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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Mr. McGibby Get on the right track (548 comments)

Once you've got experience in one language, technology, or area, it can be hard to get out of it. Employers look for people that already have experience in the field. If your first job isn't what you envision yourself doing for the rest of your life, then make efforts to get experience doing the things you want to do. Most any programming experience is worthwhile, but once you feel you've learned what you can, find another job.

about a month ago

Blizzard Wins Legal Battle Against WoW Bot Company

Mr. McGibby Re:Bottable == boring IMO (285 comments)

I don't think you know what NP-Hard means.

about a year ago

China Has a Massive Windows XP Problem

Mr. McGibby Re:EOL a product to force new sales? (520 comments)

Then release the code so that someone else can do it. Even releasing to another company who would start charging for updates would make more sense than this.

about a year ago

The Pentagon's Seven Million Lines of Cobol

Mr. McGibby Re:How did the military pay during WW2? (345 comments)

That's why most places outsource this stuff. It's a huge expense to do it yourself and economies of scale make sense to have entire companies devoted to just that one job.

Maybe the Pentagon should outsource to them then.

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: Getting Hired As a Self-Taught Old Guy?

Mr. McGibby Re:What is your point? (472 comments)

Yes, you can learn everything you learn in college without going to college. It's not strictly necessary. But it helps. I get tired of hearing that my degree was a big fat waste of time when I could've just learned stuff by reading it online. The reality is that if you go a a decent school, you *will* learn a lot. And that degree does mean something. It means that compared to some other guy without one, you're more likely to know what you're talking about.

about a year ago

Hospital Resorts To Cameras To Ensure Employees Wash Hands

Mr. McGibby Re:I loathe the medical "profession" (273 comments)

Yup, you've only given us proof that doctors don't give a shit about patients.

There's a cap placed on residency hours per week and hours in a row, now. Yes, it's sometimes broken, but it's a lot better than 20 years ago. And, no, it's not routine practice to fake your timesheets. Or at least where I trained ~15 years ago, and not in the training program I assist overseeing. That being said, in some subspecialty fellowships I wouldn't doubt that it's more common to do this -- But they do this to gain more experience as you may only get a once in a decade experience if you stay on call and extra 2 hours. Who would deprive themselves that?

A doctor who gives a shit about patients would deprive himself of that, because your training time is not more important than the patient.

Penmanship is not taught in medical school. But electronic perscriptions are becoming more commonplace in the last few years (both on the outpatient and inpatient sides). And the last couple decades have brought on more responsibility of the patient to know what they are taking. The outpatient medication errors are the combined fault of the physician, the pharmacist, and the patient.

Your excuse is that penmanship isn't taught in medical school? SERIOUSLY?!? Penmanship is taught in elementary school and if doctors gave a shit about patients, then they'd use the training they got when they were ten years old and write properly.

I wouldn't say that anyone routinely operates on the wrong body part. But mistakes do happen. It's now standard of care to do a "time out" with the patient, nurse, and physician all in the operating room to agree on the patient's name, date of birth, and procedure to be performed before any sedation is administered or incisions are performed. But I once had a patient respond to a different name who expected to have the same procedure performed. Fortunately he was tripped up by the date of birth.

Oh good. The patient fixed your problem for you. That's wonderful. We're paying you out the nose and you come up with a system that somehow blames the patient for mistakes. I am so sick and tired of this, "The patient needs to take responsibility for their care." bullshit. When I take my car to the mechanic, they take responsibility for fixing the damn car. My mother is moderately mentally ill and I'm constantly annoyed by doctors who constantly ask her what her medical history is. She'll make shit up because she's embarrassed that she doesn't know. I've told doctors this, but no one tries to pass along this information to the next doctor. It's somehow *her* fault when the information isn't correct. Get a computer. Take some notes. Do something to help the patient. Remember that's your job.

