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Comment: Re:Over 1000 - Oranising (Score 1) 300

by phasmal (#43728309) Attached to: Browser tabs I have open right now ...

I'm also in the 'tabs are threads' camp, and I find Firefox's Tree Style Tab invaluable. They allow you to turn those meaningful threads of tab navigation into a hierarchy, then gives you tools to close entire branches of the hierarchy when they're no longer needed.

In fact I considered switching to Chrome earlier and having hierarchical tabs was the single reason I chose to stay with Firefox

Comment: Visble vs Invisible (Score 3) 614

by phasmal (#43661191) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Won't Companies Upgrade Old Software?

It's part of a wider attitude to technology. The problem is that the costs of sticking to the old technology (missed opportunities, inefficient developers etc) are hidden inside the day to day running of projects, whereas the cost of upgrading is painfully visible.

I once worked in one of those IE6 organisations, and their projects were around 3x slower than they needed to be, but they didn't know it, so they kept on with the old technology. (they were still actively developing COBOL, so really ie6 was the least of their woes).

Comment: The Web is Closest (Score 1) 240

by phasmal (#43344021) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For the 'App Bubble' To Pop?
I'd be considering how much your skills match 1 page/javascript web applications. They (or the more complex ones, at least) tend to involve UI programming that follows patterns common to all UI code. Since you have some web experience and some UI experience, the gap is probably things like deep knowledge of CSS and javascript (inc quirks).

An intelligent potential employer (assuming you can find one...) would recognise the commonality, and if you had some projects outside of work that delved into Javascript apps, that would give them confidence you could pick up the difference.

Comment: Re:SIAG - Grid in a Browser (Score 3, Interesting) 332

by phasmal (#42902537) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Spreadsheet With Decent Programming Language?

Similar concept, but the other end of the technological timeline is the ExtJs grid control (comes with some excellent docco)

You pick up a whole lot of complexity with the ExtJs framework, but you can pretty much implement a whole spreadsheet on it (someone has!), and it's all with Javascript since it's in the browser...

Might not be the same experience as local spreadsheets (no saving to a file :-( ), but it is extensible.

Comment: Re:Learn from others (Score 1) 196

by phasmal (#39392837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Getting Feedback On Programming?

I think the "only learn from others" here is overselling it a bit.

On one hand you'll miss something is you only learn when others learn from your code. You'll miss the ability to learn from how others code. I suggest reading about developing software. Note that this doesn't mean "read about X language" - I mean read articles and blogs about what makes code good.

To take it further, though, you'll miss an opportunity to learn *more* from others, as well as learn on your own if you don't take it further and be introspective about your performance and your code.

The idea is to try an idea or technique out - even take it too far - and simply see what the results are yourself. Read your code after writing it. Read it straight away, and read it much later after you've been doing something else. Spend time thinking about coding, how you've approached things and what the result has been.

Put these three things together (learning from others looking at your code from parent post + looking at others ideas + developing your own) and you'll become a better programmer.

Comment: Just Ask (Score 1) 467

by phasmal (#39013969) Attached to: Dealing With an Overly-Restrictive Intellectual Property Policy?

I previously worked for an employer with a similar policy. When I left I asked and received permission to 'own' some ideas I'd been working on on the side. They weren't actually interested in owning *everything* I worked on, only things that were relevant for their business. I think the broad employee agreement was more about not wanting to put any effort into crafting a good one, rather than about greedily taking everything.

If I were you I would just talk to the company and see what they say first. Make sure you ask for confirmation of anything in writing - people often don't get serious about answering a question until you ask them to sign off on it.

[obligatory disclaimer]
Of course IANAL, so if you're really serious, consult one :)

Comment: Re:Programming (Score 1) 799

by phasmal (#30566974) Attached to: How To Teach a 12-Year-Old To Program?

The advantage of Logo is that it teaches the abstract concept of "Programming" (instructing the machine what to do, using particular sets of words) and it does it in a way that gives the student an easy payoff (they get to see a turtle moving). It also gives a good grounding in understanding the construction of logic (I want it to do this, then that), so I think it's a great first language.

That said, the interest is very geometrical/mathematical, and if that's not where your child's interest is, then you might miss the mark when they'd be possibly more interested if it involved a different subject matter.

Comment: LastPass (Score 2, Informative) 1007

by phasmal (#30054978) Attached to: Best Tool For Remembering Passwords?

LastPass is definitely nice - it encrypts passwords so that they're not transmitted or stored on the server in the clear. It's also one of the best integrated pieces of software I've used - it generally just does what you want it to.

I recommended it to a non-technical user recently, and she sent me back an email later thanking me because it removed all the mess that she was dealing with before and have her a single launch off point for her web logins.

It's funny.  Laugh.

Pigeon Protocol Finds a Practical Purpose 113

Posted by timothy
from the fly-away-little-one dept.
Selanit writes "Since David Waitzman wrote his tongue-in-cheek Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, there have been occasional attempts to actually transmit information via pigeon. One group back in 2001 successfully sent a PING command. But now there's a practical use for pigeon-based communications: photographers working for the white-water rafting company Rocky Mountain Adventures send memory sticks full of digital photos via homing pigeon so the photos will be ready when the rafters finish up. The company has details on how the pigeons are trained and equipped. It may not be a full implementation of the Pigeon Protocol, but it works in narrow canyons far off the beaten path — and just as David Waitzman presciently predicted, they occasionally suffer packet loss due to hawks and ospreys."

If mathematically you end up with the wrong answer, try multiplying by the page number.

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