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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

MetalOne Python is good but insufficient (415 comments)

Python has a number of nice features for the beginner programmer.
1) It is easy to learn
2) It has a REPL.
3) It has a large standard library, and most things things in the library are easy to use.
The library is not super abstracted and overly engineered like so many other tools.
4) It has a large universe of third party libraries that are useful and easy to install.
There are bindings to many C/C++ and Fortran libraries. Things like numpy, scipy, and matplotlib.
5) The language and its libraries work on Windows/Linux/Mac.
6) The language is good at allowing one to focus on the problem at hand without worrying so much about minutiae of the language.
7) It supports imperative and object-oriented programming and has some support for functional style programming with map, filter, lambdas and list comprehensions. The functional programming support is on the weak side, but at least there is something.

The language also has some down sides.
1) Python hides low level details from the programmer. As a student learning about programming, ones needs to understand this stuff. Thus 'C' should also be taught.
2) It has been my experience that dynamic typing is useful for relativity small single person tasks. Somewhere around 30,000 lines, one begins to wish for static type checking. However, one needs a good type system. The rise of generics has greatly improved modern statically typed languages.

After reading "Learn You a Haskell For Great Good", I think all programmers should learn Haskell.
It is not really just about learning Haskell either, but understanding the power of function abstraction, combinators, referential integrity, organizing data, and managing side effects.

about 2 months ago

Court: Oracle Entitled To Copyright Protection Over Some Parts of Java

MetalOne Re:You can't copyright facts (303 comments)

I guess I failed to understand how fair use plays into using an API. There are better comments below. I wish I could just delete the above post.

about 4 months ago

Court: Oracle Entitled To Copyright Protection Over Some Parts of Java

MetalOne Re:You can't copyright facts (303 comments)

It has been my understanding that an API cannot be copyrighted because the API is a fact. We would not have Linux otherwise. I believe copyrighting APIs would be an even worse nightmare than patents.
Say you want a stack.

Well, you'll never be able to write one without paying up to somebody.

about 4 months ago

Python Scripting and Analyzing Your Way To Love

MetalOne optimal stopping theory (188 comments)

A friend of mine once told me about optimal stopping theory.
He said if you could go on 100 dates,
and had choose to one to marry,
and you had to make the decision after a date,
and without being able to choose a previous date,
when should you stop.
The answer for some sample size 'n' is to automatically discard the first n/e dates.
Then choose the first date that is better than the best one already seen.
100/e is 37.

about 8 months ago

Code Is Not Literature

MetalOne Re:Similar language, describing different things (240 comments)

It is still n(log n) average case. I'll grant you that if speed is super critical, that you're going to want an in place algorithm, in a language like C++.

about 8 months ago

Code Is Not Literature

MetalOne Re:Similar language, describing different things (240 comments)

Without any added explanation it is of course gibberish. However, I think with an additional fairly brief explanation of symbols in the example, it would be quite clear to somebody with decent mathematical/logical thinking skills. And if the person doesn't poses those skills, then there is really no point in trying. It is certainly a nice addition to a description in English as it removes any ambiguity. Conciseness is often nice, because it doesn't allow any room for extraneous stuff. Of course, sometimes very concise code can still be difficult to understand.

about 8 months ago

New Object Recognition Algorithm Learns On the Fly

MetalOne Re:Enhanced reality (100 comments)

If they are sentient, and require the same resources as humans, and are more intelligent than humans, it seems safe to assume they will want all the resources for themselves. If they are smarter, then its not hard to imagine them attempting to eliminate humans.

about 8 months ago

Microsoft Quietly Fixes Windows XP Resource Hog Problem

MetalOne Re:Over a decade (246 comments)

Not only that, it really sounds like a couple people just did it on their vacation time because it personally annoyed them. Microsoft was not interested in actually putting it on a schedule to be fixed.

about 8 months ago

Mystery Rock 'Appears' In Front of Mars Rover

MetalOne schnauzer (112 comments)

The dirt above the rock looks a bit like a schnauzer with the face being in the very upper right.

about 8 months ago

Engineers: Traffic Studies Use Simulation Software, Not Lane Closings

MetalOne Re:Read The URL...not Slashdot (265 comments)

The closure was over four days. It is not believable that Christie was unaware of this the entire time.

about 8 months ago

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Newegg Patent Case

MetalOne Re:Nothing is obvious ... (204 comments)

I am being to think that this right here is the reason to abolish the patent system entirely. Clearly we don't want things that are obvious being patented. However, we have no formal test for what is obvious. Since we can't test for obviousness, both the patent office and the courts have decided to ignore obviousness, thus destroying any possible usefulness of a patent system. Now if there could somehow be a useful test for obviousness that could be applied, then we could possibly reconsider the merits of having a patent system. I don't see a formal test for obviousness ever coming to fruition though.

about 8 months ago

1.2% of Apps On Google Play Are Repackaged To Deliver Ads, Collect Info

MetalOne Re:All or nothing approach is silly (131 comments)

I wish it would go a step further and not give any apps access to the contacts. It seems to me that an app that needs a contact should make a request to the operating system. The operating system could present the contacts to the user to select one, and then the operating system could return an opaque handle representing the contact to the app. The opaque handle could then be used to send email or what not.

about 10 months ago

A Math Test That's Rotten To the Common Core

MetalOne Re:How hard can that possibly be? (663 comments)

There are a few things with question 1 that are not clear.
"A full coffee cup labeled with a 6 and the world whole"

Does this mean there are currently 6 pennies in the cup?
Does this mean that the capacity of the cup is 6 pennies?
Does this mean that the capacity of the cup is 6 pennies and there are 6 pennies in it and thus no more can be added to it?

What do pennies have do with coffee?
Does the cup hold 6 ounces of coffee?

Did the 5 pennies come from the cup, leaving 1 in the cup?
Do you have 5 pennies but the cup is empty?

What is missing from what?
Do I need to put the 5 pennies back into the cup to make it whole?
Are there only 5 pennies in existence, and therefore I am missing 1 to fill up the cup.
Were 5 pennies removed from the cup and therefore I am missing the penny in the cup.

What a terribly worded question.

Although of the 4 choices, 1 is the only thing that could possibly work.
Multiple choice is a really dumb idea here too.

about 10 months ago

Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March

MetalOne room lighting (202 comments)

Personally, I think plasmas look better in the dark and LEDs look better once any amount of room lighting is added. I think a lot of people do most of their watching with some lighting on.

about a year ago

Biological Clock Discovered That Measures Ages of Most Human Tissues

MetalOne what does cellular age even mean? (70 comments)

Are they trying to say through this analysis that your potential maximum life span would be N years and that you are some percentage of the way there?

about a year ago

Martha Stewart Out To Exterminate Patent Troll Lodsys

MetalOne Patents need to describe significant inventions (150 comments)

It seems to me that congress needs to revise the rules for obtaining and holding patents. I think that if the subject being patented can be recreated simply by having seen it in action or by a reading of the requirements, then it does not deserve a patent. So stuff like one-click or side to unlock would be excluded. There needs to be real hard work put forth on something before it should be considered an invention. We need to stop patenting mere ideas and obvious stuff. The hard work part should not be based on how hard the patent holder worked, but on how hard a challenger to the patent would have to work. I do think a good system of rules would be hard to develop. The system should not be easily gamed. If it proves too difficult to write such a set of rules, then it seems to me that having a patent system is bad idea. Furthermore, most all inventions are going to be incremental improvements. Most fields have lots of people working in them. So if the increment of improvement is small and there are many people in the field, then clearly it won't be much work for others to achieve the same result, and hence the first to file concept seems grossly unfair. So now you have to decide what is a significant enough increment for something to warrant a patent. Perhaps if you have a mind like Tesla one could truly invent something stunning, but even then I have my doubts, for every Tesla there seems to a Marconi.

about a year ago

What the Insurance Industry Thinks About Climate Change

MetalOne Re:We have this thing called "competition" (385 comments)

I have often wondered if an insurance company is the perfect vehicle to get rich.
step1) Undercut competition with cheaper rates to attract customers.
step2) Pay yourself as CEO an exorbitant salary.
step3) Hope a big disaster never strikes and roll with 1) and 2) for as long as possible.
If disaster strikes file for bankruptcy or hope for federal bailout.

about a year ago


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