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Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

RyoShin Re:We're all harmed by growth of Internet propagan (667 comments)

Why even bother spoofing the IP? Hack the account of the bot, or set up your own for potential future targets, and inject apparent changes. While this will eventually be found out (far easier than to figure out IP spoofing), if done with a trusted account in the right circumstances I could see an immediate backlash being disproportionate and causing things to escalate quickly.

Basically, wait for the hay pile to build up on the camel, and play that final straw at the right moment...

2 days ago

World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

RyoShin Re:Safe injection sites (474 comments)

I didn't mean that my description was the entirety of legalization, just that it was a part of it why I believe that use would drop after legalization (as others have pointed out, Portugal (I think) has shown this as realistic.) Sorry for the confusion.

5 days ago

World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

RyoShin Re:Safe injection sites (474 comments)

I never really had the answer for how to counter that.

I don't think you have to. Legalization means you can walk into a hospital/pharmacy/police station and ask where a good place for addiction assistance is without worrying that they'll call the cops or arrest you on the spot. We should be promoting that kind of behavior anyway ("Get yourself some help and we will help you get that help without arresting you"), but legalization will make that a far more reliable scenario.

While I've no numbers to back up my speculation, I would think that many users/addicts consider getting clean at some point but decide against it due to the threat of, at best, an arrest record and so are driven back to the drugs.

5 days ago

German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

RyoShin Re:Listening to keystrokes + HMM = Profit! (244 comments)

I thought of the keystroke listening, too, when I read the summary, but something just struck me: Couldn't you ruin that listening by having a duplicate typewriter set up right next to the one someone is working on, hooked to a machine that will randomly press keys? It would be annoying as hell for the actual typist, but if it can somehow match the typing rate of the human, wouldn't that destroy the ability to analyze the sound?

about two weeks ago

The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum

RyoShin Re:The hero Gotham needs (78 comments)

Both of those people are dead, their legacies set. You are correct that Musk doesn't have as vast a philanthropic footprint as either of those two at the moment, but he's also very much alive (43 yo, no serious health issues I am aware of) and has plenty of time to make billions of dollars and then donate that to whatever.

For reference, both Carnegie and Franklin were approx 84 when they died. Assuming we don't go all Mad Max, 40 years is a lot of time for Musk to play catch up.

about two weeks ago

The Oatmeal Convinces Elon Musk To Donate $1 Million To Tesla Museum

RyoShin The hero Gotham needs (78 comments)

PayPal, rockets, electric cars, solar panels, paying $1 million for oatmeal or something in the name of a Tesla museum. While he doesn't have absolute control of any one of those industries, he's sounding more and more like a modern Andrew Carnegie, maybe with some Benjamin Franklin mixed in.

about two weeks ago

Police Recording Confirms NYPD Flew At a Drone and Never Feared Crashing

RyoShin Re:So... (310 comments)

Absolutely nothing bad will be done to them; if anything, they'll get commendation medals for bravely charging at a potential terrorist machine. If they were in California, they'd probably be hailed as heroes and had a statue put up in their honor, compared to six cops beating a guy to death, on tape, with audio of them saying things like "Now see these fists? They're going to (expletive) you up" with the two actually brought to trial being acquitted by a jury. (A third was scheduled, but after this trial his charges were dropped.)

The jury part is what sickens me the most; there are all sorts of examples of police abuse, but rarely do the police in question actually get taken to court over it. It finally happens, and 6-12 of my "peers" think they were just doing their damn job. People will rationalize their stances, often going into convoluted and twisted reasoning; I have no hope for humanity, but it doesn't seem I have to make such leaps to maintain that stance...

(And in case anyone was wondering, the Fox News link is intentional; it's basically the AP article, and if Fox News isn't willing/able to put a spin to make the cops seem like heroes then any cop supporters should have a hard time as well.)

about two weeks ago

Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory

RyoShin Re:Any Memory?? what judge will go on just that? (415 comments)

100 miles from the international border itself

And airports. I'm not sure if it's just the airports or also 100 miles around them, but in this case it doesn't matter.

