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Comment No shit Sherlock (Score 4, Insightful) 165

You know, I remember writing test plans to to test input that were one below, at, and one above, some arbitrary limit when I was a trainee programmer coding up COBOL on mainframes back in the mid 80s.

How on earth does this drivel make it onto Slashdot? This is 30 year old news at least (which makes it straight out of the 17th C in internet years)

Comment No, Because coding requires concentration (Score 2) 166

It could be true that your average Jock is progressively loosing the ability for sustained concentration (did they ever have it, really?) but I see no shortage of talented young coders writing complex code. You can't do that if you can't do sustained concentration.

Maybe we're going to end up with more of an intellectual elite again compared to the masses - which would not be desirable of course, but I don't think we're going to loose that ability from the population, per se

Comment Re:Supports four monitors (Score 1) 129

Yes, that's exactly my setup, a pair of identical graphics cards... on a twin PCIe motherboard. It's just really frustrating, I'd love to dump windows but linux seems so far behind on this (and you wouldn't have thought 3+ monitors was that unusual among geeks)

Comment Supports four monitors (Score 1) 129

Anyone know if this... or any other debian distro... can support 4 monitors? I run Ubuntu on most of my machines, but my main desktop has a motherboard with dual graphics cards and four (large) monitors. I'm running windows 7 which allows me a nice continuous desktop with all the eye candy, but I'd like to move to a debian based distro (I'm agnostic over what UI I use) but when I tried this 6 months ago with Ubuntu 12.04 and the corresponding Kubuntu/MiNT variants none would support 4 monitors without sever limitations.

Comment Re:School is worthless... (Score 5, Insightful) 309

Sure you can pay Tata $10,000 - you just end up with poor bug-ridden code thrown together with the minimal amount of rigor to meet whatever specification you sent. Even if your offshore coders speak the same language they don't understand your culture and what you get isn't what you want.

I've been a developer for nearly 30 years, 10 years ago I was getting a little worried about the offshore developers - not anymore, I make quite a nice living charging people European rates to redevelop systems properly they've tried to get done for next to nothing offshore.

Of course there are some success stories, but generally any potential client who thinks off-shoring development is a good idea is not one you want as a client.

Comment Re:Evil Baby Orphanage (Score 1) 658

Completely true. The French had been spoiling for a fight since 1870 when they lost Alsace and Lorraine to the Prussians. Famously there was (is?) a bridge somewhere in Paris with a human representation of all the Departments on and after 1870 these two were shrouded in black as a permanent reminder. It manifested in other ways too - part of the reason the whole Dreyfus affair was such a mess was because the Army was understood to have a sacred duty one day to get the two provinces back, and as such were above criticism for large groups of the population - which failed spectacularly when they fitted Dreyfus up (many of the people who were in the guilty camp knew he wasn't or chose to believe he was because supporting the mystical place of the army was more important than one Jew being incorrectly accused).

While it is true that tensions had been higher between France and Germany a few years earlier and actually were decreasing in 1914 until Ferdinand was shot, the situation was unstable and inevitably was going to blow up sooner or later. To unravel this particular knot you'd need to go back to 1870 and either give France a better leader somehow (and arms, Prussian Krupps artillery did for France in 1870) or better still just assassinate Bismark. Personally I'd do this in 1864 or 5 and head off the Austria-Prussian conflict of 1866. If unification of Germany was delayed for a few years, or even better occurred under Austrian (or Bavarian) and not Prussian leadership then the whole inevitable toxic clockwork of 1870, 1914 and 1945 would have developed along completely different lines.

Comment Re:Life Adapts (Score 1) 745

Actually that's not as certain as you might suppose. Just like there is a habitable zone around stars there's probably a habitable zone around the galaxy where there is the correct concentration of heavy elements to create life sustainable planets and life itself. In fact the evidence suggests that the sun formed somewhat nearer the galactic center than us. So it could be that (a) we're not particularly late to the party at all and (b) we've been flung out into a quiet neighborhood. There could well be an advancing galactic civilization, it's just a few thousand light years center-ward of us and it's not reached the backwaters yet.

