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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

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

I don't do this often, but I do occasionally use indentation that follows the data's logic, not the program's logic.  For example, I've written some XML generation code like:

$xml = new Xml();
$foo = $xml->addChild( 'foo');
  $foo->addAttribute( 'attr', 'bar');
  $foo->addNode( 'foonode', 'foonodevalue');
  $fc1->addChild( 'foochild1');
    $fc1->addNode( 'foochild1node', 'value1');
  $fc2->addChild( 'foochild2');
    $fc2->addAttribute( 'foochild2attr', 'value2');
    $fc2->addNode( 'foochild2node', 'value2');
$xml->addNode( 'xmlnode', 'value3');

Code like this gets large comment blocks above and below stating that I'm using a non-standard indentation, and why.

When I later had to refactor the XML schema, it was incredibly useful to have it indented this way.

It depends on the library and language though.  When I was using nested C structures, or nested object, it wasn't necessary, because the data structure was a lot more visible.  This code is easier to understand using traditional indentation:

$xml = new Xml();
$xml->addChild( 'foo');
$xml->foo->addAttribute( 'attr', 'bar');
$xml->foo->addNode( 'foonode', 'foonodevalue');

$xml->foo->addChild( 'foochild1');
$xml->foo->foochild1->addNode( 'foochild1node', 'value1');

$xml->foo->addChild( 'foochild2');
$xml->foo->foochild2->addAttribute( 'foochild2attr', 'value2');
$xml->foo->foochild2->addNode( 'foochild2node', 'value2');

$xml->addNode( 'xmlnode', 'value3');

about 6 months ago

IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

lewiscr Re:Refunds indicate bad tax planning (632 comments)

1) Especially right now, that money wouldn't earn much elsewhere

Agreed, I'm not worrying about it, but I will in a couple years.

2) Fewer things to worry about come tax time. There are penalties for under-withholding, at least in some conditions. Overwithholding a little protects you from these.

If you owe more than $1,000, you owe a penalty. Unless you got a refund last year, or you owe less than you did the previous year. The wording is awkward there. Basically the first underpayment is free, and you get a pass while you're trying to fix the problem. I'm pretty sure TurboTax told me this.

3) I am not even sure if it's legal to decrease my withholding, for example.

It is legal, and the IRS has a calculator for you. Intuit has one online somewhere. TurboTax will generate a W4 for you after you do your taxes. However, I hate all of them. They all try to take into account what's been withheld year-to-date, and figure out the magic number to get a $0 refund at the end of the year. And every single one gives me a wildly different number, without showing their work. Which means they're all wrong, and I'll have to try again next year. I finally sat down and figured it out, because fixing it was a couple hundred bucks a paycheck. I hate myself, but I made the largest spreadsheet of my life using the IRS Employer's Withholding publication. I started coding it, but the publication tables mentally mapped better to a spreadsheet. My HR department wasn't willing to help me, and I can't blame them once I finished. Now I just tweak the W4 number up or down by 1, based on if my refund was larger or smaller than last year.

about 9 months ago

An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

lewiscr Re:Max RAM? (353 comments)

I need to upgrade the shared family desktop from 10GB to 16GB. Every user logs in, then switches users instead of logging out. A Chrome process for every user eats up a lot of RAM. For a few extra bucks, I save everybody in the household tens of minutes per day (my kids are constantly switching users... I should probably get more machines).

about 10 months ago

How Can Nintendo Recover?

lewiscr Re:Wii U problem is not underpowered. (559 comments)

Only one player uses the tablet. The other 4 players use standard Wii remotes.

It actually makes for some interesting game mechanics. Nintendo Land (the game that came with my WiiU) is basically 12 demo games bundled together, and they all do something with the tablet. In Mario Chase, you play hide and seek. The guy with the tablet hides, the guys with the wiimotes seek. The seekers can't see the hider's screen, but they can see each others'. In the Zelda game, the guy with the tablet is an archer, and uses the tablet to look around. The guy(s) with the wiimotes are swordsmen. In the racing game, you steer with the tablet's accelerometers. None of the games are very complicated, but Nintendo Land has replaced Wii Sports as the party game.

