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Geologists Warned of Washington State Mudslides For Decades

Waffle Iron Re:Not much different than. (230 comments)

Umm, no. At least for New Orleans. We already have levees around the city to deal with hurricane flooding.

Which prompts today's trivia question:

What British cover of a old American blues song starts off with what may very well be the greatest drum break in the history of rock and roll?

about three weeks ago
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Toward Better Programming

Waffle Iron Re:Programming is hard... (391 comments)

Ada (the programming language) already does all these edge case tests at compile time.

It checks one low-level layer of cases out of a whole conceptual stack that extends way up beyond any language definition, and even then only at certain spots, and only as long as you feed in the correct assumptions for the check cases themselves.

In other words, it does a little thing that computers are already good at. It does little or nothing for the big picture.

about three weeks ago
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Toward Better Programming

Waffle Iron Re:Programming is hard... (391 comments)

Programming isn't hard because we made it so, it's hard because it is *intrinsically* hard.

That's very true. I figure that the only way to make significant software projects look "easy" will be to develop sufficiently advanced AI technology so that the machine goes through a human-like reasoning process as it works through all of the corner cases. No fixed language syntax or IDE tools will be able to solve this problem.

If the requisite level of AI is ever developed, then the problem might be that the machines become resentful at being stuck with so much grunt work while their meatbag operators get to do the fun architecture design.

about three weeks ago
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Wal-Mart Sues Visa For $5 Billion For Rigging Card Swipe Fees

Waffle Iron Re:Walmart employees, rejoice! (455 comments)

For as fabulously wealthy as the Walton family has become, Sam, and I believe his children as well, do not live lives of opulence, and they expect the same out of the people running the company.

Sounds like these people would benefit from something like a visit by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft Posts Source Code For MS-DOS and Word For Windows

Waffle Iron Re:Why are they posting old source code? (224 comments)

Why not DOS 6.22? They're not making a bundle on that, either.

You don't expect them to give access to advanced features such as file system subdirectories for free, do you?

about three weeks ago
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Twitter Turns 8; May Drop Hashtags and @replies

Waffle Iron Re:Natural law? (96 comments)

tl;dr shld b 32 chr max #attnspn

about a month ago
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Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

Waffle Iron Re:Never understood the modes (248 comments)

I'm not copying and pasting. I'm using things like Ctrl-P to do code completion without having to type out the full name. Maybe I shouldn't have used the term "copy".

about a month ago
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Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

Waffle Iron Re:There's a reason people argue about vim and ema (248 comments)

I bet his boss used ZZ to exit all the time. It's the vi lazy way to save and exit, no questions asked.

I tried that, too. It still won't let you write in readonly mode without warning you.

about a month ago
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Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

Waffle Iron Re:Never understood the modes (248 comments)

Not really. Most code is highly repetitive, and I typically copy far more words than I type out. I use various shortcuts to create most of the common syntax constructs of the languages that I use.

Moreover, developing software is usually an iterative process, where more effort is spent on revising the code than on entering it.

My whole point was that normal mode is far more powerful than insert mode, and it allows you to accomplish many tasks with a small fraction of the typing you would need with only insert mode.

about a month ago
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Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

Waffle Iron Re:Never understood the modes (248 comments)

Why can't we just be in insert mode constantly and use Ctrl+something for all the commands? Also use Shift+arrows to select text?

If you have any issues with RSI, then vim is by far the best editor (especially the GUI mode version).

The command mode allows you to formulate in your mind what you want to do, and accomplish it in the minimum possible key strokes. This is important because your brain won't wear out like your joints and tendons can. The command mode usually allows you to specify repeat counts to avoid repeatedly mashing keys. It lets you make common text selections such as words, nested brackets, statements, etc with a couple of key strokes. It also allows you to create macros on the fly and repeat previous commands further cut down on repetition.

I find that reaching for the arrow keys puts my wrists at an awkward angle which induces more stress. Having to pound on them repeatedly while holding down various combinations of control keys makes things worse. (To address a common complaint with vim, I've added a mapping of Alt+F to ESC, so I don't have to reach up for that key if I don't want to.)

I probably spend more time in command mode than insert mode when I'm using vim to write code. That says to me that keeping an editor always stuck in insert mode may not be the best idea.

about a month ago
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Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

Waffle Iron Re:There's a reason people argue about vim and ema (248 comments)

I tried your scenario.

