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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

achurch Re:Not bad (2254 comments)

Change != bad

I absolutely agree. It's just that this change == bad.

(Will that <i></i> show up in the final comment? It doesn't in preview...)

more than 3 years ago
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Black Holes May Mature Early In Galaxy Evolution

achurch [OT] Spam factories (63 comments)

Barbie dress up games

Looks like you need to clean up your computer and online browsing settings! (Unless you meant to post that link following your comment)

That was probably one of the manual-labor spam factories that seem to be sprouting like weeds recently -- they pay people to register on a forum, read the forum, and post comments (with spam links, of course) that make just enough sense to attract real readers' attention.

On the one hand, I guess it means that spam-detecting tech has advanced far enough that it's no longer very profitable to send out machine-generated spam. On the other hand, this makes it harder for us humans to tell the difference. (But then again, xkcd has a point too.)

more than 3 years ago
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Google Algorithm Discriminates Against Bad Reviews

achurch Google autocorrect can be disabled (175 comments)

Append "&nfpr=1" to the search URL. If you use keyworded bookmarks in Mozilla: http://www.google.com/search?q=%s&nfpr=1

more than 3 years ago
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Chinese High-Speed Train Sets New World Record

achurch That's wrong, too (267 comments)

As long as we're talking test runs, the Chuo Shinkansen hit 581km/h in 2003.

more than 4 years ago
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Autotools

achurch Re:Cross-platform, but not cross-compiling (148 comments)

Interesting you should mention this; I've had the same problems you describe trying to get CMake to cross-compile, but with autotools, "--target=other-cpu" has generally worked fine in my experience (making it just about the only redeeming feature in that spaghetti mess of shell and m4 code). Admittedly I haven't tried building an entire Linux distribution, so maybe I just happened to choose packages that don't rely on running test programs, but IIRC autotools will explicitly disable the standard runtime tests when cross-compiling.

more than 4 years ago
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Autotools

achurch The problem with CMake (148 comments)

is that it's got ugly syntax, effectively no cross-compiling support, and less-than-helpful documentation. And its generated Makefiles sometimes miss changes in header files, forcing you to "make clean".

But yeah, it's still a good alternative to autotools.

more than 4 years ago
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China's Nine-Day Traffic Jam Tops 62 Miles

achurch Watch your units (198 comments)

That's 62 miles, or 100km. I can't recall hearing about a 100km jam in the 11 years I've been here, though I'll grant you a few 50-60km jams pop up on the news most holiday seasons.

more than 4 years ago
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Court Rejects Warrantless GPS Tracking

achurch Re:My question (226 comments)

From TFOpinion (page 33):

We note without surprise, therefore, that the Legislature of California, in making it unlawful for anyone but a law enforcement agency to "use an electronic tracking device to determine the location or movement of a person," specifically declared "electronic tracking of a person's location without that person's knowledge violates that person's reasonable expectation of privacy," and implicitly but necessarily thereby required a warrant for police use of a GPS, California Penal Code section 637.7, Stats. 1998 c. 449 (S.B. 1667) 2. Several other states have enacted legislation imposing civil and criminal penalties for the use of electronic tracking devices and expressly requiring exclusion of evidence produced by such a device unless obtained by the police acting pursuant to a warrant. See, e.g., Utah Code Ann. 77-23a-4, 77-23a-7, 77-23a-15.5; Minn Stat 626A.37, 626A.35; Fla Stat 934.06, 934.42; S.C. Code Ann 17-30- 140; Okla. Stat, tit 13, 176.6, 177.6; Haw. Rev. Stat 803-42, 803-44.7; 18 Pa. Cons. Stat 5761.

So if you're in one of those states, it looks like the answer is yes, it's illegal to plant a GPS tracker if you're not law enforcement (and sometimes even if you are law enforcement).

(And why does Slashdot still not support Unicode?)

more than 4 years ago
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A Windows Phone 7 For Every Microsoftie

achurch No (298 comments)

It's the beer glasses set on top of it that make the ring.

more than 4 years ago
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Porting Aquaria To the PSP

achurch More of a progression, I think. (25 comments)

I wouldn't call it a generation "clash" so much as a "progression" from one generation to the next. As one who's been programming for a fair number of years, I certainly advocate knowing the details of what's going on at the lowest levels; if you're not familiar with how caches work, for example, you might have trouble figuring out why a loop over a 2-D array is running so slowly (answer: you have the loops inverted, so every array access is missing the cache). For those who have learned programming in more modern environments, I hope my column has been informative. But at the same time, if your target environment has the capability to take care of all the details for you, I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of that. If your PC can generate new kittens faster than STL kills them off, then by all means, blast those felines to bits. (: After all, that's the whole point of progression in computer technology -- to let the programmer focus more on the high-level problem and less on the low-level nuts and bolts.

