One of the best Xkcd evergreens:

Fortunately, the charging one has been solved now that we’ve all standardized on mini-USB. Or is it micro-USB? Shit.

Some while ago, two of my colleagues were putting effort into our main code base and build system, to migrate to Visual Studio 2017, and the C++17 standard. Admirable and sensible. Of course, that was reason enough for another colleague of mine and myself to joke around about downgrading our code base to C++03 or C++98 or maybe even downright to C. Don’t worry, we all four were laughing. (Or were we?)

At that time, my joke-buddy pointed me to a blog post by aras-p about Modern C++ Lamentations. Read it! It’s worth it. And don’t go, “that’s maybe in gaming industry. Doesn’t apply to my work.” Well, I am not working in gaming industry. You know what: It does apply to my work pretty much 100%.

In my opinion, “modern” C++ is too complex, too bloated, too much of a poser for “look I can do cool code”, and misses the point of solving problems.

[…] to me this feels like someone decided that “Perl is clearly too readable, but Brainfuck is too unreadable, let’s aim for somewhere in the middle”.

Many language features are valid, other as just “cool.” Now, of course, I understand, that different people will find different parts of the language good. There are some aspects, however, which are objectively bad. Look at compile times and debug times mentioned in this article. At least those make a very valid point.

C++ compilation times have been a source of pain in every non-trivial-size codebase I’ve worked on. […] Yet it feels like the C++ community at large pretends that is not an issue, with each revision of the language putting even more stuff into header files, and even more stuff into templated code that has to live in header files.

I have been a hobby programmer in school; was a part time programmer while being a student of software engineering; made my Ph.D. in computer science on computer graphics and visualization, while writing a large-scale modular, high-performance visualization software; worked as senior software developer in a company; and I am now manager of a team of software engineers. I think it is valid to say, I have been programming almost my whole life. I still try to do some minor improvements or bug fixes, even as a manager. Most likely me team is thinking I should stop messing in “their code.” I won’t. My point is:

I have been programming almost my whole life. And I did it in more than a dozen different programming languages. (While writing this I counted 15, not including scripting languages. But most likely I forgot some.) Given this experience, let me say this:

C++ is not the best programming language. In modern C++ not everything has improved.

Please! Start (again) thinking “How do I solve this problem,” and not “How do I solve this problem with variadic templates wrapped in lambdas with ranges because they are so cool.”

While I was lecturing at the university on C++ for computer graphics, clear as daylight, you can see the different types of uprising programmers. And there is this specific sub-type of “programming artists.” Programmers, who think their source code is art and above and beyond trivial programs others do. I will not comment on those any further. But I noticed, in the field where C++ is used, especially so-called modern C++, those guys are seen pretty often! Sad.

As a closing note: Nowadays, when I start a project and think about which programming language(s) to use, C++ is not on the top of the list anymore.

Time to reblog another of my all-time-favorites from xkcd: tar

I don’t know what’s worse–the fact that after 15 years of using tar I still can’t keep the flags straight, or that after 15 years of technological advancement I’m still mucking with tar flags that were 15 years old when I started.

There are plent of tools, which are still used today, athough they were crap from the start. I know, this example here is mocking Nix. But there are plenty of similar examples in the MS Windows ecosystem as well.

I am not mocking those tools. I am mocking the people who advertise to use those tools!

When I read this comic on xkcd i started thinking. I enjoy reading xkcd. Few comics are bad, most are nice, and some are brilliant. And those are the ones I will now start reblogging here, as distributed archive. 😉

“If you can read this, congratulations—the archive you’re using still knows about the mouseover text”!
“If you can read this, congratulations—the archive you’re using still knows about the mouseover text”!
Digital Data [xkcd_1683]

Most new data sets for my scientific visualization find their way to my desk in form of arbitrarily structures text files. This is not really a problem. The first sensible step is converting them into a fast binary format for the visual analysis. With this, however, I face the problem of understanding the structure of 11 Gigabytes text files (no exaggeration here!). But, such files do have structure. So, only the few first and few last lines really matter. The bits in-between will be roughly the same way. What I need are the Linux-known commands “head” and “tail”. However, I am a Windows guy. So? The Powershell comes to the rescue:

gc log.txt | select -first 10 # head
gc log.txt | select -last 10 # tail

I found these on: (where else)

At least the “head” version was fast and sufficient for me. I am happy.