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(The Atlantic)   Apparently we're going to be experiencing a software apocalypse soon, so we have that to look forward to   ( theatlantic.com) divider line
    More: PSA, code, Software engineering, software, Computer programming, Programming language, Computer program, Computer, Programmer  
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3655 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Sep 2017 at 2:24 AM (10 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-09-30 03:59:02 AM  
12 votes:
Resig is a celebrated programmer of JavaScript

Someone celebrates JavaScript?
2017-09-30 09:21:36 AM  
7 votes:
If I'm reading this correctly the problem is that programmers tend to think they're this guy:
img.fark.netView Full Size


when in fact they're this guy:
vignette.wikia.nocookie.netView Full Size
2017-09-30 06:16:56 PM  
4 votes:
img.fark.netView Full Size
2017-09-30 11:22:16 AM  
4 votes:

Chevello: Gary-L: FTA: In September 2007, Jean Bookout was driving on the highway with her best friend in a Toyota Camry when the accelerator seemed to get stuck. When she took her foot off the pedal, the car didn't slow down. She tried the brakes but they seemed to have lost their power. As she swerved toward an off-ramp going 50 miles per hour, she pulled the emergency brake. The car left a skid mark 150 feet long before running into an embankment by the side of the road. The passenger was killed. Bookout woke up in a hospital a month later.

First, people need to stop referring to it as "the emergency brake".  The proper nomenclature is "parking brake" or "handbrake".  Second, the best way out of that situation is to shift the vehicle into neutral whereupon the vehicle operator can steer the vehicle into a controlled stop.  Yes, this may involve colliding with a curb or rolling the vehicle in a ditch, but the alternative is obviously worse.  The engine may or may not redline depending on whether or not the rev-limiter activates.

You are assuming the software controlled shifter allows shifts into neutral at that RPM, speed, pedal position, steering angle, etc.


I'm sorry Dave.  I'm afraid I can't do that!
2017-09-30 07:50:35 AM  
4 votes:
They're just now discovering OOP?
2017-09-30 01:11:46 PM  
2 votes:
TLDR:
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Victor went one further. He demoed two programs he'd built-each of which took a process that used to involve writing lots of custom code and reduced it to playing around in a WYSIWYG interface. Victor suggested that the same trick could be pulled for nearly every problem where code was being written today. "I'm not sure that programming has to exist at all," he told me. "Or at least software developers." In his mind, a software developer's proper role was to create tools that removed the need for software developers.

IMO, this is pretty stupid. Most of his examples were not even really about programming. Mario Bro's level design, building web pages, and image editing are all tasks that obviously lend themselves to being done with tools that have WYSIWYG interfaces. But not every problem is as repetitive and well defined as those, or as easy to represent visually. And to borrow the hammer analogy, when your only tool is a Mario Level Editor, every problem looks like... a Mario Level? Who develops and maintains these tools? And what happens when the user wants to do something that was never anticipated by the tool developer. A real programmer has to be involved at some point in the process. (Unless it's WYSIWYG and/or turtles all the way down?)

Designing a tool to do a job implies that the job needs to be done over and over, and requires a much greater understanding of all possible areas of the problem. It's usually going to be more cost effective to just solve the problem at hand, by hand, rather than writing a tool to solve all possible future variations of the problem.
2017-09-30 10:59:11 PM  
1 vote:

jaytkay: ,Marcus Aurelius: And who doesn't let the database assign new call numbers?

Say they define call number as an 8 digit integer. There is nothing available after 99,999,999.


Only an idiot (or lazy) programmer would use an 8-digit text field to store an integer, or even limit an ID number to only 8 digits, when all modern computer systems can use a 8-byte binary field to store signed (as in, both positive and negative) integer values up to 8,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 8 billion billions). To put that ridiculously high number into perspective, if everyone in the world (7 Billion people) called in to that 911 center every day, it would take 3 MILLION years to run out of unique caller IDs.
2017-09-30 02:13:48 PM  
1 vote:

MythDragon: Maybe have an AI who's function is entirely to open and close doors.


I'm sure nothing could possiblai go wrong with that.
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2017-09-30 01:40:50 PM  
1 vote:
It's because software doesn't know when bad programming tells it to fark something up that we need true AI. An intelligent software entity that would know when following a given command would result in an unwanted out come.
But we should start small. Maybe have an AI who's function is entirely to open and close doors. We could name it Durandal. After we establish that, we could move up to giving AIs control of deadly neurotoxin.
2017-09-30 01:05:06 PM  
1 vote:
Operated by a systems provider named Intrado, the server kept a running counter of how many calls it had routed to 911 dispatchers around the country. Intrado programmers had set a threshold for how high the counter could go. They picked a number in the millions.

Why would you do that? Why would anyone do that? Use a alphanumeric varchar in the database and after you had the first 36^254 combinations set up a warning that cleaning out the data from 200 years ago might be advisable.
2017-09-30 11:46:11 AM  
1 vote:
Really interesting and thought provoking (and long) article, although through the first half all I could think of was

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img.fark.netView Full Size
2017-09-30 10:30:40 AM  
1 vote:
"United Airlines grounded its fleet because of a problem with its departure-management system; trading was suspended on the New York Stock Exchange after an upgrade; the front page of The Wall Street Journal's website crashed; and Seattle's 911 system went down again"

One of these things is not as disastersous as the others.
2017-09-30 04:56:37 AM  
1 vote:
I'm looking forward to the day when computer programmers are obsolete.
 
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