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Fixing the Pain of Programming

OpinionatedDude Re:Teach my tone-deaf sister to sing (294 comments)

Precisely, I want only people who are naturally good at something to be doing that thing. I don't want someone who "worked their way up to near adequacy after a lifetime of being a less than adequate engineer" to design the brakes for my car. I also don't want to listen to an artless rendition of a classic piece of music hacked to pieces by a tone-deaf wanna-be musician (auto-tune notwithstanding). People should only "publicly" do things they excel at. Trust me, no amount of practice will make me a decent singer (or painter or jock). The best way to wind up with software that is even worse than everything ever produced by microsoft is to let people who suck at programming "develop their alleged talent" for years and foist their poor efforts upon an unsuspecting public. They might eventually get to a point where they can fool an interviewer and get a job. That does not make them a good programmer. By now, my otherwise awesome sister has spent at least that mythical 10,000 hours offending family members and others with her singing. She hasn't improved at all.

about 6 months ago
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Fixing the Pain of Programming

OpinionatedDude Teach my tone-deaf sister to sing (294 comments)

Whenever I see one of these headlines about how there is a supposed shortage of programmers and we should make it easier so "stupid people" will come to save the day, it just makes me think "what the what?" I have an awesome sister. She can't sing. She makes people cover their ears and the dog runs out of the room. Are we going to solve today's broken music scene by making singing easier and coaxing my sister to become a singer? I don't think so. Singing is easy. Doing it well enough that people want to listen is not hard...for people who are good at it. People who suck at singing should just do the world a favor and not try it in public. The fact that the world has a limited number of programmers, and an even smaller number of good programmers and an even smaller number of really-really good programmers is simply that people are all different. Some of them can sing. Some of them can do technology. Some of them are jocks. Some of them just take up space. (Hey, it may be harsh, but it is accurate.) On the other end of the millions of different bell curves that could be used to describe humanity, there are some people who excel at bad things, like the Hitlers and the Lawyers of the world. Sadly though, this sort of "how can we make programming accessible to the masses" nonsense will never go away. That is simply because there are people on this planet who are six sigma at asking stupid questions.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is the Bar Being Lowered At Universities?

OpinionatedDude World changed...people didn't (605 comments)

First, let me say that in my experience, this is a long trend, not a rapid recent trend. I've been an "old guy" long enough to have seen this for a long time. It just keeps getting "worse". Second, I'm not drinking the Kool-aid on the "it is all the fault of the schools" nonsense. The simple fact of the matter is that on average, humans are not very bright. You have to get a few sigma above the norm before you find people who can put together a good sentence. Smart people learn this easily despite poor schooling. Less smart people will do better with really great schooling, but won't ever be as good at it as those who naturally excel in that area. Third, the real problem here is the increasing notion in our society (fueled mostly by the declining availability of jobs requiring a lower skill level) that "everyone should go to college". Way back in the olden-days when I was finishing high-school, only those of us who sat at the front of the class had any plans to attend college. Not everyone was expected to do work typical of an "office job", let alone a more skilled profession. Most people were factory workers and other blue-collar types. There's nothing wrong with that. They were good at it and it was needed. Put those same people in college and then try to make programmers out of them, and you soon have the 4 or 5 sigma crowd saying all the young people are stupid (or the teachers are stupid). No, the schools are failing at turning washing-machine assembly people into programmers and bloggers. Big surprise there. What is missing is appropriate jobs and expectations for people who are not equipped with the hardware needed to be academic types. Capitalism and technology are moving us out of an era where there was more or less accidentally a good mix of jobs and skill levels. We are increasingly moving into an era where the unplanned mix of skill levels required of people is unrealistic. We just went where the technology took us and did not "design" a world that makes sense for the majority of the population. We should come to understand that we need to design a society that has a proper place for all of its people. Stop trying to force the bulk of humanity to be "information workers". They are not good at it and they don't like doing it. If we are really smart, we should be able to build a world where they can fit in well rather than trying to make them fit the world that we've blindly stumbled into.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Alternative To the Canonical Computer Science Degree?

