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Comments

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Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

Imsdal Re:Urgh (531 comments)

The Nordic countries are not socialist at all. In may ways, they are more free market than the US. For instance, you don't need occupational licensing to clip someones nails or decorate their homes. I know it's a nice story if you like socialism to point to Sweden or Norway as a good example. Unforunately, it's quite incorrect.

about 2 months ago
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Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

Imsdal Re:What's so American (531 comments)

Where I live there are 2 broadband providers, COMCAST (cable) and VERIZON (fios). Every other place I have lived there was only one option.

This is really all one needs to know. If anyone believes that anything good is going to come out of a situation with local monopolies, well, that person is simply wrong. And if there are no local monopolies, there is every reason to believe that the market is going to sort this out way, way better than some bureaucrat with an agenda.

Fight the local monopolies. That is the only truly important thing right now.

about 2 months ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Imsdal Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

The top 1 item is VBA in Excel. If you don't have that, you can't get the power users to switch, and if the power users don't switch, you won't be successful. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this time in a mad Ballmer voice: Excel, Excel, Excel. If Linux would have a better spreadsheet option for power users, the entire financial sector would switch in a heartbeat, and the rest of the world would soon follow.

However, it turns out that it's actually hard to build something that is better than Excel. Really, really hard. Don't hold your breath waiting for this.

about 2 months ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Imsdal Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

It's not 1% of the top users, but probably 5%-15%. And if what you offer isn't good enough for the 5%-15% top users, what you offer isn't usable in the entire organization. And if it isn't usable in the entire organization, it isn't usable at all. MS has known this all along. The FOSS movement still hasn't udnerstood it. Sad, really.

about 2 months ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Imsdal Re:Surprise? (579 comments)

Just wrong. For what most people do, LibreOffice is just fine.

That may or may not be true, but it most definitely isn't true at all for power users, and especially so for power users of Excel. These users may not be representable of a typical user, but they are the ones actually running the business and they have enormous power. Suggesting that LibreOffice is "just fine" for these people is ignorant, and also the reason Linux won't make it on the desktop. If you don't even try to understand your users, what you offer isn't going to be good enough.

about 2 months ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Imsdal Re:Its the second one Re: Surprise? (579 comments)

You have no idea how business is conducted in the real world. Pro tip: not like in the movies.

about 2 months ago
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NFL Players To Use Tablet Computers During Games

Imsdal Re:American football (107 comments)

American football combines the worst aspects of American society: committee meetings and violence.

about 2 months ago
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SEC Chair On HFT: 'The Markets Are Not Rigged'

Imsdal Re:Not a surprise (303 comments)

No, somebody actually knows what a limit order is. If more people learned this, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

about 6 months ago
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Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

Imsdal Re:So? (351 comments)

It's more healthy to live in the stone age because why, exactly? Average life span has tripled since the stone age, and that is generally considered the best proxy for health there is.

Also, the idea that we work more now than we did in the stone age is also completely wrong. A regular employee works ~1600 hours/year for ~40 years. That's less than 10% of their time. Stone age people certainly worked more than 10% of their lives (even though I agree that it may be a myth that they worked most of the time.)

about 6 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

Imsdal Re:Won't work (342 comments)

You completely miss the very obvious point that information from other sources may have a bearing on the value of a company. If I spot a trend in the subway I may draw the conclusion that some companies stand to gain more from that trend than other companies. Your static view of the world is way too simplified.

about 6 months ago
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Lego Robot Solves Rubik's Cube Puzzle In 3.253 Seconds

Imsdal Re:alas ! (60 comments)

As others have pointed out, the optimal solution is never more than 20 moves, and this instance required a bit more than 20 moves, so it probably wasn't the very easiest of configurations. That said, I don't understand why this record isn't for "best average of 20 runs" (or some other suitable number). It wouldn't take more than five minutes to run it, and it would be a lot more telling about the actual capacity of the robot.

It would also be interesting to see the variance of the solving times. How consistent is this thing?

about 7 months ago
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FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App

Imsdal Location obviously needed (187 comments)

But if the app doesn't know your location, how would it possibly know where to provide the light?

about 10 months ago
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How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

Imsdal Re:Every print magazine left. (385 comments)

I'm not sure I'd right off the USPS

It's "write off". It's an accounting term.

It's "right off". It's a mafia term.

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Imsdal Re: Control... (926 comments)

A person who speaks two languages is called bilangual. What do you call a person who only speaks one language? American!

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Imsdal Re:Control... (926 comments)

But don't expect me to pay lip service to a God that, to me, comes off as a petty, cliquish and vindictive sort, according to your own holy books.

That was only in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, he is caring, loving and forgiving. What happened in between? He got laid!

about a year ago
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Sweden Is Closing Many Prisons Due to Lack of Prisoners

Imsdal Re:Those damn socialist! (752 comments)

I'm really not sure what you are getting at here. Have you never heard of anyone using cocaine or heroin without doing stupid things? I have. In fact, only a very small percentage of usage leads to people doing stupid things. Conversely, surely you have heard of someone doing outrageously stupid things after drinking alcohol? There are in fact TV shows dedicated to this very phenomenon!

