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Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: "Programming Will Make You a Better Doctor"

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the learning-the-bits dept.

Education 79

cylonlover writes "After a handful of days of furtive suggestion, spring made its presence felt in London today, where the second Technology Frontiers conference got underway. The Economist-organized event sees leading technologists and cultural figures take to the podium in front of some 250 ideas-thirsty business persons. Among them was Raspberry Pi Foundation founder Eben Upton, who extolled the benefits of learning to program for all professions. He went into some detail as to the inception of the Raspberry Pi and the need for more computer programmers."

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Pi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100185)

I really need to get around to buying one of those Pis

Dammit Jim (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#43100203)

I'm a doctor, not a programmer!

Raspberry Guy: "Programming will make you a better doctor."

You green blooded, inhuman...

Re:Dammit Jim (1)

dimeglio (456244) | about 2 years ago | (#43102849)

Also Google can make anyone a doctor. I can find YouTube videos on how to perform neurosurgery. All we need is a detailed 3D printer to get a model onto which we can practice and done!

I can imagine (5, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#43100223)

-Doctor, my kid is sick!

-Have you tried turning him off and on again?

Re:I can imagine (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#43100339)

-Have you tried turning him off and on again?

There is no on/off switch, so you have to unplug the cellphone charger you're using as his power supply.

Come to think of it, I think many kids would improve considerably if you unplugged their cellphone charger and forgot to plug it back in.

Re:I can imagine (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#43101657)

Things to try:
Reinstall Windows XP
Update to SP3
Upgrade to Windows 8
Install a touchscreen [may be prohibited in some states]
Try making him a hackintosh
Linux! [after making sure there are drivers for all his hardware]

Re:I can imagine (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#43102725)

The lack of a shutdown is can be quite annoying too. I use my Pi with Raspbmc and you're supposed to select "Power off" from the XBMC menu but it just halts the kernel and the box stays on. So you have to physically pull the plug out when the board is halted.

I'm looking for a hard on / off switches dongle for USB but it would be nice to have a soft power button that could figure out the Pi was in a shut down state and cut the power after some period of inactivity. Maybe the USB charge cable does data too and can send a power-down signal to some simple dongle implementing a soft power switch. Or maybe a dongle containing a dsp could be triggered to soft shutdown through some distinct and recognizable power draw pattern that the Pi could generate when it halts.

Re:I can imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43103479)

Or...plug the Pi's power brick into a power socket/strip with an on/off switch and turn it off that way...

Re:I can imagine (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#43104813)

I have one of those, unfortunately it's behind the TV.

Re:I can imagine (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#43100431)

-Doctor, my kid is sick!

-Have you tried turning him off and on again?

That's not a programmer, that's an MDSE-certified health professional...

Re:I can imagine (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#43102301)

Just like mechanical devices, the easiest way to fix a biomechanical device is to give it a good slap on the back.

So why do I need a Raspberry Pi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100233)

You can just download Python and learn to program just fine with that. I don't need a piece of hardware for that.

Re:So why do I need a Raspberry Pi? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100381)

Hey Eben, you're a bit grouchy tonight. Pretty itchy on that "-1 mod" finger.

Re:So why do I need a Raspberry Pi? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#43100469)

You can just download Python and learn to program just fine with that. I don't need a piece of hardware for that.

It is actually a bit curious how dubiously suited the rPi is to its theoretical objective(compared to the obvious strategy of just running freely available software on the ridiculously powerful beige wintels that clutter the world); but how much of a giant kick in the ass it gave the 'dev boards that aren't either weedy microcontrollers or $1500, just call our sales team' market.

Re:So why do I need a Raspberry Pi? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100905)

Now if we could only get the 3D printer crowd to have your level of insight and honesty... Let's see, it's 10:07PM here, I wonder how fast I'll get -1?

And in other news... (5, Informative)

fireman sam (662213) | about 2 years ago | (#43100255)

Solving problems (programming) can help improve problem solving skills.

