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Comment Re:Let me rephrase that quesion (Score 1) 351 351

I think the question is whether everyone should be writing software AND then attempting to sell it to others via the app store. The answer to that, IMHO is no, as making software for others requires a level of professionalism and quality not everyone can reach.

But it would be nice if we could somehow rewind back to the 80s in which every computer came with a simple programming language so that if I wanted to throw together some code to do a simple task for my own benefit, I could do so quickly and easily.

(Note to Apple: Bring back HyperCard, please!)

In my limited experience, the simple tool that someone makes to scratch their own itch is often better than the bloated, passionless produkt from some corporate labyrinth.

Comment Re:Where is our 350GHz room temp CPU? (Score 2) 89 89

In 2006 they developed a 350GHz room temperature capable silicon gallium CPU. Where is that?

No they didn't. They developed a 350 GHz room temperature transistor.

According to this article it was a CPU:

Maybe the article is wrong?

In 2002 they developed a 350 GHz silicon-germanium transistor.
In 2006 they developed a silicon-germanium processor that reached 350 GHz at room temperature and 500 GHz when supercooled with liquid helium.

Comment Good Summary (Score 5, Insightful) 195 195

This summary is well written. It is:

  • Complete: It covers all of the main facts. There was no big question left in my mind after reading it. It's so complete that many will not go on to the article itself. (Not that they would anyway. This is Slashdot.) But that's what headlines and leads are supposed to do. They are supposed to tell the whole story, from beginning to end --- just not with every last detail. If you want all the last details, you read the rest of the article.
  • Approachable: It defines all but the most common acroynms. For one it even goes further than just spelling out the acronym and also gives a nice little picture: ". . . 3D V-NAND technology, which stacks 32 layers of NAND atop one another in a microscopic skyscraper."
  • Well-built: The English is good. Although technical, it uses plain English where it can instead of buzzwords. The sentences are not too long or tangled with several interdependent clauses. They have a good rhythm. You hear the words in your head even when reading silently, so sonic things still matter, like rhythm, alliteration, and rhyme (That doesn't mean you should rhyme all the time).

As a former professional technical writer, I am always on the look-out for good explanatory writing. I wanted to call it out here, especially since often we just complain when the summary's bad. When something's good, we're often silent. I suppose that's partly because when things are working, like the utility company, they don't attract attention and we just take them for granted. But writing like this is no accident.

Comment Article Highlights (Score 5, Informative) 288 288

First, this survey was not mainly about grandmothers. They had "ages ranging from their 30s to well into their 90s," and "a vast number of responses involved highly skilled, technologically-savvy individuals -- often engineers themselves."

The overwhelming complaints were of:

- "low-contrast interfaces and fonts, gray fonts on gray backgrounds"

- "Hidden menus. Obscure interface elements (e.g., tiny upside-down arrows). Interface and menu elements that only appear if you've moused over a particular location on the display. Interface elements that are so small or ephemeral that they can be a challenge to click even if you still have the motor skills of youth."

- "the sudden change of an icon from a wrench to a gear, or a change in a commonly used icon's position"

Comment Battery Technology (Score 1) 688 688

Forget programmers. We need to encourage kids to go into battery technology (joking). Although batteries have gotten better, their pace seems stubbornly slow when you consider that we've tried making electric cars since the nineteenth century:

1. Price. The reason for the high price of electric cars has got to be the batteries. An electric car can throw out many of the parts a gas car has, including the transmission. Yet they still cost more. It's got to be the batteries.

2. Range. Electric cars need much more range than gas cars to really catch on, because they have fewer places to recharge. When an electric car has a range of 500 miles and sells for 25% less than the gas-powered equivalent, then it will catch on.

Comment Zen and the Art of Creating Computers (Score 3, Informative) 266 266

"I'm gonna see it! I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it's inside the box. A great carpenter isn't going to use lousy wood for the back of a cabinet, even though nobody's going to see it." This is Steve Jobs pushing the Macintosh team to redesign the circuit board because some of the spacing was ugly.

