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Comment: Khan? (Score 1) 134

by tgv (#49384079) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast

Did these "many people" ever look at the offerings of Khan academy? That's not academic stuff. And Coursera lacks serious cohesion and supervision. Those are two necessary (but not sufficient) conditions.

But university is about more than learning some formula by heart or reading a book. You need to get an understanding of the context of the theories, the process of discovery, and be guided through the history and current practices. It's not for everyone, but it's certainly not something an online course can provide.

Who writes these free courses anyway?

Comment: It's normal (Score 1) 79

by tgv (#49312085) Attached to: MRIs Show Our Brains Shutting Down When We See Security Prompts

This repetition suppression (as it's called) is normal in BOLD responses (the thing fMRI measures). It happens for every stimulus. It also happens when someone reads a word for the second time, and guess what: when reading it for the second time, processing is faster and less error prone. This is called the priming effect. It's hypothesized that it actually shows an accumulation of neural activity. So a "precipitous drop" is nothing to worry about: it's a symptom of the underlying processes, and moreover: it's the wrong thing to look at when you're concerned with traffic safety.

Comment: Re:If the browser authors spent more time... (Score 1) 237

by tgv (#49307405) Attached to: Every Browser Hacked At Pwn2own 2015, HP Pays Out $557,500 In Awards

I'm half sympathetic towards your remark. But. The first exploits were apparently against Flash. Now, that is something everyone expects, but you cannot accuse the makers of Flash of "constantly fucking about with GUI and javascript interpreter". The product seems to be "feature stable" since a long time, and rather simple in concept and implementation, in comparison to a browser. So, according to me, that indicates that even sticking to a simple code base does not guarantee it to be bug free. Look at OpenSSL: that is even smaller, and still had a nasty bug.

But in the end, it must be easier to improve a small code base, I agree. Then the issue becomes: how to convince people that we should get rid of javascript and css, to mention two of the more complex components of a browser? Or to accept a much worse performance (the JS engine is large because of optimization, not because interpreting Javascript is super complex)?

Comment: Re:Anything... (Score 1) 385

by tgv (#49289735) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?

You don't know what you're talking about. I've been running simulations in C++ all my life, and I couldn't be happier with OSX: it runs on top of BSD (a Unix flavor, like Linux), which makes scripting a doddle, and has a free IDE with all the graphical dev tools to add interaction and visualization to the simulation program. Mind you, that part doesn't come for free. The availability of other, commercial software puts OSX a notch above Linux. Nowadays, you can install Cygwin and get the free Visual Studio edition for Windows, but for years, OSX has been the best dev platform around.

> Any entry level laptop will have more CPU and GPU capability to do whatever she's gonna be asked.

Simulations require so much CPU, you've got no idea. I had one of my first simulation programs run for two weeks over the Christmas holidays to get a decent set of parameters. More power is simply better in this case. Remember that optimizing simulation programs is far from trivial and will take a significant part of the PhD.

Comment: Experimental science says otherwise. (Score 1) 667

by tgv (#49265269) Attached to: Why There Is No Such Thing as 'Proper English'

Psycholinguists could easily argue that reality says otherwise. If a person read incorrect English, his/her brain has more trouble reading it: reading times slow down, comprehension levels drop, brain activity increases. So it would be pretty fair to say that there is a shared basis for normal English that native and very competent 2nd language speakers expect.

Oliver Kamm, the author of the piece, on the other hand, just has an opinion, mainly based on his political views.

Comment: Re:Angular: meh. TypeScript: great. (Score 1) 91

by tgv (#49244663) Attached to: Google's Angular 2 Being Built With Microsoft's TypeScript

It's not the keystrokes, it's just an obvious and safe transformation. If all we cared about was number of keystrokes, all our code would be candidate of the Obfuscated C contest.

> "const" is actually coming in TS 1.4

That's not the const I meant: I would like to see const members and parameters. The 1.4 const is for declaring static constants only, and requires ES6, it seems.

Sorry about private and public. I must have forgotten about them...

Comment: Re:Angular: meh. TypeScript: great. (Score 1) 91

by tgv (#49241753) Attached to: Google's Angular 2 Being Built With Microsoft's TypeScript

> I kinda like prototype based object orientation

TypeScript uses just that, but it just reads better.

> Failure to initialize a variable, all dynamic languages have this problem in spades

Static typing can prevent that. Typescript warns against passing a wrong argument, or getting a non-existing member, which cause a lot of the "can't read property" errors.

Comment: Re:Angular: meh. TypeScript: great. (Score 1) 91

by tgv (#49239869) Attached to: Google's Angular 2 Being Built With Microsoft's TypeScript

Not just syntactic sugar. I would like something like the implicit lambda from Java, like this: people.sort(Person::getLastName); instead of having to write people.sort(function(p: Person): string {return p.getLastName();}). There are one or two other practical thingies in Java and C# that could be easily translated to JS too.

For type checking, I would like private/public and const, too. I hate const, but sometimes it's the best.

Comment: Angular: meh. TypeScript: great. (Score 5, Insightful) 91

by tgv (#49239413) Attached to: Google's Angular 2 Being Built With Microsoft's TypeScript

I don't care about Angular. It's just another tool for the saps in the web page mines (and one that can get you trapped in those mines as well).

TypeScript, OTOH, is the greatest addition to JavaScript I've seen. No more messy .prototype., and much less "can't read property 'x' of undefined". It's not there yet, I must say. I would like it to add some more transformations instead of just type checking, but if you have to write in JavaScript: do yourself a favor, and check it out.

Comment: Re:C++ is the only logically option (Score 1) 407

by tgv (#49169889) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Classic OOP Compiled Language: Objective-C Or C++?

Sorry, but STL is not a good example of C++'s superiority. It's bloated and unreadable due to C++'s template syntax. I still prefer my homegrown lib for lists and trees and such, but when I have to choose some publicly available software, I pick Boost over STL.

For the rest: Objective-C is not a great language. It has some cute features, but they are primarily useful for GUI programming and don't really contribute to better software development.

Comment: Re:Good read (Score 1) 71

by tgv (#49125493) Attached to: Facebook AI Director Discusses Deep Learning, Hype, and the Singularity

No, the whole point of facebook is to sell ads. Anything they can do to improve that, either by selling more ads or by making the end user more involved contributes to fb's selling power. So if people like automatic face recognition or link suggestions or whatever, that will support fb's business.

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke