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Comments

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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

ConceptJunkie Re: Of course! (564 comments)

No, controllable fusion power with a net positive energy output has been "a couple of decades away" since the 50s. It's only in the last several years that we seem to be closing in on the possibility of attaining it. Philo Farnsworth, of the whole "inventing televison" fame, yeah, him, was an early researcher, and helped invent the "fusor" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor) which was used in early fusion research.

4 days ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

ConceptJunkie Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (546 comments)

It's not like just one language designer got a stroke of insanity one day and decided upon this

Yes, that would be whoever defined the format for make...

Like I said above, I thought it was a pretty bad idea until I started using Python. Now I really dig it. On the other hand, I'm very strict about how I format code, so I write anything as if the whitespace matters.

about two weeks ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

ConceptJunkie Re:VB ~ Images Simple? Why would I use this....? (546 comments)

I had the unfortunate experience to be required to use VB for a project a few years ago, and in general I found it wasn't such an awful language. On the other hand, the application I was writing was for Excel 2007, and that aspect of it made me feel like I was doing Windows programming back in the early 90s, except with all the flaky OLE stuff added in.

Unlike the rest of Office, which I think is hideous and unusable, I always liked Excel, but after developing for it using VB for Apps, if I were in charge, I'd fire anyone who tried to depend on Excel for anything. It is literally, and by far, the most fragile and buggy development environment I've ever used in 25+ years of software development.

about two weeks ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

ConceptJunkie Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (546 comments)

When the codebase you are working on has been garbled by 12 years of random tab indent settings and other similar butchery from who-know-how-many programmers (and in some cases totally incompetent consultants) and other nonsense. The indentation in the code (not Python, but C++) is horribly mangled in many places and sometimes all but unreadable, but no one will allow it to be fixed. The other developers I've talked to insist either that it's not a problem, or that we should keep tabs, and if everyone who ever touches the code would simply do everything perfectly and never make a mistake, it wouldn't be a problem.

This is further complicated by a plethora of styles that includes such nonsense as right justifying code, and people who almost literally seem to think the only whitespace you are allowed to use is tabs. Yes, in other words, there are large swaths of code where there are tabs between many of the tokens rather than spaces. Apparently, tabs are not just for indenting for some people.

You would think this would be simple, but in practice, it's not. You would think coding standards and style guides would help, but not if they're ignored, or they were mandated after millions of lines of code was already written in every conceivable style and a few that would leave you gibbering like a Lovecraft character. Then there are the files that had tabs randomly converted to spaces, with indent levels ranging anywhere from 2 to 8, and often at a different indent level than the code with spaces only uses.

As someone who takes code formatting seriously, it drives me crazy, but no one else seems to have a problem with it. I've pleaded to allow the code to be formatted with uncrustify or something similar, but no one likes the idea because apparently I'm also the only person who does any kind of automation and for whom adding an additional step wouldn't affect my work routine. Note: the complaint is not that uncrustify, etc., might break the code, which is a real concern, but that it would be too much trouble to use. This is very incongruous with the fact that these are very good developers who know their stuff and write good code (as opposed to a lot of the people who apparently worked on it in the past.) I'm just surprised how set in their ways people get.

Regarding Python, I thought the whitespace thing was a lousy idea until I tried it. I love it now, but I'm someone who is very OCD about code formatting, so I would format my code in any language the same way that Python requires. It took a little getting used to, but I think it helps make Python code more streamlined to read than C++.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:Speaking for myself (320 comments)

The 80s suffered too much from political correctness because of concerns of "TV violence", etc. The real renaissance happened in the early 90s when a lot of shows were created that no longer talked down to the audience like so much of the 80s fare did. Shows like "Ren and Stimpy" broke a lot of taboos and opened the way for a lot of really good stuff that wasn't just dumb kids' stuff. OK, maybe it was still dumb, but it was _good_ dumb.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:There were lots of Flintstone cartoons (320 comments)

