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Comment Re:Why has perl6 flopped? (Score 1) 281

Strange, I could have sworn that I replied to this with a very detailed and lengthy response... urg.

Anyway, upshot is this: Perl 6 hasn't yet had a chance to flop. It was released in beta in December of last year and continues to make steady progress. Users are checking it out slowly, but I don't expect a landslide migration. P6 will have to prove itself as a language.

Comment Re:Why has perl6 flopped? (Score 1) 281

I won't say, "I don't think it has," because it demonstrably has not.

The language has been released in open beta. It still has many properties that I think chase away those who approach it outside of language research communities. As a Perl 5 nostalgia fix, the learning curve is just too daunting, so as the beta progresses, I expect it to continue to build its own base of enthusiasts, the same way Perl did when it was first released.

So the language has not "flopped" yet because it hasn't had a chance to succeed yet.

It took Perl many years to go from a small toy that a trivial number of Usenet enthusiasts had heard of to a standard part of the Unix and Unix-like toolset. I don't think Perl 6 will gain traction any faster, especially given the learning curve. That's not flopping.

However, it has some substantial advantages over other languages. High on that list is the trivial nature of slinging highly functional grammars as first-class objects. That's something that you just can't do as easily in any other language that I know of. Perl 5 parsers and those of many other high level languages have some pretty severe performance penalties; yacc and its kin aren't dynamic enough; the various parser generators for Java are fast and mostly complete, but really painful to use.

Basically, you need a language that closely integrates grammars with the language itself in order gain the benefits of Perl 6. Here's and example parser I posted to reddit the other day:


A few other notable things that I think will draw people in:

The generalization of operators over iterable sequences and the hyper-operator version of reduction are features that you're going to hear a lot more about, I suspect. Perhaps in Perl 6, perhaps in other languages that adopt these ideas. I'm especially stunned by the utility of hyper-method-invocation (foo>>.method) which dispatches a given method over any iterable sequence of objects (whether they are the same type or not).

Full macros have not yet landed, not least because we've never had a full understanding of what macros would be. We know that they need to operate on the ASTs that represent code, and all of the self-hosting properties necessary to support that are there, but the exact syntax and semantics that are most Perl-friendly haven't fully gelled, yet. Once they do, I think that every language to have true macros in the past (mostly Lisp variants) has demonstrated the power of this tool.

A few other languages auto-generate accessors for classes, but I find the way Perl 6 does it to be a substantial improvement on the field, and it really is a joy to use. I think others will feel the same.

Speaking of objects, role composition will take some time for people to get used to, but as in other languages that have had similar features, I think this will be critical to Perl 6's adoption.

There are dozens of smaller features that are just quality-of-life benefits ranging from lexical variable/named parameter passing to the way any block can be turned into an anonymous closure and even curried. Some of these will be important to some, but not to others. It will be interesting to see it play out.

Comment Re:So it has come to this (Score 5, Insightful) 531

Are you asking for evidence of donation or of the ACLU doing far more good than the NRA? Both seem to be odd questions.

The NRA claims that protecting gun ownership protects civil rights by empowering the individual to defend themselves against the government (we'll ignore, for a moment that nothing could be further from the truth, and everyone in this nation, armed or not is a heartbeat away from a smart bomb at their breakfast table, or that you can be financially and socially ruined without ever having the opportunity to shoot back). Let's take the NRA's claim at face value and assume that they are 100% correct.

They still only defend the status quo. Having a gun doesn't undo the erosion of rights due to the corrosive influence of the re-election cycle in Washington. The ACLU seeks to actively move the line of civil rights back to where it started, and hopefully even a bit further through the courts and activism.

Now, the ACLU and the NRA happen to disagree over the interpretation of the 2nd amendment (FWIW, I think that was the stupidest call the ACLU ever made) but even when they disagree they're still nominally working toward the same goal (the ACLU isn't trying to prop up the gun industry, but I'm talking about implied goals, here), so it's pretty easy to judge which of them objectively makes the most progress...

Comment Re:It's the same for Blizzard. (Score 1) 386

Steam might play in offline mode. More often than not this is not the case

I've never had a problem, but then I have been using Steam heavily only for the last few months.

What I can say is that Steam isn't DRM anymore. Yes, that's one function that they serve, but Google isn't search anymore either. Successful businesses build on what they start with and go far beyond it. Steam is doing just that (well, Valve).

