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Comment: Re:But the good news is (Score 1) 130

by SimonInOz (#47805663) Attached to: Finland's Nuclear Plant Start Delayed Again

I put a software system into a nuclear plant in, oh, 1978. It was a pair of PDP-11 machines, had graphic colour monitors, multiple terminals, and a host of monitoring software, mostly written in FORTRAN, if I remember correctly.
It went in more or less on time, and seemingly behaved well.
This was in Holland - and the plant was the cleanest place I have ever seen (a lot cleaner than the hot strip steel mill I worked in some years later).
The project lasted about 6 months.

Why are they taking so long? The reactors are pretty much the same, the software is much more sophisticated, and the people are just the same.

Comment: Re:Land of insanity (Score 1) 421

by SimonInOz (#47740611) Attached to: South Carolina Student Arrested For "Killing Pet Dinosaur"

And in Australia ...
A while ago, my daughter, aged approx 14, wrote a rather scary essay all about grooming of girls for sex. It was a creepy story - about creepy people.
The school was shocked, called her in for counselling, and called me. After a while they settled down, came to the conclusion she was not writing about real life, and let the story stand.

No police, no arrests, sensible consultation. I think they did a much better job.

Scary essay though. Where did she get it all from?

Comment: Re:Agile can fuck off. (Score 1) 239

by SimonInOz (#47725107) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

Oh yeah. Agile is institutionalised micromanagement.
It's horrible. Nobody ever gets the opportunity to actually think, there is no global view, there are no innovations.
But big piles (I use the word advisedly) of code get written - and tested.

And "sprints" ... has any actual sprinter tried to keep doing "sprints"? Get a bit tired and inefficient, did they? Paint me surprised.

Comment: Re:Is the complexity of C++ a practical joke? (Score 1) 427

by Coryoth (#47673801) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

It's not the features that you stare at with no idea what they do that cause a problem. As you say, a quick look at the manual can help to sort that out (though it does add to the overall cognitive load). It's all the potentially subtle things that you don't even realise are features and so never look up and don't realise that, contrary to first inspection, the code is actually doing something subtly different to what you expect.

Comment: Re:Major application vendor headaches... (Score 1) 209

True, they are in it for the money. It looks great to management - they think they can outsource risk! And so they can at first, but at considerable cost, especially later, and they end up with all the IP of their company known, and held, by external parties.

And they will be held to ransom.

And I have to say, I'd never put Oracle very high on my list of good value suppliers. Big, certainly, capable even, rapacious, sure, but good value, never. And their idea of integration is not mine. Not even close.

On the other hand, Oracle did sponsor - and win - the most impressive America's Cup series seen to date. That has to count for something, right? (Yup, Oracle's team of Aussies just managed to beat New Zealand's team of Aussies. Strange world we live in).

(Yes, I've been into into sailing and computing for forty years - and can be a bit boring on either).

Comment: Later in life (Score 1) 550

by SimonInOz (#47526821) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

Laser surgery gives, in general, very good fixed correction. It is excellent for people under 45 with vision that needs correction. There are occasional failures, yes, but they are quite rare.

But what about later in life (hello, 50) when your lens hardens and you can't focus it any more? Laser surgery will achieve nothing. You are still stuck with reading glasses.

Well, I had -7 vision and was mightily sick of being blind without glasses, found contacts a drag, and it's all damned expensive. My vision with my (very expensive) glasses was excellent, with contacts acceptable, but it was all annoying.

So I got lens replacement surgery. It's the same operation as for cataracts, but voluntary. And expensive (AUD 10,000). The replacement lenses are not focusable, so I got lenses with three focus points - close (reading), medium (screen, and distance. A Zeiss trifocal implantable lens.
The operation was quick, but unpleasant (you are almost, but not quite unconscious - not nice). Recovery involved many, many drops for a few weeks gradually diminishing to none.

Result - daytime vision is excellent, both near and far. I can read, compute, play sports.
Night-time vision is not so good, you get some haloing and other artefacts. I can drive ok, but stargazing is not so great.

These lenses will not harden further so my vision should stay the same for the rest of my life, which is nice.

On the whole I am pleased. It's certainly a joy to go swimming without concern, see in the rain, and even water ski. Amazing after a life of really, really poor vision.

I researched the surgeons, checked the research, and balanced the results against the side effects and risks. In fact, the risk of actual permanent damage - ie blindness - are very low indeed. After all, they do these operations by the thousand in Africa (look up Fred Hollows) in what must be poorer conditions.

Laser surgery was not for me - that would indeed have corrected my main vision problem, shortsightedness, but I would have been unable to read or compute without reading glasses - and where's the fun in that?

It's amazing to wake up in the morning ... and be able to see.

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 1) 241

by Coryoth (#47488509) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Math is all about being precise, logical.. Communicating exactly one concept at a time. Natural languages do neither.

Except math is almost never actually done that way in practice. Euclid was wonderful, but almost all modern math does not work that strictly (and Euclid really should have been more careful with the parallel postulate -- there's "more than one thing at a time" involved there). Yes, proofs are careful and detailed, but so is, say, technical writing in English. Except for a few cases (check out metamath.org, or Homotopy Type Theory) almost no-one actually pedantically lays out all the formal steps introducing "only one concept at a time".

Comment: Re: Your Results Will Vary (Score 1) 241

by Coryoth (#47487341) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Not every programmer deals with these [mathematical] questions regularly (which is why I donâ(TM)t think math is necessary to be a programmer), but if you want to be a great programmer you had better bet youâ(TM)ll need it.

I don't think you need math even to be a great programmer. I do think a lot of great programmers are people who think in mathematical terms and thus benefit from mathematics. But I also believe you can be a great programmer and not be the sort of person who thinks in those terms. I expect the latter is harder, but then I'm a mathematician so I'm more than read to accept that I have some bias in this topic.

Comment: Re:I disagree (Score 3, Insightful) 241

by Coryoth (#47487263) Attached to: Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Math IS sequencing. So is using recipes. That is how math works.

Math is a language. Just because you can frame things in that language doesn't mean that that language is necessary. Recipes are often in English. English is sequencing (words are a serial stream after all). That doesn't mean English is necessary for programming (there seem to many competent non-english speaking programmers as far as I can tell).

Disclaimer: I am a professional research mathematician; I do understand math just fine.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

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