* Posts by DrXym

3916 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Is Dublin becoming as unaffordable as San Francisco?

DrXym
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Housing shortage

The price of rent has gone up because not enough houses were built. It'll swing the other way in time. Prices are certainly nowhere close to what a place in SF would cost. Not by a long shot.

Anyway, there are other places in Ireland where businesses should locate. The likes of Galway, Cork & Limerick all host a lot of tech firms and aren't suffering anywhere like the same kind of rent hikes as Dublin.

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Thunderbird is GO: Mozilla prepares to jettison mail client

DrXym
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Re: it if it grew sync backends

Z-push is an open source impl of ActiveSync so I assume if that's what is necessary then there is an option.

Exchange also supports MAPI so Thunderbird could potentially sync folders, email and appointments via that.

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DrXym
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LibreOffice sounds like a good idea

LibreOffice is competing with Microsoft Office which includes Outlook in some configurations. It'd be pretty handy to provide Thunderbird as an option particularly if it included a scheduling plugin. Better yet if it grew sync backends so data could be synced with Exchange / Domino servers.

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A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

DrXym
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Re: Why LTS?

"Plenty of people complain about systemd"

Yes they do and its usually for specious, wrong or refutable reasons. Or because they're trolling.

"A simple but well tested and highly reliable component has been replaced with various iterations of "ooh! shiny shiny!"."

Linux has always been about reinvention. How many times has the kernel been rewritten? How many desktops are there for it and how many times have they been rewritten? How many calculators, browsers, file managers and all the rest are there for it? Even now there is a concerted effort to get replace X with Wayland (or Mir). There is barely a part of the core which hasn't been rewritten multiple times to improve performance or to remove some arcane, baroque, incomplete or broken behaviour. Why should the user-land bootstrap be exempt from this?

Regarding upstart, it was an improvement on sysvinit, but it was still thought to start things unnecessarily because it was event driven. e.g. network-manager's conf listened on dbus to start but just because dbus ran didn't mean anyone wanted to start network-manager. Systemd is dependency based so services are launched explicitly systemd ensures all the dependencies are started first.

Secondly, systemd isn't new software. It's been in some distributions for six years now and even enterprise dists like RHEL have used it for 2. They use it because it is reliable, it fixes longstanding issues with sysvinit/upstart, it enforces security via cgroups and minimal privilege and it's more efficient.

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DrXym
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Re: Goodbye, Ubuntu Software Center

GNOME's software app is pretty dreadful too. It can become unresponsive, displaying a bunch of ellipses on icons, lock up if the package manager is busy doing something and generally give unhelpful error messages or no feedback at all.

It also assumes users are only interested installing end-user applications so it's not a package manager. Something like synaptic would be more useful for admins but I'm not really sure why a high level app store and a package manager can't coexist in the same software since they need access to the same functionality.

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DrXym
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Re: Why LTS?

Ubuntu made systemd the default in 15.04 so there is no "painful transition". It's happened and curiously the world did not collapse. The same is true of virtually every mainstream dist. If you have reason to run a script to launch a daemon you can still do it.

And it's important to note that the old way of starting services in Ubuntu since 6.10 (and Fedora since 9) was upstart, not sysvinit. Not that you would know it from the usual whining about systemd vs sysvinit in this thread.

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS arrives today complete with forbidden ZFS

DrXym
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Re: systemd isn't hated

"Improve boot times? PUHLEASE! If (IF!) I turn off a system (which is a rare event) it takes less than 1 minute to boot."

So please clarify if you're using systemd or not. If you're not using systemd (which I assume from your tone), then what would be the boot time if you were and do you care what systemd does if it clearly doesn't affect you?

And if you ARE using systemd what would be the boot time if you weren't and why are you getting so worked up when your system goes 6 months without a reboot?

And secondly, your server scenario is hardly representative. Certain servers may reboot infrequently but the same is not true for workstations, laptops, embedded devices, virtual machines etc. where startup times are important and sometimes critical.

"Logging integrity? Never had an issue with the integrity of the logs."

