My Idea of Summer Fun

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:50 pm

flaxcottage wrote:Oh what fun!!! :twisted: :lol:

I was expecting C and Java to come along. Maybe they will. Ha Ha.


With 25 years experience in the field of Sun and Oracle, I can barely write a line of Java (all these object things in it), not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby sweh » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:00 pm

Elminster wrote:With 25 years experience in the field of Sun and Oracle, I can barely write a line of Java (all these object things in it), not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

I learned Java back when there were no tools (no beans, no factories... the only documentation was the javadoc and that was poor). I joke that I was a "hot java programmer"... because Sun's java browser was called "hotjava". https://www.sweharris.org/post/2014-02-28-java/
Rgds
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richardtoohey » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:22 pm

My 2c is that there is a LOT to like about Python :D =D>

... BUT ...

I've been stung every time I try and write some significant code by some silly mistake I've made with indention and wasted too many hours of my life trying to find out where I went wrong. ](*,) :-({|=

People are different, their brains are wired up differently, and what works for some people drives others nuts.

There is no perfect language, no perfect OS, no perfect computer, no silver bullet. Sorry. O:) :-

I'm no teacher but I imagine (is that ice cracking underfoot?) if you give them a good introduction in one language, those with the interest and aptitude will have no difficulty picking up another. But depending on brain-wiring, they may find certain types/groups of languages easier than others. (Or is it brain-washing, and my early exposure to BASIC corrupted me forever?! :shock: #-o )

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:45 pm

I am not a huge fan of the indentation bit (I do always indent even when I dont use python), what catches me is you can mix tabs and spaces. I usually use tabs but if you cut and paste some code these are often spaces, and then it falls in a heap.

Reminds me of doing COBOL back in Uni were if you got the remark do in the wrong coloumn, think it had to be column 8, the program wouldnt run and you could spend ages wondering why.

I think give me BASIC V and ELSEIFan I would be happy.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby danielj » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:00 am

COBOL, now, there's a thing....

As someone who's done academic programming (ie brute force data munging), I found my grounding in BASIC actually hobbled me to a degree. Perl and Java were generally the weapons of choice, unless you were a physicist in which case you'd pull Fortran out from somewhere. These days Python tends to be used. It's flexible and fast. As Paul said, if it's a question of large scale data manipulation you'd use a database library or work with an instance of a DBMS to deal with that end of things (this is true for all languages unless you're a masochist :D)

d.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:00 am

Programmer's Drift

not to be confused with Rourke's Drift, or Drift Nets (that's a type of Visual Basic :D )

but well off original topic.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby danielj » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:47 am

Call it the natural evolution of a conversation. It is in the off-topic forum after all :D

d.

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:55 am

Ah so that is what the offtopic forum is for, you just put random posts on replies to other posts :evil:

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby danielj » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:36 am

Elminster wrote:Ah so that is what the offtopic forum is for, you just put random posts on replies to other posts :evil:


Birmingham.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Lardo Boffin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:21 pm

Elminster wrote:I am not a huge fan of the indentation bit (I do always indent even when I dont use python), what catches me is you can mix tabs and spaces. I usually use tabs but if you cut and paste some code these are often spaces, and then it falls in a heap.

Reminds me of doing COBOL back in Uni were if you got the remark do in the wrong coloumn, think it had to be column 8, the program wouldnt run and you could spend ages wondering why.

I think give me BASIC V and ELSEIFan I would be happy.


A slightly related article:-

https://arstechnica.co.uk/information-t ... -you-rich/

Apparently if you switch to using spaces not tabs you will be richer!
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby flaxcottage » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:17 pm

I was taught to program using ALGOL60 when I was in the sixth form at school. A trip to the local technical college (now mutated into a university), fill in the program using squared paper printed in green ink, wait a week for the results, get the printout and paper tape back with 'SYNTAX ERROR AT LINE 10' message.

