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Comment: Re:Pick a different job. (Score 1) 420

by Kjella (#47723859) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

One of the most difficult things I've had to come to accept as a developer is: If you see a 'clever' way to solve something, STOP. The sad fact is most programmers work on programming teams and you need to absolutely view yourself as expendable. Embrace mediocrity and find another outlet for your creativity. This could be personal projects outside of the workplace, or other hobbies altogether.

I don't write mediocre code, I write smart code which is something else entirely than being "clever". With a certain amount of hubris I'll say that I don't think I've ever written really bad code at the micro-level. However, I used to write a lot more code which disregarded encapsulation, separation of concerns, side effects, poor function and variable naming, anti-patterns and so on. And if I wrote enough of it then it resembled spaghetti code, it lacked the structure, abstractions and layers to make it clean and easy to maintain. I still suck at writing high level documentation but at least when people jump into my code they usually praise it for being easy to follow. That's much harder than it looks.

Comment: Re:Code more.. (Score 1) 420

by turgid (#47723461) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Very wise words.

I'd add to that: write unit tests for your code (preferably before you write the code). You'll understand how it works and where it's broken quicker and better and free up your brain cycles more for the creative design part.

You will learn and improve much more quickly with much less stress.

Comment: LISP (Score 1) 420

by turgid (#47723383) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Back in the day (80's 8-bit micros) I started on BASIC and Z80 machine code followed by a little FORTH.

The one thing I really wish I'd known about - or understood - was what LISP really is. It was often described in the popular computing press as a language "for processing lists."

How very wrong. The reality is so much better.

I didn't seriously look at the lisp family of languages until about 6 or 7 years ago. I really wish I'd looked 25 years sooner.

Comment: Re:Good questions - interesting answers (Score 1) 99

by ultranova (#47723323) Attached to: Interviews: Bjarne Stroustrup Answers Your Questions

I have to say, I agree with Bjarne's answers, especially his answer to the notion of dropping compatibility with older features. While it does make the language more complex to keep that cruft around, it's equally important to allow programmers to wrap up older libraries with newer interfaces, for example, and make sure the codebase still compiles cleanly.

Is there some reason you couldn't do backwards compatibility the same way every other data format does: just provide a version number so the compiler knows what you're trying to say?

Comment: Re:Shame (Score 1) 99

by ultranova (#47723259) Attached to: Interviews: Bjarne Stroustrup Answers Your Questions

I don't doubt they improve performance. But they can't improve above the performance of code that has no need for that.

That wouldn't be (good) C++ code, since C++ has inheritance and so faces the exact same problem.

But the real problem with "var" types is that the compiler can't check type safety for you, so you get a whole new class of bugs at runtime. Why not go the Haskell way: the compiler inferes type information where it can, you provide it where it can't, and you can optionally provide it where ever you want? That gives you the best of all worlds: short "script" programs are fast and easy to write, all functions and data structures are generic by default, and the whole program has run-time type safety?

Comment: Re:That's it? (Score 1) 451

by Kjella (#47721181) Attached to: Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

Let's for the sake of argument assume that every site has subscription/micro-payment options and that they don't care where the money comes from so the ad free cost equals their ad revenue. And that it's so convenient and secure it's basically transparent, you pay $230/year and all your ads go away. And let's forget that we'd essentially be competing with the ad industry, probably causing a price spike. The underlying issue at least according to this survey is that no matter what, people don't want to pay that much.

I'm not surprised, a lot of people become extremely stingy online. I remember all the bitching that iTunes charged you 99c for a hit track, when the other legal alternatives were much, much worse. A lot of people swore to downloading MP3s to save money. I think a lot of it is that on the Internet, nobody can see that you're poor or a cheapskate. Nobody knows that your water cooler talk came from something you downloaded from TPB rather than premium cable. I just checked /. subscription options and I could pay $5 for 1000 ad free pages, do I? Nope. If I extrapolate then $230 should be 46000 web pages, no doubt I could pay my way to an ad free web.

Comment: Re:Build a decent desktop? (Score 1) 636

by smash (#47721063) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'
OS X is a lot more than a Window manager. The fact that Linux people tend to think they can replicate what OS X is, by building a window manager that looks similar is pretty much representative of the problem. No one bothers to design any of the platform to build things on. Cocoa is massive and full featured. It provides everything you need to build applications, and is used pervasively throughout the system.

