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Comment Chicken & The Egg Problem (Score 1) 252

This does seem to be a chicken and the egg problem. Which came first: literary critics ignoring science fiction or science fiction ignoring literary critics? As Gordon Dickinson said in Dorsai!, "I respect those people's opinions whose opinions I respect." Or perhaps you prefer the more poignant Piers Anthony version in Xanth, "Worthless people's opinion are worthless."

I think the science fiction readers and the literary critics have a mutual appreciation of ignoring the other.

The snobbery and the hubris of literature is best represented by William Shakespeare. Harold Bloom went on PBS with Charlie Rose and exclaimed that Shakespeare was the most moral person ever. He also said the bard was the most prophetic about human nature, the future of mankind will always be predicted by Shakespeare. So there you have it. Shakespeare has the 411, has the goods, on human nature. Science fiction is an affront speculating on human nature to literary critic sensibilities fixed on William Shakespeare being the end all be all. The likes of Harold Bloom look down on those of us who exclaim, "Everything I learned about life I learned from Star Trek."

Literature is just William Shakespeare worship.

As for me? I found Shakespeare to be morally bankrupt and human nature decrepit. The world is not a broken record on some endless skipping loop, which is the sum total of all of Shakespeare wisdom.

My own personal credo comes from Frank Herbert's, "The God Makers":

Which is better?
A good eye,
A good neighbor,
A good wife,
Or the understanding of consequences?

It is none of these. But rather being a warm and sensitive person that understands the price of individual dignity and the worth of human fellowship. This is best.

Comment Leave your educated opinions in the comments... (Score 1) 222

"I've built more than a few static websites (I use Sublime Text 3 or Atom, not some fancy-pants WYSIWYG doohickey) and am quite familiar with CSS, but databases not so much. "

Are you the only one involved?

There is HTML, Javascript, PHP, Java, Python, XML, SQL and a whole mess of other technology that is involved with web site programming.

As a consultant I get asked this kinda quick question on a regular basis. There is no quick answer to this. The general answer is to take the time to understand the requirements, understand the technology, understand the tradeoffs, understand the staffing, understand the testing, understand security and then do a bake off of at least three solutions. If you are upgrading looking to scale out then does management really understand the financial commitment needed to replace and grow?

Be a job little or small, do it right or not at all. Too many people are glib these days about the complexity of software applications and as such get themselves in a whole lot of trouble in the long run.

Comment Just curious about people skills (Score 1) 227

My interviewing process for developers focuses as much on people skills as technical skills. Unless all your developers are siloed then they will need to be able to communicate and work with others.

For all the years we've been hearing about how tough the problem solving skills are for tech companies I have yet to hear how tough the interview is for people skills.

Any company that only focuses on technical problem solving is going to be a disaster to manage.

Comment DevOps my understanding (Score 3, Informative) 65

Hi! Happy Tuesday

My understanding is that DevOps was coined by a manager at Etsy who recruited developers for managing IOPs and other costs in the Amazon cloud via software designed to do just that. DevOps meant someone who was saavy enough to write system level code.

Somewhere along the way this notion got morphed into being the system administrator and the developer.

1. Developers optimizing Amazon and other cloud environment costs by using application code specialized to manage system administration aspects of the cloud; including managing switches, spinning up VMs, etc.
2. Developers with system administration responsibilities.

The reality is that Etsy moved off of Amazon to an in-house data center and left us with a messy legacy of a term, DevOps. :-)

Comment Can't copyright titles (Score 4, Insightful) 224

Can't copyright titles and 'pixel' as a word is too generic to trademark. Ignore the take down.

Q: Iâ(TM)ve been working on a book and the title is very importantâ"I use it as the URL for my blog, for a weekly column I write, etc., and I want people to identify it with me. Can I copyright a title so others canâ(TM)t use it? â"Anonymous

A: Copyrights cover works fixed in a tangible format, but because titles are typically short, they donâ(TM)t fall under copyright protection. So no, you canâ(TM)t copyright a title to a book, song or movie. But you can trademark a title, which may give you the protection you seek.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office states that a trademark protects words, phrases, symbols or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others. Brand names like Pepsi, Xerox and Band-Aid are all protected. So is the Nike âoeswoosh.â But more relevant to us, book titles such as The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter and the Sorcererâ(TM)s Stone are trademarked.

Unlike copyright protection, which is granted the minute your work is written down, trademarks arenâ(TM)t handed out so freely. In fact, if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office doesnâ(TM)t consider your title (or brand) a distinctive mark that is indisputably distinguishable from others, you will not be granted trademark protection. This is why you see so many books with the sameâ"or very similarâ"titles. Many of the terms are considered too generic or arbitrary to warrant protection.

Trademarks are not only intended to protect the creator, but also the consumer. Trademarks keep others from confusing a well-known work on the bookstore shelves with others. For example, Harry Potter is such a popular, distinguishable character by J.K. Rowling that youâ(TM)d expect any title with his name in it to be written by her (or, at least, a book approved by her). Itâ(TM)s not only her work, but itâ(TM)s become her brand.

So if you use the title of your book as the title of your blog, column, etc., it could be considered your brand identifier. And if you find success, you could qualify for trademark protection.

Comment To be clear (Score 1) 931

Religion doesn't factor into preventing depression in the first place, but only helps one get better? God is a constant in all of this. Since these people believed in God before, after and during their depression then one is already getting a regular "dosage" of God? Belief in God did not change before or after treatment.

I smell a rat. A rat that says, "oh well, it is not just the presence of God alone but God plus"


To whit, religion only works because you are also taking anti-depressants, taking group therapy or paying lots of money to a quack.

Religion and drugs. Surprise, surprise surprise.

This sounds like the perfect premise for a Phillip K. Dick sci-fi book: take the conclusion of this article and have a book plot where preacher starts disseminating drugs as part of church service. "Scientific studies show that religion works best when coupled with anti-depressant drugs! Here, have a Xanax!"

Sad part is that this may actually come to pass.

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