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Comment Re:Knuth's TeX and Metafont (Score 1) 373

Interesting code, serves a real purpose, solves a real problem.


Codewise, the oldest running code probably lives in the banking system or the telephony system. Typically code that has grown over time and can't just be shut down for an upgrade -- "what do you mean close the bank for a week?". Now whatever code runs there has been kept running (bodged?) for decades, but pretty it probably isn't.

It did occur to me that the code running an AT&T 5ESS switch or its current equivalent "should" have those attributes we would hope for, but it might also have become massively over-grown with cruft, not to mention being too large to be grasped by a mere mortal.

Comment Re:Is this a request for optimal code design... (Score 2) 373

or is the OP requesting us to hunt down a piece of code that fulfills his project specs (and does it elegantly, gosh darnit!)?

Is the OP's real name Tom Sawyer?

OP Here: I am a retired Assembler 360 programmer. I have no project needs or other reason for my specific example, which was merely an example of what I suspect/hope is an elegant program. I could be wrong about that. Feel free to discard your understandable cynicism.

Submission + - Is There an Elegant Program?

lxrslh writes: Since the dawn of computing, we have read about massive failed projects, bugs that are never fixed, security leaks, spaghetti code, and other flaws in the programs we use every day to operate the devices and systems upon which we depend. It would be interesting to read the code of a well-engineered, perfectly coded, intellectually challenging program. I would love to see the code running in handheld GPS units that first find a variable number of satellites and then calculate the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the unit. Do you have an example of a compact and elegant program for which the code is publicly available?

Comment Hike! (Score 1) 299

Seriously, after being cooped up in a basement or server room or cube farm, your body is not likely to be a fit as your mind and it will eventually desert you long before you're ready. Get outdoors, hike in state parks, national parks, local greenways, etc. Listen for wildlife, look for unusual vegetation, apply some brain cells to learning about evolution and our natural history. Sweat is good!

Comment TWEETS ARE FOR TWITS (Score 1) 166

Tweeter mostly appeals to those losers who have been raised up by over-indulgent boomers and taught that their every thought and action was valuable and meaningful and MUST be shared with the world at large. I hate when TV shows think its cool/trendy to post tweets of viewers in real time, 99.5% of which are moronic and distract from the viewing experience for everyone else. However, I grant that it can be useful to broadcast breaking news of importance to citizens, not including tweets from entertainers and politicians.

Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 670

Not being an "expert" in any of these languages, I actually RTFA and discovered the following on Page 9: "Jeremy Manson brought the performance of Java on par with the original C++ version. This version is kept in the java_pro directory. Note that Jeremy deliberately refused to optimize the code further, many of the C++ optimizations would apply to the Java version as well." Sounds to me like Java can be as fast as C++. YMMV....

Comment Smartphones Work Pretty Well (Score 1) 143

I have been reading ebooks for ten years, since acquiring my first Palm Pilot. I've evolved my devices to a Toshiba Pocket PC PDA, then a Samsung (Palm) smartphone, and now a Palm Treo Pro (WM). My sources are RSS feeds, Gutenberg classics, free ebooks, and occasionally books downloaded from usenet. About 90% of my reading is electronic, excepting technical books and new fiction I borrow from the library. The small screen sizes have never bothered me nor have I suffered any eyestrain in my 60+year old eyes, which have actually improved with age. I have enjoyed many happy hours reading in lines, in airports, on trains, backpacking, etc. while others fretted or were bored. The only thing I have lost is viewing images and maps, sometimes of value in travel books or some fiction, or reading electronically at a beach, for which I have a supply of paperback "beach" books. However, I can curl up on a sofa or bed and read quite comfortably, without a lamp, or when someone else is driving. Although I do it a lot, I don't "really like" reading online using my 6 lb. 15" notebook and have considered moving to a netbook. But today's smartphones give me nearly everything I need in single device that fits in my shirt pocket, including music, and even limited TV and a basic GPS. However, physical size and professional layout is necessary for most technical books, such as Tufte's, with maps, diagrams, images, etc. So I suspect I will always need some device with the resolution of paper or a bigger screen, until such time as direct eyeball projection devices are perfected and comfortable.

Comment Chickens are smarter than people (Score 1) 184

From "The Chicken Vanishes" by Calvin Trillin The New Yorker, February 8, 1999 ....On my walks from my house in Greenwich Village to Chinatown, I have truly had the custom of taking out-of-town visitors to a Mott Street amusement arcade, otherwise known for video games, where the out-of-towners get to try their hand at playing tictacktoe against a chicken. My wife waits on the sidewalk. She has a low tolerance for video games, and she somehow acquired the impression that requiring a chicken to play ticktacktoe is cruel. ("Cruel!" I say to her. "I've never seen the chicken lose. What's cruel?") The chicken is in a glass cage that is outfitted with the sort of backlit letters common to pinball machines - so that, at the appropriate time, "Your Turn" or "Bird's Turn" lights up. When it's your turn, you push a button on the outside of the cage to light up your "X" in one box or another; when it's the bird's turn, the bird goes behind an opaque piece of glass marked "Thinkin' Booth" and pecks once to produce an "O" in a box you were sort of hoping it wouldn't notice. If you win, you get a bag of fortune cookies. I furnish the entry fee - fifty cents. I am, after all, the host. When I tell the chicken story, I always point out that nearly all the people I take down there have precisely the same response to the the prospect of playing ticktacktoe with a chicken. After looking the situation over, they say, "The chicken gets go go first!" "But she's a chicken," I say. "You're a human being. Surely there should be some advantage in that." Some of my guest, I always report with some embarrassment, don't stop there. Some of them say, "The chicken plays every day. I haven't played in years."

Submission + - WHY Search for Larger Prime Numbers

lxrslh writes: IANAM (mathematician)
What is the point of continuing to search for and claim increasingly large prime numbers? Devoting greater numbers of more powerful computers will always result in the ability to calculate a larger number, ad infinitum. Surely the largest numbers we have calculated to date are sufficient for practical use? Is this task in some way useful or a real challenge?

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