Re:And in other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100311)

http://www.jetek-pcb.com

Re:And in other news... (5, Insightful)

weilawei (897823) | about 2 years ago | (#43100401)

This. I haven't read TFA, but I'll venture a guess that's what Eben was getting at. Critical thinking is useful in virtually all fields of human endeavour. Programming just happens to be a form of applied problem solving that isn't inherently domain specific.

Re:And in other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100821)

This. I haven't read TFA, but I'll venture a guess that's what Eben was getting at. Critical thinking is useful in virtually all fields of human endeavour. Programming just happens to be a form of applied problem solving that isn't inherently domain specific.

This, this, this, this this, this, this. Really when did this become part of the English language?

Re:And in other news... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#43104291)

This, this, this, this this, this, this. Really when did this become part of the English language?

It's a slightly grown up version of the old AOL "me too!" It also has (for me) the tinge of a poster who thinks he is too busy and important to bother writing English.

Whenever I see a post starting "This." I rarely read any further.

Re:And in other news... (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 2 years ago | (#43105735)

This. Also, you don't need to read further if you read what "this" refers to, though you'll be missing out on my inciteful wit contained within this sentence.

Re:And in other news... (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#43103915)

Could also be "knowledge or skills that are not particularly common in your field is often a commodity."

In my field (cell biology), you could say the same thing about calculus, statistics, programming, or people skills. Most cell biologists have good lab bench skills and an ability to think about cell biology and come up with good ideas. The ones that have a good handle on cell biology, lab techniques, AND calculus, or statistics, or programming, or people skills are much more rare, and often more valuable.

Re:And in other news... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#43100477)

Solving problems (programming) can help improve problem solving skills.

Plus, would you trust a transplant surgeon who doesn't understand modularity, re-use, and object-oriented design?

Re:And in other news... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#43104341)

Plus, would you trust a transplant surgeon who doesn't understand modularity, re-use, and object-oriented design?

As long as he can handle his drink enough to keep the scalpel from shaking, I don't give a toss about whether he knows Visual Basic.

Re:And in other news... (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#43100519)

Indeed. Programming is one of those exercises, like cryptic crosswords or playing chess, which simply gets you to think logically, with a little creativity thrown in. Doesn't matter what you do, keeping your brain active with logical problems is known to boost your ability in multiple different fields.

Re:And in other news... (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#43104569)

I don't program for any tangible practical purpose, but what you said has been very true (for me, at least).

Now... I did my undergrad in Computer Engineering, so I got my fair share of programming, but certainly not to any level where I would be comfortable doing it for a living, but to 'exercise my brain', I took the MITx Intro to programming class mostly as way to remind myself of some of the principles of programming, and I actually felt it helped me quite a bit. It was like doing crossword puzzles to keep my vocabulary up. Nothing I was doing was particularly difficult, but the process of solving the problems was what I was interested in. (That and fixing my terrible grasp of programming syntax. I can give you pseudocode fit for a flight computer, but actually writing the code was anathema to me)

Programming requires a very methodical way of thinking and breaking apart problems into solvable chunks, and because of that, even though I'm not so great at it, I would advocate it as part of a suite of mental 'exercises'.

In no particular order, I recommend:

1. Programming
2. Learning a foreign language to an advanced-beginner stage.
3. Taking a free philosophy course on a topic you are interested in.
4. Design and Build a wood worktable from scratch (2x4s and plywood sheets)
5. Read a highly rated book from a genre you avoid. (for me, it's standard fiction and biographies, so I'm trying out some William Faulkner atm)
6. Start a journal
7. Learn to sketch. Just do one sketch/day
8. Learn an instrument (Ukeleles are cheap, and don't require long fingers)
9. Walk in the park or meditate.

Any other 'brain teasing' exercises recommended?

Re:And in other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100533)

Everybody is good, we are do circuit board, if you need it, please check our company's web site, www.jetek-pcb.com, we will serve you wholeheartedly

Re:And in other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100571)

Everybody is good, we are do circuit board, if you need it, please check our company's web site, www.jetek-pcb.com, we will serve you wholeheartedly,thank you

Re:And in other news... (1)

zrelativity (963547) | about 2 years ago | (#43100879)

Physics should be mandatory for a doctor... My son probably would have preferred a joint Physics/Medicine degree, rather than studying Medicine at undergrad, but the workload is really heavy for a medic student as it is.

