Friday, May 25, 2007

Not quite dead

In a recent article Computer World lists the "top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills", some of the spots on the list I agree with but some I don't.

One that I totally don't agree with is number six, "C programming". Anyone who claims that the C language is dead or dying simply doesn't see the software industry for everything it is and doesn't understand how many different kinds of software there is out there.

Fine, you might not see the latest snazzy web applications from Google being written in C or even a huge amount of desktop-applications for that matter (even if I believe that quite a lot of the Linux/Unix-apps are written in C, the Linux-kernel for one). But that doesn't mean there isn't a shitload of software everywhere around us written in C.

To my knowledge most embedded software is written in C. Things like controller software for household appliances, cellphones and such things, devices like that all have a fair chunk of C spinning through their circuits.

Another great example is GNU/Linux-software. The Linux-kernel is written entirely in C I believe and so is most of the apps that make up the GNU-toolset.

So basically, C is not dead or dying. Claiming that almost makes you an idiot.

The claim that the languages Cobol and ColdFusion are dying however, I can basically agree with that. They're not dead though. I don't think it's fair to pronounce a language like Cobol as dead since there is still so damn much software out there that's written in this archaic language.

The reason there's still many mission critical pieces of Cobol code, or any dying language for that matter, running out there is simply that there are a heck of a lot of legacy systems that haven't been upgraded, rewritten and so on. The reason for that is, in my experience, that most companies are cheapskates.

Rather than invest the time and money in upgrading an ancient system they have their developers spend time on patching the system with horrible work-arounds and crappy add-ons just to keep it going. If anybody were to suggest a complete redesign and rebuild of an existing system somebody close to the company's finances probably would say "Why? It still works, doesn't it?" and shut it down with a suggestion of patching it some more if there are any problems with it.

Pretty much the only thing that'll convince the people at the top of the company food chain that a new system needs to be developed is if the old one crashes and burns completely. When that happens though, the software people are most likely to be blamed for it and having a shiny new software bundle in place and up and running will be something that will be expected of them in a snap more or less.

I really wish that the people handling the money in companies that rely on IT for their business had a little more knowledge as to what IT and software is about and how it works. That way we'd see less and less of things like medieval systems running Windows 3.11 software patched into oblivion, and I can guarantee you that most developers would me happier with putting in some extra hours building something new and exciting than spending their days fixing and working around the short-comings of ancient code bases.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I don't get how some people still have jobs

I don't get how some people still have jobs. Not with the moronic things they think up and say. Like this guy, HBO's chief technology officer Bob Zitter, who probably makes millions every year.

His latest mindvomits are possibly the stupidest things that've been said the past week (I can't be sure though, haven't checked up on George W. Bush in a while). It's already been reported on in plenty of places online (here, here and here for example) and the verdicts are unanimous, the man has no concept what so ever of what DRM is or the kind of problems people have with it.

To him DRM is just some acronym that he's been told will help HBO make even more money. He doesn't give a shit about the crippling and annoying effects of DRM and I'm seriously questioning if he even knows how pissed off the public is with it.

Digital Consumer Enablement, would more accurately describe technology that allows consumers "to use content in ways they haven't before," such as enjoying TV shows and movies on portable video players like iPods.

Wow, that's a load of bullshit so thick and heavy that it can't even be shoveled with an industrial strength shoveling-machine. Way to go Bob. You really are a retard.

Please tell me Bob, about these "enabling" effects. What is it that I can do with the media I lawfully buy that isn't possible without it being maimed by DRM?

I'll tell you what: NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. The consumer doesn't want DRM, you do and only you. DRM, DCE or whatever you call it is a contraption put in place to limit what the consumer can do with the product that he's bought and paid for. It does jack-shit against piracy.

If I was to download an illegal digital copy of a movie I could most likely play that movie in any of my multimedia-devices (Xbox, cellphone, DVD-player, computer, etc.). The same would not be possible with a movie bought and downloaded from iTunes Store for example. It only plays on a select number of devices and using special software. So consequently the only people annoyed with DRM are the ones that obey the law. The pirates don't give a rat's ass, their media is free to play on any multimedia-device with support for the encoding-format of the mediafile.

Many of the most monumental struggles throughout history one way or another have to do with freedom. Somebody wants freedom, while somebody else refuses to grant it to them. This is the very same thing. The consumers want the freedom to use media they've paid for in any way they choose, the media-corporations will not let them.

But believe you me, sooner or later the consumers will get fed up with it and the media-corporations will be the ones suffering losses in revenue and possibly even bankruptcy if they don't get their heads straight in time.

It's time they wake up and realize that the old economical models that have kept them afloat for the past century need to be revised for the digital future, and the sooner the better.

No more DRM. Free all media now.

Oh, and Bob... I hope you lose your job very soon. You sure as hell don't deserve it you idiot. Fuck off.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

And this is one of the reason I will never let anybody else touch my computer(s)

This is just fantastic.

We don't have this disease Geek Squad in Sweden where I live but from the enormous amounts of articles about them I've found online I have a pretty good idea what they are.

Basically it's the inhuman corporate machine dressing up as the cute and geeky computer guy and the unfortunate people that don't know better go there to get their hardware fixed and end up taking a grenade up the poop-shoot, right?

Not only have previous employees admitted to downloading private images and stuff from their customer's harddrives, but now they're actually saying that they'd raid a harddrive simply handed to them by a customer claiming some sort of relation to the owner of the harddrive. I'm no legal expert but this has to be illegal!

This is one of the reasons I will never let anybody but myself come close enough to meddle with my data. I would never drop my computer off at a service shop. I'd rather go buy a new one honestly. Not that I really have anything real to hide, every warmblooded male with internet access has gigabytes of porn stashed somewhere and anybody who says otherwise is a liar, but on the other hand I have nothing weird or criminal stored in my closet and I wouldn't let some complete stranger ransack that either.

It's a question of personal integrity. I don't want people I don't know all up in my business fidgeting about. My stuff is mine, so hands off. That, and the fact that people simply cannot be trusted because they are... well... human! So not only will they view my personal stuff but, as proven by the Geek Squad confessions, they will make copies and steal my stuff too. What if I had blueprints for some awesome invention in there and some snotty teenager stole them and sold to someone? That would really be no fun at all.

I understand that not all people are IT-professionals and that Joe Schmoe or Auntie Bea on occasion needs help with his or her computer, but with all the shit that's been raining on Geek Squad I don't see how they are even staying in business. Is it that people in general don't read ANY of the sites I read (I've seen stuff on Geek Squad on at least twenty different sites) or are they really that oblivious to what's bad for them? Or could it be that they just don't know that there are other places that also fix computers? And by that I'm not saying that some other place will not rip you off, because they will if you go to the wrong place.

I don't know, it's just crazy to me, and it makes me even more happy about the fact that I can handle my own computer hardware better than most.