Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Prep for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Save 95% on the CompTIA IT Certification Bundle ×

Comment Inflexible religious beliefs (Score 1) 507

It's one thing to have a general sense that there might be a higher being that has influenced traditions through history. Some may think that's a silly idea, but it's general enough that you don't lose your sense of reality if someone disproves some factual aspects of your beliefs that you rely on heavily. Even within Christianity, I think that a lot of what we're taught to believe was made up long after Jesus' death. There are a lot of Christian concepts that I just don't think are all that critical, like original sin and the virgin birth. I can even imagine believing in Jesus having divinity without the need for his sinlessness or a resurrection. Sound crazy? It's hard to separate the core of Christianity from all the cruft that came later. The core of the religion is one of forgiveness. People do bad things. If you recognize that you did wrong, admit it, and resolve to change your ways (repent), then you will be forgiven. None of that changes if you dismiss any of these traditions I mentioned. I also admire the Christian Jesus (who may be an amalgam of real historical people) as a great philosopher and counter-cultural rebel.

Comment I love LISP, but it's too much of a pain (Score 1) 421

I love the IDEA of LISP. I also slightly prefer Scheme, which to me is a bit more of a pure functional language. But in practice, I find it too much of a pain to use. I'm not accustomed to rethinking things recursively, and I totally get lost in all of the parentheses.

What many people don't realize about Common Lisp is that it's not really a functional language. It's functional-like. But there are side-effects and lots and lots of procedural constructs that seem out of place in a functional language. Consider the loop macro. It can loop over damn here anything efficiently, but it's not functional style. It's a domain-specific procedural language that you stick between parentheses within some Lisp code. Lisp has some features that make it supremely powerful. The code syntax and the data structure syntax are the SAME; that unification multiplies the power of the language in ways that are hard to describe. The macro facility is not equalled in any other language, because the macros are arbitrary Lisp code that is run at compile time that generates arbitrary Lisp code that then gets compiled. Lisp has also been around long enough that it's collected a huge number of libraries for just about anything, and the compilers are smart enough to produce some extremely efficient machine code.

So I really really want to use Lisp. It's just too much of a headache to deal with actually writing the code.

I've learned more languages than I can remember. C, Fortran, various BASICs, Ruby, Bash, C++, Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SQL, Pascal, Ada, and so on. You know what my favorite language is? Verilog. What I enjoy most of all is designing chips. So I totally grok the theoretical value of languages like Lisp and Haskell, but I have the most fun designing circuits. That probably has a major influence on why I don't enjoy programming Lisp.

Comment Re:Christie is ideal (Score 1) 560

Sorry to break it to you, but "fox news" is not some magic word that dismisses all the crimes committed by the people you worship.

Hillary Clinton has violated the espionage act, and other statutes relating to securing public records. She has knowingly attempted to destroy evidence. She has lobbied for foreign interests in exchange for millions of dollars paid into her family slush fund. She may or may not do time for it, depending on whether the Obama regime thinks they can get away with ignoring it.

She is a crook, and that simple fact would remain, even if Fox News had never existed.


Comment Re:Avoid INTERCAL (Score 1) 421

Avoid INTERCAL job postings at all costs.

So, you mean the fact that I wrote a c-intercal parser that used obscure opcodes to actually perform the interweave and or and xor isn't a good thing to put on my resume?

Also, my favorite obscure language is LIRL, and that has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH ME BEING THE AUTHOR... rather, it's an interesting concept of, "what if Perl raped LISP and LISP was forced by the republican state government to carry that baby to term?"

The answer is: implied parentheses. To be clear, the language is absolutely context sensitive...

Comment Re:Actually, the common saying... (Score 1) 334

I ended up booting into DOS directly for most of these reasons.

Oddly, I barely even use 95... went straight from 3.x to 98. Where I still booted into DOS to do my gaming.

Ah... back in the day... I had to tetris my drivers to make sure I had enough conventional and XMS memory for the game I wanted to play... BOTH WAYS!

Comment Re:Sorry, but Apple still deserves most of the cre (Score 2) 334

Eject a disk by moving it from my desktop to the trash with all the files I want to delete? Makes sense.

Well, to understand this, you have to recall that early Macs had to be able to run off of a single floppy drive. Users might buy a hard drive or a second floppy drive (or if they had a dual-floppy SE, a third floppy drive for some reason) but it couldn't be relied on. Yet they still had to be able to tolerate having the OS disc ejected at times.

