ClearlyAlive's recent activity

  1. Comment on Google Play Music will shut down later this year - features are now available for transferring history/library to YouTube Music in ~music

    ClearlyAlive
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    Can't you do that on Amazon?

    Would anyone be able to suggest a service where I can buy albums from artists that isn't iTunes?

    Can't you do that on Amazon?

    1 vote
  2. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    ClearlyAlive
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    On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. I’m really enjoying it, and it’s doing a good job of rebutting a lot of the GOFAI beliefs. I also like the model of intelligence it proposes.

    On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins. I’m really enjoying it, and it’s doing a good job of rebutting a lot of the GOFAI beliefs. I also like the model of intelligence it proposes.

    1 vote
  3. Comment on Sanders says another presidential run is 'very, very unlikely' in ~news

    ClearlyAlive
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    I’m sad, but I kinda already knew this 😭.

    I’m sad, but I kinda already knew this 😭.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on May 13th, 1985: the day Philadelphia police bombed a city street, leaving 250 homeless and 11 dead, including 5 children in ~humanities

    ClearlyAlive
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    As far as I’m concerned, the catchphrase should be “No forgiveness before prosecution”. There is no way I would be willing to offer any party forgiveness without them being investigated and...

    As far as I’m concerned, the catchphrase should be “No forgiveness before prosecution”. There is no way I would be willing to offer any party forgiveness without them being investigated and prosecuted.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on I’m a developer. I won’t teach my kids to code, and neither should you in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
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    Definitely, I just think that will become easier because you'll already understand what the program is doing so when learning the new language you can focus on syntax more since you already...

    The only problem I see with with learning lisp, even if it's "easier" syntactically, is that you will eventually have to learn the Fortran-C (imperative?) family of language syntax anyways.

    Definitely, I just think that will become easier because you'll already understand what the program is doing so when learning the new language you can focus on syntax more since you already understand the basic programming concepts.

    In the status quo, people are forced to learn both programming concepts (conditions, loops etc) at the same time as the syntax which can really frustrate people. I agree with the author that the syntax is not really that important to learn as the underlying skills are.

    FYI While Scheme is focused on being functional, Common Lisp and other dialects are multi-paradigm and indeed CL is very imperative.

    So you are just delaying the necessary struggle with syntax for another point down the road. Does learning lisp really ease that?

    My experience has been that my second programming language was much easier than my first because I understood all the concepts and I was mostly just learning a new syntax (and some extra features/difficulties in the case of JS). In terms of helping my friend with learning Java, she doesn't exactly get what each part does as well as the syntax.

    A data scientist needs to know how to manipulate their data with modern tools, which will inevitably use a modern and widespread language.

    The issue I have with this is that it's difficult to predict which language will actually be modern and in use in the future. I'm sure Fortran isn't and so focusing on a specific language won't be that useful as paradigms change very rapidly; indeed, today we're seeing a move to the functional paradigm of programming. That's why I'm very focused on the teaching of programming concepts such as looping, conditions, variables.

    They don't necessarily need a low level understanding of what the machine is doing

    I'm not promoting an assembly or C level understanding of the what the machine is doing, but I think there are some skills you need to program computers that are independent of programming language that we can teach them.

    4 votes
  6. Comment on Should x < $foo < y read from $foo once or twice? Perl debates in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
    (edited )
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    I’ve had a look yes. My view is primarily based on what the user knows and expects. In the user’s conception of the language tied variables have the following axiom: Everytime a tied variable is...

    Have you read through the issue?

    I’ve had a look yes.

    So it probably isn't something a beginner would touch.

    My view is primarily based on what the user knows and expects. In the user’s conception of the language tied variables have the following axiom:

    1. Everytime a tied variable is used it may mutate.

    The problem with the fetching twice is that it seems violates that axiom in the user's conception.

    Also note that since it ends up as something like $x < $y && $y < $z (if everything is a scalar, that is), I'm guessing that $z won't be fetched if the left side is false. So with that in mind, it makes sense that $y should possibly be fetched twice, right?

