Diecast #308: The Spring Break of Languages

By Shamus Posted Monday Jul 13, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 61 comments

Heads up: In two weeksThe episode will go live on July 27. I’m going to have SoldierHawke back on the show. We’re going to talk about Eastshade and other games we’ve been playing lately. If you have questions for Paul and I – or for SoldierHawke and I – the email is in the header image.



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
Diecast308


Link (YouTube)

00:00 Shamus’ New Desk

Look at that wonderful ultra-wide keyboard drawer. No need to strand my mouse on some dinky mousepad.
Look at that wonderful ultra-wide keyboard drawer. No need to strand my mouse on some dinky mousepad.

04:49 Snowflake Servers at Work.

This segment fills me with anxiety.

This is also a good excuse for the rest of you to tell your horror stories about the various janky computers and servers you’ve been forced to care for at work.

16:20 The new Atari VCS


Link (YouTube)

41:07 Paul finished playing Eastshade

I still haven’t played it yet. Like I said at the top of the show, I’ve been busy.


Link (YouTube)

51:13 Mailbag: Rust

Dear Diecast-casters,

What are your thoughts on the programming language Rust, if any? I only recently became aware of it when Stack Overflow released their annual user survey back in April which had it as the “most beloved” language for the fourth year in a row, despite apparently only about 5% of the respondents using it. It bills itself as being “like C or C++ but more memory safe” (it doesn’t allow null pointers, for instance), but as my programming knowledge consists of a decade of Python experience and a tiny smidgen of JavaScript I have no context for evaluating or judging between statically-typed compiled languages. Is this the new language that everything will be written in ten years down the line, or is it merely a passing fad? Is it worth spending a little time learning it out of curiosity like I’m considering (perhaps simply for the mental benefits of knowing multiple languages, even if I never use it professionally)?

Cheers,
Daniel “Philadelphus” Berke

56:17 Duoae asks

“How much do we have to pay Shamus to do a whole podcast in fake cockney English?”

1:00:12 Joshuah says

“It sounds like Shamus needs to actually try being a PC in a virtual game, due to his concerns about his time. I’m sure there are plenty of fans here who would be happy to have him try out their games.”

1:01:13 The Wallpaper

Sure, let’s randomly talk about wallpaper at the end of the show for no reason. I’m a great podcast host!

 

Footnotes:

[1] The episode will go live on July 27.



From The Archives:
 

61 thoughts on “Diecast #308: The Spring Break of Languages

  1. Philadelphus says:

    Paul’s right about inspiration in Eastshade, once you save up enough to buy the kettle and learn some tea recipes, you can brew your own tea (and I think there’s also a place in the world where you can use someone else’s kettle before that). And tea ingredients are found in the world, so in theory at that point inspiration is effectively infinite. It might be possible to soft-lock before that, but even without really trying to conserve it on my part I never actually ran out; the amount you get for exploring will cover quite a lot (all?) of the plot-necessary paintings, so it’s mostly if you want to make more for yourself or need to remake one to capture the correct thing. That’s a good point about knowing if you’ve got the right thing after you paint it, and that you should be able to know before hand too.

    Also, there’s a whole bunch of different kinds of tea, and when you drink each one it applies a different visual filter on top of the game for a few minutes (which will transfer to any paintings you make during that time). I didn’t find any of them all that appealing (and you don’t actually need to make any paintings while using them), but it could be interesting if you want to give your paintings a different look.

    And thanks for the discussion of not knowing anything about Rust—I’m sure the comments will have something to say on the subject. :)

    1. Soldierhawk says:

      Yup! Inspiration in Eastshade is indeed infinite, in several ways. You can listen to the stories at the inn in Nava every night (free infinite inspiration), listen to the music of the owl-bard on the coast by Nava (free infinite inspiration), and, unless you lock yourself out of it (which is a very intentional act and I’d wager almost impossible to do by accident), you can also go to the Roots club once you gain access to it; the dreams you have there give lots of inspiration, and are infinitely repeatable. I don’t even think there’s a limit on how many dreams you can have per day. Roots is my usual go-to, if I need inspiration fast, or if I don’t feel like sitting through a performance at the inn. And like you said, tea is also a fantastic renewable option–though potentially the most difficult since it requires finding the ingredients.

