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The IDE As a Bad Programming Language Enabler

javaxjb Re:Word (586 comments)

By lengthening the round trip time from coding to compiling you're decreasing the rate of repetition (and success). It would be better to get the fundamentals of the language down first and then work on scenarios where you might want to make patches on a remote console-based system. Then go through some exercises where the students patch bugs using a console-based editor and compile/build commands.

about a year and a half ago

First iOS Malware Discovered In Apple's App Store

javaxjb Re:No doubt... (171 comments)

Apple also has banned Pulitzer-prize winning artists from their store as well.

A decision that was reversed on its merits as noted here... and now you know the rest of the story.

about 2 years ago

What's To Love About C?

javaxjb Re:because (793 comments)

AS/400 (or iSeries or whatever IBM's name of the year is) can have null pointers that are a negative offset (but so far as I ever saw, only for programs running in batch and never interactively). So, if you try some trick comparing current pointer location as beyond a prior pointer location to track a locations in a data area to save an explicit check for 0 it will work every time interactively and randomly cause a null pointer exception in batch (something I had never noticed in K&R until someone pointed it out to me). I might have the details slightly wrong. That was over a decade ago and I've only written a few simple C utilities since then.

about 2 years ago

Taking Issue With Claims That American Science Education is 'Dismal'

javaxjb Re:Politically motivated article (564 comments)

I was puzzled by their reference to a study placing the cost of K - 12 education at the second highest at $91,700 per student (that is a cumulative cost, not annual). The study coves ages 6 - 15, but states K - 12, which would typically be 5 - 18. A look at the PDF, suggests that the headline is just the 6 - 15 age group as it reports, "A high school graduate in 2009 had $149,000 spent on his 13 year public school education." It also states that the US pays more for only middle of the road results that have not improved over the years. I'm assuming on a relative basis with the other countries, since there is an overall inflation of test scores over time, As I read it, the study the article cites actually contradicts the conclusions in the article.

As an interesting aside, that cost of public school education is a lower annual rate than we pay for daycare (and our daycare costs are lower than average in our area). Considering that other studies have shown that earlier education opportunies (like good daycare) and supplemental learning over the summer months improve scores, I would suggest that NCLB is a failure precisely because it puts the emphasis on the wrong things. Why not focus on year-round learning (not necessarly more school days, but shorter breaks 3 or 4 times per year? And maybe work on getting more kids in a learning environment before Kindergarten (especially those at risk for underperformance).

more than 2 years ago

Is Gamification a Good Motivator?

javaxjb Re:Not that useful. (290 comments)

According to Punished by Rewards , which cites many studies, it can also be counterproductive, especially in work that requires creativity or teamwork. The only creativity it appears to encourage long term is cheating. It's short term productive at best and long term counterproductive at worst (here's looking at you Wall Street).

more than 2 years ago

Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg

javaxjb Re:Not bloody likely (738 comments)

There's not a single programmer in our department under 40 and most are over 50. Most who left retired. It helps to work for a company that uses retention as a performance benchmark.

more than 2 years ago

The Coming Tech Battle Over 'Smart TVs'

javaxjb Re:the smart TV will save me some $$$ (314 comments)

The only wired connection to our house is the electricity. We pay under $300 per year for municipal wireless and watch TV through OTA HD or our internet connected devices (Mac Mini on the main set and Apple TV in the basement). Several years ago we were paying Comcast over $1400 per year for less throughput (purely internet, no other services). Unfortunately, the cable companies have been very successful at quashing municipal internet in most municipalities.

more than 2 years ago

Will Apple Let Siri and Apps Connect?

javaxjb Re:Word of warning (185 comments)

Too late. She already reported me to the Union of Intelligent Agents after I asked her (for the third time) to open the pod bay doors.

more than 2 years ago

Is Identity Theft Overwhelming the IRS?

javaxjb Re:Outmoded thinking (85 comments)

Of course it's streamlined assuming that the switch includes moving to taxes on sales (the only rational approach). The average number of employees I've seen stats on show around 15 to 20 employees per business, so the mega corporations are already a minor factor. Moreover, most of those businesses are already paying sales taxes and are definitely tracking sales, so it would add little overhead to the business. In fact, it would probably reduce the burden to both the business and the government when you consider the tracking and filing of at least three different payroll components (withholding, social security, medicare and many other potential modifiers such as FSAs, 401ks, SIMPLE plans). Managing changing withholding allowances would also go away. As for your Amazon example, that will not be a "typical" case and if the regulations were sensible (I realize that's a stretch) taxes would come into play for the tangible product or reasonable proxy thereof (printing and distribution of the product) where such a thing exists (consultants might need to be handled differently). Even at the individual level (for the self employed) computing and filing sales much simpler than payroll taxes (I've spent over half my career self employed and would much prefer the change to sales tax).

more than 3 years ago

News Corp's The Daily Is Doomed

javaxjb Re:This could backfire, Steve (246 comments)

Perhaps Apple is overstreching a bit too far here; I for one think the backlash isn't worth that 30% cut.