    Of course, technically it doesn't as you rightly point out. But this misses the UX issue in terms of how people read code. People will translate the above axiom into the following:

    1. Everytime a tied variable appears it may mutate.

    in their brains. That way whenever reading code they can see easily see how tied variables are changing. The current behaviour clearly violates that axiom and makes reading code harder. It's true, as developers we can expect them to be more aware of implementation details as compared to end-users, but still I think that because of how trivial the solution is: { temp = $y; $x < temp && temp < $z} we should change it to better suit these axioms.

    In general I believe that developers and users shouldn't need to worry about the underlying representation unless they really need to (e.g. speed optimisations), this doesn't strike me as one of those cases.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on I’m a developer. I won’t teach my kids to code, and neither should you in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
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    Do you agree with my analysis on which programming language to learn? Most of my points aren’t super controversial but I thought that one might be.

    Do you agree with my analysis on which programming language to learn? Most of my points aren’t super controversial but I thought that one might be.

    1 vote
  8. Comment on I’m a developer. I won’t teach my kids to code, and neither should you in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
    Link Parent
    When I said this I meant “computation”. I think because more and more things in our democracies are shifting to being computerised people need to understand how computation works to avoid treating...

    How is it important to know how computers work?

    When I said this I meant “computation”. I think because more and more things in our democracies are shifting to being computerised people need to understand how computation works to avoid treating them as infallible, or also being unnecessarily distrustful.

    Additionally, will learning basic Python really teach you much about how they work?

    I mean I’ve already mentioned I’m against teaching Python but I do think learning how software is made will give children a better idea of computation. Remember we’re talking about children here, I don’t think dry class discussions will really engage them that much; this is why we do science labs in school.

    4 votes
  9. Comment on I’m a developer. I won’t teach my kids to code, and neither should you in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
    Link Parent
    The same is true of Art or Science (noöne needs to do a science lab), but just like painting or a science lab, coding is more fun. When I say “how computers work”, I don’t mean just the physical...

    It’s quite possible to have a general understanding of how computers work without ever writing a single line of code.

    The same is true of Art or Science (noöne needs to do a science lab), but just like painting or a science lab, coding is more fun.

    Just ask the thousands of gamers that plan, purchase and assemble their desktop computers every year.

    When I say “how computers work”, I don’t mean just the physical hardware, I also mean the software, the programs, the algorithms.

    And yeah, I suppose programming might help problem solving overall, but it’s certainly not the only resource.

    No of course not, but we try to teach children these skills with a variety of sources.

    Also see my edit.

    5 votes
  10. Comment on I’m a developer. I won’t teach my kids to code, and neither should you in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
    (edited )
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    I see a lot of pushback against teaching people to code because not everyone will (need to) be a software developer, but I feel this fundamentally misses the point. Not everyone will be a...

    I see a lot of pushback against teaching people to code because not everyone will (need to) be a software developer, but I feel this fundamentally misses the point. Not everyone will be a scientist, but we all still learn science in school because it's important to know how our world works; similarly, due to the reliance on computers, I think knowing programming is important because it enables one to understand how our computers work.

    It's true that most programs a child will write will not be reliable or efficient, but many times that simply isn't important even in the professional world (i.e. simply scripting). As an analogy, the author could be complaining about children learning Art, they won't paint breathtaking, technically rich paintings, but that's fine, the important thing is that children are creating.

    In this article the author specifically pushes back at the notion that learning syntax is not the key element of being a programmer. I mostly agree with this position, which is why I believe that most people should learn Lisp before due to the vastly simpler syntax. Compared to languages like Java or Python I make far fewer syntax errors when writing Lisp. I have a friend who tried to learn python but really struggled with it, but took to Lisp very quickly because of how simple the syntax is; indeed, right now they're learning Java as part of a Uni module and finding it very frustrating[0].
    For her, the fundamental issue (I think) is that she's essentially required to do two things, learn programming and learning the syntax. Lisp saves us from the syntax.

    [0]: Clarification: She only did around Lisp for a few days before uni started which is why she didn't manage to learn much to help her with Java.

    ETA: Another point I should make is that the necessity of basic coding skills has significantly increased among professions. All STEM students need to know how to code (for things like data analysis), but nowadays many people outside STEM also require the same skills such as the humanities (statistical analysis) or journalism (I was friends with a journalist who had to learn some Web dev skills). For those people having a small foundation in school probably would be helpful, just like we teach people some science or newspaper writing in school.

