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Ask Slashdot: What Good Print Media Is Left?

Fubari +1 for "As We May Think" Re:The Atlantic Monthly (285 comments)

As We May Think (1945) is Brilliant, by the way - worth the read.

r.e. main topic of "good print resources": I enjoy Scientific American, recreational reading. I don't know if I could have kept up with The Economist before it was "dumbed down" as mentioned in another post, but it is a good travel magazine for me (airport reading fare) - just not a quick read (for me). I subscribed to Wall Street Journal for a while but just didn't have time to read all of it - I found some interesting things there. I am going to try a Guardian subscription based on another recommendation.

Here's an excerpt from As We May Think: fascinating reading, I encourage you to check it out (same link)if you haven't yet.

Let us project this trend ahead to a logical, if not inevitable, outcome. The camera hound of the future wears on his forehead a lump a little larger than a walnut. It takes pictures 3 millimeters square, later to be projected or enlarged, which after all involves only a factor of 10 beyond present practice. The lens is of universal focus, down to any distance accommodated by the unaided eye, simply because it is of short focal length. There is a built-in photocell on the walnut such as we now have on at least one camera, which automatically adjusts exposure for a wide range of illumination.

Also... we're not there yet on "trails".... has a fascinating section on readers researching and building their own trails; the closest I've seen is browser bookmarks. "trails" are a different thing than pre-canned trails stitched together by authors. This captures WikiPedia pretty well (in 1945!):

Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions of issued patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client's interest. The physician, puzzled by a patient's reactions, strikes the trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly through analogous case histories, with side references to the classics for the pertinent anatomy and histology. The chemist, struggling with the synthesis of an organic compound, has all the chemical literature before him in his laboratory, with trails following the analogies of compounds, and side trails to their physical and chemical behavior.

5 days ago

Interviews: Jonathan Coulton Answers Your Questions

Fubari Re:First Question (36 comments)

r.e. "First Question: who are you".... yeah, they could have done a better introduction.
Reading through the answers did give me a pretty good idea though.
Also: the warcraft + spiff videos are amusing. I haven't looked at machinima for a long time, I was glad for the reference. (take home point: some good things buried in the answers)

r.e. slashdot not continuing this way....
You make some good points about weaknesses in the ask-slashdot format.
(editors, worth your time to consider them - don't just toss the observations into the "rant file").

about two weeks ago

An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

Fubari How about 4 drive slots? Re:Two drives not feas... (353 comments)

Actually... I found 4 drive slots in a Sager NP8255-S with 2 x 2.5" (spinning or ssd), and 2 x msata (ssd only).
(And... if one drops the optical drive for a sata caddy then it should handle 5 drives.)
I looked long and hard for laptops that could handle more than 2 drives; they're kind of rare these days.
I'm finding raid-0 (multiple SSD's) to be pretty peppy (yeah, I back up early and often :-) ).
Also, being able to go up to 32gb of ram is kind of nice.
I've been pleased with it thus far (going into month #4 now).
Looks like that exact model isn't in production now, but this will get you close: NP8258.

Anyway, most laptops (and essentially *all* ultrabooks) are single drive machines; which works perfectly fine for probably 95% of laptop users. I realize I'm an edge case (in more ways than one :-) ).

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Do Any Development Shops Build-Test-Deploy On A Cloud Service?

Fubari Re:high iops != high IO (not always, anyway) (119 comments)

NatasRevol: All valid points; sounds like we're vigorously agreeing :-)
r.e. the s840 raids, I feel a bit jealous - that sounds like fun to work with.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Do Any Development Shops Build-Test-Deploy On A Cloud Service?

Fubari high iops != high IO (not always, anyway) (119 comments)

r.e. high IO... iops tend to be bottlenecked by random access (think seek time).

Snapshots, installs, and so on are not so much random access limited as sustained sequential throughput; more streaming than random... SSD's tend to saturate SATA ports so you end up with tricks like raid to get more speed.

*shrug* So... there are different kinds of "high IO". Depends on what your app needs from a storage point of view.
The take home message is that if storage performance matters to your app(s) be sure you understand what kind of storage subsystem options your cloud dealer can give you.

For your research pleasure... (link has performance #'s for an interesting range of devices, worth a look if you're doing data intensive things).

Um, LOTS of stuff requires high IO.

Think of a qa VM. It has to do snapshots, installs, reverts. All of which are high IO. Especially if the build is a large install.

about three weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Fubari Re:ftfy r.e. idioms... (373 comments)

3am? ouch :-)
I will grant you all points, increased clarity (especially in production code) is a win.
I spend most of my time with Java these days, and rather miss the brevity of perl.
Bonus points for croak (and error handling in general vs. "But... but... it always works on my dev image!").
I will also concede the reality of a challenging coworker.
So... have they gotten any better over time?

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Fubari ftfy r.e. idioms... (373 comments)

"...and at the end of the day, is somewhat more readable."
There, fixed that for you :-)
(Unless I missed a use whoosh; here... don't think so because your post seems sincere.)
At the point where you're using Perl idioms to slurp an entire file into memory... is the array reference really the hard bit to understand here? :-)

I'll grant you the point about not needing to be a reference at all because of function locality.
But my $x = [ ]; and my @x; both establish an array.
push is actually suggestive of what it does, unlike the input operator's ability here @x = <$fileHandle>; to return all lines in a file as a list context... That is as obscure as references; if your target audience is expected to know how that aspect of the input operator works I wouldn't be too hard on your coworker for expecting them to understand array references.

Oh so this!

I have had to tell cow-orkers to knock that crap off. They've got the job, and from this point on the only thing that will impress us is code that can be maintained by anyone else on the team, even if they have not set eyes on it in years.

Programmer did:

my $something = []; open my $filehandle, '<', $filename or croak "Can't read file"; push @$something, <$filehandle>; close $filehandle;

How about:

open(my $filehandle, '<', $filename) or croak "Can't read file"; my @something = <$filehandle>; close($filehandle);

Much more succinct, gets rid of a pointless use of an array reference (seriously, it was used as an array in that function only, never passed around or returned), and at the end of the day, is far more readable.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Fubari A tour guide w/"Programming Pearls" (not Perl) (373 comments)

I'll recommend a tour guide in the form of John Bentley's Programming-Pearls-2nd-Edition.
His Programming Perls book does a nice job of putting interesting algorithms and design forces into context and helps the reader understand the pros & cons thereof. Part of the problem with just wandering around looking at things is you don't see the history and decisions that were made leading up to the result; understanding "what" isn't nearly as important as "why".

Also, the book isn't related the the Perl language; instead it uses Pearl as a metaphor for a small yet beautiful treasure.

Anyway, check out the Amazon reviews to see if it is worthwhile (I have no vested interest here; I just stumbled across this in a real book store some time ago and found it a satisfying read).

about a month ago

Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

Fubari interesting analysis Re:News for nerds (394 comments)

I liked it. Maybe you're not nerdy enough?
TFA was an interesting analysis, drew upon the author's to airplane safety research, and reached some interesting conclusions. For example, one of the conclusions was (paraphrasing) that Tesla software has a User Interface warning (beeps + message) if driver pushes both brake + accelerator... so why not go one step further and ignore accelerator if brake is pressed at the same time? Author couldn't think of a scenario where that would be a problem. I can't either. Seems like a simple safety feature. I'd love to hear what automotive engineers think about it.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From Tech Support To Development?

Fubari more info r.e. possible customers? (133 comments)

Your strategy will depend on your possible customers (or employers); I can't say much in detail without a better understanding of that.
(by the way, for eastern europe your english writing is quite good!)
So... can you do some market analysis for us here on Slashdot?
Are there any local shops in your geography that do software development?
Are there any charities or small businesses that would benefit from some custom code and/or database work?
Schools perhaps?
I suspect it will be easier to connect with them rather than looking for telecommuting jobs day #1.
Your main advantage at this point is your low cost + enthusiasm; work that.

The other posts about Open Source projects are fine to get started with....
But they won't be as useful as a reference from some small business owner who loves what you
were able to do for them and talks about it to their associates.

about a month ago

Facebook Introduces Hack: Statically Typed PHP

Fubari oo w/ plain c... Re:English? (230 comments)

I've done the struct-based objects w/fnct pointers in C; it just isn't as much fun as working with more oo-minded languages, but at the time C is what we had for multi-platform support (early 90's... I wouldn't go down that road today, much better options are available).

Also, just for fun, who remembers that C++ started life as a pre-processor (cfront) that generated C code?

So I agree with your premise, HiThere. It is an interesting exercise to imagine how to do oo-things in non oo languages (though
riding that train of thought to the end of the line leads to concluding that assembly language has oo-capabilities).
For something to be an oo-language, the capability to roll-your-own class hierarchy and dispatch mechanism
gets one's foot in the door... I will suggest that not having to roll anything on your own (e.g. having all that oo stuff
pre-built for you) gets one all the way to the Buffet of Productivity.

Now... whether Strong Typing is "all that" is a debate ranking right up there with emacs vs vi.. :-)

*shrug* I suppose people that want the extra (alleged) safety of Strong Typing will seek it out.

about a month ago

'Data Science' Is Dead

Fubari agreed... Re:Not-scientist about science (139 comments)

Agreed. I wanted to learn something; turns out it is just a lame opinon piece.
From TFA (emphasis added):

Yes, by this standard, Astronomy and Social Sciences are also not sciences. I have no idea what Computer Science is, but no, it’s not a science either.

*sigh* RTFA was a waste of time.

about a month and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Modern Web Development Applied Science Associates Degree?

Fubari so... what do the Employers want? (246 comments)

As part of our mission is to turn out employees immediately ready for the work force, is teaching knowledge-based careers as a vocation appropriate?

So... what are the employers in your area asking for?
I'll suggest working with the top 5 employers who want what you're contemplating and enlist their guidance; let them drive the skills they want to see (also, ask them how they'd like to see those skills be tested and/or demonstrated, so your students will have an easier time meeting their prospective employer's requirements).

