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Comment: Re:Perl-standard line length (Score 1) 169

by Dogtanian (#48233455) Attached to: Tetris Is Hard To Test

I've seen C64 basic. One line of code can be two lines on the screen. Maybe more than two lines when you realize you can compress names like POKE into the two-character acronym (second being shifted) and using it in list would happily decompress to something that can't be typed within the 2 screen-line limit.

BASIC on the Atari 800 and its descendants exhibited the same behaviour with respect to abbreviations and its three-screen-line limit on a single BASIC line.

Atari User magazine had a feature called "five liners" for very short programs. Many of the more elaborate ones pushed this as far as it would go by *requiring* them to be entered using abbreviations in order to fit this three-screen-line limit. IIRC most of these would be expanded upon processing, often taking them over the limit.

Comment: Re:One line? (Score 1) 169

by Dogtanian (#48233283) Attached to: Tetris Is Hard To Test

Note that this limit is on the tokenised form stored in memory, not the ASCII representation. This is why the code e.g. uses "GOSUB FALSE" rather than "GOSUB 0": the FALSE token is shorter than the encoding of a line number.

Programs for the unexpanded (1K) ZX81 frequently used that type of memory-saving. All numbers were stored as floating point and took up 5 bytes of memory, and saying (e.g.)

LET A = CODE("$")

(where CODE is the equivalent of the ASC function for the ZX81's non-ASCII character set and $ is character 13) instead of

LET A = 13

actually saved you memory.

Comment: Re:You guessed it: It depends (Score 1) 224

by Dogtanian (#48167779) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

You sue them for not having a license!

I'm sure that their legal team will argue the point that you implicitly granted them license to use the IP when you voluntarily included it in work (for hire) you created for them. And having established that principle, will seek to argue that it covers any derivative of that work. However, both these points are essentially restatements of what I'd already said above.

Comment: Re:You guessed it: It depends (Score 1) 224

by Dogtanian (#48162449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

As an employee your job is to do your best. Period. They hire you at a wage you both agree on. Then. You do your best as an employee for the company. If you have "tools" that you can use and do not then you are not doing the right thing. [..]

But while you are working there you should always bring your best. That is how a person gets through life being successful and remaining human.

There's a not-so-fine line between "don't be a jobsworth dick" and "be an obsequious know-your-place milksop", and this is way, *way* into the latter territory. What makes this paean to fawning obedience in the face of one-sided corporate entitlement so insufferable is the lecturing, self-righteous tone presenting it as a life lesson rather than the corporate propaganda that it is... "That is how a person gets through life being successful and remaining human."

Uurrrgh.

"As an employee your job is to do"... whatever you agreed to do in your contract or job description. The "don't be a jobsworth dick" part is (say) when your colleagues need help with some quick but important task five minutes after you nominally finished and you don't say "I finished five minutes ago" when you're not in a hurry.

That "is how a person gets through life being successful and remaining human." This doesn't mean that (say) someone contracted- and paid for- 20 hours a week should be expected to work 35. (*) They don't get 15 hours of your free time that they didn't pay for. So why would they get free use of the IP that you presumably spent a lot of your own time developing before you worked for them (assuming you hadn't agreed to that in your contract)?

You'd expect them to be as fawningly grateful to you as you're supposed to be to them? Really?!

This is not to say that they should get free permanent lic of all your "IP" (Fuck I hate that phrase) becaue you had the pleasure to work there.

Well, now *that's* interesting. Because though IANAL, even I can guess that if your IP was genuinely *that* valuable (**), then using it in your work without explicitly agreeing the terms with your employer would potentially be a very risky idea.

For example, what happens if you build a system whose maintenance relies on continued use of that IP after you leave? Are they forced to abandon the system that you built for them as part of your job? Since you could (or should) have known about this in advance, your voluntary use of this IP could possibly- if not probably- be construed as some form of implicit offer and/or agreement. What if they then want to sell that system commercially? What if they *only* want to sell it commercially because it lets them use- and build upon- your IP on the same terms as a work for hire?

And that's if they're operating in "good (legal) faith". They could quite easily fudge the issue of where some or all of the work was created if (say) you didn't have clear evidence that you invented it on your own time. Do you fancy fighting that in court?

I'm not saying I have the answers to these questions. I'm saying that *you* must have, however, since you were the one implying there was a moral obligation on people to use their IP "tools" for their employer's benefit.

