Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

GrahamCox Re:Stay away from Objective-C (314 comments)

You don't need to use "all the retain and release calls". In fact, by default, they are not enabled. They're only required in legacy code, or if you really prefer to work that way (and believe it or not some do - it's actually not really very hard if you take the trouble to understand it properly - most people who get into trouble with manual retain/release/autorelease often haven't spent the half hour reading the relevant documentation, or the even-better explanation found in 3rd party books, e.g. Hillegasse).

If you do get into trouble, and we've all done it, no denying that, there are plenty of "obvious" ways to see the problem - such as the Instruments 'Leaks' tool or NSZombie. If you haven't come across these you should be shamed of yourself as an iOS developer.

And so, having missed all the advantages of Obj-C due to misunderstanding memory management, wilful ignorance or straightforward incompetence, you're moving to C++. The irony is, you have no mechanism for tracking memory allocations over time there, and you have to do everything yourself - there is nothing in the C++ runtime to help you. Some programmers do prefer writing their own solutions to perennial problems, because they can't understand others' solutions to those same problems. It sounds a little like what you're saying here - your company's programmers don't really 'get' Obj-C's memory management rules, find them "a bear" and so are moving to C++ where they'll get no help on that score at all, but hey, at least they can reinvent their own wheel and so understand how it works, square corners and all.

4 days ago
top

Ask Slashdot: Swift Or Objective-C As New iOS Developer's 1st Language?

GrahamCox Right now, Obj-C (314 comments)

A lot of comments here saying how Obj-C is "ugly", and so forth. I wonder how many commenters are actually using it to any great extent, on a day-to-day basis, rather than have just looked at it out of curiosity for five minutes?

If you want to write an app now, Obj-C is the only sensible choice. Swift looks promising, but it's not ready. It's changing almost weekly and at the moment it's actually introducing bugs into the frameworks where none exist in Obj-C. If you want to live on the bleeding edge, go for Swift, but if you want to write an app, get it working and ship it out of the door, Obj-C is the only game in town today.

Once you get into Obj-C, it's a much more elegant language than it's usually given credit for anyway. Sure, it's old, but the runtime and compiler work put in in recent years makes up for many of its older roots. Manual memory management is not required, there is a dot syntax for properties and so on, so square brackets are not the only way to call getter/setter methods. As a pure superset of C99, it's easy for a C programmer to learn. It's also a small language. The real power lies in the frameworks, and that will take you far longer to learn than the language. Don't be put off by the superficial "ugliness" of Obj-C code, it isn't relevant. It's expressive and straightforward, and as a former C++ programmer, I also found it dramatically more productive when I first adopted it over a decade ago. It is possible to become fond of it, believe it or not. Whether the same eventually becomes true of Swift, only time will tell. Ignore the nay-sayers who have probably never actually used Obj-C in anger in their lives.

5 days ago
top

Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

GrahamCox Re:Oh good (904 comments)

Obviously you've never had your circumstances suddenly change, for example lost your job unexpectedly, or had a close family member (or yourself) fall ill. I know it's therefore a big stretch of the imagination, but how about showing a little bit of compassion?

5 days ago
top

Assembling a Micro-scale Biochemistry Lab Like Snapping LEGOs Together

GrahamCox The grammar of Lego (26 comments)

Lego is the building material as a whole, therefore it's already a collective noun. So there's no such thing as "a lego", it's "a lego brick", and by extension there's no such thing as Legos.

about a week ago
top

BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

GrahamCox Missing the wood for the trees, BBC (363 comments)

When the BBC opened 4 digital channels here in Oz on FoxTel, my assumption was that this is an intermediate move to establish the brand and also debug the distribution channels ahead of a time a few years away where everything is an "app" on whatever STB you choose, with a paid subscription model. Foxtel is only being used for now (I supposed) because that's where the technology is at and not everyone yet has an open-ish STB that can support arbitrary channel apps.

