Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Progra (Score 1) 389

by aardvarkjoe (#48678143) Attached to: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Exceptional people are exceptional because of their obsessive unquenchable interest in a subject. Exceptional people don't need "training", they just need experience, and even without experience, can still be much better than "normals". A lot of training focuses on rules of thumbs, and dumbs down those rules of thumbs to the point of being "written in stone". There are so many things taught as "never do this", when really they mean, "you're too stupid to know when to do this correctly". Training can help, but much of it is a waste of time.

In every other discipline that I can think of, the people who are exceptional in their field have undergone extensive training. Scientists, engineers, musicians, artists, athletes -- the list goes on and on. It takes training for people to reach the potential of their innate ability. Why do you think that programming is somehow different?

Comment: Re: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Progra (Score 2) 389

by aardvarkjoe (#48676963) Attached to: Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

...while you can train people to be competent, you can't train them to be exceptional.

Two things:

First off, American companies love programmers that are merely "competent" -- or that don't even meet that standard. That's why jobs keep getting shipped overseas to shops that can hire three incompetent programmers for the cost of one good programmer here in the US. The tech companies' actions speak louder than their words here.

Second, while you might not be able to train everyone to become exceptional, it's safe to say that most people with the ability to become exceptional will not do so without training. Mr. Graham is relying on the argument that the only way to get more exceptional programmers in the US is to import them. That is flat-out not true.

Comment: Re:It looks like a friggin video game. (Score 1) 346

by Sloppy (#48666809) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

Jackie Chan is so many forms of awesome that it's not funny. (Well, no, actually.. he's funny too.) And you have provided Yet Another in the long list of ways he is awesome: as an example for why video fidelity is a good thing rather than a bad thing. (Which you'd think would be obvious, but some people don't get it. Until you mention Jackie Chan.)

Comment: Re:It looks like a friggin video game. (Score 3, Insightful) 346

by Sloppy (#48664109) Attached to: Ars: Final Hobbit Movie Is 'Soulless End' To 'Flawed' Trilogy

There is a difference though, the 24fps frames makes up for the low frame rate with motion blur. If the new digital HFR doesn't have that it will always feel like you're watching a baseball game instead of a swordfight.

Wait, am I watching the sword fight live, or recorded on obsolete media? And does the same go for the baseball game?

You inadvertently put your finger on the truth: that a sword fight should look like a baseball game.

Comment: Re:Good luck not doing that (Score 1) 291

by aardvarkjoe (#48653617) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

Because Amazon does not publish information about that format, there is exactly one tool that is known to generate this format in a guaranteed forward-compatible way. That tool, kindlegen, was written by Amazon, and the licensing terms from 2.0 onwards (the first version to support nontrivial formatting) do not allow you to use it for creating content that is sold outside Amazon's store. So in order to distribute content elsewhere, you have to either...

Although I haven't used the tool myself, Amazon's description says that "KindleGen is a command line tool which enables publishers to work in an automated environment with a variety of source content including HTML, XHTML or EPUB." So unless there is something more to the licensing terms than you're suggesting, there shouldn't be any problem with creating your content in an open format, and then using KindleGen to generate the content for the Amazon store.

+ - The Magic of Pallets

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a “unit load”—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn’t see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—“the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere,” according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo.

To get a sense of the productivity gains that were achieved, consider the time it took to unload a boxcar before the advent of pallets. “According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours.” Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things and while shipping containers have had their due, the humble pallet is arguably "the single most important object in the global economy.""

Comment: Re:Case insensitive file systems were a bug (Score 1) 148

by aardvarkjoe (#48643703) Attached to: Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

Sorry - if the tools that we have for managing the labels that humans wish to place on their objects are lacking, we should fix the tools, not the labels. For example, I've named my dog "Crankshaft" - does that confuse mechanics? The only thing we humans have is the ability to manipulate symbols. I'd prefer to have no restrictions on the labels that I use, since they simply refer to objects.

It's a common problem in the programming field to make a virtue out of overgeneralization, even when it conflicts with other virtues, such as ease of use or security. What actual benefit do you get from allowing the inclusion of control characters in filenames? How does that benefit compare with the amount of pain and extra effort involved in dealing with those filenames?

The other thing is that "fixing the tools" is a complete non-starter. You're talking about "fixing" a large subset -- possibly even a majority -- of programs on Unix systems, in a way that will be incompatible with existing tools. The elegance of putting some minor restrictions on filenames into the filesystem is that it works with virtually all existing user-level software, with no changes to that software required.

Comment: Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (Score 1) 718

by aardvarkjoe (#48635083) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

In other words, one group of "skeptics" has appointed themselves to be the gatekeepers of the definition of skepticism, and is now throwing a tantrum because there are other people using term that don't match the definition that this group came up with.

If this "Committee for Skeptical Inquiry" is worried that they'll be confused with the climate-change skeptics, then they need to come up with another term for themselves. Demanding that the English language change to suit their own preferences is stupid, and the only reason why it's getting any support here on Slashdot is because of the personal animosity that most of us have towards the climate-change skeptics.

And yes, I'm going to purposefully use the term "climate-change skeptics" from now on.

Comment: Re:Case insensitive file systems were a bug (Score 4, Insightful) 148

by aardvarkjoe (#48634383) Attached to: Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

A quick glance at that article seems more like a compelling case for teaching people how to write shell scripts properly.

If you read the article, you'll find that writing shell scripts to handle filenames containing every possible character "properly" is so difficult that virtually everyone gets it wrong. When something's been around for close to 40 years and still nobody can get it right, maybe it's time to admit that it's the tool that's broken.

Comment: Re:Case insensitive file systems were a bug (Score 4, Informative) 148

by aardvarkjoe (#48631415) Attached to: Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

Obviously every character except for the path separator and the string terminator should be valid. Why should the file system restrict what character encoding I want to use for my names other than restrictions that simply make implementation easier.

This article makes a pretty convincing case that we'd be better off with some restrictions on filenames. It's hard to argue the point that allowing certain characters in filenames causes more problems than it solves.

It isn't easy being the parent of a six-year-old. However, it's a pretty small price to pay for having somebody around the house who understands computers.