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Comment Leave your assumptions behind (Score 1) 575

In all these years and hours spent in compiler madness and dependency hell you never wondered if there had to be a better way? Keeping track of memory and pointers, or objects and threads? Compiling code? yuck. You may have to drop some acid or go off to an ashram and THEN you'll be ready to embrace the psychodelic world of callbacks and prototypes and json.

Some more serious advice: CSS and HTML are best left to specialists or you'll lose the little hair you have left. You will want a basic understanding, in particular, how they relate to the document object in js. MSDN and Mozilla have decent refrences, as does W3schools.

As for js, don't let the similarities with Java or C fool you. You'll only be wishing for native inheritance and type safety which you will never have. You'll have to embrace some new paradigms. Given your background, and after reading up on the language, I suggest you examine the sources for YUI3 or jQuery or preferably both. Then examine the source for Facebook's all.js to grok the Hacker Way to JavaScript. That will give you a good sense for the cabilities of the language and how to interact with the aforementioned document object to manipulate a webpage. You'll also have an understanding of three of the most important js libraries to know.

Comment A lesson in economics (Score 1) 440

I don't understand the furor. This appears to be a case of market economics. Australia has a population of ~25 million people, while the US has a population of ~300 million. The EU, likewise has a population of about 300 million. Simple economy of scale arguments provide a rational answer: Apple's cost per unit to ship products to the US and the EU is going to be lower than its cost per unit shipping to Australia, and those savings (or burdens depending on which side of the world you are in) get passed onto consumers. Not to mention the infrastructure costs of setting up stores, corporate offices, advertising, and a market presence in country with 1/10 of the population of the US or the EU. Which again will all result in a higher cost basis per unit sold in Australia. Finally, higher tax rates on corporations in Australia, higher employee taxes on business, and other regulatory issues are likely to drive up prices. Let's not forget the dreaded GST which makes the end price for consumers even higher.

Rather than whine about it, Australian MP's may consider what they can do to create a more favorable market for high tech products in Australia by providing tax benefits to offset the higher costs of doing business in a small and over regulated market.

Classic Games (Games)

Super Mario Bros. 3 Level Design Lessons 95

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

Comment Re:Maybe they've grown up a bit (Score 1) 546

I love it. A good ole lets duke it out between C and C++ programmers. Such a gentleman's sport compared to the (more full of opinionated ignoramii) java vs python vs ruby vs perl debates - or even worse - the dreaded apple fanboy vs linux geek vs windows pro debates that have become the predominant news on slashdot these days.

Submission + - Microsoft Loses Appeal - Bye Bye MS Word ( 1

PeterHammer writes: Numerous sites are reporting that Microsoft has lost it's appeal on the patent infringement case brought on by i4i involving MS Word and the use of custom XML. The result: Word can no longer be sold after January 7th 2010.

Comment Re:ehh (Score 1) 672

Hardware floppy drives are indeed obsolete. Welcome to the wonderful era of virtualization where he can have as many windows 98 "boxes" as he likes, all with their very own virtual floppy disks.

Comment Re:ehh (Score 1) 672

I beg to differ. It is a matter of adjusting your expectations and your IDE layout - like we haven't done that before. In my case I have learned to like and prefer the advantages of wide over tall given a single screen limitation. On a 1920 wide screen it is easy to place two or three editor views side by side in eclipse - useful for example when dealing with multiple related classes like manager, entity and DAO classes for a given "object" in a typical enterprise app. (Just drag the document tab for a class sideways and off the main editor panel). It's not ideal - vertical space is still important - especially with the proliferation XML config files and chatty bean setters and getters, but getting used to using code folding and ouline views helps. In the end, enough that I prefer wide over tall.

(Disclaimer: my 'primary' desktop workstation has three widescreens with one oriented sideways for max vertical scrolling power - I never said I did not like vertical space).

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.