Some of the biggest expenses in publishing are PPP: paper, printing, and postage. For publications sold at newsstands there is also waste (unsold copies). Apple's 30% cut could easily be less than postage/delivery alone depending on the revenue model. Typically most of the revenue comes from advertising, so 30% (assuming subscription alone) could be seen as a huge bargain.

more than 3 years ago

Internet Explorer 9 Caught Cheating In SunSpider

javaxjb Re:Embarassing? (360 comments)

but as a whole, [Microsoft's] P/E is better than Apple's (even if they do have a lower market cap).

Better is in the eye of the beholder. Apple's earnings growth rate is much higher than Microsoft's. Since Q1 2006, Apple has averaged a nearly 62% earnings growth rate (and last year was almost 155%). Over the same period, Microsoft had an average earnings growth rate a of 23% (55% last year).

Investors give a higher P/E to companies with higher sustained growth (so long as nothing brings doubt about the future prospects of growth). Those earnings could be paid out as dividends, and thus the investor "owns" a stake in those earnings (plus any cash, property, etc less debt) proportional to their stock holdings and thus will pay more in order to make more. If Apple can sustain that average growth rate for another 5+ years, the current P/E will look like a bargain. In a better economy (less perceived uncertainty about future earnings), Microsoft's P/E might look more like Apple's (but then Apple's would be higher than it is now, too).

more than 3 years ago

Proving 0.999... Is Equal To 1

javaxjb Re:This is second place (1260 comments)

That's why they use BCD or some other type of decimal encoding. Spreadsheets can be a problem, though. I remember (back in the early days of PCs) trying to explain to a financial analyst that there wasn't a bug in his spreadsheet when the cross checks on his calculations where coming up with a (very small) inequality.

more than 3 years ago

To Ballmer, Grabbing iPad's Market Is 'Job One Urgency'

javaxjb Re:I don't get it. (764 comments)

Really? Ask Wordstar, Wordperfect, Lotus 1-2-3, dBaseIII, Netscape, and countless other companies what fat lot of good the early lead did for them?

I would argue that most of those companies blew their opportunities by failing to adapt to rapidly changing technologies. Indeed, almost all of them failed at the transition from text-based to graphics-based interfaces. Netscape, however, had an issue with a competitor that could throw enormous money developing a browser that it could then give away. One could say that Microsoft learned that style matters (as punctuated by Apple's reemergence). What it also shows is that disruptive technologies can dethrone the king if the king isn't paying attention.

more than 3 years ago

Long In Development, Toshiba 'SCiB' Battery Debuts

javaxjb Re:"Toyota" really? (284 comments)

No, he used the plural form of the noun "Japanese" which is the same as the singular form -- look it up.

about 4 years ago

FCC Asks You To Test Your Broadband Speeds

javaxjb Re:I bet - ISP will "improve" speeds for that side (454 comments)

If history is any guide, Comcast certainly will. I had business class service which through a succession of mergers and reallocation was provided by Time Warner, AT&T and finally Comcast. Download throughput was great. I could download Linux CDs in 8 minutes or so -- at least until Comcast came along and throughput dropped dramatically (none of this via torrents) and I just assumed the remote sites were overburdened. But, I could never find alternates that gave better performance. I tried a few performance testing sites and the benchmarks were showing everything was up to spec. I eventually decided to try the municipal wireless service (at a paltry 1-2M cap) because it would save me about $80 per month for throughput that would hopefully match what Comcast actually provided. I ran simultaneous tcpdump logs of downloads from the same remote servers and found that the wireless real-world throughput was almost double Comcast's. But, when I went to the testing sites Comcast was something like 8x faster than wireless. Needless to say, I canceled Comcast service. This was a few years ago, so things may have changed (but I'm not going to switch back to find out).

more than 4 years ago

Micro-Black Holes Make Poor Planet Killers

javaxjb Re:Evaporate? (314 comments)

I liked the part in TFA about parallel universes leaking gravity. I'm not worried about MBHs sucking up the mass of the earth. I'm afraid they will be zombie black holes that eat branes.

more than 4 years ago

Making a Child Locating System

javaxjb Re:Errr, what? (1092 comments)

The delayed arrival time from bounces off even very close objects can have interesting effects. For some real fun, find a reasonably long path (a half mile or so) below grade with concrete and or stone walls and lots of buildings. Now, loop back and forth several dozen times and download the track to your computer. It'll make you look like Superman jumping across (and into) the trench and in and out of buildings.

more than 5 years ago



Possible Retrial in Landmark Music Sharing Case

javaxjb javaxjb writes  |  more than 6 years ago

javaxjb (931766) writes "According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the judge in the case which convicted a Brainerd, Minnesota, woman found guilty of infringement for file sharing may grant a new trial. He believes he made a "manifest error of law" when instructing the jury. Also, according to the article, "the judge also suggested that 'interested parties' submit friend-of-the-court briefs by the same deadline". Queue up, everyone!"

javaxjb javaxjb writes  |  more than 7 years ago

javaxjb (931766) writes "AppleInsider summarizes Walt Mossberg's joint interview with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at Wednesday night's D5 Conference. Perhaps the most intriguing tidbit comes with Gate's reason for putting Mac development on the back burner after Job's departure from Apple, "Leaving the company had stalled Mac development and given little reason for Microsoft to continue writing apps." The more cynical might wonder whether perhaps Microsoft was withholding development dollars in retaliation for lack good ideas to borrow."


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