Tuesday, 13 June 2017

10:35 – It was 68.1F (20C) when I took Colin out around 0715 this morning, overcast and calm. Barbara is around home this morning, making up subassemblies for science kits, and off to volunteer at the Friends of the Library bookstore this afternoon.

Last Thursday, the local paper reported that a group was seeking permission to build a retirement/assisted-living home across US21 from us, on 20 acres of what had been cow pasture. Neither of us had any problem with the idea. Such places are generally pretty good neighbors, and it would generate quite a few jobs for locals. I told Barbara my only request would be that they install full-cutoff lighting fixtures in the parking lot to avoid light pollution.

The planning board meeting was last night at 6:30 and open to the public, so Barbara attended. On the way to the meeting, she dropped me off at the community college, where I had a ham radio class. On our way home, around 2000, we drove around the area where the new facility is to be built. It looks like we won’t even be able to see it from our house.

I’ve always been interested in pressure canning, ever since I was maybe 4 or 5 years old and “helped” my maternal grandmother pressure can. One wall of her basement was covered with shelves that she kept filled with canning jars of vegetables, fruits, sauces, meats, and so on.

It wasn’t until later that she told me that one of those shelving sections was a false wall that concealed a narrow room the length of the basement. Her grandfather had built the house before the Civil War and made the hidden room as a refuge for runaway slaves. They passed through New Castle on their way to Erie and thence across the lake into Canada.

I always assumed she’d been canning since she was a young wife, when my mother was born right at the end of WWI. And she may have been, but it was probably water-bath canning back then. I’d always thought home pressure-canning had become routine by around WWI, but I just read an interesting document that makes it clear that it was more like WWII before it became common.

As far as I know, pressure canners were sold for home use by about WWI, but most people apparently didn’t use them. No doubt the cost was part of the reason, but I suspect the real reason was that young women tended to use the methods their mothers had taught them, which is to say, boiling water bath canning and Tyndalization (described early in the linked document).

Even with such questionable methods, botulism was pretty rare. In fact, at the time, you were more likely to suffer botulism from commercially-canned products than home-canned. I don’t doubt that a lot of home canned stuff was contaminated with botulism back then, but I suspect nearly all women back then made sure to cooked canned meats and other low-acid stuff very thoroughly, as my grandmother always did.

The thing about botulism is that the bacteria and the toxin it produces are both heat-sensitive. Simply bringing contaminated food to a full boil is sufficient to destroy both the bacteria and the toxin.

In fact, that’s true generally of pathogenic microorganisms and their toxin, with the exception of a few fungal toxins. Some of those survive temperatures of 200C or higher, far hotter than any canning process, commercial or home, reaches.

Those of you who are about my age may remember the aflatoxin scare back in the 70’s. That was just such a toxin, which was why it scared the hell out of people.

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58 Responses to Tuesday, 13 June 2017

  1. Spook says:

    Secretary of State Rodman?
    He has the required Celebrity Apprentice credentials.

  2. Spook says:

    The Spook has improved food prepping…

    http://www.gocomics.com/wizardofid/2017/06/13

  3. Ray Thompson says:

    Currently in Loch Ness Scotland. Tours tomorrow. Then off to somewhere else. Operating on the wrong side of the road is just wrong. Took 80 minutes to get through immigration at the Edinburgh Airport. Europeans had even longer lines. UK is getting serious. Saw one guy taken off to another area by the police for further investigation.

  4. OFD says:

    Loch Ness, eh? Champ over here sez hello to Cousin Nessie.

    Off to chat with the IRS in Burlap and then Planning Commission tonight. Lotsa meatspace today.

  5. MrAtoz says:

    Currently in Loch Ness Scotland. Tours tomorrow.

    Say hello to “Champ’s” cousin while you are there, Mr. Ray. Safe travels and come home soon.

  6. MrAtoz says:

    My Mom used to can all the time when I was a little one in Rhinelander, WI. We had the traditional “root cellar”, which was a small room in our basement, where the “cans” would be shelved. We used about 3/4 of our yard to grow stuff. That was canned. She stopped in the late 60’s and we became the standard JIT go to the grocery store family.

