Archive for November, 2006

So…

November 30, 2006

I haven’t posted in a while.  I haven’t really had anything to say.  Here’s a quick list of random thoughts:

I just repartitioned my hard drive with Partition Magic.  No data was lost.  Woot.

I’ve been playing around with Haskell lately, but I went back to OCaml.  I just like OCaml more.

It would be really cool if someone had the last name “Blog”.  I remember seeing the credits in a TV show the other night, and someone’s last name was Blog.  If my last name was Blog, I’d feel really special.

I think I’m going to write something on why I don’t have a MySpace.  Everyone at my school is shocked that I don’t have one, but personally, I just think it’s stupid.

I really wish I would stop getting alerts from my system tray that Java is ready to be updated.

Rube Goldberg

November 25, 2006

This is another crazy conspiracy theory. It’s about OCaml rather than Java technology, but it’s still pretty crazy.

OK, so I was playing around with the char_of_int function in the OCaml interpreter. Below is a snippet of the session:


char_of_int 150;;
-: char = 'Rube Goldberg'

However, that’s not what it originally said. The single quotes originally contained a small rectangular character. I copy it, and when I pasted it to the next line, it came out as “Rube Goldberg”, and the character above it turned into “Rube Goldberg” as well. I am not making this up. I can only assume Rube Goldberg is the head of the INRIA, and this is all part of his sadistic plot to take over the world. So far, I have been unable to replicate this behavior. These are the exact steps:

1) Type “char_of_int 3;;” and press Enter.

2) Type “char_of_int 150;;” and press Enter.

3) Copy the rectangular character that is output, and paste it to the next input line. You’ll see it come out as “Rube Goldberg”, and the rectangle above will change to “Rube Goldberg” as well.

Again, this has only happened once, but if anyone else can get it to work, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

OCaml Rocks your Socks

November 22, 2006

Edit: Sorry about the terrible code formatting. The Editor doesn’t seem to let me put HTML where I want it. I’ll try to fix it later.

When I wrote last night’s sort-of-rant, I was thinking about OCaml. I have enough languages installed on my computer as it is, but I decided to try out OCaml for two reasons:

1) Steve Yegge likes it. If it’s good enough for Steve, then it’s good enough for me.

2) Microsoft stole it. If it’s good enough for Microsoft, it’s good enough for me.

A few minutes after beginning to toy around in the interpreter, I was afraid it was going to be just like Haskell, since their syntaxes are so similar. Haskell hurt my head. A lot. But OCaml hasn’t hurt my head; at least, not yet. In fact, I’m growing to really like OCaml. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1) It’s not impractical like Haskell or Lisp. Haskell forces you to write in a functional style, and Lisp has very few libraries for doing things like creating GUIs. OCaml has support for several paradigms, including functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming, and it has libraries for handling GUIs, creating threads, and working with files, among other things.

2) It produces concise code. This:

int factorial (int n)
{

if (n == 0)

{

return 1;

}

else

{

return (n * factorial (n-1));

}
}

is reduced to this:

let rec factorial n =

if(n = 0) then 1 else n * factorial (n – 1);;

3) It has a lot of Really Cool Features (RCFs), like function currying, nested functions, and pattern matching.

I’m probably going to write a quick lintroduction to the language here soon, since tutorials for it seem to be lacking. Check back soon.

Programming Language Promiscuity

November 21, 2006

A few factors keep me from getting programming work done. Starting with the most severe, they are as follows:

1) The habbit of bouncing from language to language like a rabbit on crack.

2) The fact that talking about programming is slightly more fun than programming itself.

3) The tendancy to form project ideas around whatever language I think is “cool” at the moment, rather than coming up with an idea and then choosing the language that would best suite it.

4) School.

5) Video games (Okami at the moment, soon to be FF III).

6) Necessary human functions, like eating, sleeping, etc.

#1 is the factor that I’ll be talking about in this entry.

