September 18, 2012
On 9/17/2012 9:35 PM, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
> And there's even more. Honestly, if I were looking into getting a new car, I
> would consider that stereo *alone* to be a deal-breaker. It's that bad.

Install headers and a cherry-bomb exhaust, and you won't need no steekin' car stereo no more.

> I miss the 80's: Devices worked and idiots didn't use computers.

You've got a selective memory!!

A car stereo in the 80's used cassettes. With a cassette, you've got flutter, rewinding, and a player that randomly ate your tapes. You also had tapes scattered about your car, usually encrusted with some substance that may or may not have come from McDonald's or the dog.

I was happy a few years back to throw my cassette collection into the garbage.

Oh, and TV sets and VCRs stunk compared to today. The TV shows stunk, too. With netflix, I rewatched some of those older shows, and was appalled at how bad they were. Try watching an 80's miniseries - gawd, what stinkers.

But I did like 80's fashions much better than today's. The 70's were the worst, and the 80's the best.

September 18, 2012
On 9/17/2012 10:29 PM, H. S. Teoh wrote:
> LOL... I agree with the sentiment. My dad has a pair of Apple II's from
> the 80's, and they still work. He does his accounts on them sometimes.
> Compared to a 3-year-old PC of today, which is probably already dying a
> horrible death of HD failures, fan failures, CPU overheating, software
> breakages that's gotten it into a state that requires reformatting and
> reinstalling to fix. Apparently, this is the crowning achievement of 3
> decades of software development.

?? I don't have such problems with my computers, and I tend to run them for 5 years before upgrading. The HD failure rate is about the same as in the 80's. Of course, we no longer have to deal with floppies that get corrupted often.

The most common failure I've had are the power supplies, they're still as bad today as in the 80's.

September 18, 2012
On Mon, 17 Sep 2012 22:06:56 -0700
"H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@quickfur.ath.cx> wrote:
> 
> +1. After having worked in the industry for over a decade, I'm becoming increasingly cynical about the state of software today. And seeing it "from the inside" as it were, I realize that it *can* be done better. We have all the tools to make it better. A lot better. But it isn't.
> 

You know, you have a habit of saying things that make me wonder if you're stealing my brainwaves. What you've said up there is *exactly* how I feel about it too, and I've even worded it that way in conversations.

Non-techies find out I'm a programmer and assume I like computers and software (which used to be true). But really I'm critical about them *because* I know them so well, so I notice all the screwups and idiocy that most people don't. I like computing's *potential*, though.

> For example, I've seen enterprise code that looks like it was written by highschool dropouts.

Actually, one of the best coders I know was a high school dropout. I find that the really bad code I come across is almost always from people whose primary coding experience is college courses.

> I've seen how said code survives for YEARS in
> spite of the presence of a code review system, simply because nobody
> has the time to devote to cleaning things up, or nobody cares to
> because it is not rewarded. Employers want "positive" contributions
> -- new features, glitzy GUIs, unreasonable customer feature requests,
> bloat deemed necessary because the CTO coughed it up one morning
> after a sleepless night, etc.. Nobody cares about cleaning up what's
> currently there 'cos it doesn't give anything to the marketing types
> to sell, and it doesn't have any immediate apparent benefits. The
> code review process is more concerned about hot-ticket items like
> security fixes, blatant crashes, or other such important issues like
> Yahoo messenger not working on the corporate network.  Nobody cares
> about the thousands of little bits of horribly, horribly wrong code,
> the effect of which isn't obvious because it's been covered over with
> layer after layer of festering bandages. And even if you *do* make
> the extra effort to clean things up, the next person comes along and
> doesn't understand what was done before, and just slobbers all over
> it (figuratively speaking), turning it into yet another mess.
> 

Exactly. I genuinely believe that understanding that really should be one of the top qualifications of being a software manager. Because if you don't get that, then you really are doomed to being a pointy-hair who causes more harm than good. It's just not *possible* to do better than that without understanding such realities of software dev.

> And the result? You get stupidities like strange inconsistencies in software behaviour, bugs that can no longer be fixed 'cos things have started depending on the buggy behaviour, etc..

Yea, and then guess what (or rather, who) gets blamed for those problems? That is, instead of the managers who allowed, nay, *expected* the code to remain is such a poor state.

And I've seen all that happen.

> Is it any surprise that most software today is crap?

Is it any surprise the vast majority of *good* software is either open-source or otherwise non-commercial? Managed by *programmers*, with no suits and MBAs and hired-liars (ie, salesmen) to muck everything up, and sell features that don't exist without bothering to check with or even tell the dev team, at least not until it's "Hey, the sales team just sold XXXX feature and promised it by YYYY date, so I need you to do that". "What?!?! FUCK YOU!!" (Yes, I've worked at a company where that was standard operating practice. *cough* Main Sequence Technologies *cough*)

> Sometimes I fear
> that if I introduce D to certain people, they will just proceed to
> rewrite the same train wreck that is their current C++ code in D,
> except now they have so many more ways to shoot themselves (and all
> of the miserable people who will come after them) in the foot,
> several times over.
> 

At least it's not PHP...which makes it basically impossible NOT to aim directly at your own foot.