People hear this and think "Oh, well, border protection of a small area, no biggie". Except that this "zone" fully encompasses nine states! From Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. Nine Constitution-Free States. Maryland, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware come very close to being included in this list.

about three weeks ago

No Shortage In Tech Workers, Advocacy Groups Say

RyoShin Re:it depends on what "skilled worker" means. (401 comments)

I wonder if we'll ever see a Corporate Mutiny. A situation wherein the employees want to do good work and make a good product/service, many can do decent work, but the CxOs and managers are hellbent are running it into the ground either through stupidity or expecting that golden parachute. Some combination of poor job market, location, and just being mad as hell causes the employees to essentially come to work and agree to completely disregard certain people/levels of management and continue about work in the way they see best, led by a small group who may or may not have been in leadership positions before.

It might not be smooth, and it probably wouldn't work, but it would make for a hell of a story.

If such a thing was attempted: Sure, the higher ups probably have the access to completely cut off their paychecks, but if all the non-managers left who would do the work? The company would quickly fold, turning it into an odd MAD situation.

about three weeks ago

Google Reader: One Year Later

RyoShin Happy with NewsBlur (132 comments)

I originally went to Netvibes, which tries to offer RSS as some sort of secondary service to some business analytics aggregation or something (I never fully understood.) But sometime around the beginning of the year they did a moderate layout change and then completely ignored the vast number of user complaints (a help thread, with almost 200 comments when most had 3, was marked "completed" with no change or solid comment from staff). It introduced a ton of useless whitespace and, most importantly for me, broke their Mosaic view, which was great for images and the primary reason I chose them after Reader's shut down.

Once they proved they didn't care about user interaction and had to have their vision, I jumped ship along with a ton of others (HINT HINT BETA). I now use NewsBlur and am fairly happy with it. Their free service is pretty limited, but I found it useful enough to be worth the $2/mo for a subscription once I changed the settings to get rid of all their Web 2.0 stuff. I miss having "pages" to allow for larger grouping and any kind of image-oriented feed option, but I have a lot more flexibility in how I view things (and I can sort by time descending, something NetVibes was never able to do!)

about three weeks ago

IeSF Wants International Game Tournaments Segregated By Sex [Updated]

RyoShin Re:...Why? (221 comments)

I don't think she's competitive, but one of the regulars on the TF2 server I usually go to is female and usually plays Medic; this doesn't sound too odd for TF2, until you go against her and find out that she is absolutely lethal with the Ubersaw (melee weapon, for non-TF2 players). If she gets the jump on someone (usually when her heal target loses uber and about to die, she'll split off and dive into the enemy team) she can easily take out two or three people with just that, and I've seen her clear half the team by a combination of luck (they had already taken moderate damage and were regrouping) and surprise.

She also likes to mock people by hiding around the corner and using a death taunt (for non-TF2 players, that's a taunt that can OKO an opposing player if it connects properly) if she knows someone is chasing her. Pretty good success rate there, too.

There are a few other players known to be female on the server who are really good, but I have no idea if they're comp or not.

about three weeks ago

Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

RyoShin Re:Would be different (185 comments)

he wrote about child pornography

Glad you're already +5, because my mod points expired yesterday. The judge wouldn't have given him a second look if it was pedophilic(?) fiction, despite falling under the same kind of fantasy. (Of course, as others have mentioned, him being a cop probably landed him on the good side of the judge and a common citizen wouldn't have been freed.)

