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* Posts by WatAWorld

702 posts • joined 24 Feb 2012

Windows 8.1 becomes world's fourth-most-popular desktop OS

WatAWorld
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Re: And what have we learned Microsoft?

Now that is good thinking and MS should take this to heart.

Keep the user interface, secure and improve the internals.

Most people want what they're familiar with.

To most users, familiarity is at least 50 out of 100 possible points for usability.

A user interface change always has to be sufficiently better that it justifies the inconvenience of re-learning how to do something. In other words a user interface change has to be *much* better to be worth subjecting your users to it.

MS forgets this with Windows and Office.

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MS took that to heart and people still complain.

I remember on here a few years ago people couldn't stop themselves from complaining about how bad XP was, how lousy its security was.

I remember all those folks saying, "security had to be designed in, not added on in patches."

Well MS took that to heart and people still complain.

There is no winning.

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Re: @Sannon

ComputerSecurityLevel = Min(OSSecurityLevel, AppSecurityLevel, AdminSecurityLevel, UserSecurityLevel);

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Where's Linux and MacOS on the graphs?

Where's Linux and MacOS on the graphs?

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Tell us we're all doomed, MPs beg climate scientists

WatAWorld
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Climate Change is Currently More Theology Than Science

1. Climate change is currently more theology than science.

2. We're told to believe it because 'climate change scientists' believe it.

3. Normal scientific dissent and discussion is suppressed.

4. Only one proposed solution is presented.

5. Raw data is suppressed.

6. Data is manipulated to fit results.

7. How accurate are climate change models? Test them on something simple.

- Do they forecast past weather changes?

- Do they forecast future weather changes?

They're never going to be able to forecast the weather in the UK accurately -- the UK is simply too small an area and weather is too chaotic. They're never going to be able to forecast the weather on a specific day accurately -- again too chaotic.

But if they had accurate models they would be able to forecast whether the weather in a large area like Western Canada would be above average, near average, or below average for a 30 day period 3 months from now.

Environment Canada uses 20 different weather modeling processes, combines the results and only comes up with 50% accuracy. Three choices, 50% accuracy. Better than chance, but not much better.

The models are just not accurate yet.

8. What we should be doing is replacing the climate change theologians with real scientists and developing better models for what is going on.

- If current climate change is man-made that is actually very good news. We can probably deal with it one way or another.

- If current climate change is a natural process that is potentially terrible news. We might not be able to do anything about it.

- We need proper scientists doing real science to determine what is really going on. I believe this means more spending in taking measurements in space and oceanographic programs.

9. I'm 59. For most of my life scientists have worried that we'd lapse back into another glacial period. We're in an interglacial period in an ice age.

The old computer models that they had for most of my life showed that one summer the Bering Straight would not thaw in summer and we'd be straight into having glaciers covering Canada, the northern USA and huge parts of Europe and Asia.

A renewed glaciation is going to destroy way more cities and agricultural land than sea levels rising 10 m.

Low lying cities on ocean shorelines are libel to damage from tsunamis anyways.

10. We really desperately need better models of climate and the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans to be able to know if we're at risk of another period of increased glaciation, or if we're in danger of the ice age we live in ending, or both.

We need to know what's broke and how it's broke before we going turning the world upside down to fix it. And we need to know it soon, just in case it turns out to be urgent.

That's how I see it.

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

WatAWorld
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I'm not surprised China doesn't want NSA software

I'm not surprised China doesn't want NSA software.

I'm sure the US government would not be happy if Chinese software was the only option for US citizens (the US government, especially Sen. Rogers complain about us Canadians having the mere option of Chinese software).

I just wonder why more governments are not following this path to protect their citizens.

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Those NSA 'reforms' in full: El Reg translates US Prez Obama's pledges

WatAWorld
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This is an excellent article.

Its a pity there is not more plain speaking honest reporting done in this world.

Too many other journalists just parrot whatever lies and half-truths they are told, regardless of whether it is obvious lies. No newspaper should be in the business of spreading lies.

Too many newspapers and TV networks drop the "Sen. Smith said" and just repeat what Smith said as if it were a fact.

And even those that take the time and space to say "Sen. said" seldom ever point out that Smith is lying.

Well done Iain Thomson.

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China in MASSIVE rare earths industry consolidation

WatAWorld
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A monopoly is all we need

A monopoly is all our electronics industry needs to go up against now.

