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Comment: Re:Better Than First Edition? (Score 2, Interesting) 163

by mindcorrosive (#31236854) Attached to: Learning Python, 4th Edition

Endless bits about immutability, without hints as to why I ought to care. I can appreciate the use of the interactive prompt now, but to start with it seems ... strange.

The thing about mutability in Python is that it can bite you in the neck if you assume the variable passing and assignment work as in some other popular languages. I can appreciate the author's tirades about this, as he brought his point around, even with simple examples. And how do you propose to start with a language that doesn't have one-IDE-to-rule-them-all, like Visual Studio or Eclipse? You know how sparse is IDLE by today's standards.

Little discussion of how you might have accomplished tasks in other languages and wish to do the Pythonic equivalent.

That's why there's this other book, "Programming Python", again by Lutz, where he discusses the practical aspects of Python programming, and using the standard library modules. There are examples of the "Pythonic" way to do this or that, instead of masking C/C++ syntax with Python expressions. The discussions of modules, packages and classes is extensive, and down to the details of how they work and are used.

I understand your frustration, and can't comment on the first edition that you've seen. I've preordered the fourth edition - this one - (the whole 1000 or so pages), and I found it a very good self-educational tool - I managed to learn most of the ins-and-outs of the language in just one week, without having prior exposure to Python (I've got experience with 3-4 other programming languages, admittedly). I'd recommend it highly for anyone that wants to learn Python (the language) quickly.

Of course, this is my opinion, so take it as you may.

Comment: Re:How is it made? (Score 1) 367

by mindcorrosive (#30986796) Attached to: Super Strong Metal Foam Discovered
TFA doesn't even mention the what the base metal is (I'd guess aluminium -- most foams I've seen are Al-based). I'm not too impressed by this, as no details on either the method or the composition are mentioned - sounds like slashvertisment to me.
A common method to produce Al foams is similar to the way bread is made - add some "soda" to the base alloy, invoke a chemical reaction that releases a gas (CO2 or similar), then quickly cast and solidify. You get mostly spherical voids, which have relatively low influence as a stress concentrator. That being said, it's rather complicated to get uniform void distribution along the volume, especially avoiding large gas entrapments in critical places that can weaken significantly the material.

Comment: Fixed since Office 2003 at least (Score 0, Redundant) 123

by mindcorrosive (#29462591) Attached to: Microsoft Rushes Out Office Web Apps Preview

- loose indentation for some unclear reason. The bullet will start at the middle of the screen. And how to go back to the correct indentation is some voodoo magic

That's why you can quick indent with Tab and Shift+Tab, although I'm not sure what's this "voodoo" behaviour you seem to imply. You can control tab stops and indentations from the ruler - it's not the best, but works good most of the time.

- won't be able to create a bullet point on the same level of indentation than the previous one, after I made some multi-line text under the bullet or went back from correcting some text at another place in the doc

Oh, you mean, like, when you are writing the list, and you want to include some paragraphs under a bullet, and you press Shift+Enter to break inside the longer text, and then when you press Enter again it reverts back to bulleted list? That has been around for as long as I remember, although I cannot verify since which version exactly.

If I had to complain about Word, I'd more likely mention the lack of a proper citation/bibliography mechanism, or missing font kerning and ligatures, or the confusing ordeal of customizing styles vs. manually specifying section formatting. Word is one of the Microsoft's products I hate with passion - and do not use.

Seriously, when a person gets *that* pissed with a rich text editor, then you should try LaTeX - it's little more than HTML+CSS in principle. An eye opener, no less.

Comment: Re:Documentation (Score 1) 891

by mindcorrosive (#29398375) Attached to: Why Users Drop Open Source Apps For Proprietary Alternatives
Documentation for commercial software can be sh*t as well. Good luck R-ing the FM, when the FM is just, well, F. At least with FOSS you can bet someone has already been frustrated by that particular feature and complained aloud on their support forums/mailing lists/IRC channels, or whatever. From my experience, the FOSS software that I use provide more superior, compact, up-to-date documentation than the proprietary stuff I have to use.