OpinionatedDude Old School... (347 comments)

This all seems to be centered around "School or no school". I have a different question...why do you want a JOB? You're questioning the "old school" approach of going to school in order to get a job. Why not question the "old school" way of making a living...working at a soul-stealing big company day after day, year after year. All that just to live in one of the few places where such companies congregate and putting all the money they pay you on a mortgage to live in a horrendously over-priced mcMansion. Yeah, I know...Bitter Much? Well, yes, actually. After a BSEE degree followed by about 25 years of CS work, I'm questioning the sanity of the whole thing. Just as getting a degree is becoming "old school", so is "getting a JOB". The future is entreprenurial and merit-driven employment. JOB not only requires "old school", it is OLD SCHOOL.

about 2 years ago
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How To Avoid Infringing On Apple's Patents

OpinionatedDude Re:Trying to use the existing flawed system... (323 comments)

Apple is a publicly owned company. The stated purpose of a publicly owned company is to increase share-holder value (i.e. make money). Apple wants to make money for its shareholders. They do that by making gadgets that people want to buy and keeping other companies from stealing their ideas. I don't think they ever claimed to be a not-for-profit company. Their goal is not that of giving the world the best possible set of gadgets regardless of profit. Their goal is to make money and to do so by coming up with better gadgets and keeping other companies from stealing their ideas. You imagine that the world was put here for your benefit. Bah! Grow up and look around. Apple doesn't give a crap about you and never will. Neither does Samsung. Neither does Google. Heck, Greenpeace probably doesn't even like you very much. :)

more than 2 years ago
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How To Avoid Infringing On Apple's Patents

OpinionatedDude Trying to use the existing flawed system... (323 comments)

A direct copy of an iPhone is a lot like porn. You know it when you see it. Samsung, et. al. flat out copied the iPhone, and then the iPad. Nothing that came before it looked anything like it. Now everything looks just like it. The entire industry copied the crap out of Apple's new devices. The purpose of a patent system is to allow someone who creates something entirely "new" to profit fully from their ingenuity. That is it's full and complete purpose. If the system is very flawed, don't bash Apple for trying to use it as best they can to accomplish the goals of the patent system. Bash the very flawed patent system. If, on the other hand, you disagree with the purpose of a patent system, then you should move to a communist country where nobody benefits from their own ingenuity.

more than 2 years ago
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Half Life of a Tech Worker: 15 Years

OpinionatedDude Re:You young people are so cute! (473 comments)

ahhhhmen to that brother...but by post 50, it gets pretty stale. The trick ( I have learned via hind-sight ) is to avoid getting trapped in the debt that the upper-middle class lifestyle engenders. Then you can much more easily move out of corporate "safety" into something more interesting and challenging on your own. I've been trying to get from where I was ( deep in debt ) to the above-described nirvana for about 5 years now while still cowering at a fortune 100 company as an "old guy" (aka Senior Staff Engineer/manager) Mostly though, just amen to the "life is complex" line that you started with!

more than 2 years ago
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Half Life of a Tech Worker: 15 Years

OpinionatedDude Re:plan? in this climate? (473 comments)

Based on my experience...you are giving doctors WAY too much credit.

more than 2 years ago
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Jimmy Wales Declares App Store Models a Threat

OpinionatedDude Shut up and code (334 comments)

Seriously tired of all the rambling about freedom here. Have any of those who incessantly babble on about how some capitalist is "taking away their freedom" ever actually thought through the lack of logic in their statement? As if you have some god-given right to set policy within a sphere or activity that grew out of someone else's creative efforts. If you don't like Apple's walled garden, then stick your shovel in some different dirt! Nobody is forcing you to buy anything from Apple. Enough of this silly "I want something exactly like what that guy invented, but I want complete control over it!" Grow up. Apple's only relevance is that they put together a system of 'stuff' that a good many people like. You can buy in, or you can stay out. You can't come in and tell Steve how to run it. Invent your own. In the unlikely event that a few people like it and decide to buy into yours...I probably will abstain. Ain't freedom grand?

more than 3 years ago
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Cheap Metal-Insulator-Metal (MiM) Diode Created

OpinionatedDude Re:Fundamental discovery? (137 comments)

I would have to agree -- you are no Electrical Engineer.

about 4 years ago
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Why Are Terrorists Often Engineers?

