* Posts by DrXym

3860 posts • joined 18 Jul 2007

Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

DrXym
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Love to see netbooks again

In fairness you can get something approximating a netbook by buying a cheap windows tablet (e.g. a linx 8) and coupling it with a bluetooth keyboard. All in it probably wouldn't cost more than £150.

But still, it'd be nice to see an honest to goodness actual netbook for that price or thereabouts.

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Microsoft buys SwiftKey, Britain's 'stealthiest software startup'

DrXym
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Re: Intersting

"As MS' predictive keyboard on Winphone is pretty dammed good. There most be more to this than meets the eye."

The "more" to this is that winphone is basically a dead platform. Microsoft are diversifying into platforms which are still in popular use.

If they start acquiring other android apps like Nova Launcher then it might also hint that they intend to produce an Android powered Lumia at some point.

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Facebook tells Belgian government its use of English invalidates privacy case

DrXym
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Putting people's security at risk?

How is preventing Facebook from tracking non Facebook users putting their security at risk? Is Facebook pretending that they're actually providing a security service by spying on what sites people are browsing.

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Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic

DrXym
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And the BBFC didn't care one way or another

I bet most content submitted for classification is utter dreck. Bad foreign animations, bollywood movies, vids about recovering from surgery, hilights from the 1995 season of some 3rd division football team, new age whalesongs, warehouse training vids etc. etc.

I bet the BBFC doesn't care what they're rating. It's their job to rate content, they get paid by the hour and they rate it. When they're done they move onto the next thing. Nobody is sticking it to the BBFC by making them watch paint dry.

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Folk shun UK.gov's 'expensive' subsidised satellite broadband

DrXym
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Satellite broadband stinks

Those geostationary satellites are 22,000 miles away so the round trip means appalling latencies. Throw in the crippling costs of the service and the need to have a hulking dish and it's a waste of time.

For the effort it's probably cheaper for the government to subsidize phone network operators to provide coverage to users who want broadband.

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Sainsbury's Bank web pages stuck on crappy 20th century crypto

DrXym
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Rest assured nothing

I would very much hope that banks practice security in depth and that there is more than one layer of security between someone's money and a thief.

However that is no excuse for running outdated encryption. The fact they do throws into doubt how secure the rest of their site actually is or if there is anyone working there who has a clue what they're doing. For example if the crypto is that ancient, then what site software are they running and is it kept up to date? What separation exists between the authentication server and app server? Is there a DMZ? Is there 2-way SSL between the app server and the banking services? Are the muppets in charge of security? etc.

Now would be a good time for them to fix things.

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Rust 1.6 released, complete with a stabilised libcore

DrXym
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Javascript has acquired a "let" keyword too and for hilariously awful reasons.

When you declare a var in JS scope is only global or to the enclosing function - you can declare a var in a block and reference it outside of that block!.

{

var x = 3

///... rest of scope

}

console.log("x = " + x);

This is nonsensical but completely legal and outputs "x = 3". The reason is that JS "hoists" the decl to the global or function scope level. Rather than fix this insane behaviour, ECMAScript 6 is introducing a let keyword where a var can have proper local scope.

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DrXym
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Re: People are in Denial about C and C++

"it's quite difficult to get a buffer overflow or memory leaks in C++."

It's not hard to get memory leaks - just allocate things and forget to clean them up, or put convoluted ownership rules into the API. Things like shared / scoped points can help a lot, but shared pointers aren't a panacea and come with their own issues, e.g. sometimes objects have to be cleaned in a specific way rather than by the last reference.

Buffer overflows too. I had a buffer overflow occur in a piece of code which was setting a tooltip on a Windows app. The code did a strcpy into the struct without checking the length. Later, when the application was shutting down it would crash because the heap was corrupted. It took days to track down that damned bug. The problem here is that yes C++ has safer classes but it never bothers to deprecate the unsafe ones. It's also quite common for libraries to use their own abstractions so you can't just pass around STL classes.

So to me, a language which has protection built in from the bottom up is a bonus. Every compile error is a potential bug averted at runtime. My biggest fear for rust is that nobody is going to port code from C++ (they might wrap some up, but not port it) so it will have to build up a large body of useful functionality on its own and quickly. I wonder if Rust's future is actually in places that might traditionally use something like Ada.

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That one weird trick fails: Google binned 780 million ads last year

DrXym
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Re: All these diet scams

Not that although that's annoying too - LinkedIn, Pinterest etc nagging to use the app instead of the browser.