Comment: Re:Nobody else seems to want it (Score 1) 636

by hairyfeet (#47720119) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

It doesn't matter as a core of the OS is being decided by POLITICS, oh and FYI but that PC World article? Its bullshit, its changed a grand total of TWICE in 20 years, from VXD to WDM, from WDM to DF, and you can still use WDM even on Windows 8. I have used XP drivers in Windows 7, that is 14 years of driver support, show me a video of you using a 7 year old driver without playing the make and break game and we'll talk.

If the core of your OS is decided not on its merits but by politics? Then your OS is doomed to become a punchline. BTW the zealots have been making the same excuses for so long that you can break down more than 90% of posts on any Linux article into just the same TMRepo memes, why? Because like Dems and Reps all that matters now is the politics, NOT the OS.

Comment: Re:which turns transport into a monopoly... (Score 1) 271

by ultranova (#47719111) Attached to: Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

I'll never live anywhere that won't let me have a car or where for whatever reason cars are uneconomical. I just refuse to live like that.

To each his own. I'd give up the car in a heartbeat if I could. Maintaining and fueling it is just a bother, and driving tired is dangerous.

It makes no sense. Spread out, people. Its a big world. Doesn't anyone want to listen to music without having to worry about whether the neighbors will object? Doesn't anyone want a dog or a garden or just some space that is theirs?

Some people want space, some want fast Internet, some want services and shopping to be within walking distance, most want both. There's a tradition in Finland of having a second, primitive home in the countryside you visit on weekends. That way you get the best of both worlds without having to commit to either.

Comment: Re:Fire (Score 2, Interesting) 128

by Rei (#47718877) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

Nuh uh! There are also compressed air cars - they only explosively decompress upon tank failure! ;)

At least with batteries, flammability or explosiveness aren't a fundamental requirement of how you're trying to propel the vehicle, just an unfortunate side effect of some variants of the technology (even not all types of li-ions are flammable). There's lots of people who assume that flammability is a consequence of electrical energy density, but that's just not the case. The actual charge/discharge lithium batteries via intercalating into the anode or cathode is more an atomic-scale equivalent of compressing air into a tank, you're having little affect on the substrate flammabilities and you're not even changing their chemical bonding, you're just cramming lithium ions into the space between their atoms. The flammabilty of some types comes from side effects, such as flammable electrolytes or membrane failures leading to lithium metal plating out; these aren't a fundamental aspect of the energy storage process.

Now, li-air, that involves an actual lithium metal electrode, and that is fundamentally flammable. Of course, so is gasoline. I have no doubt that they can reduce fire risks on li-air cells and keep them properly contained to prevent failure propagations. My bigger issues with li-air are its terrible efficiency, lifespan, and cost. I'm certain the latter would come down, and I expect that they can improve the lifespan, but I'm a bit uneasy about how much they can improve its efficiency. Right now, they're as inefficient as a fuel cell. : Who wants to waste three times as much power per mile as is necessary?

Comment: Re:non sequitur? (Score 1) 128

by Rei (#47718833) Attached to: How Argonne National Lab Will Make Electric Cars Cheaper

It is a non-sequiteur. The energy density of a li-ion battery doesn't even approach the theoretical maximum storage for the element lithium shifting between ionization states. That's hardly the only way this article is terrible, mind you. My head hurt every time they said the word "efficiency", it's like they were using it to mean everything possible except for actual efficiency. And if I read it right - who knows, the article is such a total mess - the researcher isn't talking about reducing battery cost, but increasing longevity. But maybe that was mangled too.

Comment: Re:Nobody else seems to want it (Score 0) 636

by hairyfeet (#47718219) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'
Look up "Linux driver ABI" and you'll find out...it doesn't exist. it doesn't exist NOT because its a bad idea (hint: every other OS has one) but because of POLITICS, because some of the hardcore zealots scream "ZOMFG they might not give us teh precious codez ZOMFG"...except most of the major corps ALREADY DON'T GIVE YOU THE CODE so it makes not a shitting lick of fricking difference!

So instead of having an easy to use interface so a driver can be written once and last for years (hell I have used 32bit Win2K drivers on 32bit Win 7 without issue) they will keep a throwback to the 1970s because of GNU-politics. Its sad but as long as politics takes a higher place than good OS design it'll keep on sucking. Again its not a FOSS issue, BSD has one and their drivers work for years, its a Linux issue. BTW watch me be attacked for daring to bring this up, its considered religious heresy to even speak of it.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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