Whenever I hear about a new language, I get the irrestible urge to try it out. Whenver I see a phrase in a blog to the effect of “well, I’ve been toying with language x recently, and…”, I instantly go to the language’s website to download the compiler/interpreter. While I watch the progress bar on the download fill up, I think “oh boy oh boy this is going to be great I’m going to learn a cool new language and I’ll probably love it and it will solve all my problems real easy and it’ll be great and I’ll probably love this language forever and I’ll tell all my friends about it and I’ll put its logos on my website and I’m going to become this language’s biggest advocate and this is going to be great my whole life is going to be changed because of language x and OH MY GOSH YAY!!!!!11111112”.

Wow, I didn’t mean to type all of that. But that is an accurate description of what goes through my head.

Ten minutes after installing the language and writing a few simple programs, I get bored with it, and go right back to the interweb to see what Paul Graham has written recently.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe I could fix this by fixing #3: actually come up with an idea and see it through to the end. The last major project I finnished was a Tetris clone, and that was back in July (I also wrote a little Pong game to get aquainted with Java GUIs, but I don’t count that as major). I’m working on a super-mini RPG in C# right now; I’ll go back to that. Expect updates.

The Grand Theory on how Sun Microsystems is Killing the Human Race

November 21, 2006

Java technology- nay, the entire Sun corporation- is a conspiracy by aliens to annihilate life on Earth as we know it. Allow me to explain:

On the offical Sun Java Forum, members compete for points known as Duke Dollars (named after the truely awesome Java mascot Duke. He’s in on the conspiracy too). When someone posts a new question, that person can choose to assign Duke Dollars to the question. When another person answers their question, they award that person the Duke Dollars.

For a while, the system worked smoothly. If I recall correctly, no one else could see how many Duke Dollars you had. It was simply a private indicator of how helpful you were. But that all changed yesterday.

Yesterday, Sun implemented the Duke Stars program. Now, each member has a star next to their name- with bronze being the lowest ranking, then silver, gold, and platinum- indicating how many Duke Dollars they have. You may not think this is a bad thing. But it is.

You see, there are two major groups of people on the Sun forums: those who ask questions, and those who answer them. Most of the people who ask questions are high school or college CS students who are asking for help on their homework assignments, without having done much, or any, work to have solved the problem themselves. Typically, those who answer questions won’t give out answers to homework assignments; after all, how will people learn anything if we just give them the answers?

However, there is a major new incentive to answer questions: Duke Dollars. They existed before, but now everyone can see how many Duke Dollars you have. People want other people to know how helpful they are. This means that the value of Dukes has shot way up, and anyone who assigns Dukes to their question will probably get an answer ASAP. Students know this, and they’re already getting more homework answers.

So, what will happen if CS students aren’t made to work? The software industry will suffer. We will have tons of bad programmers in the work force, or maybe no programmers at all. Critical software that runs things like health care systems or automobiles will become broken. Without programmers, our society will eventually collapse.

This has been Sun’s plan all along. Make Java a standard so everyone uses it for their courses, give students a place to go for free answers, and flood the industry with bad programmers and computer illiterates. It’s such an elaborate scheme, they didn’t think anyone would figure it out. But you and me, we can make a difference.

Join the Sun forums. Tell kids that they need to do their own work. Get Java out of schools. Do something. Quick, before it’s too late.

My Thoughts on the PlayStation 3 Launch

November 19, 2006

I don’t understand how people could wait for weaks to get a game console. Yes, weeks; they’ve been out there since the beginning of November. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a gamer too. I know how exciting a product launch can be, especially when said product is a new console.  But I’d never buy it on launch day.  I’d wait for a month or two, then walk into the store and get it with no hassle, and no risk of getting shot or mauled.

At least there won’t be a line for the Wii.  These people don’t know what they’ll be missing.

At the bottom of this page…

November 12, 2006

…you will find a very small smiley face image. I wonder why it’s there. The government must be watching us.

A First Real Post

November 12, 2006

I decided to leave the automated Hello World post on here, just because I couldn’t think of anything better for a first post. I’ll be talking about a few different things here, most prominently computer programming and politics. Enjoy the insights of a 14 year old.

Hello world!

November 12, 2006

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!