And how do you know you've never had a problem unless you can verify the integrity of the logs in the first place? In systemd you can type "journalctl --verify" and see. If you're paranoid you can even enable forward secure sealing so that groups of messages are forward secure so silently tampering or corrupting the files is extremely difficult.

"How do BINARY log files improve things"?"

Forward secure sealing, indexing, metadata, searching etc. If you want text it is trivial to present it as text by typing "journalctl -n 100" or whatever. And commands like dmesg are still there too.

"Whose brilliant idea was it to disable /var/log/messages in Mint</sarcasm>? You can (still) re-enable it..."

Why not ask Mint? Maybe they assume that someone who wants to look at messages would be capable of typing journalctl and seeing them.

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DrXym
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Re: Priorities?

"People were annoyed that it was one massive bundled binary rather than a lot of smaller components which could be maintained independently"

The thing is, it isn't a massive bundled binary. It consists of dozens of executables that have well defined purposes relating to their own area of concern and run with minimal privileges. And systemd doesn't implement an NTP daemon, but it does have a service that allows it to synchronise the local date & time with a remote NTP server during bootup.

This is bad how exactly?

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DrXym
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Re: systemd isn't hated

"It's an indictment of OS designers (if not humanity in general) that anyone can still form the phrase 'improve boot times' in the year 2016."

Er what? Most Linux dists have used systemd for years now, and before that the likes of Ubuntu were toying with other ways to concurrently launch system services. I was comparing the current situation (fast boots, no hacky launch scripts) to what it was like before and what some people appear to be yearning for.

"That it's still being done in such a time-wasteful manner is indicative of something deeply negative."

It isn't being done in a time wasteful manner. That's the point. Most Linux dists have adopted systemd because it brings the OS up into a usable state in an efficient timely fashion.

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DrXym
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systemd isn't hated

It's trolled and complained about by a vocal minority. Other people don't care or appreciate it for what it does to improve boot times, logging integrity and a bunch of other things.

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HTC 10: Is this the Droid you're looking for?

DrXym
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Re: Personally

I use CM13 on my OnePlus One and the milestones have been pretty good. Flashing a phone is certainly not for the fainthearted. Upgrading from 12.1 to 13 totally broke it (despite the phone seeing the update and notifying me of it) and I spent a good 3 or 4 hours wiping various system / cache partitions and restoring gapps to get it back and running. Another milestone appeared the other day and that applied fine.

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DrXym
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Personally

I prefer phones that track vanilla Android and if they customize at all then they do so with a light touch. There might have been reason to customize back in the 2.x age, but Android has a perfectly usable vanilla experience these days. Aside from bringing consistency to the platform it also increases the likelihood of firmware updates because there is less stuff in the custom firmware to maintain and test each time.

Probably the best near-vanilla experience would be something like Cyanogenmod. Lots of minor changes here and there but close enough to track and merge AOSP. Even CM have dumped some of their apps and tweaks, presumably because the core functionality has improved sufficiently to render them unnecessary.

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Australia's Dick finally drops off

DrXym
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Re: Next on the list

I'm amazed Maplin is still trading. Literally nothing they sell can be described as value for money and in some cases sells for a 5-10x markup over the internet. I assume most of their customers are reasonably tech savvy so I don't understand how they get away with it.

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Vinyl LPs to top 3 million sales in Blighty this year

DrXym
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Re: The irony is

"Not really - analog storage has significantly different performance at both ends of the audio spectrum and - assuming they don't mess up the digital to analog cutting translation when they make the LP - you really do hear a quite different performance."

The proper way to verify the sound output would be to do an ABX test between the master and the LP, and between the master and a CD / FLAC / WAV. If you can tell the difference its because the audio has been distorted or otherwise failed to capture frequency in the master. And that's BAD, not good.

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DrXym
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The irony is

Most vinyls are made from digital masters. So all the people proclaiming they're richer / warmer / whatever are simply deluding themselves.

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USB-C adds authentication protocol

DrXym
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Great but

There is a big risk that this could encourage the likes of Samsung et al to gimp their phones so they're "optimised" for their own brand chargers and discriminate against other makes.

It's bad enough that Apple do this but potentially everyone could now. In fact Apple could even switch from own connector for USB and still have the means to screw over the user by controlling what peripherals and devices they are allowed to plug into it.