As I said, this isn't about being a jobsworth, but it sounds like you drank the Kool Aid (or are the one that's preparing the Kool Aid for others to drink) and started to believe this utterly sycophantic, corporate arselicking bastardisation of a once-legitimate point.

(*) Yes, we all know that some employers *will* try to get away with getting as much unpaid work from employees as possible. That doesn't make it morally justifiable.
(**) And not just some glorified ten-a-penny web script you slapped together in your spare time that no-one is likely to give a damn about

Comment: Re:Patents, employment, and invention (Score 1) 224

by Dogtanian (#48161449) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

You'll need to read those clauses carefully

Let's be blunt- he should be asking someone with clear experience and knowledge of the legal system to read them. If this is as important to him as he's making out, he should *not* be "Asking Slashdot" for legal advice. As I've already commented on more than one occasion:-

[You should not "Ask Slashdot" for legal advice].

It's been shown countless times that Slashdotters in general *do not understand how law works*. They assume that one can deduce how the law works logically, and that's how it is.

Well, it's not. The only way to know about how the law works is to learn how it works. It's not always logical, it's not always the way it *should* be (in a reasonable *or* in a logical world). I've actually been criticised for pointing out the latter, as if pointing out that the law doesn't work in that idealised way meant I endorsed its flaws (which is another stupid thing to do, but Slashdotters aren't always the detached paragons of common-sense that some would like to see themselves as).

Even if they understand [a particular case] in isolation, this case requires one to know how this relates to employment laws, jurisdictions [etc]

Bottom line- being an expert in IT and related fields does not qualify you to answer legal questions. IANAL, and neither are the vast majority of those contributing to this thread. And the problem is sorting out those who really *do* know what they're talking about from those who simply think they do.

Comment: Re:They _Should_ Replace It (Score 1) 180

by Dogtanian (#48145133) Attached to: CSS Proposed 20 Years Ago Today

Plenty of early machines used the audio cassette interface to load and save programs. The IBM PC had to include a cassette interface because pretty much *everyone* included one.

That might have been the case had it used a standard cassette format and been needed for interoperability. But the linked article suggests that it used its own custom format anyway, so I'm not sure how the fact that "everyone" else included one meant IBM "had" to include one.

BASIC is BASIC. Porting from one machine to another wasn't a big deal

I'm assuming you misunderstood my point. I certainly wasn't criticising the inclusion of BASIC per se, but rather that the BASIC interpreter was your only option/envrionment (a la most 8-bit machines costing a fraction of the IBM PC's price) because the diskless configuration couldn't run MS-DOS, i.e. the PC's whole raison d'etre.

My point was, who- if anyone- would spend a huge amount of money on a PC, only to restrict themselves to the integrated BASIC and no DOS?

taking a couple of minutes to load or save a program was a lot more acceptable than having to re-enter it every time

Again, I'm not sure what point you think I was making, I'm well aware that cassette storage you *can* afford is better than a disk drive you can't, or no storage at all. But I doubt anyone in that position would be spending the equivalent of $4000 in today's prices on an IBM PC if they couldn't afford the disks required to fulfil its potential.

Comment: Re:They _Should_ Replace It (Score 1) 180

by Dogtanian (#48121651) Attached to: CSS Proposed 20 Years Ago Today

How many computers still have the original cassette tape interface?

It's strange to think that even the original 1981 IBM PC (*) included a cassette interface. Can you imagine loading *any* program on an x86 PC like this?! (**)

I know that cassette decks were still common on home machines (and disc drives expensive) at the time, but on a business machine that cost $1565 at its launch- a little over $4000 in today's money- the concept seems bizarre.

Wikipedia says that very few of them left the factory without floppies, and I suspect that some of *those* were fitted with third-party models. It notes that MS-DOS required disc drives and that without it it defaulted to a ROM-based BASIC implementation... did anyone *ever* buy and use an IBM PC without drives and use it in this way..?!

(*) And the more home-oriented PCjr apparently included it too, but that flopped anyway.
(**) And can you imagine how long it would take to load a modern-sized program at speeds comparable to a Sinclair ZX Spectrum?! We're talking well over a month and a half per gigabyte of data. :-)

Comment: Re:Heh (Score 1) 70

by Dogtanian (#48121221) Attached to: Antiperspirants Could Contribute to Particulate Pollution

In Japan you can buy clothing that deals with this problem. If your country is lucky enough to have Uniqlo shops you can try it out yourself. The material is anti-bacterial and deodorising.

