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Comment: Let's hope ... (Score 4, Interesting) 38

by janoc (#48907741) Attached to: Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites For Spaceship Two

That this isn't going to come back to them in the form of another smouldering crater, except with paying passengers this time.

Delays and problems notwithstanding, dumping a company that has essentially designed and developed the entire thing and handing the project to someone else who doesn't have the know-how about this particular system sounds really unwise, especially after the enormous amount of resources that were spent already. Probably the wealthy investors started to push on Branson and Rutan didn't want to compromise on something, so they decided to bypass them. Or Scaled isn't trusted to not mess something up again as it wasn't a first serious safety-related incident there.

One way or another, this isn't really a confidence inspiring move from an engineering point of view - I cannot imagine the motivation and morale of the people building the craft after being told that no, they won't be allowed to be involved in the testing, except as consultants.

Comment: This guy shouldn't be teaching (Score 0) 643

by janoc (#48857459) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

This fellow has obviously no clue about Python and likely not much about programming in general when he can spout such nonsense about Python being "C-based" and "unable to do more complex things".

I read this more as - "I know Visual Basic so I will do everything in VB to save time". If he has said that, he could have avoided presenting himself as an ignoramus spouting techy mumbo-jumbo to get that parent off his back that doesn't really know much about the subject he is supposed to be teaching. I had colleagues who were teaching object oriented programming at a university using Max/MSP and dragging/connecting boxes - "These are objects in Max, so it is an object oriented programming!". But that is what you get when you have a music composer assigned to teach computer science (not kidding ...).

I am really sorry for those kids, because Visual Basic is a pretty terrible language to start from - it is very limited in what it can do and then anything more complex is directly linked to the Microsoft Windows idiosyncrasies, with little abstraction. They would have been much better off with something like Python & Pygame combination (I did teach a first semester programming class like that). Or even better some language actually specifically made for this purpose - like Logo. Or even start with Scratch, Alice or Lego Mindstorms kits for complete novices that have really no clue yet and then move on to Logo or Python once the basic concepts are settled.

People that are advocating C here have obviously never tried to actually teach it to complete novices (we are talking high school kids here!) - there you need to get the kids to first understand the abstractions like code, execution flow, the correspondence between real world objects and their modelling in a computer (variables, types, use of arithmetic etc.) Having to battle compiler errors, strict typing and stuff like pointers required even for printing a simple "Hello world!" message is really distracting and not helpful in that context. They will have plenty of time to learn about that later.

Disclaimer: I did teach undergraduate programming courses, both in Python and C/C++, including using those Lego Mindstorms kits.

Comment: Windows installer has a similar "feature" (Score 3, Insightful) 329

by janoc (#48831793) Attached to: Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files

The Windows installer has a similar issue and apparently it is not even considered as a problem (red box):


This reeks of serious incompetence or negligence, in my opinion - writing installers that blindly mass-erase files instead of tracking which files did the software actually install and erase only those on uninstall/move is not acceptable in my book. Whether or not it is documented in some disclaimer that nobody reads or not is irrelevant. This really is asking for a lawsuit if someone gets seriously bitten by it.

I really wonder what the devs at Valve were smoking when they consider this as acceptable.

Comment: Lets fight for the freedom of speech ... (Score 4, Interesting) 319

by janoc (#48791587) Attached to: Several European Countries Lay Groundwork For Heavier Internet Censorhip

... by censorship!

The governments will be busy chasing Facebook and Twitter "jihadists" while the ones with kalashnikovs will be killing people in the streets. *facepalm*

The hypocrisy of the politicians that "were Charlies" this weekend in Paris and at the same time are calling for more Internet censorship really is staggering.

Comment: In other words ... (Score 1) 219

by janoc (#48782679) Attached to: LAPD Orders Body Cams That Will Start Recording When Police Use Tasers

The cops will just shoot you or beat you senseless with a baton instead. Or even strangle you with bare hands ... How convenient is that taser-activated camera, indeed!

This is nothing else but a nice juicy piece of pork for Taser and some politicians getting contributions/kickbacks from them, "sold" to the public as a mean to improve the excessive force use.

Comment: Asking for the impossible (Score 2) 325

by janoc (#48767073) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?

Ok, so the OP wants a desktop i7 chip in a laptop case that doesn't overheat. Hmm. Ain't gonna work, pal!

You can have fast, cool and portable - but pick two. All laptops are at best a compromise from a thermal design/cooling point of view and if you add desktop chips that aren't designed to really run cool, because powerful cooling is assumed, you are asking for the impossible. BTW, this is the same (or even worse) on mobile devices - a today's smartphone cannot run on full power for more than about 15 minutes before it overheats and shuts down.

There simply isn't enough cooling, because customers are asking for devices that are smaller, slimmer, less noisy, ideally fanless, all the while demanding high performance. There used to be times when a laptop could run with power management disabled and at worst it was a bit noisy and the battery drained quicker. Modern laptop will fry itself if you disable it.

Do you really really REALLY have to have laptops? For running those test databases on? I know, laptop is cool, but can't you, you know, have a server farm to connect to instead? Do your engineers lug those machines somewhere constantly? Doubt it, those gaming machines are neither robust nor lightweight to lug around on a daily basis.

