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Comment: Re:on *average* (Score 5, Insightful) 240

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49177303) Attached to: Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

It needs a lot more qualifiers than that.

For a start, as with an unfortunate number of academic studies, it appears that the sample population consisted of undergraduates and recent graduates. That alone completely invalidates any conclusions as they might apply to experienced professionals with better judgement about when and how to use refactoring techniques.

Even without that, there seem to be a number of fundamental concerns about the data.

One obvious example is that they consider lines of code to be a metric that tells you anything useful beyond the width you need to allow for the line number margin in your text editor. I doubt most experienced programmers would agree that a LOC count in isolation tells us anything useful about maintainability or that the mere fact that LOC went up or down after a change necessarily meant the code had become better or worse in any useful sense.

Another concern is that they talk about "analysability", but this seems to be measured only by reference to a brief examination of a small code base in one of two versions, unrefactored and refactored. I'd like to know what the actual code looked like before I read anything at all into that data -- what refactoring was performed, what was the motivation for each change, and how do they know those two small code bases were representative of either refactoring in general or the effectiveness of refactoring on larger code bases or code bases that developers have more time to study and work with?

I'm all for empirical data -- goodness knows, we need more objective information about what really works in an industry as hype-driven and accepting of poor quality as ours -- but I'm afraid this particular study seems to be so flawed that it really tells us very little of value.

Comment: Re:Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 373

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49166827) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

It remains the case that either my original statement is true, meaning a counter-example for the reliability of fact-based ranking has been identified, or my original statement is false, in which case the statement itself becomes a counter-example because it is widely repeated but incorrect.

Comment: Did *everyone* miss the point here? :-( (Score 1) 373

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49164283) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

Oh, the irony!

Erm... It was intended to be ironic. Well, paradoxical, technically. Compare my final sentence

Remember, not so long ago, the almost-universal opinion would have been that the world was flat.

with the classic "This statement is false".

If my statement were true, it would illustrate a problem with Google's proposal.

But as my statement is false, it is itself a demonstration of the problem, because it perpetuates a myth sufficiently popular that it even has its own Wikipedia page. I was a little surprised that I couldn't also find it on Snopes.

Anyway, it's disappointing that no-one seems to have noticed that. Were none of you even a little suspicious about a post that in one paragraph said "Just because something gets repeated a lot, that doesn't make it factually correct" and then repeated one of the most popular myths there is? Really?

Comment: Re:FEO (Score 5, Insightful) 373

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49161057) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

"Fact optimization" is already behind more than one multi-billion dollar industry: advertising, political lobbying...

And this is why I fear this initiative, no matter how well intentioned, is doomed to failure. Just because something gets repeated a lot, that doesn't make it factually correct. Moreover, censoring dissenting opinions is a terrible reaction to active manipulation and even to old-fashioned gossip, because it removes the best mechanism for correcting the groupthink and promoting more informed debate, which is introducing alternative ideas from someone who knows better or simply has a different (but still reasonable) point of view.

Remember, not so long ago, the almost-universal opinion would have been that the world was flat.

Comment: Re:Monopolistic: Do no evil? (Score 3, Insightful) 185

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49154799) Attached to: Google Taking Over New TLDs

Now will ICANN put its foot down

It had better hope so, because giving entire TLDs to specific big companies could easily be the straw that breaks the camel's back in terms of the rest of the world accepting US-led administration of the general Internet. There's plenty of scepticism already, but organisations like ICANN are tolerated because frankly no-one has much of a better idea or wants to take on the responsibility. However, it is not difficult to think of a better idea than letting big businesses rewrite the established rules in arguably the most important address space in the world today for their own benefit.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 514

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49143063) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

I tend to agree about the icons, but I do think flat design is particularly bad in this respect. By its nature, it removes tools that could otherwise be used for distinguishing different types of content, establishing hierarchy, and directing the user to important details.

The Microsoft style of flat as seen here isn't as bad as the more extreme "monochrome line art" version that is plaguing web sites at the moment. Even so, all those subtle lighting-based effects we used to see, and even the not-so-subtle styling of say Apple's older metallic or aqua looks, could serve practical purposes as well as creating a signature style for a platform.

Comment: Re:Amateurish (Score 1) 514

by Anonymous Brave Guy (#49137147) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The thing that really hit me about the screenshot was how crowded it looks. The example is presenting information with a clear underlying structure (a file system) and a small number of actions I can take, and probably half the area of that window is empty space. And yet, my immediate reaction is that there's no clear structure to tell me where to look, and the design desperately needs more visual hierarchy and better use of whitespace.

Of course, this is a recurring problem with the current trend for flat designs, bright colour schemes with limited contrast, and very rectilinear graphics and layout. It's still disappointing that Microsoft seems to be chasing Apple and Google down that blind alley, though, instead of coming up with something more interesting, distinctive, and most importantly, usable.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley

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