Disgusting though it is, disgust should not be used as the main criteria for laws.

about three weeks ago

FTC Says T-Mobile Made Hundreds of Millions From Bogus SMS Charges

RyoShin Disappointing (110 comments)

If true, that leaves me a bit disappointed. I switched to their pay-as-you-go plan in October and have been happy enough with it: while their cell service is pretty crap compared to Verizon, they also didn't do anything super-evil like Verizon (that I was aware of)... until now. Even if true, I still prefer them over any of the other three major providers, so I don't plan on switching to anything else.

about a month ago

Google Is Offering Free Coding Lessons To Women and Minorities

RyoShin Re:Sexism and racism (376 comments)

the pervasive pressure that's exerted against people who aren't like you [...] But we can get even better than that and be pretty good and inclusive.

So why must the pendulum swing the other way? Why can't Google offer free coding lessons to anyone and try their best to employ processes to make sure that they are advertising so as diverse a population as possible and nothing is in place that might favor one group over another? (Bonus points for transparency in that.) And if, despite their best efforts to be inclusive, the turnout is vastly white male it would be useful to find out why. Are the minorities/women threatened by the prospect of being around so many white males? Are they disinterested in coding in general? In how Google was presenting it?

Do Asians get to take part in this? Or are they not allowed because their quota has been met? At least here in America, they're still a minority (Wiki says 6% in 2010.)

I guarantee you if the headline read "Google is Offering Free Coding Lessons to White Males" the same "equal rights" people who view their current action as a Very Good Thing would rage with the power of a thousand suns. I'm not against equality, but I'm for equal equality. I wouldn't try to stop Google from doing this (I don't see it as a bad thing, I just think it's misguided, and it's a private initiative), but I await the day when elementary schools and nursing programs having hiring/teaching days targeting males.

about a month ago

Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

RyoShin Re:So they'll just add (249 comments)

What needs to happen is a permanent recording of all interactions with people so they can't just get together and decide what their story will be.

Agreed. At the same time, legal teams and individual citizens can tie up the courts with counter-claims, so not only would constant monitoring of the police keep the system from abusing the people, but it would decrease the potential for the people to abuse the system. So these systems save a lot of headache (at the very least) for a lot of people and should be mandatory for all standard police forces.

about a month ago

Building the Infinite Digital Universe of No Man's Sky

RyoShin Re:I'm not a gamer (100 comments)

I'm a long-time gamer, and I was astounded at the demo as well. It doesn't claim otherwise, so I assume the video is not from in-game footage, but just the design and suggestion really riled my inner geek. If their final product can reach even 70% of what the video suggests, it will be amazing... ...and that's the problem. As beautiful as the trailer is to me, there is a lot being promised and I doubt they can deliver on that, much like Fable. Fable (at least the first one) was still a good game, but it was far more limited than originally promised. And Molyneaux probably had a team of more than 10 people behind him when he made those promises.

Sadly, this is probably either vaporware or will be underwhelming when released.

about a month ago

Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

RyoShin Re:And the stupidest thing about it? (710 comments)

I went to an interview for a tech company (can't remember what they did now, this was years ago) and one of the questions went something like "We're looking for people who will be dedicated to our small company; right now most everyone regularly works 10 hours a day. Would this be a problem for you?" I can't remember my exact answer, but I tried to be clear but soft that I had no interest in doing that on a constant basis. While there were more questions, the interview basically ended at that point for me and, I'm sure, for them.

Crunch time happens, but it should be rare and compensated. If it's not rare, then something is seriously wrong at the company in the way it manages people, it's business, or all of the above. Thankfully, at my current job when I hit 40 hours I'm out the door unless there is something seriously wrong or I'm way behind a massive deadline (and those are rare to begin with). No one makes a peep about this, and everyone else does the same. My income isn't high compared to averages for the area for my job, but so long as I can survive I'm okay with that if it means not being beat like a rented mule.

about a month ago

Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

RyoShin Re:Maybe if the economy wasn't so fucked (710 comments)

Seriously. Try getting by on $30-35K a year. Now try doing it WITH STUDENT LOANS.

Adjusted to my situations. Thanks to believing the lies/myth that if I go to college and get a degree I'll get out with, at worst, a moderately paying job and those loans will be no biggy.

