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Comment Carrier comparison (Score 1) 113

Many who comment here will have a reason that they chose one carrier over one other carrier. They may have switched carriers. I always found that the latest carrier plan was better than the competition, and that it would go back and forth or be too confusing to come up with one clear answer. I actually have iPhones and aPhones on 5 carriers. I also travel the world quite a bit. Domestically, all the carriers are good for most unless you live in an area not covered by some. I remember times when Verizon was faster but now it seems that AT&T is faster for me, most of the time. I remember when you could buy international data from Verizon that covered 200 countries, while the AT&T list was only about 50 countries. That affected me in places like Russia and South Africa, back then. T-Mobile has incredible data plans for here and away but they don't seem as fast as claimed unless I'm in the store. Sprint has gone far out of their way to help me with issues, including a stolen phone number. Right now I believe that the best carrier I have, for my own needs, is Google Project Fi because the plan works in over 100 countries. You can even order a free data-only SIM for free, without even a shipping charge, to use it on iPads and the like. I would never say that anyone's choice of plan is bad in any way though.

Comment Re:Wait... (Score 1) 57

Well they charge you a rental fee for a router (including a Wifi), or they let you purchase it for $150. In abstract, I think that's totally reasonable.

The problem is, they won't let you just supply your own router or operate without a router. You have to rent or buy their router. If you just want the Internet (not phone or TV), you can replace their router with your own once service is installed, but they still force you to purchase their router.

Comment Re:"Like"? (Score 1) 378

In the long run, I'd expect the tools to adapt to solve those problems more transparently, e.g. through the use of standardized libraries that hide the parallelization behind procedural wrappers so that developers can write seemingly procedural code, but gain the benefits of massively parallelized code for the pieces that matter.

Or not; hard to say.

Comment Re:Lots of claims are being made about it's virtue (Score 1) 378

For that to be even ostensibly correct, you're missing one single quote mark and some double quotes, e.g.

"There are to many 'it's, don't you think?" he said.

And even that is arguable, because those aren't really apostrophes; they just happen to use the same key on the keyboard, typically.

With only two exceptions, the plural of any word is always spelled with an 's', not an apostrophe followed by an s. The exceptions are:

  • The plural of a lowercase letter (e.g. there are too many i's here).
  • The plural of an abbreviation that contains periods or mixed case (e.g. there are too many Ph.D.'s here).

And even then, those exceptions might depend on what style guide you go by.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 1) 378

Functional programming and unit testing are things you don't see widely used in the videogame development world, at least that I've seen.

I'd expect functional programming to be used quite a bit in that space, but only for very small chunks of performance-critical code, such as massively parallel bits down in the guts of raytracing engines. Now whether they actually use functional programming languages or not is another question.

Unit testing is something you don't see widely used in software development, period, unfortunately. But the industry is getting better. Slowly. Very slowly. Very, very slowly. Glacially, really.

Comment Re:Functional Programming Considered Harmful (Score 4, Interesting) 378

It needs to be done and done well. Very tempting. But alas, just like drug use, there's only so much any sane person can write about the subject, because anyone who knows functional programming well enough to fully explain why it is harmful is probably mentally damaged beyond the point of being able to understand why it is harmful. :-D

The thing is, functional programming is a good paradigm for students to be exposed to in school. Briefly. It forces you to think about data flow through your program, and forces you to think about your software as a giant state machine and visualize how the states change as your software does work. It is not the only way to teach that concept, but it is a halfway decent way. And once you pick up those concepts, you'll start to understand why singletons are so useful (approximately the polar opposite of functional programming, but often the software equivalent of the data you'd be passing around in a functional world).

So basically, there's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. But just like with drugs, if you continue to do significant amounts of functional programming after that, don't be surprised if the rest of us ask what you're smoking. Functional programming as a real-world paradigm tends to be almost invariably a disaster, because it neither fits the way we think about problems (human thinking is almost entirely procedural) nor the way machines do work (computers are inherently procedural). It can provide useful extensions to procedural programming languages that serve specific purposes (e.g. closures), but calling functional programming useful for that reason is akin to calling a diesel-electric freight train a perfect commuter car that saves fuel because a Prius is also hybrid hydrocarbon-electric.

About the only space where functional programming techniques might really make sense is when working in a massively multithreaded environment, e.g. creating really efficient implementations of certain massively parallelizable functions (such as FFTs). But for the most part, that functional programming is limited to creating components that are then utilized as small (but performance-critical) parts in what is otherwise on the whole still procedural (or OO) software.

Outside of those very limited scopes, though, the theoretically ivory-tower-pure, zero-side-effect functional programming model is pure garbage. Real world systems don't just have side effects; they are side effects, whether you're talking about storing data on disk, sending it over a wire, drawing it on the screen, reading data from a keyboard, or whatever. The notion of treating all of those "side effects" as some giant state object that mutates as it gets passed around is fundamentally antithetical to real-world use of the data, because state must be stored to be useful. And the entire notion of passing around the complete state of real-world software is so far beyond infeasible that the concept is utterly laughable. Cell phones have a gigabyte of RAM, not a petabyte. There's simply no way to write something like MS Word in a pure functional language, because it would take all the computing resources on the planet to barely run a single instance of it.

Using functional programming in most real-world environments, then, cannot possibly do anything but cause brain damage, because the whole functional paradigm is wrong for the problem space. It is like cutting the grass on a football field using only a single pair of nail clippers—theoretically possible, but completely infeasible. To that end, although I wouldn't say that functional programming is inherently considered harmful, it should be approached with approximately the same level of skepticism as goto statements, and for approximately the same reason. When used correctly, in a very limited way, it is a powerful tool to have in your toolbox that can seriously improve your software. When overused or misused, it is a black hole that consumes infinite amounts of programmer time while emitting very little.

Comment Re:A few ideas (Score 1) 95

Why would I need to ping my neighbors to decide if my internet connection is working? I was saying when you call Comcast and report your connection is down, rather than instating on sending someone to your home between the months of June and July, THEY should try to other modems near you first to see if it's more likely a line problem.

Comment Re:A few ideas (Score 1) 95

Comcast knows the MAC of every modem connected to their system and the associated account and service address. They HAVE to. So it's a simple matter of a database lookup. The customer doesn't get to control anything on the cable side of the modem so they can't block the ping (Which I believe is more akin to arping anyway).

So they know your address and they know the MAC addresses of the other modems on the same cable segment. Where's the problem?

Comment Re:What do you people expect? (Score 1) 90

Where I used to work, we called this the "Stack Overflow Effect" because so much bad code written by well-meaning people was floating around Stack Overflow that did things in dangerous, security-risky ways, such as telling people to disable TLS chain validation so they could use a self-signed cert for their test environment, then wondering why so many apps shipped with chain validation turned off in the production versions of the app.

I've actually written security documentation whose primary purpose was to provide a single set of code snippets that were known to do things in the right way so that we could plaster Stack Overflow with links to the doc. Then, when people say, "but can't I just...", we can say, "No", and point them atdocumentation explaining why so that at least when they do something stupid anyway, we can say, "Dude, what part of 'no, that is incredibly dangerous' didn't you understand?"

Comment A few ideas (Score 5, Insightful) 95

First and foremost, when a customer says they're down, try to ping other modems in the same neighborhood. If those are down too, roll a line truck. Do not claim it must be a problem at their house.

Re-emphasize in training, if any light other than network activity is flashing on the modem, it is not a problem with their computer, don't try to sell them on paid Windows support, especially when they say they don't have Windows.

If the customer is using words you are unfamiliar with such as traceroute or ping, just elevate the call to someone who understands the problem.

Comment ALGOL-W (Score 1) 616

I played with Basic in high school but did my first undergrad stuff in ALGOL-W. As an undergrad I messed with Pascal, Fortran and PL/I. One of my profs at the time was an author of the ALGOL 68 report, thought BCPL was cool and that C (a relatively new language at the time) was a mental disorder. He gave us an assignment in APL once. I guess I'm showing my age.

Now I do 99% of my work in C. My boss and I agree to disagree on scripting languages. I like Python. He thinks Python is ridiculous and insists on Perl for production work.

...laura

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