Fortunately there are many nations around the world with various rare earth ores. Unfortunately the pollution required to do the mining is so monumental that most nations require pollution controls that are not economically feasible.

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US BACKDOORED our satellites, claim UAE

WatAWorld
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Re: it's like prison. You don't get to say no but if you're lucky, you can pick the least painful

The linked article says that Gulf countries like to spread their dependence around so that they are not solely dependent on the USA.

Plus Russia has all the oil it needs in its own oil fields, Russia has no need to rip-off Gulf nations as part of its national energy policy.

"Generally, Arabian Gulf countries split arms buys to reduce dependence on the US, the specialist said. The UAE flies the Lockheed Martin F-16 and Dassault Mirage 2000-9, while the Saudis operate the Boeing F-15, as well as the Tornado and Typhoon."

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Could you explain how in the world the UAE could benefit from a discrete conversation over this.

Maybe they could get a bribe to be quiet, but that would only benefit the bureaucrat concerned, not the UAE.

Borrowing the good old USA tactic of the little guy going to the press when he's up against a big powerful enemy seems to be the best solution.

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Re: No

From the linked article:

"A high-level UAE source said the two high-resolution Pleiades-type Falcon Eye military observation satellites contained two specific US-supplied components that provide a back door to the highly secure data transmitted to the ground station."

...

"France operates the Pleiades spy satellite in what is viewed as a critical piece of the nation’s sovereignty. Given that core competence, it seemed strange that France would use US technology, although there is an agreement between Paris and Washington over transfer of capabilities, analysts said."

...

"The French negotiations with the US on the technology for the UAE would have been sensitive. For example, when the US sold spy satellites to Saudi Arabia, Israel wanted to limit the resolution level in the payload, the second specialist said."

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Re: it's like prison. You don't get to say no but if you're lucky, you can pick the least painful

You'd expect it from the Russians.

But the Russians have fewer skills and resources with which to hide their backdoors.

Russia probably buys most of its chips from other nations, for example.

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My question:

Are there any western-made aircraft or spacecraft or communications systems that the USA has not put backdoors in?

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How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution

WatAWorld
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Re: We're a lot further to the right on that graph than shown.

I wonder how many ideas and innovations have been scraped because the cost and complications of patenting are too expensive and how many ideas and innovations have been scraped because the risks of infringing on some unknown patent are too great.

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Re: Tabarrok's curve, first mover and the elephant

First to market is at an advantage?

That ignores global markets and the inability of any regular sized company or innovator to release even a modest product world-wide all at once.

For less modest products production is to expensive for many innovators. Consider ARM, the CPU architecture designer, they could not exist without patents.

Eliminating the patent system completely would aid only mega business.

The patent system (especially in the US) needs overhaul, but not elimination.

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Re: Can of worms

My dad died after being hit by a car.

You don't see me posting that cars should be banned.

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Re: Loser pays

US patent law changed in 2011 and again in 2013.

I don't see any reason to expect it to not change again soon, the only question is what will the changes be?

Will the changes be designed to protect lawyers, big business, small business, academics, trolls, US business, foreign business, or what? I suppose that depends on who lobbies most effectively.

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Re: Proof by assertion

Celebrity chefs, fashion designers, are artists sell their names/labels/signatures more than their products, so what they produce is not a 'public good'.

You go to a celebrity chef's restaurant, you think that's him in the kitchen that night? No, but by going there you are showing your friends your affiliation with that chef.

Same with designer labels on stuff (including much Nike and Apple stuff). Knock-offs, even of superior quality to the original, cannot be sold for the same high prices.

And consider what happens to the price of a paint if its attribution changes from a middling artist to a great master -- same painting, same artistic and aesthetic value, but suddenly goes from being worth $20,000 to $20 million.

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Duration of copyright protection is too long

Wonderful article.

I only see one problem, that being the length of copyright protection is too long for what it currently covers and would also be too long for software. It has evolved evolving from 'life + 20 years' to 'life + 95 years', and there is significant lobbying to lengthen the duration even further.

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Gay hero super-boffin Turing 'may have been murdered by MI5'

WatAWorld
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Re: Perhaps a Soviet Double Agent ordered Turing's Death

You do not need to have a security clearance to work against the USSR.

However there is no evidence that his death was an assassination by anyone either.

Test the apple to see if it even contains cyanide suggest the guy in the article. If it did or didn't what would it mean? Nothing. He died from cyanide poisoning, the apple was the obvious path.

But knowing whether he took the cyanide as powder or a contaminated apple by fumes, would not point to or exclude accident, suicide or murder or assassination.

It is more lack of motive for assassination or murder that points to accident suicide. The UK government didn't have to kill him to revoke his security clearance, and neither did the USA nor the USSR.

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Re: Posthumous Pardon?

You are not pardoned for things you did not do.

If you did not do it then your conviction is over-turned or set aside.

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Re: Another person who thinks they're 'the only gay in the village'

Some links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Burgess

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Blunt

So being gay did not automatically mean the UK would kick you out of top secret positions.

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Another person who thinks they're 'the only gay in the village'

I think it was more the Americans who pushed to have Turnings clearance revoked.

The public school boys who ran/run things in the UK in those days would not have seen much wrong with being gay.

Look at the Cambridge Six (or Seven or whatever it is up to). Gay and working for MI5 & MI6, no problem. But they were not on joint projects with the Americans.

But even then, the circumstances, the experiment he was doing in his room with dangerous chemicals, I really doubt this was an assassination.

The real question is whether it was a suicide or an accident.

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IT bods: Windows XP, we WON'T leave you. Migrate? Chuh! As if...

WatAWorld
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Don't connect to the internet, but do you have USB sockets or drives for removable disks?

Your XP computer might not connect directly to the internet, but does it have a USB socket, or diskette, CD, DVD or blu-ray drive?

Currently these other paths are being used to infect non-internet connected diplomatic and 'industrial command and control systems', and there is no reason to believe that they won't be used to infect XP systems in at least in 'attractive targets'.

It is even possible to migrate data off of these non-internet connected systems. The Israelis and Americans did it to the Iranian nuclear program, so it is feasible and who knows how often it has happened elsewhere.

Also, if you have an internet connected machine on the same network as your XP machines (whether or not it is running an up-to-date operating system and antivirus) it could be used as an entry point to any connected XP machines. One trojan, one stupid mistake, on that internet connected machine and it could quietly violate however many hundred XP machines are connected to it.

Is your business and that application an attractive target?

1. Would anyone be able to profit from the disruption of that application, directly or via blackmail?

2. Would anyone be able to profit from knowledge of data in that application, directly or via blackmail?

And there are doubtless other ways to be a high value target.

So if you're going to keep XP in your production environment I suggest you disable the drives for removable media and disable the USB sockets and make sure that no computer on the network with the XP machine have internet access.

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WatAWorld
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When creating future surveys remember that "one copy" is meaningless

When creating future surveys remember that answers to questions about "one copy" of something are meaningless.

Yes we'll have a copy. On a machine in the testing lab, just in case we ever need it.

Meaningful questions would be:

1. Will you have a server or workstation running WHATEVER in any of your non-production (testing/educational/experimental/training) environments?

2. Will you have a server running WHATEVER in any of your production (non-testing/non-educational/non-experimental/non-training) environments?

3. Will you have a workstation running WHATEVER in your mainstream production environment?

-- and then if you want more precision --

4. Will you support WHATEVER on any machine in your production environment?

5. Will you only support WHATEVER on the production machines of a small number of politically powerful users?

6. Will you only support WHATEVER on production machines in non-critical applications isolated from your main business network?

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Cryptolocker copycat ransomware emerges – but an antidote is possible

WatAWorld
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Re: Spread the cost.

"that also most computers are left wide open with antivirus and antimalware."

Did you check to their website to see if your existing AV actually detects this?

I had to do a lot of looking, but eventually I found where Kaspersky says it protects against it.

Thing is, for the big AV vendors this is just another type of malware. They do not issue press releases for each new type of malware they can detect.

For the operating system, well operating systems cannot decide what files you should and should not open on your computer.

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I think most AVs probably have protection against these encryption programs now

Kasperky has similar tools available. I'm on Kaspersky's mailing list and get this info. I think The Register should get itself on the list too.

http://www.kaspersky.com/virus-removal-tools

And Kaspersky now includes protection against these ransomeware programs. They don't make a big deal about it, after all, it is just another version of the thousands of versions of malware.

I think most AVs probably have protection against these ransomeware programs now -- but only a few are trying to make bucks off of it.

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With all the NSA and GCHQ spying going on, why haven't they identified this guy ?

With all the NSA and GCHQ spying going on, why haven't they identified this guy ?

Is it only the ATF that the NSA will help? It isn't narcotics so they do not care?

I'm against all the spying on regular folks, but if we're going to have this invasive spying on everyone, why not use it in cases like this?

