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Linus Torvalds: "GCC 4.9.0 Seems To Be Terminally Broken"

ZeroPly Re:I know you're trying to be funny, but... (715 comments)

I think a lot of programmers are overdue for an abusive tirade. Apparently the plethora of advice on writing good code hasn't been sinking in - from my perspective as an administrator, every time I turn around there are another hundred bugs I have to patch. If you're writing a compiler, and are this sloppy, you really shouldn't be expecting anyone to stand up for your delicate feelings.

3 days ago
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The Army Is 3D Printing Warheads

ZeroPly Re:GPLv4 - the good public license? (140 comments)

Ok, let me get this straight. You're going to sue the United States Army over the technical details of a highly classified program, one that by any conceivable description fits under the national security umbrella? The only question is whether the judge would pass out from laughing before he gets a chance to throw out the case.

5 days ago
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The Army Is 3D Printing Warheads

ZeroPly Re:GPLv4 - the good public license? (140 comments)

Oooh... and once GPLv4 prohibits it, the Army is going to stop using the technology in its super secret programs? Let me laugh even harder...

5 days ago
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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

ZeroPly Re:Fuck Tiles! (346 comments)

Hence my disclaimer - "But this is too complicated a UI task for Microsoft to get correct."

You need, at a minimum, the option to set a particular tile active or inactive. Someone who's in Office 2013 most of the time probably doesn't need their temperature monitor displaying six different measurements every time they go to the menu. On the other hand, a gamer might like that. If the amount of information on the tile can be configured, even better.

It's a nice idea, the real issue here is that Microsoft doesn't make their UI customizable. If you don't like tiles, why shouldn't you have the option to remove them?

about two weeks ago
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Leaked Build of Windows 9 Shows Start Menu Return

ZeroPly Re:Fuck Tiles! (346 comments)

The tiles are a nice idea, but are only useful if they are live. So if you go to the Start Menu, and the "Resource Monitor" tile is red, and shows 85% CPU use, sure - that's a good thing because you probably should click it. Or an email tile that shows high priority messages received. But this is too complicated a UI task for Microsoft to get correct.

about two weeks ago
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Phase-Changing Material Created For Robots

ZeroPly I once was excited... (35 comments)

... about technology developments.

But now I realize that 95% of new technology will only help build robotic exoskeletons for the Koch brothers, not help us working schlubs.

about two weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

ZeroPly Re:"Rare talents"?! (608 comments)

No, it's not complicated, and I'm not a prodigy. Back in the 80's, we didn't fool ourselves into thinking it was too complex. You wrote a Hello world program, and then you wrote a simple loop, and then you played around, until one day you woke up and... wait for it... you knew how to program...

What exactly do you think is so complicated about "rudimentary" programming? Are you one of the new breed who tries to glorify the field by introducing seven layers of methodology? Like I said earlier, we have young teenagers who learn how to program in Android. Thankfully there are no people like yourself around to convince them that it's a monumental undertaking.

about three weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

ZeroPly Re:"Rare talents"?! (608 comments)

I'm sorry - am I missing a huge demographic of people who have never touched a computer, but still want to learn how to program? If you seriously think that learning how to use a keyboard and mouse, open and close windows, download programs, and type, is "too complex", then I pity the incredibly low bar that you have set for yourself in life.

You need to expect more out of people. It took me 4 days to learn how to program in BASIC on a Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1985. That was the first computer that I touched. If there's anything standing in the way of people devoting the time and energy, it's people like you who continually reassure them that it's way too difficult to do.

about three weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

ZeroPly Re:"Rare talents"?! (608 comments)

Here's your thorough list:

1. Take a 101 class to learn how to use a computer and the web.
2. Download a beginner's guide on how to program in Python.

That's it. I started programming with Pascal and C in the 80's. We didn't spend 90% of our time worshipping the goddess of great readable self-maintaining agile code, we just wrote code. I used C++ in the 90's. Nowadays I use Python for scripting, and program in Haskell for fun. On a complexity scale, if understanding the Hodge Conjecture is a 10/10, Haskell might be a 2/10, and every other language is a 1/10. We literally have a class for 12 year olds to show them how to build Android apps.

Now, programmers are about the most predictable people on the planet, so your next step will be to claim that my list is not sufficient to be a GREAT programmer. But I'd like to remind you about your phrase "at its core". Resist the temptation to move the goalposts.

about three weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

ZeroPly Re:"Rare talents"?! (608 comments)

My two year requirement would be for someone who is intending to become a professional programmer. That mirrors other trade skills such as plumbing and carpentry. It is simply unnecessary for a computer programmer to have a 4 year degree like a computer scientist has. As far as amateurs, the barrier to entry for programming is far less than for working with electricity. Which requires more training - writing an Apple Store app, or safely changing out the breaker box in your basement?

