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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

pscottdv Re:So not Python, but VB? (647 comments)

multi-line anonymous functions for the pedantic. A lambda function is usually referred to as "a lambda" in my circles.

about two weeks ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

pscottdv Re:So not Python, but VB? (647 comments)

I started with BASIC on a TRS-80 myself. I am convinced it gave me a certain level of brain damage that took years to remove. On the TRS-80, everything interesting (graphics, sound) had to be done by poking into memory anyways, so it's not like BASIC gave me any powerful constructs to do those things. Mostly it got in the way. Honestly, C would have been better.

But that's besides the point. I agree with you that C is a bad language for a beginner these days, but for the reasons you cited, not the ones in the summary. Specifically, because it is boring, not because it is "complex".

That doesn't make Visual Basic the right choice.

about two weeks ago
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Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

pscottdv So not Python, but VB? (647 comments)

I use Python every day and I love it, but he may have a point about variable declaration. Statically typed languages are important to learn about.

I do find it hard to imagine what other constructs he is teaching his beginners that cannot be done in Python. Anonymous functions, maybe? Does VB do that yet? It didn't when I last used it. Tail-end recursion? I don't think VB does that either.

But with so many languages to choose from, VB seems like it would be way down on the list.

I also disagree about C being "incredibly complex for a beginner". I found C to be very easy to grasp and very good at exposing what the computer is actually doing under the hood. I would agree that programming C well is complex (and also time-consuming), but that is because it is simple, not because it is complex.

about two weeks ago
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What's Wrong With the Manhattan Project National Park

pscottdv Re:How dare you talk down about Reagan like that! (160 comments)

Volcker kept ratcheting up interest rates to stop inflation and it wasn't working because while it brought down demand, it also brought down productivity because it became more and more expensive to borrow for capital investment. Reagan's policies were designed to combat the problem of low productivity. An increase in payroll taxes also served to dampen demand which also helped reduce inflation. I still contend that these were the right policy decisions at the time.

Reagan is not to blame for the fact that later Republican politicians (and constituencies) refused to change course when the economic situation changed.

about three weeks ago
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What's Wrong With the Manhattan Project National Park

pscottdv Re:How dare you talk down about Reagan like that! (160 comments)

The mid to late 70's was NOT prosperous for the middle class. Interest rates were nearly 20% and inflation was huge as well. The US was suffering simultaneously from low productivity and high inflation. Reagan's solution was to boost productivity by cutting taxes and regulation. And, while it took a couple of years, it worked.

Yes, this led to a situation ripe for growing inequality, but the real problem is that self-described "conservatives" think that since Reagan's recipe for fighting "stagflation" worked once, it is the solution to every economic problem which it is not. Today the US (along with most of the world) is dealing with unhealthily LOW interest rates and inflation. Large businesses are sitting on giant piles of cash while many households have unhealthy levels of debt. Yet the so-called "conservatives" want to fight our problems with "Reaganomics" instead of developing new solutions that fit today's problems.

about three weeks ago
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Is Enterprise IT More Difficult To Manage Now Than Ever?

pscottdv Re:Cloud (241 comments)

So you are saying that [Citation Needed] has jumped the shark?

about a month and a half ago
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Should IT Professionals Be Exempt From Overtime Regulations?

pscottdv Re:No (545 comments)

I remember the 70s. I have no idea how anyone could think it was a "golden age". We had high inflation, high unemployment, terrible service and low quality products and were only just starting to recover from all the many ways we had been poisoning our environment with lead, pesticides and sulfur.

about 2 months ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

pscottdv Re:What if... (574 comments)

Thanks! I don't know how people remember this stuff. Even Einstein got it wrong twice in his name!

about 2 months ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

pscottdv Re:What if... (574 comments)

Already been done in Marvel's Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

about 2 months ago
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Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

pscottdv Re:This is a common misunderstanding (139 comments)

Social skills and teamwork ability are great things to have, but when these words are used in relation to a job, they invariably mean submitting to existing hierarchies. If I refuse to be a paid slave that doesn't make me an antisocial egotist.

No, but your demeaning description of how 95% of the world earns their living kinda does.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

pscottdv Re:In Finland (516 comments)

That sounds great, but I'll tell you what, a wood-frame house sure is nice when you want to make changes to the floor plan.

about 2 months ago
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Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

pscottdv Re:Classification (219 comments)

Actually these are not planets according to the new classification.

The IAU classification only applies to bodies within this Solar System. It does not apply to bodies outside the solar system.

RESOLUTION 5A

The IAU therefore resolves that planets and other bodies in our Solar System, except satellites, be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A "planet" [1] is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape [2], (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and

(d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects [3], except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar-System Bodies".

Emphasis mine.

about 3 months ago
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Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

pscottdv Re:Not Planets (219 comments)

The IAU definition only applies to objects in this solar system. It says nothing about objects outside this solar system. It is very clear about that.

about 3 months ago
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Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

pscottdv Re:So the taxpayer pays for overage, got it (255 comments)

There would be the revenue from Balmer's income taxes over the next 15 years.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Partners With Docker

pscottdv How Does Docker Work? (104 comments)

When I first heard about Docker, it looked to me like it was a set of tools to simplify the setup and management of chroots. But this announcement makes it look like there may be more to it. Can someone explain to me the difference between a docker container and a chroot?

about 3 months ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

pscottdv Re:Cue the Bozos (981 comments)

Hilarious. I wish I had mod points.

about 4 months ago
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Interviews: David Saltzberg Answers Your Questions About The Big Bang Theory

pscottdv Re:Too Bad (106 comments)

Normal characters are boring. Only characters with huge character flaws are entertaining.

This has nothing to do with the Big Bang Theory. All successful sitcom characters abnormal.

about 4 months ago
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Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

pscottdv Re:Thermodynamic equilibrium is not required (211 comments)

The thermodynamic and information theory definition of entropy are the same, which is why "bringing thermodynamics into biochemical or origin of life questions" is entirely relevant.

about 5 months ago
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13-Year-Old Finds Fungus Deadly To AIDS Patients Growing On Trees

pscottdv Re:13 year old (134 comments)

Now you've got the trees being deadly.

A fungus deadly to AIDS patients was found by a 13-year-old to be growing on trees.

The passive voice has it's uses.

about 5 months ago
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UK Police Warn Sharing James Foley Killing Video Is a Crime

pscottdv Re:Jurisdiction 101 (391 comments)

English subjects subject to English law.

FTFY

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Popular Video Site Hulu Appears To Have Been Hacked

pscottdv pscottdv writes  |  more than 2 years ago

pscottdv writes "It would appear that the popular video site, Hulu has been hacked. Many of the links on the site have been modified to point to the domain of the Pirate Party of the Netherlands, piratenpartij.nl. For example, the link from the "Most Popular Shows" page to the page for "The Outer Limits" was presented as: http://www.hulu.com.proxy.piratenpartij.nl/outer-limits."
Link to Original Source
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Livna Repository Unreachable

pscottdv pscottdv writes  |  more than 2 years ago

pscottdv writes "The livna repository for Fedora appears to be down. Attempts to contact the mirrorlist at livna result in a 403 Forbidden error. Livna is (or was) a repository with the sole purpose of hosting the legally questionable libdvdcss package. Will it now become difficult for Fedora users to play DVDs?"
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HP to Open Source WebOS

pscottdv pscottdv writes  |  about 3 years ago

pscottdv (676889) writes "This year the artists formerly known as Palm had quite a rough few months with HP dumping the hardware side of their own webOS mobile computing platform – their most recent move, having been announced just last month, is live today: open sourced webOS for all. While the actual main product which will be known as Open webOS 1.0 will not be released until September, they’ve already got the Enyo piece of the pie available today."
Link to Original Source
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pscottdv pscottdv writes  |  more than 7 years ago

pscottdv (676889) writes "An Astronaut is being charged with attempted kidnapping. I was under the impression that Astronauts went through extensive psychological screening to make sure people living together in small steel tubes in outer space don't go nuts.

Does an incident like this warn against possible problems with long-term missions such as manned exploration of Mars?"

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