75 posts • joined 14 Oct 2010
Coding + math
Let us rephrase so that everyone can agree:
Everyone who learns mathematics, should also learn coding (I mean algorithmics more than some specific IT skills).
I think the situation with programming skills and mathematics is exactly the same. They are both a great teaching tool to develop analytical problem-solving skills and logic. They are both hard which is a good thing because they also teach kids to make a sustained effort. And yes, some people are not good at them and they will find their life passion elsewhere which is fine.
MBA interference ?
Exciting yes, but what is it with the product range? Why do they need to have 4 different variants for different workloads ? This looks like typical MBA-driven attempt at market segmentation. I know the theory, but I am not sure it will fly with Cloud vendors. They will already be upset about multiplying by two the number of server types they offer (an x64 range and an ARM64 range) but asking them to carry four different ARM 64 ranges is madness.
good audio R&D from Apple with little buzz: the new earpods
I recently bought a pair of earpods from Apple because my previous pair broke. It is the first time I am impressed by the design of an earphone. They are almost completely closed. The sound escapes through two tiny holes. This is practical as dirt has little room to go in. The to holes are also cleverly positioned to send the sound into you ear canal in an optimal way. With a usual pair of earphones (no in-ear), when you press on the buds slightly, the sound usually increases significantly in quality. But it is not practical to keep your finger on the earphone al the time while listening. In-ear earphones solve this but are very uncomfortable and I find listening to my deglutition noises superimposed on my music rather disturbing. With the App earpods, the sound quality is good without pressing on them and does not improve markedly if you do. I guess this is a consequence of the two cleverly designed directions to which sound is sent.
I think it is obvious that a lot of R&D has gone into the design of these $30 earpods and I like the result. I also own a pair of $300 Parrot Zik Cans and I have to admit that they do not sound "better" to me.
Congrats to the engineer who designed the new earpods. The $3Bn should go to him and not to some idiotic audiophile-branded hyper-marketed brand.
Have they fixed the broken RAID controllers that take the WHOLE ARRAY offline if they encounter a parity error during the rebuild ? So a sigle bit flipped because of a cosmic ray, something that should have cost you one file, takes down the entire array thanks to the geniuses that made the RAID controller (in my case, it was DELL).
iPhone 4, 3 years later: FUBAR
My wife has a 3-year old iPhone 4: the front screen was broken, replaced and broken again. The back glass is shattered. The touch screen works on sunny days only and then stops responding to touches on a whim. The on/off button is broken.
Bottom line: a badly designed product with serious reliability flaws. Sad for Apple, I thought they were making premium products.
two easy solutions
1) use Incognito browsing mode when searching for sensitive information. All your cookies will be gone as soon as you close the Incognito window.
2) if you do not like the ads being served to you, go here and tell Google to stop:
(this page is linked from every Google ad as a blue triangle "AdChoices" button")
There is something wrong with your assumptions
"A patent protects what you do / copyright protects how you do it".
That analysis is too shallow to help us move forward here. A patent has to protect a specific way of doing something, even if the specificity does not go as deep as in the case of copyright.
Otherwise, I can patent the "cure for cancer", the mere idea of curing cancer, before anyone actually finds a working cure for cancer.
a tablet for windows apps ? really ?
> "[imagine] a brand new tablet operating system that maintains
> compatibility with your old Windows x86 apps but
> goes head-to-head with Android and iOS."
Yes, Bill Gate's old dream with tablet PCs, Steve Ballmer's with TIKFAM and probably a killer argument in a room full of marketroids. Even this article - otherwise not unreasonable - resurfaces it.
The reason everyone else is doing a separate system for desktops and another one for phones/tablets is that the problem here is not API compatibility but the UI. An app for tablets needs to work with touch and gesture input while a desktop app needs to be usable with keyboard and mouse. No amount of compatibility API layers are going to make a legacy windows app even remotely usable on a tablet.
Intel used to be an ARM manufacturer - so why not go back
Remeber Xscale ? Palm and pocketPC devices were running on them back in 2002 - 2004. ARM architecture, Intel design and manufacturing:
Hell froze over in 2002 already, why not again ?
Change one letter and Inori becomes Inari, the japanese Fox-god. Inori means "prayer" by the way.
Prayer, Fox, ... Firefox, ... Hmmm
Re: Like an intermittent high tension leak from a sparkplug
> theoretically, if one knew every tiny factor that influences the
> oncoming weather one could, theoretically, predict it with
> precision any time into the future.
