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Comment Re:Torn between reading and doing (Score 1) 255

I read most of volume 1. 30 years ago we were still working out basics and many programmer had to write or at least understand, basic processes. This is why this book was useful. In addition we were still writing lots of code, rather than just understanding and applying APIs. For instance no one is going to write a sort, or a gaussian elimination, or a GUI outside of classroom anymore. Few developers are going to have to know how to really code, or what is really happening in the engine they are using.

Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 1) 255

It describes the very low level of a program and a computer.

No it doesn't. It describes the very low level of a program running on a computer from 30-50 years ago. The lessons that it teaches about algorithmic complexity are still valid, but the low-level stuff is not. Once you get to limits of the implementation, rather than of the algorithm, artefacts of caches in pipelines are far more important to performance. Not only will you not find, for example, Hopscotch Hash Tables in TAOCP, you also won't find an explanation of the underlying reasons for their performance.

Comment Re:Surprising? Not so much. - they're stupid (Score 1) 128

Exactly. Is there extra funding for ISPs to add extra security for politician's data? If not, then it might not be easy to get with a search warrant, but you can bet that some of it will be leaked. Do MPs have some special sign-on for all Internet access? If not, then you can bet that some hotspot or mobile provider won't know that they're MPs and so will hand over the data when someone goes fishing for data on a particular IP address. Do MPs have their own Internet accounts that they don't share with their family? If not, then you can bet that someone will request the data on their husbands or wives and get the results indirectly.

Comment Re:Ubuntu makes to much decisions for me... (Score 1) 101

Oh God, I remember years of frustration with AMD drivers, on both Windows, Linux and OSX systems. On the OSX box (2005 or 2006 Mac Pro Desktop,) the card wouldn't spin its fans up when it was overheating, causing it to literally self-destruct with Apple's stock configuration. Their graphics cards have been on my do-not-purchase list for a solid decade! If I blamed every OS because of the experience provided by AMD's shitty drivers, I'd still be running CP/M! Nvidia may be a bunch of cocks, but at least they seem to be able to build some frustration-free drivers!

Comment Re:50 million island people to be displaced by 201 (Score 1) 322

I was rather more hoping for a summary than a direct link to the 2007 report.

If I were a global warming scientist, I would already have read through those hundreds of pages. As a non-scientist, with things I need to do, I somewhat rely on news stories, like this one:

One of the central issues is believed to be why the IPCC failed to account for the âoepauseâ in global warming, which they admit that they did not predict in their computer models. Since 1997, world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase.
The summary also shows that scientist have now discovered that between 950 and 1250 AD, before the Industrial Revolution, parts of the world were as warm for decades at a time as they are now.

Despite a 2012 draft stating that the world is at itâ(TM)s warmest for 1,300 years, the latest document states: âoe'Surface temperature reconstructions show multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th Century.â

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/10310712/Top-climate-scientists-admit-global-warming-forecasts-were-wrong.html

And then I read through the PDFs at this site:

http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming/

The tone is rather tendentious (especially the second PDF) but I find the arguments compelling. As I understand it, the CAGW theory is that feedbacks will cause the warming to "run away" precipitously once we reach a cruical tipping point, but the PDFs have graphs showing the Earth once had a significantly higher CO2 concentration than currently without turning into another Venus. The annual news stories about "the previous year was the warmest on record" don't seem to mention error bars, and when I tracked some down I was astonished to see that the margin for the "warmest" claim was a small fraction of the uncertainty interval. And in my original post, now modded down to 0 score, I provided the link to an article with graphs comparing the predicted temperature increases with what actually were recorded.

I have seen proposals for a carbon tax that was intended to take trillions of dollars out of the economy. (The authors of the proposal viewed this as a feature: trillions of tax dollars of additional revenue for the US government! I personally don't think you can get something for nothing, so I worry about the harm that would occur if that level of tax was levied.) I think that this level of tax should require a high level of confidence, and I personally am not at that level yet.

Thank you for responding politely. You haven't convinced me and I likely haven't convinced you, but I hope you at least believe that I'm genuinely skeptical and not just trolling or trying to flame people about this.

Comment Re: Hell no (Score 1) 255

“Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” - commonly attributed to Edsger Dijkstra, but disputed.

I have sometimes compared those who have studied computer science (as opposed to learning how to program) with those who have studied music. You can be a very successful programmer without any computer science just as you can be a very successful musician without music theory. Mastery of the advanced studies of your discipline will make you a better than merely someone who can just get the job done.

Comment Re:If you want to write a book, just do it (Score 1) 255

Sure, yeah, you could take a few weekend courses and bang out some stuff and possibly even find a job paying decent money. But if you want to move up in the world you need to turn your hack and slash techniques into a refined art. The kind of crap commodity programmers write is the stuff that skilled developers get paid a lot of money cleaning up or just re-implementing. (...) If you want to work in the big leagues on important things, you need to be open to learning some things and respect the craft.

With all possible respect to all the CS experts of the world, that's not what they teach. Finding a good organization of your application that makes structures easy to break down, processes easy to follow and changes easy to implement doesn't involve deep, abstract mathematical formulations with optimal answers. It's about creating functional units (objects, layers, modules, services) with clear responsibilities that abstract away internal details, create well defined and narrow interactions, break up and explain complex logic, that everything behaves like and contains what you'd expect from common language definitions and naming conventions and with sufficient high level documentation that anyone of moderate intelligence can understand what bits need to go where.

Or to put it another way, if you sent the source code through an obfuscator the CS experts would probably be just as happy with the output as the input, after all the algorithms and functionality are all unchanged. It would make it an incomprehensible mess of spaghetti code and "there be dragons" that nobody understand how or why works, but those are practical concerns. The same is error and exception handling, CS is all about correct algorithms that never get called with invalid input or run into any of those practical problems that cause poorly written software to crash, often without leaving behind any useful reason why and if there's any possibility to just fail this and move on.

I think you're onto something about the craft and the art. If you want to make swords for an army it's a craft, if you're making a nobleman's fine blade it's an art. Most of the time what we want is robust craftsmanship, process as many passable swords as possible and discard any failures. Not very glamorous and not very artistic, we're not awarding points for style or elegance but whether the code you've built is a reliable work horse that gets the job done. Or maybe the difference between an institutional chef and a fine dining chef. One is serving a hundred people a good meal, the other can spend forever making a plate of fine art. Both are very different from being a poor chef, but being good at one doesn't really make you good at the other. And CS is the Michelin guide department.

Comment Re:Not a unique situation (Score 2) 91

I bought a PC a while back which the family stopped using because they forgot their password and couldn't get in and it didn't come with media so they could recover it, obviously they never made recovery media but I'm sure lots of people don't — and of those who do, probably very many of them lose it anyway. I recovered the Admin password and ran the recovery on the hidden partition and bingo, back to factory state.

There's a shitload of people buying PCs for no good reason all the time.

Comment Re:He would have been better off ... (Score 4, Insightful) 113

And keep a copy of your stuff on hand before you get fired.

If you were doing it at work on company systems it's probably not "your stuff" anyway, it's probably small utilities he used to make his job easier. If you want to do something for yourself do it on your own time on your own machine, don't use any company resources and try not to do anything that would make them question your loyalty to your day job. Being a consultant or contractor is fine because everyone knows that. Being an employee with a secret double agenda is not.

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