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Comment They switched alignment (Score 1) 247

The real summary should have been: Google switches alignment, from Good or Neutral to Lawful. The old motto "Don't be evil" clearly suggests a Good or Neutral alignment, whether lawful or chaotic. The new one, "Do the right thing," implies a Lawful alignment. But that could be Good, Neutral, or Evil. Considering that one possible Lawful Evil charachter is the archetipal Overlord, who values power over all else and uses the law to maintain control, I'd say we have a match. Darth Vader and the Emperor he served had this alignment. I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords.

Comment Russian smarts (Score 1) 80

Russian programmers and hackers are famous for being extremely smart. This is also a fame your fellow countryman hold from Chess tournaments and other competitions of the mind.

In your opinion:

  • Is this true?
  • If so, is it a case of the crème de la crème, say the top 20 best Russian hackers, being much smarter than the top 20 hackers from the rest of the world? Or is it a case of there being many more smart people in general in Russia, compared to other countries?
  • If true, would you attribute it to genetics or to education? Or both?
  • How are Russian universities, compared to American and European ones?


Comment Re:ack-nak (Score 1) 80

Some "real world" programming languages already have that feature. The foremost is Objective C, widely used for programming Apple products, which I believe inherited it from Smalltalk. Compare this Objective C fragment:

myColor = [UIColor colorWithRed: 127 green:127 blue:127 alpha:1];

with the equivalent Java code:

myColor = new Color(127, 127, 127, 255);

A singular feature of Objective C, as compared with other languages, is that the method signature is composed of all the intermediate words (adverbs or prepositions) in that particular order. For example the method above is referred to as colorWithRed:green:blue:alpha. You must use them in the same order, otherwise you get a compilation error, because you might be invoking an entirely different method. This is consistent with subject-predicate usage in natural languages, where "tell X by Y to Z" may be different from "tell X to Y by Z"

Other languages, mainly dynamic ones (Python, Groovy, etc.) take a hybrid approach, where you can pass named parameters, but their presence or ordering is not taken into account when choosing which method to invoke. Some of them (Groovy) allow the programmer to give meaning to the position of the arguments, when needed, while others don't.

Comment Re:Only one explanation for this story (Score 2) 87

There is a reasonable explanation, which you are failing to see. If LG employees were instructed to destroyed Samsung property by their employer, and if at some level LG personnel was dumb enough to write it down in an email or in a memo, police can find the evidence by raiding their Seoul offices, which is exactly what they did.

Comment Re:Not Really (Score 1) 63

The reality is that for every 1 person who creates or gets their hands on some interesting content worth of sharing AND which is not already shared AND has the will, time and knowledge to do it properly, there are 10^N people who just want to fetch something that is already out there.

ISOHunt was a fine and very useful service, while it lasted.

Comment Re:Something wrong in this picture (Score 1) 628

Oh but robots did create massive unemployment. Now there are millions, soon to be billions of people out of work, who can play tennis and soccer all day long.

Except they have no food, nor clothes, nor shelter. There are people called "owners" that keep all the food and clothes and shelter produced by the robots, unless you give them something they need in exchange. Which of course you cannot do, because there's nothing you have that they might need, not even your body—unless you are an attractive female, or they need one of your organs. There are already poor people selling their organs to buy food for their families.

That is quite simply what's wrong with the picture. Owners.

Comment Not a Singularity (Score 1) 628

Our trajectory going out of any singularity may have a lot to do with our trajectory going into it.

Wrong. A trajectory going into a singularity has nothing to do with the trajectory going out of it—if any is even taken.

The definition of a singularity is a point where a mathematical formula is not defined. Except for the case of removable singularities, any derivatives are also undefined. So if your model ends up at a singularity, your math is simply not up to the task of describing what happens next.

Around an essential singularity, the most interesting and worrisome kind, the formula takes every possible value, infinitely many times. You can approach the singularity from any value and exit with any other value. So "at" the singularity, the formula is even less defined than in a regular "oh noes I divided by zero" kind, where at least you know the value to be infinitely large.

I realize that, by Occam's razor, the journalist may not even know what a singularity is and just threw the word around because it's cool. Sigh.

Comment APL (Score 1) 332

Consider learning an "executable mathematical notation" such as APL.

It has the advantage of looking like math formulas, naming entire matrices with a single letter and using symbols for the operations, while avoiding the pitfalls and chores of traditional programming languages, such as explicit loops.

APL was designed to allow non-programmers to express complex computations with ease, in a non-ambiguous, reproducible, executable way.

There are excellent commercial implementations (with trial or free-for-personal-use versions) such as AplX and Dyalog. They both have good tutorials. There is even a Try APL online site

Comment Many don't (Score 1) 330

I'm among those who set their computers and gadgets to English the moment I get my hands on them, among the consternation of friends and family.

But I can attest to the fact that a LOT of programmers don't speak a word of English. They have learned the CS meanings of a few dozen words, but that's as far as they go.

They may know that 'this' refers to the current object in OO programming, but they have no clue how to pronounce it (I have heard things you humans...) let alone that it means 'this' as opposed to 'that.'

They know 'Windows' is the name of the most widely used OS, as most programmers clearly understand what an OS is. But if they came to your house and you asked them to open the windows, they would probably walk to your PC, not to the walls.

So there you go, developer tools need localization like everything else.

If anything, you must put EXTRA effort with developer tools, as opposed to generic software, to find and use the RIGHT translation. You wouldn't be very happy if your browser tool suddenly asked you to "gaze at the fountain" instead of "view the source", now would you?

Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you can find a rock.