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Cay Horstmann
Works at San Jose State University
Attended University of Michigan
Lived in San Francisco
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Cay Horstmann

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And another cheery update from the wonderful world of Windows. I set up a script to run about 50,000 computations that I expected to take a couple of days to complete, and left for a weekend getaway to Milan. Did I get my results when I came back? No sir. Only about 7,500 got done. But on the bright side, I was informed that Windows rebooted itself to complete installing important upgrades.

Okay...I realize that I am not really important in the grand scheme of things, and that it is far more important that Windows installs important updates than that I get my work done.

But what if I actually had something important to do?

Well, ideally, then I wouldn't be using Windows, except for this consulting job. So, is there a way to turn off this feature? Google found me several descriptions of a registry hack. Will it work? Is that really the easiest way? If anyone else knows, I'd be very grateful for tips.
Sometimes, Windows downloads important updates and decides it's going to restart your computer whether you like it or not. Here's how to disable that behavior.
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+Christian von Kietzell Thanks, I found that setting in the control panel. That should definitely help. 
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Another update in my trip to Tile World. When I took on a consulting job that required Windows, I figured, how hard could it be? I'd just run Windows in a VM and I'd do my thing. After a couple of preliminary tool installs, that VM consumed all of my laptop's disk space. (I have one of those skinny laptops with a flash drive.)

Back home, I would have a pile of unloved laptops for installing ephemeral stuff, but I am on sabbatical in Switzerland where everything is super-expensive. Except, as it happens, an Acer Aspire E3-111 at InterDiscount which is on sale for CHF 200--just about two hundred bucks. With a 500GB hard disk. Surely that will do. And it does, except it comes with .... 2GB of RAM. Hello, Acer, hasn't the news gotten to you that in 2015 Windows will barely boot with 2GB? It's amazing just how sucky Windows can be on a machine with 2GB that is also loaded with the usual share of crapware that you get on a consumer laptop. It is the dog-slowest thing you can imagine. Removing the crapware helps to a degree, but it's not enough. No problem, right? Just add more gigs of RAM.

Now fortunately this device isn't made by some outfit from Cupertino, CA that should remain nameless, so it is actually possible to open it up with no more than the IKEA screwdriver that I have in my sabbatical apartment. The link below tells you just how to do it. It's a bit odd that you have to remove the battery, wifi card, and motherboard, just to add memory, but it all worked out, and with 8 GB (for 50 bucks, shipped from Amazon Germany), it's not bad at all.

Thanks to David at MyFixitGuide. I owe you a beer.
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I foolishly accepted a consulting job that involves using Windows. (Note to self: Never do this again...) All day long, I've stared at Windows rebooting and updating itself and  losing the wireless connection, like Linux used to do years ago. And switching to the German keyboard when I had an English keyboard plugged into the USB port, and the English keyboard when I didn't. (The laptop has a Swiss German keyboard.)

Finally, I am ready to install that all-important piece of software, and what do I get? A crash with the exciting message: ZeroGu2: Windows DLL failed to load. Am I the only one? No sir--the internet is full of people who share my pain. The general advice is to use compatibility mode, but it often doesn't work. In my case, with Vista mode, I get the installer to crash silently, or with XP mode, to crash with a window that has rounded corners and garish colors.

It's pretty crazy to have programs wrapped in buggy installers by long-gone vendors, so that they can't be installed anymore after a few years. This has never happened to me in Linux. With perhaps some grief, I was always able to recompile whatever program was important to me if it was no longer in the repos.

As I noticed when updating my bill, there is a cost in a poor choice of OS that greatly exceeds the price of the license.
Original title: While installing Hypermesh 11 on my machine i got the following error!, could any one help me how to overcome this. I am not much into s/w installation:-) ZeroGu3: Windows DLL failed
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Your point about "installers" is well taken, though.
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I am just a Python amateur, but as I contribute sections to Rance Necaise's and my "Python for Everyone" revision, I can really see the charm. I just finished a section on SymPy, a symbolic math package. I would have killed for it when I learned calculus.