      So yeah, by the time you’re near midgameish, you’ll have several infinite sources of inspiration available, plus still be gathering a good bit from exploration.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        It’s rather telling that I wasn’t aware of most of these options. It seems Eastshade is a broader experience than I perceived!

      2. Philadelphus says:

        Wow, I didn’t even realize some of those were options. I think in my usual “RPG protagonist hoarder” mindset I always vacuumed up everything I came across on my travels, so I always had tons of tea ingredients at hand.

    2. I think I would have found it more interesting as well if you could acquire various painting materials options–different types of brushes, different types of paints, etc.

      I think it might have also been more interesting if instead of so many “paint me a picture of this specific thing” requests, they were more like “capture this weather or this time of day or a lot of this color”. So it was more spontaneous.

      I think I might have liked it if you needed to eat and sleep, also.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        As a painter (in acrylics) in real life, I would be so down for a game that actually involved more of the intricacies in real painting. (And I’ll be the first to admit I know next to nothing about oil paints, watercolors, tempura, al fresco, etc.) A game where you buy or collect and grind your own pigments to make the paint you use could be really neat.

  2. Joe says:

    Which is more shambolic? Paul’s work or the Atari kickstarter? They both sound pretty bad. No, I’m not knocking Paul. He’s doing what he can, it’s the system that’s messed up. How the hell did it get that way? I suppose someone once made a mistake, but had no great desire to fix it, instead finding a convenient workaround.

    Whereas Atari sounds like an attempt at a cheap nostalgia-based cash-in that was handled badly, without a convenient workaround. I suppose Atari sounds worse.

    1. MadTinkerer says:

      There’s been a rash of nostalgia focused Marketing-now, Engineering-maybe-later projects in the last decade. It happens when someone who has no technical knowledge but just enough money to buy or rent a classic IP does so. The minute they get their hands on the nostalgic IP, they market the heck out of it to try to get the money to get someone to design something.

      To anyone with any engineering experience this seems to be completely backwards and a guaranteed way to fail. Because it is completely backwards and a guaranteed way to fail when it comes to new computer hardware.

      The type of paradigm these people are employing can work with certain kinds of much much simpler products that already have most of the engineering done. A lot of plug and play consoles are based on old cheap standard components that are being asked to run software from decades ago. Even [Console] Mini type consoles run on standardized SBCs with emulation. The problem comes when the marketing guys think that designing new hardware designed to compete with modern consoles can’t be much more effort than making a plug and play console.

      They have the very practical and market-proven idea to make a nostalgic console with a bunch of old games. But then they also have their pie in the sky dream to make it more than just plug and play with old software. So it becomes a “dream console” which will never be anything other than a dream.

      Most of them are not actual con artists, because it’s pretty rare to see them take the money and run. They’re just in way over their heads and don’t understand why these dream consoles keep failing. Or maybe they’ve failed the market research step so badly that they missed all the failed dream consoles. Or maybe their glasses are so rose-tinted they didn’t think the research was necessary.

      I feel a little sad for them, but I would feel a lot more sad for them if they weren’t wasting so much of other peoples’ money. Every. Stinking. Time.

      EDIT: My gosh that was long. I need to revive my blog and start actually writing stuff like that there.

      1. Joe says:

        So it’s a good idea, that later gets blown out of proportion, then overpromises and under-delivers? But there was a good idea at the core? I always get annoyed with that. Sometimes I *want* a one-trick pony, not some kind of Swiss army horse. Especially if the horse is lamed in the process.

        Oh, and Shamus, the kind of place where you bought your desk, here in Australia I’d call it an op shop. I don’t know what the op means.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          I think someone explained it to me once that it’s short for “opportunity”, maybe?

      2. Echo Tango says:

        Yeah, a simple console running really well-tested, bug-fixed emulation, would probably have been good enough for a retro Atari console. This is the most expensive boondoggle I’ve ever witnessed for a games console. (The Ouya was at least marginally successful, if almost as misguided. ^^; )

      3. Hector says:

        I assume all technology projects that get crowdfunded are scams until proven otherwise. True, some are legitimate, but there are too many which rely on slick marketing, or not-at-all-slick marketing and very gullible patrons.

