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Commander Keen: Keen Dreams Source Code Released

sirwired If only Tim Sweeney could find the ZZT source! (72 comments)

Forget Commander Keen... if only Tim Sweeney could find the ZZT source code! I first learned practical programming doing my own ZZT-OOP dungeons... much more fun that my CS class exercises.

2 days ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired Did you read his whole post? (268 comments)

Did you actually read his whole post? I don't care if he would prefer not to employ people, although implying that anyone that would employ someone else for profit is pretty much Evil Capitalist Scum is a bit weird.

What I keyed off of was: " The only reason why I do not act violently against people like you is that I abhor violence even more than I abhor your ideals." The only thing stopping him from violently attacking perfectly normal employing business owners is disliking violence some small amount more?

3 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

sirwired May I Translate? (231 comments)

Ask Slashdot: "Aren't most programming projects over-budget, behind-schedule, and eventual failures? Just like countless studies, textbooks, etc. have documented for as long as there has been IT?"

This isn't some new shocking trend. There was not, in the misty past, some sort of utopia where programmers regularly worked 40-hour weeks, never got laid off, were well-managed, and code shipped on-time, bug-free, and projects never got canceled because of screwups. I'm pretty sure every Software Engineering course ever touches on at least some of this.

Just about any complex project in any industry has a ludicrously high failure rate. Starting a new business, launching a new consumer product, designing and building massive complex machines, running governments, etc.

There's always a lot of ways for things to go wrong, and far fewer ways for everything to go right.

3 days ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired Errr... not all employees are downtrodden (268 comments)

You sound a bit unhinged.

Did it ever occur to you that some people don't mind being employees? I'm not sure how you equate "working for somebody else" with inevitable serfdom. I show up for work for reasonable hours under reasonable working conditions, I do my job, they pay me for it, I go home. Nobody took rights away from me; if I don't like the arrangement, I tell my boss it's over and I go elsewhere. No violence necessary or wished-for.

3 days ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired Personally, I LIKE working for the man! (268 comments)

Speaking for myself, I like working for the man! I get to spend my entire workday (consisting of reasonable work hours) doing something I enjoy (Enterprise IT architecture.) Yes, "The Man" makes more off me than they pay me (they are a profit-making company, after all!)

But in return for the 6% Net Profit they report annually, The Man does all the things I don't want to, like Sales, Marketing, Legal, Accounting, Administration, Management, Benefits, etc. I don't want to do those things myself, nor am I particularly interested in figuring out how to manage somebody else doing those things for me.

I do well enough... I'm on track to retire comfortably at 50 after years of doing work I enjoy and working with people I like (and don't have to manage!), and I have a lot less stress than a serial Entrepreneur.

If doing all that scut-work, or managing others to do it for you, is what floats your boat, more power to you! But it's certainly not for everyone.

3 days ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

sirwired I don't think those kids are writing COBOL (268 comments)

I don't think those kids go out into the wide, wide, world to program COBOL. I suspect that the subset of CS majors that care enough about real-world jobs are the sort to take a COBOL class, just in case it comes in handy. You'd probably also see that these students are more likely to pursue computer-related summer and in-school part-time jobs, more likely to participate in open-source projects etc.

I know that when I was looking for jobs, I had a whole stack of job offers, despite a middling GPA. Some of the other students in my dept. struggled to find a job, despite better grades. The difference? Two computer-related summer jobs, four different tech-related work-study jobs, and a LOT of extra-curricular study in IT. If my school had a COBOL course, I probably would have taken it. (I did take a SQL course, which wasn't even offered by the CS dept.; it was in the business school, along with the other IT (vs. CS) classes.)

3 days ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

sirwired Any indy computer shop (421 comments)

Pretty much any independent computer shop will toss together an OS-less machine upon request. All but the tiniest towns have one. And, of course, there are any number of OEM's that will sell them via mail-order.

3 days ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

sirwired What monopoly? (421 comments)

What monopoly? Is the Mac not a thing? Is it not an utterly trivial task to procure an OS-less PC in nearly any town bigger than a few hundred people in the civilized world?