Just being able to install games on every platform that they support, not just the one that I bought is a huge win, but add to that the universal access to saved games (in games that support it, of course) and the upcoming Linux-based console... they're no more a DRM company than any other gaming platform. They're a gaming service provider.

Comment Re:Fond Memories (Score 4, Informative) 464

I never knew anyone who regularly made the distinction between "line printer" and "dot matrix printer" when talking about "line printer ASCII art". Sure, line printers were their own thing, but when used as an adjective, it was always synonymous with DMP. Now get off my lawn, or I'll rant about how ttys are actual teletype machines, and not just a damned serial port!

Comment Suggested solution (Score 1) 314

A long time ago, I proposed a solution, but no one listens to me. My take is that there are three problems: 1) copyright term is so long that the intended benefit to the commons is rendered moot 2) different types of work (such as software and books) and even different works within a single medium have radically different periods over which they reap the rewards for their creators 3) copyright holders aren't artists and artists are largely screwed over by the copyright holders.

Any plan that solves for those three problems will bring a world of benefit.

Comment What you don't understand (Score 1) 250

Most lay-people don't understand that the requirements for new patents have changed. It used to be that patents had to be innovative. Not so, any longer. They now need to abuse the patent system in innovative ways. Also, you are required to cite prior art in the form of a haiku, making citing specific patent numbers quite difficult.

Comment Re:I wonder... (Score 1) 298

The marketing department needs to get on that. For right now, unstickyable object vs. sticks-to-anything tape just doesn't have the cachet that unmovable object vs. the unstoppable force does, but with the proper market penetration, we think we can capture a good chunk of mindshare within 8-10 years.

It's "slick vs. stick." It'll be what every kid wants for Christmas.

Comment Re:Let this be a lesson (Score 1) 312

Mostly because it's being used in the same way as "think of the starving children in Africa". Of course there are people that are much, much worse off than us but if any comparison should always be towards the lowest possible bar then you'll lose every time. Particularly if you throw in history on how growing up today is much better than most children through history, probably including your own parents and grandparents. After all, most people - certainly kids and other young people you identify with - do have their health.

Also it's sometimes used as a poor man's equalizer, it doesn't matter that you're Steve Jobs you can still die a long drawn out death of cancer. In that yes your health is important and your health can't really be bought for money, but just because there's a variable you can't control doesn't mean poor and (good|bad) health beats rich and (good|bad) health. It's a just a way to mentally put a few people in the (rich, bad health) below you (poor, good health) in the feelgood hierarchy.

If this is intended to make you feel good about making poor choices, then carry on.

However, I'll tell you now that most people under 30 are typically living in a dream world. "Poor health" is a concept to most such "youngsters." When I was that age I'd been ill and I'd been injured, and I thought I understood. But, now, with the mild aches and pains of age creeping up on me slowly, I realize how big that gun is that I'm looking down the barrel of. Poor health isn't about being hit by a taxi-cab at 9 and getting my skull fractured. It's not about getting walking pneumonia at 19 and having to walk a mile to the hospital for treatment. It's about being in pain (or even just discomfort) and knowing that you're going to feel that way for a very, very long time, if not the rest of your life.

Not that I'm that bad off. I have a few minor aches and pains that are the sign that my body has stopped being forgiving about trivial injury. But it does put some things in perspective.

Comment Re:T800 (Score 2) 70

Yeah, the "Respiration, sweating," etc. threw me off too. My guess, based on the rest of the article is that the requirement isn't that it sweat and breathe, but that it not produce more moisture or heat than a human under the same exertion. That would allow it to use equipment that was tested with humans such as weaponry, testing equipment for dangerous environments or bomb-defusing tools. For example, if it threw off lots of heat when walking, it might not be something you want to use for bomb disposal...

Comment Re:Not this time: (Score 1) 261

Sigh. I guess you've never been to Paris, huh? What is the name of that place, ahh yes, Place Charles de Gaulle, there's a big monument there. They call it the arch something. The arch of surrender I think. It symbolizes all the times the French have run away, and all the battles they have lost, around the entire globe, right? Why do they still speak French from the Caribbean, across Africa, to Indo-China, I wonder?

Still, it can't help that they're cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

Get over it. It's a Simpsons reference. I promise not to jump all over you when you claim you can create a time machine by sticking a fork in a toaster.

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