Sunday, April 10, 2005

Java vs. C++: Computer Science Death Match

In my Computer Organization course the Java and C++ people are thrown together in the same classroom leading to an interesting dynamic.

Have you ever observed car people? Not race car drivers or generic commuters. The people who have invested a disturbing amount of their identity in the brand of car they drive. The ones who identify themselves as a [insert brand] men and women. These are the people who have the Calvin pissing on the [insert car brand] logo on their rear window. They form little clubs where they presumably talk about how great their chosen brand is. They make up clever anagrams of their anti-brand (i.e. Fucked-Over Rebuilt Dodge or Found On the Road Dead. The Chevy anagrams escape me right now.) Never mind any objective measure of how well these brands do their basic job, getting a person or group of persons from point A to point B. They have their favorite brand and they will spend their life pissing on the brands that aren't.

The same kind of behavior has emerged among my CS compatriots. Keep in mind that we are all first year CS students. At best, there are some of us who could qualify as garage inventors, self-taught programmers who have written code that works without any of the intricacies involved in the discipline. Programmers writing code that cracks walnuts with a sledgehammer, so to speak. So the whole discussion is laughable because none of us really know what we're talking about. But this is my blog, so I'll offer my opinion because I can.

First, the overarching opinion is that it's a useless debate. We don't know a fraction of the programming languages that are available and widely used. While the Chevy and Ford people are pissing on each other, the rest of the world is driving Honda and Toyota. One glance at will show you that most employers want people who program in languages that are !Java && !C++.

Being a Java programmer only by virtue of the Java section fitting into my schedule, I don't have much of a horse running in this debate. I know that I'm going to end up learning a broad range of programming languages and will probably not be working in Java or C++ in the job world.

That being said, from a market perspective, Java is beating the crap out of C++. Go to and search jobs. On any given day Java will show up at least twice as much as C++ in job requirements. While the nascent game programmer dreams of writing the next big hit for the X-Box/Playstation, the lion's share of work in the field is in maintaining code for insurance companies. Of course as I stated earlier, job requirements for languages that are !Java && !C++ are greater than both put together.

While Java and C++ are slap-fighting in Computer Science classrooms all over the country, the rest of the world is driving Honda and Toyota.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The first pill costs 400 million. Every pill after that costs 20 cents.

When I switched my major from Public Administration to Computer Science last summer, I had a sneaking suspicion that my natural tendencies would ultimately work against me. I could have called in a public administration degree, but part of the problem was that it was so un-challenging that I COULD call it in.

So, on the advice of my SO, I made what I hope is the final switch of my 15 year (on again-off again) romance with college life. Now I'm a computer science major (BA) and I'll be taking my last core class next semester.

I must say that the major to this point has engaged me like nothing else I've tried in college. I have always thouroughly enjoyed solving problems (but not math) and even when I sit and stare at a screen for five hours mulling over a project, I can maintain focus and sit for five hours to think about a single problem.

But then my natural tendencies kick in. I am a procrastinator and a bit of a message board addict. As a result, I don't always start my projects in a timely fashion. There always seems to be one more freeper to slay at the message boards. There is always one more board to check. So I find myself doing something like this, rather than writing the frames and panels for a simple notebook.

Then you throw in a good amount of stubborness and I'm not very good at asking questions when I'm stuck. I prefer to just sit there and think about the problem. This bit me in the ass last week, when I had to change a whole bunch of code to get my project to work right. Then ten pm the day before it was due, I saw the solution and had to restore it all back. (I'm not yet in the habit of version control.)

My natural tendencies cost me a letter grade last semester when I didn't get a project turned in. It killed my almost perfect homework score and I ended up with a B that should have been an A. Anyway, that's enough procrastination for now. The SO is coming home and I need to get on this.

I just have to make a run through the boards/blogs one more time. :)


Saturday, April 02, 2005

What pisses me off about the True Believers (tm)

I'm sitting here trying to articulate what irritates me so much about the True Believers ™. I don't think it's because they're inherently bad people. I'm confident that if we sat down and avoided religion entirely we could have many hours of constructive discussion on just about any other topic. But every time they bring up religion, it just rubs me a little bit raw.

I thought it was the inherent arrogance (or smugness, if you will) that comes part and parcel with religious thinking. But that's not really it. Because I'm equally as arrogant and I don't annoy myself that often or that consistently. It's the insistence of the theist to piss on my shoe and tell me it's raining. That's what pisses me off the most about theists (but especially christians.)

Especially the so-called liberal ones. They are the most intellectually dishonest people that you're likely to meet because they hide their arrogance behind the idea of religious pluralism, all the while sniggering behind your back that they feel sorry for you not being a card-carrying member of their cult (or sub-cult). At least the Robertson's and the Falwell's have the balls to tell you to your face that they think they are better than you (even if they don't buy the bullshit they sell.) They may be dishonest about other things, but at least they're upfront about what they think of you.

Listening to a christian bitch about being oppressed is like listening to a white male complain about reverse-discrimination. If they didn't act like such bastards all the time, maybe the minority groups wouldn't need special protection from them.

So knock off this "pluralism - up with people" crap because I don't buy it and neither do you. If you really thought that all religions were of equal weight, you wouldn't cling to the christian god so tightly. Gilded bullshit smells just as bad as the plain bullshit.

Johnny Cochrane, Terri Schiavo, Karol Wojtyla: They always come in three's

So what does a high powered criminal attorney, a living mummy and the most powerful religious figure in the world have in common?

They are now all wormfood. As of about ten minutes ago, I suppose.