Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Give correct estimations (Score 5, Insightful) 229

by zr-rifle (#38422834) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Transitioning From Developer To Executive?
First of all, read "The Mythical Man Month" by Fred Brooks, if you haven't already.
Be realistic and conservative on your delivery dates. Defend them to the death.
Avoid micromanaging people, if possible, and insist on clear communication and concise documentation.
My personal suggestion: don't give up completely on being a developer. Keep a small, but important task to yourself. You will gain an even better view on how your team is working.

Comment: Today is better than 30 years ago (Score 1) 510

by zr-rifle (#36556678) Attached to: Learning Programming In a Post-BASIC World
Backstory: I learned to program at age six on a Commore Vic-20. I decided to learn because games on the Vic sucked and programming was the only thing interesting one could do on it (even for a small child). Commodore BASIC was limited and quirky, but provided me with hundreds of hours of fine entertainment. One could pick it up quickly thanks to the programming manual that was bundled with every computer (take note).

When somebody asks me who had the most influence on me on my career choices and inspired me, I don't tell them it was Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, but Jack Tramiel. "Jack WHO?" "Never mind..."

If I had a kid and she told me she was interested in learning to program, I would pick Python. It is easy to learn and very deep, which good support for imperative and functional programming, other than OO. First thing, I would buy her a book. There are plenty around that start from the basics and work their way up to a simple but rewarding game using PyGame or Pyglet.

Back on the Vic I could only choose between BASIC (mediocre and slow) and Assembly (obscure and arcane). Today beginners can choose from so many options. The important thing is not knowing "where" to start, but "how". Buy a good book, and if you love what you learn, you'll never stop as long as you live.

Comment: Re:Poor cop-out (Score 1) 258

by zr-rifle (#35730948) Attached to: Google Loses Autocomplete Defamation Case
I wish I had mod points, so I'll reply...

As you said, this has absolutely nothing to do with free speech. I ask those who are criticizing the verdict: what if YOU woke up one morning and found out that Google is suggesting you are a paedophile or a crook, just because a group of determined individuals have been intentionally searching your name with those keywords? From the proceedings, it seems that this guy hasn't even been on trial for the crime of fraud and probably is the victim of his own competitors; he asked Google to remove these keywords and Google didn't comply, so he hired a laywer.

Comment: Primitive graphics an advantage (Score 1) 134

by zr-rifle (#35017870) Attached to: The Rise and Fall of Graphic Adventure Games
I loved adventure games when I was a child and have fond memories of Deja Vu, Leisure Suit Larry and Zak McKraken. My young age and the new technology made those virtual environments so fascinating. The primitive graphics added to the charm of those games, as you had to use your imagination to believe that the wobbly mass of pixels was actually Indiana Jones (The Last Crusade, Amiga).

With no Internet and solutions being published only in some computer magazines, those games could last months, which you would spend on analyzing every single pixel for clues, trying every possible item/action combination and pestering your friends about hints.

Good times.

Comment: Re:Old hat (Score 5, Interesting) 295

by zr-rifle (#34341428) Attached to: Was There Only One Big Bang?
Proven with what? Our grasp of physics can only let us understand what probably happened minutes after the Big Bang occured. According to this model, complete removal of information occurs at the end of the cycle, or aeon, when black holes evaporate and the universe returns into a pristine state, just like a blank slate.

I think it's easier to understand what we are talking about if you imagine the universe as a white blanket.

Before the big bang occurs, the blanket perfectly smooth, just like it was well ironed. Then, a massive jolt causes it to fold, crease and wrinkle: this is information, i.e. matter. Entropy could probably act as a gradual, unstoppable force that gradually puts the blanket under tension again.
The end of universe, therefore, is the return to a pristine state completely devoid of information. Suppose you spill a cup of coffee over the blanked: it is now tainted, but this doesn't necessary interfere with the distension process of prohibit the blanket from returning to a perfectly smooth state. However, if you take a look at the tainted blanket, it obviously isn't perfectly white as before.

Therefore, the Big Bang acts as a creator of new information, not as a destructor of previous information.

Is your job running? You'd better go catch it!