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Comment: Re:COBOL was better than JavaScript. (Score 2) 291

by Archibald Buttle (#47653317) Attached to: The Technologies Changing What It Means To Be a Programmer

Two words:
"use strict";

Put that at the top of a JS program or function and most of the "stupidly broken" parts of JS are disabled when you're in an ECMAScript 5 environment (i.e. any modern browser).

Most of the remaining complains about JS (like function scope, or prototype-based inheritance) are IMHO not problems at all, but rather reflections that people are far more used to class-based inheritance systems and how other languages work.

Yes, the language design isn't perfect. It was clearly rushed. It is by default too tolerant of dodgy syntax. There's loads of bad code out there written by second-rate programmers. Use a decent linter, read Crockford's "JavaScript: The good bits", and you'll find it can be a great language to work with.

Comment: Re:Sales flow chart. (Score 1) 97

by Archibald Buttle (#47555705) Attached to: Oracle Offers Custom Intel Chips and Unanticipated Costs

In my experience MySQL can indeed handle large transaction volumes, but only with relatively simple queries.

Throw some complex joins in there across multiple tables and the performance plummets. Run multiple concurrent similar queries and you can find yourself getting exponentially worse performance.

PostgreSQL on the other hand may not have quite the same level of raw performance on simple queries as MySQL, but it tends to cope much better with more complex things.

Comment: Re:Death by Committee (Score 1) 220

by Archibald Buttle (#47097721) Attached to: PHK: HTTP 2.0 Should Be Scrapped

We rapidly iterated before when the web was niche. When we had, comparatively speaking, very few users. Before there was a mass adoption in business.

Back then the disruption of rapid iteration and accompanying obsolescence was not a big problem. Now it's a massive problem.

Sure, one can argue that institutions stuck using IE6 (or even IE8) should get with the times and update, but the reality is that is a very costly exercise. One can't simply blindly update a few thousand machines in a company when the end result could be a few thousand people unable to work. Upgrading often has knock-on effects, so a browser upgrade may require an OS upgrade too, and every other piece of business-critical software needs to be thoroughly tested. Some software will also provide to be incompatible too, and sourcing replacements (either new licenses for new versions, or rewrites for custom software) can be prohibitively expensive.

It's those people who fear change. The IT managers that are dealing with managing thousands of machines. A failed upgrade not only has the potential to cost them their jobs but also to put a company out of business. Major change for them is terrifying.

You are right though. We can rapidly iterate now, like we did before. But we need to be careful about how we do that, and not forget those that can't come along for the ride.

Comment: Re:No problem here (Score 1) 578

by Archibald Buttle (#43914937) Attached to: A Serious Proposal To Fix Windows 8

About once every other day, the whole OS just hangs. I can't even get the Task Manager to come up; sometimes I can't even get Ctrl-Alt-Delete to work. I just have to hold the power button down and reboot. To be fair, this is probably caused by the beta driver for a USB wireless adapter (Netgear's only released the beta for Win8).

To be fair, on a decent OS no driver, not even a beta one, should be able to bring down your OS.

Comment: Re:Great to stay credible. Where's my maple sugar? (Score 1) 422

by Archibald Buttle (#43301131) Attached to: Cold Spring Linked To Dramatic Sea Ice Loss

It may not be all that unusual for you in Canada to still have snow on the ground at this time of year. In contrast though the last couple of winters in Toronto have been highly unusual to basically be essentially snow free.

Here in the UK, it's very unusual for us to still have snow around now. In contrast Easter weekend last year in contrast was unseasonably warm and people were having barbecues. Normal for here is about half way between the two.

The point is that climate is a global thing. Just because you're having a fairly normal winter in Canada doesn't mean that the rest of us are.

Comment: There will be no response (Score 5, Insightful) 114

Apple will have no response to this, and nor should they.

This is exactly the path that Apple have been telling companies they should follow if they wish to sell media outside of the iOS app store.

Amazon are simply following Apple's own guidance.

Comment: Better JavaScript (Score 2) 453

by Archibald Buttle (#42503095) Attached to: Why JavaScript Is the New Perl

I know it's a controversial opinion, but modern JavaScript is OK.

All modern browsers support the ECMAScript 5 version of JavaScript. That includes a number of useful additions to the language.

IMHO the most important addition is strict mode. That disables some of the most egregious features of the language, making it harder to shoot yourself in the foot. Strict mode can be enabled for a whole file, or on a function-by-function basis - you just need to include the line "use strict"; (including the quotes) at the top of the file or function. As it's just a string it will be ignored on older JS interpreters making it backward compatible too.

Comment: Re:I don't.. (Score 3, Informative) 453

by Archibald Buttle (#42503021) Attached to: Why JavaScript Is the New Perl

I think that the problem you have is that JavaScript doesn't match your experience and/or expectations of how a programming language should work.

The scope rules of JavaScript are actually very straight forward. The problem is that most languages have block-based scope. JavaScript instead has function-based scope.

As for proper "object/class" support, well, classes are just one way of doing objects, and not the only way. JavaScript has first-class support for objects. It's inheritance model however is prototype-based, rather than class-based. It's a different paradigm, but no less valid.