Re:And in other news... (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | about 2 years ago | (#43101135)

I'm still waiting to see the connection between programming and the RPi? Sure you can do it that way, but you equally do it on your existing Win/Mac/Linux box too. In fact if you want pure problem solving then let's all just do some maths, no computer required.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43103463)

The Raspberry Pi is for the 3rd world countries who don't currently have access to an affordable PC, or kids who don't have a PC of their own to tinker with. I bought one for my 8 year old. He can do what ever he likes to it, either reflashing the SD card will fix it or I'm out just over $35 for an actual HW problem.

I've been teaching him programming and some basic electronics; connect LEDs and other bits and it can act like a basic microcontroller.

The Pi was never meant to replace your PC, it's either a supplement, or a stepping stone to bigger things.

Learning electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100257)

will make you a better lawyer.

Re:Learning electronics (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#43100569)

Interesting. I was thinking the opposite.

I once studied law, intending to become a lawyer, then realized that would make me a lawyer, and I wanted a career where I could sleep at night. So I became a programmer, and I've spent many nights in front of a glowing terminal... but I digress.

I feel that learning a bit of law has actually helped my programming. Lawyers spend much of their time picking which rules best apply to a particular circumstance, while programmers pick which algorithms are best suited to a task. Lawyers then submit their case to a judge for consideration, while the programmers simply run the compiler. Lawyers work around contract loopholes by covering them with other clauses, and programmers work around (some) bugs by covering them with better-written wrappers.

Many problem-solving disciplines use similar skills. Programming, being nearly pure logic mixed with a bit of language, can contribute marginally to a wide variety of other fields, including medicine, law, or even politics. It is important, however, to not become too obsessed with the programming approach. A perfectly-written contract that programmatically describes an agreement can still be thrown out by a judge if he thinks it isn't fair.

Re:Learning electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100859)

My brother is a lawyer for our county's DA office. He helped a 5 year old who was mauled by a pit bull get some justice that he was almost fucked out of on bullshit reasons. He can sleep at night.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#43101487)

Jokes aside, the "getting justice" days are unfortunately accompanied by the "no idea what's right" days and the "just ruined someone's life" days. I much prefer to work on programming low-impact applications, where I can utterly botch a routine or two and the worst effect is a few new tickets.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43101119)

If it's one thing the world needs, it's more lawyers.

Can you imagine a world without lawyers?

Re:Learning electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43102369)

Indeed. If it weren't for lawyers, who would be there to help us navigate the colossal tangle of bureaucracy that lawyers invented?

Re:Learning electronics (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#43104423)

Indeed. If it weren't for lawyers, who would be there to help us navigate the colossal tangle of bureaucracy that lawyers invented?

Lawyers and bureaucrats are the price we pay for civilisation.

I know that the rugged individualists on slashdot would prefer a society ruled solely by the law of the market and gun, but some of us prefer sanity.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | about 2 years ago | (#43101161)

I feel that learning a bit of arboristry has actually helped my programming. Arborists spend much of their time picking which things best apply to a particular circumstance, while programmers pick which algorithms are best suited to a task. Arborists then execute their decision, while the programmers simply run the compiler. Arborists work around branches and leaves by climbing or crawling, and programmers work around (some) bugs by covering them with better-written wrappers.

I feel that learning a bit of plumbing has actually helped my programming. Plumbers spend much of their time picking which things best apply to a particular circumstance, while programmers pick which algorithms are best suited to a task. Plumbers then execute their decision, while the programmers simply run the compiler. Plumbers work around pipes blockages by clearing them with their tools, and programmers work around (some) bugs by covering them with better-written wrappers.

Re:Learning electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43101215)

Newsflash! Doing a task which requires a different kind of thinking improves methods of thinking for other tasks.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#43101465)

I don't think those examples fit quite as smoothly as a lawyer does, but yes, that's the point. Study across a wide range of subjects can contribute indirectly to an otherwise-unrelated field, because there are isomorphic problems whose solutions will rely on similar techniques. Getting back on the topic of TFA, I think that programming can indeed help make better doctors, simply by offering a different perspective on some problems.

