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Comment Re:Sure, why not (Score 1) 430

What happens in assembler, and to a great extent in C, is what the computer is really doing (more or less, it's pretty close). In higher level languages this connection is very fuzzy. Not knowing what will really happen when you write that for loop is more likely to lead to you writing pathological and otherwise buggy code. It's not *essential* that you know how computers really work, but it's a *really damn good idea* and more or less essential for any really good programmer. The only people who disagree are the ones that never did learn a low-level language (IOW where you work with memory/registers/pointers/that sort of thing).

Comment Re:30 years for a non violent crime. (Score 1) 127

There is no criminal organization Anonymous.

You are as much anonymous as anyone else is. If you don't understand how that can be then *shut the fuck up* about it until you do.

I imagine I am wasting my metaphorical breath, but I'll try to explain it as much as it can be explained.

Think pranks. Think prank phone calls and pizzas you didn't order, then imagine this done in a way designed to make you feel bad, then imagine that everyone who pranked you can see your face when you feel bad and laugh at you. That's about the limit of what anonymous will organize to do. All this breaking and entering shit is largely hacktivism done by people who aren't acting as anonymous when they do it, even if they may call on anonymous for help from time to time. And LOICers... they're just idiotic hangers-on. Angry and about as effective as egging someone's house. The effective DDoS attacks come from individuals (armed with botnets) and not some imaginary criminal conspiracy.

I am not an anonymous apologist, I am anonymous (and you can too). Wherever a little kid cries because someone told him he was fat, I will be there along with the baser parts of all mankind and we will be laughing at his misery. When those baser instincts band together to laugh at everything and nothing, there you have anonymous. Anonymous aren't criminals, anonymous is the internet hate machine. It's not good, it's not evil, it's simply humans being human--including the part of being human that we are all obliged to hide from society for fear of persecution. Anonymous exists so that you can be a jerk, a deviant, a racist and make jokes in bad taste knowing that **it's okay, we understand**, we both accept and revile you, too. Unless you're furry (DIAF, plzkthxbai).

There may be a global internet-based criminal organization out there which does bad things, harms people and needs to be busted by the authorities; in fact, I'm pretty sure there are several, but none of them are called Anonymous.

Comment Re:Debian 7.0 (Score 2) 109


The problem with Debian is that Debian has a non-free repository and documents this fact. Whether the user will be confused about whether or not he is installing non-free software is not the issue at all.

RMS maintains that documenting the existence of non-free software, even if the repo is not enabled by default and requires manual intervention to enable, is "suggesting" that it be used and this suggestion is tantamount to a recommendation to use non-free software, which RMS thinks is a thing that a fully freedom-loving distribution should not do.

Can a distro fully respect your freedoms and still document the existence of non-free software? I think so, but since the FSF is in the business of promoting Free software to the exclusion of all else they cannot endorse a distribution which fully respects your freedoms but mentions that non-free software exists. This is an entirely reasonable stance for the FSF; they can choose who they endorse based on any arbitrary criteria, and I respect that.

The Debian folks must necessarily take a more pragmatic view since their primary mission is not to promote Free software to the exclusion of all else. This does not mean that they are behaving in an unethical manner or in a manner which is inconsistent with the FSF principles and ideals, it's just at odds with some of their policies.

Comment Re:Why not just base it off Debian? (Score 4, Interesting) 109

Compare this with Ubuntu - based on Debian unstable - which is both up-to-date and stable

Hah. I'll contain my laughter.

Canonical releases are rarely what I would call *stable*. They're full of issues both small and large and mixing packages from outside of their main repo can quickly destabilize what you do have.

Debian sid sometimes has *package dependency issues* or regressions, but that's where its "unstable" moniker stops applying. Debian policy leads to Debian stability and which archive you pull from doesn't matter much. To get something that might be broken in Debian, other than install-time difficulty due to mismatched dependency information, you usually need to go to experimental. If you're not familiar with it that's *good*, because it's not for you.

Ubuntu is poorly put together and less reliable than Debian. Anyone who's familiar with Debian from a sysadmin point of view will probably be able to confirm this for you. The only reasons Ubuntu gets away with it are (1) its users don't do much with their computers, and (2) after 6 months you dist-upgrade, so problems from the last release go away and get replaced by problems from the new release. It's all terribly slipshod and amateurish.

Comment Re:Kid's artwork? (Score 1) 351

You must not live in the USA. I recommend you reserve judgement.

Standardized tests just cause schools to focus on scoring well and ignore actually educating students. If your school does not do well on standardized tests they take money away from you, period. If your school does well you can employ more teachers at better salaries, build more schools, have more programs like music and sports, etc.. The frenzy to "win" at tests is incredible. I've seen teachers all but GIVE students the answers ahead of time in a so-called "prep" test in the hopes that woefully undereducated students will pass muster on test day. Nothing else in a public school is more critical than getting a good score (which means good percentages and good averages across the student body) on test day. NOTHING. Not student welfare, not knowledge, nothing.

Comment Re:Knowledge takes many forms. (Score 1) 351

How does one teach understanding?

The answer to this is a philosophical one. We can say pretty definitively that rote memorization is a very poor method, but there is no generally accepted "best" method.

How does one measure the progress of students?

You don't. Progress is life; are they still alive? You can only encourage and hope, measurement is pointless.

How does one understand something without remebering it?

Easy. I understand lots of things that I can't remember if asked. Memorization is a very different thing than understanding.

I'll try to contrive an example: I understand English, for example, and can use it with precise correctness (and with a vast vocabulary) upon request, but if you ask me to define parts of speech or diagram a sentence I'll fail 99% of the time. I tend to score quite poorly on English exams that are not purely prose. A lot of things are like that, although less so in the discrete sciences. Do you understand recursion? Good. Can you tell me what year it was invented and by whom? You fail the programming exam! This is the way testing fails.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 379

That said, I do feel that discrete names provide better clarity, and don't believe that having distinct symbol tables for each variable type is beneficial

I do not disagree that for this example there are superior name choices that could have been used. I preferred not to dig through real code to find an example of a case where there was no better choice than to use the same basic name with different sigils; it does happen and it's not unclear.

I think the guy who wrote the ruby version also understood what you were doing. His point (and mine, to a lesser degree) is that if you use distinct names, which he and I both appear to prefer, then the sigils become clutter.

And my point is sigils are part of the name, which makes each name distinct.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 379

You could say the same thing about case-sensitive variables. The fact that you can use COLUMNS and columns in C and they mean different things is confusing, especially for neophytes! The VB solution of case insensitive names is obviously less confusing and thus superior, right? Why should anyone have to master this syntax quirk?

The sigil is part of the variable name and makes the names different (and this is very clear). Most of the time you will also alter the variable names in other ways, because it's usually a good idea, but there is no problem with leaving the non-sigil part the same from a confusion point of view *when the code is clearer as a result*. Just as COLUMNS in C is *obviously* a constant to anyone familiar with C, and just as having a COLUMNS constant should not preclude me from having a local int columns; variable.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 379

Yes, also thanks to you for missing the point. I was not demonstrating best Perl practices, either in naming or code style or efficiency. Yes, all of the cool things you mentioned about Python work in Perl, too! I am not doing a feature comparison chart. Congratulations, you can write a better function to read a file! You know what? So can I. Now we're *all* special, together.

Comment Re:Wait, what? (Score 1) 379

Yes, thanks for missing the point. I *deliberately* chose an example where the with-sigil variables *allow* you to name different things the same way without it being confusing. Of course you *can* choose names, as I said in my post, which are not the same. Would you care to choose another example of *using variables with different sigils but otherwise the same names*? Because, you know, *that was the whole point of the example*.

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