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Blue Ink Blue Ink
  • Thought provoking article by Rob Pike that C++, Java and C# (especially) devs should read

    Ok, as an old time C++ programmer I'm biased. And opinionated. Take with a grain of salt.

    First of all, the whole point about the bloat of C++ is a fallacy. True, C++11 did result in adding a lot of features to the already gargantuan specs, and it couldn't be otherwise given the unprecedented codebase that must not break. Noblesse oblige. Yet, once you start writing "pure" C++11 code, you end up using a relatively small subset of the specs, which results in a lean and clean language, without renouncing any of the power and efficiency of the language.

    Second, there's the preposterous idea that a GC is needed for parallelization or that it makes a language intrinsically better. There's nothing wrong in using a GC, of course, I just don't see it as an advantage, not against modern C++. Conversely, lack of deterministic destruction, RAII and the like is a serious limitation for a "systems programming language", where fine-grained resource management can be paramount.

    Dissecting each and every feature of the language is beyond the point, let's just say that the language doesn't innovate enough, with respect to C++, to generate more than a mild interest; on the other hand, it has a number of "features" that I just find irksome, when not altogether misguided. Postfix typing, overloading well-known symbols from other languages with totally unrelated meanings, implicit interface inference (interesting, but that's an accident waiting to happen), the egregious short-sightedness of using case to determine visibility (not to mention cultural chauvinism... ironic for someone who has developed UTF-8). Just to name a few.

    And all of this syntax sugar just to save keystrokes. Might have made sense in the '70s; nowadays it's the task of a decent IDE to take care of that, not the language design.

    Which takes me to the most important reason why I haven't taken up Go for a ride beyond the online demo: features (or lack thereof) are but a facet of what makes a language the right tool for the job. You must factor in IDE support, ease of debugging, unit testing, documentation, libraries, tools. For a language that is apparently all about "getting the job done", Go doesn't offer any of that, not up to modern standards anyway (gdb? seriously?).

    I'll leave it at that, for brevity <g>

  • It's Geeks all the way down

    @cbae: Poor lady Lovelace got her name smeared by the unfortunate association with a particular language that won't be named. May I suggest Grace Hopper in her stead?


  • Windows Phone 7.8

    , Proton2 wrote

    [...] With the caveat that your carrier mileage may vary.

    Not necessarily. According to Paul Thurrot the update should be delivered directly by Microsoft. Fingers crossed.

  • Stephen Elop makes me angry

    , fanbaby wrote

    1. Do you understand the Silverlight is now completely gone from the last place it was used? (again i have nothing against SL on the phone). That future developement on WP will not be sl?

    Don't let marketing monikers fool you: the future development of WP will still be based on XAML + C#/other languages. Transitioning won't amount to much, and you can still use SL to develop for WP7 and WP8. Using your metrics, C++ developers should slit their wrists with rusty blades over C++11 (hint: we aren't).

    2. As new apps will not work on wp7, for example only IE9 and not IE10  is available and will ever be, so it seems, would you recommend buying WP 7/7.5 today?

    It depends. WP7 is still more than good enough for most users, so yes, I would recommend it for some users. And I would suggest others to wait. Of all things, I don't think I would consider IE10 as a factor though: poorly designed websites have a lot more to do with the bad experience you get on smartphones in general than the merits of the individual browsers.

    3. Will Nokia see sales declining b/c of this?

    Good question... intuitively I'd say yes, but I'm afraid I have to ask "compared to what?". WP8 isn't the only competitor of WP7: with looming announcements from Apple's and Android camps, there's a possibility that what looked like an untimely announcement to many (me included) could be just a preventive measure. I don't have all the details and projections it takes to make that kind of call.

    4. Had nokia gone with android/also with android things would be less problematic?(no need to answer this if you think everything is groovy.

    No. That move would have prevented any cash investment by Microsoft, the low estimate of which is 1B$. With the low profit margins recorded for Android devices, that means that Nokia would have had to sell tens of millions Android devices to be exactly where it is now, not an easy feat when some of the largest competitors (e.g. Samsung) do not rely on the mobile market for their survival.

    5. Is elop a genius (just kidding)

    No. I reserve that title for the likes of Da Vinci, Feynman and very few others. But I think he's a pretty good pilot flying in extreme weather.

  • 3D Printer

    @Clint: Thanks, food for thought. Of all things I completely forgot about software: I took for granted that once you make the STL getting that printed was trivial. Oops...

    For the record, looks like the Thingomatic is no longer an option, and the Replicator comes preassembled.

    Browsing through the various RepRap derivatives, I stumbled upon the Cartesio. Same concept as everything else, but this one can apparently be changed into a CNC router to prototype PCBs. Will try to find out more...

  • 3D Printer

    I finally convinced myself I need one (for suitably overinflated values of "need"). I'm looking at the cheap range (say Make-a-bot, Ultimaker and the like) for the obvious reasons and also because I'd rather not use something that eats through consumables that go for several hundred dollars per Kg.

    I'm a bit concerned about the usefulness of the printed parts, though, as the quality shown on youtube varies wildly and I'm trying to smuggle this to the office for "serious work". Or something.

    I'd be grateful if anybody wanted to share some advice...

  • Stephen Elop makes me angry

    , fanbaby wrote

     Then again I might be wrong.

    We agree again.

  • Stephen Elop makes me angry

    , fanbaby wrote

    When you have to take care of so many employees, how can you bet the company and not even blink?

    Such a sweet and smart guy

    EDIT: I was so angry i forgot the link: http://mlkshk.com/p/GXR5

    On one thing we agree: a few things companies do seems baffling if not altogether misguided. But then, it's entirely possible that these top notch MBA's just play a game we don't even know the rules of. Reminds me of my attempts at inferring the rules of cricket by watching a few games on TV.

    This said, even with my very limited knowledge in the field, I think that what Elop did was remarkable given the initial conditions. Symbian was falling hard, and had been for years, Android was already an overcrowded market, with several strong market leaders. Not a nice place to be the new kid on the block. 

    By jumping on WP with both feet, Nokia obtained an immediate injection of hard cash and a huge safety net, as Microsoft cannot afford to let Nokia to go under, at least for a few years to come. This was the best outcome possible for Nokia's stakeholders, employees included (alas, not all of them) but it could only happen through a full committment to the platform. All in all, a solid A in my books.

  • Ads In Metro Apps

    @DCMonkey: the original post includes a detail that I think is crucial: the ovesized ad appears at the very end of a long panorama. It's still huge, but it's somewhat less intolerable that way.

    It remains to be seen if this will be in the advertising guidelines, if those will be enforced and if there will be some strict monitoring to close loopholes.

  • The Channel 9 Circus is coming to Amsterdam - Streaming Live, 27 June

    , Maddus Mattus wrote

    @Charles: Sounds like a plan!

    Want a tour of the red light district while you are there?

    There's a good potential for a joke about windows and open source, somewhere...