Beyond programming and law, I also enjoy live sound reinforcement, robotics, dance, architecture, and I've recently developed a taste for cooking. I don't know yet how those will all benefit me, but it's likely that they will.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#43104467)

You should have come up with a car analogy too. Then we'd have known what you were talking about.

I disagree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43101391)

It is important, however, to not become too obsessed with the programming approach.

No, life is more interesting when the characters get obsessed. Preferably to a totally insane, dramatic degree.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

KramberryKoncerto (2552046) | about 2 years ago | (#43101589)

To be fair, in a different way it made Alsup a better judge than some others. I guess that's what GP is talking about.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#43102337)

Lawyers learn to phrase and interpret things for what theyd' like them to mean, regardless of reality.
Programmers learn to phrase and interpret things according to reality, regardless of what they'd like them to mean.

Lawyers not so different (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#43105043)

Lawyers learn to phrase and interpret things for what theyd' like them to mean, regardless of reality.
Programmers learn to phrase and interpret things according to reality, regardless of what they'd like them to mean.

That's actually not true. Lawyers, like programmers, learn how to analyze complex systems that require interaction in specialized language, and learn the precise uses of the specialized language necessary to produce desired results.

Lawyers -- far more than programmers -- also are required to learn quite a bit about ethical codes of when it is and isn't right to use particular invocations from their craft.

Sure, there is unethical lawyering, and it can be quite disproportionately visible. But the same is true of programming. Its not like malware, despite the biological analogies often made for it ("worms", "viruses", "infections") is a naturally occurring threat.

Re:Lawyers not so different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43107041)

I've done programming work for law offices, in the days before word processors, to help lawyers draft contracts which include lots of boilerplate text. Also hired lawyers to help me draw up contracts for my own company. While I'd never want to argue a case in front of a judge and jury, I believe that the sort of person who thinks in ways that make him a decent computer programmer could just as well do a decent job of practicing contract law, and probably vice versa.

As for ethics, never mind viruses. Who is it that's writing face recognition software for intelligence agencies? Or deep packet inspection technology for censors? Or even (my current peeve) freakin' region codes for HP ink cartridges, FFS? Some of our fellow programmers have a lot to answer for.

(And I'm not even going to start talking about Facebook...)

Re:Learning electronics (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#43104397)

I once studied law, intending to become a lawyer, then realized that would make me a lawyer, and I wanted a career where I could sleep at night. So I became a programmer

I'm sure the lawyers who help get justice for rape victims in India or who prosecute war criminals sleep perfectly well at night. Charities need lawyers, plenty of victims of the powerful and wealthy need lawyers.

Thinking in one dimensional stereotypes is not a good advertisment for the benefits of being good at programming.

Re:Learning electronics (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#43105085)

I'm sure the lawyers who help get justice for rape victims in India or who prosecute war criminals sleep perfectly well at night. Charities need lawyers, plenty of victims of the powerful and wealthy need lawyers.

Both from not having time and stress of the odds they are facing, those kinds of lawyers are less likely to sleep well (or at all) at night than the amoral sociopaths who do whatever it takes to make the most money.

Re:Learning electronics (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#43106147)

Most skills have some marginal crossover benefits, the question is rather what is the opportunity cost in time. Do you become a better programmer by learning a bit of law or more programming? Does the lawyer become a better lawyer by learning a bit of programming or more legal theory and case study? You need the width of knowledge to work with others, but you also need the depth to really know your stuff. Or rather I feel it's the other way around, if all you know is IT I can have a business-to-IT translator give you work but if you don't have any in-depth skill then you're almost usable to lots of things, but only almost. And if you got width and depth, well you're probably too busy even though you'd be perfect for my project too. It's a team sport, make the players you have exploit their strengths because you'll never get around to fixing all the weaknesses.

So you're telling me... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100315)

That if I need brain surgery, a doctor than can program javascript is more qualified than a doctor that is a brain surgeon?

Thanks for the advice, you fucking retard.