  3. Joshua says:

    My comment got called out without being submitted, and the answer is “I’m way too busy!” :)

    Found out a couple of new things about VTT since last week. Apparently, of the two* main options out there, Fantasy Grounds does *not* have integrated video/voice like Roll20. However, a decent number of people choose to use Discord or something else with Roll20 instead of the integrated communications if the resources in the adventure are particularly large, such as with the official 5E adventure modules.

    * I guess D&D Beyond is not a VTT, just an online data resource?

    1. Nimrandir says:

      Yeah, our local Pathfinder group uses Discord alongside Roll20, because the voice and video features are apparently resource hogs. Also, the video blocks take up a pretty big chunk of screen space; we usually just have player names visible at the bottom of the screen.

      1. Hal says:

        I play in two different D&D games that use Roll20 for the table top, but Discord for voice and video features.

        Our experience is that Roll20 isn’t super reliable; you’ll get disconnected without it actually telling you, you’ll just see the video freeze or lose the audio. The hybrid approach works just fine, though it can be a bit convoluted the first time you actually go in to play.

        Seems like plenty of people manage to play on Roll20 without those issues; I’m not sure what they’re doing differently, and I don’t care to spend a lot of time figuring it out.

        1. Joshua says:

          We’ve had a couple of issues like you’ve described. However, this seems to be more of a “just once every session or two” type of thing, usually for just one person, so I guess we’ve been pretty lucky. As the DM, I tend to like being able to see reactions of my players’ faces as Shamus mentioned last Monday, so going voice-only with a different program seems unappealing to me. Video chat on Discord is something I’ve never tried before with it playing on video game servers where it was strictly audio.

          That would definitely have to be a two-monitor for a desktop setup if we chose to go that route, as half of us are still using laptops. My wife actually (re)hooked up her second monitor and bought a cheap webcam/mic so she could have Roll20 on one page and her Character sheet as a separate window on the other screen (changing your sheets into separate windows quickly becomes obvious when playing Roll20….). Not sure how needing a third monitor would go work for her, lol.

          1. Nimrandir says:

            I guess Murphy’s law just likes kicking me in the teeth. I’ve played in two sessions, and someone either got kicked out of Roll20 or had issues with Discord in both of them. I was supposed to play in a third, but my Internet crapped out as the game was starting.

            I GM’d one game for a convention to support our local game store, and I had two laptops open — one with Roll20 and Discord open, and the other with the PDF of the adventure.

  4. John says:

    Every single full-featured IDE I’ve ever tried has taken something like five minutes to really get going. To be fair, I’m a strictly amateur programmer and I’ve only ever dealt with a very small sample of Java-related IDEs: Netbeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and Android Studio. (Not Eclipse. Never Eclipse.) They’re all slow. They’re decent enough when they’re up and running but the delay between “click on menu button to start program” and “start typing code” is infuriating. It would be nice if I could somehow disable some of the fancy features that I don’t use and don’t understand anyway and that sped things up. Actually, it might well be possible, but all three of IDEs, especially Android Studio, are monstrously complicated things that assume a level of expertise on the part of the user that, as an amateur, I just don’t possess. For pure Java projects, I prefer to use Geany, a light-weight text editor with some IDE-like features. It’s very fast, and I’ve come to regard its relative lack of features as a blessing. I’d use it for Android projects if I could, but Android is so complicated–I was going to say “such a mess”, but that might be a little cruel–that Android Studio seems to be the only viable option for that right now, particularly if you want to test and debug as you code.

    1. Shamus says:

      Wow.

      I just opened up Visual Studio. (The free edition.) I’m not sure how exact the measurement is, because when you launch it, it brings up a list of recent projects and you have to click on one to get it to launch the rest of the way. So there’s a bit of human interaction in the startup, which makes the measurement imprecise.

      Anyway it was ~10 seconds from clicking on the icon to being able to type code.

      To be fair, I’d opened a very small project. (The database spider I worked on back in April.) I imagine intellisense wouldn’t be as snappy if it had to choke down a hundred or so classes before I could start typing. Still, that’s a huge difference.

      Unity isn’t an IDE, but I launched that just for the sake of comparison. That took 27 seconds.

    2. tmtvl says:

      That’s one thing I like about Emacs, you can run it in daemon mode in the background and then opening a new client is virtually instantaneous.

