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Sep
27
comment Is Java “dead in the water” as a consequence of Oracle buying Sun and subsequently suing Google
@Dean J: Well, my examples are DAO, Fortran, and C/C++. We built a product, using a 3rd-party grid control, based on DAO, and the programmers move on. Whattayaknow - MS tries to rip it out from under us. Fortran (not that I like it): try to stick with one compiler - you can't, you gotta keep buying new ones, 'cause the old ones don't work with customers' new machines. Same for C and C++. But what if I don't WANNA do .net? What if I LIKE VC? Too ****ing bad, soldier.
Sep
27
comment Is Java “dead in the water” as a consequence of Oracle buying Sun and subsequently suing Google
@Dean J: That's good. I'm thinking of how IBM used to trap people with EBCDIC and special-format punch cards, while DEC had simple ASCII-stream IO, very simple, that didn't trap anybody. Then DEC got big, and they started trying to lock people in with fancy terminals with special codes. Then I think of Microsoft, and the series of compilers, databases, etc. they try to trap people into. If Sun & Oracle are resisting the temptation to corner a revenue stream, great. I'm sure they've got marketing staff asking "Why are we doing this?"
Sep
23
comment How do you dive into large code bases?
+1 Yeah, that's what I do too, but I don't know of any way to make the job easy. In my experience, it can take weeks before I feel safe making any changes, and months before I'm "at home" in the code. It certainly helps if you can ask questions of the developers.
Sep
17
comment When should I care about performance?
++ FALSE DICHOTOMY! Will they never learn? When you find and fix a performance problem, the code is not only quicker, it's better. I only regret that I have but one upvote to give!
May
30
comment How to become a “faster” programmer?
++ If I could expand on the chair - you need to sit upright, have good lumbar support, have your keyboard / mouse down low, and your monitor up high so you are looking straight at it. The chair should support your forearms and not your elbows. Ideally it should give good ventilation to carry away perspiration.
Feb
4
comment Why hasn't a faster, “better” language than C come out?
@Pestilence: I've heard that, but I haven't seen it. I've seen plenty of C and Fortran, including lately. I haven't seen any case where the ASM that Fortran generates could not be equaled by C in the hands of a competent programmer. Maybe it exists, but I haven't seen it.
Jan
26
comment Why hasn't a faster, “better” language than C come out?
I think the idea that Fortran is faster than C is somewhat myth, depending on what's being coded and who's doing it. The reason heavyweight numeric libraries are in Fortran is not because Fortran is faster, but because the routines were originally coded in Fortran and few people have the nerve or need to re-write it. The small number of math-gurus who write and vet these algorithms are happy in Fortran and see no need to change, especially since they imagine Fortran is faster.
Sep
12
comment How to become a “faster” programmer?
... and the idea that performance works against maintainability is also another common idea that many people believe, but isn't necessarily so. This field has a lot of those beliefs.
Sep
12
comment How to become a “faster” programmer?
... I know it's counterintuitive, but that's my experience. The link I gave above is a pretty good small example of how by tuning a "pretty good" program you can make it both faster and smaller, and learn from the experience.
Sep
12
comment How to become a “faster” programmer?
@Jim: Certainly you want to avoid the premature optimization part, because that is another form of guessing. What I've found, though, is if you take a big program, and do performance tuning on it, you find out that what makes it slow is also what makes it big. That experience leads to designing things better in the future, so they are simpler, faster, and smaller. But without the tuning experience, you don't learn that lesson.
Sep
11
comment How to become a “faster” programmer?
... and it's not only the time you spend writing the email, but the time it takes to get your head back into the code from where you left off. For me, that's the daunting part.
Apr
21
comment When is it reasonable to create my own programming language?
@Dog: From an AI viewpoint, that would be ideal. Take a look at differential execution. That's a real example of cutting the source code by an order of magnitude. Boilerplate may be necessary, but it's not a good thing.
Mar
25
comment Have you dealt with space hardening?
And, have all the failure responses thoroughly planned, on the conviction that they will be needed.
Dec
30
comment Programming with ADD/ADHD
I might add that I've taken flying lessons and found out that many pilots are ADD. The reason is that flying requires not focussing too long on any one thing, but monitoring several things at once.
Dec
30
comment Programming with ADD/ADHD
Good for you. My son has ADHD and Tourette's, and has been on a cocktail of meds, including Ritalin and Concerta, for most of his life. That stuff really works, but an MD should monitor it.
Dec
18
comment How Can I Know Whether I Am a Good Programmer?
Well said. Regarding ego/humility, I came through the MIT AI Lab in the 70s. The best coders had a certain humble confidence. If you think you're doing something important, you could be wrong, but if you don't, you're probably right.
Dec
16
comment “Mentor” a senior programmer or colleague without insulting
Also as a "senior" and educator, I found it easier to convey interesting ideas in a classroom. In the workplace, it seems to me you can only convey ideas if they are fairly conventional.
Dec
15
comment “Mentor” a senior programmer or colleague without insulting
Actually, I've found the difference between a classroom and the real world is night and day. Students give you credence (they have to). Colleagues consider you an equal, so they're not in a learning role with you.
Dec
15
comment “Mentor” a senior programmer or colleague without insulting
I used to say to my students "I prefer stupid questions, because I can answer those."