Stupid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100329)

Dear Eben,

Please come back and give your little speech again after you have mastered all of these various professions yourself and can give first hand accounts.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43104511)

LOL you can't say it out loud on slashdot but most software developers think they can do any job in the whole world, better than anyone who has taken 5-10 years to qualify professionally in that field (doctors, lawyers, architects, actual engineers...)

I can only assume that most Computer Science degrees include a large amount of Scientology-style brainwashing as to how fucking amazing you are for being on that course in the first place.

Con Kolivas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100503)

Enough said. [wikipedia.org]

A doctor's diatribe against computers at work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100507)

Twoddle... I am a doctor, and a programmer. Doctoring involves lots of repetitive tasks, the problem being that individuals are... individual and you have to tweak the process slightly every time. This involves intelligence, and means that many medical tasks that should on the face of it be easy to automate, aren't.

There are lots of doctor-led initiatives out there. For example, when I refer patients to a famous cardiology center I have to fill in an online form and specifying lots of details such as how long it is since they had chest pain and the results of particular tests for an MI. The problem is that my patients may have a different diagnosis - e.g. endocarditis - so I am forced to make details up to make the computer accept the referral, then call the person who gets a printout of the referral form in order to tell them which details are invented. I might also want to tell them some test results that the computer didn't ask for. Another program sometimes swaps patient details - e.g. if you start work on a letter, then look up another patient's results, then return to the letter, the second patient's details are shown at the top of the letter. Ouch. Then sometimes you want to discharge patients home directly from intensive care. Not frequently, but it happens. It's not something that the computer allows for and you have to admit them to a regular ward (at least electronically) before sending them home.

There are also real concerns with liability and permissions... A few years back I wrote a program to help us copy patient's blood results from the results program to our patient lists (basic medical summaries of all our patients in Word). This saved us about 2-3 man hours a day and was a huge relief as the previous team had been averaging about 5 hours unpaid overtime each for a team of 3. I had to write the program in Excel because I didn't have access to a suitable programming language on the hospital systems and I wouldn't have gotten anything homebrew installed. However, even had I been able to use a program of my choice, it's unlikely that I would have been allowed/able to access the confidential results database directly which is what would have been necessary in order for me to further improve my program. When I returned to do a locum shift in that hospital a year later, I found to my delight and horror that every team in the hospital was now using my program. A few versions were corrupted by people who didn't understand it and it was now behaving slightly erratically. What is my liability should something go wrong in the future? It was something I considered at the time, but the temptation of going home earlier was too great.

There is huge opportunity for computerisation to streamline healthcare, but in general it is done very poorly and I do not know how long it will be before the systems help more than they hinder. I have just moved to a stone-age hospital where we use paper almost exclusively. Despite being an old-school nerd able to program in assembly language, C, Matlab and a bit of Java in my free time, it's a huge relief to be able to use computers less at work.

Re:A doctor's diatribe against computers at work (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 years ago | (#43100995)

You've brushed right up against the reason for Eben's speech. Domain knowledge. As a doctor, you have domain knowledge of medicine. Eben is proposing that lots of programming problems should be solved by the domain expert, not a third party programming expert who is wholly ignorant of the domain.

Now of course, a GOOD programmer would acquire enough of that knowledge to write a heart patient referral program that wouldn't get in your way or force you to generate bullshit data. Unfortunately, there's a serious dearth of good programmers working in the medical field. Damned if I know why, but it seems that every single medical data application is written by a database guy, and database guys believe that everything can be neatly labeled and categorized and plunked into its proper normalized column. For some reason, none of them acquire sufficient domain knowledge to discover that biology is just MESSY and very frequently doesn't fit into columns. Some of that is no doubt driven by MBA hospital administrators who cause a lot of grief for not only cherishing that same belief, but insisting it be included in the requirements handed to the database guy. Still, you'd think somewhere, some real domain knowledge would seep into the programming.

I can guess why you're happy to be in a stone-age hospital, too. Time. The time it takes to fill out a paper form is considerably less than the time it takes to convince the badly designed digital form to accept what you're telling it. Between badly written validation routines that take forever just to decide one field is right, to form validation requirements that, again, completely ignore how messy biology is, your fiddle-time interacting with most programs is just terrible.

