I'm talking about, and often they call it "new" and "delete" or something close to that.

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