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Comment: Re:why would I write to that? (Score 1) 187

by Westley (#48537561) Attached to: Microsoft Introduces<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Core

Well, DateTimeOffset isn't a class to start with - it's a struct. But it's still not the panacea some people seem to think it is. There are plenty of situations where what you want *isn't* a DateTImeOffset. Its inclusion was definitely an *improvement* on the state of the date/time API in .NET (as was TimeZoneInfo, for sure) - but that doesn't mean it brings it up to a decent state, IMO.

Comment: Re:why would I write to that? (Score 3, Informative) 187

by Westley (#48537557) Attached to: Microsoft Introduces<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET Core

"It either works or it doesn't" - or it works for all but one or two hours of the year, around a time zone transition. Or it works so long as you're in a time zone which doesn't skip 00:00 when it transitions forward by an hour. Or it works so long as you're not in time zone which skipped a whole day once. How sure are you that all your code works in all of those conditions? How *clear* is your code in terms of which values are meant to be local, which are meant to be in UTC, and which are meant to be local in some other time zone?

You say that date manipulation in .NET is really not hard - but I've seen an *awful* lot of subtly-broken code using DateTime, and even correct code isn't always *obviously* correct, mainly because `DateTime` doesn't represent one single concept.

I looked at the .NET DateTime functionality *very* hard before deciding to write Noda TIme - and now, 5 years later, I'm still convinced that it was the right thing to do.

Comment: Jon Skeet doesn't belong on such a list (Score 5, Interesting) 285

by Westley (#47407197) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

I thought I'd get that in before too many other people do. I have better justification than most, as I *am* Jon Skeet. I saw the list yesterday, and we've been gently laughing about it at work.

Somewhere, the difference between fame and accomplishments has been lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a bad coder. I'm pretty knowledgeable about C# as a language, although details of writing *applications* in C# is a different matter. I'm pretty good at expressing technical concepts, and that's really useful in various contexts (Stack Overflow, books, screencasts, and of course work). But none of these are a patch on what some of the others on the list have accomplished.

As a Googler, I know a *bit* about what Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat have done - and it's obvious I'm not in the same league. The code I'm probably proudest of is Noda Time (my .NET date/time library) which has a few thousand users, if that. I hope I've had an impact everywhere I've worked, but it just isn't on the same scale as many of the other members of the list (let alone the many thousands of other notable programmers).

It's pretty clear I'm not actually on the list because of my coding skills - it's just due to Stack Overflow reputation. That indicates *something*, but it's definitely not the kind of measure you'd sensibly use to compare two programmers. Just as I'm proud of Noda Time, I'm proud of being able to help a lot of people on Stack Overflow - but I'm not under the delusion that even that's on the same level of impact as an awful lot of other coders.

For what it's worth, if I could substitute one other name for mine, it would be Eric Lippert. I'm not sure he's really be in the "top 14" or even whether that's meaningful - but I'd say he's at least *more* worthy of being there than I am.

Comment: Re:Finally Fixing the Date stuff (Score 1) 434

by Westley (#44391161) Attached to: Love and Hate For Java 8

It's not always "in your current time zone" - it depends on the "kind" of the DateTime. If you use DateTime.Now you will indeed get a value which is in your current system time zone. And I think you meant either DateTime.UtcNow or DateTimeOffset.UtcTicks rather than DateTime.UtcTicks...there's no such property as DateTime.UtcTicks.

When it comes to using the system time zone, It's not about "those iron age societies" using daylight saving - it's more about DateTime basically always representing some sort of "local" date, either in your local time zone, UTC, or an unspecified time zone. That's a very broken design, but not (IMO) in the way that you claim it to be.

Likewise it's entirely reasonable IMO to ignore "the" Julian/Gregorian shift in 1752, partly as it happened in different years depending on the place(and Sweden is particularly strange in this regard). All kinds of aspects of a date/time become weird if you swtch calendar system - and the DateTime type *only* represents the Gregorian calendar system. (If you give it a different one in the constructor, it effectively translates the value into the Gregorian calendar.) Again, I view that as a broken design - but not because of "the" 1752 shift.

So yes, there are plenty of valid criticisms of .NET's date/time handling, but yours didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Comment: Re:Finally Fixing the Date stuff (Score 1) 434

by Westley (#44388739) Attached to: Love and Hate For Java 8

The support for date and time handling in .NET is deplorable too, in my view. If it weren't, I wouldn't have bothered to create the Noda Time library (http://nodatime.org) which I'd like to think does a rather better job.