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How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

WatAWorld
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Re: The Black Swan Theory

And that is one of the two main principles of the Black Swan theory, that luck has more to do with success than good ideas.

You must take risks, but you do not know which risks will pay off.

An example the book gives is the movie industry. Nobody has ever been able to predict which movies will be successful. So major motion picture companies risk a little bit of money in a great many movies. Smaller production companies each risk a great deal in a small number of movies.

Touch screens were around long before the iPhone and Apple. But they did not 'take off'. From about.com,

"Historians consider the first touch screen to be a capacitive touch screen invented by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK, around 1965 - 1967. The inventor published a full description of touch screen technology for air traffic control in an article published in 1968."

What made iPhone popular is what makes a best selling author or major painter popular: The bandwagon effect, that it is the person (Jobs) people wanted, not the technology. Owning Apple meant being being associated as a fan of Jobs.

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Re: Abandon all hope.... you are entering "couldhavebeen land"

"it's just that successive bullshit governments have failed to have the vision to back the winners"

That thinking is the root cause of the problems.

Communist and socialist environments have never been hotbeds of new technology and have never given rise to real 'winners'.

What the UK (and NYC) should do is abandon making money through investment banking rip-offs of world + dog and make money through investment banking that invests in good promising technology -- that is what successful countries like the USA (apart from NYC) do.

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Don't blame the Quango for your inability to find industry funding

The economy must not depend on Quangos providing venture capitol.

And no entrepreneur should seek funds from only one source.

You need to be prepared to have delays, run arounds, and denials of funding from any given source of funds.

Private venture capitolists. Other inventors. Other technology people. Do not depend on quangos.

Do not blame quangos.

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Twitter's shock block unlock deemed cockup, gets a lockup

WatAWorld
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Re: Safe?

Sad to say that 9 out of 10 times I see someone called a troll the 'troll' is a reasonable person with a different opinion from their assailant.

Calling someone a troll these days is mostly used by extremists engaging in ad hominem attacks because the have no reasoned logic to counter an opinion they dislike. (I say 'extremists'. I consider those who blindly reject contrary viewpoints on a topic as extremists in that topic.)

That does leave the other 1 in 10 who are genuine trolls, or more commonly, people engaging in harassment.

Twitter should allow original posters and account holder to block those who harass them from posting in topics they create. Letting them think their posts are going through (but nobody else seeing them) is probably okay, so long as people are very aware that their post might be blocked with out them knowing it.

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Re: Granular

"Blocked users cannot mention me."

Yes that is a problem since so many people have the same names. Even people with unusual names, if they check google will find someone else with the same name.

Plus how do you block intentional misspellings?

I think these are existing options:

D. Only my followers can send me tweets.

E. Only my followers can read my tweets.

F. I must actively accept new followers.

Your other ideas are good ideas.

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WatAWorld
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But it should that only the sender ever sees them.

I could see letting a blocked person make 'social comments' that disappear into a blackhole for nobody else to ever see.

But it should that only the sender ever sees them. They should be blocked from everyone else ever seeing them, not just the intended recipient.

Was that the problem, that everyone could see the troll's post but the intended recipient? That would be a blunder.

Of course it is necessary to be certain that people know their messages might not get through. For serious messaging people cannot rely on a messaging service that sometimes blocks them without telling them. Imagine blocked apologies and blocked party invitations. But Twitter is not intended for serious messaging.

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Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support

WatAWorld
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Re: Opening gambit

I think you could make a good case that if MS has abandoned the operating system people who have bought the OS can turn to others to maintain it.

Certainly Chinese courts would never tell the Chinese government it can't maintain it.

China has lots of options, it is garbage for China to be begging MS to maintain XP installations running bootleg copies of XP.

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Re: I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but....

Yes, down votes from people who've never done the experiment you did.

There is too much blind prejudice against MS and in favour of Turtle Neck guy.

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Re: Chinese government really has only itself to blame?

Why should MS support people who are happy running XP?

There is no legal principle requiring MS to change XP in perpetuity as long as someone wants it to.

XP was published, maintained, and its done, over.

It is like an old Apple operating system -- extinct.

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China begs MS to maintain pirated copies of Windows XP

The article says 70% of the software is stolen.

Why should MS support stolen software for free?

If China wants it supported, let China pay MS to provide the support.

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I thought I was being DDOSed. Turns out I'm not that important...

WatAWorld
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Re: Why run an email server ?

