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Comment: Always try to understand at least one level down (Score 1) 637

by snkline (#47619221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

I don't think everyone needs to learn C, however I think it is important to try to understand at least the level below where you are working. If you are working in Java, learn how the Java runtime behaves. Learn how the Java compiler interacts with different code constructs to produce different bytecode. Learn how the Java libraries implement their various functions so that you understand their underlying behavior and possible performance implications. Most of my work these days is done in C#, and while 90% of the time I don't have to worry about all the underlying details, knowing them is invaluable the other 10% of the time.

While I did learn Assembly (MIPS and SPARC), C, and C++ in school rather than Java, I don't think those low level things actually had a significant impact on my job coming out of college. You don't need to understand how C allocates memory if you are not working in C. You do need to know how the environment you are working in allocates memory though, even if that behavior is hidden from superficial inspection.

Comment: Re:I took his AI class (Score 1) 339

by snkline (#40240405) Attached to: Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree
What I would like to see is integration of online learning with things like this Techshop. I would love a 'Bioshop' which contains lots of medical/biological lab tools allowing people to learn lecture material online, and do lab work after of course passing some safety courses. The problem of course, is that such a thing is fairly niche compared to Techshop, but I can dream.

Comment: Re:when higher edu wants Physical Education (Score 4, Insightful) 339

by snkline (#40240323) Attached to: Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree
Your problem (and most people's it seems) is that you think higher ed is supposed to be vocational training. That is what trade schools and community colleges should be for. Universities exist not only to train you in a particular field, but also to make you a well rounded educated person. Yes, that even involves some level of education in physical skills you may not possess (I certainly enjoyed my Archery class). Unfortunately our society has grown to value the Bachelor's degree so much, that institutions of higher education are being pushed more and more into being really long, expensive, trade schools.

Comment: Re:I took his AI class (Score 4, Interesting) 339

by snkline (#40240019) Attached to: Online Courses and the $100 Graduate Degree
I didn't care much for the AI class (I took the Machine Learning class at the same time, which I felt was far superior), however his Robot Car class was really good. It took the practical application aspect the Machine Learning class had, making it far more engaging. I love Udacity, Coursera and MITx, the problem is I think I'm a little ADD, I sign up for just about everything and can't keep up given the limited time I can devote to them outside work.

Comment: Re:I abstain (Score 5, Informative) 794

by snkline (#34025548) Attached to: Voting Machines Selecting Default Candidates
The US does not have an official language at the Federal level. If a state only wants to issue ballots in English, I believe they can, but they are also allowed to issue them in other languages if they want to. If Nevada wanted to they could provide you with options for every single written language in the world.

Comment: Re:Well shit (Score 1) 401

by snkline (#33872766) Attached to: Final Fantasy XIV Launches To Scathing Reviews

And people are absolute idiots if that pacifies them, because the everything works out exactly the same either way. Seriously, if you actually care about this sort of thing what Blizzard did is equivalent to saying "well it wasn't rape, it was surprise sex!"

That just isn't the way the human mind works. We get pleasure not just from a thing, but from the context of the thing as well

People can be given the same food, and if it is delivered in fast food boxes vs. fine diningware, they will tell you it either tastes so-so, or GREAT! Give people generic cola in it's generic container and they will tell you it isn't as good as Coke or Pepsi. Put that same cola in a Coke or Pepsi container and they can't tell the difference between it and Coke or Pepsi.

These are not delusions people have, we are not just being shallow, the exact same stuff really tastes better to our brains under different circumstances.

The same reasoning applies here, even if the end result is the same, being rewarded for playing less feels better, than being punished for playing more.

Comment: Re:Was Not Impressed at All (Score 1) 955

by snkline (#32325724) Attached to: <em>Lost</em> Ends

The Egyptian symbolism is there presumably because it was brought by some of the people Jacob brought to the island

The Egyptian symbolism has nothing to do with Jacob for a couple reasons: First, as a Latin speaker, Jacob was born long after the height of Egypt (at the earliest around 400BC if they were speaking Old Latin) By even that earliest time very few, if any Egyptians could still write or understand hieroglyphics. Second, the same Egyptian glyphs and structures appear within the Source of Light, where Jacob has never been, and without the hieroglyph'd artifact stuck in the hole there would be no light, so it was obviously there long before Jacob.

The fact of the matter is that there is no particular reason for the Egyptian stuff. The writers obviously thought it would be all mysterious and mystical, with no depth of thought as to how it would be explained.

Comment: Re:He didn't address suitability of it as a ereade (Score 2, Informative) 750

by snkline (#31741650) Attached to: iPad Review
Except what you typically do at a computer isn't reading. You are typically looking away a lot, gazing at images, or gazing away from the monitor. Reading is something different. Reading is sitting there entirely engrossed in what you are reading never really looking away for extended periods of time. For that type of reading something like a Kindle is IMO far better. I have a Safari Books Online subscription, and I'll occasionally try to read extensively at my computer. Most of the time I end up just pulling out my Kindle DX and bringing up the mobile version of their site to read it on there. There is a level of distraction trying to read at my computer, and there is a level of discomfort reading on a high contrast black on white screen. Contrary to the low contrast "problem" people like to complain about with the Kindle. I find the images low contrast but still with crisp letters and very easy to read.

Comment: Techno (Score 1) 1019

by snkline (#30417576) Attached to: Music While Programming?
I have to agree with a few other posters, nothing makes me more productive than listening to techno while I program (Specifically the DI.fm Eurodance channel). It almost feels like my thought processes get structured on top of the beat, using it is a foundation for the flow of my work. It is only really useful when I am actually writing the code though, when I am working on high level design I tend to turn it off. Weird thing is, I don't even really like techno. It isn't something I listen to at home, and I don't like the club scene. When I'm working though, nothing is better.

Comment: Re:Themes (Score 1) 236

by snkline (#28229557) Attached to: First Look At Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1
This is one of the features I've been looking forward to in 2010, and while it is nice in the beta, I hope they can improve upon it before release. I think the most irksome thing, is that while the windows can float, they are still linked to the main interface. So for example, if I've pulled a code window out to my right monitor, and bring something up above Visual Studio in my left monitor, as soon as I click the code window VS in my left monitor comes to the front. If I minimize VS, the ripped away code window goes away as well. Furthermore, you have only basic sizing control of the torn away window, you can't individually minimize it. I have no idea if these things are even something they could do with the new WPF UI architecture, but they would be nice.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun

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