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Windows 10 debuts Blue QR Code of Death – and why malware will love it

DrXym
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If something malicious can fake a BSOD

Then you've got far more immediate and bigger problems. I suppose there is an outside chance that a customer / user in an org might take a picture, send it to tech support, they scan it, unwittingly follow a URL and just so happen to do it in a vulnerable browser. But it seems like a tenuous chain for an attack to succeed.

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Former Microsoft HoloLens man: It's NOT about gaming

DrXym
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Re: If that's their use case then its doomed

"Not only which aisle, but which box. "

Yes it could but as I said, I reckon there are lower tech solutions which would be as good if not better. I expect most fulfillment warehouses use tablet / scanners that issue a job, give a picture & description of the item and where it's located. It could even direct the person to the item using navigation beacons. None of it would require someone to wear a hot and sweaty visor all day which needs constant recharging. I should add that Amazon (for example) randomizes its warehouses to minimize the chances of someone picking up the wrong item because similar items are not placed directly next to each other.

"For the architects and clients, yes. For the site and the construction engineers, an AR approach makes more sense."

That depends on what you're constructing and how you expect to view it. AR basically means you see it full size (not much use for that new flyover), or a mini version, e.g. on a tabletop. Neither might be much use and I think AR is still a hard sell.

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DrXym
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Re: UWP

UWP is an API which works on Windows (including IoT), XBox, Windows Mobile and presumably other form factors in time. It sweeps 20 years of accumulated junk and obsolete / badly documented / deprecated functionality to be found in Win32, OLE2, COM and so forth.

The biggest issue with UWP is it is tied to Windows store and software makers are up in arms about it. They want the ability to write UWP apps that install and run from anywhere and from any store. Another issue is it is quite immature so 3rd party support is poor and some games have had issues like refresh rates and vsync but presumably those issues will be fixed in time.

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DrXym
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If that's their use case then its doomed

The whole "not about gaming" thing wasn't Microsoft's tune a few years back. The failure of Kinect and the horrifying cost of the headset probably scared them out of their plans for games.

So now they're pitching at the enterprise and the use case of walking around something is pretty niche. There are better use cases for factories and warehouses to do stuff like order fulfillment, monitor machinery etc. I guess AR might be useful if it tells you which aisle to get some box from although I can think of lower tech solutions which would probably work better.

VR also competes for the architecture / full size use case. and in some respects is more flexible, e.g. an architect could actually explore his building, climb the virtual stairs, play with lighting, day / night, fly around it, rather than see what it looks like stood from one place as an AR headset would imply.

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UK competition watchdog gripes to Brussels about Three-O2 merger

DrXym
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What I don't understand

Is why there is a picture of a neo-nazi muppet to go with this story

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3D printers set for lift off? Yes, yes, yes... at some point in the future

DrXym
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Re: One unlikely champion

I haven't seen FDM produce anything I'd call great quality. It's fine at making some utilitarian widget but if you want something that is nicely finished or aesthetically pleasing (e.g. an ornament, jewellry etc.), then it's terrible.

But for $300 and packaged up with idiot proof software and hardware, people might bite and spark some interest. Particularly if Mattel have sense and open it up so people can hack at it.

The most viable 3D printer I've seen that (eventually) could lead to a consumer model comes from Mcor. It prints with paper and has an inkjet so it can print in full colour. If they can produce a consumer version they'll make a fortune. Still too expensive but very promising.

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DrXym
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One unlikely champion

Mattel are producing a $300 FDM printer called a ThingMaker. FDM printers produce terrible quality objects but the price of the ThingMaker is low enough that it may break through and lead to other manufacturers following.

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Brexit: Leaving the EU could trigger UK science patent law rejig

DrXym
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Re: Brexit bites

And don't forget all the extra regulatory redtape and associated legal bullshit that pharmaceuticals and other exporter / imports would be suffer under. Just because the UK leaves the EU doesn't mean the bureaucracy disappears - it actually doubles.

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Full Linux-on-PS4 hits Github

DrXym
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Re: Puzzled

"Good enough reason for me - giving Sony the proverbial middle finger is just an unexpected bonus."