So, being a white male that did almost no extracurricular activities in high school, I had almost no scholarships and just put in for massive loans each year to also help cover room & board. It didn't help that I chose to go to an expensive, out of state, private university. (In fact, Yahoo! Finance did a piece recently on university costs, using my alma matter as a central example. Apparently it's now about $37K/yr there; when I was a freshman a decade ago it was about $30K.) And so I graduated, right after the Great Recession started, with approx. $150,000 in student loan debt. Unable to get a job, I did a stint in the military and took part in their Loan Repayment Program; between that and regular, minimum payments of $900/mo I'm down to $111,000.

I'm able to pay it with my current job (roughly $38K take home), but I live paycheck to paycheck and with such a massive debt over my head as I near 30 I don't even consider things like relationships, hobbies, or getting a place of my own.

about a month ago

Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

RyoShin Re:Corporate Brianwashed Fools (710 comments)

It's classic divide and conquer, helped along with everyone thinking they're not only above average but such special snowlakes they can write their own ticket as soon as someone notices their talents - any day now.

I never thought about it that way, but perhaps this is the result of the ideal in many schools/communities that everyone is completely equal no matter what they do. "Okay, you all played kick ball, so everyone gets a blue ribbon, yay!" "Oh, you won the championship kick ball game? Good job, here's your blue participation ribbon!"

The result being that when you grow up you think you're on the same level as everyone, regardless of actually being better or worse in any particular area, so you don't see the point in unions because "everyone is the same, they can just go to management and talk it out!" because they think management is also the same. And then management, who grew up in a different generation and/or knows better, takes full advantage of this.

about a month ago

Microsoft Wants You To Trade Your MacBook Air In For a Surface Pro 3

RyoShin Re:This is telling (365 comments)

Don't forget all the dancing!

about a month ago



Ask Slashdot: Best software for charity/animal shelters?

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 2 years ago

RyoShin writes "I volunteer for a no-kill cat rescue shelter. After learning my background in software development, they've asked me to come up with a solution that will make it easier for them to keep a database of the felines currently in their care (including things like vaccinations, background (if any), etc.) as well as donors and potential donors. They've dropped hints that I should roll my own, but I'd rather get them something tried and tested and preferably with support; however, I have no knowledge of this area, so I turn to Slashdot users. What are good pieces of software for use by charities, especially animal shelters? An all-in-one would be great, but I will consider multiple programs. And, as always, free or open source is highly preferred (they are a small shelter), but I also want to research paid-for options and present those if they are high quality, easy to use, and can be afforded."

Telling Kids They're Smart is Stupid

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

RyoShin writes "A recent Scientific American article entitled "The Secret to Raising Smart Kids" (print version) looks at research on motivating kids in school. From the article: "Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent--and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed--leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn. [...] Teaching people to have a 'growth mind-set,' which encourages a focus on effort rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life." Another finding is that "a belief in fixed intelligence also makes people less willing to admit to errors or to confront and remedy their deficiencies in school, at work and in their social relationships." So don't go telling your kid he or she a genius, but rather a studious, hard worker."
Link to Original Source

Do Zebra Stripes actually help?

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RyoShin (610051) writes "A List Apart, an excellent resource for web development and related aesthetics, has put together an article based on original research by Jessica Enders into "zebra striping". From the article: "Zebra striping [, coloring alternate rows,] is used when data is presented in an essentially tabular form. The user of that table will be looking for one or more data points. Their aim is to get the right points and get them as quickly as possible. Therefore, if we set a task that uses a table, and zebra striping does make things easier, then we would expect to see improvements in two things: accuracy and speed." The conclusion of the peer reviewed paper? It's a wash. Striped tables offered only a slight increase in accuracy and speed overall. The article notes a few other benefits to using Zebra striping, so it's all up to the individual."
Link to Original Source

