Adequacy front page
Stories Diaries Polls Users
Google

Web Adequacy.org
Home About Topics Rejects Abortions
This is an archive site only. It is no longer maintained. You can not post comments. You can not make an account. Your email will not be read. Please read this page if you have questions.
 Difficult-to-Learn Computer Topics???

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Apr 02, 2002
 Comments:
I recently started taking a computer certification class to become a CCNA. I've always been comfirtable with networking myself, and I'm quite disturbed by the number of people in my class that don't have as firm a grounding in the subject as I think is required.
diaries

More diaries by skilm
Linux Geeks Take Over
Stupidity
Every Virus Warning You'll Ever Need

Like I said above, networking has always come easy for me and I wonder why other people seem to dread it. I'm looking to see what the opinions of the readers of this fine website think are the harder topics to learn in computers.

I have to put programming and database work on my list of dreaded computer topics. Programming because I haven't had much experience with it or use for it for that matter, and there are so many languages that I never know which is best suited for the tasks I would normally perform.

Databases just seem very boring and have a lot of the same "learning a foreign language" type of thing going on that programming does.

I would love to hear the opinion of the community here, and if you feel that I have given something a bad rap or that my points are inaccurate, feel free to comment on it. I know how to listen to reason unlike some people here ;-)

       
Tweet

Obvious really. (none / 0) (#1)
by walwyn on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 08:37:08 AM PST
Avoidance of submitting the same thing twice.


 
Complete agreement here (none / 0) (#2)
by Narcissus on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 08:40:22 AM PST
I am a computer science student at a school in TX and we have to learn how to program crap long before we even get to the fun stuff (i.e. networking and graphics ).
I am somewhat adequate in programming but it still sux fat donkey d***. As for databases they just suck, can't stand em but all i know about them is my dad uses them all day so they are way below me :)




--------------------------------
Ok, who picked the flower???

Programming is *fun* (none / 0) (#3)
by because it isnt on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 08:49:58 AM PST
and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

When I wake up in the morning, I look forward to a good radix sort and a skewed binary tree, and they can't take that away from me.
adequacy.org -- because it isn't

Radix sort? (none / 0) (#4)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 10:51:39 AM PST
Dump it, what, are you still stuck in the '70s?

Use a binary tree instead. Not only easier and more obvious, but also dynamic. The extra coefficients don't really matter when you're O(ln n).


--
Peace and much love...




What's really sad (none / 0) (#5)
by jvance on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 11:19:17 AM PST
is I took a graduate level class in algorithms from this instructor using this text. It was the most challenging class in CS that I took, and I rose to the challenge and excelled. Have I used anything that I learned in that class in my work? Hardly.
--
Adequacy has turned into a cesspool consisting of ... blubbering, superstitious fools arguing with smug, pseudointellectual assholes. -AR

I'll tell you terrible secret. (none / 0) (#7)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 11:54:29 AM PST
Almost all comp-sci (excluding the perverse mathematical stuff like FFT) can be decomposed into just three algorithms:

  • List traversal. :)))
  • Tree traversal.
  • Graph traversal.


Everything else, from neural networks to compiler optimization to parallel programming to AI can be represented as a special case of these three algorithms.




--
Peace and much love...




Can an editor delete the parent please (none / 0) (#8)
by walwyn on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 12:26:40 PM PST
The choice of an appropriate data structure is the key.


Exactly. (none / 0) (#11)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 01:07:11 PM PST
Which is why studying "algorithms" is short-sighted, to say the least.

You should study data structures, because in real comp-sci there is no such thing as an "algorithm".


--
Peace and much love...




Look at the book link [nt] (none / 0) (#15)
by jvance on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 03:41:15 PM PST

--
Adequacy has turned into a cesspool consisting of ... blubbering, superstitious fools arguing with smug, pseudointellectual assholes. -AR

 
Combinators. (none / 0) (#34)
by because it isnt on Thu Apr 4th, 2002 at 02:37:33 AM PST
Almost all comp-sci (excluding the perverse mathematical stuff like FFT) can be decomposed into just three algorithms

Yeah, but everything in comp-sci can be decomposed into three combinators. That doesn't mean you'd want to.
adequacy.org -- because it isn't

 
Radix sort (none / 0) (#33)
by because it isnt on Thu Apr 4th, 2002 at 02:28:55 AM PST
Dump it, what, are you still stuck in the '70s?

I was just being funny. The only time I've ever used a radix sort was in school, and that was purely to know what radix sort does (ie not a lot unless you are prescient and know the final position of everything in your list). Use a binary tree instead

Surprisingly enough, I do, but usually for Huffman coding. For sorting, I use qsort() because, well, it's there, and it saves me from actually having to think.
adequacy.org -- because it isn't

 
oh know (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 11:35:28 AM PST
Well if you think that databases suck so much I believe that you should stop using Windows. Microsoft (claiming yet another innvative move) is copying BeOS and moving to a database filesystem.


Hmm (none / 0) (#9)
by Yoshi on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 12:31:00 PM PST
So you mean to say that they're taking a page from the three R's of the Lunix movement?

Reverse-engineer
Rename
Redistribute

Just look at all of the popular and revolutionary products the Open Sores community has cobbled together: KDE (Windows clone in every respect), KWord, KDevelop, Konqueror, Gaim, GnoWinZip, KMicrosoft Office XP, Licq, FreeCraft, GMSN Messenger, and myMSSQL Server 2000.


YOU ARE SO FUNNY, YOSHI!!!!! (none / 0) (#12)
by skilm on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 01:10:10 PM PST
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

MyMSSQL Server 2000?!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Where do you come up with this shit? Please stop doing it, cause my sides are starting to hurt!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


-------------------------------------------------

Bread + Egg Nog = Bread Nog

do you know why Marxist-Lenixists are so easily... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 02:14:28 PM PST
... amused?

Because they understand so little of real significance, their correction to every factoid does double time as their private cause to rejoice. "Wheee, look at me, I'm so smart, I know there's no such thing as MyMSSQL Server 2000. Ha ha ha." No shit, sherlock.

Just wind them up...


don't lecture me (none / 0) (#18)
by skilm on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 05:52:59 PM PST
Look Anon-boy, I have had my fair share of battles with Mr. Yoshi here, and the guy is a moron. I laugh at him because he has no clue and makes things up. If you are defending him, then I assume that either you are a newbie here or you are a moron too in which case you can eat my ass with a spoon.


-------------------------------------------------

Bread + Egg Nog = Bread Nog

just this one last lecture, if you please (none / 0) (#24)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 06:58:51 PM PST
You've lost every single one of those battle but are too daft to understand why. Carry on.


 
I can't stop laughing (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 06:14:41 PM PST
So you mean to say that they're taking a page from the three R's of the Lunix movement?

Reverse-engineer
Rename
Redistribute
That would actually make sense if reverse engineering were illegal. Do you even know what it means? It doesn't mean stealing source code and using it. It simply means taking a product and designing your own version how you (the developer or company) believe it should be done. Then eliminating unwanted features and/or adding new ones.

I would have to say that it is much better than EMBRACE, EXTEND, EXTINGUISH, market it as new, innovative and never before seen, and the blame the company you stole it from for poor management.
Just look at all of the popular and revolutionary products the Open Sores community has cobbled together: KDE (Windows clone in every respect), KWord, KDevelop, Konqueror, Gaim, GnoWinZip, KMicrosoft Office XP, Licq, FreeCraft, GMSN Messenger, and myMSSQL Server 2000.
That would actually be a rather intelligent argument if half of the items you listed weren't fabricated. You have an over active imagination. Since your post is about reverse engineering can you name even ONE Microsoft product that is truly innovative? Can you? Hell no because there isn't one.