    3. Rob says:

      Weird. On my computer (which is several years old at this point) it only takes IDEA 8 seconds to get to the point where I can start editing code. Are you using a solid state drive? If your project and cache dirs are both on a hard drive it makes a huge impact on IDE startup time (though certain project types will always be slow even on a SSD – I’m looking at you, Gradle, with your obnoxiously slow daemon).

      IDEA also has problems with Windows Defender scanning its files before letting it launch and delaying startup, but it should offer to add an exclusion for you if you’re affected.

      But neither of these problems should result in anywhere near five minute load times. I’ve never seen it that bad even when I was running IDEA on a Raspberry Pi. I wonder what’s causing it.

      1. John says:

        I didn’t mean “something like five minutes” to be taken literally, though in Android Studio’s case it might actually be true. I never actually timed these things and in any case it’s been a while. I reverted back to Geany, possibly for good, when IDEA stopped working with libGDX projects because of Gradle incompatibilities that I had no hope of ever resolving. But a minute? Two minutes? That sounds about right, especially for IDEA. No idea why though, especially not if you’re running it on a Raspberry Pi. For what it’s worth, I’ve got an i3 running Linux Mint off a boring old non-solid state drive.

        I don’t really like Gradle, though I can see how it or something like it has its uses. (As an amateur programmer, all build systems are mysterious, arcane, and scary to me.) I don’t know if Gradle is reason Android Studio is so very, very slow to start, but it’s definitely part of the problem. I spend a lot of time staring at stupid Gradle-related status messages while I wait for Android Studio to re-open the last set of files I was working on. Gradle is also one of the many things that Android Studio is constantly updating or checking for updates on startup . . . and given that Android Studio is, like, IDEA, an IntelliJ product, now I’m wondering if the problem is my internet. Huh.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          Even as a rough time-bucket, there’s a difference between minutes and tens of seconds. PyCharm and Goland[1] take around 20-30 seconds to load on my Udoo Bolt. (For context, it’s got integrated video, and feels about as powerful as my 6-year old laptop that had a dedicated graphics card.)

          [1] Both from Jetbrains, and sharing a lot of the UI and underlying code with each other and Intellij.

    4. Retsam says:

      Five minutes is either an exaggeration or way worse than I’ve ever had, but I am not a big fan of how resource-intensive most full-IDEs are.

      If you’re looking for “light-weight text editor with some IE-like features”, VSCode is a really good option. Similar trade-off for speed and features, but highly configurable and with a huge plugin ecoystem.

  5. Nixorbo says:

    FFG’s Star Wars RPG (Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force & Destiny) and Modipheus’ Star Trek Adventures are both great to play online because neither rely on maps and grids like D&D. I’ve been playing Star Wars for a couple of years now via just Skype/Discord/Facebook Messenger Chat and it works great. I’ve played a single session of Star Trek Adventures and I’m told it’s much the same.

    1. Hector says:

      There are two kinds of DnD players. The first play DnD. The second play a tabletop battle game that uses a grid, which is almost, but not entirely, unlike DnD.

      I kid, but the idea that you “need” maps or grids doesn’t really compute for me. Especially because I tend to include as much verticality as possible when I DM.

  6. King Marth says:

    One great analogy I heard: Personal computers are like pets, if they get sick you expend ridiculous amounts of time and energy nursing them back to life. Work computers (and especially datacenter computers) are like livestock, if something goes wrong you cull and replace because there’s thousands of them, things go wrong every day, and the collective health of the fleet is critical to your bottom line. At scale, it just isn’t worth delicately micromanaging quirky one-offs, no matter how expensive the hardware is.

    Politics warning: If this sounds harsh, then I don’t recommend examining the details of commodity farming. This is the sort of thing people get heated enough over to conduct major lifestyle shifts, and I apologize in advance if moderation is required.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      At my workplace (about 80-100 devs), our IT people will diagnose problems, or send the machines to get repaired. They’re mostly all Macbooks (of various ages), so that helps streamline things. Most of our work stuff is all either online accounts, repos, or just backed up somewhere, so we can get going again fairly quickly.

  7. tmtvl says:

    Ah Rust, the new darling, along with Go. While there is some drive to rewrite everything in Rust (hello remacs) it has been a bit of a mixed bag of success and failure (farewell Way Cooler).

