Print Story The rough with the smooth
By TheophileEscargot (Mon Apr 13, 2020 at 08:59:47 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Me (all tags)
Reading: "A Little Hatred", "Who am I Again?", "Your Pace or Mine", "How to Build a Car", "The IO Encounter", "Iconoclastic Memories of the Civil War", "The Rough Riders", "Stasiland". Me. Links.

What I'm Reading 1
A Little Hatred. Latest Joe Abercrombie book, carrying forward the world of "The First Law" into an industrial revolution and an insurrection.

Plotwise it's good. Plenty of action and the usual cast of grotesque characters, in particular the amoral Clover. Some of them turn out to be more complex than they first appear. It's the first volume in a trilogy but still manages to come to a decent conclusion.

I didn't really like the politics, especially the depiction of the rebels as naive or sadistic, but that's pretty much this author's method.

Overall, worth a read.

What I'm Reading 2
Who am I again. Comedian Lenny Henry's autobiography, covering his childhood and early career.

Has some fascinating details on the world of comedy before the Alternative Comedy boom of the Eighties.

There's also an amount of angst behind his cheery stage persona,though it's not a deeply tragic story. Has some notes and advice on performance at the end.

Overall, fairly interesting but not essential. Might have been better with some cuts to what's there and a bit more of his life.

What I'm Reading 3
Your Pace or Mine by Lisa Jackson Running book on what an extroverted back of the pack runner claims to have learned from running. Has some decent anecdotes. The author wrote a guide to running previously and this feels like a bit of a forced sequel with a lot of filler.

What I'm Reading 4
How to Build a Car. Autobiography of Formula One car designer Adrian Newey.

Lots of good inside information on how Formula One works, and how to get an advantage in competitive engineering.

Also has some good stuff on Formula One. At one point it was standard practice for the second car mechanics to just copy the settings of the first since it was faster. Nigel Mansell, whenever he left the vehicle, would carefully adjust it to bad settings to give himself an advantage over the other driver in the team.

Pretty interesting.

What I'm Reading 5
The IO Encounter by Brandon Q. Morris. Another decent entry in the author's Ice Moon hard SF series. The human-side plot gets a bit implausible with some underwritten baddies, but the science fiction side is fine.

What I'm Reading 6
Listened to the (free) Librivox audiobook Iconoclastic Memories of the Civil War by Ambrose Bierce. Though he's best known as a satirist this is a pretty straight account of his experiences in the American Civil War, though with some dry wit. The accounts of battles are very vivid, as is a narrow escape from a risky expedition. However it doesn't give much of a picture of the war as a whole.

I'd never heard the word "deadline" used to mean a literal line of dead people on a battlefield before. Not sure if that's the origin of the phrase.

Overall, an interesting short memoir.

What I'm Reading 7
Listened to The Rough Riders by Theodore Roosevelt, his account of the volunteer regiment he raised for the Spanish-American War. Jingoistic and somewhat racist, but quite interesting.

What I'm Reading 8
Stasiland by Anna Funder. Non-fiction book about life in East Germany under the Stasi. Tells the stories of various people who were affected in different ways.

One curious thing was that if the Stasi tried to recruit an informer and they refused, in general nothing happened to them. But fear meant that very few people refused.

Not bad but nothing that surprising in here.

Locked down by Coronavirus like everyone else. Objectively not too badly off: no-one I know has it or is particularly at risk. Both of us still have jobs and are working from home. The tricky bit is doing childcare and education while working full-time: it's not been too bad during half-term, but in school time the kid has half a day's education to fit in. Work's even busier that usual as do software in the healthcare field: we have extra work for Covid-19 and my team's missing staff. Struggling a bit with it.

Sci/Tech. What was Hubble looking at on your birthday? The Schienenzeppelin was a propeller driven railcar. Prehistoric textiles. 10 Most(ly dead) Influential Programming Languages.

Random. The evolution of elephant images without elepants.

Video The Oppih or Stub-Nosed Anteater. Walken Dance.

< Two for one deal | I've been stimulused! >
The rough with the smooth | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)
I knew two of those languages by georgeha (4.00 / 2) #1 Mon Apr 13, 2020 at 03:02:05 PM EST
BASIC and Pascal. I even took a college class on Pascal.

