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Comment: Re:what I did (Score 2) 510

by mkosmul (#36557864) Attached to: Learning Programming In a Post-BASIC World

Once you get over your white space phobia and brainwashing imposed by other languages and closed minded programmers, you'll actually learn to love python's white space scoping.

I used to be one of those brain-dead space haters, too. Now ever since I first saw the light, my language of choice has been WhiteSpace and I've never looked back.

Comment: Re:Use your eyes + location location location (Score 1) 130

by mkosmul (#35618482) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Gadgets Would You Use For Hunting Meteorites?

Nope. *Maybe* a metal detector might be useful, but that will only find the iron-nickel meteorites. For the stony ones it would be useless.

As a matter of fact, metal detectors are used for finding stony meteorites as well. Apart from a few rare types, stony meteorites contain enough metal to be detected by a properly tuned metal detector. The trick, however, lies in choosing the right model for the meteorite type and terrain and tuning it properly. And you also have to know how to use it in order to fully utilize its potential (it's harder than it seems). This is absolutely non-obvious and you will have experienced meteorite hunters argue over which is best and everyone has their own set of favorite settings and tricks. In areas close to civilization, you will run into lots of metal garbage buried in the ground and it takes experience to filter out some signals right away and perseverance to dig and try other ones and fail many times before you find anything interesting. Deserts are much better as they have less junk but may host snakes and other unexpected stuff. Still, the rewards are... rewarding. A meteorite collector myself, best advice I can give you is to stick to someone who knows the topic well and learn from them. Look, ask questions, and try using the gear they suggest to you, as practical experience is crucial. Happy hunting!


Comment: Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 505

by mkosmul (#31074852) Attached to: Call For Scientific Research Code To Be Released

Try explaining to a physicist how a 32 or 64 bit float can't exactly replicate all of the numbers they think it can and watch half of them have their eyes gloss over for half an hour.

I have studied both physics and CS and I can hardly imagine a physics curriculum (especially one in theoretical physics) which doesn't include any course in numerical methods.

Another thing is basic good practices, in particular those related to maintainability. My experience is that this area seems to be lacking and indeed I've seen some terrible practices, like a complex application compiled from a single FORTRAN file 1 MB in size (including comments). While FORTRAN still has its merits in many areas of computationally-intensive programming, it is a nightmare from the maintainability perspective, especially if misused as it sometimes is.

Comment: Never or all the time (depending on what you mean) (Score 2, Insightful) 303

by mkosmul (#29124697) Attached to: While Coding, How Often Do You Refer To Language Docs?
I voted "Never" because I almost never refer to language docs, by which I mean the language's syntax and semantics. If I use a language, I know how to make a for loop or how to define a class. If I start thinking about using some syntax which is obscure enough for me not to know it, I pause for a moment and decide to not use it, since if it's not obvious for me now, it's probably not going to be obvious for someone reading my code later on, either. One exception may be C++ which sometimes just won't do what I want it to without weird tricks. Or you can say I'm worse at C++ than at other languages I ever use. A completely different story are library docs (even if it's the standard library), which I use very often.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981