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Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

fractoid Re:You nerds need to get over yourselves (187 comments)

Programming is absurdly simple. Back in the 80's, you couldn't throw a stone without hitting a kid who wrote games for his home micro as a hobby.

There were plenty of kids who knew how to write "10 PRINT FART; 20 GOTO 10" or who typed in listings from magazines, and I agree that programming at that level is probably accessible to most people - but you can't equate that level of programming with modern software development.

You've probably noticed this yourself, but there are a LOT of really stupid professional developers.

I wouldn't phrase it as "really stupid professional developers". There are certainly a lot of incompetent professional developers, and they're part of what's formed my opinion about some people not being mentally equipped for software development. Do you honestly believe that such a proportion of people who make their living developing software are that bad at it purely because they're lazy, apathetic or unmotivated?

For the obligatory car analogy, most people are probably capable of learning to swap to a spare tyre, change the oil, or top up the radiator (learning some simple scripting). Most people are probably not capable of learning to design high-flow intake manifolds or variable valve timing mechanisms (useful commercial software development).

yesterday
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Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

fractoid Re:What? (187 comments)

Once upon a time, your mechanical write-from-spec person was referred to as a "programmer", whereas taking fuzzy requirements and designing the logic was the job of the "analyst", a role roughly equivalent to today's "software architect". Someone who was proficient at both roles was an "analyst programmer".

yesterday
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Why Coding Is Not the New Literacy

fractoid Re:You nerds need to get over yourselves (187 comments)

Interestingly, it's not usually 'nerds' who push the idea that software development is something that everyone is even capable of, much less that it's something that most people should try and learn. It generally seems to be people who have grasped the basic idea that "programming means giving the computer instructions" and got excited about it, but never went beyond writing a few loops and some if() statements.

Anyone who's taught programming at a university level will know that even among intelligent students who want to learn, there are a large minority who (while they have many other valuable skills) are just not mentally wired to think in the way needed to develop software. It's a huge waste to try and push these people into doing something that they're not equipped for, instead of focusing on talents that they do have.

yesterday
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Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing

fractoid Re:Prototyping security? (162 comments)

Hint: Don't put your p-

I thought this post was going somewhere much more worrying than "et hamster".

4 days ago
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Researchers Moot "Teleportation" Via Destructive 3D Printing

fractoid Re:Hmmmm (162 comments)

"All we'd have to do is program it to say 'Um' and 'What?' and 'Where's the lobbyists?'"

4 days ago
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Canonical Launches Internet-of-Things Version of Ubuntu Core

fractoid Re:Why would you ever need more than the kernel? (43 comments)

In this case your lawnmower shouldn't have anything more electrically complicated than a magnet and a coil for the spark plug. Maybe if you want to get really fancy, an EFI computer or brushless DC motor controller. But once your lawnmower is doing laps of your back yard automatically, and you want to connect to it from work via your house WiFi to check whether you left the pool cover on or not, it's gonna have an operating system.

about a week ago
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Doxing Victim Zoe Quinn Launches Online "Anti-harassment Task Force"

fractoid Re:life on the wrong side of an online hate mob (686 comments)

Given the people involved, it's more like when you walk out of a pub and there's a group of people standing out the front waving signs saying "Drunks Are Abusers", "All Drinking Is Bad", etc.

about a week ago
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Canonical Launches Internet-of-Things Version of Ubuntu Core

fractoid Re:Why would you ever need more than the kernel? (43 comments)

IoT 'things' have specs competitive with desktop computers of 20 years ago. While current embedded systems will never catch up with current desktops, in a few years they'll easily be powerful enough to run standard Linux installs.

about a week ago
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Pirate Activist Shows Politicians What Digital Surveillance Looks Like

fractoid Re:People forget about people. (81 comments)

Gotta have gaps for that God to fill.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?

fractoid Re:Hakija (264 comments)

Nor, to be fair, is it often called upon to do so.

about two weeks ago
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UK Computing Teachers Concerned That Pupils Know More Than Them

fractoid Re:Any experienced teacher already deals with this (388 comments)

You raise an important difference between computing teachers and other school teachers. Your friend can legitimately teach the same course every year, because the (say) mathematics syllabus only marginally changes from year to year. A computer teacher teaching the same course for 10 years would be teaching far out-of-date software, languages etc.

about two weeks ago
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65% of Cancers Caused by Bad Luck, Not Genetics or Environment

fractoid Re:mostly bullshit (180 comments)

There's a big difference between saying "most cancers are caused by random chance" and saying "there aren't specific substances that cause cancer."

about three weeks ago
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War Tech the US, Russia, China and India All Want: Hypersonic Weapons

fractoid Re:Hypersonic weapons lead to nuclear war ? (290 comments)

Yeah, they would like to remind you how they were killed by some tribal faction trying to make the U.S. look bad.

Seriously, that whole region is a mess of different factions who all want to fuck each other up and take over. The U.S. just upset the current top dog when they went in in 2001, and now are copping the blame for what's been happening since the Jews ran away from Pharaoh.

about a month ago
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Google Unveils New Self-Driving Car Prototype

fractoid Re:Liability? (90 comments)

That's a good way to look at it. You might even achieve these goals by having all autonomous vehicles be part of a 'union'. You pay fees to the union to own an autonomous vehicle, the union provides insurance in case of accidents where the vehicle is at-fault, and provides software updates for the vehicle.

about a month ago
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Google Unveils New Self-Driving Car Prototype

fractoid Re:Butt Ugly (90 comments)

Remember that the F40 and the CCX are both designed as much with down-force and high speed stability in mind as they are for low drag.

about a month ago
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Google Unveils New Self-Driving Car Prototype

fractoid Re:Butt Ugly (90 comments)

But they don't! Look at pretty much every electric vehicle not made by Tesla. They're all fugly car-cancers that nobody in their right mind would be seen dead in. It's like they're trying so hard to differentiate themselves from conventional cars that they've jumped off a cosmetic cliff. And no-one buys them. Not, primarily, for any reason involving performance or range, but because owning one immediately disqualifies you from ever having sex again.

about a month ago
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Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication

fractoid Re:Innovative sheepdips (91 comments)

The Australian radio-astronomer John O'Sullivan developed a key patent used in Wi-Fi as a by-product in a CSIRO research project, "a failed experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle".

So a researcher at CSIRO developed some patentable technology during a research project, patented it, and then enforced their own patent?

That's how patents are meant to work.

about a month ago
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Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

fractoid Re:Accident report (175 comments)

Skin-care professionals do hate them. Learn their one simple trick!

about a month ago
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Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

fractoid Re:Anti-Aging is a Fraud Magnet (175 comments)

My mixture of natural herbs recommended by a Madagascan witch-shaman will not only reverse aging completely but it lets me use ad-hominem as a legitimate logical argument.

Beat THAT.

about a month ago

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