I just used BASIC in practice by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 12:28:21 AM EST
Played with PASCAL a bit but never really used it.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Pascal was still going strong by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 07:34:00 AM EST
into the late 90's with Borland Delphi. I was translating Visual Basic code to C# (out of boredom) about 5 years ago.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I know them too by Orion Blastar (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Apr 15, 2020 at 11:57:38 PM EST
had a class in Pascal, taught myself BASIC. Had classes in COBOL, FORTRAN, 8088 ASM, Ada, C, Advanced C, and others.

BASIC was good for VBA and VB 6.0 and under  (Classic Visual BASIC).

I almost got into Delphi but after buying Visual Studio and other Microsoft products I didn't have the money for it.

FreePascal and Lazarus try to be Delphi compatible.

"I drank what?" - <a href="">Socrates</a&gt after drinking the Conium
[ Parent ]
Flying with PASCAL by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Apr 16, 2020 at 05:29:24 AM EST
I learned BASIC because I wanted to play games on a computer. So I used a college mainframe to program an adventure game on punched cards but never finished it. Then I got an Acorn Atom (6502 1MHz, 12K RAM). Then I graduated to a BBC Micro (6502 32K RAM almost reasonable graphics)

PASCAL I learned at University and my first job was writing a program to control the wing surfaces on an Airbus A320 in PASCAL. We ended up converting most of it to assembly language as the HP Pascal compiler was really shitty.

I learned COBOL at University and never used it again, and FORTRAN around 1990 for GPS work.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
The only language I learned in uni by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Apr 16, 2020 at 10:34:39 AM EST
was Fortran, at least the only language I had classes in.

[ Parent ]
Likewise by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Apr 17, 2020 at 03:29:52 AM EST
Fortunately fairly close to Basic which I knew from my home computer days so easy to pick up.

[ Parent ]
Deadline by ni (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Apr 13, 2020 at 07:19:05 PM EST
The OED gives:
 a. Military. A line drawn around a military prison, beyond which a prisoner is liable to be shot down. Originally U.S.

with the example:
1868   B. J. Lossing Hist. Civil War U.S. III. 600   Seventeen feet from the inner stockade was the ‘dead-line’, over which no man could pass and live.

There is a single earlier citation listed, with a different meaning:
 1. A line that does not move or run.  [dead adj. 23.]

1860   Chambers's Encycl., Barbel   Angling..with a dead~line, called a ledger.

So it does seem to have been one of a few simultaneous original meanings. The earliest citation for our usage isn't until 1920, remarkably.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM

learning APL was fun by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Apr 13, 2020 at 10:51:39 PM EST
Amazing math capabilities, so expressive (once you wrapped your mind around it).  Lord help you if you needed IO or anything interactive.

A useful undergrad brain stretcher, an exception to the 'write Fortran in any language' thing.

The 'Game of Life' mention gives me a sad though.

Yeah by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 12:27:13 AM EST
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Perl 6 by dark nowhere (4.00 / 2) #8 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 10:36:08 AM EST
has some APL-like features, just enough to be convenient. The way shapes are preserved (or not) would infuriate most APL/J/K programmers though.

See you, space cowboy.

[ Parent ]
ML hasn't really died. by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 10:32:26 AM EST
It's still used to teach certain CS topics. I suppose you could argue the original compiler isn't in use any longer, but that sounds a bit too much like a "true Scotsman" argument to me.

Kinda awkward that ML doesn't make the other list, (or the other other list) but Haskell and Rust do.

See you, space cowboy.

I think the other ML thing by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 11:03:52 AM EST
Is that it's also a parent of F#, which is in relatively widespread current use.

[ Parent ]
I never know what to think of F# by dark nowhere (4.00 / 2) #11 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 06:59:42 PM EST
Seems to be much more popular than OCaml, but whenever I talk to its programmers they mostly seem to wish it was OCaml (modules, sensible objects.)

Then again, OCaml people (INRIA, the community) has made a lot of decisions that seem designed to keep it unpopular.

See you, space cowboy.

[ Parent ]
And then there's Lisp by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Apr 14, 2020 at 10:51:48 AM EST
Which was (maybe still is) the macro language for AutoCad, resulting in many architects, engineers, and machinists having to learn it.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The rough with the smooth | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden)