Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Energy itself as currency. (Score 3, Interesting) 532

by sbaker (#44974389) Attached to: I'd prefer my money be made of ...

Of course people soon became tired of lugging tons of batteries around with them - and having to stand in line to get them charged up at the end of every work-day. Also, measuring the amount of charge transferred between your battery and that of the supermarket when buying a pound of carrots was always a matter of some dispute. Hence there came to be standard batteries with numerical displays on them to show how much charge remained. Places called banques sprang up where you could leave your batteries and read out their charge remotely. Exchanges allowed you to discharge your batteries *here* and to use an exactly equal amount of energy to charge up those of someone on the other side of the planet who wished to provide you with some physical goods. The inconvenience of physically storing all of that electricity made it more efficient for the banques to supply it to people who needed it, in exchange for electricity in return in the future. Over time, nobody was ever sure that the amount of electricity held in the banque was as much as the banque claimed to have stored - or owed to it.

Pretty soon, a shorthand word for "total amount of electricity" was needed - and that quirky unused '$' symbol on everyone's keyboard came to stand for some arbitrary amount of the stuff.

Comment: Been all-electronic for a while now. (Score 1) 532

by sbaker (#44974173) Attached to: I'd prefer my money be made of ...

I realize a while ago that it had been a very long time since I last used a dollar bill or a coin - so I looked back through my banking records to see when I last used an ATM (which is a reasonable approximation for the date when I last needed cash for anything). I was surprised to see that it was almost two years ago. I also looked back at my checkbook...same deal. Haven't used that in two years either.

For me at least - electronic money is already here.

    -- Steve

Comment: Who cares? (Score 1) 848

by sbaker (#27284819) Attached to: Want a Science Degree In Creationism?

Who cares? I mean - really - you can get a fake degree based on "Your life-experience" or any number of junk bits of paper.

The fact is that when you go for a job someplace waving your Ph.D in Creationism - the people offering the job are going to have a really good laugh at your expense. The only job you're going to be able to get will be working for the Creation Research center.

Think of this as "educational Darwinism" - those with degrees in junk subjects will be rapidly eliminated from the business gene-pool.


Comment: You're nuts! (Score 1) 569

by sbaker (#27284737) Attached to: Programming Language Specialization Dilemma

C is a mere subset of C++. So you might as well cross C off the list.

Fortran is hopelessly obsolete - although it's certainly still used in a few niches.

You'd be certifiably crazy not to pick either C++ or Java.

Frankly - if you can get your head around C++, Java is a snap because it's little more than a C++ subset too.

The other thing you perhaps don't realise is that a halfway decent programmer can pick up a new language in a weekend - and be 100% comfortable in it in a month. I've totally lost count of how many languages I know...but a quick count says it's at least 30.

C++ or Java - you choose...but forget C and Fortran.

Comment: Mass murderers...and toys. (Score 1) 1397

by sbaker (#26703001) Attached to: Why Do We Name Servers the Way We Do?

Back when we had a bunch of big SGI graphics machines we decided that they were basically cold heartless bastards with no love of humankind - so we named them after mass-murderers: Hinkley, Lechter, Sutcliffe, etc. This was considered to many to be kinda tasteless - but hey - we're geeks.

When we started to transition over to using Linux PC's for doing our graphics, they seemed like little toys - so we had all sorts of toy names, stuff like Crayola, Etchasketch, etc - but as we learned to network a bunch of them to do the same work, they earned names like Lego, Duplo, Erectorset, etc.

When I named my machines at home, my son was going through a 'batman' phase - so we had Batcave, Waynemanor, Batmobile (a laptop), Alfred, etc. Later the craze was The Matrix - and we used the names of the hover-craft. The machine I'm using now is still called Gnosis for that reason.

When all else fails, read the instructions.