"The Jetsons" only lasted one season in the 60s. They made more in the 80s, keeping the show more or less the same. The new episodes weren't as good as the original, but they were at least less dated.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:There were lots of Flintstone cartoons (320 comments)

The original Flintstones show ran in prime-time for 5 seasons, but has been in reruns for the 50 years since. However, they made a number of spin-offs for Saturday morning, most of which were not very good (perhaps none of them were very good, I don't recall). I think they were making new Flintstones shows even up into the 80s, although I'm sure Wiki can tell you the details.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:Speaking for myself (320 comments)

So you didn't watch Rocky & Bullwinkle and Roger Ramjet, or you were too young to get the Cold War satire?

Those shows were brilliant, but they were the exception rather than the rule.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:Iron Curtain (320 comments)

There's good "Christian" music out there. The difference is that it made by accomplished and talented musicians who choose to make music with a Christian theme, because that's the kind of music they want to make. I think most Christian music is made by people who chose the medium to create the message, as opposed to people who had mastered the medium and decided to use it for the message. Of course, this is no different from any other kind of music... Sturgeon's Law law applies here just like everywhere else.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:Speaking for myself (320 comments)

Remember the old Spider Man or Star Trek cartoons?

Yeah, having watched the 1960s version of Spider-Man was quite a letdown. It wasn't that good, and started really getting weird when Bakshi got more involved. On the other hand, the music was great and the theme song remains, in my opinion, one of the best ever.

The Star Trek animated series on the other hand was a different beast. Yes, the production values were really cheap, but the stories were generally very good, and the writers included several people who wrote for the Original Series, and other prominent SF writers like Larry Niven. Plus, it did have the original cast doing the voice-acting, which was a definite plus.

about two weeks ago
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The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead

ConceptJunkie Re:Speaking for myself (320 comments)

Poorly drawn, badly scored, badly scripted, and almost uniformly missing the hilarious innuendo and subtleties that were present in your typical 'toon from the nineteen-fifites and -sixties.

Warner Brothers cartoons and the successful Hanna-Barbera cartoons you mentioned were not typical cartoons in that era. The typical cartoon in that era _was_ "poorly drawn, badly scored, badly scripted and totally missing in any innuendo and subtleties", often a lot worse than what you see today, in fact.

It only seems different because we only remember the 10% of cartoons from that era that were actually good... you know... like the ones you mentioned.

TV quality does ebb and wane, but it really wasn't such a stark difference as you portray. There was a lot of crap back then too.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

ConceptJunkie Re:Windows 1010? (644 comments)

Well, that's appropriate because Windows 8, with its limited palette and ugly "Flat" UI looks like Windows 2.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

ConceptJunkie Re:Better call it Windows 11 (644 comments)

NT 3.51 was one of the most stable OSes I've ever used, if not the most stable. NT 4 was still pretty good, minus the even number service packs. Windows 2000 was excellent, minus Explorer, which for me usually crashed within an hour of a fresh install. I always liked XP once you turned on the Playskool theme. Nothing since XP has impressed me. Just more bloat, and more effort to get it to look and act like it used to.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Announces Windows 10

ConceptJunkie Re:Move on, nothing to see here! (644 comments)

Ten will have a start button. How will it be different from Vista or XP?

It will be uglier, for one thing. You can count on that.

about three weeks ago
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Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

ConceptJunkie It was supposed to be Windows 9... (399 comments)

... but the machine used to create the version number was running on a Pentium.

about three weeks ago
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Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

ConceptJunkie Re:Yep (116 comments)

Actually, the web has always worked a lot better if you consciously avoid sites created by "designers"

So, no Slashdot Beta then...

about three weeks ago
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Irish Girls Win Google Science Fair With Astonishing Crop Yield Breakthrough

ConceptJunkie Re:I just want to say one word to you (308 comments)

> I really hope it's real 3D this time, not just some stereoscopic trickery where you need special glasses to eat your hamburger.