This latest shows that the BBC isn't doing this after all, which is a great shame, as it's surely the way TV is going to go (as long as governments have the balls to tell Murdoch to stuff his 80s distribution model up his arse). If there were a BBC "app" with a simple subscription model (in the manner of say, Apple TV) then the BBC would not give a shit who runs a VPN or how the content is accessed. They only have to ensure that the client has paid for the service. I'd go for that, it's a no brainer. Everyone wins - the BBC, the consumer, the box makers. Oh, Rupert doesn't, oh well, boo hoo hoo.

I just don't get it. The BBC is generally quite forward-looking and surely can see the way this is all going? If they truly can't, as this stupid comment seems to imply, then I really hope somebody gets their brain into gear over there soon.

about three weeks ago
top

Mysterious, Phony Cell Towers Found Throughout US

GrahamCox All in all... (237 comments)

...it's just another brick in the wall.

For some reason people aren't breaking out the hammers. It's as if they just don't care, or fail to understand the implications at least, of all this surveillance and monitoring.

about a month ago
top

Update: Raspberry Pi-Compatible Development Board Cancelled

GrahamCox Re:Broadcom don't deal with little guys (165 comments)

I started out as a hardware designer, specialising in RF. I worked for a medium-sized company at first, but one that was quite important in the UK in its particular market, and I had no trouble getting free samples out of any supplier when I mentioned their name. Later, when I wanted to build stuff for myself without the clout of a larger company, I still found getting free samples was easy enough. The trick was, call them up and ask them to give you a quote to supply the chip with price breaks at 10, 100, 10,000 pieces. Then after they'd gone through that process, throw in a "by the way, any chance of a couple of free samples?" (I wouldn't bother with this charade for basic components, free samples were no problem, but for more expensive items they needed to think you were serious). This was in the 80s so cutting edge at that time meant chips such as the 68HC11 SoC - I even got a couple of free development boards out of Motorola for that one.

A company called CML used to produce codec chips for handling the digital modulation of a baseband signal using GPSK, etc. Getting samples out of them was sometimes tricky because these were highly specialised custom fabrications. But I still got a tube full of free samples out of them which I used in a university project - very much a one-off - using the same BS.

about a month ago
top

Old Doesn't Have To Mean Ugly: Squeezing Better Graphics From Classic Consoles

GrahamCox Other parts of the world? (167 comments)

SCART was more common in other parts of the world

What other parts? Where are you from? If you include a relative reference, at least mention what it's relative TO. You know, the internet is worldwide, FFS.

about a month ago
top

News Corp Australia Doesn't Want You To Look Closely At Their Financials

GrahamCox Good! (132 comments)

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of cunts. The sooner they go down the toilet the better for the country.

about a month ago
top

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

GrahamCox Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

Exactly. Originally Wikipedia had a statement that "wikipedia isn't paper", so anything and everything was fair game for inclusion. That was one of its great attractions. I have no idea if that still stands, but if so it seems at odds with the whole notability thing. What they *should* do, if notability is an issue, is to have a little +/- thing on each article that rates the article for notability. Over time that will end up indicating the relative 'notabilty score' of the article, without having to have it actually deleted. Brainless fucks the lot of 'em, it's been years since I've contributed to WP, the attitude was just not worth battling over.

about a month ago
top

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

GrahamCox New Name (426 comments)

Just rename it "The Internet". You and I know that the web isn't the internet, but the average grandma doesn't. I'm surprised Apple haven't already tried it with Safari.

about a month and a half ago
top

Of the following, I'd rather play ...

GrahamCox Re:Chess (274 comments)

At my level, it makes no difference who goes first :)

about a month and a half ago
top

Berlin Bans Car Service Uber

GrahamCox On Yer Bike (341 comments)

Just get a bike. Berlin is brilliant for cycling. And if you need to transport something big, just call up any of the many taxi-like services that will take it home in a van for you.

about a month and a half ago
top

Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++

GrahamCox Re:Header files (427 comments)

Header files are great when you are writing code to be used by other people (i.e. most oft he time, for a professional). They allow you to separate the public parts of your blob of code from all the private nasty bits you'd rather they didn't see or use. Headers define your code's contract with the outside world, the rest is implementation detail. I'd hate to have to link against code that didn't use them - it would massively increase the learning curve for arbitrary libraries.

about a month and a half ago
top

Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

GrahamCox Re:Remove the Bloat (151 comments)

C=64 1Mhz 6510 with 64k RAM (38 useable), also fast and efficient

It wasn't fast by any stretch (I had the European PAL spec, which was even slower). If you wanted to use "high resolution" mode (320x200 pixels) then it took minutes to draw even simple curves. If you programmed it using the built-in BASIC, anything non-trivial took minutes or more. The only way you could write anything like a useful program was to use assembler, coding directly to the bare metal. Some of the games resulting were impressive enough for their time, but wouldn't look much today.

