top Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software
Software complexity follows Moore's law, an exponential law. So with a fixed set of tools, you are bound to reach a point where you can't code effectively. That's why we need either new sets of tools on a regular basis (e.g. C -> C++ -> Java ->
...) or tools that evolve over time (e.g. Lisp).
http://xlr.sourceforge.net/Con... for another take at tools that evolve over time.
top How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion
I will go against the crowd here, and say that Internet helps me with my faith. It gives me free access to the life and writings of saints. It gives me access to the original words of people like the pope, and lets me contrast them with the reporting often given in the media. It gives me a connexion to a community of Christian people. And it lets me realise that most of the counter arguments to religion are nothing new, and have been debunked by great minds centuries ago. I recently came across a site dedicated to Fatima that had me entirely revisit the (very low) standards I had for my own faith and life.
Information on the net about religion is a little like information on sex and love. Good luck trying to understand what true love is by going to porn sites! Same thing trying to understand what the true love of God is The first post I see here equates knowledge to the antichrist. It's funny, because it's typical of the derisive "information" you can find on the net, which combines some familiarity with basic concepts and utter ignorance of what's really behind them. Yes, the original sin derived from knowledge of good and evil. No, this does not mean at all that the catholic church condemns knowledge! A good lie has to be believable, and you know who the master of all lies is
I'm really sorry to hear that the original poster became an atheist by reading about religion on the Internet. He was already away from faith, since he said that he would have identified himself as religious without attending service (aka not really religious). If you don't attend service, chances are you did not personally meet God yet. For most christians, faith means a personal encounter of some sort. Trying to use internet arguments against my faith is a bit like trying to use porn as a proof that my wife's love is not real
top Does Relying On an IDE Make You a Bad Programmer?
Emacs is complicated enough that it makes you a better programmer just to use it.
top Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?
Charles Simonyi, one of the creators of Microsoft Word, went on a crusade to enable "intentional programming", which is to programming what the WYSIWYG word processor was to LaTeX. You can see what he does
here. This is a VERY hard problem to solve. Simonyi is a good programmer, has tons of money, yet this is not a battle that he has clearly won yet.
I once received a phone call at work from a Forbes journalist, saying that Simonyi had described my own pet project, XL (http://xlr.sf.net), and the associated "
Concept Programming" ideas as one of the only competitors to Intentional Programming. That was interesting, because it shows that Simonyi had "groked" what I wanted to do, despite the total lack of polish of this little project. (As an aside, if you are curious, you can see XL in action in Taodyne's software to create interactive 3D documents)
But what Simonyi saw (I believe) is that the general questioning was similar. How do we transform ideas into code. For Simonyi, this can be done with graphical tools. For XL, this can be done with simple transformations on text (more precisely, on a Lisp-like parse tree generated from the text). For example, with XL, you can implement the "if-then-else" concept using the "->" (transforms into) operator as follows:
if true then X else Y -> X if false then X else Y -> Y
With this approach, it is possible to use nice notations for arbitrary concepts. In Taodyne's products, for example, a slide is described by something like:
slide "Hello world",
* "This is a bullet point"
* "This is another one"
This pseudo-markup language is then rewritten recursively until we reach "primitive" operations, e.g. 3D graphics rendering or basic computations.
XL is based on text because a) it's easier to do than Simonyi's approach, and b) I think it is generally easier to read and write "globally". If you have a "picture" in a document, of course showing the picture tells you more than just its name. But knowing that there is a picture in a document is easy with something like
image "Woman.jpg" or (in HTML) a img tag.
As the experience with HTML or Postscript demonstrated, text or graphical does not matter much anyway. It's possible to have a text-based representation of the code that most people manipulate graphically and never need to be aware of. You can generate your HTML with Word, never need to know anything about it. It's likely the same thing is slowly happening with code as well: IDEs tend to give you more and more meta-data which is "behind" the text and helps you navigate it or code faster.
top FSF's Richard Stallman Calls LLVM a 'Terrible Setback'
One important practical freedom is that LLVM works as a library. With GCC, leveraging the GCC backend, even for an open source project such as XL (http://xlr.sf.net), was a pain. With LLVM, it was dead easy. And then, building a commercial product on top of said open-source project (http://www.taodyne.com) was legally possible, whereas with GCC it would have been challenging to say the least.
top Charlie Stross: Why Microsoft Word Must Die
possible to do better. But inventing new models is not easy, and it's an uphill battle.
top GNU Make 4.0 Released
See page 184 of the Unix Haters Handbook,
http://web.mit.edu/~simsong/www/ugh.pdf. That has to be the most obstinate bug in the world.
Helpful comments in the source code:
if (wtype == w_eol)
if (*p2 != '\0') /* There's no need to be ivory-tower about this: check for
one of the most common bugs found in makefiles... */
fatal (fstart, _("missing separator%s"),
(cmd_prefix == '\t' && !strneq (line, " ", 8))
? "" : _(" (did you mean TAB instead of 8 spaces?)"));
So they detect it, and they'd rather insult the user. But "no ivory tower", no no, we will just not parse a space when the ATT code only parsed tabs. It's a "makefile bug", not a "make bug". Sure.
And for the fun, I just tried to build make. On MacOSX, supposedly some kind of Unix that I head a few folks actually use to build stuff. Could be a prime citizen. OK, no configure out of the box with the git repository. OK. No makefile, obviously. No install script. Bogus information in the INSTALL that tells me to run nonexistent configure. Well, running the magic incantation, aclocal ; autoheader; automake ; autoconf. Still does not work, missing files like config/compile. Running automake --add-missing. Whatever. Still an error where it's looking for po/Makefile.in.in. Huh?
So to build make, I need not just make, but four other utilities and makefile input inputs? WTF?
Make alone was bad enough. But it was not good enough for portability, so autoconf was added. But it did not work so automake was added. But it did not work, so... And now at version 4.0, we have a system here you need half a dozen commands just to build the damn thing, and it still does not build out of the box. Seriously?
This whole archaic build system is doomed. Go cmake.
top What Are the Genuinely Useful Ideas In Programming?
Concept programming is the simple idea that the concept is not the code, and that being aware of the differences matters.
See http://xlr.sourceforge.net/Concept%20Programming%20Presentation.pdf for more details.
top Social Networks Force Barilla Chairman To Apologize For His Anti-gay Remarks
If you don't like it don't buy it. Enough with the stupid fucking boycotts that are nothing but attempts at silencing free speech.
You're not making any sense. A boycott is nothing but a large group of people saying "we don't like it, so we're not buying it."
But the boycott is not about a large group of people not liking the pasta, it's about a minority not liking what the CEO said, and a large group of people being manipulated into attacking him. If it was a boycott of pasta that were made with whale oil by young kids in poor countries, it would actually be a boycott of the product. But as long as the boycott is in reaction to what the CEO said, then it's a totally different matter. It's actually a blatant attempt at silencing an opinion, not an attempt at criticizing a product. And it makes the boycott totally illegitimate. If you pretend not understanding that, you are simply playing dumb.
Unfortunately, gay activists are often violent like this. They all too often launch vicious hate campaigns against anybody who simply voices vaguely anti-gay opinions. Come on, is it a victory that a guy was bashed for saying he does not want to put gay peoples in ads for... pasta?!? What is the connexion between homosexuality and pasta, seriously? Why should I have homosexuals in ads for pasta and not, say, people with blue hair or ugly people, other minorities that are all too often victimized. Why can't Barilla simply promote pasta, instead of being forced to promote homosexuality at the same time?
Let me be very clear. My own company does not intend to run ads with pasta in them. I hope that this won't cause me to be called a pastaphobic by all pasta lovers. I pray this won't cause a massive stir on twitter, a rally to arms of all the pasta lovers I insulted for not intending to prominently promote their lifestyle in my ads instead of promoting my products. And yes, I'm being sarcastic, because this is exactly what happened to the Barilla CEO.
As of me, I'm so tired of this gay activism that I will say "Go Barilla" on this one, and buy more.
top Iran Plans To Launch an 'Islamic Google Earth'
About "surrender monkeys", US citizen should remember their history.
September 1st, 1939: Germany invades Poland
September 3rd, 1939: France and UK declare war on Germany to honor their alliance with Poland, counting on their US ally to follow suit. September 5th, 1939: The US proclaims their neutrality in the conflict, leaving the road wide open to Germany.
If the US had done for France and UK what France and UK did for Poland, chances are WWII would have stopped in 1939.
top EA Repeats As 'Worst Company In America'
The fact that a
video game company was voted worst company in America is ridiculous and would be laughable if it was not so frightening. Come on! Is there nothing more serious on the planet than botching a game release? Aren't companies that fight like crazy to deprive cancer patients from inexpensive treatments a little worse? Or companies who lie to be free to play with your health in the name of profit? Or companies using child labor to lower the price of smartphones? Or simply profitable companies planning massive layoffs? Or media associations with an agenda built on layers of lies?
Apparently, for the majority of Slashdot readers, getting a perspective chip would be a good idea.
top WebKit Developers Discuss Removal of Google-Specific Code
One has to wonder.
top For Jane's, Gustav Weißkopf's 1901 Liftoff Displaces Wright Bros.
The page you are referring to is only trying to validate the testimony of various people from that time regarding one specific photo. The photo was lost, but we have lithographs that reportedly were based on it, like
this one. So the investigation is only about checking whether witnesses who claim they saw the photo at the 1906 exhibition were credible. It's not inventing the reports, it's checking them. As for the reports, Jane's writes:
Syndicated reports of Whitehead's exploits contemporaneously appeared around the globe, from Australia to Austria. One, mentioned here not entirely at random, appeared on page 3 of the Portsmouth Evening News of 21 August 1901. At the time, this was the local newspaper of Southsea resident, Fred Jane. As a man keenly interested in technology (and author of four published science fiction novels) it is difficult to imagine Jane not reading the report with utmost interest. However, it would be stretching credibility beyond its limits to suggest that this was the Genesis of the annual now achieving its hundredth volume.