Yeah, I hate when it's just pink slime on one side of the burger and blue slime on the other.

about three weeks ago
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US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

ConceptJunkie Re:I'll just let my sig do the talking (478 comments)

And don't forget the Christians, who were able to live under Saddam's regime. This is no longer possible and Christians throughout the Middle East are being driven out and/or killed. This alone doesn't mean we should have left Saddam in place, but it certainly is one of the things that needed to be weighed against the benefits of removing him.

about a month ago
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US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

ConceptJunkie Re:I'll just let my sig do the talking (478 comments)

>> The classic example is the broken window fallacy...

Hey, if it works in Ankh-Morpork it should work in the real world, right?

about a month ago
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US Strikes ISIL Targets In Syria

ConceptJunkie Re:I'll just let my sig do the talking (478 comments)

>> Remember, you are a citizen of your state first and a THEN a citizen of the United States.

This is how it was supposed to work. And it's the only way it can work well.

It also occurred to me that excess centralization of power is likely to be the driving force behind all the secessionist movements, such as what we saw with Scotland last week. If government were kept as local as possible, these kinds of problems wouldn't happen... or would be much less likely to happen. This is what the Founding Fathers envisioned: Several sovereign states joining together only for those things (and they were very few, although very important) were there is strength in unity. Otherwise, they were supposed to mind their own business, ensuring the success of a republic made up of very diverse populaces. However, this is no longer possible.

about a month ago

Submissions

ConceptJunkie hasn't submitted any stories.

Journals

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Viruses

ConceptJunkie ConceptJunkie writes  |  more than 11 years ago

This whole "viruses/virii" argument is so stupid. First off, there are the Latin speakers who will argue 37 different reasons why such a word would or would not exist. Then there are the people who insist that virus is simply an English word and takes English pluralization.

Here's how it works. Hacker slang (or jargon, as in the "Jargon file") allows for the Latinesque construction of plurals by replacing "us" with "i", or "um" with "a" (or Anglo-Saxonish pluralization like "vaxen" or Hebrewish pluralization by adding "-im". Is this grammatically correct Latin (or Middle English, or Hebrew)? It doesn't matter... it's a play on words. The only point is that it is consistent with similar words.

What I find incredibly annoying is that people insist on using the "ii" suffix even though there is no precedent in real Latin, fake Latin or anything in between, presumably because it looks cool, or they have heard the word "radii".

Anyhow, that's my rant, and I'm sticking to it.

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Microsoft Rules

ConceptJunkie ConceptJunkie writes  |  more than 11 years ago

I like Microsoft rule #3 so much I hate to change my sig to #4.

These are certainly not real rules, but are rules that Microsoft appears to follow by their actions.

Here are the others I've come up with:

Microsoft Rule #1: Every app must be expanded until it can be used as a vehicle for a virus that can trash the system. (In fact, no app is useful _unless_ it can be used as a virus vehicle. If MS wrote edlin today it would have scripting that could be used to access kernel functions via TCP/IP.)

Microsoft Rule #2: Flexibility in UI is acceptable, but defaults must confuse new users and frustrate experienced ones.

Microsoft Rule #3: GUI standards are no longer necessary. Shiny objects are always user-friendly.

Microsoft Rule #4: No useful thing can be designed unless by committee. Consistency and clarity are not signs of maturity. Simplicity is for amateurs. (Breaking up Microsoft would have about as much effect as asking a blind guy if he would not look over people's shoulders during the final exam.)

Microsoft Rule #5: Security has less "gee-whiz" factor than skinning and is therefore a less important feature. (Plus it's just too darn much trouble to check each memory buffer copy, especially when we'd rather spend time making the media player look like eyeballs.)

Microsoft Rule #6: Dominating a market is the same as excelling in a market ("Economic might makes right", or more simply "A monopoly means God smiles on everything you do.").

Microsoft Rule #7: Change is improvement by definition. (But this is universal among software companies...)

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