    Lifetimes and ownership can be complex at times, but they do offer an advantage over garbage collection in performance (hence why Discord switched from Go to Rust).

    Is it worth learning? Sure, you’ll end up with a solid grasp on at the very least the Option design pattern (which Java has also implemented in good old Java 8) and Immutable types.

    Ripgrep (the fastest, most accurate grep) has proven that Rust is tremendously useful in writing system utilities, and it’s seen serious adoption in the embedded space. It hasn’t really broken through in gaming, but if it gets its own counterpart to UE/Unity/… it may see some success. Catherine West has given a talk about video game programming in Rust at a convo, and Jonathan Blow has rebutted it.
    At the end of the day, while various languages have their own niches (R for data analysis, Octave for mathematics, Perl for text processing,…) performing any task in any language is possible, it’s just a matter of programming (there’s a Cobol webserver for instance).

      1. tmtvl says:

        Fanboy mode engaged: OMG, you’re Chris Wellons from null program, I love your Elisp articles!

  8. Canthros says:

    There is a Tortoise GIT client, Shamus. Just FWIW.

    1. ElementalAlchemist says:

      I still find it preferable to run Git commands from a Bash console, even though I have TortoiseGit installed (and have used TortoiseSVN for years).

      1. Canthros says:

        There are definitely some things are difficult to impossible to do via TortoiseGit, but for everyday push/pull/branch/merge stuff, it’s been good enough for me. And mostly an improvement over Visual Studio’s tools for the same thing.

        I’m happy to concede that mileage varies, though.

        1. ElementalAlchemist says:

          I still just find Git so alien to use that using Bash seems like there’s less chance of me screwing something up.

  9. Duoae says:

    So… what was the PO box address that I need to post this cheque for 10,000€ to?

    ;)

    I really like decorating… but they have to be specific, short term projects that i won’t lose interest in. Ideally, I’d decorate when moving in somewhere when all the stuff is not in a good layout. There’s nothing more that i hate than rearranging everything in order to fix things behind it… and then putting them back again!

  10. Retsam says:

    Is [Rust] the new language that everything will be written in ten years down the line, or is it merely a passing fad?

    It’s a little bit of both – there’s a lot of overhype around Rust: frankly there’s a lot of people who just are hyped about the idea of other people writing more code in a high performance, safe language, which is why there are so many people who go around telling other people to rewrite their projects in Rust, which gets pretty ridiculous.

    But, at the same time, it seems on a trajectory to eventually largely displace C/C as the dominant low-level programming language, while it also seems to be fairly successful at competing against high-level languages like Go, Java, C#; it’s starting to make in-roads in places that you’d traditionally see one of those languages (e.g. web servers), but if I were placing bets, it’s never going to dominate those spaces, it’ll always been a niche, if viable, language choice. (And of course, it’s a world away from the “spring break languages” of JS/PHP/Python)

    It’s able to compete there, because Rust is very low-level, but it manages to not feel low-level, most of the time. You don’t manually manage memory, APIs use high-level abstractions like array iterators. But if you do care about the low-level details, unlike something like C#, they’re right there. You can directly control how objects are laid out in memory: you can write code that does manually manage memory.

    And ignoring the borrow checker, which is the big feature of Rust, it’s a really, nice, modern language. No null, (AKA the “billion dollar mistake”) a really elegant pattern matching idiom, an alternative to classes that allows code reuse while avoiding the “object oriented hell” that other languages often get into. It’s surprising how much of Rust, a very low language, is directly borrowing from Haskell, a “so high level, it’s locked in an ivory tower” language.

    If there were a “Rust without the borrow-checker”, it’d probably be my go-to language. (Well, there aren’t actually gotos in the language, but…) Go is beloved as a practical, mid-level language, and I respect that, but having used Rust it just seems really inelegant.

    But of course, the borrow checker is like the whole point of the language. It’s what enables the “automatic manual memory management” and gives all of the safety and performance guarantees. And it’s a really exciting thing for the field of programming as a whole: the idea of a language that’s fundamentally safer than other languages is really exciting and pretty novel. But it’s no free lunch, either.

