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Comment Fundamental Missing Features (Score 3, Insightful) 449

Forget compiled languages. That's not fun.

We want command based (imperative) languages that can be run in a REPL for fun. BASIC basically fits this.

Take Python as a contemporary example. Now look at how many basic features of interactivity are NOT enabled in an easy way in Python by default: LOCATE, INKEY, SOUND, PLAY, SCREEN, PSET, LINE, CIRCLE, PGET.

Just these. You can't do ANY of these things in Python with a basic install. "Yes," if you have tkinter in your install, you kind of can. But it's hairy and complex. It's not anywhere near as simple or accessible as BASIC. Pygmy makes some of these things possible, but those are further steps of installation away, and the interactivity feels further away.

Line numbers are incredibly simple (read: understandable) as a flow control model. "Why Johnny Can't Code" outlined the problem with mandatory complex abstract control structures.

I think there are basic fundamental missing pieces in the contemporary programming environment, and that the industry is worse for it.

Comment Movie Makers do NOT get money from candy. (Score 1) 341

...that by offering you new titles so early they are going to lose on all the overpriced cold drinks, and snacks they sell you at the theatre.

This is incorrect. Movie theaters make ZERO money on ticket sales for the first few weeks, then a small portion of the ticket sale, and then eventually a good portion. Pretty much ALL ticket money goes to the makers of the movie.

THE REASON why you have those overpriced drinks and such, is because it's the only source of income for the movie theater itself.

Comment Re:In retrospect, (Score 2) 134

One could make a very strong argument that gun owners played a big part in getting Trump elected.

The Democrats continue to yammer on about gun control despite a HUGE portion of the population being against gun control (yep, I said it - the polls the liberals like to say showing the opposite are BS, plain and simple, and it wouldn't be at all surprising to find out a majority are actually NOT on their side). Most people think guns cost the Democrats control of Congress after the AWB was passed and most gun owners very likely went for Trump, and not because they legitimately thought he was a good candidate, I bet many in fact did not think that, but because they knew how bad Clinton would be for gun rights, and that matters a great deal to them. Gun owners are a highly mobilized voting block, possibly larger and more reliable than any other block, and a bigger one than the left seems to think, and so it could very well be that guns played a large part in this result.

I'd say that's a meaningful change at least, though whether it's for the better is debatable.


Computer Issue Affecting Some Airlines Resolved: American Airlines (nbcchicago.com) 17

American Airlines said Friday Sabre had faced a brief technical issue that impacted multiple carriers. The issue has, however, been resolved. From a report on NBC Chicago: A technical issue at with a computer IT firm briefly caused technical problems for airlines in the United States early Friday afternoon, according to American Airlines. It was one of several air carriers affected by the outage at Sabre, which tweeted about 12:45 p.m. ET that it was working on recovering from unspecified issues customers were facing. American didn't provide more details about what systems and airlines were affected. Reports on Twitter indicated outages at American, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue; all three responded to several tweets about saying computers, kiosks or the website not working.

Comment Re:Give up (Score 1) 435

I'm 39, I've been programming since I was 6. I relate to this completely.

I observe, as Alan Kay has observed, that the industry is fad-driven and youth-focused. I remember when Node.js was exploding out, and asking myself, "What's the big deal here?" People were getting insanely excited about... ...call-backs. As if it were this bold new paradigm in programming.

I think what happens is that young people get into programming, discover some idea, and then hype the fuck out of it. Other new programmers hear this idea, their brain explodes, and they start tapping the shoulders of all the other young programmers. Next thing you know, they all want to learn this programming language and it's the best thing in 4ever.

I have a very hard time getting excited about most "new" technologies; I have a very hard time getting excited about most "new" **ideas.** Reason being: I see very little that is new in them, a lot that is very old, and I see terrible implementations behind them most of the time.

I often find myself asking:
* "Why not just use TCP sockets, cron, and a couple hundred LOC, rather than importing this entire massive technology stack?"
* "I hate to be a jerk, but do you know it should only require about 12 bytes of data to store each entry here?"
* "Have you thought about using shared memory here?"

I see far more work going into sorting out and arguing for technology stack X vs. Y, rather than in what the problem actually is, and what would be the simplest and most direct way of solving it. Then our energy is lost in upgrade hell, attack vectors, and work-arounds for simple things that are very basic but didn't happen to be included in the stack.

I have seen more code written in work-arounds and patches and side-solutions and configuration systems, then it would take to simply just write our own solution -- with total control, all versatility required, easier flow, and far fewer places for bugs and attack vectors to arise.

So, I don't care about New Language X, or New Technology Y. I can learn the pieces of it as needed, but I just can't work up the exuberance for it.

Comment Re:Loyalty to people not companies (Score 5, Insightful) 765

You're absolutely right in your characterization of things, but this is what a lot of people fail to get. What we have here are two separate moral standards going on.

Human beings have lived most of their existence in groups of no more than 150 individuals. Even for most of recorded history, most people lived in villages or in neighborhoods in cities where they knew just about every face they saw during the day, every day of their lives. Whatever kind of innate moral sense we have and whatever moral codes we have developed have all developed within this context of face-to-face interactions and persistent relationships. So, human beings have a hard time doing anything that isn't "nice." It's not "nice" to quit without giving notice. What "decent" person does a thing like that?

Companies, by contrast, operate on a system of profit and loss. I am not saying that's a bad thing. What I'm saying is that people shouldn't kid themselves. When a company decides to show you the door, that's excused as being "nothing personal, just business." In other words, they are doing solely what is the interest of the company: most particularly, their bottom line.

People need to understand that these are the rules. By all means, when you're interacting with friends, family, neighbors, or even strangers on the subway, do the right thing—the thing that human interactions have relied on for millennia. But when you're dealing with a company—when it's business—think first what's in your best interest, and then do that without a qualm.

Maybe giving notice is right for you, then and there. Then, go ahead. But, maybe walking right out the door is the best thing for you. In that case then, by all means, don't let the door hit you in the ass.

Comment Kinda sounds like how a LASER works (Score 5, Insightful) 299

You've got a cavity. Inside you pump some energy. The energy is nominally trapped and bounces around. Eventually, some of it finds its way out in a coherent way. Seems like the paper is describing a similar explanation as to how LASERs work, roughly-speaking. Sounds plausible for sure.

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