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How Relevant is C in 2014?

David C Billen Re:Very relevent for small target embedded stuff. (641 comments)

I was just grabbing an arbitrary example. When people talk about C++ overhead I think they imagine coding [something like] a time-critical matrix transform using accessors and making a function call to read each coefficient. (Even though the optimizer would inline it anyway). Maybe even a std::vector. My point was that these are just practices. If you need tight code you can create it with C++ and still get benefits.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

David C Billen Re:one of a kind (641 comments)

Assembler can be worth the hassle if you require very tight inner-loops or to exploit special processor instructions (like SIMD for example). Not to nit-pick your post but I deal with these things every day in DSP development. There are still very real needs for cycle shaving in lots of contemporary embedded applications and will be for a long long time.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

David C Billen Re:C is dead (641 comments)

I always tell people who want to learn to code to go for modern C++ (preferably C++11 or newer) first, and then if necessary learn some C afterwards. ...And for all those who will say that C++ can't fit in the tight spaces that C can...well, you're wrong. Just disable the parts of C++ that you don't want (usually exceptions), and you can still get most of the benefits of clean code and RAII, with the same or better performance.

You conflict me. I agree that C++ can generate optimal code - but only IF the programmer understands the underlying C (and even assembly) well enough to control it.

about two weeks ago
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How Relevant is C in 2014?

David C Billen Re:Very relevent for small target embedded stuff. (641 comments)

I agree you can't completely avoid writing assembly for some embedded - especially DSP.

But years ago I pretty much switched to C++ for embedded except tight inner-loops that require hand optimization. I had to convince my boss at the time that it was acceptable by showing lots of generated C++ assembly code compared to equiivelent C. In practice C++ often produced BETTER code, (those virtual functions are like using function pointers that you casually pepper the code with).

It seems though that most people have blurred the line between C++, and the form of C++ that we're [aggressively] taught to write. The actual C++ language doesn't require using accessor functions for every coefficient in a transform matrix, that's just what people do.

Off topic: But I really don't know why so many people use C++ for non-embedded. It's perfectly valid for many - maybe most - applications to trade efficiency for safety, so use a different language. Why pick one that accommodates all the power of C then constantly beat on the developers with a giant list of coding guidelines? When the greatest attribute you seek in a developer is pedantry then something's wrong.

about two weeks ago
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Programmer Father Asks: What Gets Little Girls Interested In Science?

David C Billen Re:critical development age!? (584 comments)

I wanted to be Batman when I was 4. Though I will cede there was lots of appealing high-tech to play with in the bat cave. Come to think of it - I *am* a hell of a lot like the caped crusader...

about two weeks ago
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Pizza Hut Tests New "Subconscious Menu" That Reads Your Mind

David C Billen I wondered what our future would be like (186 comments)

I always wanted to live to see where technology and general human advancement would take us.

Now that I know, I think I'll go off myself.

about two weeks ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

David C Billen There's worse ways for us to go... (574 comments)

...like a zombie apocalypse or nuclear winter. There's something appropriate about about being snuffed out by your rightful successors.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

David C Billen Re:Most youg ones don't know crap... (376 comments)

Another reason for age discrimination started in Silicon Valley where companies used to boast no developers over 30. That is valid when it means that the technology the company is developing is so new and different that experience is meaningless. When the internet was new and we setup our first web site, there wasn't any point in paying a large salary for developers with irrelevant IT experience. We raided a local university and hired students that pretty much lived for the project mostly just to get access to our bandwidth.

But this causes confusion. In fact if a project can benefit from skills that aren't new then it should be obvious that someone with experience is more valuable than someone without. Luckily it seems that smart managers tend to understand that. It's young developers who make themselves feel confident by believing that their age (or lack of) makes them magically gifted.

Another thing that comes into play is the deprecation of neurons - seriously. The idea that it becomes harder to learn with age is a major reason people believe the otherwise-counter-intuituve notion that less experience is better. But there's misconception there as well. This mental depreciation is non-linear, dropping very sharply in youth and is quite gradual by adulthood. Most older people who can't/won't learn are in my observation just locked-in to skills that are supporting them financially. They find it risky and exhausting to start over with a new technology.

about three weeks ago
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Voting Machines Malfunction: 5,000 Votes Not Counted In Kansas County

David C Billen I guess it doesn't matter enough (127 comments)

I used to work on casino games, and gosh, with all that money at stake we never lost track of a penny in the field.

about three weeks ago
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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist

David C Billen Re:Number of interviews... (454 comments)

They all get through school by huddling around one or two "naturals" who show how to get their school projects working. Then they show up in the real world with a piece of paper that says they're qualified. Some companies know how to make use of them but it takes herds of them and lots of infrastructure and project management. It's very expensive.

about three weeks ago
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Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

David C Billen It's about the objective (455 comments)

Flight wasn't invented by developing flapping feathered wings - as many once seem to have envisioned. Flight was understood to be getting from point A to point B without negotiating the terrain. Better ways were found to do this mechanically. AI should no more duplicate human brain thinking than flight should duplicate bird flying.

Besides, if you succeeded in creating a human brain in a computer it would be as disturbed as a human raised in a dark basement. Our thinking requires a lifetime of delicate social interactions and lots of other experience moving about in a human body.

about a month ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

David C Billen theodp is a genius! (186 comments)

He figured out a way to contrive this smoking hot topic into something tech related so we could curse about it on Slashdot - brilliant! Next topic: Bill Cosby. I got nuthin...

about a month ago
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Firefox Signs Five-Year Deal With Yahoo, Drops Google as Default Search Engine

David C Billen They should have gone Boodigo (400 comments)

Who uses the default search engine anyway?

about a month ago
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Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

David C Billen Re:Everybody's special. (215 comments)

Seriously, every programmer that believes there are 10X programmers also believes he's one of them.

Firstly I think "10X" was intended like when one says "a gazillion". Secondly I think we need to also profile people who don't believe some programmers are more productive than others.

about a month ago
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Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

David C Billen Re:10x Productivity (215 comments)

Programming is easy...

That's like saying "woodworking is easy". It depends on whether you're making birdhouses or you're a luthier making Stradivarius. I work with embedded DSP code and it's not easy to find capable programmers.

about a month ago
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Do Good Programmers Need Agents?

David C Billen Re:Here's the deal (215 comments)

As someone who often does the hiring, I agree with you (at least in our case). We consider what to pay a developer and if a recruiter is used then that fee is an entirely peripheral issue. I've never been witness to a person summing the two in order to fit a budget. Maybe that happens in some much larger companies that are trying to quantify everything, but it would be new to me.

about a month ago
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The New-ish Technologies That Will Alter Your Career

David C Billen Re:Parallel Programming Hype (66 comments)

It's been fairly day-to-day in embedded development if you count SIMD, but as to the future I'd agree it's more on the way out for common development than the way in.

about a month ago
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Big Talk About Small Samples

David C Billen He crashed my newsreader (246 comments)

Seriously, his long post crashed my RSS app (OSX NewsBar). I've seen this once before. It won't refresh Slashdot again until the article falls out of range.

about a month ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

David C Billen Re:Awesome :) (642 comments)

Can we work systemd into the discussion?

about a month ago
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Overbilled Customer Sues Time Warner Cable For False Advertising

David C Billen I respect the effort (223 comments)

Reminds me of a character in a Douglas Adams novel who contemplated suing the CIA until a lawyer friend of his advised him that would be like "attacking a lunatic asylum with a banana".

about a month ago

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