"So you worked on the first ever computer in the U.S.?"
"And how did you know so much about computers back then?"
"I didn't. It was the first one."
Still, a nice bit of pixel art.
Grace Hopper "was a proponent of innovative thinking and kept a clock on her desk that ran counterclockwise to show that things could be done differently. Although very proud of her career in the Navy, Hopper had little tolerance for bureaucracies, saying:
It’s better to show that something can be done and apologize for not asking permission, than to try to persuade the powers that be at the beginning.”
"Be a maker, a creator, an innovator. Get started now with an Hour of Code."
Nothing about this being your birthday or not. Of course every passing year the number would increase by one.
As an educated guess I'd say it is also the longest serving programming language still in use today, but I'm sure somebody with a weaving loom would argue that.
C was first and foremost designed to be a very portable language (for the early 70s). I think its endurance is largely attributable to this fact, that C was the first relatively easy to configure and deploy widespread throughout the world. It's difficult to imagine anything like Unix happening without C.
But COBOL on the other hand is written essentially in a vacuum. It's written in relatively closed environments, for closed systems, for closed purposes. You don't share COBOL code because, well, for the most part there isn't anything worth sharing, it's all to purpose specific.
And I think we see this in other places. Arduino is not the best, or cheapest, MCU hardware. But it's the easiest for which users can share code with each other. The "sketch" mentality for Arduino code has led to an explosion of copy-pasta examples across the net, and they are easy to integrate into one's own sketches on one's own hardware. Compare that to the TI MSP430 (which I personally think is every bit as good as the Arduino Uno, at a quarter of the price), pre-Energia, and it's a night and day difference.
Did the Web take off because it was fundamentally great, or was it because you could "view source" on any page? I spent hours in highschool, looking at other people's HTML and JS (but not CSS! It didn't exist yet!) on their sites. Saving their sites, hacking at the code (hacking as in "what one does with a machete"). Compare that to AOL and its keyword system.
So perhaps the lesson is: if your system doesn't encourage remixing, it's ultimately doomed to failure.
However, never forget that the market for IT can stay irrational longer than you can stay patient. Cobol is more than fifty years old. People are still emailing Word files to each other. And the post popular gaming systems are still closed consoles.
Anyway, having coded in COBOL for a bank, in my opinion it's an awful, wordy, clumsy language. It fully deserves its bad reputation.
Grace Hopper was an interesting person regardless.
But yeah, it does look easy to read
It's also said that it was intended to help non-programmers:
1. Help managers better understand what the heck their employees were doing.
2. Enable other non-technical stakeholders to participate in reviewing the business logic.
As you can imagine that didn't actually help very much.
(I've heard people express similar skepticism about natural language testing frameworks, although I don't know if that's fair or not.)
That said, I sometimes wonder what programming in such a verbose language with a sufficiently intelligent IntelliSense system would be like. I accidentally started a small, thumbnail project in VB.NET the other day, because I had just re-installed Visual Studio and had forgotten that it defaults project templates to VB on first-run. Instead of starting over, I thought I'd use it as a chance to check in on VB and see what it has become.
Some things really pissed me off. Block delineation with Begin/End is a pain in the ass. Generic parameter lists being grouped in round parens was extremely confusing. But otherwise the extra wordiness was almost completely obviated by the editor. It was a very odd experience.
I don't like the Python-style of significant white-space, because I think formatting of code should be the job of the editor, and the compiler or interpreter shouldn't care about layout. However, I've been very curious to see new experiments in making code more readable. LightTable (http://www.lighttable.com/) looks very interesting, with it's ability to (supposedly) group sections of code in arbitrary locations on the screen. I haven't yet figured out how to make it do it. I started using it on Windows and Linux for a Node.js project I'm working on, and it was definitely an interesting concept, but I couldn't seem to get it to work just right, or anywhere near what the demo suggested would be possible. That said, it was still quite easy on the eyes, so I find myself still using even if it isn't working 100% yet.
Racket has some interesting things going for it with code flow visualizations. The UI stuff is kind of fiddly on Linux, and the utility of reference arrows seems dubious at best, at least in their current implementation. But the macro expander is pretty amazing.
Ultimately, I think it's going to take a bit of new editor design, a bit of new language design.
Isn't that off-by-one, for half the year (on average)?
EDIT: After re-reading you, yes, it's off-by-one for someone in the population for half the year on average.
I will not be fooled into trusting Google without massive transparency changes to how they operate.
If you were thinking of visiting North Korea for a holiday would it be "off topic" to mention human rights issues?
.. not quite a human rights violation, but man, that's pretty harsh.
What should be on the Google homepage:
An apology for the recent revelations
How we plan to regain your trust
A just created drive-by account doesn't inspire confidence that you have contrary evidence.
Sure they did....
No "dark fiber" necessary, Google were complicit with the NSA.
Very irritating when Google apologizers aren't even aware of recent news.
That the NSA had access wasn't because Google was providing it. The NSA got access through some shady practices. They have access to all the files when the NSA can listen in on all the traffic. Not because Google gave them permission.
Very irritating when you claim something with a source when the source counters your own point:
> "If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge," one said.
You literally created your account 12 minutes ago just to bash Google?
The longevity of an account has no bearing on validity of ones comments.
As cromwellian also said, Google didn't provide direct access, the NSA cut the fiber. Sure, Google aren't the best company and have had their privacy issues before, but the Government is much worse.
Browser share that supports GIF: ~99.9%
GIF: 81 kB
WebP: 82 kB
-q 0: 59 kB
-q 100: 259 kB
No wonder nobody supports APNG - the only real benefit is animated alpha-blending.