Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Discussion is outdated (Score 1) 191

by jedidiah (#48900113) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

Also, that bit about anti-Pascal criticisms being outdated or due to the "wrong implementation" pretty much destroys any idea that it would be superior for "cross platform" development. The excuses for those misconceptions show why Pascal would have a hard time being useful for "cross platform" purposes.

What subset of "modern Pascal" do you have to restrict yourself to avoid those "problems".

Comment: Re:Poor Alan Kay (Score 1) 143

by lgw (#48896749) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

True, because it is basically terrible for everything, it is terrrible also for using it in the same way as C.

We get it, you don't like C++. I don't like strawberry ice cream.

Yes, RAII is nice. But only *some* memory and resource leaks go away, basically the ones which are trivial, because allocation and deallocation simply follow lexical scope. Ofcourse, this is only trivial in languages which do not have exceptions. Exceptions make this simple thing very complicated, and without RAII it is indeed almost impossible to avoid resource leaks in C++. But without exceptions, it is not so much of a deal. In other words, RAII had to be invented after the fact to make exceptions usable in C++ because - again - some feature were introduced without much thought.

Exceptions are absolutely the right way to do error handling. This was controversial last century, maybe? But it's more than simple RAII - if you have non-trivial destructors, you're likely doing it wrong. Shared_ptr combined with scoped objects fixes the non-trivial ones, and basically everyone uses shared_ptr for everything now. Perhaps over-used, but it gets it right.

This is only a tragedy for people who have to use C++ or think they have to. There is nothing more liberaring than to realize that all this complexity of C++ is completely unnecessary.

I haven't paid much attention to D, but C++ is in a space where none of the othe mainstream languages are. C is quite overused for lack of expertise in C++ - and Java likely is as well.

Comment: Re:Poor Alan Kay (Score 3, Insightful) 143

by lgw (#48896099) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

You can wrote very fast an elegant code in C++ just as easily as in C - it's just a different tool set. C++ is not for writing code using the same approach one uses with C; It's terrible for that. But once you understand scoped objects, all memory and resource leaks go away (well, you can attach something to a global structure and forget about it, but you can mess that up in any language). That alone is a huge win.

C++ has one terrible, fundamental flaw: the learning curve is too high. There's just about nothing where the "right way" is obvious, or even common. And so few people get to real expertise that there's not a common library that collects all those right ways and makes them easy to learn! It's a tragedy, really.

Comment: Re:Interstellar missions... (Score 1) 202

by lgw (#48895995) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far

You could set up a mirror array to focus all the light of the Sun into a point. You still couldn't heat up an object there hotter than the surface of the Sun - it would be radiating heat away fast enough to stay at that temperature.

Temperature is a potential: like torque, or voltage difference. It limits what you can do, no matter how much light you focus, just like torque limits the force you can apply no matter how much power you have, or similar with voltage and current. For mechanical and electrical power, getting more potential (with the same total power, less losses) is easy - just add a gear or a transformer.

With light it's also possible, but it's not optics, and it's pretty rare - fluorescent materials which absorb multiple photons of a lower frequency and emit one of a higher actually do exist, and could passively raise the temperature of part of a system, (much to the horror of thermodynamicists). It doesn't violate any conservation rules, any more than a low-temperature heat engine driving a high-temperature electric heater does. But that's not at all what's happening with mirrors and optics, which like are putting your batteries in parallel, not in series.

Comment: Re:Interstellar missions... (Score 1) 202

by lgw (#48895947) Attached to: At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far

When light pressure is the dominant force, balancing gravity, and the energy of the system is dominated by the energy of the photons and electrons, conduction isn't playing a big role, percentage wise. The difference between 5/2 power and 4th power means the latter dominates at millions of Kelvin, no?

Comment: IBM scrollpoint (Score 1) 389

by wiredlogic (#48895943) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

The original variant of the optical IBM/Lenovo scrollpoints are really nice and have a separate third button above the XY scroll saddle. Bonus points for having a two axis scroller that is hard to slip off when pressing left or right and being symmetric for ambidextrous use. The later models fail by putting the third button on the side.

Comment: Do you really trust the OpenSSL Corporation? (Score -1, Troll) 85

by xiando (#48895701) Attached to: OpenSSL 1.0.2 Released
The OpenSSL Software "Foundation" is actually a corporation which happens to be located in Maryland, US - not too far from the NSA corporation (A US Department of Defense subsidiary). Are they trustworthy? Take a good hard look at the heartbleed "bug" and make your own educated opinion. It is interesting to note that according to information presented by Jacob Appelbaum at 31c1 the NSA corporation are able to snoop SSL traffic.

Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three -- and paradise is when you have none. -- Doug Larson