I really like Rayman Legends on the WiiU. Some of the levels really make use of the tablet feature, especially in two player mode. The guy with the remote runs the dungeon, and the guy with the tablet uses the touch screen to manipulate the dungeon. It requires a lot of communication between both players, and I think it's really well done. This is the game I point to when people ask why a console needs a tablet. Penny Arcade talked about this game a couple of times, and I agree.

I did end up buying one WiiU Pro controller. All of the functionality of the tablet controller, without a screen. For some of the games my kids play (Transformers), the tablet would always beat the wiimote. The Pro controller restored the balance between the players. It's also more comfortable for long game play than the wiimotes.

TL;DR: I wasn't planning to upgrade to the Wii to a WiiU, but I'm glad I did.

1 year,8 days

ArkOS: Building the Anti-Cloud (on a Raspberry Pi)

lewiscr Re:Home server not the fix-all (166 comments)

Seconded. I've been doing the same, since 1999. Web spiders are responsible for most of my upstream bandwidth, and I only notice when I'm looking at the log files. None of the 4 ISPs I've had over the years have complained or blocked my service.

The only actual problem I've had is email deliverability. Most destinations would bounce my emails because they came from a Dynamic IP. I configured Postfix to forward everything through Time Warner's mail servers, and I haven't had problems since.

about a year ago

NYC Is Tracking RFID Toll Collection Tags All Over the City

lewiscr Re:Not completely news (314 comments)

The CA fine print has the same info.

If you don't agree, you can can ask the provider for a RF shielding bag. This comes with a warning that you're liable for fines if you forget to take the pass out of the bag before using a toll.

about a year ago

Nintendo Announces 2DS Handheld — Plays 3DS Games In 2-D

lewiscr Re:Nintendo's taking a lot of flak for this... (156 comments)

I know I'm late to this thread, but I didn't see anybody else say this.

After my son had corrective surgery for a crossed eye, the surgeon warned us that artificial 3D would inhibit his development of real 3D. He was born with the crossed eye, so he never had stereoscopic vision. It took about 6 months after the surgery to get a bit of depth perception, and about 18 months before he could pass all of the 3D vision tests.

Once he passed all the vision tests, the doc said to avoid artificial 3D, because it could cause the eye to re-cross. Now he's at an in between age when a re-crossed eye could cause him to lose stereoscopic vision permanently. If it re-crossed, and was left untreated for long enough, there's a risk that his brain is flexible enough to drop the neural paths, but not retrain when stereoscopic vision is surgically restored. ie, a very small risk. At some point (16 I think?), he'll be old enough that it's not likely to happen anymore. Given the relative risk/reward of artificial 3D, it's not worth even the tiny probabilities involved.

Yes, there are technical work arounds (ThinkGeek sells some "2D" 3D glasses). If it was something useful, I'd do it, but artificial 3D isn't worth the effort.

Full disclosure: I don't like artificial 3D. I can see full 3D, and I'd still buy a 2DS over a 3DS.

about a year ago

When Your Data Absolutely, Positively has to be Destroyed (Video)

lewiscr Re:dd (295 comments)

That is true for both HDD and SSD, it's just less common to use it for HDDs. IIRC, 10% of the HDD platter is reserved for sector re-mappings. HDDs usually reserve re-mapping events for things like starting-to-fail sectors and bad sectors created during manufacturing. SSDs use re-mapping to prevent flash wear.

When I wipe an HDD or SSD, it's because they've been replaced after failing SMART. The SMART attribute Reallocated_Sector_Ct tells me how many HDD sectors had my data, but are no longer accessible to me. Some of my older SSDs have a low double-digit Reallocated_Sector_Ct value. That indicates that these SSDs only increment that attribute for re-maps due to failing sectors rather than wear leveling.

about 2 years ago

PayPal To Replace VMware With OpenStack

lewiscr Re:Lesson: Licensing costs suck (286 comments)

For what it's worth, I had that problem until I added much more RAM than I thought I needed.

My original setup, I had 10GB of RAM, used about 4GB in various Mac apps. If I ran a VM that needed 1GB of RAM, the machine was sluggish. Pause the VM, the host sped back up. I tried adding a second HDD, and moving all the VMs onto it. It helped some. The BBOD didn't stick around as long, but the host OS was still annoyingly slow.

Later I needed to run a couple more VMs full time, using an additional 4GB of RAM. I added 16GB of RAM (had to remove 2GB, ending up with 24GB of RAM). Now I can run at least 4 VMs full time, all of them using about 10GB of RAM, without any noticeable host slow down.

about 2 years ago

Doom 3 Source Code: Beautiful

lewiscr Re:You asked for it. (399 comments)

...since Clinton was in the white hose.

I don't remember that part of the Lewinski scandal.

about 2 years ago

CES: Can a Gyroscope Ball Really Cure Wrist Pain? (Video)

lewiscr Re:These things are cool (144 comments)

Forearm strength is a side effect of being 8 hours away from your girlfriend.

about 2 years ago

Linguistics Identifies Anonymous Users

lewiscr Re:I wrote a letter to the CEO once (215 comments)

I find that the "Grammar Suggestions" and "Style Suggestions" of my word processor are great at stripping out all unique style. Rewrite all suggestions until you're down to an high school reading level.

about 2 years ago

The Most Unique Viruses of 2012

lewiscr Re:real viruses (94 comments)

I think it indicates that somebody can discuss online, without tainting an identity so badly that it must be abandoned. Do you find yourself spouting inflammatory, idiotic, and racist arguments at your real-life neighbors, then decide it's time to move? My /. account is like a phone number, email address, or street address. I suppose it helps that I'm naturally a lurker.

Don't get me wrong, I've said some stupid shit.

more than 2 years ago

Inside the World's Biggest Consumer 3D Printing Factory

lewiscr Re:Cost (105 comments)

For example if I designed a pencil balancing on its tip with no supports, does the software, or somebody at shapeways, alert me that I'm being stupid?

That shouldn't be a problem. If you watch the video in TFA, the item is built up layer by layer, supported by un-fused stock. Your pencil balancing on it's tip will be supported by surrounding material, until it's finished and removed. At which point it won't be balanced on it's tip anymore. This is how they build hollow pieces, and pieces with overhangs.

As the sibling poster mentioned, they do check for other things. Like they make sure that hollow items aren't too thin, connecting struts actually connect, etc.

more than 2 years ago

80,000lbs of Walnuts Purloined In Northern California

lewiscr Re:Heathen! (127 comments)

Walnuts are one of the least bitter nuts around.

As long as you get rid of all of the dried membrane; that stuff is pretty bitter. I haven't figured out how to get it all without breaking the nut pieces.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Little Boxes Around the Edge of the Data Center?

lewiscr Re:ESXi (320 comments)

I wouldn't run my ntp masters on ESXi. I've always let my firewalls and/or routers handle that task, so I haven't needed to virtualize. On the VMs themselves, monitor to make sure ntpd is running (or set your config manager to start it if it's not running). I've had some problems where one VM causes slowness for the others, and ntpd would loose sync and exit.

more than 2 years ago

Google's Nexus 4, 7, 10 Strategy: Openness At All Costs

lewiscr Re:Openness (359 comments)

I haven't noticed any of these problems with Google Play. I'm not a heavy user though.

more than 2 years ago

Nissan Develops Emergency Auto-Steering System

lewiscr Re:No thanks. (391 comments)

I could see about 80% of drivers being better than median. It's hard to be a really good driver, but there no bottom on bad.

more than 2 years ago


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