    On the negatives, I commonly see three things:

    1. A big learning curve. There’s pretty much no getting around this. Though, I think this may be less true for people coming from C : a lot of the intimidation of Rust is people coming from high level languages who suddenly have to know (and care about) pointers and references in a way that higher languages abstract away. (But it’s still a learning curve even from C )

    2. Friction? This is probably the most debated point of Rust. Some, especially Jon Blow argue that a language like Rust is going to slow you down, because you’re “fighting the borrow checker”. I’ve seen a lot of people who use Rust argue this is largely not the case, you eventually you get past the “borrow checker hell” stage, common to learning the language. I’m guessing the answer is a little bit of both: it’s slower for some tasks and faster than others (in terms of programming time). That’s how it is with TS.

    3. Compile-times. This is honestly probably the biggest downside of Rust, long term. All the safety, optimization, and modern architecture of Rust doesn’t come for free, and so it has pretty awful compile times – as slow as C , which is also fairly infamous for slow builds of large projects.

    4. Missing tooling, as Shamus mentioned: this is maybe the actual biggest downside, at the moment. It’s a mature language with a somewhat immature ecosystem. As sites like Are We Web Yet? and Are We Game Yet? can attest, for a number of problem domains, you can use Rust, but you’ll be reinventing more wheels than in a more mature ecosystem. It’s moving in the right direction, so I think it’ll get there, but it’s definitely still in the “bleeding edge” phase right now.

    1. Nimrandir says:

      I’m not knowledgeable enough about programming to comment on the meat of this post, but I can’t help but notice that quite a few plus symbols have been eaten. This problem came up a couple of times last week, too. Does anyone have ideas on why it’s happening?

      1. Retsam says:

        Oh, yeah, that’s odd. Looks like C++ is getting replaced with C[space][space]. It makes sense that you have to escape stuff like < and > to avoid them being stripped as HTML, but I don’t think + is usually a character that needs to be escaped.

        1. Shamus says:

          Context: I manually edited Retsam’s comment to put the plus signs back in. For some unfathomable reason, WordPress is stripping them out.

          WordPress has finally reached the stage of maturity where all updates are bugs or anti-features. Arg.

          1. Kai Durbin says:

            I think it re-screwed itself too because I still don’t see the pluses, even though I hit Ctrl+F5 to do a hard reload two hours after the edit. Is there some kind of plug-in that you can use to force some HTML to appear raw? It feels like something like that should exist, but I’m not sure if WP would even allow you to mess with stuff like that.

            1. Shamus says:

              Test:

              1 ! 2 @ 3 # 4 $ 5 % 6 ^ 7 & 8 * 9 – 10 = 11 + 12 _

              1. Retsam says:

                It looked like single pluses worked, but double pluses didn’t?

                Looks like once the pluses get removed, I can’t put them back by editing and all plus signs are stripped.

                1. Philadelphus says:

                  Has WordPress decided that C[plus][plus] is The Language That Shall Not Be Named?

    2. tmtvl says:

      Yeah, I was looking for a Scheme implementation in Rust (because it seemed interesting to me and I know better than to succumb to NIH syndrome), but it needed the nightly toolchain. The ecosystem just needs time to grow (same for Raku and other young languages).

    3. Echo Tango says:

      I’m just happy that weakly-typed languages aren’t considered the bees-knees anymore. They’re good for single-file scripts, small programs, and especially intro computer-programming classes, but anything larger than that becomes really difficult to untangle when you can’t lean on your IDE, telling you made a dumb mistake with some interface. :)

      1. Cubic says:

        Some pretty large programs have been successfully written in C/C++ you know.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          What point are you trying to make? Those are both strongly typed languages.

          1. Cubic says:

            More precisely, since you can for example cast values from one type to another (int to pointer, perhaps?) and otherwise mess around with interfaces (like extern), they are considered statically and weakly typed.

            Languages like Haskell or ML are statically and strongly typed. The absence of type errors is guaranteed at compile time. If you dig around, you will find proponents who simply call these languages ‘typed’ and the rest ‘untyped’. A bit too zealous for me.

            Languages like Lisp, Python, etc are dynamically and strongly typed. Values have types and type errors are detected at runtime. Javascript qualifies here too, even if it has some confusing behavior, for example with overloaded functions. But still, “working as intended”.