Yes because buying Sony's hardware and potentially bricking it is really sticking it to them.

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DrXym
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Re: Puzzled

I suspect the main reason someone wants Linux is so they can work on exploiting the hardware even further, looking for a class break, ripping firmware out etc.

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Tesla books over $8bn in overnight sales claims Elon Musk

DrXym
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Re: Other car makers should do this

"Regarding the "Chances are your car will cost a lot more than that when you throw in the extras"

Musk has already tweeted he expects average spend to be $42,000 so he expects on average to sell $7000 extras on top of every $35000 car. That's a lot of extras.

Anyway the queue is beyond 250,000. So perhaps some of these people might actually take delivery of a reliable well built car (in the 4 or 5 years it takes for Tesla to fulfill their reservation) since any safety / quality / reliability issues in early production should be resolved.

Actuaries could have a field day figuring out statistically how many people in this queue will die or suffer a change in circumstances before their car arrives. I wonder if you can buy insurance for that possibility.

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DrXym
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Re: I know a few people who put in their orders.

"Personally, I usually don't buy a car that is in the first year of a new model."

As the adage goes, never buy version 1 of anything.

Every new vehicle goes out with known issues and many more are found as cars are lost in accidents or been in for repair or servicing - structural faults, safety issues etc.

So anyone who buys a car which has been out for a couple of years and fixed these problems gets a better, more reliable car. Aside from that the vehicle editions tend to improve in time offering e.g. the Model S got new battery options that early adopters won't ever see.

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DrXym
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Other car makers should do this

Ford - "we have this amazing car, plonk down $1000 and we might deliver something approximating our promises in two or three years. Oh and check out the headline price because chances are your car will cost a lot more than that when you throw in the extras. Oh and you might want to read our twitter feed since we have tendency of mentioning extra delays in offhand ways."

Fools with money they wish to part with - "this sounds like a fabulous idea, where do I preorder?"

Sounds absurd but this is Tesla's pitch. I'm sure the Model 3 will be a good car. It may even break electric vehicles into the mainstream. But it's not some limited edition Bugatti or something. They'll make as many of these cars as they can sell. I see no reason that I should give them cash for a car which doesn't exist, won't exist for several years, and may suffer early build or production issues like delays for that privilege.

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Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond

DrXym
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Using open source and contributing it are two different things

From that summary it sounds like more of the former and less of the latter.

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Gnome shrinks the upgrade footprint with version 3.20 release

DrXym
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That damned Software app

I like GNOME 3 in most respects but that Software app is by far and away the worst piece of trash I've ever dealt with. .

It's so high level that it's impossible to install something *specific* and aside from that it frequently appears to hang or displays meaningless rows of dots while the backend is off doing an update or similar. It's not up to standard of the rest of the desktop.

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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

DrXym
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Re: Arduino 101

I see no reason to assume the bit will cost any more than the Pi Zero. The Pi Zero has a higher chip and connection count, a more complex circuit board and probably some patent fees (for H264, microsd, HDMI). If that can be sold for a fiver I see no reason the bit can't.

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DrXym
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Re: Arduino 101

The bit is going on sale after they distribute them to schools. They'll probably cost a fiver and might even appear on magazine covers the way the Pi Zero did.

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DrXym
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I was a bit skeptical at first

This bit device has some interesting functionality like compass, accelerator, buttons, bluetooth and a little display to make some neat projects.

It would certainly be a LOT less hassle to get a class set up with them than a Raspberry pi where everyone needs SD cards, USB keyboards / mice, HDMI outputs, network etc. That would be a nightmare for the teacher by comparison.

Personally I don't see this as being a loss for the Pi since kids who learn the fundamentals on the bit can easily progress to the Pi.

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Google to unleash Android Pay on UK shoppers within 'months'

DrXym
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I don't see any point to this

Most chip and pin cards have contactless payment these days. Where is the benefit of doing it on a phone? It's just Apple, Google et al trying to insert themselves as another middleman into the payment processing chain.

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Microsoft SQL Server for Linux is a brilliant and logical idea

DrXym
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I doubt it will be fine tuned

There are probably so many Windows dependencies that whoever is porting it is #ifdef'ing huge chunks of functionality away and writing a giant thunk layer that allows the code to think its working on Windows when it isn't (i.e. something akin to winelib).

