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Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

kbrannen Re:Defending software patents (91 comments)

Arguing from analogy is always fraught with peril, but I'll start there. Can you patent a specific ordering of words? No you can't; because that's copyright not patent. Software is the same way, it's an ordering of words that does the instructions of the programmer, for whatever is in his/her imagination. There is lots of creation, but little true innovation (to inspire true patents).

Also, software is one of those things that moves very fast and comes about by building on the works of others. If you start patents for software, you'll stiffle and kill the software industry. We can't wait 28 years for some idea that literally thousands of us could come up with to be freely usable. It would also be very hard to enforce that.

2 days ago

The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

kbrannen We already have hypersonic missles... (322 comments)

We already have hypersonic missles -- really! Most of the air-to-air missles shot from 1 plane to another are hypersonic and we've had these for decades. This is public knowledge.

What the article is try to get banned is "long-range hypersonic missles", or if you prefer, the old ICBMs going a lot faster. If you could make a very small nuke and stick it in one of the existing missle cases; you could have a pretty awesome weapon if short distances are all you need (say in the 80-100 mile range from what I've read, definitely far enough the pilot wouldn't have to worry about getting caught in it). It'd be pretty easy to hit any coastal city from international air space that way.

about two weeks ago

IEEE Guides Software Architects Toward Secure Design

kbrannen Re:Fire the Architects (51 comments)

I don't have a lot of patience with the profession since it's built on a fatally flawed analogy and all software architects ever do is waste and overhead from a lean perspective.

It *sounds* like you've never worked on a large project then. Fine, fire the architects, but you're still going to need someone to do their job, no matter if you call them the team lead or something else. There needs to be a *technical* person at the top who says "we're marching that way" and here's some stuff we need to keep in mind and do. Some technical person who can push back to the product owner when it's needed and explain in technical gory details when required. That's not the project manager because they're not technical enough; or that's been true for all the projects I've ever worked on.

You need someone to can look ahead at the items coming and notice that there are some common things needed, and that if you spend some time up front to fix (a framework, a subsystem, whatever) that it will be cheaper and faster to do that way than to let small bits of code be written and then refactored a hundred times as the sprints slowly come in.

I'm sorry you don't like the construction analogy, but it's very true that the cheapest time to change a building is when you're still at the blueprint stage before it's built ... the cheapest time to change software is during the planning stage before it's written.

Sure, most product owners owners don't really know where they want to end up, but some things are well known and when you have that knowledge you should use it as soon as possible, no matter what you want to call the roles or the results. Protocols, APIs, security, data models and databases, etc are all things that should be planned as much as possible, not organically grown and refactored. Who does that planning?

My day job right now is dealing with code that had very little upfront planning, very Agile'ish, and the system is a nightmare at times. I'll admit that the source of the problem may be that the devs before me never came back and refactored and cleaned up, but a little more planning would have made much of that unnecessary. That's what an architect brings to the table: some overall planning and technical sense.

about three weeks ago

How Red Hat Can Recapture Developer Interest

kbrannen They probably can't (232 comments)

For the "big stuff", much of what's listed in the summary, they probably can't create the bandwagon. The reason developers jump on something like that is because it's already in widespread use. All the "big stuff" already has leaders. The best RH could hope to do is to buy some of those out and take them over.

OTOH, do we developers want that? Look at the controversy surrounding systemd, directly developed by RH. If that's a sample of what they do, I'm not so keen for their solutions.

about three weeks ago

Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

kbrannen Re:Stupid (561 comments)

Gotta agree that's stupid. First, you can only hire people that are available with the skills you're looking for. So if you don't have "diverse applicants", you'll never get "higher numbers".

Second, I hope he doesn't mean it, but it sounds like Cook want to be more diverse to look more politically correct. If I were a stock holder, I'd be upset. I wouldn't want him be "diverse" so he can look good; I'd want him to hire the best qualified people in a completely "blind" way. If that means 90% are male, or 80% white, or 85% female, or whatever the numbers work out to be because those were the best people to get the job done, then so be it. If the PC-crowd doesn't like it, then they need to encourage more minorities to get the required education and get qualified.

about a month ago

KDE Releases Plasma 5

kbrannen Re:I for one, (108 comments)

I also really appreciate the work the KDE developers have done over the years. I'll go look at KDE5 to see what's coming.

However, I really Really REALLY hope they've found a way for you to install KDE and not have to have akonadi or nepomunk installed on my system. For the longest time, they've been force installed because of dependencies and I don't want them on my machine because I never use them and their daemons just suck up resources. Seems like there was something else like this, maybe amarok, but I'm having a hard time remembering. I like KDE in general, but I don't want all of it.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?

kbrannen Re:I recommend (176 comments)

VMplayer would work too

about 3 months ago

MP Says 'Failed' Piracy Warnings Should Escalate To Fines & Jail

kbrannen Re:Even better idea: (135 comments)

How about we follow the money for him to see if he's getting "contributions" to say this. Perhaps that's why he's using other's ideas.

about 3 months ago

Goodbye, Ctrl-S

kbrannen Re:I'd rather not use (521 comments)

a text editor that is so error prone that *needs* to autosave constantly("continuously"). Or software in general, for that matter.

