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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.

Dec
13
comment Is it possible to quickly change an array declared on the stack to one declared on the heap
I have to ask. What are you trying to do that you think you need 100 million elements (400 million bytes) in your matrix?
Nov
20
comment Can we reduce confusion in line-based diff tools by annotating the code with some unique tokens?
@mouviciel, if I could have +1000'ed your comment, I would have.
Nov
16
comment How can one manage thousands of IF…THEN…ELSE rules?
What you are describing is first cousin to a LARGE rule-based expert system. The canonical example of such is XCON (eXpert CONFigurator) (formerly known as R1), developed by Digital Equipment Corporation for configuring VAX computers. They had a very similar problem, hundreds or thousands of rules, and about 30% of the rules changed every year. Start by reviewing the expert systems literature.
Nov
13
comment Why were punch cards used for programming
+1 for knowing what you're talking about. If I could've given you another +1 for the joke, I would've!
Nov
11
comment Why is the Unix linker called “ld”
@RobertHarvey: The point I was trying to make is that the term "loader" goes back to long BEFORE "the First Age of Unix, back in the 1970s."
Nov
11
comment Why is the Unix linker called “ld”
Please, please, please, people, please try to remember that computers and software and operating systems DID exist before Unix was invented. The term "loader", as in "relocating (or relocatable: both terms were common) linking loader" goes back to LONG before Unix. I first ran into it in about 1970, and I'd be VERY surprised if there weren't relocating linking loaders in 1960.
Nov
10
comment What advantages are there to using Flex/Bison over just writing a compiler straight in a programming language?
I am not certain, but I THINK ANTLR builds top-down parsers.
Nov
7
comment How to deal with clients that only gives you huge flow of “how to do this”, but can't say “what and why” they need?
@LachlanB, if you are so foolish as to enslave yourself to one (1) and only one (1) customer, you deserve what you get. In that sorry state of affairs, your ONLY option is to explain to them that the only work you can do for them will be to discuss those three questions, and it will have to be compensated on a straight-up "time and expenses" basis. Meanwhile, you should start cultivating other customers, PRONTO.
Nov
6
comment How to deal with clients that only gives you huge flow of “how to do this”, but can't say “what and why” they need?
@LachlanB, the term "fire them" means "cease taking work from them". You presumably have heard the term "fire your manager", which means "change jobs". Same concept.
Nov
1
comment Improving the speed of coding in Fortran
Have you looked at MATLAB, from MathWorks? Your university probably has a student discount arrangement. Alternatively, if you are not working at a university, and your employer is one of the VERY few who are too cheap to buy proper tools (MATLAB is generally regarded as a basic required tool these days), take a look at GNU Octave.
Oct
15
comment Adding quirks from an old system to a new system because that's what people are used to - a term for this?
Bug-compatibility.
Oct
7
comment Why was Fortran never used to develop an Operating System?
In the time period in question, operating systems were not manufacturer- or platform-independent. As such, the fact that FORTRAN varied from manufacturer to manufacturer, and from machine to machine even at the same manufacturer, is not a significant issue. Far more significant is the lack of low-level access (pointers). More to the point, at that time, it was generally believed that high-level languages could not yield the performance and security needed for an operating system.
Sep
29
comment How do I compile my software for all platforms from Ubuntu Linux 64 bit?
With great difficulty.
Sep
19
comment Is my work on a developer test being taken advantage of?
What Henry Keiter said goes for me too.
Sep
16
comment Are there any empirical studies on the effect of different languages on software quality?
@Kevin, while it may be true that good engineers can produce quality software in any language, we all live and work in the real world, and there is some evidence out there that suggests that, in the real world, with typical engineers, language makes a difference.
Sep
16
comment Are there any empirical studies on the effect of different languages on software quality?
If the study indicated, and strongly supported, a result that you personally found intolerable or disgusting, what would you do?
Sep
11
comment Is it ever OK for a conditional to have side effects?
Look at the bright side. You now know one more company where you DON'T want to interview.
Sep
11
comment dealing with a very large state machine in a class
Is there any chance you can get your employer to junk the protocol specification and START OVER??? Alternatively, out of morbid curiosity, what protocol is this, and where can I find the protocol specification?
Sep
8
comment Ambiguous If-else nested block in C without braces
Because this is how C is defined to work. There was (and still is) a REASON why Ada required all control structures to be fully bracketed. Ichbiah et al. KNEW that the "dangling else" problem was Bad, and they Fixed It.
Aug
31
comment Testing multi-threaded race conditions
@PeterK., this is one of those few cases in software development, along with monitors, RAM, and disk drives, where bigger IS better.