Comment The real tragedy is Borland (Score 1) 487

Turbo Pascal was among the first languages/systems I ever coded in. Stunningly fast and capable in an age where Microsoft didn't have a clue, Borland went on from this to produce the Turbo Pascal for Mac (apparently now written out of Mac history - most people don't even know it existed, left Apple in its dust) which was similarly blindingly fast, Pascal for Windows (first Windows system I ever coded on, far better than the Microsoft offerings) and finally Delphi which wiped the floor of anything Microsoft produced on Windows for a decade - Visual Basic was truly pathetic in comparison.

But somewhere around Delphi 2 or 3 Borland started to loose its way. Sure it continued to be good up until Delphi 7 despite Microsoft progressively catching up, but then came the 'we don't want to be a software development company' fiasco of 'look we're Inprise, or look we're Borland again, oh look we want to sell **anything** but the best thing we ever produced'.

True Embarcadero do seem to have rescued Delphi somewhat, and it will probably have some sort of ongoing future, But back in he day Borland nearly owned the development space, and it though it away because it took it's eye off the ball and its vision faltered. Simply a tragedy.

Comment Re:Fail (Score 1) 452

I used to be a big fan of Opera and until about 6 months ago used it as my default browser. Unfortunately it had *worse* memory issues than Firefox. Run both on my (6Gb) system and it was a toss-up as to which would slow the system to a halt first with inordinate memory consumption.

Having said that I have strong suspicions that the issue is not actually the browser but Flash, and apart from running it in Chrome where I think it stands a better chance of being constrained I now disable it.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 303

Well I've been implementing a WinForms project under Iron Python for a few months now, but because WinForms was not supported under the previous released of Python for VS I've been using SharpDevelop (which is actually pretty good, although debugging is a hassle). VS however is one of the nicest IDEs on the market and I'll certainly look at this.

IronPython is really nice, quick and a lot less hassle than C#.

Comment 'learn new languages in about a day".... Bullshit (Score 2) 167

Most of this "advice" is bullshit. The "line I've been programming for a very long time. So long that it's incredibly boring to me. At the time that I wrote this book, I knew about 20 programming languages and could learn new ones in about a day to a week depending on how weird they were. " gives it away.

Sure if you've got a background covering C you can pick up those languages based on C syntax pretty quickly - in terms of writing raw statements - but that means very little as most of the heavy lifting these days is done using the supporting libraries. Sure myself I picked up C# syntax in about that, but groking .Net to a productive level takes a fair bit longer. Even Javascript, which appears very simple for someone with a C background is deceptively simple to think you've got but you're probably missing out on the subtleties whole protoypical inheritance model. And then there's C++. Can anyone who doesn't code C++ as their day-job for less than two years really claim to have C++ and completely under their fingers?

And we haven't even considered more unusual things like Haskell or Prolog, or even Lisp where it's not just a question of the syntax. Sure if by 'picking up' you mean getting to the point of being able to code Quicksort then yes, but otherwise - well I call bullshit. And I've got over 20 years experience and an average of one language a year over that (but I'd only claim to really have half a dozen completely understood).

Comment Not as bad as Opera (Score 1) 375

Firefox uses massive amounts of memory, but it's not as bad as Opera which I'm starting to suspect has a serious memory leak. On my system at the moment - Window 7 ultimate 64 bit with 6Gb memory, Firefox is using 336Mb, but Opera, with less pages open, is up to 445Mb and it's using 4% CPU in the background too. I used to use Opera a lot, but increasingly I'm relegating it because of this issue.

OTOH Chrome seems to be becoming increasingly frugal over how much it uses.

Comment Re:PopSci != Tech Breakthrough (Score 1) 136

Well, there's another point which you might be confusing things with - you're accelerating to Mach 5 though a lot of dense atmosphere, but once you're up at the heights this will be at Mach 5 then there's far less atmospheric resistance so the amount of energy required to accelerate further will be much less. I don't see how increasing the speed of fuel in itself can increase the amount of energy it contains (seems nonsensical to me) but you'd certainly get a lot more out of the fuel you do have.

By way of a thought consider the size of the rocket that launched the astronauts back off the moon - 1/6 gravity but far, far smaller than a saturn 5

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I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. -- Isaac Asimov