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Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

smellotron Re:They're a resource, not a "problem". (307 comments)

The most important part of college wasn't what you learned - it was probably nearly obsolete when they were teaching it to you - but learning how to learn.

The fundamental material in a computer science program is math. That is the type of subject which does not go out of style but is instead built upon, layer by layer.

about a week ago
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MPAA Bans Google Glass In Theaters

smellotron Re:Burn baby, BURN! (357 comments)

I've never met someone working in a theater making more than minimum wage.

Every projectionist that I've ever met has made more than minimum wage. They are worth paying well (better than the average theater employee, at least) because of the cost of mistakes.

about 2 months ago
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US Post Office Increases Secret Tracking of Mail

smellotron Re:Wanna put an end to it? (112 comments)

O'bama

I've heard of South African Dutch, but never Kenyan Irish!

about 2 months ago
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Study: Past Climate Change Was Caused by Ocean, Not Just the Atmosphere

smellotron Re:Obvious to Engineers (185 comments)

I will buy the distance argument if Venus's current temperature is believed to be independent of its current cloud cover, but I don't believe that is the case (Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System). It sounds like Venus is hotter given its cloud cover than would be expected without, which implies that Earth will also get hotter in similar conditions. Maybe not 300C hotter, but even 10C hotter is world-changing.

about 2 months ago
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Study: Past Climate Change Was Caused by Ocean, Not Just the Atmosphere

smellotron Re:Obvious to Engineers (185 comments)

You will also get more water vapor ( another greenhouse gas ) in the atmosphere, but that will - eventually - be countered somewhat by the albedo effect of the large scale clouds that will form.

I understand the reflective effect of cloud coverage, but isn't that useless if the steady-state temperature is very different from current temperatures? What prevents extreme greenhouse effects from pushing Earth into a Venus-like state?

about 2 months ago
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Debian Switching Back To GNOME As the Default Desktop

smellotron Re:Debian GNOME needs some attention (403 comments)

I am a frequent traveler and speaker and really do need something you can drop from 6 feet and pour coffee over have it keep working.

I know you're a normal person, but when I read that I imagined a huge fucking guy fumbling his tablet from shoulder-height, getting mad as hell, and throwing his coffee after the poor thing.

about 3 months ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

smellotron Re:A solution in search of a problem... (326 comments)

My point was sarcastic, I don't know if you missed it (non-native language?) or if you responded in-kind. Plainly, prohibition and licensing are not the same thing. An unlicensed "operator" is prohibited yes, but the cost of licensing is always goint to be lower than the cost of a black-market solution (by its nature; the black market solution is not attractive if it is worse, because of the inherent risk!) Therefore, the net result is more regulatory control when licensing is an option vs. total prohibition.

Ultimately, my point is that (1) comparing licensed driving to the War on Drugs is not valid, because (2) increased license requirements would serve to change the economics of learning how to drive rather than just imposing randomized penalties.

about 3 months ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

smellotron Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (82 comments)

This is a good example of greenwashing.

This doesn't sound anything like greenwashing; greenwashing is a PR move to appear more "eco-friendly". This is simpler to explain as a rational economic decision: There are forms of non-renewable energy that are not harvested only because the energy cost to extract them exceeds the energy value they provide. If the energy costs to extract them can be brought down to near-zero, it is to Shell's economic benefit to extract and sell the heavy crude.

Your argument that the oil should "stay in the ground" is totally unrelated. I do not have an informed opinion in the matter of heavy crudes, but please don't use it as a rebuttal.

about 3 months ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

smellotron Re:A solution in search of a problem... (326 comments)

Perhaps we need stricter drivers license requirements?

It worked so well for the war on drugs!

Yeah, because prohibition and licensing are the same thing!

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:Powershell (729 comments)

I see that it is in C99. But it wasn't when I was learning C in the 1980s.

Well! I'll get off your lawn now. I learned on C99, I did not know that the guarantee was new.

Don't use a language that encourages pointer calculations. If you're working in the kernel or hardware drivers maybe.

That is hardly an argument against sizeof as a language feature. I think we both agree—outside of the first learning experience—developers who are getting tripped up by sizeof should't be using C in the first place; but it is not the fault of the language or a misfeature.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:C (729 comments)

If you think all strings can be defined as const char arrays

Lucky for both of us, that's not what I think. I specifically said "string literal", which is a const array and not a pointer. This is relevant for the sizeof discussion because the operator is evaluating the size of the array (therefore the entire string) and not just evaluating the size of a pointer.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:Numeric equality in PHP (729 comments)

Since (almost) no computer actually stores 1.0

Since almost every computer nowadays implements IEEE floating-point, they can all store 1.0 exactly. From the link:

Any integer with absolute value less than 2^24 can be exactly represented in the single precision format, and any integer with absolute value less than 2^53 can be exactly represented in the double precision format.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:C (729 comments)

it should return the size of a memory pointer on the target machine, since that is what a "string" is in C.

A string literal in C is of type char[N] (where N is the minimum value required to store the whole string, including the null terminator). String literals degrade to pointers quite easily, so yours is a common error. So...
const char direct[] = "string";
const char *const indirect = "string";
sizeof(direct) == 7;
sizeof(indirect) == sizeof(char*); // 4 or 8 on most 32- or 64-bit architectures, respectively

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:Powershell (729 comments)

So to allocate a string you have to multiply sizeof with strlen and add 1 for the null terminator?

Since you specifically mentioned strlen, I can tell that you are doing the wrong thing. It is guaranteed that sizeof(char) == 1, so you can skip the sizeof. And then instead of allocating strlen(x)+1, you could use the standard function strdup .

Aside from this particular example, what is your beef with sizeof? Do you know an alternative for compile-time size calculations?

about 4 months ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

smellotron Re:Probably not. (546 comments)

What's wrong with optimizing something by hand if it's so blatantly simple?

In what situation will an application of DeMorgan expected to actually be an optimization? I expect the compiled code would just end up using inverted comparison instructions and swapping ands/ors around. Net benefit: nada. In such a situation, the effort of optimization is a total waste and any resultant obfuscation is also a total waste, so that's what is wrong.

about 4 months ago
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California Man Sues Sony Because Killzone: Shadowfall Isn't Really 1080p

smellotron Re:They deserve it (286 comments)

I still rock a 720P panasonic plasma TV which I find to be better than my sisters 1080 LCD sharp

Well duh! Rock on.

about 4 months ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

smellotron Re:Fine ... (245 comments)

Nobody programs fast enough to fill data-centers with 'new programs'.

I don't read that as "new program text" i.e. the storage for newly-released executables. I read it as "storage for [data generated by] new programs," where the new programs are "programs" from a TLA organization's perspective and not individual executables. From that perspective, it is quite believable that the NSA would be capable of filling new datacenters with new programs.

about 6 months ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

smellotron Re:Too Big to Be Indicted... (245 comments)

try to explain the intricacies of Java garbage-collection to an equity-options trader...

If that is a problem in your organization, this would probably be a good start: "The equity-options traders that understand the role of technology in their trades will inevitably be eating your lunch."

about 6 months ago
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Lego To Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists

smellotron Re:How do you make a lego character female? (208 comments)

You just plainly CANNOT build anything out of the pieces but exactly what you are sold.

Several years ago, I would have agreed with you. Now it just sounds like you aren't looking hard enough, or haven't looked recently—check out the Creator series. Almost all of my newer lego collection is from those box sets, and they are very good about providing reusable pieces.

about 6 months ago

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