Computers could indeed be a huge boon to streamlining healthcare, but until the software is written by truly expert user interface designers who understand medical data exceedingly well, it's going to be done badly.

Re:A doctor's diatribe against computers at work (0)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#43101285)

Well, for starters, it will take you something like ten years of programming all the time to be able to do that sort of thing. The programming you will do will be difficult and tedious. And to do a good job of it, you'll also have to be a fully trained physician with enough experience to know how programmatically obvious solutions will fail in real life situations, so now you'll need at least ten more years of training and experience, probably more. And you're going to need a lot of you. Very few people can do both jobs at the level of skill needed to carry off this sort of thing, and very few of those are going to choose to do so.

Re:A doctor's diatribe against computers at work (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 2 years ago | (#43102047)

There's the rub. If you start with programmers who have little domain knowledge, you get awful software. If you start with domain experts who have little programming knowledge, you get HL7.

Re:A doctor's diatribe against computers at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43103137)

This is why you need a good strong *mixture* of skill sets on a highly domain-specific project like medical software - i.e. medics with some programming knowledge working with programmers with some understanding of medicine, overseen by managers with an appreciation of both areas. You need someone like the OP to ensure the forms are definitely fit for the intended purpose, and you need an experienced developer to ensure you don't get the nasty race conditions he describes, and you need the whole project to be formally run so you don't run afoul of his liability concerns either. If you only have medics who know medicine, and programmers who only know how to program, and managers who only know how to manage, they have no common frame of reference in which to communicate or coordinate, leading to anger and frustration, turf wars and balkanization, and a final product that (if it isn't aborted first) is almost certainly going to fare horribly on all these fronts.

What a shame the OP now feels as he does: his own skill set ought to be a major asset to both himself and others and exploited accordingly. Though I can certainly understand why: as a domain expert turned developer in another specialized field, I know myself the problems caused by developers with zero interest in learning about the domain and managers with no clue about either. Attitudes which are far too common, and way too often accepted or even encouraged, alas.

God fucking damnit Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100627)

God fucking damnit Slashdot, please stop running stupid fucking pointless articles about Raspberry Pi and Bitcoin.

I swear, some days I feel like starting my own nerd-news aggregator, calling it dashpipe, and rejecting every subject overhyped by Slashdot's corporate masters.

I miss the old days.

Re:God fucking damnit Slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100731)

No, YOU shut the fuck up.

This is our website, and we'll put WHATEVER THE FUCK WE WANT on it. You can either dance along on your strings like a good little puppet, OR GET THE FUCK OUT.

Fuck off, you worthless linux user. Your fucking kind is not welcome here. Either pay up, or shut up. Microsoft, Apple, Raspberry Pi, and Bitcoin pay us, so of course we're going to cater to them. If you don't like it, pay us more than they do. Until then, get a pistol, hold it against your head, and pull the trigger.

Slashdot is for people like us now. Get used to it, you stupid little pleb. Cry about how Microsoft is ruining your communist linux utopia. Nobody here gives a fuck. This is Slashdot. Get in the well.

Re:God fucking damnit Slashdot... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#43104551)

Always good to hear directly from our Dice overlords.

Re:God fucking damnit Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100813)

Slashdot: News for ignorant, pigheaded fanbois

Re:God fucking damnit Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43101297)

In all seriousness, somebody out there has to see an opportunity to make a competitor to Slashdot with less crappy articles. Lots of people are craving such a beast, but until something appears, we have to put up with stale slashdot.

Re:God fucking damnit Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43102087)

It's called Ars Technica and it kicks the shit out of Slashdot.

If all you have is a hammer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100755)

If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

If all you have is a computer, the most flexible device you can configure, attached to the largest database of human information, every problem looks like a breeze.

Solving problems (programming) can help improve pr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43100957)

Solving problems (programming) can help improve problem solving skills.

http://www.bbheadphone.com,http://www.giftbox100.com,http://www.mjersey.com,http://www.mclarisonic.com

Plus, would you trust a transplant surgeon who doesn't understand modularity, re-use, and object-oriented design?

