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Comment: F Mark Rowley (Score 5, Insightful) 228

by putaro (#49526235) Attached to: UK Police Chief: Some Tech Companies Are 'Friendly To Terrorists'

I regard the threat to my privacy and civil liberty by criminals like Mark Rowley as much more significant than that posed by terrorists. Snowden didn't make companies add more encryption. Overreach by government agencies caused it. They're just trying to shoot the messenger but they created the problem by circumventing or ignoring the law.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 4, Interesting) 672

by putaro (#49510565) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Do the math - bottled water doesn't even move the dial compared to agriculture. Total US consumption of bottle water per year = 10 billion gallons or about 31,000 acre feet. An acre-foot is about what one household uses per year, so it's the equivalent of a small city. In contrast, California uses 38 billion gallons a DAY. Stopping bottled water will not solve the water crisis. Alfalfa would certainly have a bigger impact.

Comment: Re: Invisible hand (Score 3, Informative) 536

Telephone and electricity wires cost money to run as well. We mandated that the utilities provide service to all and they used to simply spread the cost over the entire customer base. As long as you're profitable in the large it doesn't really matter if each customer turns a profit. However, if a company is not required to do so, they will, of course, focus only on profitable customers.

We chose to subsidize services that were viewed as vital, such as phone and electricity. Cable TV is not a necessity but internet access may be.

Comment: Re:Ahhhh, C++ (Score 1) 757

by putaro (#49231397) Attached to: Was Linus Torvalds Right About C++ Being So Wrong?

You can abuse the C pre-processor as well. The early versions of the Bourne Shell are, essentially, written in Bourne Shell through the use of a mess of C macros. When I was working at a Unix vendor I was assigned to track down a bug in the shell and that was just...wrong. Some time around Sys V somebody un-macro'ized the code.

Comment: Re:Early fragmentation (Score 1) 492

by putaro (#48911929) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I did most of my work on Unix before I started at Apple in '95. All of the new OS development was being done in C by then. I suspect that before most of the OS development had been done in 68K assembler, not Pascal. When the switch to PPC started, Apple needed a cross-platform systems programming language and Pascal was not it.

This article from '93 references how the industry mindset had switched to C/C++ and that pushed Apple.

One thing to remember is that at that time, both Macs and PCs were not very powerful machines and large applications were being developed for Unix workstations.

Comment: Re:Java is Pascal++ (Score 1) 492

by putaro (#48902741) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

UCSD P-system was a virtual machine. introduced back in '78. I think it was most popular on the Apple II, though it ran on PC's and even the PDP-11. I went to UCSD in the mid 80's and we learned Pascal on PC's but the PDP-11's (these were small graphics workstations, not minis) were running RT-11, if I remember correctly and we used them for the assembly language class.

Comment: Re:Early fragmentation (Score 2) 492

by putaro (#48902733) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

I'd say that the reason C eclipsed Pascal was the popularity of Unix. There was an explosion of Unix systems in the mid 80's (including Sun workstations but many, many others) that were fairly inexpensive but with a lot of power and they were all programmed in C. Pascal had a lot of popularity on PC's with Turbo Pascal and a lot of stuff written of the Macintosh was Pascal back then (if you look at the old Mac API's you'll see an abundance of "pstrings" or Pascal strings) but C was "cooler" because it was coming out of the Unix world.

Nothing succeeds like excess. -- Oscar Wilde