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Comment: White s p a c e is magic! (Score 1) 415

by ahoffer0 (#47410483) Attached to: Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

I found someone else who things so too: http://carolinefrenette.com/th...

Ok. Serious now. The white space debate has always intrigued me. I've been people really, really mad about attaching significance to white space. To some it is heresy. Personally, I don't care if the block delimiters are implied by non-visible characters or made explicit by visible characters. It reminds me of the Big-Endian/Little-Endian debate between Lilliput and Blefuscu.

Comment: Re:R is better for non-programmers (Score 1) 143

I agree that R is better for non-programmers. R is a tool you can use to answer all kinds of questions. It is popular economists, psychologists, mathematicians and people who need a computer to get their work done.

I'm more of a computer person. R drives me nuts. To me, R feels like a hodge-podge of features that aggregated together over decades. Python is different. It has a Benevolent Dictator For Life and it feels cohesive. If Python is the Parthenon, then R is the Grand Bazaar. Your individual mileage may vary.

Comment: Re: Julia (language)? (Score 1) 143

I'd recommend Julia for traditional scientific computing- things based on continuous math like systems of equations. Julia's sweet spot is similar to MATLAB.

While the R has a lot of similarities to MATLAB, but it "feels" like it is aimed at the stats & machine learning user.

Comment: Re:What about statistics vs calculus (Score 2) 155

by ahoffer0 (#47293341) Attached to: Computational Thinking: AP Computer Science Vs AP Statistics?

I took trigonometry, calculus, and (later) differential equations and vector calculus. Integrating sin(2x) did not contribute enough to by education to be worth the effort.

As a computer programmer, I need discrete math for my job. (The only computer people I know using continuous math for their day jobs are in HPC /scientific computing). As a citizen, voter, and member of society, I need probability, statistics, and a good understanding of logical fallacies.

I'm just another jerk with an opinion, but I'd drop the trig and calculus curriculum in favor of discrete math and stats in secondary education. In post-secondary education, I like another poster's idea to teach calculus in the context of other disciplines (i.e. physics)... at the undergrad level for non-math majors. Or better, I'd run a controlled experiment with random sampling to determine the effects of a curriculum change.

Comment: location, location (Score 2) 466

I live in the home Amazon and Microsoft. The region is starving for more developers, but it's very hard to land a job. I'm not a prodigy; just a solid programmer, with a Masters. It took it a couple of dozen interviews and a year to get a job. It is going great. Companies here compete to see who can be the pickiest. I heard some one brag once that they flew in half a dozen candidates from Sweden and that only one Swede made the cut.

So where are you looking for work? Every region has its own peculiarities.

Comment: For thousands of years... (Score 3, Insightful) 353

by ahoffer0 (#45969339) Attached to: Programmer Privilege

This is a specific example of a more general phenomenon. Why do people where business suits? It is so they look the part. Why do kings hold an orb and scepter? ... so they look the part.

Why do I say 'I have some experience with that.' When what I really mean is 'I read a Slashdot post about that.'? It is so I sound the part.

Comment: The Nineties are calling... (Score 1) 331

by ahoffer0 (#44759651) Attached to: Users Revolt Over Yahoo Groups Update

They say they they are sitting right next to Yahoo in the conference room, just across the table from Netscape and SGI. They are telling me that any Yahoo walking the streets in 2013 is most certainly an imposter, and possibly a time-traveling zombie. Whatever it is, they recommend a bullet to its head, just to be safe.

Hold on.
My teenagers are asking me "what is a yahoo?"
It is a good thing I have a copy of Gulliver's Travels on the book shelf for just such emergencies.

Comment: Wrong side of history (Score 1) 395

Maybe I'm just sensitized to these kinds of headlines, but it sure seems like many, many officials in the US and UK governments will go to their graves without every having realized they were on the wrong side of history.

To be fair, those same officials would probably think the same of me. Or they would, if they gave a rat's ass about what ordinary people like myself think. The treatment of Snowden and Manning leads me to believe they have no interest in the opinion of hoi polloi. On the contrary, our officials seem little put out that they should have to answer to the unwashed masses.

It is sad to think that Obama's legacy as the first black President and as a health care reformer is being overshadowed by the institutionalization of the surveillance state and the persecution of those would challenge it.

Comment: Re:Externalized costs (Score 2) 427

by ahoffer0 (#44636561) Attached to: US States Banned From Exporting Trash To China Are Drowning In Plastic

I lived in Switzerland for a few years. To dispose of your trash, you bought specially marked garbage bags at a store. The cost of the bag included the cost of waste disposal. Fill up the bag with trash, leave it out on trash day, and it was hauled it away. There was an incentive to recycle because you did not need to place your recyclables in a trash bag.

In fact, if you put recyclables inside of your trash bag, you were mailed a fine for putting them in the wrong stream. (I never did understand how they knew who was responsible, but they did).

Comment: Re:Once upon a qwest (Score 1) 105

by ahoffer0 (#43656381) Attached to: CenturyLink's Nationwide Outage Affects Millions

I saved a bundle switching from Comcast to Century Link. I get 8 Mbps/down which is fine for my Netflix and other streaming needs. If the price goes up, I'll just switch back to Comcast on one of their introductory plans. Then again, in a year from now, it is likely that HSPA+ and LTE wireless broadband will be competitive with Comcast and Century link in terms of price for my personal bandwidth needs.

It's a good time to be a customer.

PS: I'm lucky. My Century Link connection is still up.

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