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Comment Re:Music, comedy and something else of interest (Score 1) 165

I far prefer speaking with foreigners that have a something different from a US accent or BBC accent. Irish, Ozzie, Jordie, whatever.

It is usually a good sign that they have learnt the language by immersion, rather than by reading.

I find that when I speak with people that have learnt english by using books, they never recover from the errors that occur (many errors are grossly obvious that they are due to thinking, rather than listening).

I agree with other posters that singing, watching vids, watching movies, internet chat or anying so long as it is learning by ear is preferable than by mind. Be like a child, learn like a child, and speak a language properly.

I suspect geeks are especially susceptible to trying to learn via other unnatural cerebral routes and stuffing it up!

Comment Re:Needed: DIY education software (Score 1) 159

The problem is, without literacy there is generally very, very, very little aptitude for learning

So if you can't read you are a thick hopeless lost cause? Condescending you are.

Of the illiterate people I know (I admit I am in the first world so not heaps), the best technique for getting them to read and write has been the computer. It doesn't judge and it is patient. And they are motivated to learn because there is *something* of interest to them. Trying to read the rules about a game. Surfing pron. Racing the typing tutor. Whatever. Try it with any illiterate friends or their children and find something that interests them that needs them to read some simple words.

Comment Re:Javascript is actually a great language (Score 1) 531

We use events, but only register them via DOM addEventListener or attachEvent. We don't use traditional style element."onxxx" event handlers.

From today I have decided that various non-essential (but desirable!) UI features will only be supported on IE8 to help our clients want to change. Also I have just spent more hours on an IE6 workaround, and I have had enough!

Comment Re:Javascript is actually a great language (Score 1) 531

Yes, I've been considering moving all HTML rendering to the browser, but some apps that work that way tend to annoy me.


  • Fast response even on slow connection.
  • Low bandwidth.
  • Potentially off-line (we don't need that, but could do it).
  • Low bandwidth.
  • Offload rendering and UI work to client.


  • Limited choice of components. Often need to rewrite or author your own. No single popular library - incompatible components.
  • Much slower to develop - hard to build on top of other's work.
  • Difficult to make user friendly (few common user experiences, incompatible with some normal browser user behaviours).
  • Memory leaks: Ugggh. IEJSLeaksDetector v2 is great to detect them (and we wrote a custom tool to detect "deleted" Javascript components that were still referenced). Rules for component framework: must not use element.onxxx, must track all attachEvent calls, must detachEvent when component destroyed. On unload framework: must detach all events, must set all global to null, must set any variables to null. Elements must never reference javascript objects (Object, Function, or Array). Unfortunately most libraries don't get it right ( to prevent leaks we had to develop various custom memory leak prevention code, edit control code, and completely replace event registration code).
  • XMLHttp communication issues - ugly.
  • Cruftiness - dirty workarounds, reliability problems, usually must support IE6 so often limited to what that can do.

For us, the pain has been worth it. Our clients just buy our service with very low deployment issues, fast pilot and training, fast rollout, nasty dependencies are avoided, and political involvement by IT departments is minimised.

Comment Re:Javascript is actually a great language (Score 1) 531

Building HTML documents by concatenating strings or outputting at random places in code (ex. 90% of the PHP code out there) is a horrendous idea that should have died in the 90s.

100% agree. We use browser side controls and all HTML rendering is done on the browser. We avoid manipulating strings except where required for performance (pure DOM is too slow and we have to support IE6. Easy to avoid script injection by careful design). Solves a bunch of problems - the biggest problem is the lack of good libraries and controls. It feels like programming for DOS.

Comment Re:Javascript is actually a great language (Score 1) 531

Amen. JavaScript is following Lisp's footsteps: no common community, incompatible libraries, incompatible implementations, and a lack of common goals. CommonJS is a perfect example.

Server side requirements are grossly incompatible with browser side requirements.

IMHO unless you have peculiar needs, preferring a serverside JavaScript framework over an existing server language and framework is for fools.

PS: disclaimer: I develop a browser based application using JavaScript (with an application server using JSON - not an HTML/CSS generating web server)

PPS: I would like to see HTML split into two standards: a static form for documents (zero script, no dynamic CSS3 etc), and a dynamic form for applications (JavaScript, DOM, Libraries). I hate the trend towards flash-like HTML documents. I do like browser deployed applications though.

Comment Re:Hardware recommendations? (Score 1) 87

I have an Asus 520GU running OpenWRT. The current limitation is you have a choice of running the 2.4 kernel and getting wifi but there are some USB issues (although USB is working fine for me - YMMV), or the 2.6 kernel and getting no wifi.

Apparently the closed braodcom driver has now been reverse engineered for 2.6, but it isn't yet in the main branch so you have to do your own build and patch of the kernel.

Comment Re:Lego-like (Score 1) 158

The latest memory leak tools for IE6/IE7 are actually pretty slick. Version 2 of IEJSLeaksDetector tells you the line the leak occurred at. And sIEve is good for finding in page leaks (i.e. leaks when you are constructing and destructing components within a single page Ajax app). Before those tools, I spent months trying to resolve IE leaks.

Also I have written my own tool to check that "destroyed" JS objects (components on our Ajax page) are not reachable from window i.e. objects will be garbage collected. Code was a fairly simple traversal of objects and arrays - one day's coding.

Comment Re:My gawd (Score 1) 158

I'd like to have real OO syntax

If you want "real" classes you can use a JavaScript implementation that supports the proposed standard. Or choose a library - they do make prototyping look and smell like OO. Sure there are quirks, but all languages have their own quirks. Or are you complaining about current browser implementations?

and proper error handling.

Not sure of your gripe. Never had a problem.

Debugging JS [snip] is a nightmare.

The Microsoft Studio JavaScript debugger works fantastically well. I prefer not to use MS tools, but I use the best tool available to me. Other in-browser JS debuggers have their advantages.

maintaining a large JS codebase is a nightmare.

What's your problem? JavaScript wasn't designed to be an "enterprise" language and mostly does not have enterprise tools. However, it is not much more difficult to manage than most other dynamic languages. Pick the right tool for the job.

I'm not confusing anything with anything.

Definitely sounds like you *are* confusing the language JavaScript, with the implementations you know.

Comment Re:Does that mean... (Score 1) 166

Now to you or I, this would seem like a noble act in educating people on good security measure

You are advocating walking into a woman's house while she is gardening out the back, and leaving a note in her knicker drawer explaining why her knickers are insecure.

There is a social norm of not invading privacy, even when it is possible to do so.

Comment Re:Radiation Effects (Score 1) 333

Do students prefer to use machines that have a view out of the window?

Did the sun shine in the window during the day?

Was the error distribution at night the same?

Was the pile offcenter? (the cone depends upon location)

If the engineer presumed it was Alpha (or Beta, or Neutron) radiation then that is not a good sign they are that clued up. Although gamma could be a possibility.

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