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Ask Slashdot: Spreadsheet With Decent Programming Language?

TobiX APL (332 comments)

Consider learning an "executable mathematical notation" such as APL.

It has the advantage of looking like math formulas, naming entire matrices with a single letter and using symbols for the operations, while avoiding the pitfalls and chores of traditional programming languages, such as explicit loops.

APL was designed to allow non-programmers to express complex computations with ease, in a non-ambiguous, reproducible, executable way.

There are excellent commercial implementations (with trial or free-for-personal-use versions) such as AplX and Dyalog. They both have good tutorials. There is even a Try APL online site http://www.tryapl.org/

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do Most Programmers Understand the English Language?

TobiX Many don't (330 comments)

I'm among those who set their computers and gadgets to English the moment I get my hands on them, among the consternation of friends and family.

But I can attest to the fact that a LOT of programmers don't speak a word of English. They have learned the CS meanings of a few dozen words, but that's as far as they go.

They may know that 'this' refers to the current object in OO programming, but they have no clue how to pronounce it (I have heard things you humans...) let alone that it means 'this' as opposed to 'that.'

They know 'Windows' is the name of the most widely used OS, as most programmers clearly understand what an OS is. But if they came to your house and you asked them to open the windows, they would probably walk to your PC, not to the walls.

So there you go, developer tools need localization like everything else.

If anything, you must put EXTRA effort with developer tools, as opposed to generic software, to find and use the RIGHT translation. You wouldn't be very happy if your browser tool suddenly asked you to "gaze at the fountain" instead of "view the source", now would you?

about a year ago
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At my place of employ, we track business data ...

TobiX Unclear poll (185 comments)

What the hell is "business data" anyways?

about 2 years ago
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I believe humanity will first achieve ...

TobiX Re:Define immortality (637 comments)

That's interesting. One's own thoughts then would just be huge MapReduce run over one's own history of moments of consciousness.

Maybe we are finite automata after all.

about 2 years ago
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Online Learning Becomes Court-Ordered Community Service

TobiX Re:Go to jail (160 comments)

> This whole business appears to be a Slash-vertisement.

Yes, because a substantial part of Slashdot's readership gets into trouble and needs to do community service on a regular basis. I can totally identify with the "bad boy" on that front page.

more than 2 years ago
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Jailbreaking the Internet For Freedom's Sake

TobiX Article is nonsense (270 comments)

The money will always be in the "mainstream", or the particular mainstream of every place and time, by definition.

Megaupload exists because it makes money. It makes money because millions of people watch movies and download shit off it, not because it makes a few hackers "free" to share stuff.

No mainstream = no money = not *existing* in any noticeable capacity.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple Fined By Italy For Misleading Customers About Warranty Terms

TobiX Re:AppleCare (218 comments)

It is in fact slightly different than what was reported.

Three of Apple's registered companies in Italy have been fined not just for misleading customers about their two year state-mandated warranty terms, but for hampering access to warranty services after the one year mark.

Official press release (in Italian)

more than 2 years ago
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Google Demonstrates Chrome Native Client With Bastion

TobiX It's actually a good idea (154 comments)

Think of how most developers are using Javascript nowadays: it's a target language for their compilers.

Whether the source was Java (GWT compiler) or Javascript itself (YUI compressor, Google closure compiler) the fact remains that what browsers are given to run is not what the developers wrote. Which is standard practice in the software business (it's called compilation) and for good reasons.

Now, JS makes for a poor machine language. So we could either beat around the bush with an intermediate bytecode language (Java went there, and Python and all the others too, with varying results) or go for the real thing and come up with a good x86 sandboxing and code verification standard.

Remember, x86 is currently in use by 99% of desktop machines. When other architectures will gain momentum, websites will just offer two or more compiled versions of their code. In the mean time, they will just have to emulate or translate the x86 instruction set, a task for which a large open source code base has already been developed, and which would still be more efficient than parsing plain Javascript, by several orders of magnitude.

So what's the problem with that, again?

more than 2 years ago
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Are You Better At Math Than a 4th (or 10th) Grader?

TobiX Re:Summary is a little misleading (845 comments)

Exactly.

This is the 10th grade math course.

I can see how a successful person from one or two generations ago could fail 100% of it.

And I don't think such material should be requirement for everybody. People with other skill sets (social, artistic, etc.) should be recognized and valued too. The world needs musicians and clothes designers and yes, managers and salesmen, as much as we need good scientists and engineers.

more than 2 years ago
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PC Makers Run Short of Popular Drives

TobiX Re:Back in my day . . . (353 comments)

Why is this modded funny at all? Have you kids seriously never used a computer without a hard drive? IBM PC? Amiga? Not even a Commodore 64? Come on!

more than 2 years ago
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PC Makers Run Short of Popular Drives

TobiX Re:Scam??? (353 comments)

<quote><p>Also, the just-in-time inventory fad where nobody actually stocks anything any more</p></quote>
I wouldn't call it a fad. With the current rate of technological advancement, where last-month products have already been made obsolete by some newer / better tech, I would call it sensible management.

more than 2 years ago
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FTC Proposes Do Not Track List For the Web

TobiX Re:Standard GUI? (173 comments)

Or maybe we should revise the decade-old HTTP protocol to better define the scope of cookies and of (misspelled) referrer headers.
That is, until fingerprinting the clock skew becomes commonplace.

more than 3 years ago
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Segways Roll Over Chicago

TobiX Re:Ive been doing this for 6 months. (286 comments)

To further increase their safety, we also limit the units to 6 miles per hour.

What? You only give them the 6 mph key?
Man, this is lame... I WANT MY DAMN RED KEY!

more than 9 years ago

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