What I mean is I've visited sites containing mobile ads and a malicious ad has automatically initiated downloads of APKs. I've also see ads which automatically open Google Play store which is trigged by some kind of url.

The workaround to the latter is to install another appstore on the device, e.g. F-droid. If a malicious ad triggers the appstore url, Android pops up asking which appstore to launch and I can hit back at that point.

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DrXym
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All these diet scams

The worst part about all these diet scams is invariably they're a byproduct of shady MLMs. The MLM cons a bunch of people into becoming sellers for some dubious diet products and then this zombie horde begins setting up websites, buying ad impressions and spamming every site in existence to promote this shit.

I'm glad if Google is removing their garbage from ad impressions and hopefully scuppering their websites in search results.

I've also been to some sites on a phone where before I know it I've been directed to download an APK, or Google Play has launched up on some app (usually some shitty "free" game) . It'd be nice if Google also apps and games that people had involuntarily arrived at on their store from rogue sites to deter the practice.

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SpaceX: launch, check. Landing? Needs work

DrXym
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So close

They had a successful launch, they delivered a satellite into orbit, they landed the booster back onto a barge (1st) time. Then a wonky leg topples it.

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Wanted man sends selfie to replace 'terrible' police mug shot

DrXym
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Re: He should have left the original

There are enough similarities to say it is - the kink in his hairline, the shape of his eyebrows, the vertical crease / scar next to one eyebrow, the general proportions of his face.

It's just in one it looks like he was off his head on something and the other looks like a passport photo.

This isn't some master criminal at work here, just the latest in a line of dummies who think it's a fabulous idea to goad police through the internet only to provide assistance in their own capture.

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DrXym
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He should have left the original

I doubt many people would have ID'd him from that. Besides which, the dummy has probably gifted law enforcement with the IP address of his phone (which can trace back to its phone provider, identity etc.), with possibly some geotags thrown in for good measure.

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Chinese unleash autonomous airborne taxi

DrXym
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From their website

:"Ehang 184 AAV is the safest, Eco-est and Smartest low altitude autonomous aerial vehicle, aiming on providing Medium-Short Distance communication and transportation solution"

They left out the word hubris-est.

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Was Android moving to OpenJDK really a Google gift to devs?

DrXym
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Re: From a developer perspective

"Good news! You can write apps for Android in nice, sensible C++ with Qt :)"

Yes but you don't get the bindings. Even Google says don't use the NDK unless you have to. For starters you have to build a different shared lib for every architecture you wish to target - ARMv6, v7, Intel, MIPS etc. Throw in the weight of QT, icu etc and that's a lot of bloat and a lot of building.

C++ development would be far more enticing if the NDK compiled to architecture neutral LLVM bitcode and had proper bindings.

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DrXym
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Re: From a developer perspective

"What other language would they use? Ruby? Scala (Oh that run on JVM)? Javascript/HTML (tried and failed x3). C# (and have to deal with MS)? So again, what other mythical language should Google use?"

Any language they damn well please is the answer. There are an embarrassment of modern languages that could serve their purpose, some of which they developed in-house. Swift, Dart, Go, Rust, Python, Ruby, Typescript etc. would all be viable languages.

All it requires is formal adoption and bindings that provide the same functionality as exposed by their Java APIs. If Google wanted to win developer goodwill they would also ensure decent cross platform support and address the weaknesses of writing apps in Java.

I should also point out that there are android apps written all the languages you talk of, including C# (e.g Unity) so I have no idea why dismissive of the idea.

"Well maybe they should invent a new language that just like Java, but not Java, just to avoid potential paying Oracle? Am I am sure that would cost even more."

I don't see why you make that assumption or why you assume a language has to be like Java but not Java.

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DrXym
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I used to program set top boxes and J2ME was such a steaming turd that it was a blessed relief to use a clean room Java called Skelmir which was mostly analogous to J2SE 5.0. It didn't have the full API but it had most of it and most compiled Java code ran against it quite happily. I recall being told it was cheaper to license as well.

Android would have tanked if they had used J2ME. It's questionable if it would have been any better using J2SE since the performance of JVM on a mobile device at the time would probably have been awful.

Strangely enough Oracle hasn't sued Skelmir despite them doing what Google did (even more since their runtime executes Java bytecode). Nor have Oracle gone after GNU for its classpath project, or Apache / IBM for Harmony, or Kaffe or other projects that attempted to reimplement the API, or the JVM.