  7. nick flandrey says:

    “Took 80 minutes to get through immigration at the Edinburgh Airport”

    What a change from when I went thru in Aberdeen some 6 years ago. There wasn’t even anyone in the booth or at the counter. Get off the plane, collect bags, exit.

    kinda disappointing really, as I was looking forward to the stamp in my passport.

    n

  8. nick flandrey says:

    Just an aside, but for any home machinists- turns out that dial indicators are a lot like watches. Makes sense really when you think about it. A couple of the tools I picked up this weekend are dial indicators. 2 worked beautifully with basic wipe clean, but one giant one is jammed. Nothing to lose, so I opened it up. Just a couple of gears, like a pocket watch, and a rack and pinion. Not even any jewels to break. Currently soaking some screws pending disassembly and cleaning.

    n

  9. JimL says:

    There is nothing quite like an old dial indicator for readings. Digital may give you easier numbers, but they just don’t have that feel.

  10. nick flandrey says:

    And for things like checking true, or tramming in something, watching the dial needle move gives more info, more quickly, and in a glance.

    n

  11. Spook says:

    Years ago, I watched a wizard bicycle engineer true rims with a dial indicator, in the rim pinch brake context. I think this is used more commonly now, although maybe not with a lot of disc brakes more common. I think brake discs are trued with dial indicators, though, with bicycle discs particularly messy if they are not perfect.

  12. lynn says:

    There is nothing quite like an old dial indicator for readings. Digital may give you easier numbers, but they just don’t have that feel.

    Man, is that ever true. It is hard to distinguish “good enough” with a digital indicator.

    Plus, it just does not feel the same to reach out and tap the digital display as you did with the old dial displays to make sure that the needle was showing the correct position since the last process drift.

  13. nick flandrey says:

    Hey all, anyone have any experience with using Scratch (programming language) to teach small girls programming, or “code” in the modern usage?

    SteveF??

    https://scratch.mit.edu/

  14. Dave says:

    @Nick,

    It’s still a bit early for my daughter to be doing that, but I am very interested in hearing your experiences.

  15. Ed says:

    @Nick. I haven’t used it but it looks intriguing. I think Jeff Duntemann mentioned recently on his blog that he was going to see if his niece liked it.

  16. nick flandrey says:

    My just turned 8 yo loves lego kits, focuses intently until they are done. She likes things she can work privately on, so others don’t see her struggle or fail. We got her a programmable toy robot (Dot and Dash) but it didn’t catch her imagination. The programming language for the robot looks similar to Scratch. (and the same guy consulted on the Lego Mindstorms language, so that looks similar too.)

    The hardest thing for me when I was a young player, was the precision of syntax needed. I thought, and still think, that the compiler should be smart enough to add the comma if it’s smart enough to error because there is no comma. So a language that doesn’t need precise typing skills and mechanical shite like remembering the closing comma, might have kept me on path to be a programmer. OTOH, I’m happy where I ended up…

    I don’t see a need to force girls toward STEM careers, and provide armies of programmers to drive down wages for our corporate overlords, but I would like to see if the quiet focus and problem solving and achievement of programming is something she has interest or talent for.

    n

  17. Ed says:

    Apropos of Scratch: I was reading “More Joel on software” this spring and one thing that Spolsky mentions is talking MS *out* of creating a graphical language, sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Apparently we got Visual Basic instead. Heh.

    He also mentions inventing “shadow banning” on his companies software forum…

  18. Miles_Teg says:

    No need for Scratch when the PL of heaven, Pascal, is still around.

  19. Ed says:

    @Nick.

    I think being stuck utterly stuck in the lower 128 character ASCII set is something modern language writers really need to work on. It leads to an “character soup” code that one can read only with great practice.

    I think between 5 and 10% of the programmers I knew were women, back in the day. I never noticed any particular difference in coding quality or productivity between them and their male cohorts.

    However, as in engineering in general, one has to be prepared to put the draft product out there and then accept the inevitable feedback and criticism from others that is needed to polish it for production.

