12,557 reputation
53045
bio website
location
age
visits member for 4 years, 4 months
seen 1 hour ago
Very senior embedded real-time systems programmer (Texas law is very picky about the use of the term "engineer"), unsuccessful candidate for U.S. Congress, and unreconstructed Cold Warrior.

Jul
15
comment Is there still any value in learning assembly languages today?
You would be AMAZED how much IBM 360 business applications programming was done in assembly language, because of hard performance requirements that just could not be met with the high-level languages and compilers of the day (or because the compiler was considered to be too expensive, or because the code was ported from an earlier system...)
Jul
15
comment What diagram would be the best to describe the situation
Actually, the UML activity diagram is a flowchart with funny-shaped boxes.
Jul
14
answered Parsing mathematical expressions with two values that have parentheses and minus signs
Jul
12
comment Is it a good idea to do contract work for a former full time employer?
The old rule of thumb was to take your Direct salary, drop three zeroes off the end, and that gave you your Contract hourly rate. The rationale is that you are going to spend about 50% of your time "on the beach", between contracts, hustling for the next gig, and you need ROUGHLY the same income. This rule of thumb does not take into account the fact that your expenses as a contractor will usually be significantly higher than your experiences as a Direct employee.
Jul
11
comment Is it a good idea to return a default value if a field in a query cannot be found?
@supercat: Observe that there is no real semantic difference between what you suggest and what I espouse. The only difference is how the caller supplies the default returner. In your method, you pass a callback method with your key when you call the get(). In mine, you wrap an exception catcher around the get(), and call the callback method yourself if the exception is thrown. Observe that it is usually easier to track down an unhandled exception than it is a branch to Never-Never Land. (Worst case is when a branch through a null pointer yields a valid code address: you die screaming.)
Jul
7
answered Full signed part of two complement long
Jul
3
answered Is it a good idea to return a default value if a field in a query cannot be found?
Jun
30
comment Is it safe to rely on static analysis to “reproduce” concurrency bugs reliably?
Something to add: 6) NEVER acquire and hold more than one lock at any given instant. 7) If you absolutely, positively MUST acquire and hold more than one lock at any given instant, make damned certain that they are ALWAYS acquired in the SAME order. If process A and process B must both acquire locks Red and Green, they can deadlock if one of the acquires Red first and the other acquires Green first.
Jun
30
comment Is it safe to rely on static analysis to “reproduce” concurrency bugs reliably?
@delnan: EXTREMELY cogent, perceptive comment. +100 if I could.
Jun
26
comment Which are the alternatives to using a stack to represent function call semantics?
@LorenzoDematté: Precisely. That was how the CDC 6600 Return Jump (RJ) subroutine call worked. "RJ xxx" stored a jump to PC+1 in xxx and then jumped to xxx+1. When the subroutine finished, it jumped to xxx, which jumped back to the calling routine. This works fine for nonrecursive languages like FORTRAN, but it doesn't work for recursive languages like PASCAL. PASCAL had to implement a call stack in software.
Jun
17
comment How to define different names for the same type and have the compiler check them?
The question is whether you want to catch the error the moment you utter it, or when you try to store it and discover the types don't match up. Over fifty years of computer science seems to suggest that you want to catch the error as early as possible. A complicated expression with two errors, in the presence of implicit type calculus, could wind up generating total garbage with a correct result signature, which is the worst-case scenario.
Jun
17
comment How to define different names for the same type and have the compiler check them?
@kevincline, the explicit instantiation requirement is arguably a Good Thing. As I recall, it was Tony Hoare who proposed a set of default typing rules, analogous to the FORTRAN I-N integer rule, to the ALGOL committee. They chastised him most severely, explaining that requiring explicit declaration of variables, and their types, reduced programming errors. (The author of that tale added that this happened BEFORE anyone knew the possibly-apocryphal story of the lost interplanetary probe, caused by a typo combined with default typing in FORTRAN.)
Jun
17
answered How to define different names for the same type and have the compiler check them?
Jun
14
comment Looking to simulate the rolling of a ball around a roulette wheel, while the resulting number is already known
37 for a Monte Carlo wheel, 38 for a US wheel. (All wheels have 36 numbers, divided evenly red/black. Monte Carlo wheels have one zero, colored green. US wheels have zero and double-zero green, to increase the house take. The Wikipedia article traces the history, and it is actually quite interesting.)
Jun
12
comment Why are so many languages passed by value?
@supercat: You're on your own. At best. Some places, you'll get a free spa treatment, complete with tar and feathers.
Jun
12
comment Why are so many languages passed by value?
@supercat: Deliberate aliasing. Undefined behavior. You'
Jun
12
comment Why are so many languages passed by value?
@supercat: No. In/out parameters are by definition readable and writable by the called routine.
Jun
11
comment What methods exist for assessing an organisation's development capability?
SEI CMM, albeit dated, and its more recent flavor, CMMI, is in fact exactly what you are looking for.
Jun
11
comment Is my work on a developer test being taken advantage of?
Here's a suggestion, for people in the US. Whenever a firm asks you to submit code samples, or do example work for them, every chunk you submit should carry a copyright notice: "COPYRIGHT (year) (your name). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED." If it generates code that will be run in a user's browser, make sure that the generator also generates a comment line containing that copyright notice. Honest outfits will have no problem with this. Dishonest ones will scream.
Jun
8
answered How can you predict the time it will take for two processes in two different machines in a cluster to communicate?