Unfortunately not. The weather system is chaotic. From the system of equations, you can compute how the error margin evolves in time. The evolution is exponential. This means that whatever the precision of the initial measurements, even if you know the speed and position of every atom of the atmosphere at one point, your prediction and the reality will diverge exponentially (i.e. very fast).
is this 1970 ???
Thanks dan1980 for beating some common sense into this story.
It could have been an interesting article in a pulp magazine back in 1970 when the game of life was invented. But that was 40 years ago and I would have hoped this "it's alive!" bullshit had died off since then. So yes, non-linear systems have all kinds of weird behaviours. Some of them are even chaotic which means the behaviour cannot be predicted whatever the precision of your simulation. Visualisations of such systems can even be beautiful (fractals). That does not make them alive or sentient. Three bodies orbiting each other, the Mandelbrot set or the game of life all exhibit this behaviour and there is nothing living or even mysterious about them.
SFR message to me last time I was traveling from Paris to Germany: "Your SFR data in Germany: 5€/ day for 15MB. That's 341€ euros for a GB, you +=&# and I can't even have a full GB.
They follow it up with this GREAT offer: 5€/day for 100MB. Still 100€ the GB - what a bargain! And by the way, trying to subscribe to this option does not even work. The SMS comes back with a "cannot activate offer" message.
Then, they also have a 7-day plan with 200MB for 15€. That is 75€ the GB. Still in the "insulting" category in my book, way above "pricey" or "expensive".
And here is what happens if you do not pay up: 0.54€/MB which is 553€ the GB !!!!!
What is the reason SFR can get away with insulting its customers in this way ? They have an agreed cartel monopoly with the other telcos - which is forbidden by law and punishable with hefty fines.
They should be happy the the european commission is giving them early warnings or is talking to them at all, otherwise than in a prison visiting room.
Re: With less money you will do more
>>> Sorry, as much as we might hate it, they are there to make a profit.
Yes, and regulations are in place to make sure they make a profit by creating products and services users are willing to pay for, not by creating cartels and monopolies that force users into submission.
+1 for watermarking
I'm all for the watermarking - if they could just remove all of the other encryption nonsense. If I look at my current movie consumptions, it's all pretty legal. Paying 4€ for a V.O.D. movie streamed directly to my house seems fair and it is more convenient than torrenting it. The same for paying 10€ for a children's film DVD that the kids will be playing over and over.
And yet, are the various anti-piracy systems the reason why I bittorrent less and less ? Not at all. Convenience and fair price are.
So please, big content studios, add watermarking everywhere, then remove all the artificial incompatibilities you introduced (you call it "security features" - as if it was making my life secure in any way) and let me enjoy my content on any device I want.
(Loudspeaker, in hope the message reaches their ears)
I spent a lot of time fighting with text encodings when designing the .mobi file format for Mobipocket (and later Kindle). The conclusion was also that UTF-8 wins everywhere. The self-sync feature is superb. As for the "hassle" of handling a variable-length character encoding, you soon realize that:
- in most cases, you need the length of your string in bytes (for memory allocation, string copying, ...)
- cases where you need to decode UTF-8 to code points are rare, mostly when you display those characters and then you usually display the whole string from first to last byte so going through the bytes in sequence to decode the code points is not wasteful.
- the typical case when you need to know the characters is parsing, BUT, ALL keywords and ALL control characters in ALL computer languages are below the 128 code point so you can actually parse UTF8 as if it was ASCII and never care about the multi-byte encoding outside of string litterals.
So yes, UTF-8 everywhere!
the UK: one happy place
Lots of brits on this comment threads have never heard of the Stasi, or realised that 1984 was not a completely fictional novel (Big Brother = Stalin in case you wonder).
In countries that have been burned by the horrors of the last century, making a computer file on anyone is controlled, even more so if it is a biometric file. You have to declare the purpose of the file and then stick to it. Finally, cross-referencing files between various organisations is allowed under strict and exceptional authorisation only. And it's a good thing.
>The publishers fell for the DRM snake-oil
No, the publishers insisted on DRM. I was in the Kindle team at the time and DRM was nothing but a pain to us. However solid you make it, it is cracked in 24h and then it makes a bad news splash. We would happily have ditched it and focused on more relevant customer features but publishers insisted on it (all but one: O'Reilly, which I salute for their clairvoyance - their books are still DRM-free in the Kindle store)
Since when are more features equivalent to a better product ?