In short, there are numerous articles indicating that Whitehead achieved sustained controlled flight in 1901, and demonstrated a 360 degrees turn in 1902 with a different plane. Whitehead's planes were taking off the ground under their own power, something that the Wright brothers didn't have in 1903.
So why didn't we hear more from Whitehead? It's not a conspiracy theory. To quote Jane's again:
when selecting a partner to commercialise his invention, Whitehead exhibited catastrophic misjudgement....three times over. After two false starts, his third investor proved to be the serial convicted criminal (and, subsequently, lunatic asylum patient) Herman Linde who, early in 1902, attempted to appropriate the venture and had Whitehead locked out of the factory containing his production line of between four and six aeroplanes. To recover solvency, Whitehead turned all attentions to his other great skill: the manufacture of light and powerful engines, which became much in demand by a growing number of aspiring aviators. It is as such that he has been remembered.
about a year and a half ago
top Computer History Museum Wants to Preserve Minitel History
Minitel was all about a network of services, from phone directory to Minitel Rose (ASCII pr0n). Without recreating the network, the exhibit will show dead hardware, not its original soul
about a year and a half ago
top Linus Torvalds Explodes at Red Hat Developer
Why all the swearing? Isn't Torvalds smart enough to express the exact same idea in a civil manner? To think that there was a big ruckus when
Dujardin said "Putain". about a year and a half ago
top Physicists still confused over how to interpret Quantum Mechanics
Yes, I think physics is confused. My own interpretation is that what is missing is
a good definition of what measurements are. See also the more technical formulation. about a year and a half ago
top Why Hasn't 3D Taken Off For the Web?
Taodyne delivers Tao, a 3D dynamic document description language which is quite a departure from HTML + WebGL for building 3D contents.
Based on our experience, here are some of the key attributes you need for good 3D to take off on the web:
* Device independence, like PDF or HTML. 3D does not just mean 3D models, but also depth, stereoscopy. You don't want to have to care about the many 3D technologies out there, active, passive, auto-stereoscopic, holographic, whatever. Tao contents adapts transparently, and will look exactly the same on a 2D or 3D display, including 3D without glasses from Alioscopy, Tridelity or Dimenco/Philips. Of course, it degrades gracefully on a 2D screen just like PDF degrades gracefully on a black-and-white printer.
* Integration of text, 2D graphics, images, movies and 3D objects in the same 3D scene. We are very far from that in HTML + WebGL, where there is practically zero integration between 2D and 3D contents. In Tao, 2D graphics and text obey the same rotations, translation or scaling as 3D objects.
* Being able to mix pre-rendered / filmed 3D movies with real-time 3D contents. In Tao, you can have 3D movie appear on the screen of 3D model of a TV, with text on top of it, all rendered in real-time. And that scene will show correctly even on an Alioscopy screen in glasses-free 3D...
* The ability to directly read 3D assets and not just 2D assets. This is almost there for WebGL with Three.js, but still very far from the ease of use of the video tag. By contrast, in Tao, displaying a model that moves with my mouse is nothing more than:
import ObjectLoader light 0 light_position 1000, 1000, 1000 rotatey 0.1 * mouse_x object "MyModel.3ds"
While the Taodyne 3D dynamic document description language is not available in browsers yet, we clearly see what we did as something that could be part of HTML6. We built it with that in mind. It's text based, and you can reference an URL in images, movies, etc. Actually, we would like nothing better than open-source the whole thing and integrate it with the WebKit, we just don't have the resources to do that at the moment. But if a good soul at Google or Apple is reading this, we can talk.
about a year and a half ago
top Pope To Resign Citing Advanced Age
I choose to believe that a good God would not have allowed WWII to go on...and would have given Hitler the flu or something similar
Wow, is that really your ideal god? Some entity punishing people who don't do what he wants? "Do no evil or you'll get the flu"? How do you envision free-will and true love in your North Korean universe? Would you rather have a god who is "Word" and shares his will as knowledge, or a god who is "Sword" and shares his will with brute force?
This issue of free will is addressed as early as Genesis in the Bible. The story of Adam and Eve explains that we are truly free to reject God (something that according to the scripture is not true for all of God's creatures), but also that this freedom has consequences. This was true for Hitler and those who followed us. This was also true for the positive consequences of all WWII soldiers who offered their lives (and too often lost them) for others that they didn't even know.
about a year and a half ago
top The History of Visual Development Environments
I've always been quite puzzled about the use of "Visual" or "Graphical" for this kind of "mostly text with some rectangles thrown-in for good measure" IDEs. Besides being bit-mapped, there's nothing really graphical about them.
Want something visual? Try this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apy5csu0DkE. Or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paJG7Fy5Few. Or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4a0jcrDgK0. Or the amazing stuff on this page: http://www.iquilezles.org/live/index.htm. Now, that's visual ;-) about a year and a half ago
top The History of Visual Development Environments
The problem is that we say "Lisp has macro" when we should really say "Lisp has meta-programming". And that, C or C++ don't have.
about a year and a half ago