The problem isn't sloppy coding, but that expectations are higher - people want photographic fidelity for images and video, interfaces that look good, and the ability to download stuff over the internet quickly. All that takes a lot of processor power, and a certain amount of code. A modern PC is hardly wasting CPU cycles to get its work done (except in the trivial sense that it's using a lot of power for things that some people consider frivolous, like blurry translucent window backgrounds), there isn't a way to speed up our devices by 10x and still have them do what they do. The idea that modern code is wasteful and bloated is a myth.

about a month and a half ago
top

Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

GrahamCox Re:Obvious (151 comments)

Then the rate of improvements fell off a cliff

That's only true if you're only judging it by outright speed, height, etc. Things have continued to improve in terms of efficiency, thrust-to-weight ratio, noise, cleanliness of fuel burn and above all, reliability.

The original RB211 turbofan (the first big fanjet of the type that all modern airliners use) had a total lifetime of 1,000 hours. Nowadays it's >33,000 hours. That's an incredible achievement. In 1970, as a young kid with a keen interest in aviation, I would watch Boeing 707s fly in and out of my local airport, all trailing plumes of black smoke, all whining loudly (and deafeningly, on take-off), and understanding where all the noise protesters that frequently appeared on the news were coming from. Nowadays you don't have that, because noise is just not the problem it was, there's no black smoke, and jets slip in and out of airports really very quietly, when you consider how much power they are producing (which in turn helps them climb away more quickly).

As far as computing is concerned, you're right - there's still plenty of room at the bottom. But the current fabrication technology is reaching its limits. Perhaps jet engine manufacturers in the late 60s couldn't see how they would overcome fundamental limits in materials technology to produce the jets we have today, but they did.

about a month and a half ago
top

Of the following, I'd rather play ...

GrahamCox Chess (274 comments)

Of those listed, Chess is the only game (possibly the only game ever invented) that has no element of chance whatsoever. You win or lose purely by the decisions you make and the power of your own intellect. Even though I'm not very good, I do find it a stimulating and very satisfying game.

about a month and a half ago
top

Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene

GrahamCox Re:Legal... sort of (178 comments)

Which is nuts, actually. Hemp is a brilliant raw material with hundreds of practical uses which *should*, if people had any sense of balance, far outweigh the small issue of the cannabinoids. It could probably even be selectively bred to eliminate that aspect, but no, concern about a few potheads sends legislators into a tailspin. This is why we can't have nice things.

about a month and a half ago
top

Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

GrahamCox Soccer's been sold out (39 comments)

Soccer has been sold out to the corporate sector. It's no longer about players and the love of the game, it's just about maximising profit.

Germany, who just won the World Cup, don't tend to do it this way so much - instead they invest in youth soccer training and mentoring, spotting and nurturing young talent. As a result, most of the teams in the Bundesliga are "worth" far, far less in pure financial terms (though I'm not claiming that there isn't a great deal of corporatism there as well, it just hasn't quite reached the same insane levels as the UK for example).

It's sad to see the game that was once the passion of every working class member of society become basically Formula 1 with boots on, with ticket prices only the wealthy can afford.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

top

Einstein thought religion "childish superstiti

GrahamCox GrahamCox writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GrahamCox (741991) writes "The Guardian is running a story about a private letter of Albert Einstein's which is about to come up for auction:
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." So said Albert Einstein, and his famous aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own. A little known letter written by him, however, may help to settle the argument — or at least provoke further controversy about his views. Due to be auctioned this week in London after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, the document leaves no doubt that the theoretical physicist was no supporter of religious beliefs, which he regarded as "childish superstitions"."

Link to Original Source

Journals

GrahamCox has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?