Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Movies (Score 4, Insightful) 322

Definitely not. I was torn between TV and books, because both media allow you to tell a rich story. Radio serials also work, but I'm not a huge fan of just listening to voices - I'd mostly rather read the story. Movies try to cram an entire story arc into at most 2-3 hours, and so often feel very rushed.

Comment Re:Python is readable (Score 1) 187

Sure, whitespace is significant, but I've never had it break easily or be "brittle" as you say

The Jabber Python MSN transport shipped with an intent bug in an error path for several releases. The error path was never hit on the developer's test machine, but always hit for me because I didn't install one of the optional libraries. The error was caused by mixing tabs and spaces, and so looked correct in the editor, but Python happened to interpret a tab as a different number of spaces to the editor[1] and so it ended up doing something different.

This is what people mean when they call it fragile. You can introduce bugs as a result, but never see them unless you hit the code path in question (this, by the way, is a common source of exploitable bugs in all languages: code paths that are rarely hit that contain bugs, and Python makes them so easy to introduce). Meanwhile, in any language that either enforced the no-mixing-tabs-and-spaces rule with static checking[2], or which had a block delimiter character, these would be caught statically at parse time.

I can think of no other language where such a high proportion of code that I've run that has shipped as working releases has needed me to fix it before it will even start. As far as I can tell, all of the refugees from VB6 ended up writing shoddy Python code. Is it the language's fault? Well, it certainly doesn't help. I've been asking Python programmers for the last year what an else clause on a for loop meant. Last Friday, one gave the correct answer for the first time. Why do I know what it means? Because a person who wrote some (and shipped) some code using it apparently didn't...

[1] Ignoring Python's general hostility to using the character that means 'indent by one level' for indents, any language with significant whitespace that doesn't error when you have a line that has both tabs and spaces at the start of a line is broken.
[2] I believe that Python now has an option to check this. It should have been on by default since the first release.

Comment Re:Beware of Microsofties bearing gifts (Score 1) 535

Feature phones make alot of money and are stepping stone to smartphones

Remember those graphs from a few years ago, comparing Apple and Nokia in market share and profit? They were almost exact mirrors: Apple had something like 80% of the mobile phone profits, Nokia had something like 80% of the market share. Feature phones these days are on razor thin margins. You can buy a cheap Android phone for under £50, and get one free on a low-end contract, so who is going to buy a feature phone? Android and the iPhone have brand recognition in the smartphone markets, but no one associated Nokia with it (well, geeks did, because we all remember the communicator and subsequent devices). Nokia never had mass-market smartphones, they segmented their market in a way that made it difficult to move from one tier to the next. Their smartphones had such different UIs to their feature phones that you may as well go with Android or iOS (which you've heard of) if you're going to buy a new smartphone to replace your old feature phone.

Comment Re:Beware of Microsofties bearing gifts (Score 1) 535

The Symbian kernel was a really beautiful design that was still ahead in terms of power management and security than anything else on the market. It was saddled with a userland and userspace APIs that were designed for when 1MB of RAM was about the limit for a phone and so handling resource constraints were more important than making life easy for programmers. Their solution? Replace the kernel with Linux.

Comment Re: Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

I appreciate that being held to account is annoying. Everyone finds that annoying in their jobs. It is however the only way any of us are ultimately held to any standard what so ever. You will be judged. Get over it.

Again, you've clearly not read anything that you're replying to. Especially:

Saying that the parents are more a problem then a help ignores the fact that were the parents not involved the system would and does go to hell.

YOU are the only person who has said this or claimed that anyone else has said it. Everyone else is saying that they want parents to be more involved in their children's education because it's the largest single determining factor in the child's success.

Comment Re:Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

It also means that teachers are incentivised to focus their attention on children who are on grade boundaries. If you're a solid B student, there's no incentive to get you up to an A. If you're an A student, there's no incentive to really stretch you. If you're on the C-B or B-A border line, then helping get you across the line has a big return on investment for the teacher's ranking.

Comment Re:Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

Parental involvement also correlates with parental wealth. The number of people with large amounts of inherited wealth is statistically irrelevant (they control a lot of the total wealth, but they're not a large percentage of the population). Once you factor those out, you're left with a middle class that is predominantly in that position because they have some kind of job that depends on their education and so are likely to value education highly. They're also most likely to be working a job (and not multiple jobs) that allows them enough time to engage with their child's education. Oh, and wealth negatively correlates with number of children, so they have more time per child.

Comment Re: Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

Private and public schools in the UK have a very widely varying level of quality. I went to a public school that was consistently near the top of the league tables. The teachers varied between good and exceptional, labs and so on always had all of the equipment that they needed[1] and there was a large a variety of extracurricular activities to choose from outside. Students were required to take the Common Entrance Exam, and the pass mark put the line at something around the top 20% nationwide.

In contrast, there was a private school about 20 miles away that let in anyone who could pay the fees (and had very high fees). The main benefit of going there was that you got to meet other rich people. They consistently placed in the middle of the league tables, and were usually lower than the nearest comprehensive school.

[1] A lot of this was probably costing less than at state schools. Much of our lab equipment was over 20 years old, but they'd bought really good quality stuff back then and it showed no signs of needing replacement. Meanwhile, the state school where my mother worked at was buying cheaper equipment and didn't have anything over five years old because it wore out.

Comment Re: Oh, really? (Score 3, Informative) 1255

There's so much bullshit in your post that I don't know where to start replying:

You clearly and your mother clearly holds the children and parents in contempt.

I honestly don't know how you got that from reading the grandparent post. What he's saying about the low-income schools reflects large bodies of research (parental involvement in education is one of the largest determining factors in academic success). That's not regarding the students or parents with contempt, it's wanting what's best for the students and realising that it requires parental support.

The private schools understand that in their bones. They know that they either deliver a top quality education that meets the standards of the parents or they're out a customer.

Complete bullshit. The big difference between private and public schools is that private schools are allowed to turn away anyone that they want and they usually have more applicants than they have room for. I went to a public school in the UK (which is roughly equivalent to a private school in the US) and they periodically expelled people (or, rather, asked them to voluntarily leave so that they didn't have the expulsion on their record). My mother worked in a state school (the equivalent of a public school in the US) and the biggest sanction that they had was a week's suspension, which the pupil treated as a week-long holiday and then the school was required to take them back (at which point they'd be a week behind). Permanent expulsion was possible in theory, but it never happened.

Private schools make it clear to pupils that it's a privilege to be there. If the parents complain or if the students are disruptive, then the parents will be invited to have a chat with the headmaster, who will politely suggest to them that their child might be happier in a different school. They'll have no problem filling the space. They usually have waiting lists and so if they need to then they'll start calling people further down and ask if they're still interested in the place. If not, then they'll just wait for the end of the academic year and let in more people.

Slashdot Top Deals

Where there's a will, there's a relative.