As for your discussion about the level of addictiveness, alcohol is more addictive than many drugs.

about a year ago
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Researchers Dare AI Experts To Crack New GOTCHA Password Scheme

Imsdal Re:Colorblind? (169 comments)

You are assuming that people who see colour see anything other than random dots. I can understand why you would believe that, but in this case it is wrong. It IS just random dots. The colouration just adds to the confusion.

about a year ago
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How To Lose $172,222 a Second For 45 Minutes

Imsdal Re: This is what I like best about /. (327 comments)

But, despite this correction, during that period of instability, a lot of people's businees were hurt, so they go to the govenment and demand retribution- You think that process should be 6min too?

So who exactly are those people whose business were hurt? You are right that a number of crybabies (with amazingly influential lobbyists backing them up, sadly) did go to the government and demand retribution, but that's simply pathetic. I don't think that process should take 6 min. I think it should take 0 min.

I can see how some people are upset that they sold Apple shares for $0.01. But really, if they are that monumentally stupid, I can't see why it's the government's business to stop morons (here used in the clinical sense, and not (only) in the derogatory sense) from doing stupid trades. I can see the downside, but I completely fail to see any upside to it. Please explain the upside if you disagree.

about a year ago
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How To Lose $172,222 a Second For 45 Minutes

Imsdal Re:There should be a mandatory one second delay. (327 comments)

Not only are you welcome to do so. As a retail investor, that is actually a great idea. In the auctions, liquidity is concentrated and an optimum amount of volume is traded at the same price for both buyers and sellers (obviously). If you trade infrequently there is no reason to ever trade outside of the auctions. And if you trade frequently, you probably haven't understood how the market works and as such deserve to be ripped off by people who do understand.

about a year ago
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How To Lose $172,222 a Second For 45 Minutes

Imsdal Re:There should be a mandatory one second delay. (327 comments)

If trading at a speed faster than some arbitrary limit you just made up is such a bad thing, why don't you start an exchange that operates under these conditions? Seems like a definite win to me. "Individual investors" would apparently find your market model more lucrative and flock to your solution. More money for you, more money for "individual investors" and less money to HFTs. Seems like a huge win for society.

So why don't you start such an exchange? This question isn't rethorical. There are literally hundreds of exchanges/trading facilities being started every year all over the world. Have you stopped to consider for even one second why almost none of them were operated along your ideas, and why every single one of those that were failed miserably? Could it, just possibly, be that you don't quite understand how HFT works and exactly who they are extracting money from?

about a year ago

Submissions

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Imsdal Imsdal writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Imsdal writes "I used to be a reasonably good programmer, but life has taken me in a different direction, and my skills are now quite out of date. I want to learn a good, modern language with a good modern IDE. I only have the time and inclination to learn one. Which should I choose?

Here is more background:
I learnt programming 25+ years ago. I started with BASIC and moved to Z80 assembler, Pascal and FORTRAN. In 89-94 I got a M.Sc. in Computer Science with a heavily theoretical focus, so at that time I knew about a dozen languages reasonably well (LISP in several flavors, ML, SQL, PROLOG, C, ADA and a bunch of others. Note the absence of Java and C++, though). I then started working, and spent most of my time working with SQL. I have since moved to "general management", so apart from the occasional spell of SQL and VBA, I haven't really been programming much for almost ten years (and most of you will of course say that VBA isn't programming at all).

Now I want to "get back into the game", but I have found that programming today isn't so much learning syntax and general ideas (which I can still do quickly), but learning and IDE and/or a fairly huge library of supporting functions. Thus, it seems like a bigger project to learn a new environment these days, and I want to make sure I go down the right path.

So, what do I actually want to do with my newly acquired skill set? Let's start with what I don't want to do:
* I don't want to be a programmer as a job, so there doesn't have to be a market for whatever language/environment you recommend.
* I wont write applications that anyone else will use, so robustness/error handling etc is nice but not a critical factor.
* The stuff I write doesn't have to be web applications. It might be, but stand alone stuff that just runs on my computer is fine.

And here are a few examples of stuff I want to actually achieve:
* An application that reads stuff from web pages, analyzes them and stores the result in a DB, for instance:
    — Sales data from amazon.com
    — Play by play data from Major League Baseball games
* Simulations of games, for example
    — Algorithms that play Othello or Mastermind
    — Simulations of poker hands
* Solutions to projecteuler.net problems.

The first example requires the easy ability to get a web page and do some pretty basic string manipulation to it (but easy hookups to lex and yacc or variants is a huge advantage), and easy writing to a DB. (I'll do the actual processing of the data from the DB in SQL and won't need support there.)

The second example shouldn't exclude any particular modern language, I would guess.

The third example requires a very good and fast bignum implementation. This is mandatory, not optional.

I have computers running Ubuntu and XP (sorry, no Mac), so whatever you suggest should run on either of those. It's not important (and not even an advantage, really) that it runs on both. Since this is for my own enjoyment and non-professional, the environment should be free or very cheap. It strictly doesn't have to be open source, but maybe that's an advantage.

So, in conclusion, I'm looking for a computer language with a good environment that allows me to get started quickly, is versatile in what I can do in it, has a good bignum implementation and, hopefully, is fun. What would you recommend and why?"

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