The only feature of use to me is an autoscaling platform and on that front, the only credible offering is Google App Engine.
the database is cloud SQL
The database is cloud SQL which is a managed version of MySQL that Google maintains, patches and replicates for you.
If you prefer the NoSQL camp, Google has also wrapped their datastore as an independent product called cloud datastore so you can call it from PHP on App Engine too.
another one on the list: Nymgo
VoIP outfilt Nymgo lately rejected my payment (which already went through with the bank) and started asking me for all sorts of private documents. Of course, their support never replied when I said "no way" and their support escalation procedure was equally a memory hole. Avoid them.
Go home with your servers, or maybe go for a PaaS like Google AppEngine. It scales automatically. Failovers are automatic too. Data is automatically replicated across two or three datacenters. I do not know how cheaper or more expensive it would be compared to Rackspace (well, it's hard to be more expensive than Rackspace) but at least you get more than dumb VMs. And you get none of the "maddening problems" mentioned above.
(disclosure: I work at Google)
(disclosure II: independently of that, PaaS is the future, the rest is legacy)
A while ago, PayPal blocked payments to my book selling business because they did not like the books I was selling. They asked me to "fix" my catalog before they would reinstate the payment. Seriously, this happened. I was shocked. The debate about the written word like the works of the Marquis de Sade being broadly available or "on the index" is an interesting debate but that debate was closed 100 years ago. PayPal has no standing for reopening it. I do not even understand how PayPal could think they have a right to censor books. But they did and still do.
Avoid PayPal like the plague
Re: e-book readers?
Well, apart from the fact that all ebook reading apps on the market today are woefully inadequate for text books. They are designed for linear books like novels that you read from page 1 to 500. For books you browse, consult, study with, lookup as reference and so on, the required functionality does not exist. Annotate is the best you can do but good luck for doing something, anything with your annotations.
There was a good article on El Reg about Kindles in universities:
Same here. What is a maze with diagonal walls and how is it different from a "normal" maze rotated 45° ?
Re: @ AC (18:56) - Re :
not quite: a "criminal" is someone who gets afoul of penal law, i.e. commits a deed that the state deems harmful enough to society to commit public funds to prosecute it and punish it with a jail sentence.
In this case, please demonstrate the harm to society. There does not seem to be any, actually, there is a benefit in the flaw being promptly fixed by AT&T.
The fact that there is a penal law that allowed this conviction just means that the law-making system is corrupt enough for such a law to exist. This law is an aberration so upholding it to quai-religious standards with statements such as "the law is the law" is pretty short-sighted.
But well, with the Supreme Court declaring that bribing a politician (election money) is "free speech" and protected by the first amendment, you guys are in big trouble.
Re: Pratical World
App Engine has a free quota: 28 instance/hours per day + other free limits.
App Engine is a PaaS. It runs Python, Java and Go. Running the php-based WordPress is possible through Quercus (a Java implementation of PHP) but it's not 1-click.
right to delete credit card details
I would love to be able to tell businesses to delete my credi card details. Or even better, I would love them to be forbidden from storing them in the first place. You want my credit card ? I'll need an invoice first.
Samsung out = bad news
If even Samsung is bailing out of WinRT, there seems to be a really big problem. Usually Samsung plays the early adopter role quite benevolently. They do not mind experimenting with a couple of devices and they do not care about OS consistency much either.
Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating
In the US, some networks give equal airtime to evolutionists and to creationists. Creationists are actually pushing for the "equal airtime" rule to apply to education too. But let us not forget that the creationist camp is not there for the scientific debate. They have no arguments and no evidence to show. Their only goal is religious propaganda. They need to discredit science globally because scientifically-educated audiences never buy their nonsense (sorry, "holly scriptures").
No equal airtime for people who want the airtime to push their agenda and have no scientific evidence to offer.
For climate change, I understand the situation is more difficult for journalists as they have to sort scientific arguments for one side, for the other, and then also the arguments of whackos and lobbies of all kinds who push for the removal of any evidence they do not like. It's not an easy task, but not a reason either to give up and just give equal airtime to all.
is this an article or a troll post ?
Everyone is looking for the "correct" climate model. Why is it that any scientist studying a positive feedback mechanism is labeled an idiot while anyone studying a negative feedback loop is a genius ?
Re: Excuse my ignorance.
Is it just me or do these pebble not look that much rounded to you too ? I would expect a piece of rock crumbling for any reason to look exactly like that.