You've got it backwards--it ain't an error-prone text editor, it's an error-prone human. Even conscientious, process-driven users make stupid mistakes and forget to save their work (especially when they're on a roll.) This protects us from ourselves, not the machines we're working on.

Now, you may be among that handful of people who never forgets to save--in which case, I congratulate you on being in one of the outlier cohorts that software engineers really shouldn't ever spend their time worrying about. :D

What programs are you using that doesn't intercept that quit where you have unsaved work and prompt you to save or acknowledge that you'll lose work? Other than my browser where I'm filling in a form, I can't think of anything that allows you easily lose your work ... power outages ignored for this as they're realtively rare and a UPS handily gives you time to save before the machine goes down.

Generally speaking, I don't like auto-save because there are many times where I work for a bit to try to figure something out and when that idea doesn't work, reverting to where I started is easy, or if the idea worked out then I can save. With auto-save, that revert ability becomes a lot harder or else impossible if the undo buffer is not large enough. Now, if it wants to auto-save to a temp file to prevent lose of work and make recovery easy if the something bad happens (like vim does) while the real file remains unaltered, that's great and something I'll welcome ... all other forms of auto-save need not apply. :)

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

kbrannen Re:OneNote (170 comments)

Once your stuff it in OneNote, there's no easy way to get it out.

Seriously? You haven't found the export (save as) feature? They give you Word, PDF, XPS, and MHT formats. If it all goes bad for you, you can always copy-n-paste it out. It's not hard to get info out of OneNote. If you're trying for mass export, as in you're trying to move away from OneNote, I believe they also provide the API so you can write your own export filter (haven't tried it though).

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

kbrannen Re:paper...pencil (170 comments)

If I was taking a class (or whatever) with a high ratio of drawing to text, then I'd agree. However, I'm rarely in that situation; most of my notes are text only.

I can type faster than I write, even with abbreviations (which I can do while typing too), and my handwriting has decreased over the years, so typing is almost manditory unless I really slow my handwriting down, which is the opposite of what I need to do while taking notes when someone else is speaking.

That's how it is for me, perhaps your situation is more conduction for pen and paer ... mine's not.

about 5 months ago

Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

kbrannen Re:Lobbying aside (423 comments)

The withholding system works because it causes the least economic distortion -- the more a tax "hurts," the more adverse an effect it has on day-to-day economic decisions, the more it's liable to cause people to make bad economic decisions, like saving huge lump sums in the bank instead of investing or consumption. A tax "hurting" might be good politics (for some people), but if it causes people to have irregular cash flow or makes it significantly harder for them to make planning decisions it will hurt economic growth.

You're ignoring his point to go off on a tangent. Sure, it would change the current economic model in play today, but his point was that people need to see what they're giving to the government, and some pain with that *might* cause them to get more involved (this last part is probably wishful thinking on my part).

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

kbrannen Re: Yes (379 comments)

You would prefer Perl to Python if you know Perl but not Python. :) Then again I've heard it said that if you abandon one to go to the other, you're just trading one gnarly scripting language for another.

about 6 months ago

Microsoft Releases Free Edition of OneNote

kbrannen Re:Reminder: Software as a service (208 comments)

If you're doing this for a company that wants to keep it's data more priviate, and I can appreciate that, then get the company to set up it's own SharePoint server. You should be able to sync OneNote to that and not MS's servers just fine ... or so I'd think because I haven't tried it.

about 6 months ago

Microsoft Releases Free Edition of OneNote

kbrannen Re:Reminder: Software as a service (208 comments)

Stop and really think about how you'd do that and you'll quickly figure out that it's far, far easier when you can use a protocol tuned to your needs.

I've recently started working on Basket Note Pads (a note taker for Linux) and syncing to a server is the next project I'll take up with it when I finish my current task. I already know that syncing to a server is going to be non-trivial and tricky to get right.

about 6 months ago

Microsoft Releases Free Edition of OneNote

kbrannen Re:Comparison to EverNote (208 comments)

No, that year old comparison on is full of crap. It goes on and on about how Evernote can do XYZ and OneNote can't, but OneNote can do almost everyone one of them. The guy either is really biased or doesn't know much about OneNote.

about 6 months ago

Microsoft Releases Free Edition of OneNote

kbrannen Re:Next they'll give internet explorer free (208 comments)

The best competitor to OneNote on Linux is Basket Note Pads. It does the basics pretty well. It just needs a little help for the more advanced stuff, which some of us are trying to give it.

about 6 months ago

Portal 2 Incompatible With SELinux

kbrannen Re:Gaming and security don't mix (212 comments)

If I had mod points, you'd get an insightful for this. There's no reason for your gaming box and your general computer box to be the same hardware.

about 6 months ago

Sophisticated Spy Tool 'The Mask' Rages Undetected For 7 Years

kbrannen Re:Spyware techniques and code? (98 comments)

Can we use (sadly) this as yet another reason Flash must die? How many examples of bad security will it take before kill Flash forever? (Yeah, I know, marketing doesn't care about security as long as it looks good.)

about 7 months ago


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