Having a single type (well, two with DateTimeOffset) to represent all kinds of different concepts is simply a bad idea. See my rant about this for more details:
http://noda-time.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/what-wrong-with-datetime-anyway.html

Comment: Re:High scorer languages (Score 1) 185

by Westley (#37968118) Attached to: Analyzing StackOverflow Users' Programming Language Leanings

There's an obvious potential correlation between high scores and plenty of questions being available though.

Hitting the rep cap (200) each day is relatively straightforward, which leaves only accepted answers (and bounties). If there aren't many questions in your area of expertise, you could easily end up with only 260 per day despite being incredibly savvy.

I'm lucky that my two areas of "reasonable competence" (I wouldn't quite go as far as expertise) are Java and C#, both of which have plenty of questions available. Whilst there's obviously more competition in those topics too, it's a fairly "target rich environment" so to speak.

Role Playing (Games)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Announced 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the you're-doing-it-wrong dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Square-Enix has announced Final Fantasy XIII-2 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. According to Gamespot, 'The newly christened Final Fantasy XIII-2 continues the adventures of Lightning and her team of RPG vagabonds in a brand new adventure, utilizing the long-in-development engine (and, probably, some of the art assets) that powered the original game. And because Square doesn't have to spend all of that extra time developing the engine, players won’t have to wait nearly as long to get their hands on this newest iteration of the game. According to Square Enix, Final Fantasy XIII-2 (which, in case you haven't guessed, is a game title that is just as terrible to type out as it is to say with your mouth) is on track for release in Japan this year. [The game] should be available in English-speaking territories by "next winter."'"
Microsoft

+ - How To Crash Vista In 10 Seconds

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Despite its improved security, when Microsoft designed Vista it apparently forgot fix an old Achilles' heel that's plagued Windows for many years. According to InformationWeek blogger Alex Wolfe, Vista can be crashed in 10 seconds or so by simply holding down the "Windows" key and the letter "E." This'll open up hundreds of Windows Explorer, and eventually the system will stop responding. Do you think this is just one of those stupid oversights by normally smart people, or does it say something damning about Microsoft's approach to security?"
Programming

+ - lzma compression file format-> 1

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "The guys at The Tukaani Project are developing a new compression program (similar to older gzip/bzip2) and a library (with a zlib-like API) based on the LZMA compression alghoritm of Igor Pavlov. Some features of the LZMA alghoritm are:
  • Average compression ratio of LZMA is about 30% better than that of gzip, and 15% better than that of bzip2.
  • Decompression speed is only little slower than that of gzip, being two to five times faster than bzip2.
  • In fast mode, compresses faster than bzip2 with a comparable compression ratio.
  • Very similar command line interface than what gzip and bzip2 have.
  • Free software licensed under the GNU GPL (actually most parts are under the GNU LGPL).
The first draft of the new .lzma file format specification is out and the developers are requesting feedback: http://tukaani.org/lzma/header-format-12.txt
There are also the experimental LZMA utils available for download at: http://tukaani.org/lzma/"

Link to Original Source
Biotech

+ - Evolution without gene changes: Evo-devo

Submitted by zoefff
zoefff (61970) writes "NY times has a fascinating article about 'evo-devo': evolution not through the alteration of genes, but through the alteration of the processing of genes during growth. All with master genes commanding a hierarchy of other genes, revisiting Darwin's finches and providing an explanation for mimicry.
From the article: '
New forms can arise via new uses of existing genes, in particular the control genes or what are sometimes called toolkit genes that oversee development. It is a discovery that can explain much that has previously been mysterious, like the observation that without much obvious change to the genome over all, one can get fairly radical changes in form.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Correlation Implies Causation After All?-> 5

Submitted by
thetan
thetan writes "That hoary old chestnut — "correlation does not imply causation" — is frequently trotted out in arguments about science and causality. The adage is put under the microscope by a new meta-analysis of published research. Surprisingly, it seems that (statistically speaking, at least) correlation does imply causation. Where to now for amateur debaters and Slashdot flame-warriors?"
Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - Linux computer in USB key form-factor->

Submitted by PMBjornerud
PMBjornerud (947233) writes "A start-up located in the French Alps near Grenoble is readying a tiny ARM-based Linux single-board computer (SBC) in a USB key form-factor.

Calao's USB-9260 USB key-sized SBC measures 3.3 x 1.4 inches (85 x 36 mm). It is based on an Atmel AT91SAM9260 processor, an SoC (system-on-chip) powered by an ARM926EJ-S core clocked at 190MHz. The SoC targets "advanced applications such as GPS application processors," according to Atmel.

Spec sheet (PDF) here.

With a 10/100 Ethernet port, firewall usage springs to mind. Other interfaces are 2 USB host ports and room for an expansion card. Which should allow some creative uses. Anyone dreaming of a cute little linux-server to carry around and power from a USB slot? Does it come in penguin shape?"

Link to Original Source

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman

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