I really want to concentrate on this little piece of info "KDE (Windows clone in every respect)". Uhh no, far from it. See unlike the Windows GUI KDE, GNOME and most others actually do borrow from past UIs and implement things correctly. Windows GUIs are nothing more than borrowed concepts taken from the OS/2 and Mac OS UIs. I find it rather funny that MS has never been able to include many of the most wanted features from these user interfaces. Every once and awhile they figure it out. They then release it as "never before seen", "new" or "innovative".

There's nothing wrong with reverse engineering. I can reverse engineer Coca Cola. As long as I don't call it Coca Cola or Coke I'm not violating any trademarks, patents, or copyrights.

So please oh grand "computer" professional, inform us of an MS innovation that isn't a blatant rip off, or trivial piece of crap impersonating something else already done. Here I'll get you started:

Microsoft Office
Note: Remember, MS holds the trademark on Microsoft Office not Office.

Just another office suite clone of every office suite that came before with a prettied up interface. Only benefit being that it works better with Windows as Microsoft is known for promising resources to developers then pulling out whenever they feel like it, breaking contracts and winding up in court. It's only through loopholes, or loose interpretations by MS lawyers that MS can continue to sell their half-assed attempts so full of bugs, holes, and exploits like the one involving CLIP ART (HAHA!).

Wanna try, Yoshi? Come on I dare ya.


 
Database can be cool (none / 0) (#13)
by walwyn on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 01:34:10 PM PST
Databases just seem very boring and have a lot of the same "learning a foreign language" type of thing going on that programming does.

Well writing the internals of a DBMS can be interesting:
  • Command processing.
  • HCI design.
  • Achitecture of data structure.
  • Rollback systems.
  • Utilisation of distributed systems.
  • Optimization of search procedures.
  • etc
Using a DBMS or interfacing into a DBMS, on the other hand, is best left to the drones and those looking to escape network administration.




 
For me (4.50 / 2) (#16)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 05:11:57 PM PST
the biggest difficulty is dealing with people, not the technology. For instance, it's really hard to tell when IHBT. Someone will post something vaguely derogatory towards my beloved LINUX, and I'll be off. My face turns red with anger, veins throb (arteries full of cholesterol), sweat drips from my brow. "This guy is so WRONG!!!" I scream. I run my fingers over my bowl cut, and begin to type.

A thousand words of fury and hatred flow from my fingers, the way the code bleeds from Linus' fingers into the kernel, I fantasize. A word for word rebuttal, every point countered with whatever meagre knowledge I scrape together from obsessive Slashdot readings. I'm a fucken boxer in my mind, retaliating to the slaps and ridicule of my opponent with shattering blows that liquidise and destroy.

No time to check my post for lame shit like 'spelling', 'grammar' or valid hyperlinks, that shit's for lamers and M$ lusers. Fuck, I can't even get a working spell check on LINUX, so who cares?

I review the original post. Can't believe the magnitude and multiplicity of errors. "LINUX TOROLVALDOLEZ!!?!?! HOW DARE THEY!!?!? DON'T THEY REALIZE THAT HACKERS LIKE ME AND LINUS RULE THE WORLD!!?!?!"

Worn out, energy supplies drained, I hit submit. Comment submitted. My labour is done... for now. You see, informing the masses is hard work, but defending my perverted lifestyle is what I live for. I'll be back to check what the lamers have trouble understanding once I get back from primary school. And then I'll be close to LINUX again, caressing the craft of a thousand sweaty, overweight, middle-aged hackers.

"When I'm with you, Linus, no-one can stop us. We'll be together forever, and I'll never be beaten again."


Troll. (nt) (none / 0) (#17)
by The Mad Scientist on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 05:43:02 PM PST



Troll? You're the troll!! (none / 0) (#19)
by skilm on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 06:00:17 PM PST
So now people with brains and opinions that aren't heartily endorsed by our lord and master William Gates are trolls?

