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back to article Of opposable thumbs and software engineering

It’s been almost 200 years since Charles Babbage first started work on his difference engine, and programmable computation is fast approaching 100 years old. Over this time there has been a lot of change in software development and in this article we look at the evolutionary pressure that has shaped that. Can we predict the …

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Flame

Fucking video adverts

Here's an idea for the next big thing in software; all computers come with a built in gun, anybody responsible for creating, promoting or sticking on a website, a huge advert such as the one in this article that slows my entire computer to a crawl gets shot repeatedly in the face. We could refine it so that it tracks down and shoots their parents and kids in the hope that can 'game' evolution and remove all such fucking idiots from the gene pool.

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Re: video adverts

This is why I don't install flash, or if I have to, I disable it except on websites which actually need it (or I just refuse to point my browser to such brain-dead, or brain-deadening websites).

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Gates Halo

lol

Get a faster computer, aka an Intel lol

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Coat

What video ad?

I haven't seen any ads on the Reg since I installed AdBlock and NoScript... Oh, right...

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Re: video adverts

Firefox + http://noscript.net/ and/or http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ fix this.

Hopefully they'll be updated to block Gnash, Moon/Silverlight and JavaFX too.

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Rob
Boffin

adverts, really..

if you are reading el reg, it's surely not beyond your abilities to get adblock installed into firefox, set up a few basic filters like " *doubleclick* " and you'll pretty much never see another ad.

-also with adblock, ctrl-shift F will overlay annoying flash you missed with a blank image.

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Re: Video adverts

Firefox is your friend. Adblock will set you free.

Seriously; I've no idea what are these adverts of which speak.

-dZ.

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Flame

stupid video adverts

totally ruined reading this article, what was it about again (?!), bring back the blink tag it was less distracting

I hope they pay a *lot* more than flashing gifs because they are 100x more infuriating to readers and 10x more distracting. Keep them on the stupid computer game sites where they belong - a sensible story is ruined by a dumb 3d game video stopping the flow of reading right in the middle. I shouldn't be forced to mutilate my browser just to read an article.

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@video adverts

> anybody responsible for creating, promoting or sticking on a website, a huge advert such as the one in this article (...) gets shot repeatedly

Lordy - are there *still* people out there not using Firefox with an add-on like AdBlock to dump this stuff? You don't HAVE to watch it, you know.

> remove all such fucking idiots from the gene pool.

Er, yes indeed. But would those idiots be the ones posting it, or the ones still needlessly seeing it?

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Joke

Some one got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!

Hey Anon. Coward, I reckon if you read your post in a week or so you'll think "why was I being such a wazzock"

Actually, if you're feeling down you could share your troubles. We could hold hands or just light a joss stick while you tell us all about your bad day.

mub - fake chill pill anyone? I've got lots, only £25 for 50!!

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This post has been deleted by its author

Stop

RE : Fucking video adverts

So, would you rather pay a subscription to get to the juicy goodness of el reg ?

People have to eat you know, and advertising is the main revenue stream in the "new economy", or whatever they're calling it this year.

This has been the case since about 1996, so you've had plenty of time to get used to it.

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Flame

re: video adverts

Have you ever herd of adblock?

and by the way if a flash advert is slowing down your computer then i think its time for an upgrade :þ

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Silver badge
Boffin

@BKB

Punch Card systems are a very grey area.

I remember as a kid being looked after for a while by the engineers and my dads office. They were repairing punch card machines.

The card sorter was almost entirely mechanical, with just a handful of relays and solenoids.

The same was true of the card duplicator.

There were several other machines that seemed to consist of colossal banks of relays - narry a transistor in sight!

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Coat

Shuffling the deck

Forget data typing and multi-threading. The worst thing about punch cards is when the rubber band holding your 470 card (line) Basic program snaps as you're getting off the bus on a cold wet morning. There's line 227, ah here's 231, that's wet as well...

Oh well, it's better than "the dog ate it".

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Massive Scale, even on Multi-Core...

If you're interested in exploiting the full power of your CPU, but aren't interested in the problems that come along with the "traditional" multi-threaded approach, or virtualization, or whatever, then I suggest you have a look at this article Brad posted a little over a year ago.

http://solvetherealproblem.blogspot.com/2006/08/multicore-singlethreaded-megascale.html

My colleague explains a bit behind how we attain massive scale without the constant need for more and more horsepower, or completely changing our techniques.

We have used this approach successfully over the last decade for telephony and "web-ish" systems, CPU intensive applications, network intensive, etc. We usually have the following problem: people in ops wanting to turn off our machines because we aren't using enough of the CPU, and us needing to keep it on for our redundancy model. We do, however, have a few CPU intense applications that run on quad-core machines with no problems. We run each app at 50% of a core, run 4 instances of it, and tell the "consumers" of that service about all of them, and they round-robin their requests among them.

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Ads and ad blockers

I see we still get apologists for the advertisers ("People have to eat you know, and advertising is the main revenue stream in the "new economy"")

The thing is, the advertisers only have themselves to blame. If the advertisers had used a certain amount of moderation in their techniques then ad-blockers wouldn't be such an essential add-on to web browsers.

Their problem is that they thought that, as on TV, they can ram as much crap down our throats as they wish, without noticing that the 'web' is a quite different medium.

The result is that ad-blockers are now freely available, simple to install and simple to use.

Even then they didn't learn. We STILL have obtrusive ads similar to the one on this article. The original poster (and many others) is now quite likely to go out and install an ad blocker. He also very likely to configure it to block all the ads he can. So, by merely including ONE obnoxious ad on one page, The Register has succeeded in ensuring that many of its readers will now no longer see ANY ads.

Not real smart.

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Thumb Up

Back to the article's point...

I think here is the place for comments on the article itself, not The Reg's policy regarding ads :-)

I agree with Dan Clarke that it's a widely spread trend and mistake to make software development decisions at project level (such as language, platform...) based on technical tools we are familiar with. The author's example reminds us that software, just like any industrial product, should be designed and "packaged" for the targeted users, keeping in mind their expressed needs that motivated the software development in the first place.

Moreover I especially second his observations regarding language and machine interfacing technologies' evolution (ie. VMs). It's definitely allowing always higher levels of abstraction which makes developers' lives easier. This is extremely visible with the virtual machine based languages: the community of Java enthusiasts keeps on growing and delivering very friendly development tools (ie Eclipse) which drives this phenomenon, making it self-sustainable and continually evolving.

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Pirate

Micro$oft research article ???

Having read the entire article by Simon Peyton Jones, I remain a bit baffled. This is definitely the first time I see a Microsoft guy breaking a lance for something even remotely as advanced and out-of-MS's-league as Haskell.

Being a Java programmer myself, I donot, however, consider that implementing your concurrent software in Haskell *really* yields higher-grade software, as

1) instead of fully analyzing your problem and modelling locks, transactions and threads etc., this article encourages you to rely upon the correctness of a Haskell implementation of transaction handling. People like e.g. DBA's can do that, they arenot primarily concerned with the innards of software but with using software to handle their data. Programmers cannot afford to do that, as they actually *create* such software

2) being able to fully analyze your problem and model it into locks, lock handling mechanims, transactions and threads etc. is a skill any good non-greenhorn programmer must have. He/she should *at least* be able to reason about such things. Relying upon a Haskell implementation blunts his/her sharpness.

3)Java provides you with all the necessary tools to satisfy both 1) and 2)

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