So I really can't see a port being fine tuned or worth much consideration.

I wonder why Microsoft are doing it at all really and the only reason that springs to mind is they want to offer Linux cloud solutions but they don't the complexity, headaches or embarrassment of using a rival backend for people who choose that offering.

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Java evangelist leaves Oracle to save Java

DrXym
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Re: Does Java need saving?

The Java JDK has been open source under a modified GPL for 10 years now. It doesn't mean Oracle have relinquished the trademarks or that it's a free-for-all. But the JDK (compiler, libs, runtime, hotspot) is open source and so are a vast array of high quality libraries and runtimes for doing stuff with it.

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DrXym
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Re: Please just let Java die...Please!

"There are enough examples of where static typing doesn't help here."

There are plenty of ways it doesn't help but its still better than nothing.

Probably the strictest language around at the moment is Rust which has type inference but also all kinds of static analysis to make it difficult to screw up. So it's terse if you want it to be but also tries to be strict at the same time i.e. you can assign a number to a var without declaring its type but if you call a method with that var then the method's signature has to say exactly what it takes and it will complain if it doesn't.

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DrXym
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Re: Please just let Java die...Please!

"Static typing's main benefit is improved performance through better memory allocation"

The main purpose is to stop stupid programming errors by requiring programmers to explicitly say what a variable *is*, so the compiler can check and enforce how it's *used*.

So passing an int into a string param of a function generates a compile error. In Ruby (for example), that bug could have gone all the way into testing or even production before it was noticed because functions and vars don't specify type info.

Typing makes code more verbose so some statically typed languages are adding type inference (e.g. C++'s auto keyword). On the flip side there is a dawning realisation amongst dynamically typed languages that types are actually a good thing. Typescript is a popular frontend for Javascript, and languages like Python and Ruby are thinking about adding types in some way to their language.

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DrXym
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Does Java need saving?

Java is losing mindshare but there is so much Java code out there in the real world that it's firmly established and not going to disappear. And the JVM plays host to a lot of languages other than Java.

That said, Oracle have been awful stewards for the platform. Updates have been ponderously slow to arrive and Oracle are attacking the one standout success for the Java language - Android.

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Brit geeks craft bijou Pi Zero gaming controller

DrXym
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Emulation on the Pi

Generally speaking the Pi 1 (and Zero I assume) are able to emulate most 8-bit and 16-bit platforms (classic arcade games, SNES, Sega Megadrive etc.) but performance gets a bit iffy at the edges. e.g. there is an N64 emulator but games are unplayable because it's too slow. I haven't tried emulation on my Pi 2 but I assume the higher clock and cores might help tip some platforms into playable territory.

The best dist I've seen for emulation on the Pi is called EmulationStation. It's pretty easy to set up.

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Tech biz bosses tell El Reg a Brexit will lead to a UK Techxit

DrXym
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Scotland would almost certainly hold another independence referendum following a brexit and it would pass too.

I expect if the UK left that many multinationals would move their European headquarters out of England / Wales and into Ireland or Scotland. Oh they might leave a rump staff behind to deal with the UK but it would be cold comfort for those whose jobs were transferred elsewhere.

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DrXym
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"However, being part of the EU means that being an agile business partner is made more difficult by the increased regulatory burden imposed by Brussels."

Europe does not go away for any business just because the UK leaves. It just means two sets of diverging red tape to deal with instead of one and all the added costs and delays incurred for freight, business travel etc. How does that make a company more agile?

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SQL Server for Linux: A sign of Microsoft's weakness. Sort of

DrXym
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So what's getting ported?

SQL Server by itself isn't much use because so many deployments would use windows authentication, active directory, .NET and so forth. It's heavily tied to Microsoft technologies and indeed would be heavily used by software written with Microsoft technologies.

So why are they porting it? WHAT are they porting - just SQL Server or all the things commonly used with it? And is SQL Server going to be performance optimized? Or is this just an exercise in tokenism - throwing out some half-baked port to tick a box but not expecting or wanting people to use it?