    This is hard for a lot of people, male or female. It comes up a lot in draft RFI’s, Specifications and such like too – you have to be prepared for a lot of red ink on your baby and losing that feeling of ownership.

  20. Ray Thompson says:

    Took the Loch Ness lake tour today. Boat driver was an ex hunter for Tessie’s cousin and firmly believes there are multiple animals. Even has a picture from years ago of something. Lake is damn cold, deep and dark. Fairly interesting tour anyway even though I am a skeptic.

    Tomorrow is off somewhere else, don’t remember as I am not in charge of the arrangements. Thursday we arrive in Glasgow where we crash for the night before the noon departure to Orlando. Long flight and will involve annoying US immigration agents.

    Have yet to be pulled aside for extra screening on this trip. Camera back did get a second pass through the scanner minus the camera. Too many other gadgets to look at I guess. Almost miss getting fondled. Flowers were thrown away, will save the chocolates for OFD when I make a trip to his neck of the woods. However, there is the US TSA agents I will encounter in Orlando as I change planes for Atlanta. Probably a Mickey Mouse operation anyway.

  21. RickH says:

    Re Scratch and STEM stuff. … a ‘handler’ at SANS Internet Storm Center had these recommendations for summer STEM stuff:

    https://isc.sans.edu/forums/diary/Summer+STEM+for+Kids/22496/

  22. Miles_Teg says:

    Ray wrote:

    “However, there is the US TSA agents I will encounter in Orlando…”

    REMEMBER THE BUTT LUBE!

  23. CowboySlim says:

    “I think being stuck utterly stuck in the lower 128 character ASCII set is something modern language writers really need to work on. It leads to an “character soup” code that one can read only with great practice.”

    It all goes back to the 80 column Hollerith punched card. Both alphabetic cases, upper and lower, were not hosted, and for keypuncher accuracy, letter o’s had to have a line through them to be distinguished from zeros, i.e. Ø.

    Outside of that, we used it to design aircraft and rockets.

  24. RickH says:

    Found a cool tool that will simulate the August 201 full solar eclipse based on any location. It uses some pop-up stuff, so you might need to disable your adblocker.

    https://eclipsemega.movie/simulator

  25. nick flandrey says:

    hmm, that guy seems to like scratch… and there is apparently some way to connect it to arduino. Hmm, like I need another project….

    n

  26. paul says:

    My printer is lying to me. It’s a Lexmark CX410dte. Really nice. All four toner colors say “Up to 1400 Pages at approximately 5% coverage”.

    The lying part? Lexmark sells toner cartridges good for 1000 pages. Seems that is what you would get in a new printer …

    Black toner is “Very Low, 0 estimated pages remain”. Elsewhere it says I have printed “Sides on Cart 1251 “. I have maybe 150 pages left?

    We will see. I bought a kit to refill the black toner, new chip, supposed to be good for 2500 pages. Looks easy enough.

    And for 150 pages, I’ll be refilling the cartridge in September or longer. I don’t print a lot.

    Ok, I’ll refill soon just to get it done.

  27. CowboySlim says:

    “The lying part? Lexmark sells toner cartridges good for 1000 pages. Seems that is what you would get in a new printer …”

    YUUUP! I think that some, or more, printers now come off the shelf with 1/2 full cartridges. Many, including my son, when the initial set of full ran out, would go buy a new printer for $60 instead of 4 printer brand cartridges at $25 each.

    YUUUP, several decades ago, leaving the dealer with a new car, I was advised to get gas on the way home as there were only a couple of gallons in the tank. Now, where the the printer mfr’s learn that?

    EDIT: I would expect the replacements to be full.

  28. SteveF says:

    Nick, Selene is teaching herself Scratch on the iPad with lessons and tutorials and a bunch of stub programs the kids (or other students) can fill in. She likes it well enough.

    I don’t see a need to force girls toward STEM careers

    But … there’s a crisis in that too many white men are in STEM positions! (Where, for purposes of this assertion, oriental and Indian men count as white.) Muh diversitah!

