Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Build your own (Score 1) 119

Seriously, that may be the best solution. It's what I ended up doing in a similar situation recently, because everything I could find was either 1: too expensive, 2: not cross-environment compatible (Sharepoint), 3: not stable/secure/reliable (many open source projects), and/or 4: difficult to use (just about everything -- in fact, they had used Sharepoint for a while and were desperate for anything else).

People like to talk about the virtues of software reuse, but they rarely mention the downside of accumulating complexity as a single program tries to do more and more -- or of attempting to force users into a single mold in order to limit complexity. Particularly when it comes to content management (and the intricacies of traditional version control systems versus the desire of non-technical users to just Get Things Done), if you consider the running cost of user support, it can sometimes be more efficient to build custom software that does exactly what you need, the way you need it to.

Comment Re:age matters (Score 1) 547

On the flip side, learning from experience (if done properly) provides one with insights as to why a particular method doesn't work, and those insights are often useful in far broader contexts than the particular cases in which they were learned. It's like understanding the concepts of arithmetic as opposed to memorizing multiplication tables: knowing the tables by heart will speed up those specific tasks significantly, but won't handle anything that falls outside their domain. And of course, if you take the learn-from-others method to extremes, you end up with people writing code like:

counter++; // increment counter

because "I was told code should be commented".

(It's also a sad truth that too many of the elderly generation fail to continue learning themselves, and insist that data should be global, identifiers should be inscrutable abbreviations, or whatnot because "that's the way I did it, goshdarnit, so that's the way you'll do it! And get off my lawn!" Which of course leads the younger programmers to not use global data or short identifiers even when they would be useful, because they wouldn't be caught dead coding like an old fart.)

Comment Re:It takes a good programer to apprieate C (Score 1) 535

I suppose that's another option, but to my eye it makes the wrong line stand out. It also only works if there's an old line to be commented out in the first place, as opposed to just a new line being added, e.g.:

int a=time(NULL);

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Comment Re:It takes a good programer to apprieate C (Score 1) 535

Interesting; I hadn't considered the possibility of allowing one's source code editor to enforce indentation. (Not necessarily disparaging that idea, but I keep it optional, because I've found from lengthy experience that there's never One Way that works for every possible case.) I wonder if that sort of editor was one of the factors in developing Python's syntax? Certainly, if your editor enforces certain indentation rules, then there's not much harm in making use of the information encoded by that indentation.

Comment Re:It takes a good programer to apprieate C (Score 1) 535

So why is it a moronic idea?

It enforces a certain style on everyone who uses it, which decades of style wars (centuries, if you look at human languages) say is a Bad Idea.

Just one example: When I want to try something out in a routine -- perhaps for debugging, perhaps to experiment with an alternate algorithm or what have you -- I frequently outdent the code so that its temporary nature is obvious: (pretend the underscores are spaces, because Slashcode seems to eat leading whitespace)

foo() {
____for (int i = 0; i < length; i++) {
________printf("Sorting #%d...\n", i);
if(1) new_sort(array[i]); else

Python won't let me do that, which I find to be a significant source of frustration.

Comment Binary sizes hardly matter for files (Score 1) 984

I realize I'm coming in way late to this party, but why is everyone up in arms about this particular change? (Aside from the obvious "I'm stuck in my ways, get off my lawn" reason.) Outside of special cases like file-backed memory mappings, when is it actually useful to know the number of binary kilobytes/megabytes/gigabytes used by a file, as opposed to decimal units? I'll agree those binary units were useful back when the ratio of filesystem size to block size was small, say 10^3:1 (I remember carefully watching free cluster counts on my DOS floppies, and being grateful when 1.2MB floppies offered 1-sector instead of 2-sector clusters). But on modern systems, that ratio is more like 10^7 or 10^8:1, and unless you have OCD and absolutely have to know how every single filesystem block is being used, there's really no benefit to counting in blocks over any other unit. So why not let old hacks pass into history and start counting the way every other field does?

Comment nVidia and bug reports (Score 1) 155

I haven't heard of that particular problem, but I should point out that nVidia does in fact accept bug reports (on Linux, just run and it'll tell you where to mail your report), and I have actual experience with reporting a bug (nvidia_drv crashed X when switching to another virtual console while an OpenGL window was minimized) and having it fixed.

Comment !bigdeal (Score 1) 78

There are already laptops with translucent screens that let ambient light substitute for the backlight, so you can e.g. turn off the backlight entirely when you're outside. As the owner of a Japanese Toshiba Dynabook SS RX2, I can confirm that it works as described -- I'm beginning to wonder if they actually enforce "truth in advertising" over here or something -- and is actually easier on my eyes than using the backlight indoors.

Comment Re:Watch it live (on Linux too) (Score 3, Insightful) 94

If it redirects you to the "no player found" page (as it did for me), try:

mplayer -playlist ''

(The original link is , but MPlayer doesn't seem to be able to handle multiple levels of playlists.)

As one who (perhaps from Kubrick's 2001) had a sense of EVA actions being slow, deliberate things, it's neat to see that the work's going practically as smoothly as if it was being done in a lab.

Comment Re:So very stupid (Score 1) 192

You think it's smart do to private things in public? I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree. (Or you're going to have to work on your English.)

Actually, I was disagreeing with your entire premise that privacy must be explicitly claimed rather than implicitly given, and in particular that Google's ability to implement Street View implies the propriety of doing so. But if you insist on misinterpreting my intent through an over-literal reading, far be it from me to stop you.

(Alternatively, I suppose it's possible IHBT, in which case I'll submit that IHL.)

Comment Re:So very stupid (Score 2, Insightful) 192

Well the last time I visited the US I was appalled at how many bars there were on the windows of houses, that didn't seem very friendly. You almost never see that here in Canada, even in the big cities like Toronto.

Where did you see them, out of curiosity? I honestly can't recall seeing such while I lived in the US (though I never visited the really big cities like New York or Chicago).

Slashdot Top Deals

Digital circuits are made from analog parts. -- Don Vonada