As for installing those packages, not so good. My head spins as I alternate between apt-get/easy_install/pip3. Where does any of this stuff go?  I just discovered anaconda, and I like what they do--install everything into one directory, so all the mess is contained.

Anaconda comes with an IDE, or what goes for an IDE in the Python world, called spyder. I tried the debugger and found it barely functional. Hello, when you step through an input statement, wouldn't it be nice if the user saw the prompt before pausing for the input?

So, I looked around what other IDEs there are. There is PyCharm from the JetBrains folks. It seems fine, but I wonder if it is hard to install for students--it requires Java. And I looked at IDLE. Boy, time has really passed this one by. I did get the debugger to work, but I am not proud of it.

If you use Python and have a recommendation for an IDE with a respectable debugger, please let me know.
Continuum Analytics provides software, training, and consulting for high performance computing and data visualization using Python.
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Thanks, that looks interesting, but the free version doesn't have a debugger.
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I recently flew a carrier that should remain unnamed (it was United Airlines), and, to nobody's surprise, their entertainment system didn't work. A surly flight attendant handed forms to passengers that invited them to visit a web site to enter the form's serial number, then asked a large number of inane questions, and finally promised a voucher for a discount on a future flight. I accepted and was rewarded with the screen below. When I tried again, I was told that the serial number had been used.

Way to go! First, you mess up. Then you promise to make up for it by paying what amounts to minimum wage for data entry. And then you say "Just kidding". Customer appreciation indeed.
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In my road warrior days UA was my favorite airline. Their service was excellent - especially for their frequent flyers. And then everything just seemed to fall apart. It is so sad when a good company loses its vision.
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I was rather amused by this article. Is anyone seriously using Word for writing books, theses, or the like? Every once in a while, I have a graduate student who tries. They aren't happy people when I tell them that they need to change every Courier into something narrow--didn't they use styles???

But neither am I. My publisher has decreed that InDesign is the true repository of truth for a series of textbooks that I wrote. That's right. InDesign, which hasn't yet figured out that styles ought to nest or cascade, like CSS circa 1996. I have one style for displayed code, another style for displayed code in a sidenote, another style for displayed code in a tip, another style for displayed code in a "common error" note, and on, and on, and on, for a couple hundred of them. Each one a few mouse clicks away--after scrolling for an eternity. And on my year-old Mac with 4GB of memory, the app beach-balls all the time. Sheesh.

My other publisher, bless their heart, lets me write  in XHTML or Markdown or Textile or Asciidoc, and I can focus on generating content instead of watching the beach ball spin.
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+Cay Horstmann Have you tried using LaTeX to write your books? LaTeX very much allows you to focus on generating content. Check for TeX Live on whatever distribution you use.
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It can't last, of course, in a world where everyone is a critic, but for now I have a perfect 5 star rating at Amazon for my "Core Java 8 for the Impatient" book.

http://www.amazon.com/Core-Java-Impatient-Cay-Horstmann/product-reviews/0321996321

