Sunday, January 29, 2006

OOP Language Showdown

Natural Sciences Council and Liberal Arts Council are collaborating this year for a Texas Revue skit, and I'm mentioning it now because we had an audio recording session today for "The Real World: UT: The Musical" and it went really well. Moving on though, one programmer wrote some code in Java, and then tried porting it to C++, Python, and Ruby to discover the pros and cons of each. What he ended up with was a great article highlighting what the four languages are good for and its a must-read if you have not worked much in all four languages. One of his bolder statements was that you shouldn't use C++ unless you have to for compatibility and/or performance reasons, and I'm inclined to agree with him. It can get pretty hairy at times, and it seemed harder for me to solve errors in my C++ code than my Java code (though that may just be because BlueJ rocks). I liked the tradeoffs he mentioned, especially between interpreted and compiled languages. The interpreted languages can drastically reduce the development cycle, but how much will your performance suffer? On the other hand, it's easy to go from Python/Ruby to C/C++ than the other way around. He also covers the subject of static type checking against dynamic type checking, which I can't say much about since I'm used to the former, but dynamic type checking is definitely risky. What if you forget a variable type? On the other hand, the code can become much shorter and, hence, easier to read. You can read the article for more of his conclusions; it's all good stuff.

While I'm on the really nerdy stuff I thought I'd just briefly touch on this blog post suggesting that colleges should teach their first-year students assembly rather than Java. I'm actually glad to have learned assembly my second year rather than my first because it's really sickeningly messy for fundamental data structures and algorithms. iTunes has now started selling certain shows before their network premiere, which actually makes some sense considering that the networks stand to gain more money from downloads than live television viewers. However, I don't know if this will take for really popular shows like Lost or 24 because that's where the ad revenue is pretty high. If you're an avid blog reader than you may want to vote in the 2006 Bloggies, which may even expose you to some new, fun blogs (like delicious days). Gamesblog put up what they consider to be some games that you can't just play once, but I think they really should've included Starcraft and even some old school hits like Super Puzzler Fighter. I would also call the Metal Gear Solid games experiences to be taken in multiple times.

I actually have some movie news to talk about today since I saved some of it from yesterday, but I'll start off with the box office. To everyone's surprise and overall disdain, Big Momma's House 2 ruled the box office with an iron fist at $28 million, which is about double the gross of Nanny McPhee at #2. I really would've preferred the reverse since at least the latter got fairly good reviews. More people really should've seen The Matador, which at least got #10. Click to enlarge Meanwhile, Little Miss Sunshine, featuring Toni Colette and Steve Carrell, is all the rage at Sundance. You can even see a couple of choice clips, and I was actually impressed by Carrell in the first clip. It looks like it's a dry comedy, which is just my comedic liking. Warner Brothers has announced that V for Vendetta will be released in IMAX at the same time as its theatrical release, which should be worth seeing on the really big screen given what some reviewers have said about the visuals. Lastly, the head honcho at Pixar promptly killed production of Toy Story 3 when the merger with Disney was sealed, and this is a really good thing. The plot, in case you've forgotten, was that Buzz Lightyear would be recalled back to Taiwan and the cast of characters would have to save his butt again.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings, per tradition:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Long distance::Phone calls
  2. Meant to be::Together
  3. Here::There
  4. Endless::Eternity
  5. Resentment::Hatred
  6. Insipid::Foolish
  7. Bunny::Suit (as seen in the new iMac ad)
  8. Slogan::Campaign
  9. Naked::Nude
  10. Sarcasm::Sardonic

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