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'Just Let Me Code!'

jeremyp Re:So what is the solution? (285 comments)

The perennial joke is that EMACS is a great operating system, all it needs is a decent text editor. However, that's really unfair, you can get a vi emulation module for it now.

41 minutes ago

How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

jeremyp Re:Google already has the technology to fix this (132 comments)

Since Google makes no money from the people who do the searching but lots of money from advertisers, I'd question your definition of usefulness, at least from the point of view of Google and its customers.

about two weeks ago

Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

jeremyp Re:Python for learning? Good choice. (415 comments)

The problem is that different humans have different ideas about exactly what white space to use and where. For instance, for brace indentation, I prefer Allman style whereas most people go with some variant of K&R style.

The other problem is that white space is actually invisible to humans and glancing at a piece of code that is indented, a we cannot tell how many white space characters are there. Think of make files where it matters if the indent is made of tab or space characters. For human readability, the number and type of white space characters (including line feeds) should make no difference to the meaning of the code. If you need to enforce a project standard, there are tools that can do that and that obviate the source of errors that you think Python eliminates.

about two weeks ago

Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

jeremyp Re:another language shoved down your throat (415 comments)

I disagree. When somebody is learning how to program, you wan the language to be as easy to use as possible. You want to be able to solve real problems with a minimum amount of "boiler plate" and extraneous concepts.

For instance, in Java, you cannot write anything without having a class, so you have to introduce classes and methods (including static ones) to the beginner right at the start. Whereas with Python, you can pretty much type statements that do things straight away.

Also, you want the error messages to be simple and descriptive in terms that a beginner can understand. So when you index off the end of an array, you want the computer to print an error message that says "you've indexed off the end of the array", not to silently scribble over the process's memory.

This is not to say that Java and C don't have their place, they are just less suitable as a first teaching language than Python.

about two weeks ago

The World's Best Living Programmers

jeremyp Re:Obvious (285 comments)

Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote the first BASIC interpreter for a microcomputer. Of course before they did that, they had to write an emulator for the target hardware since they didn't have an Altair. It's not enough to put him in the top ten, but it's unfair today he was no great programmer.

about two weeks ago

The World's Best Living Programmers

jeremyp Re:No exhaustive.. (285 comments)

Nobody from the OpenSSL project then...

about two weeks ago

On 4th of July:

jeremyp Re:5th November... (340 comments)

But he knew when the best time for fireworks was.

about two weeks ago

ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers

jeremyp Re:What the fuck is this thing? (69 comments)

The segmented memory model was actually more flexible than the flat memory model, because even individual processes could manipulate their own segment registers to address the full 1 MB range.

Should really be written

The segmented memory model was actually less flexible than the flat memory model, because individual processes had to manipulate their own segment registers to address the full 1 MB range.

There's no doubt that, from the point of view of a programmer, the flat memory model is simpler and more flexible. You only have to see the kludges that 8086 C compilers introduced to make the full 1 Megabyte available to C programmers to understand that. Also check out every operating system, designed for the 386 and up which immediately set all the segment registers to point to segments that were 4Gb in size and that started at address 0.

about three weeks ago

Julian Assange Plans Modeling Debut At London Fashion Show

jeremyp Re:Hey... (173 comments)

Well, for a start, its address is

Flat 3b, 3 Hans Crescent, London SW1X 0LS

In Wikipedia, it is described as "a suite of rooms occupying part of the ground floor of the building, which has been described as an "apartment block".

It's likely not very big. It would probably be quite comfortable for Assange if he didn't have to share it with the Ecuador diplomatic staff.

about three weeks ago

Turing Test Passed

jeremyp Re:Turing Test Failed (432 comments)

People were fooled (really, really fooled) by Eliza way back in the day. It doesn't mean squat.

No. They weren't. I speak as somebody who's had a go with Eliza and you could spot that it was a computer program in a couple of minutes if you wanted to. It's more likely that people were suspending their disbelief than really fooled.

about a month and a half ago

UK Ballistics Scientists: 3D-Printed Guns Are 'of No Use To Anyone'

jeremyp Re:But... (490 comments)

And, in the decades since England banned guns, violent crime has gotten much worse.

This is false. Violent crime is on a downward trend in the UK.

You are arguing that the USA is more violent than the UK for cultural reasons and yet you think the answer is to make lethal weapons more available in this violent society. That doesn't make sense at all.