            There are few modern examples of dynamically and weakly typed languages I can think of at the moment. Perhaps languages like Forth and BCPL (a C predecessor) might fit that category somewhat, though it might be more accurate to call them simply untyped. Values are just raw machine words.

    4. Philadelphus says:

      Interesting, and thanks for the summary.

    5. Olivier FAURE says:

      Your summary is pretty good, but I’ll just add that another reason people are enthusiastic about Rust is the potential for growth.

      Rust has had a relatively slow start (though it’s incredibly mature for a language less than 10 years old not developed by Google), but now it’s picking up steam, and benefiting a lot from having taken the time to polish foundational design decisions. Features take a lot of time to be added, but by the time they are, they feel very “clean” and intuitive to use; among others, Rust probably has the best implementation of async/await on the market.

      Similarly, Rust’s ecosystem is very good at avoiding the xkcd 927 problem (you know the one), and often coalesces around a few standard libraries with a solid design (serde for serialization, tokio / async_std for async, rayon for OS parallelism, http, time, etc. The community doesn’t suffer from NIH syndrome.

      Overall, I’m in the camp of people expecting Rust to take the world by storm. Right now, it has a few killer features (memory safety without garbage collection), a few killer libraries (serde is a best-in-class for serialization and parsing config files) and at least one killer app (ripgrep is the fastest grep on the market), and it’s only been stable for 5 years. Give it five more years and it will be nothing but killer features.

  11. Dreadjaws says:

    Atari has been living off their name for years. The new owners have been shown themselves to be absolutely incompetent all this time, engaging in increasingly awful practices and every time asking for more contributions from the fanbase, either because they’re super cheap or (more likely) because they’re hemorrageing money and have no idea how to honestly make it back.

    It’s sad, but you’d figured that by now the Atari name would be so beaten that no one would make business with them. It seems it isn’t the case yet.

  12. Chad Miller says:

    I too started with the ATARI 2600. I’m constantly telling younger people outright that “It was fun at the time, but none of it holds up. None of it. You can find 12 year olds making better games for cell phones these days.” In fact just about the only time I get irritated at people badmouthing games that old is when it’s clear it’s coming from someone who wouldn’t have liked anything that old (E.T. is bad, but not as bad as you think if you knew what it was competing against)

    When I saw that picture of the VCS I thought “Eh, maybe it has a nostalgia market? The NES classic already proved people will buy what you can already get with an emulator.” In fact I wondered how you could mess something up when the use case seemed so obvious. So I started watching the YongYea video. Then I saw it was doing things other than playing the old ATARI games, and thought “Okay, how far does this go?” It’s playing Windows games now? THREE-HUNDRED EIGHTY AMERICAN DOLLARS?

    1. John says:

      I don’t blame anyone who’d rather buy an officially licensed retro mini-console than try to figure out emulation on the PC. It’s simpler technically, it’s simpler legally, and it’s simpler morally.

    2. Joshua says:

      I myself had an Atari 7800 back in the day, which had one of the most unergonomic controllers ever designed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSRMlaJ-D44

      I also bought the Classic SNES a few years ago, which wasn’t bad for ~$70. Apart from that, it’s interesting for me to play old games from the 80s and 90s just to reexamine them with modern eyes, but not getting that much actual satisfaction from them. I’m just not nostalgic, I guess. We have the online subscription for our Switch which grants access to the old NES and SNES games, and most of them just don’t do anything for me anymore. Seems amazing that we use to shell out $30-40 for many of these NES games back in the 80s.

      1. tmtvl says:

        I’m going to use this as an excuse to talk about how amazing gaming in the 1980s and ’90s was.

        The year 1983 was the darkest year for gaming before the turn of the third millenium. The year of the infamous Video Game Crash. Little did we know that gaming would rise up from the ashes like a phoenix.

        Between the Third and Fourth Generation of video game consoles we would see the arrival of such classics like Gauntlet, Gradius, Street Fighter, Metal Gear, Prince of Persia, Bomberman, Castlevania, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Zelda, Metroid, Might and Magic, and Space Quest. Two notable older series, Ultima and Wizardry would receive some great entries during this time. Many of these are household names nowadays, but back then it was simply amazing to find such great new unknown names appearing in stores. But what came during the Fourth Generation would overshadow anyone’s expectations.