    I think schools should teach people enough programming skills that they are able to make medium level Siri Shortcuts.

    Were we to have such a course in schools, I’d like it to include a module on the physical design of computers and their components, formal logic, Boolean algebra in addition to simply programming. Ideally it would be joint between science and mathematics so formal logic and Boolean algebra is first studied in mathematics.

    18 votes
  11. Comment on Should x < $foo < y read from $foo once or twice? Perl debates in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
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    Obviously once. If I as the user wanted to insist on twice I’d write it twice.

    Obviously once. If I as the user wanted to insist on twice I’d write it twice.

    1 vote
  12. Comment on Programming Languages that are Both Interpretable and Compilable? in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
    Link Parent
    Why is SBCL “clumsy”? Is it due to the lack of built in in readline? I think most people use SBCL or another lisp through SLIME or SLY so don’t really need to worry about the lack of readline as...

    Why is SBCL “clumsy”? Is it due to the lack of built in in readline?

    I think most people use SBCL or another lisp through SLIME or SLY so don’t really need to worry about the lack of readline as SLIME offers it.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on What old tech are you holding onto and why? in ~tech

    ClearlyAlive
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    I use an iPad to take notes at uni and have since year 11 (so for 4 years total). There are several reasons I prefer writing on my iPad and making stuff on the computer in general, I’m going to go...

    I use an iPad to take notes at uni and have since year 11 (so for 4 years total).

    There are several reasons I prefer writing on my iPad and making stuff on the computer in general, I’m going to go through your points and explain why what you don’t like about tablets is actually a plus point for me or untrue (vis-à-vis resting your palm).

    The primary reason is my notes are neater and easier to edit, I can achieve quality unimaginable on paper (for me).

    It's also that the notes don't feel permanent. I've had my OS crash on my a few times in my lifetime, resulting in me losing all files. When transferring OSes on purpose, I'd at least once forgotten to backup an important set of data, which meant I lost it after the SSD overwrite. Whatever notes the app owner may have stored in their cloud is in their cloud – something that just plain doesn't sit well with me in terms of reliability. I want my notes to survive, and while paper is famously fragile to even mild damage, digital notes feel ephemeral by comparison.

    Here is an important difference. I find notes on my iPad to be less ephemeral, because I can rely on them being there when I need them. Throughout my life, I’ve rarely “lost” a paper document, but frequently I’ve found myself needing one but not being able to find it. This makes them feel more ephemeral to me; I can write a paper document and then I might not find it until two years later.

    Of course, to solve this I can manually organise paper documents, but this is also disadvantageous as implementing an organisation scheme takes a lot of effort (and I’ve done Amy Santigo-ish schemes). On my iPad I can choose not to organise my notes and just do a handwriting recognition search for them. If I want to organise them, it’s much more convient as compared to ruffling with paper.

    (It could be one of those near-sighted fallacies, like when people consider car to be the safest way to travel when it's actually airplane, but because we hear so much about plane crashes and feel so much less in control if it ever does... Biases are strong when unexamined.)

    I could lose all of my notes if my iPad breaks, and iCloud fails simultaneously; but you’re more likely to lose a single paper note than you than the alternative. In terms of app glitches, I’ve only had one case of data loss during the entire aforementioned period — where I lost a page and a half. This is as you acknowledged, the car-plane fallacy.

    As far as I'm aware, tablets are unable to replicate the paper experience with any reliability. There's barely any feedback – and what feedback there can be is poorly simulated. You can't use it with ease: you have to consider how your hand lies on the device itself, which may cause false-input issues as well as put too much physical pressure on the tablet. (My hands are big and heavy. After months of use, it's going to have its effect on the screen curvature.) Altering the way you write because your writing base is too sensitive is not good user experience.

    I don’t deny my iPad’s screen feels nothing like paper. It does take some getting used to, but for handwriting (especially mathematics) I prefer my iPad because it makes writing so effortless (due to the lack of friction); going to paper feels like switching from a rollerball to a fountain pen. The glide does make it harder to freehand polygons, but then I use the shape tool to obtain perfect shapes. In terms of putting my hand down, I do it all the time and haven’t had any associated issues these past years.

