When
· Naughties
· · 2005
· · · December
· · · · 30 (3 entries)

Enplaned · That’s the name of a blog sub­ti­tled “Airlines and com­mer­cial aerospace”, an insider’s take on the air­line busi­ness. They re­cent­ly had a piece in which they were kind of com­plain­ing about how few com­ments they got; my sus­pi­cion is that these guys know their stuff so well that there’s lit­tle left to add to their pieces. I’m not in the busi­ness at al­l, but as a heavy cus­tomer, I find an al­most sick fas­ci­na­tion in their pieces about Boe­ing/Air­bus com­pe­ti­tion (sum­ma­ry: Boe­ing is win­ning just now), old vs. new air­line mod­els (sum­ma­ry: new is win­ning), and air­lines vs. the “GDS” ticket-selling sys­tems (sum­ma­ry: too close to cal­l). Here’s today’s ex­am­ple, Delta’s Unse­cured Cred­i­tors, which dives deep on the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween bankrupt air­lines (quite a few of those these days) and the peo­ple who fi­nance the planes they fly; this is a big-bucks high-stakes game and one that you’d nev­er hear about, nor­mal­ly. Great stuff.
 
FSS: Lichens · Fri­day Slide Scan #17 is from Au­gust 1971, fea­tur­ing lichens from Mount Le­banon ...
 
Recursive Spolsky · There’s much ado about Joel Spolsky’s The Per­ils of JavaS­chools. I think that Joel’s large­ly right, in that I don’t think that you can re­al­ly ap­pre­ci­ate why Ja­va is a good lan­guage un­less you’re pro­fi­cient in C, and pro­gram­mers who don’t re­al­ly ap­pre­ci­ate Ja­va won’t get the most out of it. But Joel is half wrong in claim­ing that Ja­va by­pass­es point­ers and re­cur­sion; I use re­cur­sion all the time in Java! If you learn pro­gram­ming via Ja­va but re­main ig­no­rant of re­cur­sion, you’ve been poor­ly taugh­t. Al­so, Bill de hÓra has a point when he says that the oth­er re­al­ly hard thing that good pro­gram­mers need to have thought about is con­cur­ren­cy. My guess is that Ja­va is ac­tu­al­ly a good lan­guage for teach­ing con­cur­ren­cy, be­cause the parts of the prob­lem it sweeps un­der the rug are not es­sen­tial to deep un­der­stand­ing and any­how aren’t the re­al­ly hard bit­s. Hav­ing said all that, if I were de­vel­op­ing a dif­fi­cult, mission-critical piece of in­fras­truc­ture, I might de­vel­op in Ja­va but I’d be leery of hir­ing any­one who hadn’t been to the mat with C. My ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fers from Joel’s in an­oth­er re­spec­t: Re­cur­sion is mild­ly hard. Clo­sures and con­tin­u­a­tions are hard. Con­cur­ren­cy is very hard. I nev­er found point­ers hard at al­l.
 
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