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Comment Re:Greenspun's Tenth Rule (Score 2) 254

So you have your nicely written function of type int -> int, but now you want to add some trace statements while it executes, but you can't because it is purely functional. Then someone helpfully suggests monads. Now all you have to do is rewrite it to be of type int -> IO int, and rewrite all of the calling functions to be of monadic type too, and so on all the way up to the top level of the program...

The fundamental problem is that you need some way to separate the program itself (which is purely functional) from whatever scaffolding and diagnostic code you put in to help test and debug it. In imperative languages you can happily mix the two together but in pure functional programming you can't, and the language environment has to provide explicit support for trace messages and the like.

Comment Re: Compatible with Windows 7? (Score 1) 73

IMHO Windows 7 requires Classic Shell and some messing around in Control Panel to make it usable. Essentially, with each new Windows release there is another half hour of setup you must do to get rid of the latest bright ideas from Microsoft and get back to the basic but usable interface circa 1999.

Comment Re:DOSBox? (Score 1) 189

I remember on the Archimedes using PC emulators, both Acorn's one (which was oriented more towards business applications) and Dave Lawrence's FasterPC (optimized for older DOS games using 320x200 256 colours). Both only emulated an 8086 (or 80186 in FasterPC's case), so they were good for Civilization or SimCity but not newer things. I mention them because, to squeeze decent performance out of an ARM running at speeds as slow as 8MHz, they were hand-written in optimized assembler. This was the older 'ARM26' instruction set where the program counter and flags were contained in a single 32-bit register, so the code would need modification to run on recent ARM processors; and in any case the I/O part of the code will be totally different. But that doesn't stop me wondering about the core CPU emulation and how fast it might go on modern hardware.

Comment Re:And it still looks like (Score 1) 502

So Windows 8 doesn't have the Aero Snap, Aero Peek and other animated window management thingies? I can understand that Microsoft marketing stopped calling it "Aero", and that Aero Glass (the odd half-transparent effect on window borders) has been dropped, but I thought the thing itself (whatever it's now called) had been kept.

Comment Re:What ever happened to precision of speech? (Score 0) 198

Sorry what? 'Light' and 'heavy' can be used as relative terms, just like big and small, hot and cold, or pretty much any adjective in English. If you say 'the lightest substance', it's quite clear that you are talking in relative terms. Also I think you are confusing 'substance' and 'object' - a single neutrino is not a substance, it is an object. Water is a substance; a drop of water is an object. I mentioned gravity to deflect any possible nitpick about 'heavy' being different depending on what gravity you measure it in - since we normally understand heaviness as the force of an object being pulled towards the ground, in other words as a measure of weight rather than mass.

Comment Re:What ever happened to precision of speech? (Score 1, Insightful) 198

It is normal to describe a material as light or heavy. These are shorthand for 'weighs less for a given volume' and 'weighs more for a given volume'. If you assume gravity is fixed - a reasonable assumption, since we all live on the same planet - this also implies 'less dense' and 'more dense'. What's the difficulty?

Comment Re:And it still looks like (Score 1) 502

In fact there isn't a big issue with Windows XP compatibility and hi-dpi displays. I use a couple of 204dpi monitors at work and until recently ran Windows XP on the PC. Just set font size to 200% and pretty much everything works fine - there are the occasional things like installers which render with fixed pixel sizes and so have tiny text, but the applications you use every day don't suffer from that. Windows 7 is a bit better still.

Comment Re:As opposed to actual Model Ms which are still m (Score 1) 298

Thx - I didn't know about any of those except Win-L to lock the screen. For my style of working (every window maximized on one monitor or another, no Aero or gadgets, file manipulation mostly from the command prompt) they are not that useful. But I can see why others might like them.

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