OpinionatedDude Maybe H-1B visas? (769 comments)

Just a quick look around any high-tech company makes this pretty obvious.

more than 4 years ago
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Frustration and Unhappiness In the Games Industry

OpinionatedDude The "singularity" is actually... (422 comments)

that point in time where the frustration/unhappiness curve for engineers/developers shoots to infinity. All development stops, ushering in a new stone age.

more than 4 years ago
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Talk of an Apple Search Engine To Thwart Google

OpinionatedDude No big deal. . ."most people" will use whatever is (276 comments)

hooked up to the most convenient "search" box. I apple just puts in a mildly similar looking set of search results, and a colorful 'apppppple' logo above the page numbers, most people won't give it a second thought. Sure, slashdotters would notice, but Ma and Pa and the 90 percent of the population that is not the least bit techy could care less. They're just interested in the stuff they find in the sites that are found, not in who provides the search. I think it is kind of silly for Apple to go on giving all of that money away to Google every year. They could be making a fortune off of the advertising in their own search instead of giving it away to Google. Getting back to "most people", I think they will also continue to call it "googling" eventhough they are typing their search into an Apple search box. (just like we used to say "go make a xerox of this on the Kodak machine" when I worked at Kodak a million years ago -- though that was just for fun -- come to think of it, does Kodak still make copiers?)

more than 4 years ago
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James Lovelock Suggests Suspending Democracy To Save the World

OpinionatedDude Nobody has welcomed our environmental overlords... (865 comments)

All your freedom are belong to us. . . In reality, it is already too late to "fix" this by changing the slope of the curve with governmental restrictions on amount/types of energy use. The only viable solution, and the most likely to happen, is some form of Geoengineering. At some point, some large country, acting in its own self interest (or in the interest of a well-monied lobbyist) will unilaterally enact a Geoengineering "solution". This will mostly likely outrage and inconvenience some other country (or lobbyist or large company with internal resources capable of Geoengineering), setting off a chain reaction of competing attempts at geoengineering. The only viable solution to the coming geoengineering crisis is to put democracy on hold. . .

more than 4 years ago
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Google Phone Could Drive Apple Into Allegiance With Microsoft

OpinionatedDude Gag me with a blender! (325 comments)

Apple is doing just fine all by itself just like it has from the start. The thing that has me bothered is that I've been driving Ford's all my life (Dad worked for Ford forever). Now that Ford has been infected with Microsoft I may have to get my cars from somebody else. ;(

more than 4 years ago
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James Cameron On How Avatar Technology Could Keep Actors Young

OpinionatedDude And the winner is... (404 comments)

Now they will have to start CGI animating the Golden Globe and Emmy shows too... Nobody wants to see a 60 year old grandmother accepting an award for a movie where she played hotness.

more than 4 years ago
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Sponge-Like "Swelling Glass" Absorbs Toxins in Water

OpinionatedDude Re:groundwater means water IN the ground... (93 comments)

Having just committed the ultimate /. sin, I read the company info after posting. TFA erroneously combined the properties of two different products from the company with similar names. The product that is used on groundwater is intended only to grab and hold harmless the bad stuff, not for removing it from the ground.

more than 4 years ago
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Sponge-Like "Swelling Glass" Absorbs Toxins in Water

OpinionatedDude groundwater means water IN the ground... (93 comments)

groundwater |groundwôtr; -wätr| noun water held underground in the soil or in pores and crevices in rock. Me thinks this is a bogus article about a bogus "invention" by a bogus company. Water ON the ground is sometimes called "a flood", and sometimes called "a lake", depending upon whether or not the condition is chronic.

more than 4 years ago
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Defining Useful Coding Practices?

OpinionatedDude Art vs. Construction (477 comments)

The proponents of the two sides of this "argument" seem to me to be artists and constructionists. In software, art is what happens at a hacker conference or at a startup BEFORE the investors start poking around. Construction (including architecture and source control and coding standards and design patterns et. al.) is what happens at a medium to large company that takes huge amounts of skilled workers to build something that can then be charged for in copious amounts and which will then make investors rich. In short, hacking vs. coding. Both have a place in the world. Neither should be influenced by the other. The big problem with software is that the former usually morphs into the later rather than being a completely separate effort which should include none of the original source material and none of the original players. And finally, a good hacker is NEVER a good coder, and a bad coder is often NOT a gifted hacker, but someone who shouldn't be doing either type of work.

more than 4 years ago

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