> 
> > Btw who on earth develops set top box software? Granted I've only used two so far (since I switched ISPs and my triple-play service recently), but the software on it is such incredible garbage. How do they manage to create software for a specific device, while knowing all of its characteristics, that lags like hell? I'd really like to see the source code for that. How many cycles could they possibly waste to blit a pre-designed bitmap on the screen (like the main menu)?
> 
> They must have written the software in ActionScript or something. >:-)
> 
> Either that, or they have 3 SQL engines running on the set top box with 50GB of copy-n-pasted Javascript-outputting code (that gets piped to VM running a VB version of IE5's rendering engine). :-P
> 

I would honestly be very, very surprised if there *isn't* something screwy like that going on. You use the thing, and you just *know* there's some "thedailywtf.com"-worthy stuff going on in there. (Speaking of which, I actually had to stop reading that site just because it got to be so damn depressing.)

September 18, 2012
On 9/18/2012 12:37 AM, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
> Heh, actually, my 10-year-old 32-bit single-core XP desktop is still
> going strong,

I upgraded to a 6 core 64 bit machine. It really does improve the usability of my computer.

My laptop is probably 8 years old, but I keep it for travel use. It does presentations just fine, and nobody would find it worth stealing. And if it breaks or I lose it, I won't miss it.

All I've done to it is replace the drive with an SSD. Unfortunately, XP doesn't do well with SSDs, and it's as slow as the old HD. At least it's much quieter than the whining HD.
September 18, 2012
On Tue, 18 Sep 2012 00:48:09 -0700
Walter Bright <newshound2@digitalmars.com> wrote:

> On 9/17/2012 10:29 PM, H. S. Teoh wrote:
> > LOL... I agree with the sentiment. My dad has a pair of Apple II's from the 80's, and they still work. He does his accounts on them sometimes. Compared to a 3-year-old PC of today, which is probably already dying a horrible death of HD failures, fan failures, CPU overheating, software breakages that's gotten it into a state that requires reformatting and reinstalling to fix. Apparently, this is the crowning achievement of 3 decades of software development.
> 
> ?? I don't have such problems with my computers, and I tend to run them for 5 years before upgrading. The HD failure rate is about the same as in the 80's. Of course, we no longer have to deal with floppies that get corrupted often.
> 
> The most common failure I've had are the power supplies, they're still as bad today as in the 80's.
> 

I went through a few-years-long period where I was constantly replacing failed power supplies. Then I finally decided to splurge on a GOOD one, huge wattage, very reputable company, and at *least* twice the $$$ I'd ever spent on a power supply before.

Never had another power supply problem since. (Knock on wood...)

One important thing to keep on mind (that I've learned from Tom's Hardware and Sharky Extreme) is that power supply manufacturer apparently lie about their wattages as a regular matter of course. Ie, if it says "X Watts", then you're never going to get it to even about 0.9*X without the stupid thing blowing up. So keep that in mind when shopping.

Regarding HDDs, I've sworn I will *never* run a main system again
without a GOOD always-on SMART monitor like Hard Disk Sentinel
<http://www.hdsentinel.com/>. In fact, that's one of the main reasons I
haven't switched my primary OS from Win to Linux yet, because I can't
find a good Linux SMART monitor. (Manually running a CLI program
- or writing a script to do it - doesn't even remotely count.) Oooh!
Actually, now that I've looked up that link, it looks like they do
have an early Linux version now. Awesome, I'm gonna have to try that
out.

September 18, 2012
On Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 08:09:41 UTC, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
> Is it any surprise the vast majority of *good* software is either open-source or otherwise non-commercial?

It is?

Every time I try to switch from Microsoft Office to Open/LibreOffice, I find them unusable. And those are probably the best alternatives.

Every time I try to switch from Windows to Ubuntu, GRUB belches at me, saying it thinks it's THE boot loader and it just cries like a baby about how it wants to install itself on the MBR.
And it stops working randomly every once in a while when I put it on the partition boot sector.

Funny, the only times the Windows boot loader ever gets messed up is when I try to install Linux. Not when I happen to resize a random partition.

And if you tell me GIMP or Inkscape or whatever take the place of Adobe suites I'm just going to laugh.
Are they good? Sure.
Are the comparable with the commercial versions? Hell no.

Google Chrome? It's open-source, but it's driven by commercial interests -- it's driven by the advantages it gives Google in the market, even though it's "free" by itself.

Oh, and there's a reason people still use WinRAR instead of 7z, as great as 7-Zip is. (Yes, the icons and toolbars DO make a difference, even if you think that's stupid.)

In the programming world -- just look at how popular C# is.
It's not popular because it was open-source (although people tried to make Mono) -- it's popular because it's got damn good balance in terms of usability and IDE support.

And VS is a lot of $$$ to buy. Nothing open-source/non-commercial about it.


Of course, there's good open-source software. No doubt about that.

But at the moment I can't think of one that took the place of commercial software because people find it "good" and they find the commercial version "not good".