When the only tool you have is a hammer.. (2)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 2 years ago | (#43101421)

.. everything starts to look like a nail.

Re:When the only tool you have is a hammer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43102523)

Problem solving will develop your sense of critical thinking and ability to analyze rationally.

That's a tautology, really, and a bit pointless to discuss. Everyone would do well with some programming exercises if only to sharpen critical thinking skills.

The problem is that being a successful doctor is so much more than simply solving the immediate problem. You need some irrationality as well. You need a sense of humor. You need to connect with the patient and understand what he is telling you. Some times you need the social skills to tell him he is (most likely) wrong but in such a way as to not appear to be a complete dickwad about it.

It's these other things that we programmers are notoriously bad at. We think we are much more rational and untainted by emotion than we really are. A higher percentage of us are libertarians because of this and we think "social" is something that happens on G+ or facebook or whaterver social site du jour is.

For a perfect example of a programmer-turned-doctor, se House M.D. We don't need more psycopaths like that. Doctors need to maintain high levels of technical proficiency (obviously) but not lose the ability for empathy and altruism the way we programmers have (imnsho).

Re:When the only tool you have is a hammer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43103653)

"Monkey see, monkey do" is all "your kind" is capable of due to limited intelligence and creativity. Originality's clearly beyond your stunted abilities. All you have's worn out b.s. you nail and hammer yourself with.

I agree with Upton (2)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#43101811)

A few years ago I got to do program reviews in local high school in Rhode Island. In one class they were learning the Microsoft Office suite.

All fine and good, but on that particular day they were working in Excel. The teacher had them doing a payroll spreadsheet. Ok, that works. But then the teacher mentioned the cheat sheet to get the tax amounts.

Based on that I asked the teacher if there was any intention to teach these kids Visual BASIC for Applications (VBA). The teachers answer was that you needed advanced math to be able to program a computer. I wrote this on my report and said that it would actually benefit the kids understanding of mathematics if they knew how to program in MS Office apps. I also said that the act of programming would actually enhance their mathematics skills. Let's face it, for most programming the math you need is to know the basic four functions, maybe modulo, E notation, and exponents. Pretty basic stuff.

So start getting these RasPi boards out there - start getting kids interested in programming on them. You might be surprised what you get out the other end of a project like this.

Re:I agree with Upton (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#43102911)

Thanks, but I'd rather get a laptop (on eBay if need be) that f*** about with silly little boards, external keyboards, wifi etc etc.

Re:I agree with Upton (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#43104185)

Yeah - I know. But the RasPi is intended for people who cannot afford the full up laptop or desktop. It fills a void.

Re:I agree with Upton (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#43105377)

Yeah, no laptop, but a monitor, keyboard, mouse, wifi connection plus a usb wifi, plus some power for all this, oh and a case, and an sd card, and a hub to connect all the usb peripherals, and postage from one of those clueless companies supplying it (who in the beginning weren't sure if they were selling it, or if they were selling to businesses only (odd, as no businesses are going to touch it) etc).

I liked the idea, back in the day, but if you want a target device to program, get a cheap Android phone. If you want an all in one dev kit, get a cheap netbook and Visual Studio express. I don't see the point in inflicting any more pain on newcomers to development than they're already going to receive!

Re:I agree with Upton (2)

RobinH (124750) | about 2 years ago | (#43106347)

Yeah, but nobody was buying cheap Android phones to do that, but they are buying RPi's to do it. So either there's something different about the device (unlikely) or there's something different about the way it's being presented. It's simply better marketing. That doesn't mean there wasn't a need for better marketing. Sometimes you need to present it as a completely different product to get people to accept it (think Windows 7 vs. Vista).

Actually Programmers Make Better Doctors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43101821)

Programmers are much better at making decisions based on evidenced based medicine than people.
People are much better at inducing the placebo effect though.

http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/clinical-systems/ibm-watson-helps-doctors-fight-cancer/240148236
 

As a programmer and s DR. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43102937)

Not happening.

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