Up or Out: Solving the IT Turnover Crisis

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RyoShin (610051) writes "Alex Papadimoulis, head of TheDailyWTF, has put together an interesting article about turnover in the IT industry and why quitting is okay (and employers should like it). Using ideas like the "Cravath system", why good people quit while slackers stay behind, and how ex-employees can be a good thing, Papadimoulis offers some interesting ideas for both employers and employees. "In short: embrace turnover, encourage separation, and don't even think about saying 'careers, not jobs.' Oh yes, it's Employment 2.0.""
Link to Original Source

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

RyoShin writes "Even after the conservative members lost control of the old Kansas school board, evolution still remains a large issue for the Board of Education in Kansas. Well, in video games. Specifically, one video game: Pokemon. On Monday, the Kansas Board of Education approved a measure to ban most content related to Pokemon, including the games themselves and trading cards "because of the franchise's blatant promotion of evolution". Furthermore, they instructed teachers to "search their students at the beginning of the school day to make sure that they aren't carrying any copies of the game". The article is sparse on further details, but states that the ACLU will challenge the decision."

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

RyoShin writes "Signs of the apocalypse: seven-headed beasts, cats hanging out with dogs, and a video game that combines two previous rivals. Well, according to USAToday, we're one-third of the way there. From the article: "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, due in stores this holiday season for Nintendo's Wii console and DS handheld system (prices not yet set), will also include other popular characters such as Luigi and Yoshi (from Nintendo's Mario games), as well as Knuckles and Tails (from the Sonic games), all competing in such summer Olympic events as running, swimming and table tennis." Furthermore, Shigeru Miyamoto is giving oversight to the project. Could this be a sign that Sonic might appear in Super Smash Brothers Brawl?"



How to StumbleUpon StumbleOver and StumbleOn

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Like many on the internet, including other /. members, I am a user of StumbleUpon. For those who don't know what StumbleUpon is, the short and simple is that it is a gateway to the internet at large. It's great for lazy afternoons when you just want to find new webpages. You set some preferences, some content filters, and boom, you're off. It covers topics from architecture to zoology, and most everything in between. A great way to read new and interesting scientific discoveries or watch sleeping cats fall off of whatever shelf they happen to be sleeping on. Or both, if that's your thing. But not at the same time.

However, StumbleUpon reveals one of the larger annoyances of the internet: data redundancy. Site after site, blog after blog will host the same content (usually video or pictures, but it can even be word-for-word text), meaning that you'll wind up Stumbling Upon it time and again- and it really gets grating after you see the eighteenth LOLcat collection. To my knowledge, SU has no way to deal with this. You can rate things up or down and perhaps have less of a chance of seeing them, but that's not always the case.

To this end, I feel that StumbleUpon would do well to introduce two new features: StumbleOn and StumbleOver. Both features would be user preferences. You could choose to StumbleOn, StumbleOver, both, or neither (seeing the internet in a pure, unadultered form).

StumbleOn is a feature that would reference all citing pages to the main page or site that the citing pages talk about. This is the harder of the two features to implement. The idea is that instead of stumbling upon a page that is either a rehash or just a quick blog entry about another page (usually done for ad hits), you would instead be redirected to (or On) the original page. Slashdot will see things like this- a summary for an article will contain a link to a blog that contains a link to the actual article. StumbleOn would cut out the blog entry, giving focus where it is rightly due: the original authors.

As stated, this is harder to do. Some things see circulation for so long that pinpointing the "original" is tedious (assuming it still exists). Then there are sites that jump up simultaneously, such as the smattering of lolcat sites that appeared within a few days/weeks of each other. Content can give some help. For instance, if a blog entry directly links to the original, you know you can StumbleOn to that original. Perhaps the video being shown lists a URL to use; failing that, you could StumbleOn to where it's hosted on Youtube/MediaCafe/whatever.

Part of the problem here is ballot stuffing. Someone might get a bunch of friends/paid hacks to all say that that person's site is the "original", though it would clearly be just a lame blog entry for ad hits. But, as with most systems like this, it can be overcome with other user adjustments. Then there's the risk that a blog entry that is actually useful, like dissecting a video or giving further insights, gets marked as StumbleOn. A second level might be introduced for these, but that would start making this very complex.

