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Comment: For once, backwards compatibility is a BAD idea (Score 2) 165

by Simon Brooke (#49146463) Attached to: Microsoft's Goals For Their New Web Rendering Engine

The Web is in the mess it now is because Microsoft (and, to a lesser extent, Netscape, back in the day) has gone through so many iterations of deliberately trying to create subtly incompatible variants of HTML. Creating a browser which is backwards compatible with that mess simply perpetuates the mess. The new browser should simply refuse to render non-conforming legacy pages at all - that would force web site owners to clean up their act in short order.

Comment: Convenient error, perchance? (Score 5, Interesting) 108

by Simon Brooke (#49093153) Attached to: Scotland's Police Lose Data Because of Programmer's Error

Speaking as someone who's been following this story as it developed, it seems to me that the data that has been 'lost' is data the high heid yins of Scotland's police were very eager to lose. They'd been acting beyond their remit - and probably beyond the law - and they knew it.

So I suspect someone with scrambled egg on their hat took that programmer into a quiet room and said 'you will make an unfortunate error this afternoon, or we'll be sending the boys round'. I'm pretty sure the government suspect the same.

Heads will, I suspect, roll - and I don't think they will be the heads of programmers.

Comment: Re:That clinches it. (Score 1) 393

by Simon Brooke (#49072455) Attached to: PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

It was 1993 for me. And I moved to Linux from, guess what, BSD. I've never gone back and I don't plan to.

Yes, I really have been using Linux as my main operating system for more than twenty years, and I still haven't found anything better. And Linux, in 1993, was just a reimplementation of UNIX, which is forty years old. Software evolves so bloody slowly!

Comment: Methodology is flawed (Score 1) 411

by Simon Brooke (#49036601) Attached to: Your Java Code Is Mostly Fluff, New Research Finds

From the article:

From that they got 100 million lines of Java code and tossed out simple methods (those with less than 50 tokens).

Good coding style is to decompose your problem thoroughly, so your methods will be very small. Indeed, using this methodology, the more you refactor the greater proportion of so called 'chaff' you'll get.

I'm not arguing with the general propositions that

  • Java is an extraordinarily prolix language, and
  • These days, most Java is exceedingly poorly written

But this study doesn't show it, because it arbitrarily tossed away the better-written code and then analysed the remainder.

Comment: Re:NONE (Score 4, Insightful) 55

by Simon Brooke (#49027501) Attached to: Which Freelance Developer Sites Are Worth Your Time?
My experience is that freelancers - at least those with a good few projects under their belt - tend to have higher coding standards in the first place, and are more adaptable to different coding standards than permanent staff. Good freelancers are used to, and skilled at, learning and adapting to new stuff.

Comment: Re:Recursion practicalities (Score 1) 252

by Simon Brooke (#49016683) Attached to: AP Test's Recursion Examples: An Exercise In Awkwardness

This is kind of nonsense.

In most current compilers for ALGOL derived imperative programming languages (such as C, Java, C#, Pascal...), it's true, because, TRADITION! But it's not true of the underlying hardware, and it's not true of any compiler which implements its stack as a linked list. In principle there is no reason at all why you should not allocate all your available store to stack. There's also no reason why you cannot dynamically implement your stack in your heap.

These are all language (and run-time) design choices, and just because the people who specified ALGOL in 1958 - when I was three, goddammit - were working on machines which were (by modern standards) desperately poor of both mill and store, doesn't mean that we need to continue to copy the design choices they made then.

Comment: Re:What do you expect? (Score 1) 252

by Simon Brooke (#49016331) Attached to: AP Test's Recursion Examples: An Exercise In Awkwardness

That's a particularly stupid response, even for Slashdot. Since all iteration can be implemented as recursion, why ever use iteration?

Because some problems are more clearly expressed as iteration and some as recursion.

Try, for example, to describe in normal everyday language a route planning algorithm using iteration. Here it is using recursion:

  1. Go from here to a junction.
  2. Am I at my destination? If so, then stop.
  3. Am I closer to my destination than I was at the previous junction? If so, then recurse.
  4. Otherwise backtrack to the previous junction and choose the next branch from there.

Comment: Re:Still ARM11, still a crappy CPU (Score 5, Insightful) 355

by Simon Brooke (#48957147) Attached to: New Multi-Core Raspberry Pi 2 Launches

The point of a Raspberry Pi isn't to replace an Intel i7 clocked at 3GHz, it's to replace a 6502 clocked at 2MHz: to provide kids with a system to hack on. You don't need shedloads of performance to develop great software, and, indeed, the less resource you have, the more inclined you are to code tightly and efficiently. As a learning tool, less really can be more.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.

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