        Chrono Trigger is the best jRPG ever made, Super Metroid is still one of the best platformers, Final Fantasies V and VI are two of the best of the series, Breath of Fire 1 and 2 are amazing; massive grindfests notwithstanding, Kirby Super Star is one of the best Kirby games, the original Harvest Moon is still one of the best farm sims, the Soul Blazer trilogy is one of the most philosophical action adventure series, Demon’s Crest is a hard platformer; but so rewarding, and I could go on fangasming over great SF games.

        While I may have focused mainly on the Famicom and the SF, the Master System and Megadrive were no slouches either.

        Needless to say Personal Computers were also starting to see an influx of games, the Wizardry series being a favourite of mine, but from Zork through Ultima and through the masterful Sierra adventure games the PC offered well written and imaginative entertainment. Dungeons and Dragons games also saw their golden age during this time and the legacy of the Golden Box lives on through GOG.

        The latter half of the ’90s saw the rise of another generation of gaming and the PlayStation, N64, and to lesser extent the Saturn saw a golden boom for console gaming.
        The GameBoy series brought gaming a degree of mobility that was a godsend for all the awkward introvert children who had too much free time on family trips and weren’t inclined to socialize.
        Meanwhile the PC was starting to gather some of the most amazing titles ever. Ultima Underworld 2, Fallout, Baldur’s Gate, Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Ultima 7,…

        By the time the second millenium drew to a close one could have hardly believed that not even two decades earlier the gaming industry had been at such a low point. The miraculous growth of gaming and the superb quality of some of the classics that were released in the Post-Crash years are a testimony to the perseverance and dedication of those who dared take chances and who achieved greatness well earned.

        1. Joshua says:

          Oh, it was amazing at the time, as I was there for most of that. I just don’t get a lot of satisfaction in revisiting them now, with the exception of Super Metroid, which I love to load up every once in awhile because I’ll agree that the game is just incredible.

          Final Fantasy VI was the game-changer for me in my high school years, as it truly revolutionized RPG story-telling and game-play about what could be done. It’s still charming, but there are definitely a few quirks (Oh god, shopping in the Auction House or trying to get Gau’s rages), and is entirely too easy. I never got far in FF V to agree or disagree with you. FFIV was fun at the time, but definitely held up poorly compared to a few later games in the series.

          I enjoyed playing the Sierra Adventure games at the time (only getting a perfect score in King’s Quest IV), but I’m wondering if I would find them too deliberately annoying to play these days, or whether they would still have their charm.

  13. Steve C says:

    @Heather, what about using drapes or bedsheets or some other kind of cloth to temporarily hide the walls? At least until you can redecorate properly? Appears like Shamus did that in his office.

    I know I wouldn’t want to renovate in the summer. The heat and humidity and especially the odor would prevent me sleeping. At the same time, I also would want to renovate as quickly as possible on moving into a new place. There’s too much inertia otherwise. It is a hard choice.

    I’d probably replace the drywall if it was as tough to remove the wallpaper like Shamus said. The walls will have tons of imperfections that will need to repaired anyway. So I’d go full in and check the insulation and add to it. At least for the outer walls.

    Oh BTW painting that kind of textured wallpaper is fine. My grandparents did just that repeatedly over the years. You can still see the texture of course. If that doesn’t bother you then you won’t have any problems. Just ask at the paint store.

    1. John says:

      We painted over the existing wallpaper in a couple of different rooms in our house, because we were concerned about disturbing the potentially lead-based paint underneath. (Our house was built in 1955.) It was pretty straightforward. With enough coats of the right kind of primer, it’s hard to tell that the wallpaper is still there. We did strip the wallpaper in the kitchen, because testing confirmed it did not have lead paint underneath, and it took an immense amount of work. I wish we had just painted over it too.

  14. Gordon says:

    Don’t like to nitpick, but you might want to consider using obsessive instead of OCD.
    OCD is a fairly specific medical term for a disorder that goes waaay beyond just being obsessive about the cleanliness of your desk.

  15. Douglas Sundseth says:

    The whole time you were talking about dialects (or “dialects”), what I was hearing was your pronunciation of ‘pronunciation’. It’s … idiosyncratic. 8-)

    Which is probably an example of a corollary of Muphry’s Law (stet) in some way.

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