Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!



Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

famebait Re:Google Picasa 3 (259 comments)

My only quibble with Picasa is that it the Mac version doesn't have proper retina support yet (which you REALLY want in a photo app). I'm sure it will be fixed eventually.

But otherwise Picasa is fantastic. Very good at using the actual files and filesystem rather than a proprietary database.

Whatever you chose, make sure it encodes metadata IN the actual file or filename, so you can shove a subset to whatever other app or platform you like and it will tag along with no process required. Given the choice, in-file is better than filname, so that sync tools can match up different revisions of the same image.

about a month and a half ago

Will This Flying Car Get Crowdfunded?

famebait Re:Wrong question (157 comments)

Oh, they make a profit all right. By taking the money and then not making any flying cars.

about 9 months ago

European Court of Justice Strikes Down Data Retention Law

famebait Re:Almost makes me want to live there (77 comments)

Nope, the EU 'government' created the damn thing in the first place. The EU *court* struck it down.

OTOH, at least the whole scheme was out in the open, as opposed to the plain illegal surveillance in the US.

OTTH, who knows how many of the national goverrments are doing that as well.
There is also the neat trick (used by the UK among others) of turning a blind eye to, say, US surveillance of european citizens in return for access to the data. That way noone is offiically spying on their own citizens, but the net result is the same.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

famebait Re:Minimise state (373 comments)

For various reasons, functional langugaes are not always a realistic option in you project (especially if you're not starting from scratrch, but yes: there is a lot more to learn from functional programming than lambda-envy.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

famebait Re:Minimise state (373 comments)

No, I love objects.
But language features should be used where they bring value, not randomly because they're there.

First of all, I have no problem with immutable stuff, I don't even consider that state.

Mutable object state is fine too, as long as it in fact reflects the behaviour you're modelling. But it should be pared down to that. Not absolutely religiously, but it is a good ideal to strive towards, right up there with high cohesion and low coupling.

Many litter their objects with instance variables that do *not* model the core state of the object at all, but rather serve as a 'nifty' way to pass data to functions with less typing. This makes the object more stateful, which just makes life more difficult all around: you need to know what has happened before to predict what a function will do, and so you depend on many more places in the code to be certain that any one piece does what it should. The logic becomes less readable, more bug prone, harder to alter without introducing bugs, and harder to verify with tests. And that's not even going into thread safety and parallelization.

Fighting all this is not fighting object orientation. If anything, some solution approaches can be considered *more* object oriented: if that param-list starts getting too long, rather than abuse instance fields as lazy params, group the params into sensible value objects, and you may find the new abstraction yields additional benefits: an avenue for better expressing function and intent, implementing validation and constraints, encasulating calculations and query logic from the client code where it only constitutes noise, into self-explanatory functions on the data object.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

famebait Re:Minimise state (373 comments)

Caching is an optimisation that does indeed introduce state, and all the problems that comes with it in full.

Like all optimisation, it constitutes buying performance in exchange for increased complexity (of some sort). The cost of complexity is high, and the tradeoff should be qualified by a solid cost-benefit anaylis, and by extension pertain to a demonstrably real performance problem.

That said, I certainly accept that 'true' changing state can be part of a good model, and I don't consider that caching. Just keep it under control, make sure it actually delivers value, and don't sprinkle it around lightly.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

famebait Re:Comment your damn code (373 comments)

I was intentionally overstating it a bit.

There are of course cases where comments are warranted, and properly justified optimizations may be just such a case. The others also usually fall under the broader umbrella of "exceptions" to how things might normaly be done. Just don't use it as an excuse to make the code less clear than it could be given the perfomance constraints, and beware of premature optimisation, which is a prime cause of brittle and unreadable code, with frequently no real benefit to offset the cost.
And always consider if you could say some of it with code too.

As a general rule, though, I still think it is wise to keep in mind that since the comment is not executed, there is no guarantee that it reamains correct, if ever it was.
I sometimes make a hobby out of trying to find at least one error in every comment I see. It doesn't always pan out, but tre percentagewhere it does is both staggering and frightening - I warmly reccommend the practice to everyone.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

famebait Minimise state (373 comments)

You always have to keep in mind that code will be changed by serveal peopale, and your 'elegant' intention may not be understood or followed through by the next guy. So go for simple rules of thumb that not only keep your code readable and clear, but can accommodate future change while ramaining so.

My number one rule for keeping code both readable and robust is this: Reduce state.

I don't mean everything needs to be purely functional, but consider state a general liability to both correctness, readability, testability and maintainability. Less is more..
* Whatever state you have should be focused and serve to explain/model the actual problem domain, not just 'keep stuff for later'.
* Keep state as local as possible - most code is litered with instance variables that should have been locals and params.
* Just because an object _can_ bundle state with its functions doesn't mean it _should_.
* If it can be done in a static method and still make sense, do so.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

famebait Re:Comment your damn code (373 comments)

All comments are lies.
Write readable *code*

about 10 months ago

Stephen Hawking: 'There Are No Black Holes'

famebait Re:But it is horribly wrong anyway. (458 comments)

Who said anything about GPS? There there is plenty of stuff in geosynchronous orbit that need a clock accuracy that requires taking relativity into account, and has been from way before GPS, regardless of where the first experiments to demonstrate the effect took place.