Another week later and the computer printed the circumference and area of a circle for me! Seemed a lot of a struggle but BITD it was pure magic and I was hooked. :D

Later at teacher training I had the opportunity to program a briefcase-sized computer attached to a teletype machine. That was cool. You typed the code in on the teletype. The paper moved up and you saw what you had typed. When the program ran everything was printed on the teletype roll and scrolled up. I wrote a noughts and crosses program each move causing a huge amount of printing and reams of roll to be spewed out. Backing store was paper tape which we fed in again the next time we used the computer. That was 1973.

How things have changed for the better! Gone is the paper tape and teletype machine replaced by solid state backing store and a virtual teletype on a VDU screen. Ha Ha!

Seriously, though, I still have the paper tapes somewhere and no way of loading them into a computer. :( Will SD cards and USB memory sticks be the paper tape storage of 2061? Will we have Python 25.2 console mode scrolling at the back of our eyes after we have all had the Google ocular implants? :shock:
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:35 pm

flaxcottage wrote:Seriously, though, I still have the paper tapes somewhere and no way of loading them into a computer. :( Will SD cards and USB memory sticks be the paper tape storage of 2061? Will we have Python 25.2 console mode scrolling at the back of our eyes after we have all had the Google ocular implants? :shock:


Who can tell. If you think about it Unix was invented in the 70's. They had no idea what it would become, and yet although it was invented in the 70's it is probably one of the fastest growing O/Ss and yet is older than the OS in our Acorns. So I guess we are all retro all the time. (I am just ignoring Windows completely).

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:02 pm

Honestly, I think this:

A trip to the local technical college (now mutated into a university)

needs a bit of modification:

A trip to the local technical college (now mutated into a "university")

I should know as I have an "MSc" from the "University" of Abertay (previously Dundee Tech)
where at the tender age of 42 I had to sit and listen to extremely badly taught classes in
such "Higher Education" classes as "Visual Basic" at the same sort of level that I was taught
by my Maths teacher when I was 13 years old. Similarly a course on "Excel" was so ------
punk that I skipped out and went down to Menzies in the toon square and paid 5 quid for
a computer magazine with a FREE "Prune's Guide to Excel" strapped to it: and on the basis of that
I did really quite well in the exam on Excel.

When I left school (1980) and went to Durham, 5% of kids who stayed in school until they were 18
got places at Universities, so it was a real achievement. Now it is something like 80% who get
places at what are, in the main, nothing better than knocking shops (having dumped the good things
they had when they were Polys and Techs).

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:49 pm

Although generally it is unusual (in my empirical study of at least 20 people) to have an IT degree and work in IT, IT people usually seem to have degrees in all sorts of random subjects. Although subject is fairly irrelevant as a degree in computing 20 years ago is probably no more use than any other subject.

Chemistry and biology seem to be popular

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby flaxcottage » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:41 pm

Yep, most of my contemporaries who moved into computing were Biologists as am I. Something to do with setting up simulations and doing statistical analysis, I think, meant one was good at computing BITD.

Today I'm not so sure.
- John

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Lardo Boffin » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:07 am

Elminster wrote:Although generally it is unusual (in my empirical study of at least 20 people) to have an IT degree and work in IT, IT people usually seem to have degrees in all sorts of random subjects. Although subject is fairly irrelevant as a degree in computing 20 years ago is probably no more use than any other subject.

Chemistry and biology seem to be popular


Engineering for me! Also from an ex-poly with delusions of grandeur...

I think IT in general and programming specifically are something you either get or don't. You can be taught it to some point but I think you need a driving level of curiosity about it to succeed.
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:03 am

an ex-poly with delusions of grandeur


Technical Colleges and Polytechnics were set up to do a different job to Universities, and, bye-and-large,
they did that job very well. I believe that when they mutated into "Universities" they lost the strengths
they had as Techs and Polys.

I went to do a Master's degree at Abertay (I already had an 'academic' Masters degree in Linguistics)
because I fondly imagined that I would get some hands-on training with programming languages.
What I did get were substandard classes in Visual Basic, Excel and Access (Abertay being badly
"in bed" with Microsoft).