As for washing hands, that's a culture change. My hospital has random people anonymously assigned to watch people enter and leave patient rooms to make sure we always wash in and out. (The people are people that work on the floors anyway.) A couple verbal warnings and suddenly everyone's compliant. No need for technology.

The OP point is still valid. If medical professionals cared about their patients, then all this big brother nonsense wouldn't be necessary.

And the younger generation of physicians are more humble. But that's also because they tread medicine as more of a job and less of a calling. I guess you can't get everything. :-(

Are you saying that humbler doctors would be a problem? Seriously? Doctors are so fucking full of themselves already that it's hard to tell them anything they don't want to hear. Guess what, to the rest of us, medicine *is* a job. You're a glorified car mechanic. It's funny that I find most car mechanics have better skills at diagnostics than more doctors do. As the patient, it isn't my *job* to fix my body. It's your *job*.

about a year ago

Immigration Reform May Spur Software Robotics

Mr. McGibby Software Robotics?!? (146 comments)

I think that's called software. No robotics needed.

about a year ago

Nearest Alien Planet Gets New Name

Mr. McGibby Re:Total bullshit (185 comments)

If the IAU can't get off their collective asses and start doing their job properly, then they'll soon find themselves outvoted by the likes of Uwingu who are going to do it for them. The IAU only has the position it has because they did a good job of gaining consensus until recently with the whole Pluto fiasco. And if you don't think that was a fiasco, then you don't know enough about it. If they screw up exoplanet naming, then people are going to start looking to someone else or just ignore the IAU. Nobody wants that, so perhaps the IAU should stop acting like entitled pricks and do their damn job.

about a year ago

Qt 5.1 Adds Android and iOS Support

Mr. McGibby Re:Not native (81 comments)

A particular developer's inability to use Qt properly to create native-looking apps on each platform, that's hardly Qt's fault. You can get the native printing icon if that's what you want, but this developer clearly didn't bother to do it properly. Creating cross-platform apps isn't magic. That's what Java wanted to do, but it's just plain impossible. You are going to have to occasionally be aware of the quirks on each platform you're targeting. An occasional #ifdef OSX or whatever is going to be necessary if you want your app to look great. Qt doesn't purport to allow you to write your code on one platform and magically having it look fantastic on all the other platforms. It *does* purport to allow you do that by spending a little time to tweak things. Nothing you mentioned isn't fixable using Qt. But it can't do everything for you because the platforms are different, by definition.

about a year and a half ago

Emscripten and New Javascript Engine Bring Unreal Engine To Firefox

Mr. McGibby Re:Not me (124 comments)

That's fine. Plenty of people are doing it already. So nobody that matters really cares what you think.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Best To Set Up a Parent's PC?

Mr. McGibby Chrome Remote Desktop (418 comments)

Super easy to use for both sides. Easy enough that you can pawn off some of the IT help to other members of the family.

about a year and a half ago

Thousands of Publicly Accessible Printers Searchable On Google

Mr. McGibby Re: Not thousands, more like 73 (192 comments)

No, those are the actual number of results. 86500 is an estimate that Google comes up with so it doesn't have to figure out the exact number on the first page. If you include the omitted results then you get 73 unique results.

about a year and a half ago

Thousands of Publicly Accessible Printers Searchable On Google

Mr. McGibby Not thousands, more like 73 (192 comments)

Just because google says *about* 86,500 results, doesn't mean that it's going to *actually* have that. You'd think someone who can search google that well would know this. If you go to the end of the search query, it's 73 results.

about a year and a half ago

Secession Petitions Flood White House Website

Mr. McGibby Re:If there was a Bad at Math Map... (1163 comments)

Third party candidates are a fantasy. Either fix the system so they have any chance of winning, or just stop spewing this nonsense.

about 2 years ago

Valve: Linux Better Than Windows 8 for Gaming

Mr. McGibby Re:Fear... (768 comments)

They also know that it's likely the community will help support other distros if they can just get one working.

