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Feb
27
awarded  Good Answer
Feb
25
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
25
comment Why do programmers use or recommend Mac OS X?
@Codingbear as I said, I do keep a current Windows machine, so I had Vista and now have Windows 7. Windows 7 does have a nice collection of desktop themes, but I haven't found any features that are personally compelling. I was more impressed by the transition from XP to Vista. I thought it really improved the security model, and I thought Powershell looked interesting. At the same time I was discouraged because Vista made it clear how sloppy a lot of app writers were about gratuitously using Admin privileges.
Feb
25
answered Why do programmers use or recommend Mac OS X?
Feb
25
awarded  Enlightened
Feb
24
awarded  Good Answer
Feb
24
awarded  Mortarboard
Feb
24
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
24
comment How did programmers work back when a computer was very expensive, rare, as big as a room?
There was a famous story about some boss giving his assistant a tray of punch cards containing a set of random numbers. The assistant dropped the tray, and cards went all over the floor. Not knowing what else to do, the assistant picked up the cards and spent a couple hours sorting them into numerical order, which of course spoiled their randomness.
Feb
24
revised How did programmers work back when a computer was very expensive, rare, as big as a room?
added 379 characters in body
Feb
24
answered How did programmers work back when a computer was very expensive, rare, as big as a room?
Feb
19
comment How come there is still so much programming work?
@jd_505, the mere fact that planes are not falling from the sky hardly means that our air traffic control and avionics system are doing all that is needed. That's just avoiding the grossest possible failure. Consider: passengers have been stuck in planes on the ground for almost 24 hours because the scheduling software can't immediately factor in the effect of storms on airport capacities. On 9-11 the ATC and the military completely lost track of one of the hijacked planes because the only way they could share information was by people shouting at each other over conference calls.
Feb
18
comment Is a big name computer science degree worth the cost?
you are far too sanguine about paying off $120,000 of debt even on a $100k year job. Remember that you are paying interest on that debt as well, and in the US your $100k is going to be more like $75-$66k after withholdings. Yes, you can do it, but you have to be very disciplined: you probably shouldn't be buying nice cars or condos or having kids until you pay it off. By contrast, when I graduated from college in 1984 with $6000 in debt, and evantually landed at $21k/year job. I was able to pay off my loans in three years with my bonuses. I don't know how students manage it today.
Feb
18
comment Is it worth becoming a programmer?
Almost any job is going to be stressful at times. If it is a job that interests you and you care about, you'll get stressed because you care about doing a good job. If it is a job that doesn't interest you and that you don't care about it will be stressful because it's tedious and boring. As far as system administration being less stressful than development: I've known more than one admin that has had their boss stand behind their shoulder and say "Get this system back up within the hour or start looking for another job."
Feb
14
awarded  Pundit
Feb
14
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
13
comment Do you count a Masters in CS as a negative?
Consider: do you actually have a sound basis for making a judgment on this? I believe nearly 20,000 C. Sci. M.S. degrees are awarded each year in the US alone. How many folks have you interviewed? 10? 20? 100? What sort of jobs have you been conducting interviews for? Is it possible that they are positions that simply don't attract highly talented MS holders? It could be that places like Google, Microsoft, NSA, NASA, and NASDAQ (forgive my US centrism) are snapping up the sharp MS holders, while "PHP-iz-us" shops only see the folks who couldn't get on elsewhere.
Feb
13
comment Do you count a Masters in CS as a negative?
@Sjored, that just goes to show that generalizations about this topic are not terribly useful. In the US programs differ widely: there are thesis and non-thesis Master's programs, and some Bachelor's programs have thesis or capstone projects that require the completion of a significant programming project.
Feb
11
answered Computer Science: Arts or Science?
Feb
9
comment Why do business analysts and project managers get higher salaries than programmers?
That's certainly the theory of how salaries are supposed to work in a market economy. Your salary is not determined by the value you bring to the company, but by the marginal cost of replacing you. The trouble is there are no truly free markets. Nepotism, cronyism, rent-seeking, and asymmetry of knowledge, are endemic. In theory, organizations that fall into these inefficiencies should be put out of business by ones that don't, but when almost everyone does it ...