Case in point:
I'm using a certain high-end commercial CAD product (quite expensive, that). It comes with a kitchen sink included, printed manuals in 5 languages and 2 GB (HTML) of user documentation. Now, all is well and good, if you're an ordinary user. That I am not, as I try to integrate the whole thing in the system we're working on, and I'm using the official API to do that. While I'm not going to complain that the API can be a real PITA (even VB6 pales in comparison) -- the lack of documentation is even more frustrating. The online documentation for this particular API is quite a thing to look at - it is such a mess that you cannot get a list of all methods provided by a class and be sure that there's nothing missing. Some methods and properties are barely explained by a one-liner, and obscure parameters are not mentioned at all. Undocumented functionality galore. Missing functionality abound. Even the examples given do not go beyond the obvious declaration.
Now, as an academic institution, we're not entitled to support. What am I supposed to do now, when their 7-digit, high-end, market-leading, almost-cross-platform, DRM-ed to oblivion, proprietary product does not even work as advertised? There's basically no user community to talk to - everybody's knowledgeable is pretending to be a "consultant" or "expert", and wants to get paid for even the basic stuff.
F 'em.
Books

+ - Microsoft Blasts Google Book Deal->

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "With authors, scholars, the DoJ and publishers ripping apart the Google book deal,it's Microsoft's turn. They're claiming it's frankly an illegal 'joint venture' and not a settlement. Well, via ZDNet, Microsoft's four complaints against the deal are: "1) Future infringements are covered by the settlement, affecting the exclusive rights of absent class members for the life of their copyrights. 2) The deal gives away to Google vast rights that were not contested in the underlying litigation. The lawsuits dealt with Google's displaying brief excerpts. Instead of compromising on that infringement, the parties instead agreed to give away the rights to display entire books. 3) The publishers who negotiated this deal each have undisclosed side deals with Google, which will likely give them better terms than the class will get. 4) The publishers plan to exclude their own works from the deal." You might recall over a year ago Microsoft's own scanning effort died."
Link to Original Source
Announcements

+ - TomTom anounces an open source GPS technology 1

Submitted by TuringTest
TuringTest (533084) writes "(Found via OStatic). European company TomTom (which recently settled a patent agreement with Microsoft) has announced a new open source format OpenLR for sharing routing data (relevant points, traffic information...) in digital maps of different vendors, to be used in GPS devices. The LR stands for Location Referencing. They aim is to push it as an open standard to build a cooperative information base, presumably in a similar way than its current TomTom Map Share technology in which end users provide map corrections on the fly. The technology to support the format will be released as GPLv2. Does it make OpenLR a GPL GPS?"

Comment: Re:Fabulously useful Firefox speedup (Score 5, Informative) 354

by mindcorrosive (#29339783) Attached to: Chrome 4.0 Vs Opera 10 Vs Firefox 3.5
Or use the Vacuum Places Improved (what kind of name is that anyway) addon from AMO:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/13878
Available for FF 3.5+. Labelled experimental at the moment, but works just fine. Works magic with the "awesomebar" suggestion speed: fetching suggestions has never has been so snappy.

Comment: Re:Informatics is a weird word (Score 2, Informative) 74

True as it may be, the subject is called really "Informatics" in Bulgaria (I should know, it's my high school major, and I am Bulgarian coincidentally). It is not Computer Science as you understand it, because we didn't study much about e.g. networks, compilers, operating systems and such, but we concentrated really on the fundamentals and theory of programming and related mathematics - writing and testing algorithms, building and testing low-level code in e.g. Pascal or BASIC (on paper, too). Great starter for future programmers, I tell you that. If you haven't written your standard issue quicksort or a customized implementation of Newton's method in 10th grade for a homework assignment, then you wouldn't understand.

As far as "Olympiad" is concerned, the national student competitions between pupils in different schools have been traditionally called "Olympiads". It's a heritage of the olden days of Socialist government, paralleling the Olympic games. We have those in various other fields - mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, etc.

Comment: New Slashdot motto (Score 1) 402

by mindcorrosive (#28449817) Attached to: Hospital Confirms Steve Jobs's Liver Transplant
Slashdot. News for livers. Stuff that (hardly) matters.

As someone suggested, can we pay a little less attention to the health of Mr. Jobs and get along with ol'-skool tech news? Seriously, this is probably the third piece of article devoted to the health of the latter. No disrespect to the man at all, he's a proven tech guru and visionary, and I feel sorry for his health issues.. But still, do we need to get through the same pro-Jobs vs. anti-Apple narrative each and every time?

Slashdot has turned into a bastard offspring of a medical journal, a political propaganda rag, and Web 2.0 testing ground.

Perhaps the intention is to turn Slashdot in to a technological tabloid? Sad day..

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