    I think being stuck utterly stuck in the lower 128 character ASCII set is something modern language writers really need to work on.

    OK, you come up with the improved keyboard which can insert unicode mathematical operator symbols and such as easily as I can type “!=”. And make sure to get these keyboards adopted widely enough that modern language designers won’t be limited to 2% of their possible audience.

  29. Greg Norton says:

    Hey all, anyone have any experience with using Scratch (programming language) to teach small girls programming, or “code” in the modern usage?

    No experience with Scratch, but this is a fun book if your kids really get into it.

    https://www.amazon.com/Land-Lisp-Learn-Program-Game/dp/1593272812/

    Most Linux distros support the “clisp” package. “apt-get” or “yum install”.

    Cygwin and Homebrew install Common Lisp on Windows and Mac, respectively.

    If you’re a Scheme purist, the same author has a similar book targeting Racket.

  30. Greg Norton says:

    “The lying part? Lexmark sells toner cartridges good for 1000 pages. Seems that is what you would get in a new printer …”

    If you do a lot of black and white printing, get a used office quality HP Laser Printer.

    I have an HP 4000N that I bought from a school surplus depot for $25, and even if I don’t get the advertised 10,000 pages out of a cartridge, half of the rated life only raises my per-page cost to $0.02.

    I also have an HP 1020 “Winprinter” that has run like a champ since new, but you take your chances with HP’s consumer quality gear. Living in Vantucky, I saw the signs come down at the HP plant where the inkjet printer was invented and manufactured until 1999, when everything went overseas.

  31. paul says:

    Ok, prepper stuff.

    I sorta made enchiladas tonight with Keystone ground beef. The meat smells great. How long until botulism kicks in? I then heated the entire can and used about half.

    Deep dish Pyrex pie plate. Portion Control by cooking dish.

    Quarter cup of canned enchilada sauce, a tortilla plus another broken in half. A few tablespoons of meat. Eating tablespoons heaping full. Some shredded cheese. More sauce. Repeat twice more. Stick in oven, turn it on to 350F. Can of refried beans with a splash of water and a couple of tablespoons of enchilada stirred in and onto the exhaust burner.

    Enchiladas layered like lasagna.

    Go take a shower and 45 minutes later supper is ready, just needs to rest.

    May be the best enchiladas I have made yet. Top 10 anyway.

  32. nick flandrey says:

    sounds yummy.

    tried Frito (TM) pie? or casserole?

    n

  33. paul says:

    Frito Pie is really good stuff.

  34. paul says:

    My Lexmark replaced a Xerox color laser. Phaser 6120N @ $231.08 plus $31.45 shipping, bought in 2007. I really liked that printer. The color was great. But it decided that sucking in half a sheet of paper was like a whole sheet. So, paper jam…

    I get e-mail from Provantage. And what the hell…. Lexmark CX410dte Multi function Color Laser Printer $175.85 plus $52 shipping, December 2014. Someone screwed up and I got a hell of a deal.

  35. lynn says:

    “I think being stuck utterly stuck in the lower 128 character ASCII set is something modern language writers really need to work on. It leads to an “character soup” code that one can read only with great practice.”

    It all goes back to the 80 column Hollerith punched card. Both alphabetic cases, upper and lower, were not hosted, and for keypuncher accuracy, letter o’s had to have a line through them to be distinguished from zeros, i.e. Ø.

    Outside of that, we used it to design aircraft and rockets.

    Actually, the Hollerith cards were upper case only, 6 bits of value.

    And we used it to build refineries and all kinds of chemical plants also.

    And UNICODE support in software is a non-trivial problem. We are trying to figure out how to add it to our software which is why I want to convert all of our Fortran to C++. But my son wants us to move to Go.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unicode_characters

  36. H. Combs says:

    “Food is a weapon in the hands of the powerful”
    So build your own arsenal … http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-13/any-crisis-can-bring-about-immediate-shortages-–-food-weapon-hands-powerful

  37. Greg Norton says:

    And UNICODE support in software is a non-trivial problem. We are trying to figure out how to add it to our software which is why I want to convert all of our Fortran to C++. But my son wants us to move to Go.