Paris cos that's my level of expertise in matian geology.
Re: @ratfox (was: "all of her education is in technology")
I don't know about running tech companies - I've been told biscuit bakers can do it. But in my experience, in a product design meeting, every time someone is loud, off-topic and not helping, he has an MBA.
they might be working on the next flash iteration
Is it really worth for these companies to buy controller technology for NAND flash ? NAND seems to be at the end of its useful life anyway so in 5 years time, chances are flash drives will use some other technology which will have other physical constraints that the controller software will be asked to overcome. As the article points out, there is no rush yet. Maybe the right strategy is to bet on the next tech and develop it internally, rather than joining the fight in the current flash iteration.
Re: What innovation?
You do not seem to be aware of the amount of science and engineering that does into each process shrink. The fact that the Moore law has been successfully followed for decades does not mean it was easy.
go civil society, go
Yes, the long slide of copyright and patent law towards the american standard seems to be slowing down with at least some MPs realizing that 1) their voters do not support it and 2) it is probably not such a great idea for the long-term production of new IP.
Scared Orlowskis, short on arguments are now flying into conspiracy territory with headlines like "who's done it ?" , "who is pulling the strings from the shadows ?" and so on. Good.
The answer is simple: civil society. Yes, such a thing exists. We, the people also have economic and societal interests that we would like to promote alongside the purely economic interests of corporations.
For example, we love arts: music, movies, paintings, live performances. We want more of them, we want new ones and yes, we can pay. But we know that only true artists can deliver new works of art. So the money needs to go to them, not some greedy middlemen. We also want to have useful access to these works of art, without unworkable DRM schemes and territorial restrictions. Thank you for mentioning Apple in your article. They are the ones who killed DRM on digital music making it actually useful.
An example from Japan: a Japanese law prohibits replays of Anime series on TV. This amounts to artificially dialing the economic value of an anime after its first airtime to zero. Pretty extreme isn't it ? Yet, the Japanese have found it a useful incentive for the creation of new works. Now compare this to the author's life +70 years copyright in the USA ? It's a different option and yet, you will have a hard time labeling the Japanese as evil communists or dumb freetards.
So yes, I welcome this fresh look at IP law. I think it was badly needed. The way Orlowski likes to describe it, "more IP versus less IP" is a reduction that does not do it justice. The real issues at stake have to do with the dynamism of the arts and entertainment scene and, for patent law, with the dynamism of our industry. Those are important topics, well worth having a fresh look at. Let us think them through and implement an IP system that works for society as a whole and not copy the US and the dead-end their neo-conservative policies have brought them to.
big iron love
"I love big Iron"
I used to love big iron too. Even configuring it was kind of fun... until I found better things in life. Now I send my code to App Engine end work on my underwater basket-weaving skills instead ( http://xkcd.com/1052/ ).
MS = perfection in 1992 ? Are you kidding ?
"In 1992, Microsoft had around 11,000 employees and executed its desktop Windows strategy to perfection. "
The intel 386 chip with a proper 32 bit protected mode came out 1986 (!). MS did not have a half-decent (preemptively multitasked as the chip designers intended) OS until Windows 95, a full 9 years later ! OK, you could count NT on its technical merits released in 1993 so only 7 years later. That's a bloody eternity in computer time. I remember in those times the long long long wait for a real operating system that would actually use the 80386 in a non-catastrophically crappy way.
dogmatisit on both sides
In order to counter "dogmatic greens", we have Andrew and the boffin in this article asking us to "believe" in a robust nature that heals itself. And probably believe that Jesus can save us all anyway if the first hypothesis does not hold. The problem with beliefs shaping policy is that basically, they lead to decisions based on ignorance.
I prefer the current "green dogma" that acknowledges our ignorance of certain fields and recommends caution there.
We devote a large part of our land to sustaining humans, be it for food, dwelling or activity. This needs to continue because we need to preserve our species. However, with populations growing and land becoming scarce, we cannot afford to destroy land because moving to the next spot is not an option anymore. So yes to sustainable "farming" but no to destruction.
And we also need to preserve other parts of the ecosystem from human touch because we do not know what the consequence of their alteration would be. We know that a patch of forest can regrow but what do we know about regrowth if we wipe out all forests ?
What does this really tell us?
