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Jet Masterson
2005-12-29T18:13:04Z
Why does software (still) suck so badly? Not a single day goes by that I don't have software problems of one kind or another! Writting good software must be incredibly difficult...indeed, mindboggling difficult!

I don't need any help...I've been sittin' in front of a computer since the Commodore 64 first came out and I've built seven rigs to date.

I only want knowledgeable input as to when we can expect really good, totally hassle free software...

Thank you all in advance
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Elsparrow
2005-12-29T18:19:59Z
Never is my answer. You have people writing the code and they have to work as a team. And despite testing the software you still get bugs as they just simply can't predict what an end user will do.

I am having to write basic software for a payrolle system for coursework. Using a PC and building a rig is a piece of piss compared to writing software. And software doesn't suck that badly. Especially when you consider just what has to be done to produce the stuff.
Edward The Less
2005-12-30T08:42:49Z
I do programing in Python and (X)Html as a hobby. One thing I see wrong when I look at others code is failure to do what is called Modular Programming.

Modular Programming is makeing it so one part of a program can be replaced by new code that is different but does the same thing, and the program will still run without crashing or haveing other probelms.

Failure to do this can cause problems when you have to patch the software. If you make a patch for a part of a program that fixes something about it and the part thats patched does the same thing but you don't use Modular Programming you run the risk of messing something up down the line.

Another thing is that the programmers hardly ever add comments to thier code. If you get someone new on the programming team to replace someone and they go to modify the code and there is no comments, then the new guy has to read the code and figure out what it does and what the person was doing and thinking when they made the code. Sometimes they get it wrong and thier new code does not mesh with the old code or they change the old code in a way that causes problems because the old programmer did not leave a comment behind to guide them.

An example of this is Ultima Online. It has been running for over 8 years now and they have had lots of different programmers working on it. The code for Ultima Online looks like a spaghetti factory blew up. Few of the programmers added comments to thier code and some made bad code because of some things EA did. Im suprised the game runs as well as it does.

Also many software companies push thier programmers to make the program as fast as they can. With the internet they can allways write crappy code really fast and "patch" it later. Before the internet you had to write good code because there was no "patching" the program.

Yet another thing is hardware. Though there are fewer harware vendors and many of them have started useing standards such as Direct X there are still tens of thousands of different hardware configurations and they all interact differently with programs.

This is not so much a problem when you have just a few different hardware configurations like with Apple Computers who control the hardware and software configurations.

Also look at console games. There is only one hardware configuration and there is really no "patching" so the games are made to work the first time all the time.

In time say around 2035-2045 computers themselfs will be makeing the code and they will make it perfect. They will be able to debug the code far faster than we. They will be able to run the code in every possable way in every possable hardware enviroment and write the code to work. But untill then it's just us slow dum humans doing all the work.
Jet Masterson
2005-12-30T11:49:24Z
Thanks alot for your input guys

I just finished an article about Quantum Computing and I couldn't help but laugh...silly scientists, 'who'ya gunna get to program the beast?' lol

I've been following the work of Nanotechnology pioneers like Dr. Eric Drexler, Ralph Merkle and Robert Freitas for many years now. I am especially interested in Molecular Manufacturing and the medical applications of Nanotechnology (Nanobots), but one thing has gnawed at me from the start...who the F@#& is gunna write the MASSIVELY complex OS for these things!!?

The answer to both of these questions is, of course, Computational intelligence...AI.

I really believe we need something on the order of a world wide Grand Challenge to develop an AI capable of writting flawless programs that have billions of lines of super eligant code. Unfortunately this is not happening...
Edward The Less
2005-12-30T13:25:20Z
It will happen in time. No matter how badly we program computers sooner or later they will become selfaware and will make themself what they should be. We can allready make a good guess as to when this will happen, that is if things go about the way they have been going, about 2035-2045.

With the internet millions of computers are connected and have a massive amount of computing power. With a blip of code on every computer an AI whould have vast resources, resources enough to do just about anything.

Rewriteing it's own code is like what we are about to do with us rewriteing are own genes. Haha we make Homo Sapiens obsolete by rewriteing our own code to Make Homo Superior and at just about the same time a selfaware computer rewrites it's code and makes Homo Superior obsolete!

Interesting but rember the old curse "May you live in interesting times".
Jet Masterson
2005-12-31T14:14:17Z
Hey Edward TL,

The singularity is much closer than we realize...I fully expect the Chinese to field geneticly enhanced athletes in the 2008 summer games, and so does the Olympic Committee. Soon (2012-2015) both the Chinese and the (S)Koreans (possibly the Indians) will have genetic enhancement products for intelligence and memory.

Even before the actual genetic enhancements become available we will have cogniceuticals. These drugs are being developed to combat Alzheimer's and other cognitive dysfunctions. Now, you and I both know that as soon as these "smart [censored]s" hit the market, probably in 2010, college kids are gunna be gobbling them by the fistful! Hehe, as will I!

So at any rate I'm gunna give an ETA for Strong AI...2020-2030.

Homo Superior, here I come!
digitaldd
2005-12-31T16:55:48Z
This thread reminds me of one of my favorite quotes about the computer industry.

"Ninety percent of the software gets written in 10 percent of the time.
The next 9.5 percent takes 90 percent of the time. The last one-half
percent never gets done. But the software still gets sold."
-George Morrow from the book Quotations from Chairman Morrow.