“generic” types: what’s in a name?

I’ve been stumbling over Java’s generic types for a while now…  I think I finally understand what my problem is:

They should be called specific types, or parametrised collections!

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Back to openSUSE

Well, my stint in *buntu is over, and it ends with an award to openSUSE: this is the first Linux distro I’ve returned to.

Kubuntu is nice, and I’m happy that I’ve tried it out, but it’s not for me. It’s nice enough if you want a simple desktop system, and APT rocks (especially with the aptitude front-end). But it’s just not as good as openSUSE, sorry.

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Hetrogeneous Operating Environments considered normal

Was reading this interview with Wade Olson about KDE 4.0. It is pretty interesting, but the best quote was at the end:

I often rant about how in all disruptive technologies, trends are always the same. Whether with the automobile, railroads, telephony or computers. A dominant company establishes ubiquity, but eventually competition settles in. Can you believe that Fords and Chevys can drive on the same roads and use the same gas? What a miracle of modern science that an AT&T user could call a Sprint user on the phone? A TGV and ICE train can ride on the same tracks? Madness! I can plug a lamp into the wall that my power company didn’t sell me? Now that’s what I call progress.
Why would computing be any different? I can’t believe that some choose to write software for a large audience that isn’t cross platform, browser-based or interoperable – but some do. Over time, proprietary file formats will go from being a competitive advantage to disadvantage. Heterogeneous systems are the norm and expected in every industry. It’s just tough being patient in ours.

Whatever your views on OOXML or Linux or Apple or DRM or FOSS/Proprietary software, or other contentious issues in the IT industry, you’ve got to admit, these are pretty sensible aims.

Microsoft Vista keyboard?

I spotted a “Vista compatable” keyboard in K-Mart the other day, which set me thinking… what would a Vista keyboard actually do that a “non-Vista” keyboard can’t?

Then I Googled for “Microsoft Keyboard Vista” and found this ad from Microsoft (Google Cache).

What the? “Designed to make it easier than ever to control PC media from your desk, your lap–or even from the comfort of your couch”. So… if I use this keyboard’s Play button to try and play media that Vista’s DRM system thinks I shouldn’t be playing, does it administer an electric shock? What if I have the keyboard in my lap 😀  Ouch! No so comfortable now…

Thanks, Microsoft, but … ahem, no thanks!

Preserving the programming craft

I posted this reply to an Ask Slashdot:  Do Kids still program? I found myself commenting all over that thread… it must be close to my heart 🙂 Reproducing here, and exploring a little further.

Many of the observations made on Slashdot are right. I wonder what it is that drives me to hack, that is missing from what is covered?  Why do I like to hack, and why would it be passed over by kids these days?  Or would it?

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Mystical jargon

I’m sure this observation has been made elsewhere, but I can’t find reference to it online.

Have you ever noticed the prolific use of mystical/fantastical words in computer jargon? I’m sure there is a significance, or at least a tongue-in-cheek pointing to the wizardly ways of early and contemporary computer experts. It is funny I suppose, and when you look at how wide-spread it is, it may be revealing of the hacker psych.

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Dvorak keyboards

I prefer Dvorak keyboards to QWERTY, which confounds my work colleagues no end 🙂

I’ve been typing on Dvorak for about 3 years now. The main reason I use the Dvorak keyboard layout is because, after 15 years of six-finger typing on QWERTY, I decided to learn to touch-type, and Dvorak is very easy to learn (I learnt it in 2 weeks, back to my old typing speed after a month).

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