21 thoughts on “ALRIGHTY THEN

  1. Pete Pettingill

    My father worked for Western Union. When we were kids we wanted a typewriter. He brought us a retired tele-type typewriter that wrote in all caps. And it was manual, not electric. It had to weigh 60 lbs. We were just glad to have a typewriter. I used that thing all through HS.

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  2. Andrea Rosenthal

    Mitch Wagner – Fortran is the language used most at the NWS. Think about that. Therefore it’s required in my daughter’s Meteorology program (she also has Python, MATLAB and ArcGIS).

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    1. Mitch Wagner

      I took a FORTRAN class when I was a freshman in college and even then there were rumblings it was obsolete.

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    2. Meadhbh Siohban Hamrick

      do not disrespect FORTRAN. modern compilers (even old compilers) generated some of the most efficient code around for some type of problems.

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    3. Meadhbh Siohban Hamrick

      (though yeah. all things considered, if someone recommends writing an operating system or a text editor in FORTRAN, go ahead and metaphorically slap them upside the head.)

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    4. Daniel Dvorkin

      Modern Fortran (the preferred spelling) is a very different beast from the classic FORTRAN. A lot of the R code I write depends on Fortran libraries, because it’s just better for some things than C.

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    5. Meadhbh Siohban Hamrick

      Daniel Dvorkin that seems like a reasonable approach. FORTRAN (sorry, i can never stop capitalizing it that way) and R are great in different ways. use each for it’s strengths. i just wish web-devs understood this concept.

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    6. Daniel Dvorkin

      Yeah, “when all you have is a hammer …”

      If there’s one language that I’ve thought comes closest to one-size-fits-all, it’s Python (with numerical libraries in a compiled language to handle the heavy lifting, of course). I’m kind of sad that I do almost all my work in R these days, but there’s just such an ecosystem around it for my field (statistics-heavy bioinformatics) that nothing else makes sense. I look at the code from labs that use Python and it seems like they have to spend way too much time building basic tools from scratch. :/

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    7. Meadhbh Siohban Hamrick

      yeah. the reason you have to build python tools from scratch is they keep introducing non-reverse-compatible changes every 18 months.

      and yeah. i just recently started using R for some queuing theory work and was happy to find other people had built some basic libraries i could work off of, but sort of sad when i looked into the actual language.

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    8. Andrea Rosenthal

      Python seems to be in high demand by NOAA and NASA – she has had no shortage of summer internship offers. (Now, since she’s graduating, if only she would get a full-time job offer – plenty of internships and PhD jobs, not much for new B.S. degrees).

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    9. Daniel Dvorkin

      R is kind of an odd language. It’s better than it appears at first (unlike Python, which is welcoming from the start) but it continues to frustrate me with its quirks after I’ve been using it for well over a decade, and as my primary language for several years. But yeah, for stats work the available libraries–most of which are quite good–make it pretty unbeatable.

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    10. Meadhbh Siohban Hamrick

      sort of like the difference between OpenOffice’s spreadsheet and Excel. i love a lot of the features of the former, but the latter has MUCH better 3rd party plugin support.

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  3. David Parish-Whittaker

    Huh. Never even thought about it. I read NWS reports all the time at work (I’m a pilot). But now that I’ve thought about it, METARS and TAFS will be forever screaming in my mind

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    1. David Parish-Whittaker

      To be fair, when I pull up weather on our ACARS (on board datalink), the screen display is relatively small, so compressed format helps there

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