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Comment Anthropomorphism / analogies can be useful (Score 1) 303

The original analogy involved a principal (a fairly complex process) who instructs a group of students (a collection of complex processes) to go to various classrooms (a fairly expensive / time consuming task). The pseudo-code he has breaks most of these assumptions and results in a simple single threaded task calling move-to-classroom routine that is so trivial that the implementation is not even shown. His straw man analogy is thus not correct.

It could easily be the case where the analogy is correct. e.g.

  1. This is distributed system run on a server farm so the principal and each student could easily be run as separate processes and thus giving responsibility via messaging would be more efficient.
  2. Assigning a student to a classroom is an expensive operation. Perhaps many transactions have to be made, email needs to be sent, humans need to approve, etc.

In this case, implementing this system (especially with a technology such as actors) would very closely parallel the analogy and the anthropomorphism would aid in communicating the design. The straw man argument that the author dredges up is a very simple example not worthy of most tasks a software developer faces in the 21st century.

Any analogy can be incorrect. Don't use them if they're incorrect.

Comment Scala development? (Score 2) 115

Has anyone been using this for Scala development with the android-sdk-plugin? I've been working on my first Scala android app and see it as a big improvement over Java. The only negative is that I've been using sbt+emacs instead of the blessed android dev environment (which used to be Eclipse) so I've been missing some features.

Comment When to Do It Yourself (Score 1) 554

This is a pretty healthy conversation but I can still add my $0.02

I hosted my own email server (webserver etc.) from 1995 to 2005. It was very enlightening but eventually grew to be a big pain in the ass. The last straw was a power surge that fried the motherboard. (raid and backups can't help with that) and looking at the the time and effort of getting a new hardware (and getting more redundant hardware) I decided to go with a hosting service. Eventually I pointed my domains to gmail.

Every geek friend I know has at one time hosted his own email. I'd be hard pressed to find a techno-nerd worth his cred who hasn't tried this. I also don't know anyone who has continued to host their email after a number of years of feeding and caring for the server beast.

I think the big issue is figuring out where to separate you hobby from your job. If you have a classic car in your garage that you like to tinker with is fine. If you decide to do you daily 20 mile commute in your classic car you're signing yourself up for some headaches as there will be days that you will need to bumb a ride, take a bus or taxi, etc. Hosting your own email is like commuting to work in a car that only you are able to fix in an environment where there are no buses, taxis or other cars. You have to be prepared to drop everything at a moments notice to fix your email server.

You can have someone else host your hardware but then ask yourself, why not have someone else configure and maintain the software as well?

DIY is great but realize what your signing up for if you want to DIY a critical system.

Comment FIFO Queue (Score 2) 371

Like any other data storage problem you have to ask yourself how you will access this data. For me there is a high probability that I will never look at an old phone bill or gas bill. In this case you want to optimize for insertion into the data store not selection from the data store. so I stick all of these statements into a big box. The more recent ones are on top so they are automatically sorted by date. When the box fills up I shred the bottom half of the box. This makes the most common case (insertion) really efficient; I just throw the paper in the box. In the rare case I need to find an old statement, I just hunt through the date sorted statements.

Woman Hires Stripper to Impersonate Her At Reunion 16

Andrea Wachner, like many other people, was dreading her high school reunion, so she decided to have some fun and hire a stripper to impersonate her. Wachner, a freelance comedy writer, made a documentary about it called, "I Remember Andrea." Some of her classmates didn't think the prank/film was funny, and when she posted clips on YouTube from her 40-minute documentary, there was an outcry from '95 alums. "There's definitely a contingency of people who hate me because of this," she said, adding, "I can't think of one thing you could do there where you weren't competing against hundreds of other kids. I didn't really relate to a lot of what the others accepted as the norm, and I was OK with that — it just didn't make it great. Most of the girls I knew had eating disorders. A huge percentage. I'm not scarred by it. It wasn't torture. It was not a miserable experience. But I think high school in and of itself is kind of awful."

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Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky