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NASA IG Paints Bleak Picture For Agency Projects

rob_osx Do the math. Not that big of deal (73 comments)

$894 million is a lot of money, but out of a budget of $17.8 billion, NASA has to figure out how to do with 5% less.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Book For 11-Year-Old Who Wants To Teach Himself To Program?

rob_osx What did I like when learning to program? (525 comments)

I grew up learning BASIC on a C64, then learning assembly, using books and magazines as guides. As a new programmer I enjoyed getting visual feedback of my programs, so my first programs were the simple print "hello world", then moving on to colors, then sprites, and then assembly since BASIC was not fast enough to move sprites around on the screen.

If I had to do it now, I would recommend javascript for many reasons.

First, no IDE is required. I would avoid an IDE as long as possible, that limits what box you can work on, whether XCode, .NET, etc.... With Javascript you can work on either Ubuntu or the Mac, and see results on either via the browser.

Second, an interpreted language doesn't need to be compiled (which is better than C/C++ or other complied languages) so you can code and run your program. Javascript just requires refreshing the page (though you may have to help him understand caching).

Third, there are many good javascript examples out there. I would recommend viewing Crockford's videos.

Fourth, if you setup an external server, he can show his friends what he has made, which has a definite coolness factor. "Hey, look at this program I made to do our physics assignment." "Look at this game I made"

Why javascript over python? Personal preference, plus I think there more answers to problems already documented on the web for javascript, though you can ask python group a question and get an answer quickly.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Which Web Platform Would You Use?

rob_osx Use good design principles and PHP/javascript (519 comments)

I've written a large web app that uses PHP on the backend (currently using MySQL, but by using a abstraction layer it can be switched to any major database), and javascript on the front end. This has proved to be one of the best decisions I could have made when starting this project 2 years ago. Browser javascript engines are being constantly upgraded and the web app, which was responsive to start with, is faster now on the same hardware. As far as a front-end platform I really like YUI. It has good documentation, an active user community, and a BSD license. For the backend, I don't think you need a full platform since it's mostly database stuff, so design a good backend architecture, using some database abstraction layer so you can switch databases easily. Here are some things that I have learned from this web app: 1) use MVC on the front-end. It's a good design pattern for a reason 2) make the app RESTful. I didn't start out with this, but then had to make a major design change to add needed features and this has been wonderful. Users can use the browsers forward and back buttons and URL's can be bookmarked/emailed and the app will know exactly what should be displayed. 3) learn to use firebug 4) add the following debug information to app in the beginning a) When the frontend requests data, send the data and the SQL statement back to the frontend if debug is turned on. b) Log the errors and queries in the database ( When in production mode and debug is turned off, users will have problems and you can look at the error log (table) and see what was going on, by using the database you can search the error log easily c) my app needs to email people when certain conditions are met, this takes a lot of time ( seconds instead of tenths of a second ), so make email asynchronous, so the app feels snappy. 5) put a waiting (retrieving information) dialog box up whenever the app is waiting on the backend. Hopefully most of the time it disappears so quick the user doesn't notice, but when there is the occasional network lag, the user knows what is going on, instead of thinking the app is unresponsive.

more than 2 years ago
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A Decade of Agile Programming — Has It Delivered?

rob_osx Re:Paired programming might get you cut! (395 comments)

I wholeheartedly agree! I tend to find new college grads want to pair up and code together. What's that about?!? It's not like they produce more code sitting hip to hip. When one of them sat down to "help" me, my production went down, because my thoughts kept getting interrupted by, "you need to do this..." "place a brace over there..." etc. I enjoy teaching newbies, but there is a time for training, and a time for me to get my work done. I don't like someone else looking at my screen, thinking and TALKING about the small piece of code, while I'm busy thinking about the big picture design and API.

more than 3 years ago
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Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

rob_osx Want more local (split screen) multiplayer (362 comments)

I'm looking for games that I can play with friends and family in my home. Who plays D&D by themselves? Games are more enjoyable when it is a shared experience. I'm not the "average" gamer, but I know a lot of families that would love a LOCAL 4 player Lego Star Wars or a LOCAL 4 player RPG. I think this is why some of the Wii games are so popular, it allows multiple people to play simultaneously.

about 4 years ago
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Hacking Vim 7.2

rob_osx Re:Anything but Vim, please (246 comments)

If I had mod points I would give you + for educational! You taught me something new today. Thanks!

more than 4 years ago
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Learning JQuery 1.3

rob_osx Re:Functional programming (153 comments)

Nadaka - I was incorrectly referencing procedural programming.

Slim - thank you for trying to clarify my muddled post. You are totally correct that people use anonymous functions when a named function would be clearer.

I blame my clouded mind on lack of sleep that comes from a 13 week old daughter. :-)

more than 4 years ago
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Learning JQuery 1.3

rob_osx Re:Functional programming (153 comments)

The name "functional programming" implies the use of functions, yet I've seen too much "functional programming" that is just lines and lines of indented code. Here is an idea: Actually create new functions! Yes, these innovative routines can actually make the code readable and encourage code reuse! Try to make each function do one task, and code will be readable, reusable, and will not suffer from over indention.

more than 4 years ago
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Guide to DIY Wiretapping

rob_osx Re:Yes, it is done at the telco (183 comments)

Perfect recordings every time, zero call quality issues.
Exactly! I always laugh when a TV show or movie shows a security person entering the room with a black box and waving it around the walls and phones to verify it is a "secure" location. Duplicating data at the switch is undetectable (unless you have a snitch at the telco). Or the other laughable TV or movie moment is when a black van is parked outside a location with a reel to reel tape recording conversations. Who uses analog to record such stuff? Let alone reel to reel tapes. Most eavesdropping is done remotely and digitally.

more than 6 years ago

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