Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


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:Obvious? (Score 1) 274

by Gramie2 (#49282693) Attached to: Speaking a Second Language May Change How You See the World
Samuel R. Delaney wrote a book (Babel-17, won the Nebula Award in 1966) whose central idea was that humans could not understand an alien culture until they could understand its language. The protagonist, a language savant, discovered that thinking in that language dramatically changed her logical and perceptive abilities.

Comment: Re:Its very verbose (Score 1) 492

by Gramie2 (#48901447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

With the modern Pascal IDEs (Delphi and Lazarus), you declare a procedure/function in the interface and press a hotkey that generates the skeleton for the implementation. It's fast and easy.

What I loved about Delphi, when I used it professionally 7 years ago, was compiling about 300,000 lines of code in under five seconds on a typical office PC. That kind of quick feedback made it easy to test things and find syntax errors.

Also built-in range checking on strings and arrays, ridiculously easy data-bound controls (at a time when even Microsoft was telling people not to use the VB ones), great set handling (as mentioned above, and I still miss it in today's languages), EXEs produced with no dependencies.

The Pascal (well, primarily Delphi) community was always very helpful, and most 3rd-party libraries came with source code.

A lot of people are complaining about "being/end", and I have to say that I prefer curly braces, but that is by no means a significant issue (especially because IDEs highlight and collapse blocks, and in fact write the "begin/end" for you).

Comment: Re:Oh my god, you're actually serious??? (Score 1) 376

by Gramie2 (#48492145) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

I also started in IT when I was in my early 30s, about 15 years ago. At the age of 45, I was lucky to find a software development job at a university.Yes, the pay is significantly lower, but I rarely exceed the 35-hour workweek (2-3 times in six years). There is flexibility that allows me to be a single parent that my previous 60-100-hour weeks and insane deadlines never had. I have the respect and cooperation of my peers and superiors. I have the opportunity (not taken yet) to take six university courses (anything I like) a year.

When I interviewed for the job, they asked me the standard question, "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" Given that I'm a senior programmer, the only way up would be into management, so I replied, "doing exactly the same work, that I love, but doing it much better".

Being part of an organized workforce (I'm part of the United Steelworkers of Canada, for some bizarre reason), I have a reasonably good chance of continuing to learn and develop my skills until I decide to stop -- but I'm having too much fun to see that happening anytime soon.

Comment: Re:Ok, I am naive, but... (Score 1) 320

by Gramie2 (#48369199) Attached to: Duke: No Mercy For CS 201 Cheaters Who Don't Turn Selves In By Wednesday

I remember how delighted I was to learn data structures and algorithms, after 15 years of being a self-taught hobbyist. Tree traversal? Quicksort? Recursion? Quadtrees? I was fascinated and excited to understand how those things worked. I don't remember ever being resentful of long days and late nights. I even had to get the department head's permission to take more CS courses in one semester than they normally allowed.

Of course, I was a mature student, studying CS in my 30s after graduating in chemical engineering (where the only computer course we had was FORTRAN) and spending a decade in the workforce. So motivation was different for me.

Comment: Re:Tech Up Bringing? (Score 1) 441

by Gramie2 (#48317417) Attached to: The Other Side of Diversity In Tech

As a single dad to two boys, I have been the only dad at multiple birthday parties. I've planned and hosted them. I've dealt with my kids' teachers and coaches and friends without batting an eye.

Maybe I'm lucky that I'm not all that sensitive to what other people are thinking about me. It certainly helped when I was almost the only foreigner in a village in the mountains of Southern Africa for three years. It also helped when I was one of a handful of foreigners in the places I lived in Japan for seven years.

Yes, in some ways I feel more comfortable with people who speak English natively, or who understand about Tim Hortons and the Montreal Canadiens, but I also value the people who are around me, wherever it may be.

When I arrived in the aforementioned African country, my organization immediately (within 24 hours of my two-day trip) placed me in another village, where I lived with a family for a month. The rationale was that when you are thrown into an unfamiliar environment, you seek support and connections among those around you. If I had started with an orientation surrounded by other expat volunteers, I would not form close bonds with the locals. Also, learning the language became a matter of survival (although a few people around me spoke English, learning Sesotho was essential).

Comment: Re:Some of the most successful companies (Score 1) 574

by Gramie2 (#48309401) Attached to: The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said
I dunno, the average GP (General Practitioner, or Family Doctor) in Ontario makes over $300,000/year, and malpractice is under $4,000. A general surgeon can easily make over $500,000. A senior software developer would earn about $100,000, a teacher with 10 years' experience about $90,000.

Comment: Re:People are desperate for culture (Score 2) 126

by Gramie2 (#48294357) Attached to: Rhode Island Comic Con Oversold, Overcrowded

Sounds like the daily train commute I used to do in Japan. Have you ever seen those videos of white-gloved train station workers cramming passengers into the train? Every morning for three years. If I didn't have my book up by my face when I got in, there was literally not enough room to get it out of my bag and raise it.

Not that unpleasant when you are crammed against high school girls and OLs ("office ladies", female office workers), but when it's a 50-year-old oyaji who just threw his cigarette away before stepping on the train it is less than ideal.

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo