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Comment Lawsuits. Lawyers. Apple. Blackberry. Patents. (Score 1) 544

Here's a good read; this isn't a slide out, but an addition to an iPhone which has already had its sales injunctions despite the fact is would (obviously) appeal to a great many Blackberry users now using iPhones:

While I couldn't imagine having a smartphone that long (let alone the midnight terrors I wake up with thinking a phablet is coming to get me), I do appreciate the option being available.

Comment Supporting all 3 options (Score 1) 143

I work for a large University in a division that provides financial data to ourselves, as well as other academic institutions. We had been a SAS only shop since our inception in the early '90s, save for a few FORTRAN users here and there.

We wanted to support more options for the researchers using our service, and today, we support SAS, R, and Python. One nice thing about SAS is SAS/SHARE. Basically, it makes your native SAS files (*.sas7bdat) available as tables in a database over ODBC or JDBC, with full index support. This has allowed us to consume these same data in both R and Python. This had made many of our younger researchers (think Masters students instead of tenured faculty) very happy!

Good luck.

Comment Moving on from Perl (Score 1) 536

Some of the threads started here have said, "What's wrong with Perl?" There is nothing inherently wrong with Perl, it is still a fine language, if a bit awkward. Compared to other languages, it does feel quite ugly. I've always had a soft spot for Perl, as it was the language I used to make my first web site. I've been moving some legacy code away from Perl, and standardizing more of the organization than just my department into Python / Django. Python has a lot going for it in a lot of settings, and since we're in academia, it makes sense.

We're in Philadelphia, and something I've lamented is there's never been an active local Perl group. Just about every other highly-used language does (as in, the top 10 of the Tiobe Programming Index). PhillyPUG (Python), Philly.rb (Ruby), PyStar Philly (a women's Python learning group), PhillyDB... the list goes on and on.

Python is also the most consistently readable language I've used, and that goes beyond the forced indentation.

YMMV of course, but the major thing for me was having supportive, local communities supporting the language.

Comment Re:Open Source is not a Panacea (Score 1) 307

Except, they DID choose to use WebSphere. CGI Federal should pay us back our tax dollars for making the choice to use IBM WebSphere... when literally no one else (statistically relevantly) does. The stats are staggeringly in favor of choosing something like Apache, nginx, or even IIS, especially when you consider the scaling concerns already experienced by web sites with similar privacy concerns and traffic loads / spikes. I'm not saying Open Source would solve everything, but there are certainly more experts in tuning and scaling Apache than there are for WebSphere by many orders of magnitude.

Comment Next Up, American Literature! (Score 1) 289

Dear Publisher:

Please be advised that your novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird", violates the Boy Scouts of America's legal rights. We not going to say which ones, but if you don't change the name of the novel's protagonist, it'll mean a long and drawn out expensive legal battle. And you don't want to mess with us, because AMERICA, obviously.

Warm regards,

A Homophobic, Dated, Desperate Organization

Comment Re:Vagrant (Score 2) 212

+1 to Vagrant for local development. If there are any problems, you can easily just blow away the VM and start again. Vagrant scripts all of this with the same Chef repos you use for production. I modified and updated a Django Vagrant run-through I found on the net. It is free to the public on Github:

Naturally, this includes Python as well. I hope this helps gets you started, and thanks for going above and beyond with your students!

Comment Re:California Gas Prices (Score 1) 398

Slightly OT, but California is doing a great thing. I used to be IT Director for a company which did environmental testing of gas stations for compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. All states (some better than others) follow California's environmental need. CARB, the California Air Resources Board, has done more to ensure gas stations (at least) don't do nasty things like spill gasoline into the water table any more, and have good vapor recovery systems in place than any other entity I can think of. They're sort of the opposite of the schill filled and lobbyist group, the PEI. If you want to see a news story about a virtual environment I designed showing how VR systems work for training our new employees (yes, in Second Life, I know ), I've got it up here:


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