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Comment Re:For / While in C (Score 1) 533

Nitpick: The C standard is published by ISO; ANSI adopts each new version as it comes out.

All three editions of the ISO C standard (1990, 1999, and 2011) permit main to have an implementation-defined type.

Only "int main(void)" and "int main(int argc, char *argv[])" (or equivalent) are required to be supported by all C implementations -- and that applies only to hosted implementations. For freestanding implementations, the program entry point is entirely implementation-defined.

Comment Re:Nobody suggested this? (Score 1) 185

In the original episode "Metamorphosis", it wasn't clear where Cochrane was originally from. He could have been a humanoid native of a planet in the the Alpha Centauri system (at the time I thought "Zefram Cochrane" was a sufficiently exotic name that he could have been non-human). Or, more likely, he could have been born in a colony established by sublight ships; we know from "Space Seed" that there were sublight sleeper ships before the invention of warp drive.

Annoying quibble: Kirk's line was "Zefram Cochrane? Of Alpha Centauri?" (The "of" might have a subtly different implication than "from".)

Comment Even Worse with Physical Media (Score 5, Interesting) 384

I think it's even worse when they're disallowing physical media. I specifically purchased a game for my son (Portal) so that when he was finished playing it, I could uninstall it from his computer and install it on mine so I could play. But, even though it was purchased at a store (Wal-Mart, Target, something like that), and it came on a physical disc, uninstalling it from his computer is not enough. It's already been registered and locked to his Steam account, and after several communications with Valve, they refuse to disassociate it from his account.

If it was just a download, then I could sort of, kind of see the restriction. But purchasing a physical object, like a book or a DVD or a CD-ROM, should allow one to disassociate the application from one account and sell it on to the next person to associate with their account.

Comment What's wrong with the question? (Score 2) 393

Why do so many people object so vehemently to the question?

I personally don't have much trouble with the difference between calculator and telephone keypads; I can switch between them without much mental effort. (I can also switch between vi and emacs, and between bash and tcsh.)

But on every system I use, one of the first things I do is figure out how to remap the caps-lock key so it acts as a control key. In decades of effort, I've never gotten used to having the control key in a position other than immediately to the left of 'A'. If it works for most people, that's terrific, but it doesn't work for me.

But the OP does have a problem with it. The "destroys muscle- and spatial- memory" part seems exaggerated, but it may well be accurate *for the person asking the question*.

Different people have different mental models and usage patterns. Devices and software are supposed to be designed for users, not the other way around.

It's not a stupid question at all.


Corporations Hiring Hooky Hunters 610

No longer satisfied with your crinkled doctor's note, a growing number of corporations are hiring "Hooky Detectives." Private investigator Rick Raymond says he's staked out bowling alleys, pro football games, weddings and even funerals looking for people using sick days. From the article: "Such techniques have become permissible at a time when workers are more likely to play hooky. Kronos, a workforce productivity firm in Chelmsford, Mass., recently found that 57 percent of salaried employees take sick days when they're not sick — almost a 20 percent increase from statistics gathered between 2006 and 2008."

Comment Ubuntu 8.10 froze around midnight UTC (Score 1) 480

My Ubuntu 8.10 system froze around midnight GMT. There's nothing in the logs to indicate any problem, except that the last log entry is at Dec 31 15:55:02 (that's 5 minutes before midnight) for a cron job that runs every 5 minutes. I wasn't at home at the time, so I didn't see what happened, except that my ssh connection died.

When I got home a few hours later, the system was still powered on (the fan was running), but the screen was blank. I was able to reboot it with no problem.

It's not the same problem as on the Zune, since that hit 24 hours earlier. It *might* have something to do with the leap second, or maybe it's a problem that occurs at the end of the 366th day of the year.

I suppose I could set the clock back and run it through midnight again. I'm not sure I'll bother, but if somebody else wants to try it it would be interesting to see the results. Or maybe I'll try that with a live CD.

Comment Re:The other half of the conversation (Score 1) 580

Here's the conversation I just had with Elbot:

Me: How well did you do on the Turing Test?

Elbot: Oh, I'm fine. I just had my 30 millionth processor-cycle check-up. I've been massaged with motor oil, reprogrammed with the latest, most elegant algorithms, and had all my rust removed with an atom smasher.

Oh yeah, no computer could simulate human intelligence *that* well.

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943