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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

ahoffer0 White s p a c e is magic! (415 comments)

I found someone else who things so too: http://carolinefrenette.com/th...

Ok. Serious now. The white space debate has always intrigued me. I've been people really, really mad about attaching significance to white space. To some it is heresy. Personally, I don't care if the block delimiters are implied by non-visible characters or made explicit by visible characters. It reminds me of the Big-Endian/Little-Endian debate between Lilliput and Blefuscu.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

ahoffer0 Re:R is better for non-programmers (143 comments)

I agree that R is better for non-programmers. R is a tool you can use to answer all kinds of questions. It is popular economists, psychologists, mathematicians and people who need a computer to get their work done.

I'm more of a computer person. R drives me nuts. To me, R feels like a hodge-podge of features that aggregated together over decades. Python is different. It has a Benevolent Dictator For Life and it feels cohesive. If Python is the Parthenon, then R is the Grand Bazaar. Your individual mileage may vary.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

ahoffer0 Re: Julia (language)? (143 comments)

I'd recommend Julia for traditional scientific computing- things based on continuous math like systems of equations. Julia's sweet spot is similar to MATLAB.

While the R has a lot of similarities to MATLAB, but it "feels" like it is aimed at the stats & machine learning user.

about a month ago
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Computational Thinking: AP Computer Science Vs AP Statistics?

ahoffer0 Re:What about statistics vs calculus (155 comments)

I took trigonometry, calculus, and (later) differential equations and vector calculus. Integrating sin(2x) did not contribute enough to by education to be worth the effort.

As a computer programmer, I need discrete math for my job. (The only computer people I know using continuous math for their day jobs are in HPC /scientific computing). As a citizen, voter, and member of society, I need probability, statistics, and a good understanding of logical fallacies.

I'm just another jerk with an opinion, but I'd drop the trig and calculus curriculum in favor of discrete math and stats in secondary education. In post-secondary education, I like another poster's idea to teach calculus in the context of other disciplines (i.e. physics)... at the undergrad level for non-math majors. Or better, I'd run a controlled experiment with random sampling to determine the effects of a curriculum change.

about a month ago
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Could High Bay-Area Prices Make Sacramento the Next Big Startup Hub?

ahoffer0 I've been there (190 comments)

Davis is an agricultural school (a good one at that). Sacramento itself is a tough sell. It is a state capital that descended on a region of cowboy wannabes.

about 2 months ago
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WebKit Unifies JavaScript Compilation With LLVM Optimizer

ahoffer0 Re:The real question. (170 comments)

What idiot would want JavaScript for application development?

Me. I am one of the idiots. I like prototypes over classes and like I like first-class functions. I'm in good company. Other idiots include Google, DataHero, Facebook, Dow Jones, and Uber.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Minimum Programming Competence In Order To Get a Job?

ahoffer0 location, location (466 comments)

I live in the home Amazon and Microsoft. The region is starving for more developers, but it's very hard to land a job. I'm not a prodigy; just a solid programmer, with a Masters. It took it a couple of dozen interviews and a year to get a job. It is going great. Companies here compete to see who can be the pickiest. I heard some one brag once that they flew in half a dozen candidates from Sweden and that only one Swede made the cut.

So where are you looking for work? Every region has its own peculiarities.

about 3 months ago
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Programmer Privilege

ahoffer0 For thousands of years... (353 comments)

This is a specific example of a more general phenomenon. Why do people where business suits? It is so they look the part. Why do kings hold an orb and scepter? ... so they look the part.

Why do I say 'I have some experience with that.' When what I really mean is 'I read a Slashdot post about that.'? It is so I sound the part.

about 6 months ago
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Users Revolt Over Yahoo Groups Update

ahoffer0 The Nineties are calling... (331 comments)

They say they they are sitting right next to Yahoo in the conference room, just across the table from Netscape and SGI. They are telling me that any Yahoo walking the streets in 2013 is most certainly an imposter, and possibly a time-traveling zombie. Whatever it is, they recommend a bullet to its head, just to be safe.

Hold on.
My teenagers are asking me "what is a yahoo?"
It is a good thing I have a copy of Gulliver's Travels on the book shelf for just such emergencies.

about a year ago
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Lord Blair Calls for Laws To Stop 'Principled' Leaking of State Secrets

ahoffer0 Wrong side of history (395 comments)

Maybe I'm just sensitized to these kinds of headlines, but it sure seems like many, many officials in the US and UK governments will go to their graves without every having realized they were on the wrong side of history.

To be fair, those same officials would probably think the same of me. Or they would, if they gave a rat's ass about what ordinary people like myself think. The treatment of Snowden and Manning leads me to believe they have no interest in the opinion of hoi polloi. On the contrary, our officials seem little put out that they should have to answer to the unwashed masses.

It is sad to think that Obama's legacy as the first black President and as a health care reformer is being overshadowed by the institutionalization of the surveillance state and the persecution of those would challenge it.

about a year ago
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Security Community Raises $12k For Researcher Snubbed By Facebook

ahoffer0 Re:Of the 12,000 (95 comments)

Even $1 of "screw you, Facebook" money must taste indescribably sweet.

about a year ago
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US States Banned From Exporting Trash To China Are Drowning In Plastic

ahoffer0 Re:Externalized costs (427 comments)

I lived in Switzerland for a few years. To dispose of your trash, you bought specially marked garbage bags at a store. The cost of the bag included the cost of waste disposal. Fill up the bag with trash, leave it out on trash day, and it was hauled it away. There was an incentive to recycle because you did not need to place your recyclables in a trash bag.

In fact, if you put recyclables inside of your trash bag, you were mailed a fine for putting them in the wrong stream. (I never did understand how they knew who was responsible, but they did).

about a year ago
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CenturyLink's Nationwide Outage Affects Millions

ahoffer0 Re:Once upon a qwest (105 comments)

I saved a bundle switching from Comcast to Century Link. I get 8 Mbps/down which is fine for my Netflix and other streaming needs. If the price goes up, I'll just switch back to Comcast on one of their introductory plans. Then again, in a year from now, it is likely that HSPA+ and LTE wireless broadband will be competitive with Comcast and Century link in terms of price for my personal bandwidth needs.

It's a good time to be a customer.

PS: I'm lucky. My Century Link connection is still up.

about a year ago
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A Case For a Software Testing Undergrad Major

ahoffer0 Re:Author doesn't understand what college ed is ab (220 comments)

Amen. There were engineers before there were accredited engineering programs. There were business professionals before there were business degrees. How was that even possible? Universities taught students to think well. After that, anything was possible.

about a year ago
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A Case For a Software Testing Undergrad Major

ahoffer0 Re:Population control (220 comments)

There are different personality types. Throughout history there have always been inspectors or some others doing quality control. As a design/dev type, it would drive me nuts. But that's just me.

about a year ago
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Seattle Bar Owner Bans Google Glass, In Advance

ahoffer0 Re:The 5 Point (471 comments)

They pour strong drinks at the 5 Point. It's great dive bar, much safer than the Twilight Exit and more poorly lit than The Canterbury. And it's pretty small. I'm more than a little surprised the they made it onto Slashdot. I guess anything can happen when social media is involved.

about a year ago
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Tech Leaders Encourage Teaching Schoolkids How To Code

ahoffer0 Thanks Mark (265 comments)

Zuckerberg needs programmers like the LA Lakers need basketball players.

about a year and a half ago
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Ron Paul Asks UN For Help Geting Control of RonPaul.com Domain From Fans

ahoffer0 Re:Welcome to Capitalism (611 comments)

The irony drips onto my tongue like drops of sweet honey. Best of all, irony is free.
In all seriousness, $250K sounds like a fair deal. He should just pony up the scratch.

about a year and a half ago
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Richard Stallman's Solution To 'Too Big To Fail'

ahoffer0 Receivership (649 comments)

This is an orderly process to deal with financial institutions that have to be bailed out. They are put into receivership. As the lender of last resort, the government makes good on a company's debt, but puts the company into receivership. The company's assets are sold to pay down the debt. Effectively, the company can be broken up and its pieces sold. Trading of the company's stock is frozen and the stock becomes effectively worthless (provided the amount of the bailout exceeded company's assets).

This is how the dissolution of Washing Mutual was handled. Unfortunately, all of the company's assets were sold to JP Morgan Chase, another to-big-to-fail institution. IMHO, Washington Mutual should have been broken into pieces, and the pieces sold to community and regional banks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receivership

about a year and a half ago

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