Programmers point to a handful of elite systems programmers to aggrandize their field. Programming is a trade skill, it is not engineering. And we don't need everyone on the planet to be able to write code, any more than we need everyone to be able to replace the toilet in their bathroom.

about three weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

ZeroPly "Rare talents"?! (608 comments)

Those are jobs that involve a vanishingly small percentage of the general population. Programming is not. I couldn't stop laughing after reading this gem - "programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication."

Does this egotistical idiot actually believe that?

Programming is not something that requires grueling training or rare talents. Algebraic topology, cardiothoracic surgery, and competitive chess require those. If you're writing code that requires elite skills, you're doing it wrong - no one is going to be able to understand it, and you will never be able to troubleshoot it. Someone with an IQ of 100 can become a perfectly competent Java or C++ programmer with two years of intensive training. Programming is more akin to a trade skill like plumbing or electrical work, than it is to engineering. And before everyone gets on my case that being a top 1% programmer is incredibly difficult, the same holds for a top 1% electrician.

about three weeks ago
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The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

ZeroPly Re:Management is becoming obsolete (162 comments)

Says someone who has actually been doing this for a living, and doesn't subscribe to the naïve twenty-something techie view that the world can be fixed through software.

about three weeks ago
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The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

ZeroPly Re:Management is becoming obsolete (162 comments)

You are conflating management with leadership. Expert systems can handle a lot of the logistics, but they can't determine that Billy Bob had a rough 4th of July weekend, and it would be best to have him do his paperwork today instead of working on the electrical junction box that has water damage.

about three weeks ago
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Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As an Accomplice

ZeroPly Re:It's accomplices all the way down! (255 comments)

Not in America. Here, corporations are good people, and people people are bad people.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?

ZeroPly Don't ask, do... (176 comments)

What do you want, step by step instructions with screenshots and Youtube tutorials for the hard parts?

Throw some junk together. Try different hardware configurations. Dabble with the source code. Amaze us and everyone else.

about a month ago
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Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo

ZeroPly The can of worms... (265 comments)

... congratulations on opening it without any further ado...

Is it really skills and training? Or is it something more innate like IQ or visualization ability, especially for the technical jobs? Do we really want to find out?

about a month ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

ZeroPly Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Apples and oranges. Silicon is cheap, so there's no incentive to switch. If rare earth elements become a problem, and solar is well developed at that point, other technologies will come in to take their place. Rare earth elements are not theoretically necessary to generate adequate power. If Germany can generate this much power from solar, it's pants-on-head stupid for people in Arizona to say that nuclear is better.

about a month ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

ZeroPly Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Oxford has already managed to get zinc working in place of indium, and there's a lot of research on technologies that don't use rare earth. Progress on solar is coming at a much greater rate than in fission.

It makes more sense to bet on breakthroughs in solar than in nuclear. Any startup can get into solar energy relatively easily. Nuclear on the other hand has a high barrier to entry. And you always have the Fukushima factor - do you really want a 20TWh reactor in the middle of Africa?

about a month ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

ZeroPly Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Climate change has a simple solution - reduce the number of people on the planet by 50%. This is something that we can do in two generations if we wanted. The "lot of people" you mention are very careful to avoid any mention of population control, which is why I tend to not take them very seriously.

about a month ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

ZeroPly Re:Thanks for pointing out the "briefly" part. (461 comments)

Yes, but those "great leaps" have always been on the horizon - since I was in in high school and Reagan was president, and much earlier. If we get cold fusion, everything will change. If we get the next generation of batteries, everything will change. If we get motors that use 80% less energy, everything will change. If we can use nanotechnology to build better fuel cells, everything will change.

We can't count on the future.

We need to work with what we have right now, and yes, it will be painful. Germany is dipping a foot into that very uncomfortable swimming pool, and yes, it will mean higher prices, worse service, and so on. But it is unlikely that technology will allow us to indefinitely continue the lifestyle we have right now. Consider that at this instant, I can walk away from this computer, go to the gas station, buy a few 10 gallon jugs, fill them with gasoline, and drive across the country without depending on any refueling stops. It will be a long time before there is ANY green technology that can give me that level of speed and independence.

about a month ago

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