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Comment: Kid loses expensive phone? (Score 1) 682

by HighPerformanceCoder (#44997731) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Suitable Phone For a 4-Year Old?
It will happen, and usually sooner rather than later.

Problem is that instantly replacing said phone does not teach the right lessons to the kid either.

I first gave my son a mobile phone when he was about 10, when he started at a distant school involving taking public buses to get there. It was an old brick (late '90s nokia), and attached by a string to his schoolbag for the first few years. Even so, he still managed to lose it a couple of times (fortunately we always recovered it, even if it took several weeks).

Now at age 15 he's pretty good about it, so he gets a modern smart phone.

+ - Steve Keen nears Kickstarter goal for open source economic software->

Submitted by HighPerformanceCoder
HighPerformanceCoder (931732) writes "From the article:

Economist Steve Keen is closing in on his goal to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter to help build “the best economic modelling software ever produced”.

“It’s going to get funded and we’re hoping to get two or three times that much if we can,” Keen told iTNews."

Link to Original Source
AI

+ - How does modularity evolve?-> 1

Submitted by
JimmyQS
JimmyQS writes "As programmers know, modularity is critical to making reusable, adaptable software. However, modularity is not instinctive for beginners and must be learned via painful training. Biology faces a similar problem: modularity is useful to make species more adaptable, but how did it evolve in the first place? Surprisingly, computational simulations of 25,000 generations of evolution reveal that modularity does not evolve because it makes organisms more adaptable. Instead, modularity evolves as a by-product for selection to reduce the "wiring costs" of a network. The discovery greatly advances research into evolving artificially intelligent robots, a field where the inability to evolve modular designs has long been thought to be a key roadblock to evolving truly complex, intelligent neural networks.

The paper was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. You can also watch modularity evolve in this video."

Link to Original Source
The Almighty Buck

+ - Open source project to revolutionise economics is seeking Kickstarter funding ->

Submitted by
HighPerformanceCoder
HighPerformanceCoder writes "Minsky is an open source visual programming tool for modelling dynamical systems, oriented towards economics modelling, in particular supporting nonconventional dynamics systems model. It is an initiative of Prof. Steve Keen to help reform the economics profession.

Steve has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund further development of the software package. If you're interested in alternative theories of economics, in mathematical modelling of dynamics systems, or visual programming software for mathematical modelling, this project should be of interest. Get involved by funding it, contributing programming time, or even just joining the beta testing programme."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Depends on how big the coding standard is (Score 1) 430

by HighPerformanceCoder (#42367681) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do Coding Standards Make a Difference?
Having worked for one team that had a large, detailed coding standard - 100s of items, references to books that introduced another few 100 items, plus a whole bunch of undocumented standards that get discovered in code review, I can say that even after a year in the place, my coding performance was impacted, and coding reviews spent an enormous amount of time on style things.

In another place I worked at, there was perhaps only a dozen coding style items, every developer had their own style of working, and the crazy thing was it worked. You got used to the other coders' "accents" after a while, and the good thing was you didn't need to think too hard about the coding standard, nor waste much time in reviews.

So yeah - it depends.

Comment: Numbers look way wrong (Score 1) 540

by HighPerformanceCoder (#41246075) Attached to: Windows 7 Overtakes XP, OSX Struggles To Beat Vista
They seem to be way overestimating the Windows numbers, and underestimating the Mac numbers

For many years, I've seen Windows share (as measured on various websites I own) hover around 70%, with MacOS climbing to around 20%. Linux has been stable in the range 5-10% - the remaining 1-2% is usually classified as "unknown".

My website data may be atypical, but it can't be _that_ atypical.

Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Word Rage-> 8

Submitted by HighPerformanceCoder
HighPerformanceCoder (931732) writes "Way back in the dim distant past (well, the 1980s, for those who remember), whilst a PhD student of theoretical physics, I noticed a distemper amongst my colleagues attempting to write their theses using a word processor. It involved much swearing and cursing at the computer, slamming of doors, and running full tilt down the corridor screaming at the top of one’s lungs.

What prompted me into writing this is that one would have expected that with two decades of computer development in both software and hardware (with the hardware being 10,000 more powerful now than when I wrote my thesis), this condition of “Word rage” would be a thing of the past. Not so. My son recently was writing up a report on his school science assignment. This was no book! It was around 30 pages, and yes, had quite a few figures and tables, but I found him swearing at the computer, complaining of Word “crashing and running slowly” in an eerily similar way I noticed my PhD colleagues do all those years ago.

We need a word for this phenomenon."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Fvwm2 does all I need (Score 2) 818

by HighPerformanceCoder (#40291137) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?
I use a small display (1000x600). Using a virtual desktop gets around this limitation. KDE has workspaces, but this is not as good. The toolbar at the bottom of the screen takes up valuable space. It took me ages to figure out how to turn off the mandatory screen lock (required renaming the kde locker executable so that it couldn't run).

Fvwm2 does all I need, plus runs rings around KDE performance-wise. The only thing it doesn't do (which might be handy), is support multiple screens properly.

Comment: Morality of the Multiverse - Hah! (Score 1) 387

by HighPerformanceCoder (#35062226) Attached to: <em>The Hidden Reality</em> Draws Ire From Physicists
Just because one might believe in a Multiverse, doesn't make one not care about the future of one's current self. Your future states are what you should care about, not the other selves in the other universes - they're effectively different people, and because they're outside your causal influence, you should care less about them than people you are in causal contact with.

Still, as other posters have commented, the real reason why (some) physicists are mad, is the seeming giving up on scientific testibility. I think this is wrong - that scientific testibility is possible, in principle and practice, and the ontological benefits of a Mulitverse are worth it. I could recommend David Deutcsh's book "Fabric of Reality" for an excellent discussion, or my own book "Theory of Nothing" (gratutitous plug warning).

Comment: The title of this posting is wrong (Score 1) 465

by HighPerformanceCoder (#34946808) Attached to: Open Source More Expensive Says MS Report
The title of this posting is wrong. The original article says that "free programs are not always cheaper".

There are, of course, plenty of situations where this is true: an example might be in the area of digital video editing, where free software is still inferior to turnkey solutions, and requires a lot more effort and patience to set up.

Conversely, there are plenty of situations where the per-seat license of proprietry software is crippling compared with using free software. High performance computing clusters are a classic example of this.

Both of these seemingly contradictory statements satisfy the original article's statement: "free programs are not always cheaper".

Comment: Scratch or Alice (Score 1) 1095

by HighPerformanceCoder (#24298723) Attached to: How To Encourage a Young Teen To Learn Programming?

To keep a youngster interested and motivated, try Scratch or Alice. These make it really easy to generate some flashy graphics, and do teach real programming concepts. My 10 yo son has done quite a bit of Scratch programming, mostly self-taught.

Alternatively, get him doing Lego robotics. This is a bit more expensive, but loads of fun.

Once they're hooked on programming and computers, that's when they'll have the patience to do "real" programming languages like C++ etc, like we cut our teeth on (actually mine was Pascal, but that just shows how long my teeth are). But not everyone will get to that stage. In the meantime, the experience with Scratch (or Alice) will always be useful, provided they don't develop unrealistic expectations on how easy programming is.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.

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