Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Call me an old guy with a short attention span (Score 4, Interesting) 87

by ClayDowling (#49378687) Attached to: No Film At 11: the Case For the Less-Video-Is-More MOOC

Amen Brother! If I wanted to sit through a few hours of bad powerpoint every week, I wouldn't have gone into engineering.

After getting burned on a couple of online courses, I discovered the affordable and approachable Dover books on mathematics and computing. They seem to fit my attention span and learning style better, where I might have to spend a lot of time thinking about a short passage or an equation to understand what's important about it. They're also easier to read when I'm on a plane or at the gym.

Comment: C++ All The Way (Score 1) 407

My own experience has been that C++ is an excellent choice for the work you're interested in. It's full of pitfalls, but it's also full of excellence.

Start with Stroustrup's "The C++ Programming Language" and move on to Scott Meyers' Effective C++ books. Stroustrup makes picking up the language easy and natural. Meyers helps you around all the pitfalls so you can come up with elegant solutions with a minimum of effort.

Don't dismiss boost. As others have said, it's a bit of a minefield, but it also has a lot of well implemented solutions to common problems.

Qt is fun as well, and I make my daily bread using Qt. But if you're not writing a GUI app, there might be better solutions to a lot of the problems their non-GUI classes are trying to solve.

Comment: Re:os x IS certified official Unix (Score 1) 393

by ClayDowling (#49081531) Attached to: PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

1. It has excellent support for supporting large scale installations, including centralized management for those users who don't really want to think about that stuff.

2. Really great developer support from the vendor, including free high quality IDEs and code examples to solve pretty much any systems programming problem you'll have.

3. A large developer community, making it relatively easy to get bespoke software.

4. Fairly painless printer setup (I'm looking at you Linux).

5. A large pool of ready made software to choose from.

Comment: Re:A known "Fact"? (Score 1) 219

by ClayDowling (#48857661) Attached to: Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

First, your statement flies in the face of pretty much all of the established science. Second, it's horribly sexist to be suggesting that men don't have feelings. It's demonstrably false. If men did not have strong emotions that needed to be expressed, there wouldn't be so many men in prison for crimes of passion.

You might want to look into some of the available Emotional IQ training. You're not seeing something that's happening in front of you every day. Once you can see those things, you'll be very happy with the improvements in your personal and professional life.

Comment: Re:just use c/c++ (Score 2) 648

by ClayDowling (#48857483) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

Amen! C++ is only complex if you choose to make it so. C++ as introduced is Strustrup is a very simple, easy to use language. Print data by pushing to an output stream. Read data by pushing from an input stream to a variable.

Each new concept can be introduced easily. There are lots of abstractions to show concepts like pass by value and pass by reference, and it still has the low level syntax so you can delve into what is happening under the abstractions.

If I were teaching somebody new to program, C++ would absolutely be my first choice.

Comment: Re:A known "Fact"? (Score 1) 219

by ClayDowling (#48852843) Attached to: Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others

That seems unlikely in the extreme. Also, highly insulting to men. Ms. Hudson's statements mesh well with my own experience.

It takes a lot of training and practice to overcome that social conditioning. It's absolutely worth it. You will improve your personal and professional interactions. Because that explosive outburst, it's what gets you in trouble. When you're five, it's no big deal. When you're a full grown adult, it leads to things that get your bad self fired or locked up or dead.

Comment: Re:Qt has model-driven views. (Score 1) 264

by ClayDowling (#48805893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?

And the model drive views are really powerful. The first one you write is a bit tedious, but after that it's smooth sailing. You can get that data from anywhere: text files, network packet processing, database queries.

Qt does have database access components, but you might be happier working with a native interface. Part of the beauty of C++ is that there's a native interface to most things that's C++ compatible.

Comment: Qt + C++ (Score 4, Informative) 264

by ClayDowling (#48805335) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Linux Database GUI Application Development?

I'll recommend Qt and C++ as a workable combo. Learn how to use their Model/View architecture and there's a whole lot of fun stuff that opens up for you. Instead of looking for database components, think in terms of writing a data model that happens to get its data from an SQL backend.

I'll also second the recomendation of others to look at PostgreSQL for your backend. When it comes time to deploy your application, PostgreSQL is a lot easier to package and install than SQL Server. The features aren't identical, but they're close enough for all but some very specialized cases. In a lot of those cases, there are tools that accomplish the same goals via a different mechanism.

Comment: Re:Common! (Score 1) 325

by ClayDowling (#48766781) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?

I've been running my Clevo for the last six months and quite happy with it. But I also power down when not in use, and that might make the heating issue better.

If you do go the Clevo route, let me highly recommend buying the Sager rebranded Clevos via It was probably the best purchasing experience I've had. They're very hands on and keep you in the loop about what's going on with your product from the moment assembly starts to the time it ships, and they will follow up with you after you've been running the machine for a few months to make sure you're still happy.

Comment: Simplify your work (Score 1) 325

by ClayDowling (#48766705) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?

I have both a MB Pro and a Clevo laptop. The MacBook Pro sits in a corner gathering dust, because the Clevo is a more capable machine for the work I'm doing.

But one thing you might try is reducing the load on your machine. The latest and greatest IDE is fine, but you do pay a cost for it. A tool like vim will put a much smaller load on your system. Even a lighter weight IDE might be workable. I love CLion, for instance, but for large projects it crushes the machine. I can work on the same project in QtCreator and everything is happy. QtCreator's refactoring tools aren't as nice, but they're good enough. But for personal projects I have started moving to vi and command line only tools. It's not for the faint of heart, but it can be done.

Always try to do things in chronological order; it's less confusing that way.