It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Shocked! Amazed! Bewildered! These feelings are all somehow tied uncomfortably to a belly-laugh. If you've just returned from the drugstore with a topped-off bottle of meds, and you're feelin' dangerous, then this article's for you:
Revealed in the above essay is an unsettling reality: The people responsible for writing the code that (supposedly) secures our surfing habits, social media data, financial data, network of friends and associates, our political views, our sexual preferences, how many pets we own, etc. are asleep at the switch. Truth is that the code in our modern-day operating systems is so complex even the programmers themselves don't fully understand it.
Back in the day, many moons ago, I attended university classes in computer programming. The computer room was double the size of any normal sized classroom yet half the room was taken up by a computer. A huge VAX machine complete with a handful of terminals that displayed green text on a black screen (I wonder what landfill it sits in now). One underpaid professor was doing his best to teach me simple Basic and was failing miserably. No mouse, no games, no Internet, no Google, no spell-checking word processors – just me and the code and super-tight security. I was an anonymous man in an anonymous world, free from our current virtual fishbowl where a spaghetti-coded modern-day OS is strip-searching me daily. Ouch! The computer's UNIX OS was invented and maintained by computer scientists, the hardware by computer engineers, instruction taught by PhD level instructors.
Fast-forward thirty years: My friend Chris is a full-time C++ programmer and graduate of a corporate computer school, near full-time pot smoker and suspected part-time cross-dresser. Is Chris responsible for programming some very fun games? Oh yeah. Is Chris responsible for some amazing feats of programming gymnastics? You bet. Is Chris responsible for securing the privacy of thousands of technology users planet-wide while they play his game? He'd be the first to giggle at that. Chris will admit, for as much as he knows about programming (he knows quite a bit), there are many pre-written “libraries” that he uses constantly but has no idea how they really work. To him Internet security is an S.E.P. (somebody else's problem).
Playing Skyrim in off-line mode is looking better and better.