That makes me happy since the project was a total shot in the dark. I felt that Java 8 was really worthy of a fresh start. If you came from C# or JavaScript or C++ or whatever and you wanted to learn modern Java, there is no point retracing the evolutionary history and the errors from the past. Instead, one should just embrace Java 8 as it exists today, and it's pretty darn good. I am glad that the readers agree.
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I'm sure that the "for the impatient" books are excellent, but I would suggest that when it comes to the Core Java books impatience is the surest way to cheat yourself.  I would advise all Java programmers to have the latest edition of Core Java on their bookshelves and to read them.  You will get much more out of them than syntax references.
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In my ongoing saga as involuntary Windows user, I have finally found something to make me smile. These folks prepackage a sane Cygwin installation. Download, unzip, run the install script, and presto, Zsh (or bash, but Zsh really pays off for Windows because you can tab-complete things like /c/P/j/jdk/b/java). And there is a package manager that actually works--hooray!
The core of Babun consists of a pre-configured Cygwin. Cygwin is a great tool, but there's a lot of quirks and tricks that makes you lose a lot of time to make it actually 'usable'. Not only does babun solve most of these problems, but also contains a lot of vital packages, so that you can be ...
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I just adapted this extremely cool tutorial for my Scala course. It's Scala all the way, on the server with Play and on the client with Scala.js and the JQuery façade. It's not yet as seamless as it should be, but definitely worth watching.
var x = 0.0 type Graph = (String, Double => Double) val graphs = Seq[Graph]( ("red", sin), ("green", x => abs(x % 4 - 2) - 1), ("blue", x => sin(x/12) * sin(x)) ).zipWithIndex dom.setInterval(() => { x = (x + 1) % w; if (x == 0) clear() for (((color, f), i) <- graphs) { val offset = h / 3 * (i + ...
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I am revising a Python book, adding examples with "real world" data. Here is a data set that surprised me. Apparently, police and firefighters aren't putting their life on the line as much as other employees. Truck drivers are twice as likely to die on the job as policemen, and garbage collectors three times as much. Maybe they too should get to retire with a full pension at 50?
Recent labor legislation, such as measures to curb collective bargaining and change pensions and health coverage, often exempts public safety workers.
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Franc, I am not disagreeing with your point, but I can also see the point of the person who wrote that article--if truck drivers take their jobs more seriously than their lives, why don't the surviving ones get to retire earlier with more benefits? 

But whatever--I simply didn't know these risk statistics and found them fascinating.
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I just came back from the annual gathering of SIGCSE, the "Special Interest Group for Computer Science Education". It's been fascinating, as always, and, as always, there was a good deal of "my programming language beats the daylights out of your programming language".

Now really... What's important is not just the language but the entire ecosystem around it. Mark Guzdial says so too--see the link. Even a very sucky language can be good if there is an ecosystem of great tools, and an awesome language can be useless without such an ecosystem. For example, I find it unconvincing to switch to Python in CS1 because Hello, World is a mess in Java. But if you told me that you switched to it because Runestone is cool, I'd totally buy it.
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Dr, Horstmann:  Got to hear you speak at SIGCSE.  I was rather suprised!  You do not sound like you do online.  
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I have to put some math in the slides for my Scala course. I've felt for a long time that this is something without a really satisfactory solution. I don't even want to think of the half-assed "equation editors" that you find in Word, OpenOffice, etc. I write my slides in HTML. There is MathML, but it's not for authors. Writing math in MathML is like eating soup with a fork.

Fortunately, there is MathJax. It's pretty good. It supports some variants of TeX, with some complexities that I found mind-numbing, as well as a simpler markup called ASCIIMath that gives you a lot of bang for the buck. Documentation is sparse, but there is an excellent tutorial at http://www.wjagray.co.uk/maths/ASCIIMathTutorial.html.

How could it be even better? If it wasn't ASCIIMath but UnicodeMath. In ASCIIMath, you are supposed to type uu to get ∪ and in to get ∈. Huh? It's 2015, and I figure everyone has found a way to type whatever Unicode characters they want on their keyboard. For example, I use Linux, and I just add key combinations such as <Multi_key> <m><u> : "∪" to my ~/.XCompose map. When I want to type a union sign (∪), I type Caps Lock m u, and it appears. Caps Lock seems the perfect “Multi” key--do you use it for ANYTHING MORE IMPORTANT?

I am told you can do similar things on a Mac and on Windows, and I imagine users of those fine operating systems know just how to do that.

Where I need help is to type the big brace that you see below, and the intelligence that math letters are in italics but numbers aren't, and when I write -, I mean a math subtraction symbol that is longer than an ASCII -. ASCIIMath does a great job with that, and it seems to tolerate my composed ∪ and ∈. Check it out if you need to include math in HTML!
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  • San Jose State University
    Professor, present
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San Francisco - San Jose - Ann Arbor - Syracuse - Ho Chi Minh City - Kiel - Aachen - Eutin
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In my copious spare time, I write about programming languages and computer science education.
Education
  • University of Michigan
    Mathematics, 1981 - 1987
  • Christian Albrechts Universität Kiel
    Mathematik und Informatik, 1977 - 1981
  • Syracuse University
    Computer Science, 1979 - 1980
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