Notice that the data match occurs in a region where ALL hypothesis produce roughly the same data. I wonder what the probability is of this data matching by chance. After all, if ANY hypothesis you consider in your model produces a curve that matches your data, something is probably amiss.
not in beta but in R&D
Claiming that Siri is in beta is trying to make people believe it will get better once released. However, the underlying tech is simply not nailed down yet. This is ongoing R&D and I would even say that the R&D is pretty much stalled. We are at 20% of where we need to be to have a computer truly understand spoken language and chances are in 10 years, we will be at 21%. If what Apple claimed in their advert was true, it would be a groundbreaking, earth-shattering, mind-boggling advance in AI science. Unfortunately, it is just marketing hyperbole. They deserve to go down for false advertisement.
I like the Microsoft "self-healing" technology described as "restarting the VMs on other boxes". i once had an IT tech who would similarly believe that REFORMAT-RE-IMAGE-REBOOT was an efficient self-healing woodoo magic.
DRM not needed
I disagree with the comments saying that DRM is required to enable a movie rental service like Netflix.
It is the same argument as used a couple of years ago to explain that DRM was required to make a music purchase service like iTunes work. "Otherwise you could copy the music off your neighbour's computer instead of buying it, gov'ner - duh." went the argument. iTunes is now a thriving DRM-less music service.
For netflix rentals, all you have to do is enable streaming in the time window the user has paid for. He comes later, the "watch now" button is not there anymore. No need to change the HTTP or HTML spec for that. Of course some people will record the stream but ... This has been debated over and over and SETTLED with iTunes.
gameplay is everything
This review is completely misses the point of the game which is not in exploration or event fancy visuals. It is the first game since prince of persia 1 with credible and entertaining sword fighting mechanics. While swords appear in many games, it's mainly dull hack'n'slash. Here parrying actually works and you have to master it in order to win.
And by the way, I spent countless hours on Infinity Blade 1 and 2 without ever making an in app purchase. You can regard in-app purchased in this game as a "please donate" button, nothing more.
Universal human rights
It is frightening to see how many human-rights bashers there can be in this forum. I would have expected this from brain-washed chinese but not here. It shows that you guys have never lived under a dictatorship, and certainly never fought your way out.
So, yes, having an official paper stating "universal human rights" is useful. You can show it to your local dictator and publicly shame him as a dictator. It is useful because all dictators want you to believe how free and happy you are under their rule. All stalinist countries called themselves "democratic".
And yes, it is useful for the human right to be "universal" because otherwise your beloved leader tells you that these rights are good for some, but not for you because <insert bullshit of choice here>.
And yes also, these "universal rights" are something we, humans, made up. They also represent a choice and there are different choices possible. They are universal because they are minimal and their creators believe that choosing not to respect these basic rights usually ends up in dictatorship.
An example of a different choice of society is the asian (mostly Chinese/Confucean) model. Voices against "unversal human rights" are strong in Asia because they do not fit the traditional chinese society where the needs of an individual are deemed inferior to the needs of a group. In this model, when the group can be better off without you than with you, you are expected to remove yourself from the gene pool and if yuo do not, the group will help. This is also a working, stable and productive form of society, although I doubt any of the human-rights bashers above would enjoy living in it.
I am a proponent of "universal human rights" because they are needed tool in averting repressive regimes, driving the progress of democracy, and ultimately reducing the sufferings inflicted by wars and conflicts.
this guy must have an MBA
What is a "hadoop developper" anyway?
In my previous company, where I was recruiting the developers, we were building software for all mobile platforms of the day + maintaining a website with a database + building Mac and PC client software too.
There was no question of having "palm" or "SQL" or "Java" or "anything" developer. The skillset required was:
- good skills in algorithmics (this must come from school training - cannot be grafted on later)
- good analytical mind for problem solving
- good interpersonal skills for teamwork, learning and adapting
- ability to demonstrate mastership in some tech speciality (the math behind 4G network protocols for one hire - whatever, just show us you are good at something)
additional plusses were:
- be a team driver on methodology
- be a team driver on new tech (have useful knowledge to share and skills to do so)
- hackers (try to force a hacker into a 1.5 year dev project ...)
- script kiddies (great superficial knowledge in one area, no depth - out!)
bad stiching indeed
I wanted to post about the bad results too. I am not the first one apparently....
- Crawling from the Wreckage Want a more fuel efficient car? Then redesign it – here's how
- Review Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
- Human spaceships dodge ALIEN BODY skimming Mars
- Downrange Are you a gun owner? Let us in OR ELSE, say Blighty's top cops
- Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know