The scales fell from my eyes when I was required to write an essay entitled, "My Philosophical Approach to Programming",
which, I suppose, would not have been in place when Abertay was Dundee Tech. My essay was returned and I was required
to rewrite it because it consisted of one sentence: "I sit down in front of the computer and get on with things." So I sent them
a 10-page horror loaded with quotes from Wittgenstein, David Hume, Plato and lots of other philosophers who knew all about
computer programming, and got top marks.

I hope that in due course in Britain the worm will turn and the powers that be will realise that mutating Techs and Polys into
"Universities" has served no very good purpose, and an awful lot of good has been lost in the process.

When I got my "MSc" from Abertay I rang my father (who "managed" to live a full and fruitful life on the strength of
his BSc from St. Andrews) to tell him: and he said, "Well done, with a BA from a good University [Durham],
an MA from a second-rank University [Southern Illinois University at Carbondale] and an MSc from
a third-rank University [Abertay], I'll be expecting you to go and do a Doctorate from a telephone box." How True!

And the "Shocking Fact" is that I have a 15 year old pupil who, having done 2 months of programming every
summer with me for 3 years, and a hell of a lot of work by himself can quite easily wipe the floor with most
people who have an "MSc" in "Computers and IT" from dumps like Abertay.

But he wouldn't get a job because he is under 18 and doesn't have 2 or 3 sheets of artistically decorated
bog-roll to pin on the wall.

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:28 am

I recommend the OU, choose what you want and when you want. Bit pricey these days though. A PhD will cost you about £2k a year for 6 years part-time.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:32 am

My dad did a couple of degrees, just for fun, from the OU when he retired, but he got cheesed-off by:

1. The feeling that he was NOT expected to think, just to reduplicate the tutor's guff.

2. An overly heavy emphasis on political correctness.

3. A feeling that they objected to a lot of his work because he expressed right-wing (I don't mean fascist) views.

After 2 courses he stopped, not because of those objections, but because the prices suddenly spiralled.

And I have a fairly strong feeling that academia in both Britain and the USA (one of my sons is currently at the University of Pennsylvania)
are full of Marxists, which is not bad in and of itself, who will not brook other political opinions (which is very bad indeed).

To be honest, my other son (at University in Munich) says much the same thing about German academia.

The only OU Prof. that I know (in that he visits Bulgaria about once every six weeks or so) is a very decent chap,
who, while being a very switched-on chap he is strongly Marxist and does not take kindly to being
called to account for the singular failure of Marxism almost everywhere in the world. All this,
I should qualify, usually happens over extremely civilised glasses of beer :D

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:42 am

There is a difference between undergrad and postgrad. You arent really expect to think on an undergrad course, I dont think you will find much difference in any Uni. A lecturer is going to be doing 100's of undergrads, but postgrads they are only going to be supervising a few.

As you must know the the disertation/thesis is completely different for a postgrad course than an undergrad. Also it makes a huge difference who your supervisor is on your postgrad. I personally had a good experience and I am off in about 1 hrs to see a lecturer by my previos supervisor up at Walton Hall in a few hours. (And I did my undergrad at Staffs Uni , which changed its name half way thorugh from poly to uni, but was one of the first technical college to do Computing, that wasnt that bad (stil did COBOL though))

Lecturer open to the public for anyone in the area, not sure you can get tickets on the day though.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:19 am

You aren't really expect to think on an undergrad course

Really?

Someone should have told the Philosophy department in Durham that when I was an undergrad there in 1982-1986

They were pushing our minds to get round logical thinking like a rhino snuffling it horn up your bum!

Very, very grateful for them . . . absolutely 100% stimulating.

Maybe, just maybe, the coinage has been degraded.

