Learning Programming Part 3: C/C++ superiority

Previously, Part 1 and Part 2.

The other day, Marie pointed me to an interesting article where Jolie O’Dell decides to go back to school to get a computer science degree. She asked me what my thoughts were on some comments concerning the necessity of learning C/C++. I’ll paraphrase in order to avoid singling anyone out.

“Scripting languages create holes in proper programming. All a language, like PHP, will do is make you a PHP programmer, while a language like C or C++ will give you a fundamental understanding that can be applied to all languages and make you a better programmer no matter what the language. This is because these languages expose you to the way the computer really works (instead of abstraction): for instance, how a string is really created, or an array, or dynamic memory allocation. If you learn PHP, you will never bother to learn the low-level reality.”

The above is a munge of many commenters’ discussions.

What do you think of the above statement?
Continue reading my reply after the jump. →

Are democrats more educated?

Balloon Juice links to a Brookings study that measures educational attainment by metropolitan area and notes that 24 out of 25 areas are in states that went for Obama in 2008.

This made me immediately wonder which the outlier was. A quick scan said that the post is incorrect and that there are two outliers according to that metric. The first is Austin-Round Rock at #14 and the second is Tucson, AZ at #25. Doug was probably referring to Austin. But why talk about states, when we have the county breakdown? The county Austin resides in (Travis, TX) actually went for Obama by almost 2 to 1 (64-35%)—seems a shame to pick on Austin simply because it happens to be in a red state.

PResidental breakdown of Travis County

Continue reading about education and voting patterns after the jump. →

Sunrise at Mt Whitney

August 11, 2002

I took one look at the crowds at Trail Camp and said, “There is no way we’re stopping here” so we climbed the 99 switchbacks, and pitched our tents at 14,000 feet in the dead of darkness. Because I hadn’t acclimated to the altitude, I woke up hours before sunrise and prepared my camera for an attempt to make the peak in time for the sunrise. Hearing me rustle in the tent, Tim woke up and said that he’d accompany me.

Since we only had flashlights for a guide, we got lost and ended up doing Keeler Needle instead. Even in the dark, I could tell we somehow ended up on the eastern slope—you suddenly feel the cool air coming from your left and know there is nothing there but a gaping void. Because of my acrophobia, I just lit the rocks in front of me with my headlamp, took one step in front of the other, and prayed.

When we righted ourselves, the light was starting to change and Tim ran ahead to make the peak by dawn. I slogged on, out of shape and out of breath.

Less than a quarter mile from the peak, I could see the sunlight peeking through the cracks in the slope. I wasn’t going to make it. So, I found a gap in the trail, set up my tripod and prepared to shoot the sunrise.

Sunrise at Mt. Whitney
Sunrise at Mt. Whitney
Mt Whitney, Inyo National Forest, California

Olympus C-2500L
7 exposures, exposure data missing

It took seven photographs and a stitch to encompass what I saw that day, and I still missed the cliff that I was peeking through.

Continue reading about my Mt. Whitney hike after the jump. →

The unforgiving bush

My wife cannot orgasm from oral sex. I have been told that my technique is awesome, but nothing seems to be working. Please tell me there’s a way.

I passed your letter around the sorority house, and after the laughter died down, it occurred to me that perhaps not all of the women who had praised you in the past were lying. I consulted my trusty feminist bible (I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan) and was able to ascertain that your wife could have some issues including, but not limited to, body insecurity, mixed feelings about oral sex, pressure to orgasm, and the guilt that she feels while watching you soldier on through the unforgiving bush in a battle that never ends.
—clipped from an Esquire article

And here, I thought that was called humping.

So Meta

I was reading Smithsonian’s 40th anniversary issue when I ran across this article on the future of reading.

Smithsonian on the iPad

Since I was on my iPad, I had to take this screenshot.

Get Zinio for the iPad, zoom in on what interests you, take a screenshot of it, and add it to Evernote.

“In my day, we clipping interesting articles with scissors and put it in a folder—a real physical thing made out of cardboard paper—and into something called a filing cabinet. That ‘desktop’ thing was just a metaphor for real physical stuff we used.”

“That’s crazy talk, grandpa!”

What I did?

“Terry Chay what did you do!!!!”
—friend on Facebook

Before I clicked on the link, I thought I was being teased for taking down WordPress.com yesterday. (While I didn’t cause the one Jason Kincaid blogged about, I have taken down 11 million blogs before and I felt awful.)

But no, my friend has forgotten that I no longer work at Tagged.

And now that I no longer work there, let me explain what is going on. Simply put, The New York Attorney General intends to sue Tagged for harboring child pornographers and sexual predators.

Continue reading about social networks, lawsuits, and politics after the jump. →

Cradle bed

Yesterday was the 15th birthday of PHP, which was nice.

But today is my birthday, which is better!

A long, long time ago in a crib far, far away… (a story from Auntie Gia):

Have a very wonderful day today. This is an indeed a special day. I remember when your mother and father brought you home from the hospital after your birth. I was in Pittsburgh helping take care of Ken. Your parents brought out Ken’s old cradle bed. It was small. Before they could put you in it, Two year old Ken stuffed himself in the cradle, lied down, sucked his thumb and would not move. Your mom enjoyed that moment.

From the hospital
Back from the hospital, with my brother
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I guess they moved us to the bed (I am two weeks old in the photo).

Have a happy My Birthday, everyone!

Retinal burn

I suppose musings like this are very common among Apple haters. Basically the complaint boils down to:

“325dpi? Bah! Even a 1986-era laser printer does 300dpi and my newspaper does at least 600dpi. Until you get there, the print is smudgy and causes eye-strain.”

Apple - iPhone 4 - Learn about the high-resolution Retina display

The facts in the Apple’s advertising blurb are 100% correct. If you have a beef, don’t take the advertising head-on. The whole thing is essentially a misdirection in all but a few cases.

What a crock of shit.

Continue reading about eye acuity and displays after the jump. →

You tell that other boy, not to touch the woodwork