Please Please Please remember that this is America, and if you expect to have an opinion, you had better honor other's rights to have an opinion as well. Besides, if you'd sit down and educate yourself on the finer points of each OS you'd realize that each has it's place and that neither one is "evil" or "communist" or "racist" or whatever buzzword you choose to pull out of your ass at the moment.

I support the enlightenment expressed in some of these posts!! Keep up the good work!!


-------------------------------------------------

Bread + Egg Nog = Bread Nog

Hm. (none / 0) (#23)
by The Mad Scientist on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 06:55:26 PM PST
So now people with brains and opinions that aren't heartily endorsed by our lord and master William Gates are trolls?

The format of the post is a troll. Clever one. Read it, look at its nuances, figure out what response it is designed to provoke.

Please Please Please remember that this is America, and if you expect to have an opinion, you had better honor other's rights to have an opinion as well.

As long as there will be no chance of me (or any of my unnamed colleagues) to be woken up in odd hour by an urgent service call to pull their asses out of the mess their opinions got them into.

Besides, if you'd sit down and educate yourself on the finer points of each OS you'd realize that each has it's place and that neither one is "evil" or "communist" or "racist" or whatever buzzword you choose to pull out of your ass at the moment.

No OS or application that locks their users into a proprietary file format has its place on the face of the planet. NOT A SINGLE FUCKING ONE!

Screw the open/closed source quarrels; being able to tweak the source is nice but ultimately nonessential. The file formats and the communication protocols are what REALLY matters. I don't care about what you are using as long as I (or any of the people used to call me when they face a problem) can read whatever you send to me (or them) and as long as you won't call for help at insane hour because it crapped on you.


 
Problem is it is a troll (none / 0) (#25)
by DG on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 07:40:13 PM PST
it's trying to piss linux users off at how warped the posters "view" of linux and linux users is, the poster wants linux users the post "WE ARN'T LIKE THAT!" rather poor i must say try again mr AR
most regular visiters to aq don't froth at the mouth like that
2002, DG. You may not reproduce this material, in whole or in part, without written permission of the owner.

 
Once people learn to use the mouse- (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Reader on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 06:06:42 PM PST
The rest is a downhill slide. You can train a monkey to do 99.9 percent of all computer work (including programming) BTW- are you talking about computer science or 'computers'?

Computer science is and will always be above you. Don't bother trying to learn it because you are too dumb to grasp even the basics. Stick to being mystified about how applications work and DO NOT GO NEAR databases. Thinking in multiple diminsions will fry your little brain.

Further, don't worry if you never comprehend what an algorithm is. Just do what I do-
1 go home
2 get drunk
3 forget about it.

Finally, if you hear someone say NP complete- just run. Tell them reduction sent you.


We don't really get that low level in CS. (none / 0) (#26)
by elenchos on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 03:14:55 AM PST
I have heard some of the men in coveralls in the shop down in the basement using terms like "NP Complete", and I know more or less what they are going on about, but that isn't really something covered in Computer Science. It's too much of an implemetation detail, something an "engineer" or more likely a technician would maybe get his hands dirty with, you know.

We deal with the fundamental ideas behind the gritty reality of things like "NP Completeness", do you see? Don't be embarassed if you don't understand, by the way. Few non-Scientists really get it.


I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill


ok, this guy is wrong (none / 0) (#27)
by ronal on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 03:33:11 AM PST
anyone who says that computer science is not concerned with NP-completeness doesn't really know what they are talking about. NP-completeness is very important in all algorithm design, complexity theory, and Discrete mathmatics. Sorry, it just annoys me when people post wrong info just to sound smart.


Well what annoys me... (none / 0) (#28)
by elenchos on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 03:56:09 AM PST
..is bounders. Look, you are obviously some sort of computer technician putting on airs. I bet you have a title that has gotten you all puffed up, am I right? My guess is Network Engineer -- more accurately Network "Engineer". Perhaps you type programs; oh, I'm sorry, Software "Engineering", right?