StumbleOver is likely easier to implement, and, in my opinion, far more useful of the two. In the case of StumbleOver, you don't care what the original site is. You only know that you've seen it before and, even if you liked it, don't want to see it again from another site. Whereas StumbleOn would be pictorially represented as a tree, with one main site (the "root" site) being lead to from many others, StumbleOver would be seen as a nice, round circle. By seeing one part of the circle you've seen them all, so you don't need to see them again. This would lead to a lot less repetitiveness in your stumbles.

However, this is not without it's own problems- how specific should content be measured? Most would agree that a word-for-word copy, a single image or set group of images, or a video would all be easy to StumbleOver. But what about a blog entry that restates the original text in the user's own words? Is one lolcat page with 10 images the same as another with 15? (This case can be kind of solved with StumbleOn, using something like icanhaschezburger as the main source) What if someone has a higher quality version of another's video (quite unlikely, but possible)?

These aren't perfect ideas, and I have no idea how to submit them to StumbleUpon, but I think they would make great strides in making StumbleUpon a better product and the internet easier to browse.


Facebook Phone Number Folly

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I, along with most of the Slashdot community, know much about social networking sites. I, probably unlike much of Slashdot, am a member of a few. One of these sites, Facebook, came under fire about a year ago for their News Feed feature, which allowed users to see updates made by their friends in one convenient form. This resulted in a massive and seemingly unexpected backlash by the Facebook crowd, which caused Facebook to lock it down only a few days later.

So users of Facebook are not ignorant of the privacy hazards that sharing information like that can lead to. However, it seems that some haven't learned their lesson. Through my own News Feed, I learned that one of my friends had recently joined a group. However, the group had a very odd title, almost like it was a personal journal entry. Curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked through to find out.

To my utter surprise and slight discomfort, I found that it was a group set up for someone that lost their phone. He had set up the phone for the express purpose of retrieving the phone numbers he had lost in the old one. This can seem like a mis-guided attempt with only one example, as doing this may be an easy way to notify all of your friends. Facebook does allow for closed groups- close the group, and only the friends you've invited can see your new phone number or post their own. Perhaps this poor fellow merely misunderstood how the process worked.

With this in mind, I decided to plug "phone lost" into Facebook's search engine. The result is so many groups that it stops counting at 500. Yet not all is lost; once again, this could be a matter of convenience, and other users had closed their group. I decided the best way to test this theory was to do a sample of the first three pages of results and compile some (simple) stats. (Note that all numbers are assumed unique, which may skew the results in favor of panic.)

Total Groups: 27 (Facebook returned the same group a few times)
Open Groups: 81%
Total Members: 523
Phone Numbers (with Area Code): 184
Phone Numbers (no area code): 14

Percentage of Group Members with posted numbers: 37%

Average Membership per Group: 19
Potential Amount of Numbers available (with 500 groups): 3515

Sadly, I was very wrong. The number of users willing to post their phone numbers in an open location such as that is worrisome. While Facebook does have the option to enter your number in your profile, it can be restricted only to friends. Furthermore, by default profiles are locked to friends-only. The combination of these two elements may have set a false sense of privacy within the users who did post their numbers.

A few users had the fore-thought to at least withhold their area code. Even so, Facebook provides their primary network (area, college, or high school), which could be used to figure out the area code in relatively short time. One group owner did ask for numbers to be e-mailed rather than posted, citing the desire not to broadcast them to Facebook. He was ignored by nine people.

While I hate the "Protect the Children" argument, I believe it has some merit in this case, and extends beyond that. These numbers are readily available for anyone on Facebook to use for their own malicious pleasure. Even if all they can do is leave psychotic voice messages at odd hours, it can still be enough to emotionally scar a person, as happened to another friend of mine earlier this year.