    Is it possible to start with a single DLL as a proof of concept, similar to what Mozilla is doing with the introduction Rust into Firefox?

    Just make sure not to mix Visual C++ run times. At Death Star Telephone, when we embedded Python, I ended up building the interpreter and support libraries myself using the same Windows 7 SDK as our code base. It was the only way to get the release out of QA, and the problems manifested on just *one* old ThinkPad T40.

  38. lynn says:

    Is it possible to start with a single DLL as a proof of concept, similar to what Mozilla is doing with the introduction Rust into Firefox?

    Actually, our calculation engine is already a monster Win32 DLL, 11 MB. It is 95% F77 and 5% C / C++ code. The rest of the F77 code cannot be converted singly because of the 400 Fortran common blocks which are strewn throughout the code in a seemingly random fashion.

    Just make sure not to mix Visual C++ run times. At Death Star Telephone, when we embedded Python, I ended up building the interpreter and support libraries myself using the same Windows 7 SDK as our code base. It was the only way to get the release out of QA, and the problems manifested on just *one* old ThinkPad T40.

    Ugh. I wish that I could say that we never had this problem.

    I hate interpreted code. We use to use a Win16 variant of Smalltalk in our user interface. The garbage collector caused so many problems that finding bugs usually came down to the underaggressive gc leaving too many old objects around and running out of memory.

  39. Dave Hardy says:

    From the Dilbert Foreign Police University:

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2017/06/13/russia-hacked-our-election-so-what/

    Did the IRS thang today and brought all my completed returns and associated documents and a payment. And guess what? That. Wasn’t. Enough. All that they told me to bring, of course, but gee whillikers, surprise, surprise again, not enough. They need one year redone from scratch and another one done the first time from scratch and a couple of other documents and they want it all by tomorrow afternoon.

    They’re not getting it, though; I had a three-hour Planning Commission meeting tonight (sidewalks master plan, plus related ordinance) and have to be up early tomorrow (today) AM for a VFW/VA caper for Flag Day down at the VFW in downtown Burlap. Yeah, yeah, I know; avoid cities, crowds and events. But my boyz will be there, as will upper-level VA nabobs and a couple of politicians. I feel I need to support the boyz (and grrls) accordingly.

    And tomorrow night the gun club’s monthly meeting.

    Wife needs to get a document before she leaves again for nearly three weeks and when I have that, I’ll wrap up the returns the IRS wants and swing by their office again; probably set up a cot and a Coleman stove as I’ll apparently be living there part-time from now on. Chatted with the security guy there today; five deployments with the Navy to Afghanistan; military police and Gulf intel ops. Also did a stint with the London police. Heard more Sandbox and Suck tales and I’d still take my jungle chit over their desert chit in a hahtbeat.

    IRS gon hab to wait a bit longer; maybe Thursday or Friday or next week; got a lot on my plate now. Another meeting with the guy at the VA down in White River Junction on Monday AM concerning my voc rehab training direction. He has “some ideas he’d like to bounce off me…” We shall see.

    Fun and exciting times nowadays here in northern Vermont!

    I remain quite impressed with our town administrator, and also with several other members of the Planning Commission. The other noob on it is a former jarhead, also with multiple deployments to the Suck and the Sandbox. Now he’s some kind of IT sales engineer down in Burlap and doing well with that, and his family.

    In a SHTF scenario, I’d want to keep the town administrator and the police chief alive and well.

    Off to the Land of Nod once again, so as always, Pax vobiscum, fratres…

  40. Dave Hardy says:

    And just one more, to enjoy with yer late-night boozing or yer AM coffee or tea:

    http://buchanan.org/blog/nearing-civil-war-127177

    (When I was still boozing, I’d often be up at this hour; so why is it that since I stopped, I’m STILL often up at this hour??? I gotta get to sleep a lot earlier and get more in tune with the local climate/weather/seasons ASAP….)

  41. lynn says:

    Wife needs to get a document before she leaves again for nearly three weeks and when I have that, I’ll wrap up the returns the IRS wants and swing by their office again; probably set up a cot and a Coleman stove as I’ll apparently be living there part-time from now on.