Also, just in case it wasn't clear from the column, it was not at all my intent to criticize the original software. There are certainly things that I would have done differently, but in my own playthrough, the game ran nearly flawlessly in its target environment. Creating a complex piece of software like this is no small effort, and I have nothing but respect for Alec (Holowka, the developer) for completing his work to such a high caliber.

more than 4 years ago
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Porting Aquaria To the PSP

achurch Re:Potential Wii/console ports (25 comments)

From the game's website, screenshots, and hardware requirements it seems possible that this game could be ported to the Wii. The simplistic control scheme (mouse only, keyboard can just be used for starting/exiting game) could easily have it work on pretty much any gamepad for any system. The technical hurdles the dev went through just to get it to the PSP (a platform of much less popularity than several others) suggests he possesses the resolution to get Aquaria on other systems.

Just for the record, this PSP port is totally unofficial -- I did it mainly for the challenge of porting (and because I enjoyed the heck out of the game). That said, judging from the Wii's specs, I don't think a Wii port would be too difficult as long as you don't have to copy textures into GPU RAM for drawing. The Linux port uses SDL and OpenGL, so if there's a functional SDL/GL port for the Wii, that could save a lot of time.

more than 4 years ago
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Porting Aquaria To the PSP

achurch It's protected (hopefully!) (25 comments)

I wasn't the one who posted the story, but I added a Coral Cache redirect for Slashdot referrers after the Wolfire column went live (just in case -- even though we all know Slashdotters never RTFA). People who actually want to clone the repository will presumably know not to use the Coral Cache URL, people who are just browsing shouldn't notice a difference, and hopefully my server will survive the onslaught. (:

more than 4 years ago
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No Samples On Japan's Hayabusa Asteroid Probe

achurch Hayabusa was a platform for testing new technology (147 comments)

Of course things are going to go wrong. They in fact succeeded at their primary objective, which was to run the ion engines for 1,000 hours; everything beyond that is a bonus. If anything, the engineers involved ought to be praised for being able to work around all those problems and get the thing back to Earth.

more than 4 years ago
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Sony To Detail "Premium PSN" Plans At E3

achurch Benefit of the doubt? Sony? (171 comments)

I understand your point completely, but how about giving the benefit of the doubt for once?

We tried that when they released the slim PS3 without Other OS support ("don't worry, they won't take it away from current PS3s"). Look how that turned out.

more than 4 years ago
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Simple CMS For Mixed Mac/Windows Team?

achurch Build your own (119 comments)

Seriously, that may be the best solution. It's what I ended up doing in a similar situation recently, because everything I could find was either 1: too expensive, 2: not cross-environment compatible (Sharepoint), 3: not stable/secure/reliable (many open source projects), and/or 4: difficult to use (just about everything -- in fact, they had used Sharepoint for a while and were desperate for anything else).

People like to talk about the virtues of software reuse, but they rarely mention the downside of accumulating complexity as a single program tries to do more and more -- or of attempting to force users into a single mold in order to limit complexity. Particularly when it comes to content management (and the intricacies of traditional version control systems versus the desire of non-technical users to just Get Things Done), if you consider the running cost of user support, it can sometimes be more efficient to build custom software that does exactly what you need, the way you need it to.

more than 4 years ago
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C Programming Language Back At Number 1

achurch Re:It takes a good programer to apprieate C (535 comments)

Bleah. That was embarrassing. (Though maybe it indicates why I'm good at programming -- I tend to read things literally...)

more than 4 years ago
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How Many Hours a Week Can You Program?

achurch Re:age matters (547 comments)

On the flip side, learning from experience (if done properly) provides one with insights as to why a particular method doesn't work, and those insights are often useful in far broader contexts than the particular cases in which they were learned. It's like understanding the concepts of arithmetic as opposed to memorizing multiplication tables: knowing the tables by heart will speed up those specific tasks significantly, but won't handle anything that falls outside their domain. And of course, if you take the learn-from-others method to extremes, you end up with people writing code like:

counter++; // increment counter

because "I was told code should be commented".

(It's also a sad truth that too many of the elderly generation fail to continue learning themselves, and insist that data should be global, identifiers should be inscrutable abbreviations, or whatnot because "that's the way I did it, goshdarnit, so that's the way you'll do it! And get off my lawn!" Which of course leads the younger programmers to not use global data or short identifiers even when they would be useful, because they wouldn't be caught dead coding like an old fart.)

more than 4 years ago
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C Programming Language Back At Number 1

achurch Re:It takes a good programer to apprieate C (535 comments)

I suppose that's another option, but to my eye it makes the wrong line stand out. It also only works if there's an old line to be commented out in the first place, as opposed to just a new line being added, e.g.:

____//...
int a=time(NULL);
____sort(array[i]);
printf("%d\n",time(NULL)-a);
____//...

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

more than 4 years ago
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C Programming Language Back At Number 1

achurch Re:It takes a good programer to apprieate C (535 comments)

Interesting; I hadn't considered the possibility of allowing one's source code editor to enforce indentation. (Not necessarily disparaging that idea, but I keep it optional, because I've found from lengthy experience that there's never One Way that works for every possible case.) I wonder if that sort of editor was one of the factors in developing Python's syntax? Certainly, if your editor enforces certain indentation rules, then there's not much harm in making use of the information encoded by that indentation.

more than 4 years ago

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