Speaking for myself, while I can't buy one at Best Buy, there are any number of independent computer shops in my town that would be happy to build me one. Any town of any size at all has at least one of these places... I've been in some real downtrodden parts of BFE and even those towns usually have at least one computer shop. Most folks use it for repairs and local businesses use it for tech support, but they sell computers too.

about a week ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

sirwired This really makes no sense (421 comments)

Why could I not apply this same legal idea to everything else included with the computer? "I already have a perfectly good power supply!" "Let me swap in my old CPU chip!" "Stop including an LCD on my laptop! I'm never going to use it!" "Curse the forced purchase of LED power lights! That's a good three cents I could save!"

There are more than enough sources from which a computer can be procured that do not have Windows. If the manufacturer or store you want to buy from doesn't have any, don't buy from there!

about a week ago
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Accused Ottawa Cyberbully Facing 181 Charges Apologizes

sirwired Online libel can be quite harmful (140 comments)

Poisoning Google searches for your targets can most certainly ruin lives, in many cases in an irrevocable fashion if the information gets republished far and wide. I don't see why prison time should not be on the table.

about a week ago
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Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

sirwired Google still has to consider carrier's wishes (162 comments)

Google pushed this out on iOS because they don't care about carriers losing voice revenue on Apple customers. Meanwhile, when convincing carriers to push Android phone, they care very much.

Now that unlimited (or nearly so) voice service is pretty common in smartphone plans (and the amount of time subscribers actually talk with their phones drops), it's not such a big deal for Google to roll out a mechanism to bypass carrier's voice infrastructure.

about two weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

sirwired It's more than a skin... (134 comments)

Yes, I know that Fire OS is based on Android. But it is different enough that you cannot assume that an Android app will work on Fire OS, and Fire OS devices do not have the Google Play store, so if an app is only available there, you are SOL. This is not a trivial limitation; you are missing out on some apps like, say, GMail.

about two weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

sirwired No Google Play Store (134 comments)

Yes, you can still install and run Android apps like any other Android phone, as long as those apps are actually available from the Amazon app store. Not all apps have been customized or tested to run on Amazon's particular Android build, which is a little more custom than the "skin" other Android builders commonly use.

No, it's not as bad as a Zune, but it doesn't offer any compelling case over the more-standard alternatives.

about two weeks ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

sirwired What was Amazon thinking? (134 comments)

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what Amazon was thinking when they released the thing. While on a "raw spec" basis, it's not a bad phone, it's headline feature does little more (at the moment) than make it easier to buy stuff from Amazon. Why would anybody buy this phone over a similarly-priced phone from Samsung/Moto/LG?

If the phone was significantly cheaper than the competition (like the Kindle Fire), or if the tight Amazon integration was a super-useful feature (like the Kindle Readers), it might have been a success. But charging the same as the competition for a phone running a custom OS? I expected it to be about as successful as the "Facebook Phone", which is to say "not at all".

This sort of completely blind hubris reminds me of the Netflix fiasco. Anybody with more than a few brain cells to rub together should have been able to see the flaws here...

about two weeks ago
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The Five Nigerian Gangs Behind Most Craigslist Buyer Scams

sirwired *sigh* A fool and their money... (160 comments)

Every grocery store and quickie-mart I go to that does wire transfer has signs, brochures, etc. warning you about all the most common scams, of which this one is most certainly on the list. Those that persist in not yet getting the memo that using WU/MG to send money to anybody you don't actually know is insane are beyond help.

Hint: Why would somebody send you a huge check and expect you to forward the money on to their "agent"? Why would they just not pay the "agent" themseleves?

You can't fix stupid... while I feel sorry for those that fall for these schemes, I'm not sure what can be done to help them.

about two weeks ago
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UCLA, CIsco & More Launch Consortium To Replace TCP/IP

sirwired I don't see this as so horrible (254 comments)

I could totally see the two networks running simultaneously. It's completely accurate that TCP/IP sucks for mass content delivery; it's gigantic waste of bandwidth. And for point-to-point interaction this protocol would be massively inefficient.

But why can the two protocols not run on top of the same Layer 2 infrastructure?

about two weeks ago
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Steve Ballmer Authored the Windows 3.1 Ctrl-Alt-Del Screen

sirwired Anybody else remember UAE's vs. GPF's? (169 comments)

UAE's (Unrecoverable Application Errors) were the bane of Windows 3.1. When Windows 3.11 was released, MS proudly announced that UAE's were no more!

