717 posts • joined Monday 28th June 2010 14:47 GMT
So a number is atomic and can be operated on with a condition like "salary > 50000". A string is non-atomic because it suits conditions like "third letter is ‘n’". But this just reflects two patterns of comparison and decomposition. One might equally say "third digit of salary as binary is 1", or "name < 'Jones'" (neither a very realistic example, but the point is clear).
Also, the author writes of a function that scans satellite images and looks for aircraft. It might return data like:
Delta winged – 0
Swept winged – 3
Date of Birth
Straight winged - 2
Rotating winged – 2
This looks like a pretty crap function. Why does it return a DOB when looking at aircraft images? Why are two wing types coded identically?
Re: "prosecute their possible intent"
At best, it will turn out like weather forecasting.
it would become cheaper for supermarkets to sell bananas grown in greenhouses in the UK rather than shipping them all the way from Chile
It's been fairly conclusively established that distance from place of production is a misleading way to evaluate the environmental impact of foods. The example I saw was about temperate-zone produce like tomatoes and peppers. Growing tropical produce like bananas in greenhouses in the UK would consume massive resources.
Actually, in my experience bananas come from the Caribbean and Central America. I think Chile is in too high a latitude.
Re: Anyone else thinking...
Er, what it actually follows is "minuscule".
How to win
According to the article, you lose the game if you're grumpy and unhelpful. So presumably you win if you're helpful, well-informed and charming.
But unfortunately "The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive and completely unacceptable".
Re: New tools help web devs find problem spots
Oh? And once web devs have uninstalled IE, how exactly are they going to make the customers who use their sites use the full uninstaller for IE?
Developers don't target IE because they endorse it as a browser, but because they don't want to exclude people from their user base.
Re: Just don't
It's no good saying "The sooner it's rendered obsolete the better". We all know that, but if a significant number of the people you want to use your site are likely to be using old browsers, you can't go round to their houses and make them upgrade. Developers who create public web sites have to assess the cost of not being compatible with old IE versions against the cost of coding for compatibility.
I've never been in a real Apple shop, but I've visited their shop-in-shop at the Oxford Street John Lewis. I was checking out Ultrabooks, and I thought I'd find out how the weight of the lightweight Apple product compared. To my astonishment I found that I could barely lift it. It weighed at least as much as a table. Probably because it was glued to a table. Do they do this in the real Apple shops?
Re: how can the global elite carbon tax us
As far as I know, carbon isn't poisonous. Not very appetising on its own, granted, but yummy when combined with hydrogen and oxygen in the right way.
I'd completely forgotten: the earliest versions of Excel had some kind of minimal Windows bundled in so that it would run from the DOS command.
Re: Cognitive Dissonance Alert (CDA)...
People who have only known windows are poor developers in my opinion. The good engineering practices of Art Of Unix Programming is lost on them.
By way of compensation they avoid the overweening snottiness of Unix enthusiasts. It's an operating system, not a religion.
Also, "practices ... is lost"? This sort of syntax error will cause you endless grief if you propagate it to your Unix commands.
Re: Cognitive Dissonance Alert (CDA)...
but how exactly has Git been unfriendly for Windows developers?
The GIT I'm currently using on Windows is accessed via the command line in a Bash shell. There's a GIT GUI but it seems a bit crap. I don't know if that's this installation or if it's always that way.
This isn't a big deal, and it's useful to have the extra power of a decent command shell. All the source control systems I've used have sooner or later run out of GUI steam and forced you to use the command line, including even the abominable Visual SourceSafe.
Still, I can see it being an annoyance. For many developers a new source control system is just another ancillary thing to be mastered, often at a time when you're scrabbling to get up to speed with a new corpus of software while trying to remember the names of the 50 people you were introduced to on day one and the weird network paths to various essential resources. Having to do it on the command line is just a bit more work.
