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Comment: Re:Paralyzed yet Fully Aware (Score 1) 105

by djbckr (#48399083) Attached to: How To Anesthetize an Octopus

why not just flood the execution chamber with nitrogen or some other inert gas?

I think it's even easier and I'm not sure why nobody does this: Drain the blood from the person. I gave blood (once) and passed out. It was not very scary, a very short window of "oh, that's weird" and I was gone. I came-to several minutes later and was fine. No gas or dangerous environment, no pain, just drain the blood out.

Comment: Passion + Education + Practice (Score 1) 192

by djbckr (#48023869) Attached to: New Research Casts Doubt On the "10,000 Hour Rule" of Expertise
I think it really requires all of the above (Passion, Education, Practice) to be a real expert. Those that really love a particular subject tend to do the other two automatically. Whether it's fixing cars, botany, math, or computer programming. I look for people with passion to work with. If they do what they do just because it's a job, I don't really want to work with drones.

Comment: Simple is good (Score 4, Insightful) 94

by djbckr (#47841297) Attached to: Scala Designer Martin Odersky On Next Steps
I really like Scala, but I only use a small subset of all the crazy (and what I consider a bunch of superfluous) language features. Simpler Java with Closures is what is should be. Granted I'm not a language expert/theorist, but most of us that code for a living aren't. Trying to read some of the more esoteric features of Scala leaves me with "I thought it was supposed to make my life easier". When I have to spend an hour looking up syntax to describe what the code is doing - well, that doesn't work for me.

Comment: Still not cool, *but* ... (Score 1) 511

by djbckr (#47742835) Attached to: If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Java as a language isn't fun - I haven't used it for many, many years now - but the advent of JVM-targeted languages makes the Java ecosystem fantastic.

Starting with the JVM - a very good machine that runs on pretty much anything, without having to re-compile your program. Perfect, no, but is anything? And the performance (given that it's a virtual machine) is top-notch.

Then there are the JVM-targeted languages: Scala, Groovy, JPython, BeanShell, etc, etc... Pick your poison.

Then there is a crap-ton of very useful libraries out there, and they can be used with any of the above targeted JVM-targeted languages.

So, we can whine about Java (the language) but really, I use it (the JVM, the other languages, and the libraries) to get stuff done. Cool, no. Productive, yes.

Comment: Re:Those who can't... (Score 3, Interesting) 179

by djbckr (#47721211) Attached to: Professor Steve Ballmer Will Teach At Two Universities This Year

It's been said many times - Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

I know where that saying comes from as I have had numerous terrible teachers. However I have had many amazing teachers both in normal public schools and in the corporate world. These people could "do". I also used to teach a popular corporate class and my students always appreciated my insights into the product I taught because I actually worked with it in real life. I quit because of the travel and relatively low pay, but I can very much "do".

I suppose what I'm getting at is, I don't like that saying - it implies that teachers can't do what they teach. I think that's probably the bad apples that create that sentiment. Along the same lines as "99% of the lawyers give the rest a bad name." I'm sure there are a few more percent that are good.

Comment: Re:Old cars look better and better. (Score 1) 89

by djbckr (#46458675) Attached to: Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters'

After owning a Prius(*), I specifically went looking for an old vehicle and found an old, 1988 Jeep Wrangler that I'm in the process of fixing up. You see, you can't fix up or work on a Prius, or most cars these days and I very much missed doing that. The Jeep is carbureted with no computers whatsoever and I'm loving it because I have control over what I want to do with it. This summer, I'm going to make a project out of replacing the dash and user controls with Arduino and Beaglebone controllers and displays. It's going to be so much fun I can hardly stand it. I'll probably put an after-market throttle body fuel injector on at some point to help with the fuel delivery at least.

(*)Note that I didn't buy the Prius for the mileage - rather than I'm a computer geek and I thought it was cool. This Prius did not have the stuff they have now tracking your every move.

Comment: Tough question... (Score 1) 313

by djbckr (#46363865) Attached to: Should programming be a required curriculum in public schools?
It makes sense to have one required class that teaches the basics - logic, loops, and basic algorithms. It has to be basic enough that everyone should be able to follow along and accomplish something trivial, but meaningful. Once this course is complete, then the people that like it can move on to more advanced classes if they want them. The stuff I've seen online (I'm afraid I don't remember what it's called) that Bill Gates and Zuckerberg and those guys are doing is a good first step, but most normal people aren't going to go there on their own.

Comment: More than free speech (Score 1) 457

by djbckr (#46165759) Attached to: Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps
I didn't read this specific article, but the Judge made the comment along the lines of: Flashing your lights is a genuine part of driving safely, therefore it shouldn't be restricted or ticketed. Otherwise people might be inclined to not flash their lights when they should.

This judge actually sounds intelligent.

Comment: Back to the old school... (Score 1) 437

by djbckr (#46031449) Attached to: You Might Rent Features & Options On Cars In the Future

The way cars are going these days, I'm only going to buy old cars from now on. In fact, I just bought a 1988 Jeep Wrangler and I love it. I searched for a long time to find something: A) Cheap, B) Not computerized, C) Easy to work on, D) Good condition for its age. Is it sexy? Nope. And I'm ok with that. I waited about 7 months to find it. It popped up on Craigslist one day and I bought it that same day.

I'll grant you that it's not very fuel efficient, but I don't drive that much anyway. And I feel good about being able to yank things apart and customize it where I see fit. Parts will be available for it for as long as I live. I even put a high-beam switch on the floor just because I can. I don't feel bad about scratching it or modifying it. Can you say the same for your current car?

I need to replace the dash. I'm going to replace it a DIY BeagleBone data capture and display system. It'll probably cost about $500 total for all the pieces. That puts my Jeep at $4500 total cost.

Comment: Java >> Scala (Score 4, Interesting) 109

by djbckr (#45966917) Attached to: Oracle Seeking Community Feedback on Java 8 EE Plans
I've been programming in Java since it first came out, and I never had any particular problems with it, other than the fact that it's rather verbose. I've been thinking there must be a way to accomplish the same thing without so much boilerplate code. Then I discovered Scala (which runs on the JVM and can easily integrate with existing Java libraries).

Mind you there are some things about Scala that are kinda weird, like so much optional syntax and type inferencing makes it sometimes hard to read. But I've been finding it a joy for new code I write, almost Java-like but much less verbose, plus you get the functional programming capabilities that Java lacks. Some of the library code that's out there is hard to understand because of the nature of the syntax, but after you study it a bit, it's not too bad.

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.