So there was a distinction between physically ejecting a disc while keeping it mounted (which was represented onscreen by a greyed out disc icon) so that you could copy to it, and both physically ejecting _and_ dismounting a disc.

The formal way that you were supposed to do this was by using menu commands. The Eject command was for eject-but-keep-mounted while the generally ignored Put Away command was for eject-and-dismount. It was also possible to use Put Away on an already greyed out, ejected-but-mounted disc icon.

User testing showed that this was inconvenient, and one of the OS developers eventually created a shortcut for the Put Away command, which was to drag a disc icon to the trash. It wound up being so popular that it shipped.

Apparently there had been some thought at the time about changing the Trash icon into some sort of Eject icon in the case of ejecting a disc, but apparently this was felt to be confusing or too difficult, so it wasn't done. In OS X the idea was revisited, and now the Trash icon does turn into a standard Eject icon when you're dragging a disc.

In any case, in real life, whatever confusion dragging disc icons to the trash might have caused, everyone got over it basically immediately.

Switching tiled applications makes the one menu bar change? Sure. It's not like moving the cursor half the screen for each click is a waste of time.

It's not; since there's nothing above the menubar, you can just slam the mouse up. It turns out to be faster and easier than having multiple menu bars. The Mac and Lisa groups did consider per-window menubars, but having tested the idea, it was rejected. For example, here's some polaroids of a screen from 1980 showing a Lisa with a menu attached to the bottom of a window: Later that year, the menu had moved to the top of the windows: And early the next year, it finally settled at the top of the screen:

Comment Re:The above is informative ? (Score 1) 560

The Ukraine.

But that's a bit like "Hitler was a Vegetarian." I actually agree with your position in that I would say it's safe to say the Muslim World is currently in a last ditch fight for relevancy before modern society completely moderates its last grasp on political power (just as Catholicism destabilized much of Europe to maintain control).

But when nearly half the world is Muslim of course most of the conflicts are going to involve Muslims.

Comment Re:animated gif which shows the plagiarism (Score 1) 207

Among the differences that the excellent animation makes clear:

1. Lower case I (i) is made inexplicably ugly. Perhaps it helps legibility at lower rendering sizes, I'm not sure.

2. Parentheses have been moved such that the left paren is moved a little more left, and the right paren a little more right: this gives function calls an arguably more natural look if you like space around the arguments. In particular open/close next to each other are less awkwardly placed with the new spacing.

3. Underscore (_) has been made discontinuous, such that repeated underscores are no longer a single line. You might like this, you might not. The underscore character was originally intended to become a continuous line and used to underline letters (and by originally, I mean with typewriters and lead type).

4. Lower case R (r) has been moved left. This makes words like "try" more evenly spaced, but screws up "stderr". You can't have everything in a monospaced font.

5. Square brackets ([ and ]) have been moved left and right, like parentheses, for the same effect.

A lot of people seem to be slamming it, but perhaps it isn't all that bad.

Comment Re:Agree with content, not the name (Score 1) 236

I have no idea why you would want to call "classical education" something other than the name it has held for centuries.

That was just ignorance on my part - until I looked it up in response to your reply I thought 'classical education' was simply about a broadly-based, eclectic education which views all knowledge as inter-related. I was unaware of the whole 'trivium' thing, so thank you for challenging what I wrote.

I also have no idea why you would call the Industrial system something other than it's name for nearly a century (it was the Prussian system prior).

I was being pejorative, and perhaps a bit of an asshole as well. I feel that the term 'Industrial Education' hides the nature of the beast; I see it as training for particular tasks in order to fill specific roles in a way that benefits those at the top of the social hierarchy more than it does those in the middle or at the bottom. To my mind 'job training' is more in keeping with what I see as the strongly utilitarian nature of Industrial Education.

I perceive it as pompous, and believe it only muddies the waters for a rational discussion.

Sorry about that. I guess I fell into the sound-bite mode of discussion that seems so prevalent today. That aside, I truly am interested in honest and open dialog about such things.

The last part I agree with, and will simply say this is a historical normal. Knowledge is power, and just like other forms of power certain people attempt to hoard and prevent access to others.

Have you read any of Morris Berman's books? If not, then I recommend 'The Reenchantment of the World' and 'Wandering God'. They have a lot to say about what human consciousness might have been like before we learned to store wealth and before we developed strongly vertical social hierarchies.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."