And let's not go into computer games and such...


> Managed by *programmers*

LOL, that's precisely why open-source software has a "steep learning curve", as the creators like to put it.

It's a result of programmers not knowing (or caring) about making good UIs, so they just think the users are noobs when they can't use the software.
September 18, 2012
Not very good rant,
you write:
> They have imagined a "phone", where being able to answer the call is completely by luck if the phone has been in your pocket when the call arrived! Chances are, you will touch something on the "smart" screen and reject the call by some random reason

I have the *same issue* with a non-tactile phone: when the phone is activated, quite often the keys will be pressed randomly and create something unwanted.

Worse sometimes the phone will unlock itself while in my pocket, something that I think is more rare for touch phones.

How do you suggest to fix this issue?

RenoX

September 18, 2012
On Tue, 18 Sep 2012 00:41:58 -0700
Walter Bright <newshound2@digitalmars.com> wrote:

> On 9/17/2012 9:35 PM, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
> > And there's even more. Honestly, if I were looking into getting a new car, I would consider that stereo *alone* to be a deal-breaker. It's that bad.
> 
> Install headers and a cherry-bomb exhaust,

Heh, I don't even know what those are :P

> and you won't need no
> steekin' car stereo no more.
> 
> > I miss the 80's: Devices worked and idiots didn't use computers.
> 
> You've got a selective memory!!
> 
> A car stereo in the 80's used cassettes. With a cassette, you've got flutter, rewinding, and a player that randomly ate your tapes. You also had tapes scattered about your car, usually encrusted with some substance that may or may not have come from McDonald's or the dog.
> 
> I was happy a few years back to throw my cassette collection into the garbage.
> 

Yea, so was I, but then I discovered that that we're basically trading one set of problems for another, especially with video. Casettes suck, and I'm glad to be done with them, but with discs:

- They're less durable. Scratch a cassette? DEEPLY? Like, with a knife?
  So what? The vulnerable tape is actually *protected*. But ordinary
  usage of disc, even *without* those jackasses who who set discs *on
  top* of the case instead of *in* it (*cough* both my parents), and it
  still gets scuffed and will start skipping.

- PUO's. 'Nuff said.

- Inevitable laser burnout.

- Cassette-eating decks? The ultra-popular XBox 360 eats discs. You know
  those rental discs you get with the BIG circular grooves dug into
  them guaranteeing it won't play thorugh? It was the laser of someone's
  360 that did that.

Yes, cassette sucked, but disc sucks, too.

> Oh, and TV sets and VCRs stunk compared to today. The TV shows stunk, too. With netflix, I rewatched some of those older shows, and was appalled at how bad they were. Try watching an 80's miniseries - gawd, what stinkers.
> 

Yea, there was a lot of junk (there's a lot of junk in every decade), but I'd rather watch a bad 80's show than modern reality show any day. And reality shows are about all there are anymore. Hell even documentaries are starting to do shitty JJ Abrams style directing.

Some fantastic 80's shows off the top of my head:

- Soap
- Hunter
- Magnum PI
- Remington Steele
- Miami Vice
- MacGyver
- Cheers
- Golden Girls (ok, minus the occasional "After School Special" scenes)
- Married With Children (the first two or three seasons were in the
  80's)

> But I did like 80's fashions much better than today's. The 70's were the worst, and the 80's the best.
> 

I once heard someone say the 70's were the hangover from the 60's. That's how I feel about the 80's and 90's:

- Torn jeans? Awesome. Sagging? GTFO.
- Spandex/leather? Sweet. Flanel? Blech.
- Flock of Seagulls? Radical. Combover? What is this, "Leave it
  to Beaver"?

September 18, 2012
On Tue, 18 Sep 2012 11:03:03 +0200
"renoX" <renozyx@gmail.com> wrote:

> Not very good rant,
> you write:
> > They have imagined a "phone", where being able to answer the call is completely by luck if the phone has been in your pocket when the call arrived! Chances are, you will touch something on the "smart" screen and reject the call by some random reason
> 
> I have the *same issue* with a non-tactile phone:

I assume you mean non-touchscreen? The iPhone and Androids are as non-tactile as it gets, which is one of the biggest things I hate about them.

> when the phone is activated, quite often the keys will be pressed randomly and create something unwanted.
> 
> Worse sometimes the phone will unlock itself while in my pocket, something that I think is more rare for touch phones.
> 
> How do you suggest to fix this issue?
> 

- "Clamshell" flip-phone.

- A proper physical switch for lock/unlock. The one on the Toshiba
  Gigabeat F (admittedly a music player, not a phone) works flawlessly.

September 18, 2012
On Tue, 18 Sep 2012 01:10:07 -0700
Walter Bright <newshound2@digitalmars.com> wrote:

> On 9/18/2012 12:37 AM, Nick Sabalausky wrote:
> > Heh, actually, my 10-year-old 32-bit single-core XP desktop is still going strong,
> 
> I upgraded to a 6 core 64 bit machine. It really does improve the usability of my computer.
> 

I avoid bloatware, so extra silicon doesn't do nearly as much for me.

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