about 2 years ago

Dr. Richard Dawkins On Why Disagreeing With Religion Isn't Insulting

Mr. McGibby Dawkins is just a bully (1152 comments)

He's a douche about the whole thing. People think he's insulting because he's a total dick when he talks about religion. There are lots of folks who can critizise religion without being jerks about it. At least for me, it's not Dawkin's ideas that people are offended by, but how he expresses them. More proof Dawkins is a jerk:

about 2 years ago

NASA Mulling Earth-Moon L2 Point for Mars Staging Station

Mr. McGibby Re:Waste of money, go Mars Direct (186 comments)

Sure, if the only goal is to get to Mars, then other plans might make more sense. What we're trying to do here is create a spacefaring society. Mars is part of that, but not the only thing. Zubrin talks a lot about gravity wells, yet he proposes that we go directly from one to another.

about 2 years ago

Comments On Code Comments?

Mr. McGibby My views (472 comments)

From my blog:

I have a confession to make. Forgive me. Wait, don't forgive me. I'm completely unapologetic. I am a programmer, and I don't write comments. I just needed to get that off my chest.

I don't believe in comments.

I have been writing a lot of fairly complex code lately. And all the while, the voices of dead Computer Science professors have been speaking to me. They repeat the mantra of good code commenting. I feel guilt, like when I go to church. Or when I don't make my bed in the morning. Of course, not one of them is able to give me any good suggestion of what a good set of comments is. They just tell me what isn't a good comment. So does that mean that anything else is a good comment? Like lots of swear words in the code. That's probably more useful than real comments, because they make me laugh and keep me from falling asleep at the keyboard.

Good comments, I'm told, are not just a rehash of what is already in the code. Well, if it isn't already in the code, then it isn't much use to the program is it? I don't believe in comments. I think they are mostly a waste of time. Maybe not for you, but for me they just make my life difficult. I have to make a context switch to English in order to write them. That takes time and just serves to confuse me.

Whenever I write English, I take the audience of my writing into account. Who is the audience for my comments? Some moron with a basic C++ book on his desk? Or the great man himself, Bjarne Stroustrup? Bjarne is pretty smart and will probably be able to figure out my code just fine without me, or my comments. Because he speaks C++. I speak C++ too, so that's how I like to communicate with computers and other people who speak the same language.

So I don't write comments. I'm one of those people who likes to use good variable names, good function names, and good file names. When I look at others' comments, I don't usually trust them, because they often don't make any sense. Or they are just plain wrong. That's just awesome. Like the time I first starting programming and I spent two days wondering why the second member of a pair of ints (pair) was always zero, even though the comments said it should contain some valuable piece of information. Actually, it was the first member, not the second one, which I finally figured out by actually looking at the damn code. Wonder of wonders, the code actually told me what the code did. Amazing.

I think that instead of comments we should put quotes of great authors at the top of all our code. That way, when people read our code, they will think that our code is profound, because we quote the greats of our time like, Dostoevsky, Helen Keller, or Dave Barry. And the best thing would be to just randomly pick those quotes so that when people try to make some connection between the code and the quote, they'll spend lots of time trying to figure out. Then they'll feel stupid, but won't want to admit it and we can fun of them when they can't explain the connection. And we won't have had to be smart at all, because all those people that we referred to are smart.

Have I even written comments? Of course, I slap all my comments in the headers, when I don't feel like writing documentation. Or when the function name is getting too long. Or when some fellow programmer makes me feel guilty for not following the religion of comments. What is the point of writing commments if the function name tells the whole story? Take vector for example, the size() function returns, guess what, the size of the vector. I know what you're thinking, that is completely non-intuitive. It's got to be commented. Look, if the function name can't tell you what the function does, then maybe you should change the function name. And if your function name gets too long, then maybe your function is doing too much.