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DrXym
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From a developer perspective

It's probably a good thing since it means being able to use Java 7 & 8 enhancements and APIs from Android code. The Harmony code base was excellent and a clean implementation of the Java APIs as they existed at the time but they haven't kept pace with the language.

Personally I consider it outrageous that Oracle has any legal leg to stand over an API. I also wish Google would start offering some other high level, performant language than Java for application development, preferably non proprietary and cross-platform.

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Call of Duty terror jabber just mindless banter

DrXym
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Does anyone even know how many online games there are?

South Korea must have 100s of MMOs just by itself. There are probably millions of live server instances if you count every host of multiplayer game in existence. Everything from first person shooters to online chess to text MUD games. And that's not even counting games that do peer to peer hosting.

Trying to monitor them all is an utterly futile task. I suppose there might be benefit for law / spy agencies to persuade Sony, Microsoft, EA, Activision etc to put some hooks into games and their voice / message services so they can monitor chat or log ids, IP addresses and other metrics but I doubt it would be much use unless they had specific intelligence and knew what they were looking for.

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Firefox-on-Windows users, rejoice: Game of Thrones now in HTML5

DrXym
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"Hmm.. Let's try it... No doesn't work. What a surprise."

I was able to play movies off Netflix on Linux simply by installing Chrome, running it and logging into my account. No complexity at all.

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DrXym
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"The reality of services like Netflix is that it is so cheap and convenient, why would anybody go to the trouble of copying their stuff? The only actual effect of DRM is that it makes it so I cannot use my Linux box to watch Netflix and I'm a paying subscriber."

But people go to the effort. Visit a pirate site you'd see all of the Netflix shows up there.

Which may beg the question why they bother to encrypt. The answer to that is they HAVE to contractually. Even for their own stuff it still has benefits since the pirated copies are re-encodes rather than the pristine originals and may contain watermarks. It's also more hassle to pirates since they have to capture the movie in realtime and re-encode it. At the very least it stops casual piracy - people saving content straight to disk and cancelling their subs.

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Brit 'naut Tim Peake tucks into space bacon sarnie

DrXym
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Beans on toast

That's the ultimate challenge.

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How long until we can build R2-D2 and C-3PO?

DrXym
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What we all want to know

Are any of these robots programmed for "pleasure"?

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Star Wars Special Editions

DrXym
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Knowing where the line is

The issue with the special editions is they didn't know when to stop:

1. Digital restoration - OK

2. Tweaking the ropier effects (e.g. removing visible wires, fixing mismatched contrast levels, matting issues) - OK

3. Fixing some janky edits and establishing shots by replacing them or inserting some additional short sections (e.g. extra shots of wampa in snow cave) - OK

4. Replacing some poor model and composite shots with CG (e.g. X-wing attacks) - OK

5. Using alternate takes or dialog in places - OK

6. Adding a light touch of CG to certain scenes - OK

7. Adding gratuitous animals, bots, ships and other noise to fill corners of every scene - HMMM

8. Adding gratuitous exploding planet rings not once, not twice but three times - HMMM

9. Totally replacing the music and CG in Jabba's palace and at the end for Ewok celebration - HMMM

10. CG Jabba the Hutt - NO

11. Greedo shoots first - NO

I expect most people's line would be around 7 or 8. But they turned it all the way up to 11.

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Google chap bakes Amiga emulator into Chrome

DrXym
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So?

I assume the guy just ran UAE through the compiler toolchain that produces NaCl or PNaCl plugins for chrome and threw it out there. Pretty much any piece of C or C++ could receive the same treatment. The analog for other browsers would be to compile the code into LLVM bitcode and convert it to asm.js (a subset of JS that browsers like Firefox can special-case) with Emscripten.

Also, UAE might be free but the kickstart 1.3 roms and AmigaDOS / Workbench images are not free. So I wonder how long this thing lasts before its taken down. Distributions such as AmigaForever (which also uses UAE) have to license their copies of AmigaDOS.

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Mozilla looses Firefox 43, including Windows 64-bit variant

DrXym
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Re: woohoo!

Firefox (and other modern browsers) allocate memory if you have a lot free in order to cache content, hang onto compiled JS and so on. Once system memory starts getting short (e.g. because you start a game or another large app), browsers respond by releasing some of that memory.

Would you rather the memory just sat there unused?

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DrXym
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Re: Firefox 43! Now Using Three Times More RAM!

"Firefox 43! Now Using Three Times More RAM!"

