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Comment Re:Its really the library not the language (Score 3, Informative) 223

> Also we went recently through a phase in computer science education where people were really only taught java. Its the only tool in their toolbox.

Yep. I went through the curriculum of the top 10 computer science universities in the country, and all of them teach either Java or Python in their introductory programming classes.

Only a single one (Stanford) even offered C++ as an alternative.

Which is why I'm working on a tool that will hopefully make C++ more appealing to educators, by replacing the traditionally horrendous error messages with an easy to read paragraph targeted at newbie programmers. I'll be presenting it at CppCon next month.

Comment Re:It's Sony - duh (Score 1) 463

What matters is the intent, mens rea, the will to steal, and the intent to permanently deprave the rightful owner of his use of the item. This is critical. Without, you could become a thief without even wanting to steal anything, by mistake and accident, and I hope we can agree that this is not the intent of the law!

Unfortunately, we seem to have picked up a bunch of laws where mens rea isn't taken into account. Try looking up mala prohibita. It's far from an ideal situation, but it is the situation as it stands today.

Comment Re:Yes, Because Optical Media Is Durable (Score 1) 382

Except that optical media isn't that durable or reliable. Every DVD or CD I've ever burned has become unreadable after a few years. The inks just don't hold the data for long.

HTL BD-R uses an inorganic phase-change alloy sputtered onto the disc surface. I have media files going back 4 years or so backed up to a bunch of Blu-rays at work, and they've mostly held up pretty well. I recently scanned all of them to see how they were holding up, and out of 300+ discs, 5 had some unreadable areas. They would've been recoverable because I augmented the images before burning with dvdisaster, but it was faster to just mark their contents as not backed up and let them get burned to a newer disc.

LTH BD-R, OTOH, uses the same organic dyes as CD-R and DVD-R, and is just as susceptible to bit rot (though in all honesty, I have plenty of DVD-Rs and CD-Rs kicking around that are still readable.)

Most BD-Rs on the market are HTL. They tend not to be marked as such, but LTH media are. Verbatim seems to be the most prominent of the LTH BD-R brands, though I think I've heard that Taiyo Yuden also produces LTH BD-R. dvdisaster identifies my backup set as a mix of Ritek, Philips, and CMC Magnetics media; they carried a variety of other brands on them (some well-known, some not so much).

If you're not set up for Blu-ray, M-Disc has applied its inorganic recording layer (they describe it as a "rock-like carbon compound") to DVD as well as Blu-ray. You need a drive that can burn them (not just any DVD burner will work), so if you're in the market for a compatible burner, you might as well get one that also handles Blu-ray. Wikipedia says the discs, once burned, are readable in any drive.

Comment Re: Archival grade (Score 1) 382

Leicester (spelling) = lester (phonetic)

That applies to all of the *cesters (there are more than a few...used to live not too far from Bicester, for instance), so at least they're consistent.

You want weird? Try to puzzle through how they say Derby should be pronounced "darby." I don't see an A anywhere in there.

Comment Re:Failbook knows NOTHING about me (Score 1) 183

There's extensive datacollection from Facebook on other web sites, tied to cookies, browser fingerprinting and various other means.

That largely depends on whether you allow third-party cookies to be set. Anybody who cares about privacy in the least would have third-party cookies disabled. Let Farcebook try to snoop on my /. activity...it's not gonna work.

Comment Re:Solution: Buy legislators. All of them. (Score 1) 190

I ended up donating the printer and the ink cartridges to a local charity, got a tax write-off for the donation, and bought an Epson printer. The Epson works great with refilled ink cartridges.

...until it clogs up and refuses to print until you waste half a set of cartridges on cleaning cycles. Even that might not get it running right.

Comment Re:And what is AMD doing? (Score 2) 56

I can't tell if you are serious or not, but their Zen architecture should be dropping soon, and they at least in theory have caught up with the Intel CPUs of a generation or two ago.

If they have a good price point, they might start actually giving Intel some competition, which is good, since Intel has done next to nothing very interesting since the Ivy/Sandy Bridge days.

Comment Pi Desktop (Score 1) 134

Hi Eben,

I teach classes using the Raspberry Pi 2 (soon to be switching to 3, I hope) in a variety of contexts, such as with students wanting to learn ARM assembly and to K-12 teachers who want to do physical computing in their science classrooms.

