Jul 31

Arguing “Which programming language is better?” is like debating “Which religion is better?”  You will never find an answer because people have different needs, they judge with different criteria, and in the end, the debaters just end up getting pissed off at each other.  That’s why you’ll frequently see developers label the programming language debate as a “religious war.”

For me in my current job, C# is my language of choice.  But I’ve also worked with Java, PHP, C++, C, RGB II and even assembler.  In general, I feel it’s better to select the right programming language for the job, rather than force the job to use my current favorite language.

That said, Java fan Brian M. Clapper has written an interesting article claiming that the Java language “depresses me lately.  It’s being left in the dust by other languages.  Worse, though, for Java enthusiasts: Java has fallen behind C#.”

Continue reading »

Jul 28

We’ve all had to listen to stories about how our parents had to walk to school each day, through the snow, uphill both ways.  We’d roll our eyes and laugh at the “primitive” life our parents led.  But as our generation grows older, the products and technologies that defined our youth are also fading fast from memory.

Let’s face it, the world is changing at an accelerating pace.  Moore’s Law ensures that the world continues to make things smaller, faster and better.  Unlike hand-me-down clothes, the technology we grew up with will NOT be passed down the line to the next generation of geeks.

In this spirit, Wired Magazine has created a list of 100 things your kids may never know.  For example:

  • The scream of a modem connecting
  • The buzz of a dot-matrix printer
  • 8, 5 and 3-inch floppy discs
  • Storing data on tapes
  • Using jumpers to set IRQs
  • DOS
  • Green-screen dumb terminals accessing a mainframe
  • Daisy chaining SCSI devices and making sure they’ve all got a different ID
  • Counting in kilobytes
  • Having to constantly delete things to make room on the hard drive
  • Booting the computer from a floppy disk

100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About

Jul 27

Microsoft has announced the business model and pricing for its Windows Azure cloud computing platform.

Windows Azure has a consumption-based pricing model, allowing partners and customers to pay only for the services that they consume.

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Jul 24

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates decided to weigh in on Gizmodo’s ‘79 Celebration:

“I read those 1979 stories all last week, and it put me in a nostalgic mood, so I wanted to offer my own memory to add to the collection.

“In 1979, Microsoft had 13 employees, most of whom appear in that famous picture that provides indisputable proof that your average computer geek from the late 1970s was not exactly on the cutting edge of fashion.  We started the year by moving from Albuquerque back to Bellevue, just across the lake from Seattle.  By the end of the year we’d doubled in size to 28 employees.  Even though we were doing pretty well, I was still kind of terrified by the rapid pace of hiring and worried that the bottom could fall out at any time.

“What made me feel a little more confident was that 1979 was the year we began to sense that BASIC was right on the verge of becoming the standard language for microcomputers.  We knew this could be the catalyst that would unlock the potential of the PC to democratize computing and create the right conditions for an explosion in programs and applications that would lead to really rapid growth of the PC market.”

Read the rest of Gates’ story at Gizmodo

Jul 23

This is part 11 in a series of articles on obscure programming languages.

What is Kite?

Kite is a programming language designed to minimize the required experience level of the programmer.  It aims to allow quick development and running time and low CPU and memory usage.

Continue reading »

Jul 23

CodePaste.NET is a new public code pasting site that allows you to paste and link code from social network sites like Twitter and Facebook, or chat and IM applications like Skype or Messenger.  The idea is that these social networks or chat clients work well for interactive discussion, but they don’t allow enough space to post even the shortest snippets of code for all participants to see. 

A lot of Twitter traffic deals with discussions about code or code concepts, so a place to share and view code is very useful.  So rather than squeezing code snippets into these clients, you can post it on the the CodePaste.NET site and then link to the snippet.  As opposed to other code pasting sites, CodePaste.NET is more specific to .NET developers, providing syntax highlighting and the ability to apply comments on snippets.

More .NET News

Jul 22

Your tax dollars at work:  Our U.S. government has no problem spending a trillion dollars on an optional war in Iraq.  Or spending many trillions bailing out rich Wall Street bankers to reward their greed and avarice.  But when it comes to deploying a FREE, open-source Web browser on government computers?  Now you’ve really gone too far, man!

Firefox not allowed! The U.S. State Department currently uses Microsoft Internet Explorer as its one and only Web browser.  At a town hall meeting led by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, a new State Department employee asked Clinton to “please let the staff use” the Mozilla Firefox browser.  The employee pointed out that Firefox had been “approved for the entire intelligence community,” and that it’s a “much safer program.”  The rookie’s question was met with a chorus of applause from the audience.

Continue reading »

Jul 21

I have a friend who announces when she’s going to bed every night on Facebook.  It’s the 21st century equivalent of “Good night, John Boy.”  But does anyone really care?

Facebook, MySpace and especially Twitter provide a global platform to the narcissist in each of us.  We tweet the minutia of detail in our normally normal lives, hoping that somebody in cyberspace actually cares.

I’m not throwing stones in a glass house; I’m actually throwing them at the mirror.  I, too, am guilty of sharing my life ad nauseum on Facebook.  Even this blog is an electronic indictment of my narcissism, as if anyone truly cares about my rants.

But like many things in life, you may occasionally find a diamond in the rough, or a pony in this seemingly endless pile of poo.

Continue reading »

Jul 17

Microsoft Popfly is a set of online visual tools for novice programmers and end-users to build Web pages, applications and games.  This was Microsoft’s attempt to bring programming to the masses, similar to Hypercard on the Macintosh, or the original Visual Basic on Windows before it became a real (complicated) object-oriented language under .NET.

But this fly lived for only two years.  Microsoft has just announced that on August 24, 2009, the Popfly service will be discontinued and all sites, references, and resources will be taken down.  At that time, access to your Popfly account, including any games and mashups that you have created, will be discontinued.

Continue reading »

Jul 16

Outrageous Visa bill

Many Visa prepaid cardholders were stunned when they opened their bill Monday to discover a $23,148,855,308,184,500 charge.  That’s $23 quadrillion, which exceeds the combined GDP of every country on the planet.

Josh Muszynski, 22, of Manchester, New Hampshire, was one of the unlucky Visa customers.  Adding insult to injury, he was also charged a $15 overdraft fee.  According to his statement, he spent all that money in one transaction at a nearby Mobil gas station where he often stops for Camel cigarettes.

He checked with the gas station, but they had no record of the charge.  Next he called his card issuer Bank of America, which put him on hold for two hours.  Eventually a bank rep told him the charge and overdraft fee would be removed from his account.

In a statement, Visa said the bad charges affected “fewer than 13,000 prepaid transactions” and resulted from a “temporary programming error at Visa Debit Processing Services … [which] caused some transactions to be inaccurately posted to a small number of Visa prepaid accounts.”

Story at CNN
Stupid Is As Stupid Does