More realistically probably 1.2-1.5 times as much. Depends how they hold refs to Javascript in memory. Running a 32-bit app on a 64-bit OS isn't free either and goes through thunks and shims so it's not all one way. In addition 64-bit programs have access to more registers so they might perform faster despite their higher memory overheads. It's probably worth going 64-bit if you have 8GB or more.

People make a big deal of memory consumption but modern browsers including Firefox take the reasonable stance that if you have free memory that they may as well use it to improve performance.

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Tablet computer zoom error saw plane fly 13 hours with 46cm hole

DrXym
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Re: Goooooooo Bill

"OK well I guess that's the American philosophy, i.e. "It can't be my fault, someone else must take the blame". The last hammer I bought has a fault: there is no safety mechanism to prevent you from hitting your own thumb with it, ergo the company that made it shares some of the blame for my injury."

No, it's not "American philosophy". It's the obvious and demonstrable point of fact.

When a catastrophic error occurs, there are invariably a combination of factors that contributed to it. If you can't see the dog because the car has an unusually bad field of view, or the brakes don't work as you expect then that's a contributing factor. There are no two ways about it. Ford is not absolved of blame if this were the case.

And it happens all the time in cars. They get recalls because it turns out the brakes are defective, or the steering is, or the safety belts, or the software..

It's a point that appears to elude people. Software and hardware that have a safety function have to anticipate and prevent user error. If a pilot is supposed to be calculating their takeoff then the software running on a tablet has to make such an action explicit and obvious to minimize error. If the guy is zoomed in looking at labels because they're so small then that is a flaw. Perhaps there are also procedural errors that could be corrected by requiring the copilot to independently confirm the figures. Whatever the contributing factors were it nearly cost the lives of everyone on board.

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DrXym
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Re: Goooooooo Bill

I expect the idea is that a tablet can replace dozens of paper binders which have their own ability to be inaccurate and prone to error.

In any event software doesn't get a free pass. Particularly software with a critical safety element such as this software. Some people on this thread (not you) clearly don't have the capacity to appreciate that.

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DrXym
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Re: Goooooooo Bill

"No - they wouldn't

Both of those things should be in the experience of the driver - and they should be accomodating them."

Er yes they would if you bothered to read what I wrote. If a car had a fault such that visibility was impeded or the brakes didn't apply quickly enough then the manufacturer shares some of the blame for any accident that those flaws contributed to.

And the same goes for software, particular software which has a safety aspect. In this case a plane nearly crashed because a font was too small and the pilot zoomed in too far. A mistake that could have been anticipated and if it had been could have averted a potential disaster. Think about that and come back when the penny drops.

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DrXym
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Re: Goooooooo Bill

"You can hardly blame Windows (if indeed the tablet was even running Windows) for a poorly designed app. If a guy driving a Focus runs over your dog, is it Ford's fault?"

That depends if the design of the vehicle / controls contributed to the accident doesn't it? If you couldn't see the dog because the driver's position had poor visibility, or because the brakes took too long to respond then yes Ford would have some blame to share for the accident.

I have no idea what OS the tablet was running or what software. But if it did something that compromised safety / procedure then yes you could blame it to some degree.

The article suggests the accident happened because the pilot zoomed in to see some taxi marker labels. And in doing so he screwed up his takeoff procedure and nearly crashed his plane. Something as simple as increasing the font size and / or limiting the zoom could have averted a potentially catastrophic accident. And if that's the case then yes the software played its part in the accident.

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Node.js Foundation gets a small sprinkling of Yahoo!

DrXym
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The idea of using Node.js is it's event driven so (theoretically) it scales a lot better and a single instance could be serving hundreds of requests while a solution in PHP (for example) might be limited to the same number of concurrent connections as there are threads. Node.js also has a pretty impressive developer community with hundreds of modules. You could literally have a web server up and running with a couple of modules and a few lines of code.

That said, Javascript is a horrible language. It's verbose and it's full of idiosyncrasies which can be quite subtle and dangerous e.g. the difference between undefined and null, or the difference between == (equality) and === (identity) and so on. Even Typescript is just a veneer over this but it's better than nothing.

I guess it depends on what you want to do with the site.

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Motorola’s X Force awakens a seemingly ‘shatterproof’ future

DrXym
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Re: Broken iphone screens...

"I never understood why they don't make the screens out of some kind of tough plastic [or 'polycarbonate' as they seem to call it these days]."

Because you can't charge an arm and a leg for a phone with a plastic screen or case. High end phones come encased in glass and aluminium because it makes the phone look expensive and therefore justifies the premium. Even if the materials probably only add $10 to the cost of production and both impair the function and ruggedness of the phone in obvious ways.