Still, it is no surprise that many in this generation, especially high schooler students, don't understand the potential ramifications for posting such personal information online. I do plan to contact Facebook and ask them to attempt to send out a notice to these users or Facebook in general, but even that may go ignored.


Practicing Practices

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

So much for that idea.

Working as a lowly intern for an internal programming department of a Fortune 500 company, it's amazing the quality of the code I read. Despite being a department just for one of the local facilities, you would think big money == big talent, right?

The apparent answer is no. I am in charge of maintaining over four dozen small internal web applications, written mainly in ASP and Coldfusion. (Not even .NET and MX - ug.) I've read through and fixed up code done by a dozen other "programmers", some of them interns such as myself, some of them full-time "specialists", and rarely do I look at a page and not think "WTF?".

Part of the problem could be the "rigorous standards" put in place here- and by that, I mean there are none. Very few of the applications are used by more than 20 people in the entire building, so the general process of new program creation goes like this:

  1. Program request goes to manager
  2. Manager approves/denies program
  3. Program is assigned to one of the available programmers
  4. Programmer works as quickly as possible to finish project
  5. Project is tested for approx. two hours
  6. Manager makes sure that project looks good to requestor
  7. Project is booted out door, and any bugs are fixed as they come up

Since none of the programs are large scale (even the few used by more than 20 people), this doesn't work too bad, though it doesn't have anything useful like code review.

The other problem, one more glaring even in those programs that did have a better quality control (such as those where the programmer took the time to write out a scope and get it approved), is the large absense of proper programming practices. Repeated If-Thens where Switch-Cases should be used, code copied and pasted instead of put into a function/method, the same header code repeated on every page instead of put in a file to include, horrible naming schemes, bad use of whitespace, etc. Granted, programming styles will vary from person to person, but some of the things done within these are ludicrous.

Thanks to sites like TheDailyWTF (an excellent time waster, which is also beneficial for programmers to see what not to do), I believe that this is not a local problem, but one that affects many of those who get into this because they're looking for big bucks, especially when they start using languages like Coldfusion and Visual Basic (easy to write, and therefore easy to mess up). In my courses as a Computer Science major, I have yet to see anything that deals with proper programming practices. I realize that Computer Science is intended to go beyond programming itself, but even in the classes dedicated to programming it is not touched on much.

I would almost say that an entire course could be devoted to it, but I think that would be too much time. The various practices I'm thinking of are fairly simple; a week or two at most would be needed to go over them and make sure people understand them. Potential points would include:

  • Whitespace indentation
  • Descriptive Naming practices (I prefer lowerCamelCase, myself)
  • Programming for efficiency (redundant IF checks, using SWITCH-CASE instead of IF, proper loops, code reuseability)
  • Function creation (as well as some talk about recursion)
  • Truth logic (using such things as truth tables)
  • Database setups (my college actually has an entire class for Databases, but this would be useful for those who aren't CS majors)

I'm sure others have more things that should be added to the list (feel free to comment), but if colleges would put heavier emphasis on covering these kinds of things, maintaining programs would be easier for the rest of us.


The Road to Inlightenment is Paved with Gummy Bears

RyoShin RyoShin writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Cause they're tasty.

I've decided to use my Slashdot journal as a sort of "blog". Whereas I have a LiveJournal to rant about my personal life and day, this "blog" will deal more with issues that affect everyone, and not necessarily only topics that Slashdot as a site is concerned with (but I still get to rant).

Some entries will be long, some will be short, some will have no point. Regardless, this blog will be open to the public and comments will be on, though I will never "Publicize" any entry, unless I find it relevant to Slashdot somehow, as well as being well written and containing references. This will be one of those "choose two" things.

Ideally, I update every weekday. Gives me a good side-thing to do at work when I get bored. If I do it at work, I doubt I'll have much in the way of references- internet use is fairly restricted. If I save it and complete it at home, then I can include helpful links.

So, if you ever visit my profile, get ready for more stuff to ignore.

Here's looking to tomorrow.

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