Also, iterate often - track the placement + feedback of employers that do hire your students so you can find out what works well, what doesn't work as well, etc. You're not going to be optimal from the beginning (and even if you were, requirements will drift over time, so measure, adjust, rinse & repeat).

(As for all the "hands on" vs "ivory tower theory" posts, yeah... "hands on" wins for what you're describing.)
Good luck :-)

about a month and a half ago

Report: Space Elevators Are Feasible

Fubari clarke quote... Re:Arthur C. Clarke (374 comments)

During a speech he once gave, someone in the audience asked Arthur C. Clarke when the space elevator would become a reality.

"Clarke answered, 'Probably about 50 years after everybody quits laughing,'" related Pearson. "He's got a point. Once you stop dismissing something as unattainable, then you start working on its development. This is exciting!"

Makes sense to me; original link here.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Do If You're Given a Broken Project?

Fubari Also.... Re:Make a real assesment (308 comments)

Excellent points r.e. "real assessment"

Also, things to consider: without knowing these, all advice offered here is less focused (and hence less useful) than it could be otherwise.
1) Who are the stakeholder(s)?
1.B) What is the stakeholders' definition of "success"?
2) What is your budget - fixed bid, time & material? (if the later, do you have a max budget or is it open ended)
3) What is an ideal outcome for you personally?
4) What is the least-sucky outcome for you personally that you would accept?

Some general advice (this applies to the excellent "real assessment" mentioned above): Whatever bad news you have for your client, the SOONER you deliver it the BETTER OFF everyone will be, including yourself. If you go heads-down a pile of crap code for 6 months and end up stuck and unable to deliver anything useful enough and timely enough to satisfy the stakeholders then things will NOT end well for you.
Also... what you think may be "bad news" may be something the client is aware of and fully expects, so don't sweat it too much. Talk to them and do some brainstorming about how to rearrange things to make success possible.

about 3 months ago

Can Wolfram Alpha Tell Which Team Will Win the Super Bowl?

Fubari unfair... Re:Developed by Stephen Wolfram? (126 comments)

*shrug* Maybe Wolfram didn't code 100% of Alpha, but it exists because of his vision.
The downside of your hand-waving is that it distracts others away from his ideas and perspective, which is their loss.
So... here is 20 minutes of rather cool geeky viewing; it is well worth watching S.Wolfram walk through his ideas, and talk a bit about WolframAlpha as well:

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Does Edward Snowden Deserve?

Fubari Or... NSA Director? Re:Lots of things (822 comments)

How about offering him a full pardon and offer to make him the NSA Director?

and the job as CEO at Microsoft

You evil evil bastard. Have you no compassion in your soul?

about 3 months ago

Regex Golf, xkcd, and Peter Norvig

Fubari spoiler: r.e. presidents vs losers regexp (172 comments)

spoiler alert: if you were to read TFA you'd find a link to the actual blog 'norvig.com' that is pretty interesting. In short, they handle the "ambiguity" of people that are both Winners+Losers ignoring any Winner's losses:

From Norvig's blog:

To avoid a contradiction and achieve Randall's intent, eliminate all winners from the set of losers:
In [293]: losers = losers - winners

The code on Norvig's blog is pretty interesting.
This one was worth my coffee break time today.

I might be missing something here, but the list of winners and the list of losers in US presidential elections both contain Richard Nixon. How can a regexp match ALL the winners and NONE of the losers in that case?

about 3 months ago

Target Confirms Point-of-Sale Malware Was Used In Attack

Fubari Judgment vs. Experience...Re:Cheap architecture + (250 comments)

An old poster of computer quotes (lost many office moves ago) phrased it like this:

Judgement comes from experience.
Experience comes from poor judgment.
--Robert E. Lee

about 3 months ago



writing a tech-book: tools & surprises?

Fubari Fubari writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Fubari (196373) writes "For all you book authors on Slashdot: what writing tools have you found helpful? I want to start my book-idea off right (so I'm pretty sure I don't want to write it in MS-Word). I would love to hear about what has (or has not!) worked well for you.

What I have thought of so far are things like chapter/section management, easy references to figures (charts, diagrams, source code), version control (check in/check out parts like chapters, figures, etc.) and index generation.

I would also welcome advice about what I don't know enough to ask about. Are there any surprises that you wish you had known back when you first started?"

Fubari Fubari writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Fubari (196373) writes "Anybody know when laptops over 4gb might be coming out? Some of the devtools I want to run are just obscene ram-pigs. On the desktop I'm using now (win2003), it sucks up 1.6gb just to boot. By the time I log in and start doing work, it is stretching 2gb.

Move that to vista, add a vm-ware session or two, and I'm worried I'll be pushing 4gb.

I'm torn between buying a 4gb-max laptop now, or some mini-desktop that can fit in a set of luggage wheels. A friend of mine suggested something like this, but my first choice would be something designed to be portable."


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