Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×

Comment Matlab spaghetti vs. software engineering (Score 2) 205

The Matlab language has evolved in a questionable way, software licenses are problematic and harming portability, but the biggest deal after having seen it used at various places, is that Matlab code becomes unmaintainable very fast (this is even more true with Simulink, but I won't digress).

Matlab is 100% good for one thing: accessing already existing Matlab code; which happens when dealing with research papers because students have been fed with free Matlab licenses since a young age.
Matlab is also good for early prototyping, because of the toolbox and the interactivity (it's like the Excel of R&D).
But for that, today you get the same with other platforms/languages; Octave and Scilab are good, but have the same "engineering" issues ; Python for example (could be true about R/Julia/...) will get you "further" in no time.

My advice to anybody: keep the number of Matlab SLOC low, rewrite Matlab code to something else (with appropriate docs) whenever you have figured out your algorithm!

Comment rst/DocBook/LaTeX (Score 1) 204

I write my personal stuff in reStructuredText, which is like Markdown but with more processing possibilities and more extensible.

When it comes to professional stuff, depending on the size of the project, I use reStructuredText or DocBook.
DocBook is a must when complex stuff (like cross-references, recursive file inclusion...) is involved, and XML processing enables many fancy features, and output to many formats.
reStructuredText documents can be converted to DocBook, so it's possible to use a master DocBook document and rst fragments.

rst is definitely a plus for straight reading, collaborative edition and SCM.
DocBook is not as painful as binary files, but XML edition, diffs and merges is not as trivial as text chunks.

Then I use LaTeX for stuff with too many formulas, or stuff that really needs to look pretty.
But I dislike that there is no real separation between structure and looks of the document.
Also, LaTeX is harder to process and slower to compile.
DocBook or reStructuredText toolchains can process chunks of math code in LaTeX syntax, which is a nice tradeoff.

In all cases, writing non-trivial documents is easier when a good build system is used.
What I like most is the ability to share external resources (chunks of text, generated data, images, generated images, ...) between documents, when using this kind of text-based tools.

Comment Re:Practical arguments against? (Score 1) 336

My GF heard the news from the source and told me about it a few days ago.
She was very happy about this responsible/authoritative decision, because of the excessive garbage they have on TV.
Most of the shows are totally pointless and yet addictive, while aggressive for the eyes and ears.

Entertainment shows reduced to a "maximum of 90 minutes daily between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m." - that's better, and still a lot !

The movies usually get aired later, so perhaps they'll be shifted, and working people will have a chance of watching more cinema.

While I can attest on Internet censorship in PRC, regarding this particular issue I think the censorship / population control accusations are IMHO exaggerated; what's worse than the shows being purged ?

Open Source

Submission + - How Open Source Hardware is Kick-Starting Kickstar (makezine.com) 2

ptorrone writes: "Imagine waking up and seeing your design for a circuit being used in a product by someone who never contacted you to ask if it was okay. You will not get any payment for their usage of your design, they’ve raised over $31,000 dollars, and they’re selling something you worked really hard on. You have no control over what someone does with something you made. Is this a nightmare? Perhaps for some, but this is actually a dream come true for others who do open-source hardware. MAKE magazine profiles a maker using open-source hardware for his now-funded project and how many are using open hardware for their works."

Submission + - Open Source CPUs Coming to a Club Near You? (milkymist.org) 1

lekernel writes: The Milkymist project have started shipping their so-called "video synthesizer", a device used by concert and other event organizers to create live visual effects. Most interestingly, the device is based on their fully open source system-on-chip design, including both a CPU and graphics accelerators — the latter being a significant part of what Open Graphics is still struggling with.

Comment Re:No, ntfsclone is what you're looking for. (Score 3, Informative) 133

For NTFS partitions, ntfsclone --save-image / --restore-image is really efficient. You probably want to feed its output to lzop instead of gzip, because gzip/bzip2/xz would be a bottleneck and you don't gain that much with it: - compressing is longer - decompressing is longer - space gain is not magical (when performing an initial disk image (whole disk, with dd/cat) of an OEM laptop with a 640GB disk, I had 26GB with xz --extreme instead of 44GB with lzop -3). xz file was too slow to decompress, so I finally deleted it. Note: if the MBR or partition boot is broken, you'll need to boot with a Windoze rescue CD to fix that.

Slashdot Top Deals

Due to lack of disk space, this fortune database has been discontinued.