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Comment Yes and no. (Score 1) 430

See, the flip-side is:

I don't care how good your algorithm is if it's written in an obtuse, unmaintainable manner.

There are plenty of coders (especially those new to the profession) who don't understand the value of tidy code. The smart ones quickly understand and tend to ask for some tips. That's the first (and for me, primary) reason for having a Coding Standards document.

The second reason is to reduce friction when viewing each others' code. Local vars should be 'someVariable'. Instance vars should be '_anotherVariable'. Methods should be 'SomeFunction'. I physically twitch when I see underscores in variable names.

But, a Coding Standards document should be clear on 'must-do' vs recommendations. We state that you should split multiple-clause IF statements tidily to avoid excessive horizontal scrolling. But we only provide recommendations on how to do brace placement.

Every single point in a Coding Standards document should have a defensible reason to be there.

Our CS doc is in a Wiki which lets us have a comment section for each page (and there aren't many pages overall). If anyone wants to ask why something's in there, or suggest an alternative, they're free to. The doc's existed for 9 years and is largely unchanged other than to add explanations and extra languages. We most recently added some docs on SQL stored procedure styling, since ours were abysmal - copying and pasting SQL from Management Studio's view designer is a 'go back and do it again whilst we laugh at you' offence now :)

Comment Engineering Success (Score 4, Interesting) 769

Now, I'm not a huge fan of nuclear power. Not for the usual "GAAAH! RADIATION! WASTE! YOU'RE MAKING GAIA CRY!" reasons, but because humanity (and more precisely, human bureaucracy) is often far too gaffe-prone to be trusted. Running a nuclear plant isn't amenable to cost-cutting or tight-fisted cost-benefit assessment.

But the way the affected reactors and their operators have performed has been almost perfect. Consider the fact that the buildings themselves are intact after what nature just threw at them. Pretty astounding. Sure, by the look of it, we've already breezed through several failure modes, but reaction has been halted and sea-water is readily available to keep the thing cooled without the core making a bid for freedom. Still, as I understand it, worst-case is the core splurges itself over the inner containment floor and eventually cools anyway.

Of course, there'll be a post-mortem over why standard cooling couldn't be restored, the results of which will be interesting (and no doubt, instructive).


Weak US Dollar Means Nintendo Favors Europe For Now 588

timeOday writes "The LA Times is reporting that the new Nintendo Wii Fit is hard to find on US shelves, due not only to strong demand but also the United States' declining status in the world economy: '"[Nintendo] is also is shrewdly maximizing its profit by sending four times as many units to Europe, reaping the benefits of the strong euro," says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities. "The shortage demonstrates one consequence of the weak dollar. We're seeing companies ignore their largest market simply because they can make a greater profit elsewhere."'"

Experts Claim HIV Patients Made Non-Infectious 394

Misanthrope writes to tell us that Swiss scientists are claiming that with proper treatment HIV patients can be made non-infectious. "The statement's headline statement says that 'after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion,' the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, 'An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.'"
Sun Microsystems

Sun to Create Underground Japanese Datacenter 131

Kurtz'sKompund writes with word of a Sun project in Japan, one that's taking a somewhat non-standard approach to data center construction. To save on power, heating, and water costs, the consortium is going to be building their center in an abandoned coal mine. The outpost will be created by lowering Blackbox systems into the ground; estimates on savings run to $9 million annually in electricity alone.

Internet Security Moving Toward 'White List' 316

ehud42 writes "According to Symantec, 'Internet security is headed toward a major reversal in philosophy, where a 'white list' which allows only benevolent programs to run on a computer will replace the current 'black list' system' as described in an article on the CBC's site. The piece mentions some issues with fairness to whose program is 'safe' including a comment that judges need to be impartial to open source programs which can change quite rapidly. Would this work? The effort to maintain black lists is becoming so daunting that white lists may be an effective solution."

Mercury May Have Molten Hot Magma at its Core 120

mattatwork writes "According to ScienceDaily, NASA has come to the conclusion that the planet Mercury may have a molten core after all, based on high-precision planetary radar readings. You may (or may not) remember the Mariner 10 probe making 3 passes by Mercury between March 29th, 1974, September 21st 1974 and March 16, 1975."

Submission + - Commercial firewalls overpriced for what you get?

Anthony Walters writes: "We recently did some traffic throughput testing on an OpenBSD server firewall using 'nttcp' and I would like to ask slashdot readers firstly if anyone has performed similar tests on commercially available firewalls and what sort of throughput they measured, and secondly if they think that expensive commercial firewalls are overpriced? We found that at worst case on the OpenBSD firewall, with a packetfilter rulebase loaded, we got a throughput of about 850Mb/s. Which means that, when disk I/O and protocol overheads are eliminated as much as possible, an 800MB file would get transferred in under 8 seconds. More details on the test setup and results can be found here"

Submission + - Wii Laptop?

PHPNerd writes: "Now you can take your Wii with you anywhere! Engadget is featuring an article about how someone has created a Wii Laptop. Detailed Instructions on how to build your own are soon to follow. The article lists the laptops specs, has details photos, and even a video of it in action. Car rides and plane trips just got a lot more interesting."

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray