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Interviews: Ask Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose a Question

TobiX Russian smarts (80 comments)

Russian programmers and hackers are famous for being extremely smart. This is also a fame your fellow countryman hold from Chess tournaments and other competitions of the mind.

In your opinion:

  • Is this true?
  • If so, is it a case of the crème de la crème, say the top 20 best Russian hackers, being much smarter than the top 20 hackers from the rest of the world? Or is it a case of there being many more smart people in general in Russia, compared to other countries?
  • If true, would you attribute it to genetics or to education? Or both?
  • How are Russian universities, compared to American and European ones?

Thanks

about three weeks ago
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Interviews: Ask Alexander Stepanov and Daniel E. Rose a Question

TobiX Re:ack-nak (80 comments)

Some "real world" programming languages already have that feature. The foremost is Objective C, widely used for programming Apple products, which I believe inherited it from Smalltalk. Compare this Objective C fragment:

myColor = [UIColor colorWithRed: 127 green:127 blue:127 alpha:1];

with the equivalent Java code:

myColor = new Color(127, 127, 127, 255);

A singular feature of Objective C, as compared with other languages, is that the method signature is composed of all the intermediate words (adverbs or prepositions) in that particular order. For example the method above is referred to as colorWithRed:green:blue:alpha. You must use them in the same order, otherwise you get a compilation error, because you might be invoking an entirely different method. This is consistent with subject-predicate usage in natural languages, where "tell X by Y to Z" may be different from "tell X to Y by Z"

Other languages, mainly dynamic ones (Python, Groovy, etc.) take a hybrid approach, where you can pass named parameters, but their presence or ordering is not taken into account when choosing which method to invoke. Some of them (Groovy) allow the programmer to give meaning to the position of the arguments, when needed, while others don't.

about three weeks ago
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Prosecutors Raid LG Offices Over Alleged Vandalism of Samsung Dishwashers

TobiX Re:Only one explanation for this story (87 comments)

There is a reasonable explanation, which you are failing to see. If LG employees were instructed to destroyed Samsung property by their employer, and if at some level LG personnel was dumb enough to write it down in an email or in a memo, police can find the evidence by raiding their Seoul offices, which is exactly what they did.

about 1 month ago
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Prosecutors Raid LG Offices Over Alleged Vandalism of Samsung Dishwashers

TobiX Re:This means war! (87 comments)

Besides, anybody who thinks a cordless vacuum can have the same power of a corded one, deserves the raw deal he is going to get.

about 1 month ago
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The Open Bay Helps Launch 372 'Copies' of the Pirate Bay In a Week

TobiX Re:Not Really (63 comments)

The reality is that for every 1 person who creates or gets their hands on some interesting content worth of sharing AND which is not already shared AND has the will, time and knowledge to do it properly, there are 10^N people who just want to fetch something that is already out there.

ISOHunt was a fine and very useful service, while it lasted.

about 1 month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

TobiX Re:Something wrong in this picture (628 comments)

Oh but robots did create massive unemployment. Now there are millions, soon to be billions of people out of work, who can play tennis and soccer all day long.

Except they have no food, nor clothes, nor shelter. There are people called "owners" that keep all the food and clothes and shelter produced by the robots, unless you give them something they need in exchange. Which of course you cannot do, because there's nothing you have that they might need, not even your body—unless you are an attractive female, or they need one of your organs. There are already poor people selling their organs to buy food for their families.

That is quite simply what's wrong with the picture. Owners.

about a month ago
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What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

TobiX Not a Singularity (628 comments)

Our trajectory going out of any singularity may have a lot to do with our trajectory going into it.

Wrong. A trajectory going into a singularity has nothing to do with the trajectory going out of it—if any is even taken.

The definition of a singularity is a point where a mathematical formula is not defined. Except for the case of removable singularities, any derivatives are also undefined. So if your model ends up at a singularity, your math is simply not up to the task of describing what happens next.

Around an essential singularity, the most interesting and worrisome kind, the formula takes every possible value, infinitely many times. You can approach the singularity from any value and exit with any other value. So "at" the singularity, the formula is even less defined than in a regular "oh noes I divided by zero" kind, where at least you know the value to be infinitely large.

I realize that, by Occam's razor, the journalist may not even know what a singularity is and just threw the word around because it's cool. Sigh.

about a month ago
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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 2 years 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 2 years 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?

more than 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.

more than 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)

about 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 years ago

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