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Comment: Re:Incredible! (Score 1) 204

by PhotoJim (#48923363) Attached to: Computer Chess Created In 487 Bytes, Breaks 32-Year-Old Record

Atari 2600 cartridges are 4 kB maximum. It's certainly possible the game only used a fraction of that, but highly unlikely.

The 2600 did only have 128 bytes of RAM, but none of this would be needed for the program itself, which would be accessed directly from cartridge ROM by the CPU. On the ZX, the code would have to fit within the 1kB and the remaining RAM would be available for its execution.

Comment: It all depends on your eyes. (Score 1) 464

by PhotoJim (#48722565) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are Progressive Glasses a Mistake For Computer Users?

I've got one near-sighted eye and one far-sighted eye, and both are astigmatic. Wearing glasses really wasn't a choice for me. If I want to see clearly, I have to wear them.

I got progressive lenses when I got diagnosed with presbyopia at age 35 (seriously), and I got used to them, surprisingly, right away. Yes, they're slightly less convenient because the near focus area is toward the bottom of the lens, so you'll want your displays to be a little lower than you might be able to tolerate them if you don't have presbyopia.

One other option, if you need correction for nearer focus, is to get a pair of single-vision reading glasses (i.e. glasses that lack the progressive lens/bifocal feature and are geared to your near vision, sacrificing your distance vision). I got a pair, quite sure I'd need them for my computer work, and the reality is that I really don't. I do, however, find them to be indispensible in certain situations, most notably trying to watch televisions in economy class of aircraft - I no longer have to crane my neck!

Comment: Re:Oh yeah, he was a orthodontist (Score 1) 156

by PhotoJim (#48635917) Attached to: Dr. Dobb's 38-Year Run Comes To an End

Also, Commodore BASIC lacked IF-THEN-ELSE, having only IF-THEN so sometimes GOTOs were necessary to do what you'd do using ELSE if you had it.

Also, on the stock VIC-20 especially, with only 3,583 bytes of RAM free for BASIC programming (unless you bought a RAM expander), you were coding for efficiency first, not readability or understandability. It had to fit in 3.5kB or else it wouldn't run. Nothing else mattered unless you had spare space.

Incidentally, decking out a VIC-20 to 32 or even 40 kB RAM is a lot of fun. It might still be awfully modest by today's standards but it sure makes for a fun programming environment.

Comment: Re:Can't live with/without them... (Score 1) 353

by PhotoJim (#47416551) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

Of course our plan is imperfect. It's just less imperfect than yours is.

Choice is great, and normally I'm a big fan of choice, but when Canadians live about 2-3 years longer than Americans, on average, and spend a little more than 50% of what Americans spend on health care, I view our compromises as being acceptable. I like the economic freedom that detaching health insurance from employment provides. The two times in my life I have had pressing issues, I received immediate care. And frankly, it would be best if the US remained a private health care nation because, if I prefer care faster than my province's system provides it, I can hop across the border for it. I don't expect to have that need, but I still have that choice.

No one is uninsured here, and that means no one consumes health care and free rides on those that can afford to pay (or choose to pay), and even those of modest means will get quality care. Preexisting conditions are a non-issue. To me, those advantages outweigh the loss of choice. (And to be truthful, I do have choice - Canada has 13 systems here, one for every province and territory, so if I don't like the health care where I live, I can hop to another province. That's adequate for me.)

Comment: Re:Can't live with/without them... (Score 1) 353

by PhotoJim (#47409571) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

This is why you need a single payer system. My premiums don't go up because I ate too many ice cream cones, because I don't pay premiums per se. I pay taxes and my taxes pay for medical treatment for anyone who lives in my jurisdiction.

The solution to your problems, perversely to sycodon's preferences, is *more* government, oddly enough, not less.

Comment: DVD still have use. (Score 4, Insightful) 339

by PhotoJim (#47122451) Attached to: The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes

I still buy physical DVDs - primarily because they are passively archival and don't depend on me a) having connectivity or b) having my server nearby. I view programming at some locations (like my cottage) where it's easier to bring a few DVDs than it is to copy a bunch of data onto a hard disk and then connect a computer to the television.

I also wonder if the energy consumption considers the issues of ramped-up Internet infrastructure and server capacity required to store, back up and stream the content. This isn't free and isn't emission-neutral. High-def (e.g. Blu-Ray) content is even moreso whereas the cost of a Blu-Ray disc versus DVD is actually almost trivial. Once you own the Blu-Ray player, you're done except for the marginal two or three dollar cost for the higher definition media.

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