Steve Jobs also pushed them to make it boot as fast as possible, rejected computer fans because of noise, and said a multibutton mouse would be inelegant. He went to great pains to make the Apple Store out of glass. Even his slides were Zen.

He was a complex character. He certainly wasn't your typical businessman:

"My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products . . . the products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It's a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything."

Comment Where's the Programmer's Path Around Management? (Score 2) 125 125

Most of us get sucked into management, like a poor Millenium Falcon into the Death Star's tractor beam. More useful would be an article about how to refuse such offers, keep getting raises and offers for programming jobs as we grow older, and so on.

You will get promoted to management, at least to team lead, just by not sucking.

And in my own experience at least, in the healthcare industry, there are plenty of gray-haired technical people. And when I was helping to hire another programmer, I was hoping for a graybeard, not because of agism, but experiencism.

Comment A Dissection of the Summary (Score 1, Redundant) 126 126

jQuery isn't without its controversies


and some developers distrust its use in larger projects because (some say) it ultimately leads to breakage-prone code that's harder to maintain.

This article is less critical of jQuery than the summary led me to believe. It just warns you against two things: (1) a long procedure of code for the ready argument, "The Big Main Method Problem," and (2) DOM-centric code. But neither of these are problems, and neither of them are caused or even encouraged by jQuery.

After the click-baitish FUD, the summary goes on, saying you might as well use it anyway:

But given its prevalence, jQuery is probably essential to know

The phrase "probably essential" is a weird combination of a weak and a strong word, and may be a sign of a writer who is half asleep.

but what are the most important elements to learn in order to become adept-enough at it? Chaining commands, understanding when the document is finished loading (and how to write code that safely accesses elements only after said loading), and learning CSS selectors are all key. The harder part is picking up jQuery's quirks and tricks, of which there are many... but is it worth studying to the point where you know every possible eccentricity?

Who cares? The jQuery reference is easy to browse for whatever you need right now, and there's little need to understand one part of jQuery to use another.

Comment Re:The problem is that landfills are too cheap (Score 4, Insightful) 371 371

I'd sort, but I'm not going to sort AND pay extra money.

Yep. I was pretty diligent about recycling right up till the local government decided that they needed to charge extra for recycling. When they required me to do extra work AND pay extra money for the service, I stopped using the service....

Is it the government that requires you to do extra work and pay extra money, or is it just life?

Recycling takes a certain amount of work. The government may be trying to split it with you. If they did all of the work, maybe the would have to charge even more.

I may be wrong, and someone will certainly say something like that the government is just being greedy or wasteful. But if it were me, I would either investigate it to know for sure or just go with it.

Comment Re:Dice: Please restore the Read More link. Thanks (Score 5, Insightful) 233 233

I understand the desire to change things, but putting some social media Share link in place of the Read More link goes against the kind of website Slashdot is.

Please restore the original layout. Thanks.

+1 - Mod parent up.

+2. In a Slashdot comment, we must add links and formatting by typing HTML by hand. You would therefore think we know how to copy and paste a web address from Slashdot to Facebook, if that's what we really want to do. We don't need an icon to do it for us.

If you're going to add icons, switch the places for Share and Comments. Put the Share link to the right of the heading. Put the Comments link at the bottom. To me it seems more logical that way, it puts the Comments link back where it was.

Comment Re:Dependencies (Score 1) 119 119

The NetBSD init system (which was introduced way back in 2001, and I think ended up being adopted by the other BSDs) has a simple way of solving this. There's a tool called rcorder that parses REQUIRE and PROVIDE lines in each startup script (it's tsort, essentially) and determines the order to run each script. If you wanted to debug something, you could run this yourself and check the output.

Came here to say this.


SysVInit's numbering always struck me as a little hacky. But it's so simple it works. Plus everybody's used to it. When systemd appeared, I looked into FreeBSD and read about its init system. It's a total face-palm that so many years have gone by without Linux adopting something like BSD's way --- or just taking it. It's an even bigger face-palm that instead Linux adopted systemd.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson