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Comment: Re:Just like language in general (Score 1) 391

by TuringTest (#46609673) Attached to: Toward Better Programming

Why does the single comment that hit the spot go unanswered? There's a reason why programing tools are called ''languages'' - before problem solving or building architectures, programming is a form of *communication*: we try to express the ideas in our heads in a form that needs to be interpreted, either by the machine, by your fellow team programmers, or the system users. All them need to be able to make sense of the program's effects (at different levels), even though their understanding will be different.

There's no right way to write a program, because programing is not as much writing "a" solution to "a" problem as saying new things about the world. Until developers understand this, they will remain flabbergasted, wondering why their project's requirements change so much.

Comment: Re:Comment your damn code (Score 2) 373

by TuringTest (#46583423) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

since the comment is not executed, there is no guarantee that it reamains correct

As the purpose of comments is to explain *why* a part of code was created (and why it was written in that particular way), it not being executable shouldn't matter much, as completely repurposing a bit of code rarely happens. (Generalizing it yes; abandoning the original purpose of a routine or function is uncommon).

The best comments are those targeted for the programmer reading them, not the machine that must execute the code; and letting fellow programmers know why you needed that piece of code in the first time is invaluable, even if what the code does changes over time.

Comment: Re:That assumes computers learn as slowly as human (Score 1) 294

by TuringTest (#46433553) Attached to: Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

Plus, the human brain is massively parallel, much more than anything we know how to build, yet it learns as a single global epiphenomenon. If you split learning in separate niches, what makes you think that the computer would learn faster than the brains of the whole human race learning in parallel?

It's plausible that a pure information thinking system, once freed from the constraints of chemical processes on top of which our brains process information, could work much faster than our nature-evolved brains. But such system wouldn't resemble anything approaching the design of current computers.

Comment: Re:That assumes computers learn as slowly as human (Score 1) 294

by TuringTest (#46433515) Attached to: Why Robots Will Not Be Smarter Than Humans By 2029

Are you sure the algorithm won't learn much more slowly than humans instead? Learning happens by relating what you see to what you already know. So the more you know, the more it takes to add new facts. You can see that process in children, which learn much more quickly than adults.

We are not talking of merely recording events and dumping them into databases, but of building knowledge from them - that task could turn to be essentially non-parallelizable if you don't want schizophrenic computers.

Comment: Re:Killed because of the message (Score 1) 314

That's because logic is unambiguous, and it allows us to clarify our own thoughts. Otherwise our brain gets ridden with misconceptions, prejudices, and lousy thinking. The need of pure logic is a testament to our brains' messy nature, not any characteristic of the workings of the world.

Comment: Re:why ? (Score 4, Insightful) 392

by TuringTest (#45827461) Attached to: If UNIX Were a Religion

Of course it will be useless for you if you already have some understanding of the UNIX heritage. As with all metaphors, its value is for people who know very little about the topic, in that it helps them relating the topic to something which they're already familiar with.

For someone without a previous knowledge in the history of UNIX, the metaphor provides a mental map to navigate intuitively what was perceived as an impenetrable technical mess. It can provide the idea that there is a heritage of branching from a common origin, a sense of what are the main branches, their relative antiquity and importance.

Moreover, it's funny and light-hearted. Why does everything has to have a practical purpose?

Comment: Re:However you don't get it (Score 1) 137

by TuringTest (#45794529) Attached to: Hawaii Desktop Stable Released, Powered By Qt 5.2 & Wayland

Because it conveys the right message for the people hearing it. That's why MS used it -it's a very good definition for someone who doesn't program computers for a living. MS tried to derail the trail by dumbing down the tech details, which shouldn't have been done at the Court. This doesn't mean that hiding tech details is always wrong.

End users don't get any direct benefit from the OS- it's a tool for the developers, so users don't require any detail about it's inner working; they literally don't need to know how an OS in order to accomplish their goals when using the computer.

Users only interact with the shell, the package system and maybe the file system; and those do not strictly belong to the OS, but are just applications bundled with it. And those are precisely the parts described in TFA.

Comment: Re:However you don't get it (Score 1) 137

by TuringTest (#45794217) Attached to: Hawaii Desktop Stable Released, Powered By Qt 5.2 & Wayland

That definition is not intended to win trials here, nor to be used in any technical context. Their choice of words means that their target audience is not the stereotypical Slashdot crowd.

It implies that we can install this environment to our families, and still hope to use it ourselves. Some of us believe it's a good thing, that the people who think "the beige box is the hard drive" can use computers. But not many developers know how to make a computer that they can use; making software easy to use is much more difficult than most programmers realize.

Comment: They get it (Score 4, Interesting) 137

by TuringTest (#45787547) Attached to: Hawaii Desktop Stable Released, Powered By Qt 5.2 & Wayland

They have a main webpage with a clean design, and they explain what they do and why anyone in the target audience should care, without falling prey to corporate-speak. That alone bests more than 90% of previous desktop environments, yet is the bare minimum than any user-facing project should have. Plus, the FAQ and About pages actually explain their motivations rather than a few obscure technical details.

That "operating system, a suite of software that makes your computer run" made me shed tears of joy.

Comment: Re:save us from *all* pseudo-science (Score 1) 674

by TuringTest (#45659223) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

You're just describing human nature there, not an essential difference between science and religion. Most people doing science don't follow their assumptions to their ultimate philosophical consequences, and remain at a comfortable pragmatical ground.

Conversely, there are rational theologians (starting with scholasticism, which existed prior to the modern scientific method) that make all assumptions explicit - they just happen to use a different set of assumptions than positivism. This doesn't make them less rational, although it makes them less scientific.

Comment: Re:Wrong way of doing things (Score 1) 674

by TuringTest (#45658939) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

Exactly. And most of the time, disproving their whole axiomatic framework through logic is simply impossible to do, as that framework is self-consistent.

Note that this is true for religious beliefs, but it's also true for the scientific method and rationality - their core assumptions are non-falsiable.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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