Never mind the programme, check out the reproduction
The main difference between BBC SD and HD is that the HD channels are hidden down the bottom of the EPG. It's not that I can't see the difference, it's just that it's not important enough to make it worth the trivial effort of seeking out the HD channels. Maybe I'd value the difference more if I had a huge TV or better eyesight or drank less.
I can't help observing that this initiative comes from the people who travel the world taking holiday snaps with the sort of monster DSLR you'd normally use for papping duchesses.
Re: Neither here, nor there...
According to an unimpeachable source* there are more words that break the rule than follow it.
* Oh all right, Stephen Fry on QI. And most of the examples he gave seemed pretty tendentious.
Re: Karma's a bitch
@Steve Knox: I just upvoted you for amusement value, but...
thou hath => thou hast. "Hath" is third person singular, as in "he hath" - you got it right with "dost thou".
Re: Not Mac
Excel offered features far beyond any other spreadsheet, like the ability to calculate across sheets
My recollection is that this was possible with Supercalc*. Supercalc ran on CP/M, and was included in the free software bundle that came with the Osborne 1 (together with WordStar, DBase II, and quite a lot else) at a cost of about £1400.
It's astonishing how many of the big players in the DOS world screwed up the transition to Windows. The leading word processor of the time was arguably WordPerfect, but their unusable, buggy Windows version gifted the market to Word.
* I could be wrong about Supercalc. Calculating across files was certainly possible at the time with a spreadsheet program I installed on a PDP/11 under RT11 - I can remember the frantic flashing of disk lights when you recalculated.
Re: "TV series starring Adam West-starring series"
I regret to inform you that there is an unmatched closing </pedant> tag in your post.
Re: The moral here
If he's running an e-commerce site or something, then you're probably right, he should use a commercial service with a SLA.
But in this case it sounds more like somebody using dial-up networking from home. This sort of working has the potential to deliver substantial economic and social benefits (social disadvantages, too). I don't know what the current standpoint is, but in the past the government has been very gung-ho about teleworking. In this context, a home broadband connection is more than just a source of entertainment.
Re: And the fun bit
I and many people I know spend a large part of our lives searching under cushions for TV remote controls and wandering around the house looking for cordless phones. Fumbling around in the pitch dark looking for the light switch will add to this fun.
Re: Books aren't the Window to the World anymore
"When I was a teen, we had three TV channels and no internet."
<insert obligatory reference to Yorkshiremen sketch here/>
Re: Incorrect apple bash
Would that be the Hobbesian choice per chance?
No. but it might be Hobson's choice. "Hobbesian" sounds very philosophical, but the allusion is to a Cambridge stable owner called Hobson who would only allow customers to hire the horse that was next in line.
Or am I missing a joke of exquisite subtlety?
Re: Excess oxygen
This is apparently nothing new. Once upon a time there was no fungal decay, so dead trees just lay around locking up carbon, and eventually turning into coal. The result was a much higher proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere, which allowed things like six-foot dragonflies to exist. This sounds very nice, but I suspect the four-foot cockroach and the two-foot ant would be a concern.
Rules, morals and taxes
Four tax regimes:
1. A scarey bloke comes round to your house and helps himself to anything he likes the look of. The main problem with this fiscal regime is that it destroys the economy (e.g. Zimbabwe).
2. Everyone is told that they have a moral obligation to pay taxes. The difficulty here is that my moral code and yours probably won't generate equivalent tax revenues. People will object to paying taxes that fund things they disapprove of. But the main problem is likely to be that many people who accept a moral obligation to pay tax will probably assess their obligation at rather less than the government needs.
3. The government creates a set of rules and formulae. People immediately start to game the rules to reduce the tax they pay, whereupon the government modifies the rules to reduce the amount of gaming. It's an imperfect system but it results in more tax take and fewer disputes than the other two. In theory everybody knows where they stand and can plan their lives accordingly.
4. Where we seem to be heading at the moment, namely a hybrid of 2 and 3. The rules are explicit, but it's immoral to exploit them to your advantage. This immediately sinks into the quicksand that made 2 unworkable. The only consensus about the moral course of action is that it would be highly moral, if a bit stupid, to interpret the rules to maximize the tax you pay. Even this leads to uncertainty: A is better at maths than B, so he manages to find a corner case that increases the tax he pays by 10% - is A more moral than B?