Ban guns, or at least put restrictions on where they can be carried and how they must be stored and you will at least see several hundred fewer people being shot accidentally each year.

about 2 months ago

The Andromeda Galaxy Just Had a Bright Gamma Ray Event

jeremyp Re:Wound in the Force (129 comments)

They travel at the speed of plot.

about 2 months ago

Is It Really GPS If It Doesn't Use Satellites?

jeremyp Re:Well ... (298 comments)

Yes, you're right but it doesn't matter. When Galileo comes on line, people will still call it GPS just like (in the UK at least) people talk about hoovers (vacuum cleaners), biros (ball point pens), podcasts (audio broadcast for downloading) and heroin (diacetylmorphine).

about 2 months ago

The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC

jeremyp Re:Stronger? (262 comments)

Because you still need ordinary brakes to bring the car to a complete stop.

about 2 months ago

The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC

jeremyp Re:Killowatts are power, not energy (262 comments)

Regenerative braking systems work by having a generator driven by the wheels that drives an electrical load - typically a battery charger. Charging the battery generates a current through the generator making it act like a motor but in the opposite direction to the way the wheels are making it spin.

Clearly storing charge in a battery is useless in a car whose only motive power is a rocket engine, so we can do away with that. We can just put a wire across the terminals of the generator. The generator itself can incorporate the axle as one of its parts, so it seems like it might work.

Of course, the wire will get very hot, so some form of cooling arrangement will be needed and since the wire is a continuous loop that goes through the generator, the cooling arrangement needs to keep the generator cool too.

Also, regenerative braking effect drops off at low speeds, so you'll need some ordinary disc brakes to bring the car to a complete halt.

This is all looking very complicated and heavy compared to the simple solution of metal discs and callipers.

about 2 months ago

EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

jeremyp Re:Lol... (329 comments)

Do you understand that the film would never have been made at all, if lots of people hadn't been prepared to pay money to see it?

The director, actors, writers, camera people, sound recordists, SFX people, editors, distributors etc etc all need to be paid. Only amateurs do it for nothing and professionals make a superior product.

about 2 months ago

Siphons Work Due To Gravity, Not Atmospheric Pressure: Now With Peer Review

jeremyp Re:Actually it's both. (360 comments)

No. it's the pressure that pushes the mercury up to the top of the tube, but the reason why it then flows down the other side is because the weight of the mercury on the down side is higher. The diagram makes it obvious that this must be the case because the water pressure in the lower beaker is obviously higher than the water pressure in the higher beaker.

about 3 months ago

Gary Kildall, Father of the PC OS, Finally Gets His Due

jeremyp Re:The best recognition.. (99 comments)

I don't see any evidence that Kildall was a better than average businessman. In fact, the evidence is that he was quite a poor business man.

about 3 months ago

Apple Fixes Major SSL Bug In OS X, iOS

jeremyp Re:Not a open source issue. (96 comments)

Only _servers_ were affected by the "heartbleed" bug.


about 3 months ago



Ordnance Survey Creates Minecraft Model of Great Britain

jeremyp jeremyp writes  |  about 10 months ago

jeremyp (130771) writes "Ordnance Survey intern Joseph Braybrook has created a Minecraft World based upon accurate terrain mapping data of Great Britain. The world accurately represents the whole of Great Britain and surrounding islands (but excludes Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands). It maps 224,000 square kilometres of Greast Britain and contains 22 billion blocks. Graham Dunlop (Ordnance Survey Innovation Lab Manager) says:

We think we may have created the largest Minecraft world ever built based on real-world data

The map can be downloaded from the Ordnance Survey here."



Linux From Scratch

jeremyp jeremyp writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Following a comment I read in a recent Slashdot post, I decided to build a "Linux From Scratch" distribution. Interestingly, Linux From Scratch comes in the form of a book in HTML format - no software is included.

Following the book's instructions, you download the source packages you need to build a basic Linux system and then use the step by step instructions to get it working.

The idea is to set aside a partition on an existing Linux system and build the software there. I chose my "firewall box" as that is the only permanent Linux system I have. Interestingly, on running fdisk I found I have approximately 20 Gb of unused disk space on it - well i say "unused" it has the original Win 98 system that the box came with. I immediately reformatted about 10 Gb of space on the first disk as /boot, swap and / respectively (/ is a reiser FS partition) and rolled my sleeves up.

The methodology is to mount your new partitions on your original system, build a basic toolchain (compiler etc) and then chroot into your new "/" and literally build the Linux system from scratch. At the time of writing I am just starting the build of my new Linux - the final version of glibc is compiling (for at least two more hours :( ).

I have to say it's quite exciting building a Linux system from scratch. You have to hand create the directory structure, password file and group file among other things. OTOH the configure -> make -> make install cycle can get a bit tedious. BTW it's taken 24 hours of compiler time and about 8 hours of my time to get to where I am.


You and DRH

jeremyp jeremyp writes  |  more than 11 years ago

OK, so your user name is miu and your home page is the biography page of Douglas Hofstadter. Are you him or merely a fan?

Also, I am deeply honoured to have a "friend" in slashdot although it's not obvious to me why you chose me.

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