    Do they have weekend furloughs from IRS jail for good behavior ?

    Good to hear that you and the IRS are working through the issues. My one close encounter with the IRS was grim and it was not even my fault. Somebody misfilled some paperwork in 1983 ? and put my SS number in for another person. The IRS thought my income increased by 50% with no corresponding increase in taxes. Grim, I tell you.

  42. Miles_Teg says:

    CowboySlim wrote:

    “Outside of that, we used it to design aircraft and rockets.”

    Try using Control Data Corp (may peace and blessings be upon it) 6 bit Display Code. Upper case (only) characters, digits and some other stuff. At uni in the late Seventies young students like your southern correspondent were not allowed near the new, whizbang terminals that had upper and lower case. That had to wait ’till 1983, when I joined an organisation with multiple Cybers (may peace and blessings be upon them). The terminals that were so advanced in 1979 were now bottom of the rung.

    All hail Seymour Cray!

  43. Miles_Teg says:

    DH wrote:

    “Chatted with the security guy there today; five deployments with the Navy to Afghanistan”

    Which port in Afghanistan did he sail into? 🙂

  44. Greg Norton says:

    Actually, our calculation engine is already a monster Win32 DLL, 11 MB. It is 95% F77 and 5% C / C++ code. The rest of the F77 code cannot be converted singly because of the 400 Fortran common blocks which are strewn throughout the code in a seemingly random fashion.

    Fortunately (unfortunately?) for you, Microsoft just reaffirmed their commitment to Win32 on the upcoming ARM laptops.

  45. lynn says:

    Fortunately (unfortunately?) for you, Microsoft just reaffirmed their commitment to Win32 on the upcoming ARM laptops.

    Maybe, maybe not. Intel is getting nervous.

    “Intel aggressively reminds everyone it owns all the x86 patents”
    http://www.osnews.com/story/29865/Intel_aggressively_reminds_everyone_it_owns_all_the_x86_patents

  46. Ed says:

    “…I want to convert all of our Fortran to C++. But my son wants us to move to Go.”

    Never fear:
    The determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language. -Ed Post

    Would that be 400 *different* common blocks? Or just a few, repeated a few hundred times?

  47. lynn says:

    “…I want to convert all of our Fortran to C++. But my son wants us to move to Go.”

    Never fear:
    The determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language. -Ed Post

    Would that be 400 *different* common blocks? Or just a few, repeated a few hundred times?

    Yup, I have written Fortran in many languages.

    400 different common blocks, all in include files. Here is our main include file for all subroutines:

    C force all variables to be declared
    implicit none

    C type64 is 8 bytes, 64 bites and memory compatible with double
    C precision variable and arrays
    structure / type64 /
    union
    map
    character c
    end map
    map
    double precision d
    end map
    map
    integer i
    integer i_low
    end map
    map
    logical l
    integer l_low
    end map
    map
    character*8 s
    end map
    end union
    end structure

    integer IHOLC
    external IHOLC

    character*4 CHOL
    external CHOL

    character*8 namgen
    C the external keyword is not allowed in namgen.f
    C external namgen

    integer lentxt
    C the external keyword is not allowed in namgen.f
    C external lentxt

    C logical erbkse5
    logical erbkse

    integer INVPOS

    integer inputLineLength
    parameter (inputLineLength = 80)

    integer adbf
    integer saturate_mixture_with_water

    C from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_constant
    C ft3.psia/R/lbmol
    double precision gas_constant_ft3
    parameter ( gas_constant_ft3 = 10.73159d0 )

    C J/K/gmol
    double precision gas_constant_j
    parameter ( gas_constant_j = 8.3144621d0 )

    C cal/K/gmol
    double precision gas_constant_cal
    parameter ( gas_constant_cal = 1.9872041d0 )

    common / global_oneline / oneline

    character*80 oneline

  48. Ed says:

    lynn-

    Well, I recognize character*80, but never used MAP.

    I think you have your work cut out for you, no matter what you choose to rewrite in.

