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OpenBSD Team Cleaning Up OpenSSL

Xtifr Re:Rights and Wrongs of good code. (288 comments)

Your friend is ignorant. Goto is a powerful-but-dangerous tool that should be used with extreme caution, if at all. However, to say that it's the mark of a bad programmer is insanely ignorant. It is often the mark of a bad programmer, but it can also be the mark of an exceptionally good one. The key is in knowing when you use it and when not to.

If your friend thinks he's a better programmer than Donald Knuth, then he's almost certainly suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect. If he hasn't read Knuth's "Structured Programming with Gotos" (a direct response to Wirth's original "Goto Considered Harmful" paper), then he's not qualified to opine on the subject.

That said, probably 90% of the time (if not more), your friend will be correct. In the last over-a-decade, I've used goto once. And that lone case was after nearly a dozen attempts to find a way to around it that wasn't worse. I don't like gotos, and feel a little dirty that I ended up using it even that once. (If I'd been working in C++ or Java or Python, I would have used an exception, but I was writing in C.) A goto usually makes your code more difficult to read, and more fragile, and you should never use one unless you can prove the alternatives are worse. Which probably takes a lot more expertise than it sounds like you currently have, so avoiding them completely is probably the best plan for now. For you.

3 days ago
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LHCb Confirms Existence of Exotic Hadrons

Xtifr Re:Changes in current knowledge (99 comments)

what is the consequence of this discovery?

Some idle speculation has finally been confirmed.

Will existing theories be changed (or validated)?

Not really. There was no particular reason to think this was impossible. We just didn't have any evidence it was possible.

Any complications to other theories?

Not to any useful theories. Theories like the Electric Universe have one more thing added to the list of things they can't explain, but that's no surprise. :)

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Xtifr Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1111 comments)

That's a fair point, and if he really wanted to sue Mozilla, I'd expect that would be his most plausible angle to try to exploit. However, A) I don't think he wants to sue Mozilla, which makes the whole question somewhat moot, and B) he's still primarily a techy, not a professional CEO, which might well have made a more tech-oriented position attractive to him if the issue had actually come up before he resigned.

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Xtifr Re:The Re-Hate Campaign (1111 comments)

If you support trying to hurt (a set of) people, you shouldn't be surprised if those people (and their friends) start to dislike you and act accordingly.

What alternative do you offer? Forcing people to buy bread from the bigotted baker at gunpoint? Or forcing people to keep using Mozilla even though it's represented by a man who tried to take away their rights?

It would be nice if the world could be broken down into nice, neat piles of black and white, good and evil, but the real world is inevitably more complicated than that, and pretending otherwise is not useful or productive.

I notice you carefully avoided answering my original question, though. Is that because you didn't understand it, or because you couldn't?

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Xtifr Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1111 comments)

If it was a serious offer, and the company could show that was the position he was best suited for, then no. Otherwise, it would clearly be a ruse to try to force him out, and the law actually takes such things into account. (Which makes your suggestion a straw man.)

A serious offer, for a job that would suit his skills would easily defeat any claims of unlawful termination. A insult obviously intended to pressure him into quitting might not. If you can't figure out the difference between the two, then I recommend you stay away from any job that involves interactions with the law, or the public.

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Xtifr Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1111 comments)

The chairman of the board went on the record saying "It's clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting".

The key word there is "lead". Show me where it said he should leave the company, rather than merely take a different role within the company, and I might concede you have a point. But if mere employment is equivalent to leading, then my employers are going to be in for some big surprises tomorrow! :)

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Xtifr Re:The Re-Hate Campaign (1111 comments)

How did he attempt to limit the rights of others?

Duh, by attempting to take away the rights of people. (Same-sex marriage was legal in California at the time.) I don't know how much more obvious it could be. The fact that he has the right to say it doesn't mean he wasn't attempting to limit the rights of others.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from all consequences. If your local baker were campaigning to repeal the 19th amendment, would you argue that women (or people who like women) who refuse to buy his products are infringing his rights somehow? If so, you have one of the stupidest definitions of "I'll defend to the death your right to say it" I've ever heard.

about two weeks ago
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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law

Xtifr Re:Bu the wasn't fired (1111 comments)

Did you even read the summery: "'It's clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting,' Baker was quoted as saying."

Did you even read it? It says "lead", not "work for". To win a suit, he'd have to prove that no other openings would have been available to him in the company. And this is a man who was valued primarily for his technical skills (as the developer of Javascript), and who was promoted from within, so I think that would be quite a stretch.

about two weeks ago
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UN Court: Japanese Whaling "Not Scientific"

Xtifr Re:Buried the lede (188 comments)

Or even just the headline of TFA (if the A itself is too much to handle):

"Japan accepts court ban on Antarctic whaling"

(Emphasis mine.)

about three weeks ago
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How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

Xtifr at least two valid answers for me (202 comments)

This was a tricky one to answer. "I'm interested, but wary of hype" and "Not terribly interested in gaming headgear" are both answers that apply to me. I'm not particularly interested in fancy, expensive gaming equipment in general. But I remain interested in the general notion of VR. I just don't want to invest in it purely for gaming! Games are fun, and all, but simply not that important to me.

about three weeks ago
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I prefer my peppers ...

Xtifr tasty (285 comments)

I have a quite high tolerance for hot peppers, but for me, the important factor is: do they taste good? I find some peppers have a better flavor than others, and it doesn't seem to correlate with the heat level.

about three weeks ago
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XWayland Aiming For Glamor Support, Merge Next X.Org Release

Xtifr Re: acceleration (83 comments)

And where did I say anything like "X sux..."? I said Wayland is going to have the benefit of the work that was done on X to create drivers, and the benefit of people on its team who generally understand those drivers. And you attacked like some sort of rabid mongoose.

I like X. I use its remote features regularly. And I'm quite satisfied with its performance. I'm going to be reluctant to switch to Wayland until it supports (directly or through XWayland) all the features I need. Nevertheless, I think I'm probably going to end up running Wayland/XWayland in the not-too-distant future. It's already installed on my system, since most of its libraries were dragged in by some package dependencies I haven't bothered to track down. And I like variety and options, so I'll probably start playing with it soon. I have tried the sample terminal client, and that seems to be working just fine.

about three weeks ago
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First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System

Xtifr Re:Actually electrons DON'T orbit. (29 comments)

Actually electrons DON'T orbit nuclei.

It's still referred to as an orbit, even if it doesn't resemble a classical orbit.

What they do is more akin to being standing waves surrounding them.

Except that, unlike what's usually referred to as a wave at that level, it has nothing to do with frequency. It's more of a probability wave. But it's still subject to the exclusion principle, which really complicates matters. Two electrons can't occupy the same location, but location itself is a tricky concept at that scale.

Anyway, all of that just goes to make my point. The very small (and the very large) are not like what we experience at the human scale. Reality is not fractal in that sense.

about three weeks ago
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First Asteroid Discovered Sporting a Ring System

Xtifr Re:The universe is fractal (29 comments)

Dig deeper, and you soon hit the Planck length, so, no. Really small things don't resemble larger things at all. That's why QM is so counter-intuitive. Heck, you don't even have to dig that deep to realize that an atom does not resemble the solar system, even though both have small things orbiting a large central mass.

For that matter, go the other way, and you hit the light-speed barrier, which has a huge effect on the way really big things work. The very large and the very small are both immensely different from each other and from things on what we consider a normal, human scale. Your notion is poetic, but contradicts most of the physics discovered since the early 20th c.

about three weeks ago
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XWayland Aiming For Glamor Support, Merge Next X.Org Release

Xtifr Re: acceleration (83 comments)

Think about the time spent by XFree86 developers over the decades writing acceleration code versus everything else, and that's the part we're missing right now.

The Wayland developers are, for the most part, the X developers, so they not only have access to all that existing X driver code that took so long to write, they're the folks who best understand that code, and know how to adapt it to a new environment. They're standing on the shoulders of giants (and in some cases, are the giants).

The biggest changes we should expect to see are in the API. Under the hood, I expect to see a whole lot of code that's identical to the current Xserver, or nearly so. As I understand it, the biggest issue right now is making sure that Wayland has the security X always lacked. Security, rather than hardware details, is probably the biggest obstacle to getting the acceleration in.

about three weeks ago
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Google Android Studio Vs. Eclipse: Which Fits Your Needs?

Xtifr Re:EMACS (140 comments)

Turbo Pascal came out in 1983, two years before the first release of GNU Emacs. However, Maestro I (1975) seems to be generally credited as being the first IDE (although some argue for Dartmouth BASIC from 1964).

So, uh, yeah. :)

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

Xtifr Re:Ah, the Planet Pluto (138 comments)

Except that only Ceres is big enough to have become a spheroid under the pressure of its own gravity. Which is actually a pretty significant feature (unlike the orbit nonsense), and a fairly solid reason for putting something in a separate category from "random rock".

Vesta was actually on the bubble for a while. Despite the big chunk missing from one side, the final decision about whether it would be a dwarf planet or asteroid wasn't made until the Dawn mission gave us a better close-up look.

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

Xtifr Re:Ah, the Planet Pluto (138 comments)

I'm actually more interested in making Ceres an official planet. Pluto's a big comet. It comes from the Kuiper belt, and doesn't really resemble anything in the inner system. I can certainly understand giving it a different classification. Ceres, on the other hand, is more similar to Mercury than Mercury is to Jupiter, and I don't see any reason at all to classify it separately.

I can see using "cleared its orbit" to separate classes of planets, so Ceres can be a dwarf planet, but "dwarf planet" should be a type of planet! It's got planet right there in the name! We could even have other classes of planet, like Gas Giant, so the whole "Mercury is classified with Jupiter instead of Ceres" nonsense would be resolved.

Frankly, I'd just as soon see them drop any mention of orbits from the definition. Why *shouldn't* Luna and Ganymede and Titan be considered planets? They'd still be moons, but there's no reason something can't fit into more than one category.

Heck, there are so many more interesting features they could have used to define categories: does it have an atmosphere? Does it have its own satellites?

The current definition is a horrible compromise designed to piss off as many people as possible, without offering anything useful. I realize it was intended to try to rock the boat as little as possible, but it hasn't even done that!

about a month ago
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Happy Pi Day

Xtifr Re:ISO 8601 (218 comments)

And how the hell do you come up with two fields in the right position?

Your reading skills are weak. I said zero in the right position, but two (MD) in the right order.

And one final thing: under ISO 8601, you must only drop precision. This means, you can say 2014-03, but you can't say 03-15.

That's silly. How do I (someone who routinely uses ISO8601) describe my birthday, or any other annual event? Certainly not by reversing the order of MD from what ISO prescribes, even if ISO won't certify the result as a valid date. Christmas last year was 2013-12-25. Christmas in general is *-12-25, or 12-25 for short.

about a month ago
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Happy Pi Day

Xtifr Re:ISO 8601 (218 comments)

Here's a quick comparison:

Fields in the correct position: European: 1; American: 0
Fields in the correct order: European: 0; American: 2

By that measure the American style gets two things correct; twice as many as the European.

In addition, when the year is omitted (very common), the results are even more striking:

Fields correctly ordered and placed: European: none; American: all.

I don't think anyone has anything to brag about here, except perhaps the Chinese and Japanese. :)

about a month ago

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