Do these use silver nanoparticles like some antibacterial socks do? Yeah, there's some concern that those might leak into the environment where their anti-microbial action isn't likely to be such a great idea.

(Personally, I'm well convinced that relatively untested nanoparticles getting into the environment is going to be a big issue in the next 20 to 30 years... this will be *after* we've been using them for a long time, and they're well established in the ecosystem and food chain. The only question is which ones are going to cause a problem...)

Comment: Re:Sorry but... (Score 1) 254

by Dogtanian (#48119835) Attached to: What Will It Take To Run a 2-Hour Marathon?

If you are allowed to changing the route and having helpers, both in route and as water-offering minions, you can choose a route that slowly descends for most of the course (ideas?), or where winds are always favorable.

As has been commented elsewhere, there are limits on how downhill the race can be (no greater than an average of 1 in 1000) and the straight-line distance between the start and the finish can be no more than 50% of the total distance (i.e. there are limits to how favourable the wind can be, especially as running into then against the wind doesn't entirely balance itself out).

Comment: Re:Fewer candidates to draw from... (Score 1) 580

by Dogtanian (#48119479) Attached to: FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

This includes the part of the Constitution where copyright is for "a limited time"

A million years is still a "limit".

A million year copyright or patent will not promote any kind of progress.

I don't think the implication was that it was. I think the implication was that you cited wording to imply that the constitution includes wording to prohibit indefinite copyright, and jklonvanc showed- by example- that this could be abused to the point of worthlessness, since a million years is still a "limit".

That doesn't imply that he approved of it, merely that a moderate amount of weaselling proved the *word* of the constitution could be followed while doing what they do now, regardless of whether it met the *spirit* of that clause.

Comment: Re:Let me save you some time (Score 1) 547

by Dogtanian (#48105273) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Visual Basic.Net - because C#

It's arguably misleading that Visual Basic .Net was chosen as a dying language, because I don't think it was ever that successful in the first place.

It's more VB6 (and its predecessors) that are the ones that were once very successful and now dying if not almost dead by now. Despite sharing a similar syntax, VB.Net was never the same, as it was .Net-based, and not directly compatible with its predecessor. As the article notes, since MS basically forced everyone onto .Net, everyone chose C# over the retro-flavoured VB.Net anyway.

Comment: Re:Unicomp (Score 2) 304

by Dogtanian (#48095729) Attached to: The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made

I don't get what all the hype is about. I bought a used model M from ebay, and the keys were much harder to press than a cheap squishy keyboard.

I briefly used what I realise (in retrospect) was a Model M keyboard at a job I had in the late-90s. At the time I found the fact the resistance was half way down and very obviously "click switchy" (i.e. requires relatively high amount of pressure to get through, then suddenly breaks) to be strange and unnatural. I'm no millennial membrane-weaned weenie; I'd been using computers since the 80s, most of which had mechanical keyboards back then, and while some had been mediocre, some I really liked. They all went "tap" at the bottom, unlike this weird and unsatisfactory action. I have to say that Model M did nothing for me, and I'd no desire to return to it.

When I bought a Cherry mechanical keyboard for myself, I intentionally avoided the ones with the Model M style force gradients in favour of the ones that go "tap" at the bottom.

I've said it before here, and I'll say it again- the people who like Model Ms seem to *really* like them, but I'm convinced that the majority of people who didn't grow up using that keyboard or anything like it would- at best- find it an acquired taste, and probably be happier with one of the better membrane jobs (sacrilege!) or a mechanical keyboard with a more regular action.

I also think that membrane keyboards nowadays aren't that bad. Maybe I'm just used to them, but while I've come across some truly horrible examples at the dirt-cheap end, I've also come across some that were quite pleasant to use (and oddly, were also dirt-cheap models). Still not quite as good as the best- in my judgement- mechanical keyboards, but much better than the mechanical keyboards on some 80s home computers.

Anyway, back to the Model M. Yes, it feels "expensive" and "well made" in that it's obviously mechanical, and heavy, but that doesn't make it that great to type on IMHO (any more than I'm going to deny that my membrane keyboard at work is okay, simply because it's cheap). Some people think they're really great, and that's fine, they're entitled to their opinion. However, given that the borderline fetishisation from a disproportionately vocal number of fanboys might give others the impression the Model M was the be all and end all, I'm quite happy in balancing things out by saying I don't think they were all that, to be honest.

"For the man who has everything... Penicillin." -- F. Borquin

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