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Comment Won't work (Score 3, Interesting) 357

Thanks for the link. The idea is brilliant and radical (and for perhaps the first time a youtube video where the comments underneath made sense ;-) ). However structure of paper document he accuses of being limiting reflects how our brains are geared to work. Having all those parallel hypertexts and floating links would be quite distracting - cross linking on wikipedia for example is distracting enough on its own. Footnotes, references and asides are what they are for a reason - they are not the actual subject of the document - and hence should not distract the reader whose brain can process only one stream of thought at once. Besides, as someone else note above, I can't see how this would scale with more than handful of documents. Who's to say what the URI for a piece of text is and where it lives? Does modifying one its "hyper references" modify every instance? And he needs to stop using cheesy terminologies like flinks (floating linnks, apparently!) if he wants to be taken seriously.

Submission + - The Perpetual Microsoft Canard (

KnowThePath writes: This article from Dr Dobbs rubbishes the view that Microsoft is dying and points out how it's still innovating or has technologies/products that have no better alternatives to replace them. From the article, "...Let's get to our favorite part, however: developer tools. I don't like how much Microsoft charges for its tools and how heavy the environment is. But the innovation is definitely there.... C# is without question a well-managed language... no other major vendor has had the daring to ship and support a functional language in years. ... How about MSDN? Probably the best run developer program ever..." I can't help but agree.

Comment Re:Is software "engineering" really engineering? (Score 1) 306

Whilst your argument is valid, cost is not the only governing factor when it comes to designing a structure - even if a Channel girder costs peanuts you still need to check your structure for safety and other parameters like say, environmental sustainability. (More material != Better design, irrespective of cost of structure).

I'm not really talking of the rigour of analysis or whether developing a file system is more "complex" than analysing/designing a 3 storied building. But the fact that decision making is supported using calculations that have been arrived at by experimentation, simulation or prototyping makes it a lot more empirical than programming.

Comment Re:Is software "engineering" really engineering? (Score 4, Interesting) 306

I'm not sure if I want to reply to AC's, but I forgot to mention I'm a structural engineer myself by education... Most structures of respectable size fall back on Finite Element Analysis to gauge the response to a variety of loads. [The estimation of loads is a research topic in itself, where the factors of safety comes from a rigorous stochastic-based reliability analysis]. Once analysis has been performed, design is a bit of intuition, but certainly not estimation - it's more of heuristics... so you say, "this worked last time, let me try this option and analyse if it'll work this time too."

Comment Is software "engineering" really engineering? (Score 4, Insightful) 306

Going by the wikipedia definition decisions made in typical software development cycles don't seem to rely on a justification based mathematical or physical analysis. Admittedly I might be generalising, but is it more of a soft-skill then? ie something that you acquire on your own rather than something that can be formally taught or imparted as training? Makes you wince when you see all those job adverts asking for programmers to work in their "engineering departments"... Disc: I'm a coder myself, working in a structural engineering environment, so watching people design buildings around me feels more like "real" engineering... Go on, mod me down now.

If Windows 7 Fails, Citrix (Not Linux) Wins 638

Julie188 writes "Microsoft blogger Mitchell Ashley, who has been using Windows 7 full-time, predicts that Windows 7 will fail to lure XP users away from their beloved, aging operating system — after all, Windows 7 is little more than what Vista should have been, when it shipped two years ago. But eventually old PCs must be replaced and then we'll see corporations, desperate to get out of the expense of managing Windows machines, get wise. Instead of buying new Windows 7 PCs, they could deliver virtualized XP desktops to a worker's own PC and/or mobile device. Ashley believes that Citrix's Project Independence has the right idea."

Unix Dict/grep Solves Left-Side-of-Keyboard Puzzle 423

destinyland writes "For decades, people have been asking this brain teaser: 'What's the longest word you can type with only the left-hand letters on a keyboard?' The answer is supposed to be 'stewardesses,' but grepping the standard dictionary that ships with Unix reveals a much better answer. There's nearly 2,000 shorter words that can typed with only the left hand — including one word that's even longer. (The article also quotes a failed novel attempt using nothing but words typed on the keyboard's left side.)"

Comment Software engineering is a soft skill (Score 1) 519

Mod parent up. Software engineering is a skill (a la pottery) which has a few basic principles and is built upon through experience and intuition. Other forms of engineering (take structural engineering) for example fall back upon rigourous and empirical calculations that arise from training and formal education. That is not to decry the profession of software engineering(I am one myself) but I say that to differentiate it from the conventional trades of engineering that exist.

You can justify the design of a bridge built to carry a certain load under certain conditions under some assumed factors of safety but how can you, say, justify _empirically_ that the class architecture you designed is the best that could be or how c++ is better for a particular task than Python is. You can only quote from experience, gut feel and hearsay(for some ;) ) but can you show me the math?

Software engineering I feel is a craft, a certain art form where you can exhibit your wizardry, but it's still not something you CANNOT pick up without 4+ years of engg school training, whcih is the case with most other established forms of engineering.

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