Comment: DNT is useless by design (Score 4, Informative) 145

by janoc (#48681559) Attached to: Google and Apple Weaseling Out of "Do Not Track"

Did anyone actually believe that the do-not-track flag was effective? There is pretty much no way it can be enforced and the companies can do whatever they want in most cases. E.g. Facebook does not honor it outright, most advertising networks ignore it as well. It was only a silly boondoggle to quickly placate the regulator/lawmakers by showing that the self-regulation in the advertising industry actually "works" and thus no heavy-handed regulation is necessary. That flag is completely useless otherwise.

If you want some semblance of privacy from the pervasive tracking, you must use a solution that is completely under your control - i.e. ad blockers, NoScript, Ghostery, block Flash, etc. and not something that relies on the good will of the advertiser that they will obey some silly flag.

Comment: Stupid and sad ... (Score 4, Insightful) 83

by janoc (#48679099) Attached to: Lizard Squad Targets Tor

Bunch of bored kids over Christmas break that got fed up with CounterStrike and Call of Duty, so they are wreaking havoc for fun and getting way too much news time for it. I have almost gagged when I have seen a reporter saying on TV with a straight face that "it is not confirmed whether the attackers are linked to North Korea" and that "The attack is not thought to be a terrorist attack". *double facepalm*

I am not sure what is more sad, whether these jerks getting off on griefing others or the mom of one kid who couldn't play XBox over Christmas because of the DDOS and she lamented on camera - "What is he going to do now? He has nothing else to do!" I don't know - like going outside for a while?

Our society is really going downhill :(

Comment: Re:You don't know C++ properly until you know C (Score 1) 641

by janoc (#48553977) Attached to: How Relevant is C in 2014?

" don't really seem to understand the difference between pointers and C arrays"

Well, because there isn't one at the language level. The array syntax using square brackets is only a syntactic sugar for pointer arithmetic, nothing more. This is a common myth that there is a difference.

I suppose you mean the difference in the sense that an array means a continuously allocated block of memory of a certain size, whereas a pointer can point anywhere and you need to explicitly allocate that block if you want it. However, that has to do with memory (non-)management in C, not some intrinsic difference between pointers and arrays. You can get the same functionality e.g. using STL vectors - those guarantee that they are allocated as a continuous block.

This entire mess is a consequence of people coming from higher level languages where a pointer (address) doesn't really exist as a type. For people who have learned assembler and understand how the machine works at the low level pointers are an obvious concept. And yes, jumping into C++ without learning C is a really bad idea - especially when that student is often still struggling with basic concepts like data structures or algorithms.

Comment: Very relevant, programming is not only desktop/web (Score 2) 641

by janoc (#48553935) Attached to: How Relevant is C in 2014?

C is very much still relevant - most of the deeply embedded computer firmware is written in either assembler or C, where the bit twiddling capabilities, compactness of the language and efficient generated code are of high importance. All those ATMegas, PICs, 80x51, Z80, Renesas, small ARM Cortex cores - chips that are too small in terms of available memory to use higher level languages and OSes effectively. Essentially, if you are writing "to the metal", you are most likely going to use C, assembler and (rarely) C++. Those chips costs peanuts and are pretty much everywhere, controlling everything from your toaster to brakes in your car ...

Programming is not only about the desktop and web, you know.

Even on more "grown up" platforms you will find C in the network code, most of system programming is done in C, C with its standardized ABI is an interface language (e.g. you can load a C-interfaced DLL into Python or Java, for example) and many many other applications. I would say that knowing at least the basics of C is as much a must for any programmer as knowing basics of English - unless all that you do are web apps in Javascript.

Comment: Re:If at first you don't succeed... (Score 2) 262

by janoc (#48384345) Attached to: Ubisoft Points Finger At AMD For Assassin's Creed Unity Poor Performance

Since when was video game production about releasing quality software in the last 10 years?

These days it is about rushing an unfinished release to rake in money during the holiday rush, the bugs and problems will be fixed after the "release" with multigigabyte patches or (even better) a paid DLC. If ever ... Spending time on debugging and optimizing takes resources away from building the next AAA blockbuster to be released 6 months later.

I am not even considering buying many of these "AAA" releases because of this "release unfinished crap and then milk-and-dime the buyer with pointless mandatory DLCs and season passes" anymore. There are better ways to spend my money.

Ubisoft is particularly known for their crappy games in the last years, draconian DRM, being openly hostile to PC gamers, so this fiasco shouldn't really surprise anyone.

Comment: Re:Typical muslims (Score 1) 389

And you want to say that beheading people is somehow *representative* of Muslims? Or opposing gays is somehow representative of Christians?

If your answer is "yes", then you really need to widen your horizons, mate - you are painting people with an enormously wide brush if you dare to say that most people sharing a certain religion are murderers.

You are pathetic.

Comment: Re:Typical muslims (Score 5, Insightful) 389

Thank you for demonstrating your blatant racism and ignorance.

You do realize that there is 1.6 billion of people that are muslims in the world, spread out over the most of the globe? Your comment is like saying that we should ban all Christians from having human rights, because they are Bible thumping bigots opposing gays and abortions.

Please, do educate yourself before you open your mouth next time.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.