In any case, proof at NEO invalidates the newtonian prediction, and I know of no model that predicts that the problem would exist at NEO but go away at higher altitudes.

1 year,1 day

Stephen Hawking: 'There Are No Black Holes'

famebait Re:But it is horribly wrong anyway. (458 comments)

You're pretty sure. Oh, that's settled then. Don't bother googling it or anything, it's not like anyone actullay knows this stuff or publishes anything about it.

FYI: Merely the altitude of, say, geostationary orbit implies a potential energy that means you have to account for time dilation if you want to stay in sync with clocks on the ground. This was proven experimentally decades ago, and predicted way before that.

1 year,4 days

Russia Backs Sending Top Students Abroad With a Catch

famebait Re:Seems reasonable (167 comments)

This type of catch in itself is not that uncommon or interesting.

The interesting questions are "why so harsh" and mor importantly:
"why now?" and?

The answer is that educated russians with marketable degrees are fleeing the country by the boatload to escape what Putin is doing to Russia.
Eroding freedoms, isolationalist policies, state-sponsored nationalism, rampant corruption, tolerance of violent crime, and these things in turn scaring away foreign investors - to an intelligent, educated young adult this easily adds up to "not the place to build a future".

1 year,11 days

SteamOS Will Be Available For Download On December 13

famebait Re:GNOME? (211 comments)

Same here. What I need is a sharp axe to split firewood with. Why would I use a console OS for that? This product is clearly worthless.

about a year ago

The Science Behind the InfinitEye's Panoramic Virtual Reality Headset

famebait Re:Out of date (42 comments)

this has far more potential

If immersive efefct i what you'tre going for, the potential for this technique is in fact severly limited.
First let's strip away some marketing mumbo jumbo:

The "projecting directly onto the retina" pitch is bull.
Unless you want to venture into eye surgery, you can't bypass the optics of the cornea etc ("lazers" or no "lazers"), so any light looking like it comes from a particular direction has to actually arrive from roughly that direction. It follows that and some part of the chain has to physically cover at least as much of the field of view as it looks like to the viewer. If you're close enough to the cornea that doesn't have to be very big, but unless you're willing to fix your gaze in a single direction and shave your eyelashes, there are practical limits to how far this goes.

The "no screen" pitch is also bull:
The DLP-chip is a screen just fine, just a really small, really bright, reflective one. Optics can make it look bigger, but this approach doesn't really scale to anything beyond a binocular-like FOV as long as the screen/chip remains stationary.

Either you need a bigger screen, or you need the small screen to follow your pupil around as your eyes move (really fast).
The latter is likely to take longer to become practical than the surgical option, so for the next few decades, it's going to be external screens of some sort for most of us.

That said, doubly curved displays, more advanced optics and futher miniaturisation can greatly improve FOV, size and quality compared to the cluncky rigs we see todaty, but don't expect anything beyond "really clunky ski goggles", even in the long term.

about a year ago

Mystery Humans Spiced Up Ancients' Sex Lives

famebait Re:Human Relatives (238 comments)

Nope, survival is just one means among several.
What evolution is really all about is propagation of DNA.

Traits can rise to prominence or dwindle into nothingness without affecting survival at all, if they affect reproductive success in some other way.

A gene doesn't even have to be reproduced via the same individual to support its own propagation:
In multicellular organisms like ourselves, millions of cells self-sacrifice every day, having offloaded the task of propagating their genes to the other clones in in the same colony (i.e. body). Insect colonies display similar constructs at the level of complex individuals, to the point of the majority of individuals being intrinsically sterile.

Humans and other social animals display social contracts that are much weaker, but which still strongly affect behaviour, and probably for much the same reasons.
If humans were truly as asocial as lone-hunter-type animals, you and I would be out feeding or sleeping, not hanging out here on slashdot trying to impress each other with our insights.

about a year ago

UN Mounts Asteroid Defense Plan Following Chelyabinsk Meteor

famebait Re:It begins (163 comments)

That's what they want you to think.

about a year ago

Finnish Team Makes Diabetes Vaccine Breakthrough

famebait Re:progress is good (202 comments)

Suomin still has to sweden the deal with some cash. How el-scandianavia-ford it?
Suomi the money!

about a year ago

Death of Trees Correlated With Human Cardiovascular & Respiratory Disease

famebait Re:Before assuming "they didn't control for" (152 comments)

Granted, repvik goes a bit too far. The claim of controlling for all factors remains irrevocably bunk, but that does not in itself mean the study is not good enough - it merely reflects poorly on the source of that claim. Which brings us to the crux: who is that source? Does the actual publication make this extraordinary claim, or is it merely a perversion introduced by someone else along the chain from there and to this comment?

about a year and a half ago

DARPA Tackles Machine Learning

famebait Oblig... (95 comments)

Even a team of specially-trained machine learning experts makes only painfully slow progress due to the lack of tools to build these systems

Why not just teach a machine to do it?

about 2 years ago



Poll: Do you worry about the singularity?

famebait famebait writes  |  about 2 months ago

famebait (450028) writes "- No, it's bollocks
- It is inevitable eventually, but so are lots of things
- Sure, I expect it to become a real problem in my lifetime
- It is already happening
- No, it'll be fun.
- The singularity should worry about me"


famebait has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?