    Maybe incremental steps – F77 to F2003 where appropriate, then to GO or C++.

    In 25 years I suspect programmers will be obsolete, replaced by AI, so if you can drag the process out you can avoid the time and expense of hand conversion 🙂

  49. lynn says:

    Well, I recognize character*80, but never used MAP.

    I think you have your work cut out for you, no matter what you choose to rewrite in.

    Map, structure, and union were added to their Fortran 66 by Digital Equipment Corp way back when they were writing Vax VMS in Fortran. They are basically a portable and predictable method of implementing Equivalences, Fortran’s built in method of basing pointers to memory. The Fortran ISO committee never recognized those additions but most Fortran compilers support them anyway. They are exactly portable to C and C++. In fact, C++ first used structures to create classes in C.

    The biggest problem with converting Fortran (and Pascal) to any “modern” language is that Fortran uses a base index of one of all arrays. C and all modern languages use zero as the base index. That problem alone should cause many “off by one” pointers errors.

  50. Miles_Teg says:

    Pascal (a modern language) uses a base index of 0, or whatever you want, doesn’t it?

  51. Dave says:

    In Pascal, an array of n elements is numbered from 1 to n. In C, an array of n elements is numbered from 0 to n-1.

  52. Dave Hardy says:

    Y’all need One Ring to rule them ALL…

  53. lynn says:

    Pascal (a modern language) uses a base index of 0, or whatever you want, doesn’t it?

    Pascal dates back to 1970. C is 1972. Fortran is 1957.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_programming_languages

    Of these three, I would only call C a modern language since it’s base I/O (input/output) is a byte of data. Fortran and Pascal base I/O both deal with a record of data (usually 80 character records dating back to tape drives).

  54. Ed says:

    @SteveF – I missed your comment about the keyboard earlier, and it’s a valid concern. I personally once worked in a lab (1970’s) with a language for control systems that required special characters. Only one keyboard in the lab would create them and only one printer wouldn’t print them correctly…

    But modern large touch screens and vector graphics printers would, I think, make such things a lot easier. I generally keep my IDE open in one monitor and the documentation (Ok, Stack Overflow) open in another now, no reason I couldn’t have a keyboard pop up there.

    But I want more than to be able to insert Unicode- I want a MathCAD + OpenModelica + Scratch + Blockly sort of language. But the ‘language’ is really the IDE.

    I **don’t care about the language the IDE might output**, any more than I now care about the byte code or CIL or assembler versions of whatever I write in now. It can be COBOL or Rust or Fortran or Intercal, I shouldn’t have to care.

    We pretty much still build code the way the Fortran IV guys did in 1967 : character by character, line by line, it’s ludicrous.

  55. Ed says:

    Ummm, Steve, not a personal attack, btw. Just something that’s bugged me for a while.

  56. SteveF says:

    Ummm, Steve, not a personal attack, btw.

    Not to worry. It hadn’t occurred to me to take it as a personal attack. (Well, not until you brought it up…) It’s not so much that I have a thick skin, more that I have a thick head.

    Whether your idea for a virtual keyboard to supplement the physical keyboard is practical, I have my doubts. It likely wouldn’t work for me — on the rare occasion that I have a defined problem and everyone around me will shut the fuck up or go away or just fucking die already and I can do serious head’s-down programming, I want my hands on the keyboard blasting out code. Having to keep a hand on the mouse for the special symbols for every operator, say, would destroy productivity.

    -shrug- But other programmers, other problem domains. Maybe it would work. A bit of “put something out there and see if it works and catches on” is worth more than all the theorizing in the world … a concept that eludes too many academics even in STEM.

  57. lynn says:

    Whether your idea for a virtual keyboard to supplement the physical keyboard is practical, I have my doubts.

    I can hardly wait for the air keyboard competitions (kinda like the air guitar).

  58. Ed says:

    I’m not *saying* my carpal tunnel / tendonitis thing has had any effect on my conceptual ideal language thingy (and what *should* I name it?), but it’s possible 🙂

    I know what you mean about being in the flow though. Distractions are the devil.

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