It feels to me like the RPi is focused a little too much on Python and Scratch. I understand that it's called the Pi because of Python, but ARM assembly is my favorite assembly language, and bare metal assembly in particular is just a really natural fit for physical computing due to how easy it is to turn GPIO pins on and off. But the lack of documentation for the newer Broadcom SoCs has made it difficult for my students to write bare metal projects. So this leads to my question for you: are there any plans on rolling out better documentation / support / code examples for assembly on the RPi 2 and 3?

Despite this sounding like grousing, I would like to assure you that I love everything you've done with the Raspberry Pi and the notion of physical computing in general. Everyone who takes an assembly class or science technology workshop with me this year will get a free RPI3 and a bunch of sensors, wires, and motors to do hands-on, open ended projects. And I've been doing this for a while and it works really well. Thanks again for all of your vision and tireless effort you've spent in this arena.

Comment Re:How to advocate for desktop dev in a phone worl (Score 1) 512

>A lot of tech people tend to forget that for most people, a computer is not an end unto itself. It's just another tool for getting their real work done. Why "advocate" a desktop if people can get their work done on a tablet or phone? A desktop system has a lot of complexity that, for most people, probably tends to get in the way of actually getting their work done as much as it helps them.

Tablets and phones are consumption devices, not creation devices. They are a hideously bad match for trying to do any sort of serious development work, or even your bog standard PowerPoint deck. A Surface is about as tablet-y as you can get while still being able to do reasonable work, but a Surface is still a real computer under the hood. Anyone who works with touch-only systems could probably give you a long list of design decisions that slow them down when trying to do anything serious.

>I'd argue that very few people's productivity is measured in how efficient their file operations are. It's sort of like believing you're going to be vastly more efficient as a programmer if you memorize a bunch of keyboard shortcuts or type 60wpm instead of 30. Unlike the movies, programming isn't about how fast you type.

I think his point isn't just doing file operations, but rather that everything from the CLI is going to be faster and more powerful than a GUI when you know what you're doing. GUIs are great when doing graphical stuff, but for text-based work, text-based interfaces work better. UNIX is an operating system that is also an integrated development environment.

And typing fast really does make a difference. I mean, sure, Amdahl's Law and everything, but when you know what you're going to do, your typing speed will linearly translate into productivity.

Comment Re: Worldwide news are always US only. (Score 1) 256

Fractional values are easier to come by with measurements divisible by 2, 3, 4, or 6 than with measurements that are only divisible by 2 or 5. Liquid measures are mostly divisible by various powers of 2: two tablespoons in an ounce, eight ounces in a cup, two cups in a pint, two pints in a quart, four quarts in a gallon. (Three teaspoons in a tablespoon is the exception.)

Comment Re:Impressive (Score 1) 106

>False. What telecoms â" correctly â" object to, are efforts by local governments to compete with them. Private businesses, individuals, or non-profits are fine...

No. They lock up the last mile and do everything they can to stop private competition as well. If you're lucky enough to live in a densely populated and affluent area, you might be able to get high speed internet through microwave (the pricing is actually pretty competitive), otherwise you're going to be stuck choosing between the two horribly shitty options of either AT&T or Comcast.

It's a duopoly, and enforced by our legislators that are bought and sold by them.

http://www.politico.com/story/...

Comment Re:Thanks for the great answers (Score 1) 167

>There is a saying in the C++ community, that many language features are intended to protect against Murphy, not Machiavelli.

And yet as C++ progresses, it becomes easier and easier to write simple and performant code that can't be exploited. We're a long way from the strcpy() days. I can, for example, uppercaseify strings without ever using a pointer, iterator, square bracket, or at(). And the strict typing of C++ stops every one of the exploits detailed in those Perl Jam videos, with -Wall being there to watch for anything you can do that is technically legal, but a bad idea.

>Unlike Java, Perl does not even try to protect you from malicious programmers. Being a scripting language, Perl also doesn't try hard to protect you from careless programmers. Nonetheless, these particular examples of brokenness would be hard to encounter by accident. You can't say that of PHP.

Very true. You will definitely encounter more accidental weirdness in PHP. But long past are the days where it was common practice in PHP to pollute your variable namespace with parameters passed in by the user. But the point of those videos is that even if you are a security conscious programmer, following established language patterns, the weirdness of Perl - the language itself - works against you in your goal of trying to write secure code.

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