It reminds me a little of Internet Explorer for Unix and Services for Unix where were real things too and both sent out to die.

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Fail0verflow GitHubs PS4 Linux loader

DrXym
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Re: I just... why? @Dwarf

"The PC is far better at that and for that! Not the mention the readily available tools, libraries and documentations. As for the PS3's clusters, it was because of the exotic CELL processor that you couldn't find in other affordable devices; the same can't be said in regards to the PS4!"

Yes that was more or less the reason at the time. The Cell pioneered what we might call GPGPU computing these days - it had 7 SPUs which were suitable for compute intensive tasks. There was even an OpenCL API for it. These days, a GPU would provide the same functionality and people have more or less wrapped their heads around the concept which was considered exotic at the time.

Anyway, the clusters weren't booting to PSN or updating their firmware so they weren't affected when OtherOS was taken away in firmware updates. It was the threat of an exploit in the virtualization which lead Sony to remove the feature.

"The real reason to jailbreak the PS4 is because of the challenge to do so, nothing else!"

The person who finds the exploit enjoys the challenge and the kudos it brings. But the people who use it afterwards are mostly interested in installing custom firmware that can play pirated content. Unsurprisingly platform owners have a problem with this which is why they do everything they can to stop it happening.

Sony got slammed when they removed OtherOS but considering the viability of an exploit and the billions of lost revenue at stake it's hardly surprising that they chose to remove it.

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Clive Sinclair Vega+ tin-rattle hits £300,000

DrXym
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"So you think that they would be emulating the hardware then."

No they won't. They'll present a menu of games to the user and fire up an emulator with the appropriate snapshot and button bindings. All the hardware including Kempston or Interface 1 will be emulated in software. There are dozens of complete emulators out there that can emulate ZX Spectrums in all their incarnations 16K, 48K, 128, +2, + 3 and the hardware. See worldofspectrum.org if you want to try them out.

The hardware itself will probably be some cheap ARM SoC (again dozens to choose from). A Pi Zero could handle the demands of the device, but any kind of SoC destined for a low-end smart phone would do. If I were doing the project I'd probably throw a linux kernel, a minimal fs with busybox, uclibc and then a hook up a simple game picking app to FBZX or similar. If HDMI output were a requirement I'd just tell the SoC to mirror the output on the screen to the HDMI out.

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DrXym
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"I suppose it depends how this thing works internally."

There is no reason to think they'd emulate anything about the ZX Spectrum's hardware.

It will work same way as other handheld devices like smart phones - a SoC (system on a chip consisting of CPU, GPU, VRAM, RAM, hardware decoders, IO bus etc.), flash to hold the system image and a write partition. The system image will be a kernel which boots into a launcher app which kicks off the emulator.

Something analogous to a Pi Zero would be more than adequate for this purpose and it should give you an idea of the costs required to pull it off too.

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DrXym
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Can't wait to play The Hobbit

You are in a comfortable tunnel like hole. To the east there is the round green door.

You see:

the wooden chest.

Gandalf. Gandalf is carrying a curious map.

Thorin.

Gandalf gives the curious map to you.

Thorin says "Hurry Up".

> FS1212FFSSS

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Microsoft sneaks onto Android while Android sneaks onto Windows

DrXym
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Re: Kind of obvious

They've already shipped one Nokia phone with Android:

https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phones/nokia-x/?order_by=Latest

So I don't see why not.

And all telco manufacturers, Apple, Microsoft, Google and assorted others have patents and claim others infringe on them. They make a big noise about it, sue and then they settle or cross-license their tech.

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DrXym
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Kind of obvious

Once it was clear Microsoft were done with Windows Phone on the Lumia, it more or less implied they were working on something else.

It doesn't seem beyond the realms of probability that they're working on an Android phone with a metro-esque launcher, xbox live, cloud storage etc. Maybe they'll even bung in their universal platform API, store, business friendly life / business modes.

Things that might differentiate their device and make it more Windows friendly but still allow it to benefit from the Android ecosystem. I think they'd be nuts if they don't include the Google play store. Amazon demonstrates that it's very hard to attract developers or users to another store when it only has a subset of the same apps.

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