Your experience and expectations of how a language should work (probably based on experience writing C++, Java, or any number of other languages) say that scope must be block-based, and object models must be class based. Those aren't the only solutions though.

Comment: Re:*Cough* United Kingdom *cough* (Score 1) 1387

Are you really based in the UK? Because you don't seem to be talking about the country I live in.

Yes, here in the UK we do still use miles for road distances and miles per hour for speed. People still talk about their own weight referring to stones and pounds. The only other imperial hold-outs I can think of though are recipe books (the only place in my 39 years I've *ever* seen a "fluid ounce" mentioned), and the good old pint of beer.

Besides that we're metric. All the food and drink I buy from the shops is (officially) measured in grams and litres. Yes, sometimes those measures do match older imperial measures, so you may see 454g (a pound) or 568ml (a pint), but that's becoming less common. I buy litre cartons of milk, not 2 pints. Weights of people in the medical profession these days are kilograms.

It's been illegal in the UK for some time now to sell food measured in pounds and ounces, or liquids in fluid ounces. The only place you might be able to buy a pound of potatoes these days is a street market, where most of the time if you ask for a pound you'll actually get sold half a kilogram.

Comment: Re:UK as well (Score 1) 1387

Huh? What are you talking about?

I'm a UK citizen. Yes, we measure driving distances in miles. For weights of people, colloquially, we do tend to still talk about stones. For liquid measures we still buy pints of beer.

That's about it though. Outside of road travel I almost exclusively see metres and centimetres. Weights are all exclusively grams and kilograms, which includes weights for people in medicine. Liquid measures aside from beer are all litres. People talk about "pints" of milk, but the cartons are sold with litre measurements on the packaging. The only time you hear "gallon" referenced is when people are talking about fuel economy, but fuel can only be bought in litres.

Yes, there's still luddites about that insist on using imperial measures, but they're a minority, and they're dying out.

Really, besides keeping miles for road distances, and thus speed too, we're very metric.

Comment: Re:Going to get modded down as sexist for this, bu (Score 1) 690

by Archibald Buttle (#42486235) Attached to: Why Girls Do Better At School

If I had mod points today you'd have got them, as yours may be the most insightful post I've read so far in this debate.

The tendency we have to observe intelligence as a single metric is IMHO the root of the lack of understanding many have with respect to this subject. You rightly point out that there is a difference between innate ability, and social acuity. I'd say those are both aspects of general intelligence. They can be broken down further, as you hint at, and indeed there's other aspects of intelligence too. Ability in a subject itself must at least be split into knowledge of the subject and the capability of reasoning.

With schooling there is a great emphasis on grades, and studying hard. This tends towards rewarding those that have knowledge of subjects, and less towards those with the ability to reason. It's a simple fact that people who are not engaged in a subject don't take in as much knowledge. Those that are good at the social acuity thing will tend to engage more in classes, if only to please their teacher. Grading at school is about measuring knowledge, and the ability of students to perform in exams. It fails to measure the potential of a student to excel.

People as a whole look at grades as a measure of intelligence, the be-all and end-all. This is especially true of parents, but it is also true of many professionals in the education sector. A student with poor grades may indeed be thick, but it may well instead be an indicator that they have failed to engage with their schooling. There's a tendency by all however to just think that the student is less intelligent.

Comment: Morons (Score 5, Insightful) 163

by Archibald Buttle (#42347171) Attached to: UK Government Changes Tack and Demands Default Porn Block

Speaking as a British citizen, one with two small children (aged 7 and 8), my take is that my government is acting like a bunch of morons. They're allowing themselves to be led by the Daily Mail - a newspaper that has a long track record of spouting an ultra-conservative line that includes rabid xenophobia and plain and simple hatred of a significant proportion of the UK population. This move is not about making a rational choice, it's simply all about securing votes - the Daily Mail's readership are exclusively Conservative party voters, David Cameron's party.

I'm strongly against net filtering. Implementing mandatory filtering is the thin end of the wedge. It will not be long before there's complaints and campaigns by the likes of the Daily Mail complaining about inappropriate material that is not being filtered. How long will it be before Wikipedia gets banned? That site is packed full of very adult material that some will find objectionable. And what about the BBC News covering stories about pedophilia? And all the swearing in YouTube videos? Google searches can link through to objectionable material, complete with previews, so shouldn't that be banned too? Even without such encroachment into areas that rational people can see as being innocuous, filtering still ends up being a blunt weapon, filtering out sites that deal with issues such as contraception and abortion since they fall under the label of "sex". If kids can't do research into such things then the problems we have in this country of teenage pregnancy can only get worse.

As an example of such blunt filtering, I recently used a wifi network at a local church that had filtering enabled on their connection. They wanted to prevent childrens groups that met there from accessing things they deemed as being objectionable material. The end result was that almost every single link off of the church's own website was blocked. They saw the light after a few weeks and disabled the filtering.

If this move happens I will be opting out of the filtering. That in itself makes me nervous - some people will assume that because I've done that I must be a bad parent. That sadly is exactly the kind of false conclusion that an average Daily Mail reader will reach.

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