Good, maintainable programs are easy to understand not because they have lots of comments explaining their complex structure, but because they are straightforward, not complex. Complex is a synonym for spaghetti. Code should be more like ravioli. Good ravioli, not that crap they give you in restaurants. Chef Boyardee is delicious. The mental model of a good program is easily understood by normal humans. And if that mental model is nice and straightforward, then the functions that act on it should also be straightforward. A function called get_ the_ thing_ and_ reroute_ the_ other_ thing_ with_ the_ thing_ you_ have_ from_ before() doesn't need to commented, it needs to be thrown out. The class it lives in probably does too. It's doing too much.

I'm religious, but not about programming. In religion, there are things that you believe just because they seem right. Code comments may feel right, but they just don't prove their value outside of giving people a good feeling. I'm going to love my enemy for no good reason, because that sounds like a good idea. But I'm not going to type any more comments until I have a mathematical proof that it's good for me, like ravioli.

about 2 years ago



Nokia workers walk out in protest

Mr. McGibby Mr. McGibby writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Mr. McGibby (41471) writes ""After the announcement of the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft this morning workers voiced their concern with the deal by walking out of Nokia facilities. It is believed that as many as a thousand workers marched out today (or took the day off using flex time) so that the company would know that they don’t believe the partnership is in their best interest, even after CEO’ Stephen Elop’s startlingly frank “burning platform” memo earlier this week.""
Link to Original Source

Fractal Table Made with Rapid Prototyping

Mr. McGibby Mr. McGibby writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Mr. McGibby writes "While not truly a fractal by mathematical standards, this fractal table by designer Wertel Oberfell has got to be one of the coolest uses of fractal mathematics I've seen yet. As described by the designer, "Fractal Table is a table piece which derives from studies into fractal growth patterns. Treelike stems grow into smaller branches until they get very dense towards the top. Fractal Table, developed by Platform Wertel Oberfell together with Matthias Bär, is impossible to manufacture unless rapid prototyped.""
Link to Original Source

Mr. McGibby Mr. McGibby writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Mr. McGibby writes "Astronomers have proposed an improved method of searching for intelligent extraterrestrial life using instruments like one now under construction in Australia. The Low Frequency Demonstrator (LFD) of the Mileura Wide-Field Array (MWA), a facility for radio astronomy, theoretically could detect Earth-like civilizations around any of the 1,000 nearest stars. The original paper describes the details."



Mr. McGibby Mr. McGibby writes  |  more than 11 years ago

Being the family "computer guy", I somehow got assigned the task of getting the family web site going. No, not just my little family, but the whole extended family.

Well, I just signed up for a real ISP, which gives me some 100MB of web space. Enough for whatever crap my family wants to upload. Problem is that all the pre-done web-site stuff like PHP-Nuke requires an SQL database. Something that costs $5 more a month. Sorry, I don't want to pay this.

Anyone know of something like PHP-Nuke that doesn't use an SQL db? I'd like to find something that uses files only.


Doopy Doo

Mr. McGibby Mr. McGibby writes  |  more than 11 years ago

So, my boss is out of town today, so I thought I would start writing in this silly /. journal.

I've been trying to work with gnu make to get it to do more than just compile code and link it in the right order. I've been trying to use it to update the genetics data that I work with. So I'm trying to do some things that I don't think that make was designed to do. Like creating implicit rules that can use more than a single pattern.

See, you can write an implicit rule like this to make a .out from a .in file:

%.out :
                  do something...

But alas, if you want to do anything a little more complicated, like use a regular expression for the pattern match, then you're out of luck. Sorry.

I've been toying with some ideas for updating make while keeping backwards compatibility. Since I don't think that using more than one % is allowed in the target, then I'm thinking one could use two or more %s for delimiting a regular expression.

Like this:

bn%_Q(\w+)_DB(\w+)%.txt : $(rem1).nt $(rem2).db
              do some stuff...

So that $(rem1) would be the first match in the R.E. and $(rem2) would be the second.

Who knows.

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