    I’ve also tried the remarkable, and it doesn’t quite match the feeling of writing paper, it’s like a mix between sandpaper and writing paper but it’s coming very close. Personally, I wouldn’t buy one because I think it’s more important to render what you’re writing on the screen fast than it is to simulate the feeling of paper. I also think that trying to mimic paper might be the wrong way to go about it because paper hasn’t always felt like this, and actually varies quite a lot in terms of roughness even today.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on The missing semester of your computer science education in ~comp

    ClearlyAlive
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    There’s a course like that at my uni and from what I gather from those who do it (as it’s obligatory for CS), it sucks and it’s boring. Most people will choose their own tools and develop their...

    There’s a course like that at my uni and from what I gather from those who do it (as it’s obligatory for CS), it sucks and it’s boring. Most people will choose their own tools and develop their own proficiency as they go along anyway.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on Boris Johnson will be the UK's new prime minister in ~news

    ClearlyAlive
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    I would like to express my condolences. I wrongly assumed that people had the necessary skills to be able to distinguish such things, though seeing the US’s politics, I shouldn’t have. I would...

    I would like to express my condolences. I wrongly assumed that people had the necessary skills to be able to distinguish such things, though seeing the US’s politics, I shouldn’t have. I would like to express an apology for this wrong assumption and subsequent message.

    5 votes
  16. Comment on Boris Johnson will be the UK's new prime minister in ~news

    ClearlyAlive
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    I think there is a difference between criticising the Russian government and the people. Very rarely do these criticisms extend to the people.

    I think there is a difference between criticising the Russian government and the people. Very rarely do these criticisms extend to the people.

    25 votes
  17. Comment on EU puts brakes on Danish plans to scrap fossil fuel cars in ~news

    ClearlyAlive
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    At the same time, it should be acknowledged that what DK was aiming to achieve would have been impossible without border controls; hence the need for an EU solution.

    At the same time, it should be acknowledged that what DK was aiming to achieve would have been impossible without border controls; hence the need for an EU solution.

    3 votes
  18. Comment on She urged her boyfriend to die. Now she’s asking the Supreme Court to call it free speech. in ~news

    ClearlyAlive
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    In most countries, aiding someone counts as manslaughter or murder, since you’re basically killing them. I don’t think you could argue that by encouraging suicide you are aiding a murder since you...

    I'm 90% positive that it is illegal to aid someone in committing suicide,

    In most countries, aiding someone counts as manslaughter or murder, since you’re basically killing them. I don’t think you could argue that by encouraging suicide you are aiding a murder since you aren’t the one doing it.

    3 votes
  19. Comment on She urged her boyfriend to die. Now she’s asking the Supreme Court to call it free speech. in ~news

    ClearlyAlive
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    I don’t know. From what I understand, it is only illegal to incite illegal behaviour (without a law saying otherwise), not harmful behaviour. If suicide is not recognised as a crime then it...

    Calls to do harm and do illegal actions are illegal.

    I don’t know. From what I understand, it is only illegal to incite illegal behaviour (without a law saying otherwise), not harmful behaviour. If suicide is not recognised as a crime then it shouldn’t be illegal to incite it, unless a law is put into place illegalising suicide incitement.

    3 votes
  20. Comment on What are you reading these days? #23 in ~books

    ClearlyAlive
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    Paris au 20e siècle (technically it’s XXe but fuck Roman numerals) by Jules Vernes. While the grammar is still similar to today’s french (compare to Sherlock Holmes’s), the vocabulary is just...

    Paris au 20e siècle (technically it’s XXe but fuck Roman numerals) by Jules Vernes. While the grammar is still similar to today’s french (compare to Sherlock Holmes’s), the vocabulary is just archaic enough to make it frustrating to read which is why I’ve been going rather slowly about it.

    It describes Paris in the 20th century, and how through the focus on capital and industrialisation, while the city has become incredibly high-tech, people have lost their culture. The main character, Michel wins the Latin Prize on technicality — he is the sole applicant, and yet gets scolded for even applying.