I think he's running the mail server as an education exercise, a way to keep up-to-date when you don't have a client or company test system to experiment with. It is better than testing in production where other people will be affected.

Otherwise there are all kinds of places that will host your @domain mail server (plus web site, etc.) for you. Problem is you don't learn server configuration and protection that way. But then not needing to learn mail server configuration can be a good thing if your real business or job is application programming.

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UK.gov's web filtering mission creep: Now it plans to block 'extremist' websites

WatAWorld
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Explict IP addresses and VPN a good way to go to jail if this becomes law

The problem with government approved censorship is you cannot get around it with explicit IP addresses or simple VPN because government can see who you are connected to.

If accessing a type of political web content becomes a criminal offense, like it is in many parts of the world, you're reduced to using TOR, with the slowness, lack of functionality,lack of history, and limited tools that go along with that.

It also becomes hard to find websites. You get these sites on the black web, which you have to already know about to find.

And if Britain falls, if the English speaking world falls, what nation is going to host this stuff? How will those nations access an internet that is controlled by the USA?

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True, UKIP likely to be censored, anything to do with so-called English nationalism.

True, UKIP likely to be censored, anything to do with so-called English nationalism is a big threat to the Tories.

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Re: Well

"I hope you're watching, Daily Mail/Guardian/Mumsnet readers. This is what happens when you say "If only the government would DO something". That's exactly what happens."

No it isn't.

Government has a range of options in how it reacts to things. Censorship is merely one of the most extreme options.

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Is any political act more extremist than advocating political censorship?

Is any political act more extremist than advocating political censorship?

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

WatAWorld
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Re: They're all "looking for a well paid job" immediately

"Whatever happened to the concept of starting as a junior and putting in the hard first few years of really learning your trade through week in week out, learning the difference between completing tasks and producing really first rate maintainable code?"

That concept went out the window when employers trashed it.

They want people who at least claim to be fully qualified now. They aren't prepared to pay even minimum wage for someone to learn on the job.

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Re: Computer Science is to Developers...

It is a lot easier to offshore the firmware, OS and language development than the application development (although even the application development is outsourced) because those things don't require user contact or knowledge of local languages.

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Re: CompSci graduates...

"No, it's a troll. Or he really is that dumb, difficult to tell."

Please address his arguments rather than just calling him silly names.

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WatAWorld
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future leaders of the IT industry will come from sales

It is true that a CS degree turns out a much more adaptable employee than a technical degree does. A degree teaches how to learn and how to figure stuff out, not how to take a course or do a particular one or two languages.

Going from BAL to COBOL to PL/I to Focus to Java is doable for a typical CS graduate from the 1970s or 80s, I did it and so did many others. But for most technical college graduates it was too much.

But that is the rub, companies hire people to do the language the current project is in and to support the legacy applications. They don't hire programmers for future adaptability to new languages.

When companies think about adaptability they think about the ability to get along in changing organizational structures, ability to get along with bosses, users and co-workers and tolerance for constantly changing specs.

But the future leaders of the IT industry will be, as they are now, former sales people, former venture capitalists, and former lawyers.

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Re: Not just the young graduates

There is prejudice against taking PhDs for regular jobs, true.

But even without a PhD, people over 40 with degrees or diplomas in CS or IT face age prejudice to a much greater extent than people in medicine, law, engineering, sales, teaching, etc.

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Right at the top of the article it says:

"In the UK, there are more unemployed graduates in computer science than in any other discipline."

So either CS graduates are choosing unemployment over becoming teachers -- or --

schools are assuming CS graduates won't be interested in teaching because teaching doesn't pay enough.

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It is like studing to become a draftsman

"In the UK, there are more unemployed graduates in computer science than in any other discipline."

So attendees at the conference just ignored that little fact and repeated the ideas and concerns they had 10 and 20 years ago.

Conference topics:

1. How to get more women into this oversupplied field so women can share in the same high levels of unemployment as men.

2. How to add programming to the general school curriculum to further reduce job prospects for all CS graduates.

Studying CS is rapidly becoming akin to to studying become a draftsman or scrivener. It is rapidly becoming an obsolete field.

These days, I consider it immoral and unethical to encourage a young person to enter our field. If they want to get in, fine, there will always be a few good jobs.

But convincing someone who is undecided this is a good career that will provide a career of 35+ years that pays well and is interesting is absurd.

Much better to study engineering, business or art and do CS as a minor. Or pick up programming later on.

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