Number 3 may not be perfect, but it's clearly better than the others.
Good luck with that...
Amazon, Starbucks, et al are companies that actually sell stuff that can be seen, felt and counted. In the latter case they even do it through retail outlets on the High Street. And governments still can't make them pay tax.
So I don't hold out much hope for a big tax haul from companies that don't shift tangible product and store their stuff anywhere in the world that suits them.
Re: A or B?
"Shome mishtake shurely" was usually attributed to "W. Deedes, Ed". Bill Deedes may or may not have liked liquid lunches - the fact that he was the recipient of the "Dear Bill" letters allegedly sent by Dennis Thatcher suggests that he did. But I think he actually shpoke that way when shtone-cold shober.
Re: BT holding back rural services
Well I'll go to foot of our stairs! There are bumpkins in what you call "the North", as well. I see them every day when I'm out in me clogs and flat cap walking t'whippet. Umpteen of them, wandering across t'Fens of Cambridgeshire, eating chip butties and black pudding.
Re: All very well but
"Assuming the sheep was in inter-stella space..."
So that's a pint of lager, then a sheep, followed by another pint of lager? Sounds like a glamorous night out.
I won't ask what you do with the sheep.
Re: @Zmodem - recording TV programs
My experience was just the opposite. I chose my Samsung TV because it was supposed to be able to record to USB. The TV's embedded handbook appeared to confirm this, although I couldn't be certain because it's in Korenglish .
After trying a variety of USB devices, both solid state and spinning rust, I contacted the Samsung helpline to find out what I was doing wrong. "Your TV does not have that feature" came the answer.
Re: Cracking is inherently parrellel and IPV4 death throes
Surely "...split the dictionary range..." will only crack passwords that are also dictionary words.
It's a few years since I designed a password validation subsystem (long enough ago that MD5 was still acceptable). The administrator could select a variety of options: minimum length, mixed case, alphanumeric, comparison with common passwords and comparison with dictionary words. The last option, of course, was so irksome to users that it never got used.
Re: Innocent until proving guilty?
Or indeed dig them up, then try them, convict them, etc etc. (Google Pope Formosus.)
Every week or so, someone like this guy pops up to tell us that we have crap broadband and that it's crippling our economic prospects. What they don't explain is how.
I can see how internet connectivity itself is an economic stimulus. I can also see that availability of broadband enhances this effect by increasing uptake and enabling new patterns of usage. But how does and increase from say 2Mb/s to 2Gb/s increase your economic activity? It looks to me as though the marginal return will be tiny in proportion to the cost.
The article talks of "games consoles, smart TVs and other devices". I don't know about "other devices", but I don't see the first two as major engines of economic growth.
An earlier poster mentioned "4/5 devices can all stream HD movies at once". The average UK household size is 2.4 people (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_259965.pdf), so each person will have to watch two movies at once. Even if they do, it's unlikely that they'll pay for them all separately, and even if they do that, we aren't going to fund an economic miracle out of online movie rentals.
Of course I'd like superfast, or maybe even just fast, broadband, but that's because it would be nice to have. I could do some things that I can't do now, and many things a bit quicker. But it won't change my contribution to GDP much.
A language-agnostic browser VM sounds like an excellent idea. The variety of languages targeting JVM, which was probably never supposed to be language-agnostic, suggests this would be very productive approach.
One would also hope that such a VM could take care of the security issues that are always lurking in the shadows when programs run in the browser.
Re: Not the Met Office's fault.
@Giles Jones: The weather in the whole world is getting more unpredictable and crazy.
Could you let us see your workings? I'm not disagreeing, just hoping to learn how the people who know do it.
Degrees and experience
This is nothing unique to IT, and nothing new, either. Half a century ago my father, who was chief engineer of a semiconductor company, told me that the PhD graduates he employed were initially quite incapable.