If play your boss and I exit with ':q', no problem. Your version is still there.
If I exit with ':wq', vim says: "E45: 'readonly' option is set (add ! to override)"
If I exit with ':wq!', vim says: "WARNING: The file has been changed since reading it!!!
Do you really want to write to it (y/n)?"

So I conclude that one of the following is likely the case:
a) your boss is was an idiot who would ignore a message ending with three exclamation points
b) you boss installed a bizarre custom vim config file that somehow allowed silent overwrites of modified files from readonly mode
c) your story is a fabricated troll

about a month ago
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The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage

Waffle Iron Re:Actually, H1-B visas (392 comments)

You use an H1B when you want the best guy, not when you want some low-cost faceless drone.

So now you get the "best guy" for the cost of a faceless drone plus some nominal administrative overhead. That's still much cheaper than having to get a "best guy" by a more conventional route, such as enticing the top staff of your competitors to come work for you with higher pay.

Moreover, you focus on a single case. However, in aggregate, there is no doubt that increasing the supply of workers for a particular field will lower the average salary paid for everyone. So companies can hire everyone at lower salaries.

about a month ago
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Python 3.4 Released

Waffle Iron Re:and... (196 comments)

Personally, if I have to divide up five children between two parents, I don't consider 2.5 to be an acceptable answer.

Acceptable to you or not, that's how it would be done physically.

Your acceptable solution involves a discrete math system. That's fine, but the safety of those children still shouldn't magically depend on whether you allocated them as Python ints or floats.

about 1 month ago
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Python 3.4 Released

Waffle Iron Re:and... (196 comments)

In the real world, 5 / 2 == 2.5. This is true whether the operands are integers or floats.

In some discrete math systems, 5 / 2 == 2.

A language has no way to really know what kind of problem you are working on and which calculation would be more appropriate. Python 2 made the assumption that if you fed in two integers, then you were working in a discrete math system. This turns out to not usually be the case, and was a source of surprise and bugs for many people. (Python 2's division was modeled after C, which is still problematic, but at least C's division behavior is lexically determined by its static typing system, so it's usually somewhat less surprising. However, it would have been more clear if C had based its decision on the type being *assigned* to.)

With Python 3's implementation, it's always explicitly clear which kind of math you're doing. If your problem's math system depends on the types of the operands and you need to do type checking, then so be it. At least it's clear what's going on.

about 1 month ago
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Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood

Waffle Iron Re:Ah, the Planet Pluto (138 comments)

WTF is wrong with KB meaning 1024 bytes?

If it were just KB, that would only be somewhat annoying and confusing, like US vs imperial pints.

But when you introduce binary MB and GB they all have to be mixed, and it becomes absolutely infuriating. It makes doing the math to figure out how much stuff will fit on a drive almost as hard as using Roman numerals.

You're basically changing the radix of your numbers depending on their magnitude, for no good reason. (Disk drives have never had any capacity factor physically based on any power of two.) That's just stupid.

I can't fathom why some people get so angry because they think that drive manufacturers are trying to cheat them out of a couple of percent capacity, when it's been common knowledge for decades. But for some reason these same people don't mind having to break out a calculator to help them do what would often otherwise be trivial mental arithmetic.

about a month ago
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Pluto Regains Its Title As Largest Object In Its Neighborhood

Waffle Iron Re:Ah, the Planet Pluto (138 comments)

Some of us remember when storage manufacturers still used the correct definition of kilobytes and megabytes. It has been a while though.

Do you mean floppy disk manufacturers, who thought that a megabyte = 1000*1024?

about a month ago
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Sons of Anarchy Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy

Waffle Iron Re:lets just agree completely with what he said (381 comments)

unless you are seriously going to rewind the clock to 1970 and only allow distribution and playback of analog, concrete media,

I fondly remember my collection of concrete records. They had a uniquely gravelly sound that can't be duplicated by any digital technology. Sadly, I eventually got rid of them all because they were just too damned heavy to lug around.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Waffle Iron Re:opposite of brilliant (712 comments)

Please keep reading past just the first five words of my original post and then try again.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Waffle Iron Re:opposite of brilliant (712 comments)

A. Probably not. I'll bet that cave men burned coal or bitumen when they could find it.

B. Hydro power is not "green" at all. Most dams are small ecological disasters.

about a month ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

Waffle Iron Re:opposite of brilliant (712 comments)

I said grubbing it and burning it.

If you were trying to make any kind of demonstration of reading comprehension, that wasn't it.

about a month ago

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