One of my heroes, Mary Midgley said that reading about what dead Philosophers had written should NOT be counted
as Philosophy, but History of Philosophy, and Philosophy should consist of "Doing Philosophy." And, to "Do" Philosophy
requires some fairly rigorous mental training first.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:21 am

poly to uni, but was one of the first technical college to do Computing, that wasnt that bad


Probably because of the "still do" . . . it is the new "Universities" that have got "all poncy" and tried to compete
with the pre-1970 Universities that have got mired in mediocre-land.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby danielj » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:47 am

You're unlikely to get a 2:1 or a 1st if you're not demonstrating some level of independent thought. Certainly my experience has been that we try and encourage them to think on their own despite rather intense pushback from students with a vocalised desire to be spoonfed (I think we can thank A-Level education for that these days).

d.

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:48 am

Best students equals best postgrads equals best research grants. Restart cycle.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:52 am

danielj wrote:You're unlikely to get a 2:1 or a 1st if you're not demonstrating some level of independent thought. Certainly my experience has been that we try and encourage them to think on their own despite rather intense pushback from students with a vocalised desire to be spoonfed (I think we can thank A-Level education for that these days).

d.


Not really that much original though. A degree thesis does not need to show any new knowledge (but obviously not copying directly). It is only when you get to postgrad it needs to show original thought, more so as you go up through mphil and phd.

And for module exams you just need to get the answer right and cover all the point the exam board is looking for.

Edit: Nothing stopping you show originally of course. But company's have been complaining for years that UK universities are churning out drones.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby danielj » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:49 pm

Not true - synthesis of existing information to draw new conclusions is original thought. Extrapolating hypotheses even if you're not in a position to test them is original thought. That's the sort of thing that would get you a first. Generation of new knowledge (what you get an MPhil/PhD for) isn't necessarily the same thing. I can think of several people who've managed to get PhDs without a single original thought :D

d.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:18 pm

Think that I can go "one better" than this:

I can think of several people who've managed to get PhDs without a single original thought

By stating, I can think of several people who've managed to get PhDs without a single thought.

What I can tell you though, is that for my MA from SIUC, my thesis involved a lot of original thought: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ric ... stics/info , and was expected too.

My MSc thesis from Abertay likewise: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/RRRThesis/info

Perhaps the "High Point" of my year at Abertay was when my Thesis supervisor (who my wife termed my "Faeces Supervisor")
said to me after our third meeting, "To be honest I don't understand computer programming." This should go down in history
as one of the most self-destructive remarks a "Professor" could make when she was assigned as my Thesis Supervisor exactly
because my Thesis concerned computer programming.

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Elminster
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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby Elminster » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:27 pm

danielj wrote:Not true - synthesis of existing information to draw new conclusions is original thought. Extrapolating hypotheses even if you're not in a position to test them is original thought. That's the sort of thing that would get you a first. Generation of new knowledge (what you get an MPhil/PhD for) isn't necessarily the same thing. I can think of several people who've managed to get PhDs without a single original thought :D

d.


That is an ideal world. And not mandatory.

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby danielj » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:23 pm

It is at this University. And looks to be the same at Reading (just as another institution I could find the criteria for easily): https://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/exa ... t-2012.pdf

(That's not to say some don't slip through the net, but in my experience, marking is surprisingly consistent)

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Re: My Idea of Summer Fun

Postby richmond62 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:09 pm

It is at this University. And looks to be the same at Reading


That makes me very happy: but both Reading and Manchester are pre-1970 Universities,
and were conceived of as Oxbridge knock-offs to supply University education for a growing
population (I graduated from Durham which was the result of a similar sort of development
in the 19th century). However Abertay and all the other Techs and Polys that suddenly morphed
into "Universities" under John Major and Tony Blair were not conceived in the same way at all;
they just took Techs and Polys, bunged a new name on them, gave them independent degree
granting powers and let them go. The problem about this is that University education was never
conceived of as education for the masses, and as most of the masses were not intellectually up to
the rigors of a pre-1970 University education many of these Techs and Polys morphed from being
good Techs and Polys into extremely substandard institutions doing nothing much more than
churning out young people with a feeling of entitlement because they had got "University" degrees
which were really nothing of the sort.

Unfortunately quite a few of the older universities have lowered their standards to compete with
these substandard universities . . .


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