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Comment: Re:No, no. Let's not go there. Please. (Score 1) 882

by fyngyrz (#47929897) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Is there a difference between knowledge and belief

Yes. Always.

Knowledge is based, either directly or through a proxy, upon known facts that are some combination of repeatable, consensually experiential, and testable. Sound travels at a particular speed in our atmosphere. This is knowledge.

Beliefs are based upon faith, and cannot be proven, although they can be described and so passed along. Animals cross the rainbow bridge when they die. This is belief.

Either one can be mischaracterized as the other, but examining the issue at hand for the required elements of knowledge will very quickly determine just what it is you're dealing with. Likewise, conviction isn't the issue.

The thing to remember is that just because you have an idea in your head, that doesn't qualify it as knowledge.

Comment: Not answered in review (Score 1) 66

by fyngyrz (#47929739) Attached to: iOS 8 Review

Did they enable nested folders yet? The current single level folders are limiting and create unnecessary clutter.

For instance, it'd be nice to have one games folder, inside which might be a folder for board games, one for shooters, one for tower defense, etc.

One that would be of interest to me would be arranged around photography. One main folder, then one for editors, one for astrophoto conditions and apps, one for auroral conditions and apps, one for IR work, one for special effects, etc., one for a DB of my lenses and cameras, one with my portfolio, one with links to photography websites, etc.

Folders within folders is a very natural way to arrange things in a hierarchy; I have never understood Apple's resistance to giving its customers tools they can use to make using IOS easier. In the case of nested folders, you don't *have* to use the feature if you don't want to, anyway... but if you need it, you probably *really* need it.

So here's hoping.

Comment: Re:Misleading slashdot headline (Score 2) 235

by phantomfive (#47928097) Attached to: Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

Torvalds: UNIX Philosophy is Obsolete

I'm not sure that's accurate......it seems he's actually saying, "UNIX Philosophy is hard to implement in complex systems." It seems to me the reason he doesn't have much of an opinion is because he hasn't spent the time necessary to think it through deeply. There might be a better solution or not, he doesn't know.

And I think it makes sense......SystemD is a heap of trash, but System V isn't an example of great design, either.

Comment: Re:Of course they do (Score 4, Interesting) 484

by phantomfive (#47927969) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children
A google search for "terrorists are engineers" turns up a heap of relevant links, but here is one in particular from the IEEE.

My hypothesis is that working as an engineer in Pakistan (for example) is one of the most miserable jobs you can have, with horrible managers and only somewhat better pay to compensate. Having seen how it is, I would rather work as a farmer than an engineer in that situation, it's more satisfying and enjoyable.

Comment: Re:I hope it crashes and burns (Score 1) 178

by phantomfive (#47921563) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

Well doesn't Objective C lock a developer into a single platform?

No, there's been an open source implementation of OpenStep (the real name of Cocoa) for decades. Some of the platform stuff is Apple specific, but that is true of Linux and OpenBSD as well. You can handle it the same way you handle any other platform incompatibility: encapsulate the incompatibility into as small a piece as possible.

Believe it or not, you can actually compile Objective-C code for Android and run it. Of course, you will have to recompile it, but that's not an issue when you have the source code.

Comment: Re:Will not EVER happen. (Score 1) 299

by phantomfive (#47921461) Attached to: New Global Plan Would Crack Down On Corporate Tax Avoidance
This is exactly right. The US government could close this loophole, "crack down" on corporate tax avoidance, without any global cooperation. All they need to do is pass the law, and Obama can sign it.

The OECD has no power to change anything here, so instead they did something they have power to accomplish: they wrote a report. Bravo.

Comment: degree? (Score 1) 375

by superwiz (#47920887) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?
Maybe. Background? Absolutely. Tim Bray often attributes this

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.

to Phil Karlton. But he does it so often that it is usually attributed to Tim Bray. Naming things is where the code monkeys usually fail. Engineers who think they are programmers usually fail at it hard. It takes a certain fluidity and realization of how actual human beings interact with the world to give content meaningful context (by naming it right) and to understand problem domains well-enough to pick the right cache invalidation schemes. And, of course, understanding how human beings interact with the world is what one gets out of a liberal arts degree. As I said, it doesn't have to be a degree, but the background has to be there.

Comment: Re:Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. (Score 1) 123

by superwiz (#47917835) Attached to: Harvard's CompSci Intro Course Boasts Record-Breaking Enrollment

it's not because of a limitation in C.

C most definitely has the limitation which C++ tried to address and failed. Return should have been a pointer to the address where the returned value ends up being copied when it's popped off the stack. Instead it's just a syntactic premature end of a function. Had it been a simple pointer to the place where the function's return value ends up being copied, C++ would not have been invented because it would have been unnecessary. I am talking about the semantic that is present in Matlab functions (where you can assign to the return value directly). C++ tried to address it by having "this" pointer, but it ended up mixing the data and the functions which operate on it. Which is why its syntax will never be simple.

For example

int a = f();

should allow f to assign directly to the memory location where 'a' is. Like I said, there are obvious work arounds. You can pass the address of a to f() instead of doing direct assignment. But it break the semantics. And it reduces readability. And human time is more important than computer time, so readability is more important than slight loss of efficiency in execution.

The problem is that once 'a' is not an int anymore, but is a complicated structure, you are stuck. And if you still don't think that's a problem, try implementing a fully-efficient (no redundant copying or inquiries) discriminated union in either C or C++. Good luck! Your easiest solution at that point is to just generate the code in some text generating language. But if each function had access to the point of return, it would be trivial. Oh, and discriminated unions are all of networking and all of data management.

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