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Comment: Re:Blame the tool... (Score 2) 422

by J. J. Ramsey (#47104139) Attached to: Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

there are no bad languages, just bad programmers.

There are, however, languages that make it far easier to write code that is less readable and harder to maintain. As a specific example, compare Fortran 77 with Fortran 90. I can write the latter without any need for numerical statement labels. I can write a straightforward "DO WHILE" loop in Fortran 90, while in Fortran 77, I'd have to use the dreaded GOTO to get the same effect. Aside from basic stuff like that, I can write formulas in Fortran 90 with whole arrays, which can really help readability. In short, it is far easier to write clear code in Fortran 90 than in Fortran 77.

Do they seriously think that if those models were written in C, Java or Perl they would have been magnitudes better?

Heck, yes! For one thing, in any of those languages, separation of code and data -- something which spreadsheets actively discourage -- would be much easier.

Comment: Re:Because C and C++ multidimensional arrays suck (Score 1) 634

by J. J. Ramsey (#46968817) Attached to: Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

FORTRAN was *NOT* designed to support multidimensional arrays from the beginning. That only came in Fortran 90.

Not true. Multidimensional array were around at least as far back as Fortran 77. Now what is new in Fortran 90 are the ways to manipulate those arrays. In Fortran 77, one could do arithmetic on elements of arrays but not on arrays as a whole, so, for example, adding two arrays in Fortran 77 required DO loops. In Fortran 90, though, one can add arrays A and B with the expression "A + B".

Comment: Re:*nix desktops (Score 1) 503

There are a few catches with MacPorts, though:

1) Installing and updating ports usually requires compilation. There generally aren't ready-to-download binary packages. For a single package, this may not be a big deal, unless it drags in a bunch of other packages that also have to be compiled.

2) If one upgrades OS X, the MacPorts maintainers recommend deleting and reinstalling MacPorts for the new version of OS X. I'm not sure this is always necessary, but I've preferred not to risk it.

3) A given version of MacPorts targets certain OS X versions, and there's a lag time between when the latest release of OS X comes out and when a version of MacPorts comes out that targets that release.

There's also Fink, which shares problem #3 with MacPorts. It's supposed to have binary packages available, but when I tried it recently, that didn't work out, and it acted much like MacPorts, that is, downloading source and compiling it.

+ - How Silicon Valley's CEO's conspired to drive down engineers salaries.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This is how Silicon Valley's most celebrated CEO conspired to drive down tech wages. Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar had secret wage theft agreements are described in court papers in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act. According to Pando Daily "Today's inequality crisis is America’s worst on record since statistics were first recorded a hundred years ago.". Jobs even threatened war against Google telling Sergey Brin to back off recruiting Apple's Safari Team."
Link to Original Source

+ - Target has major credit card breach-> 2

Submitted by JoeyRox
JoeyRox (2711699) writes "Target experienced a system-wide breach of credit card numbers over the Black Friday holiday shopping season. What's unique about this massive breach is that it didn't involve compromising a centralized data center or website but instead represented a distributed attack at individual Target stores across the country. Investigators believe customer account numbers were lifted via software installed on card readers at checkout."
Link to Original Source

+ - UK ISP Porn filters snafu

Submitted by toshikodo
toshikodo (2976757) writes "The BBC is reporting that Internet content filters being rolled out by major ISPs in the UK are failing to allow access to acceptable content, such as sex education and sexual abuse advise sites, while also still allowing access to porn. According to the article, "TalkTalk's filter is endorsed by Mr Cameron but it failed to block 7% of the 68 pornographic websites tested by Newsnight". The ISPs claim that it is impossible for their filters to be 100% accurate, and that they are working with their users to improve quality. I wonder how long it will be before one of these filters blocks access to the Conservative Party's website, and what will Cameron do then?"

Comment: Attempting to apply feminism where it does not fit (Score 3, Interesting) 575

by J. J. Ramsey (#45690121) Attached to: GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language

Feminism, in just about all its various forms, is about relationships among human beings, especially where those relationships concern women and girls. Programming, on the other hand, is about human-machine relationships, in particular about how humans -- who tend to think in very fuzzy ways -- can control and manipulate computing devices that "think" in very exacting ways are are very good at doing what they are told rather than what we want them to do. Feminism is certainly relevant to how programmers interact with one another, but not so much with the programming itself.

Comment: Re:bitch and moan (Score 4, Interesting) 400

by J. J. Ramsey (#45314377) Attached to: HealthCare.gov: What Went Wrong?

From Kevin Drum's blog:

Over the past three years, insurance companies have swapped their plans around so fast and so often that virtually no one today has a plan more than a couple of years old—something that seems an awful lot like a deliberate effort to evade Obamacare's original intent that most individual policies would be grandfathered and therefore remain available to existing customers who wanted to keep them. [Footnote: Plans in existence before March 23, 2010, are grandfathered, which makes them exempt from most of the new requirements of Obamacare. However, if your insurance company switched you into a "better" plan after that date, it's not grandfathered and can be canceled at any time.] Now, having engineered a situation where most current policies aren't grandfathered, millions of people are getting letters canceling their existing plans and being told that the replacement is far more expensive.

So basically, these insurance companies sending out these cancellation notices were gaming the system so that they could both undermine the law and blame it for "forcing" their customers to buy more expensive coverage.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.

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