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Comment: Oh, COME ON! (Score 4, Interesting) 98

by pscottdv (#49145909) Attached to: Fighting Scams Targeting the Elderly With Old-School Tech

Slashdot. Seriously? The Post button is all but completely hidden and elements are randomly overlaying other elements. Sigs are on top of the reply links. "You may like to read links" overlay the "voting on submissions" text. Buttons appear and disappear as you hover over them. Everything just has a smashed-together feel.

Is it really so very, very hard to just leave things alone?

Comment: Re:Need to consider this (Score 1) 183

by pscottdv (#49081017) Attached to: Theory of Information Could Resolve One of the Great Paradoxes of Cosmology

It's not 120 times. It's 120 orders of magnitude or 1,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

(the spaces are to get past the lameness filter)

Comment: Re:So not Python, but VB? (Score 1) 648

by pscottdv (#48859617) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

I started with BASIC on a TRS-80 myself. I am convinced it gave me a certain level of brain damage that took years to remove. On the TRS-80, everything interesting (graphics, sound) had to be done by poking into memory anyways, so it's not like BASIC gave me any powerful constructs to do those things. Mostly it got in the way. Honestly, C would have been better.

But that's besides the point. I agree with you that C is a bad language for a beginner these days, but for the reasons you cited, not the ones in the summary. Specifically, because it is boring, not because it is "complex".

That doesn't make Visual Basic the right choice.

Comment: So not Python, but VB? (Score 3, Interesting) 648

by pscottdv (#48856425) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

I use Python every day and I love it, but he may have a point about variable declaration. Statically typed languages are important to learn about.

I do find it hard to imagine what other constructs he is teaching his beginners that cannot be done in Python. Anonymous functions, maybe? Does VB do that yet? It didn't when I last used it. Tail-end recursion? I don't think VB does that either.

But with so many languages to choose from, VB seems like it would be way down on the list.

I also disagree about C being "incredibly complex for a beginner". I found C to be very easy to grasp and very good at exposing what the computer is actually doing under the hood. I would agree that programming C well is complex (and also time-consuming), but that is because it is simple, not because it is complex.

Comment: Re:How dare you talk down about Reagan like that! (Score 1) 160

by pscottdv (#48765071) Attached to: What's Wrong With the Manhattan Project National Park

Volcker kept ratcheting up interest rates to stop inflation and it wasn't working because while it brought down demand, it also brought down productivity because it became more and more expensive to borrow for capital investment. Reagan's policies were designed to combat the problem of low productivity. An increase in payroll taxes also served to dampen demand which also helped reduce inflation. I still contend that these were the right policy decisions at the time.

Reagan is not to blame for the fact that later Republican politicians (and constituencies) refused to change course when the economic situation changed.

Comment: Re:How dare you talk down about Reagan like that! (Score 1) 160

by pscottdv (#48763799) Attached to: What's Wrong With the Manhattan Project National Park

The mid to late 70's was NOT prosperous for the middle class. Interest rates were nearly 20% and inflation was huge as well. The US was suffering simultaneously from low productivity and high inflation. Reagan's solution was to boost productivity by cutting taxes and regulation. And, while it took a couple of years, it worked.

Yes, this led to a situation ripe for growing inequality, but the real problem is that self-described "conservatives" think that since Reagan's recipe for fighting "stagflation" worked once, it is the solution to every economic problem which it is not. Today the US (along with most of the world) is dealing with unhealthily LOW interest rates and inflation. Large businesses are sitting on giant piles of cash while many households have unhealthy levels of debt. Yet the so-called "conservatives" want to fight our problems with "Reaganomics" instead of developing new solutions that fit today's problems.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)