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Comment: C++ is probably a little bit better (Score 3, Informative) 171

There really isn't all that much difference, so that once you get comfortable with one you should be able to switch to the other without much difficulty if you need to. But I'd lean towards C++ because the tools are more mature.

Two other tips:

1. Use Clang (part of LLVM) as your compiler. The error messages are vastly easier to interpret, which should cut down on both learning and development time. Note that Clang supports both Objective C and C++.

2. If you do go for C++, make sure to start learning on C++11 or C++14. C++11 significantly changes quite a lot about the language, and if you start with older C++ books, you'll have to unlearn a lot of stuff if you want to develop modern C++. C++14 has mostly just minor fixes to C++11.

Comment: Re:Bad move (Score 1) 362

by Chalnoth (#49167201) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links
It generally doesn't work this way. Websites that claim vaccines are bad, or global warming is a hoax, or cell phones cause cancer, are typically littered with large numbers of easily-checkable factual errors. As long as the corpus on easily-verifiable facts is large enough, Google will almost certainly have little problem eliminating most of the bogus claims, even politically-controversial ones, from the top of its rankings.

Comment: Re:nice, now for the real fight (Score 1) 630

by Chalnoth (#49150855) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

Yes, it is mostly for cable, but some locations only have one DSL provider. And yet many cities do have exclusive franchises for cable Internet.

You can quibble all you like about it being a "franchise agreement" rather than a mandated monopoly, but to the consumer they're exactly the same thing: there is only one choice of provider, and that restriction is maintained by the local government.

As for the local government being "stupid", that's up for debate. It could just as easily be that the local government is corrupt (which can be difficult to avoid given how much money the large cable companies have compared to the local governments), or that they've fallen for some bad ideology related to "natural monopolies". Either way, the cable companies are absolutely not innocent here.

Comment: Re:nice, now for the real fight (Score 1) 630

by Chalnoth (#49150283) Attached to: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules

This isn't accurate. Many municipalities do indeed have ISP monopolies which are mandated by the local government. Typically they require specific regulations (such as price controls) in exchange for the local government enforcing the monopoly.

Such government-mandated monopolies aren't ubiquitous, but neither are they terribly uncommon in the US. There's no such thing at the state or federal level, of course, but there is at the local level.

Comment: Re:Interesing... (Score 1) 386

by Chalnoth (#49142967) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics
I doubt it's quite 100%. Probably closer to 98%. There are, sadly, some people who are genuinely fooled into believing this stuff, and a small fraction of those may have the scruples to avoid receiving money from the fossil fuel industry (even if the fossil fuel industry doesn't turn people into climate deniers with its funds, it really really likes to lend as much credence as possible to climate denialism, which means amplifying the voices of any credentialed person they can possibly find who denies climate change).

Comment: Re:Inquisition (Score 1) 386

by Chalnoth (#49142943) Attached to: Lawmakers Seek Information On Funding For Climate Change Critics

This doesn't mean that the $1.2 million that Soon received from the fossil-fuel industry had no impact on Soon's outlook.

It doesn't help that it is a ridiculously terrible paper. His argument boils down to: "Using a small, cherry-picked subset of the data that has known errors that we aren't going to correct for, we can see that incoming solar energy is correlated with temperature, and therefore CO2 doesn't cause climate change." This argument is equivalent to say that because sugar intake is correlated with weight, exercise has no impact on weight, in addition to the horrible treatment of the data.

Either Soon is utterly incompetent, or he's a cynical shill for the fossil fuel industry. I'm not sure which is worse.

Comment: Re:It's not just the fragmentation (Score 1) 136

by Chalnoth (#49142527) Attached to: Who's Afraid of Android Fragmentation?

There's no reason to believe that there is actually significantly more piracy of apps on Android. This is one story from a single developer using customer service complaints as an estimate. I have yet to see any real data that has investigated the relative piracy rates in detail.

I'm sure that there is some additional piracy on Android, because the ecosystem itself is far more attractive to hobbyists that would like to hack their devices. But there's no reason whatsoever to believe that this one developer's claim is representative, that a 95% piracy rate is anything close to the norm for Android. I'd be willing to bet that for most mobile developers, piracy is a non-issue, whether working on Android or iOS.

Comment: Re:Ain't freedom a bitch... (Score 1) 551

by Chalnoth (#49021447) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el
LLVM is currently a much better-written compiler package than GCC (specifically in that it's easier to maintain/upgrade the compiler and it provides better error messages for developers). Much of this is because GCC is older, and LLVM doesn't support quite as many languages. So, yeah, LLVM is a threat to GCC. The developers of GCC can only really counter this threat by rewriting GCC from scratch.

Comment: Re:Homeschooling is not better (Score 1) 700

by Chalnoth (#48986791) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

Clearly you didn't read my post, but it's just factually incorrect that public school (or private school) is uniformly horrible and soul-crushing. There are good and bad things about schools. And there are good and bad things about homeschooling.

Personally I just wish we would properly invest in our public school system so that there was no question of students doing better in school than at home. Homeschooling can be a reasonable personal decision for some people in situations where their schools are poor (and I would consider failure to deal with neurodiversity a sign of an extremely poor school). But as a society we should strive for an educational system where it isn't necessary, as well-trained professionals will always be able to do a better job at teaching than amateurs, given a sufficiently-supportive environment.

Comment: Homeschooling is not better (Score 0) 700

by Chalnoth (#48984957) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Pros and Cons of Homeschooling?

It is not true that there is a substantial body of literature that shows that homeschool students do better. The studies that do show this are rife with bias and methodological errors (principally, they tend to design the studies so that most of the children come from higher-income families, who do better in public school too). When you look at more fair samples, the difference isn't so dramatic.

It is very difficult to say whether homeschooling is better or worse academically. The problem is that parents differ dramatically in their teaching ability and their beliefs (some parents' beliefs actively harm their children's educations, e.g. creationism). So it's really really hard to generalize from the studies on homeschool effectiveness to how effective your family will be at promoting academic achievement.

Usually the biggest academic problem areas for homeschool students are math and science, though this may be biased by the large representation of conservative religious groups who homeschool as a matter of faith. Academically, homeschooling may or may not be a benefit depending upon your knowledge and abilities, and upon the quality of your local school system.

It is also worth pointing out that the homeschooling does produce difficulties with socialization. Many homeschool proponents brush off this claim as if it is meaningless, but it really is not. Socialization is about developing a shared social language. It is built from common experiences. Homeschooling children pulls those children out of the path that most people grow up with, which, in turn, means that they are very likely to feel out of place among their peers when they leave homeschool to go to a public school, college, or workforce.

Overall, I'd say it's a decision that has its pros and cons. If you have the ability to homeschool, I would wait and see about the quality of your local school system. If the local school system is of sufficiently high quality, they probably won't do any worse academically if they go to public school, and your child will have an easier time with interacting with their peers later in life.

Comment: Re:Good news (Score 4, Interesting) 422

by Chalnoth (#48888215) Attached to: Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

In large part, I think Harrison Ford really carried the first trilogy. After I'd learned that Ford improvised a number of his lines, I watched the trilogy again and noticed just how wooden and dead nearly all of the other characters in the movies were.

I do think that this trilogy stands a much better chance as long as Lucas isn't writing the dialog. He's okay, I think, as far as overall plot is concerned. But dialog and characters really aren't his strong suit.

As for Abrams, his main problem, it seems to me, is that he seems to focus a bit over-much on action sequences. But Star Wars works pretty well with that, so I'm not too concerned. I think it might work fairly well.

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