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Comment Re:API! (Score 1) 225

Coding robotics has previously required a lot of low level coding. Who of us haven't though how great it would be code your own robot easily, and make it work just like you want it to, without going to all the low level details?

Yeah, it'd be really innovative if you could program robots in a language like, for instance, smalltalk..... oh, did I hear the 1980's calling?

Comment Re:Categories (Score 1) 572

7) But that's so passive. Why not pose _as_ kids and troll for child molesters?

That's basically what the Australian Feds do. They lie about their age, and wait to see if the suspect wants a meeting. When the perp shows up (often with porn, toys and cameras) they arrest him. Good thing too. I'd be surprised if the US authorities don't do similar, with a few choice moves to ensure the process is legal.

Comment Re:Big Bank and Evolution (Score 1) 495

In the first place, it violates the second law of thermodynamics. That ought to be sufficient argument against it.

Entropy is reversed by doing work, which is what life does, by transforming energy (pumping heat).

Beyond all that, there are no known examples of intermediate species. Considering how much evolution must have occurred (if we assume evolution to be correct) there ought to be scads of intermediate forms walking the planet today. Where are they?

walking around, those that were not out-competed and failed to adapt.

Comment Re:The VM is decent. The language sucks. (Score 1) 667

But with Java, I compile source to bytecode representations, zip those up, and distribute them. With Smalltalk, unless I'm misunderstanding something, I run that program, edit the running program if I want to make a change, and save a bytecode snapshot of a running program, then distribute that -- which seems somewhat cumbersome if someone else wants to import my program into their Smalltalk environment.

If I'm distributing a commercial product, then I do as you've described. Or I can file-out a class or category (or a change set) and distribute the source for file-in into someone else's image. Not so different from how C works. A very common misconception by the way. Exactly when something is run is also an interesting question, as all objects are live, including those objects called classes.

Comment Re:Java isn't pure OO (Score 3, Insightful) 667

The thing I hated most about Java is that I can't just create a new class and implement a few messages and use it in existing code, unless I somehow shoehorn it into an existing class hierarchy, or implement an interface. If the existing code was done without interfaces in mind, I have to edit a few hundred methods in dozens (if lucky) of files, and not break anything.

To avoid this I have to over-engineer prototype code, and increase production cost estimates by at least a factor of 4, or else use a generating framework that leaves me with no idea what any of the generated code does, which makes fixing subtle bugs so much fun.

At least smalltalk works. And the smalltalk debugger is possibly the most elegant and efficient ever.

Comment Re:The VM is decent. The language sucks. (Score 1) 667

Smalltalk is interesting, but is even more closed off than Java, and basically requires an entirely different set of tools for working with. It's not really designed to work as a text-based language.

I don't think you've really looked at all the issues with Smalltalk. If you look at squeak, for example, most of the VM is smalltalk, that gets translated to a subset of C, and you only have to implement primitive data types to build a new VM on a new platform.

Gnu Smalltalk is text-file based (and is unusual amongst smalltalks for it).

As for tools, smalltalk provides the tools, they are just different than what is used for other languages. The tools for smalltalk (the browser, monticello, the file list etc) work really well for smalltalk. It's not that you have to learn a new set of tools to use smalltalk, rather that there is no need for any others - nearly 40 years of development has produced a very efficient and intuitive environment.

In my opinion the only place Java beats Smalltalk is in that its threading model is a bit more efficient. In return you are forced to abandon most of the benefits of a dynamic language, and use multiple layers of nearly-C++ to get the job done. Or maybe I just don't understand Java. I don't get why an object has to care about what class a reference dereferences to, and why methods have to have all that type declaration fluff around them. Maybe I'm just old though.

Comment What about the Rio Tinto factor? (Score 1) 352

I have to wonder if the Stern Hu case is a factor in this. For those not in the know, Stern Hu is an Australian who is currently on trial in China for accepting bribes and industrial espionage. Mr Hu works for Rio Tinto, the iron ore giant that China failed to buy last year.

Everyone knows that bribery is a large part of doing business in China. Stern has been in court for 3 days now. Even consulate officials have been denied presence at the trial, relying on state reports of what went on each day. Stern has admitted he took bribes, although he challenges the amount claimed. He will be sentenced on Monday - the trial started last Monday.

In the article, Michael Dell talks about how he wants to do business in "places with a legal system". I think that the Hu case, Rio Tinto's experience, and the events with Google would be making any enterprise re-evaluate the cost and risk of dealing with China.

Comment Re:most people arent wired for math (Score 1) 427

I disagree. Most people are wired for maths, because they can talk and read. Broca's region is heavily involved in processing language, maths and music. Most people can handle language and appreciate music.

Can most people handle, let alone appreciate the theory of algebraic structures, tensor mechanics and multi-variate statistics? No. But in 30 years of working in maths education it's only those with profound issues that can't handle manipulating linear expressions, arithmetic, elementary geometry and mensuration. I'd go on to say that most people can handle the calculus of a single variable. But they have to be taught well, by someone who doesn't make it look hard, because it shouldn't be hard, maths is supposed to make sense, and what makes sense is easy.

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