How did they pull off this programming miracle?

By renaming the error to "General Protection Fault".

And they vanquished THOSE in Windows 95 by calling it an "Illegal Operation"

After that, it was just [Program] Has an Error (using various wording, depending on version.

about two weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

sirwired You really don't get it... (152 comments)

First, I refused to answer those questions not because I bow down to suspect authority. (Where did THAT come from?) I refused to answer them because they are stupid. Of course the answer is "no", but that answer establishes nothing, because the questions imply conclusions that themselves are up for debate. If this is the way you and your like-minded compatriots engage in debate, no wonder you can't get anybody to take you seriously.

And I keep seeing this claim that the ISO process is set up to "suppress opposition and dissent"... but the only specifics ever mentioned is that the process takes a while and has meetings outside North America. Is that the best you can come up with?

To answer some of your points:
- Most technical standards organizations are private. IEEE, ANSI, SAE, IEC, UL, IIHS, IETF, W3C, ASTM, etc., are all private. (Not to mention tech-specific ones like the ones over Compact Flash, USB, Infiniband, etc.) Arguing that the ISO is illegitimate merely because it isn't a government agency is not likely to be persuasive. (And as a side note, the ISO was set up at the behest of the UN and is tightly coupled with them... it's not a UN agency like the ITU, but it might as well be.)
- I'm not aware of any standards organization (professional societies like the SAE and IEEE included) where standards are put out to vote by "a representative slice of practitioners"; they are all voted on by those that chose to participate in the standards process.
- Arguing that it's controlled by a bunch of money-grubbing consultants and trainers AND that it's rammed through by attrition is a contradiction. Stretching out the process indefinitely is exactly opposite to the goal of making money off the standard, since nobody makes money off a standard that doesn't exist.
- It's not deliberate attrition just because it takes longer than you'd like.
- Yes, the burden is on the ISO to demonstrate relevance of its standards. But once they have successfully done so to an organization and that organization comes to you for your services, objecting with nothing more than you "shouldn't have to defend yourself" is not likely to get you hired.
- If such a significant number of professional testers object to the contents of the standard, why could they not scrape up the funds necessary to participate in the standard? Even with meetings held in distant locales, on a per-person basis, it doesn't come out to much. (And could you not find any software testers in India, Japan, etc. that are like-minded to save on travel expenses?) If you want to be taken seriously, you gotta put your money where your mouth is...
- Again, consensus doesn't mean "everyone agrees that they can live with the content", it means that a majority (or super-majority, depending on the rules) approve of the content. If a single "no" vote could prevent a standard from being approved, we'd never have any standards at all (imagine if the Ethernet standard could have been completely halted by IBM signing up for the IEEE committee and voting "no" so it could push Token Ring instead.) This is not a difficult concept to understand, nor does it rise to "suppressing dissent".
- Like it or not, refusing to participate in the standards process does not bode well for arguing that there's "significant" objections to the standard, since those objectors could not be bothered to show up when it came to deciding on the content. (An online petition? Seriously? That's supposed to persuade anybody?)

about two weeks ago
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Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge With Liquid Nitrogen

sirwired That's where plumbing goes (182 comments)

It's perfectly normal for plumbing in a commercial or industrial setting to be run underneath the ceiling. Burying stuff under a concrete floor is expensive to install, weakens the floor, and is difficult to maintain. A raised floor has limited load-bearing capacity and is also expensive vs. a suspended ceiling (if you care about aesthetics at all... you don't really need one of those either.)

You see plumbing buried in the floor of slab houses because it's cheap to install when the slab is being poured. This is infeasible in a commercial building which is expected to require changes during the building's life.

Really, an N2 line is no more dangerous than the hot water and/or steam lines running overhead in pretty much every commercial building. And in a facility that uses fuel, such as natural gas, those lines are going to run overhead too.

about two weeks ago
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Can ISO 29119 Software Testing "Standard" Really Be a Standard?

sirwired Curse my typos! (152 comments)

*And I don't see how the ability*...
*ever*
*not reached (or failed to be reached)*

about two weeks ago

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