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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

“You would make for a great computer programmer”

Posted by jpluimers on 2017/10/20

A while ago, Joe C. Hecht mentioned for the second time about his family joke along the lines that he had bad grades at school despite being good at the topics. He got tested which resulted in “You would make for a great computer programmer”.

I wonder how this happened with other people in the IT. Did you get yourself a degree in that direction, or teach yourself programming and such?

The reason is that I recognise what Joe wrote: I’m still a bad learner from books or theory as I learn by doing. I specifically didn’t try to get a Computer Science degree as in the late 1980s in The Netherlands it basically was a heavy math degree plus Computer Science topics. So it was basically doing two studies at once and I was only interested in the Computer Science parts.

So I chose studying Chemistry (one of the science topics I really liked at high school) at the closest university to my home so I kept living with my parents.

In 20-20 hindsight this was not the right choice. But at that time I didn’t know about the right choice.

In about 4 years, I finished like 2.5 years of studying, was a geek-prototype (good at computers, bad at people skills) and still did a lot of Computer Science topics (even though the exams would be worthless as back then individual exams didn’t count unless they were part of the main direction of your study). The last year was prepping for practice and advanced topics. I slowly attended less and less sessions and did more and more programming gigs as somehow that was way more fun before slowly bailing out. I also sold network equipment to the university department helping them to connect to the internet and helped a lot of co-students with their computing issues and assignments, learned my way in DOS/3com/Novell/EARN/BITNET/DECNet/SunOS and VAX/VMS based technologies.

I only found out why I bailed out more than a decade later: I was a pragmatic guy learning by doing, not suited for a university that tried educating theorists. Besides that the department I wanted to finish my studies has two four camps: a very theoretic camp (with nice guys: they were the ones wanting internet access very early on), two less theoretic camps fighting each other and a lazy camp filling their days basically with doing as little as possible. A very unproductive and depressing situation. I had worked at the research labs of the paint factory doing research close to my studies, but there was no way the university would allow me to do my research phase there. Even more depressing.

Now (as always, hindsight is 20/20 vision) I know I should have bailed out early on and go for a more pragmatic study maybe not even a university but a polytechnic. On the other hand it helped doing a truckload of Turbo Pascal work (which I started at High School with Turbo Pascal 1 on CP/M with Apple ][+ and //e machines), programming in assembler/prolog/FORTRAN/C, getting connected to the internet (BITNET RELAY chat, mailing lists, early newsgroups, uucp, TCP/IP basics, thick/thin ethernet converters, serial and modem communication with Kermit and FidoNET, gopher, FTP and truckloads more stuff).

It got me into the Delphi, .NET and open source worlds, doing a lot of travel and conference speaking and being an early adopter of many technologies and concepts (some even so early that they only got way popular decades later – like the 1980s “the network is the computer” mantra – or making sense – like the lock semantics topics really became useful when around the century turn  single processor machines got multi-processor siblings and a lustrum later multi-core and multi-threading processors became available and ubiquitous around 2010) and taught me that being able to search and find things is way more important than knowing things.

So I wonder about all my followers:

How did your education go and how did you end up in computing?

–jeroen

References via Joe C. Hecht:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in About, BBS, BITNET Relay, Chat, FidoNet, History, Opinions, Personal, SocialMedia | Leave a Comment »

The Cryptowars, twenty years ago – The Isoblog.

Posted by jpluimers on 2017/06/27

Interesting read with lots of references: [WayBackThe Cryptowars, twenty years ago – The Isoblog.

My TL;DR:

  • the current cryptowar is very similar to 20 years ago
  • back then it was won by the people
  • current outcome is unclear (but the rules of math cannot be changed)
  • Laws/Rules/Postulates:
    • John Gilmore
      • »The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.«
    • Shoshana Zuboff
      • »Everything that can be automated will be automated.«
      • »Everything that can be informated will be informated.«
      • »Every digital application that can be used for surveillance and control will be used for surveillance and control.«
  • Kristian:
    • »20 years later, the Cryptowar is still a thing. It will never be over.«

–jeroen

via: [WayBack] So as a society, we are having the same conversation for 20 years now, and we won’t really make progress here because of Zuboff’s law.  – Kristian Köhntopp – Google+

Posted in Encryption, History, Opinions, Power User, Security | Leave a Comment »

Dutch demissionary cabinet want to use hospital DNA for justice department – via Privacy Barometer

Posted by jpluimers on 2017/05/01

Unbelievable: the demissionary cabinet in The Netherlands (which is only supposed to handle non-controversial matters as a new cabinet is being formed because of the election results) plans to use DNA stored in hospitals under the doctor-patient privilege for justice department use.

Even DNA materials stored in the past will be under the new proposed legislation.

Demissionair minister Schippers van Volksgezondheid (VVD) wil dat gegevens over afgenomen lichaamsmateriaal in de zorg beschikbaar komen voor politie en justitie. Ook in het verleden afgestaan materiaal valt hieronder. Patiënten wordt daarbij niet om toestemming gevraagd.

Source:  [WayBackZiekenhuis wordt DNA-databank voor justitie – Privacy Barometer – De actuele stand van de politiek over privacy

Posted in Opinions, Power User, Privacy | Leave a Comment »

Learn to fail – Changing our attitude towards failure – booking.com

Posted by jpluimers on 2017/01/12

TL;DR:

By accepting that failing is part of learning, we decrease our fear of failure and become more willing to experiment with new ideas. As we experiment and seek feedback, we will see how this benefits our customers, by creating a great product that is built on data and not opinions. Innovation won’t happen without failure. We must embrace it to continue learning and grow!

I highly recommend reading the full text by Yolanda van Kimmenade with lots of nice quotes: Changing our attitude towards failure

–jeroen

via: From the Wile E. Coyote-Dept: “Changing our attitude towards failure”, The Booking Blog about fail. – Kristian Köhntopp – Google+

Posted in Development, Opinions, Power User, Software Development | 1 Comment »

Everything Is Broken — The Message — Medium

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/12/31

Nice end-of-the-year reading:

Once upon a time, a friend of mine accidentally took over thousands of computers. He had found a vulnerability in a piece of software and…

Source: Everything Is Broken — The Message — Medium

–jeroen

Posted in Opinions | Leave a Comment »

 
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