The problem with IT jobs is that they combine an academic element and a craft element. There are plenty of other careers where this is the case. Medicine is an obvious one. We all have some idea of what it takes to turn a graduate into a useful doctor. I'm sure there are parallels in disciplines like engineering and architecture.
Long experience is one way to build up craft skills, but the examples above show that the process can be formalised and accelerated.
Re: The cup that cheers, but does not inebriate
Actually, "the cups that cheer, but do not inebriate". Although attributed to William Cowper, this description was originated by Bishop George Berkeley, he of the silent tree falling in the forest. He was talking about tar water, to which he attributed medicinal properties.**
Tar water is available from the vending machines in all the offices where I've worked, but they usually call it coffee.
** Curiously, this information comes from Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy
Re: Sweet Poison
Sucralose (aka Splenda) is actually made from sugar. As one of the partners in its development was Tate and Lyle, it's probably cane sugar. I don't know if that makes it better-tasting, or better for you.
Re: "12oz cups"?
12oz - rather over half a pint (imperial, three-quarters of a pint US) - ugh!
In a country like Italy, where they understand coffee, a cup of coffee will be small and strong (even if it's cappuccino). One of the regrettable things we've acquired from the US is the practice of serving great buckets of coffee. Starbuck's is especially blameworthy, with its vile thick mugs of milky pap. (Of course that isn't the worst thing about Starbuck's.)
... usually comes in rings. In this case they're going to be the size and consistency of tractor tyres.
"However, she never managed The Silmarillion."
I'm not surprised your sister didn't manage to memorise The Silmarillion. Everyone bought it (Private Eye called it "The Sellamillion"), but I've yet to meet anyone who managed to read to the end.
Why did I have to log in again to post this?
Re: Let me get this straight...@Mark .
The case of (W|w)indows is indeed interesting. One could argue that Microsoft Windows is so widespread that they have no real need to trademark the name. Far from deceiving people, any other software whose name refers to windows probably has to explain that it isn't Microsoft.
Re: First mention of Mister Creosote...
Brilliant! They should have called it Mr Creosote.
They could set the robot in action by inserting a waffer-thin mint. See icon for result.
Re: Hmmm. Android!
Android can't come to cars soon enough. The present generation of in-car computers suffers from the fact that every motor company seems to have decided to write its own software, a task for which they have neither the talent nor the resources. It's like the early years of mobile phones, or personal computers.
Perhaps I've been unlucky, but all the in-car computers I've used have dreadful UX: deep menus, hidden options, stupid defaults that you can't change. In my current car, the media player uses such a big clunky font that the titles are usually truncated. even though the names displayed on the satnav map show that it's quite capable of higher definition.
Re: Satnavs - The curse of modern driving
Do you really need to use your Satnav for this sort of journey?
It doesn't excuse the airhead driving, but quite a lot of people use satnav for journeys they know well because it will alert them to traffic congestion and other hold-ups.
US military nails 'best ever'
Was I the only one to wonder if it was the nails they use to hold bits of wood together, or their fingernails?
The first sounds disappointingly primitive for the US military. The second sounds like they're getting ready to scratch your eyes out.
Re: Circular reasoning?
The problem with this hypothesis is that high heels only keep the heel out of the muck. AFAIK the usual footwear for staying above wet and muck was the patten - a kind of overshoe that raises the whole foot.
I'm sure rich women didn't wear special footwear to keep their skirts clean. Part of the point of extravagant dress such as long skirts is to show that you're rich enough to have somebody else to clean your clothes and rich enough not to be very bothered about replacing them. Lord Byron apparently wore white linen trousers that he threw away after one wearing. I bet his lady friends were even more extravagant.
Amazon themselves do not spam me
I wish I could say the same. Every day I seem to get an email from Amazon offering some kind of - usually inappropriate - cross-sell. Is there an account setting that turns these off?
Re: They don't even spam well
the sender can track when you have read the email
Only if you're dumb enough to let your email reader download images by default.