Algorithm design is a perfectly respectable job, don't get me wrong. Many of my friends are algorithm designers, you know. Not the kind of friends that I would run into at my club, but loyal subordinate kind of friends, nonetheless. I do get a little tired of complexity "theorists" these days, I must say. Again, it's that damn title that makes them uppity. And discrete mathematicians? No, I wouldn't let my daughter marry one, but still, solid fellows, good to have around.

But Scientists? No, I'm sorry, no. Computer Science simply doesn't fuss with such details.


I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill


So... (none / 0) (#29)
by budlite on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 06:05:33 PM PST
Explain what Computer Science DOES "fuss with" then.


As I have discussed adequately... (none / 0) (#31)
by elenchos on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 07:51:17 PM PST
...I don't believe that kind of information should be given out to just anyone, teenagers in particular. Suffice it to say that if you have the proper credentials, you will be told what you need to know. If no one is telling you anything, it means you should accept your lot in life and quit complaining.


I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill


Rather... (none / 0) (#32)
by The Mad Scientist on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 08:05:57 PM PST
Suffice it to say that if you have the proper credentials, you will be told what you need to know.

Isn't it a bit too passive?

If no one is telling you anything, it means you should accept your lot in life and quit complaining.

If no one is telling you anything it means you should start asking. If no one answers, or tells you to shut up, it only means you are on your own and should find the answers yourself. If nobody gives you the answers, take them by any suitable means.

This attitude makes you a hacker - but it is the cost of curiosity. A bargain.


 
I Was Going to Complain... (none / 0) (#30)
by gzt on Wed Apr 3rd, 2002 at 06:29:12 PM PST
But Then I realized you were right. I was going to say I knew somebody who is a Computer Scientist, no matter what you said, who worked with complexity theory and NP-completeness junk.

But then I remembered that he doesn't actually work with those, his work is related to them. Indeed, he works with the (as you said) "fundamental ideas behind the gritty reality of things like 'NP Completeness'".

I propose that somebody start a project to tell the public what Computer Science really is. I mean, even in the US Gov't's National Science Bowl, their Computer Science questions were usually like, "What three-key combination does one hit in Windows 98 to restart?" The closest thing to Computer Science was a question about sort algorithms and a question about proper subsets (that's a MATH question, dude).

Not even our omniscient, omnibenevolent government can get it right.

Cheers,
GZ
PS Love the Bikini Kill reference


The opposite approach is our only hope. (none / 0) (#35)
by elenchos on Fri Apr 5th, 2002 at 01:11:24 AM PST
Handing out knowledge to the masses only gives them the tools to blow up your buildings and read your mail. What is needed is to choke off the spread of this dangerous knoledge at the source using a pervasive web of government controls and regulation, including background checks, security clearances, and far-reaching investigations in which the subjects are presumed guilty.

Hardware should be modified so that it allows only the basic functions that 99% of users want, while removing everything that could be used to make the machine act differently than intended. They should be like ruggedized iMacs, or better yet, Palm organizers.

Anyone who attempts to open up his box deserves to get his fingers blown off.


I do, I do, I do
--Bikini Kill


 
Difficult skills (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by zikzak on Tue Apr 2nd, 2002 at 06:24:41 PM PST
I find that the single most difficult skill for many computer users to master is that of knowing when and where it is completely inappropriate to discuss computers.


 

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest ® 2001, 2002, 2003 Adequacy.org. The Adequacy.org name, logo, symbol, and taglines "News for Grown-Ups", "Most Controversial Site on the Internet", "Linux Zealot", and "He just loves Open Source Software", and the RGB color value: D7D7D7 are trademarks of Adequacy.org. No part of this site may be republished or reproduced in whatever form without prior written permission by Adequacy.org and, if and when applicable, prior written permission by the contributing author(s), artist(s), or user(s). Any inquiries are directed to legal@adequacy.org.