The irony is most owners are paranoid about breaking their phone that they immediately shove their glass phone into a bump case. So it may as well be made of plastic for all the difference it would make to its appearance.

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Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL: Clear thoughts of Continuum with a snazzy camera

DrXym
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Re: Could have been a winner...

"Generally, that's because the Android manufacturers have loaded the phones with bigger CPU and more RAM to compensate. My various experiences with Android lead me to feel that it's 'adequate, but fiddly and underwhelming'."

I don't know what the reason is. I just know in my experience that the performance and battery of Windows phones is little different to those of Android phones. My first Windows phone was a Lumia 800, the second was a lower spec 510 which is now a hand-me-down to my kid. At the time I had equivalent Android phones (since I develop mobile apps) and the general performance was dictated by the hardware, not the OS.

One thing I found very noticeable on Windows Phone were app startup times could be quite poor and this was exacerbated by the phone being extremely quick to freeze dry apps (i.e. tell them to persist state and kill them outright) so when they were next opened they had to be restarted and restored. I suspect that the phones had less free RAM to hold apps in an open state, or the OS simply didn't trust apps to behave well in the background (unlike Android where the general philosophy is the cream rises to the top) and prematurely killed them.

With regard to the general experience I think Windows Phone is generally okay for casual use. The tiles are a neat idea and they work pretty well. Where it doesn't work is if you have a lot of apps and you find yourself hurling tiles around to find them. That's where it breaks down. Not to mention lack of folders. And the way that settings are separated from the apps themselves and stuffed in some unsorted list.

My biggest complaint about Android is the up-front security permissions. It's being fixed in 6 but I use Cyanogenmod where I can override them the way I like.

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DrXym
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Re: Could have been a winner...

"Then it would be slower, laggy, have a shorter battery life, and a lot more security vulnerabilities. However the ignorant public would likely buy it by the milllion..."

I've owned several Windows Phones and I see no evidence to suggest they're any faster or responsive than Android.

Yeah some versions of Android have vulns. As long as you don't get your apps from a warez website, your chances of being affected by them are close to zero.

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PHP 7.0 arrives, so go forth and upgrade if you dare

DrXym
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Re: Not backwards compatible...

"Honest question: is PHP really the best option if one is prepared recode?"

I have a PHP site which I wrote about 5 years ago. It had all kinds of include statements to pull in headers, footers and navbars, substitute strings into the template etc. which it did via PHP. I even had some code that would read an XML file on the server and spew out links.

I'm in the process of rewriting it all. I reckon that I can use static html for of the site (via a preprocess node module at build time) and use angular for the rest. The only thing I'm leaving as PHP is some forum software which talks to a MySQL backend.

I also have a mouldy old Dojo app which I'll junk at the same time. I could port up to a later Dojo but it's probably easier to rewrite it to a more popular framework.

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DrXym
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Re: Not backwards compatible can cause a lot of problems

"The key difference here is Python 2.7 always was and still is a fairly credible language."

The point is that if you are developing a language you want to keep your developers as close to the tip as possible. Otherwise you end up wasting time and effort supporting multiple versions of the same language. Perhaps Python 2 is fairly credible but it has obvious sticking points that Python 3 set about to rectify (print(), integral types, unicode, syntax changes etc.). These aren't insurmountable differences - run 2to3 and it will identify and fix most of these and warn on the rest.

What's missing is the urgency to move. The urgency isn't there - indeed some of the urgency was removed by backporting stuff. If Python.org had put a definite end of life on the old version (e.g. 5 years) it would have focused minds and they wouldn't be in this situation now. 3.x would have stabilized faster as more people devoted their attention to it and 2.x would be deprecated and forgotten about.

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DrXym
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Re: Not backwards compatible can cause a lot of problems

"Because 2.7 is still supported as a long term support release (until 2020), and loads of people have working software they have no desire to change. The success of Python has meant that a lot of users have large legacy code bases."

But it's only long term because of the badly thought out idea of making it so in the first place. It should have had 5 years of bug fixes and then frozen - perhaps only defrosted for a critical security issue. Such a roadmap would have focused minds and it would have motivated everyone to move up - core developers, 3rd parties, dists etc. But at the moment its like the Python community has put each leg on a stool which are moving further apart for no good reason. I didn't even mention Jython, IronPython, PyPy etc. which could probably do without the grief of choosing where to focus their limited resources.

Besides, Python 3 isn't *that* different. There's a bit of a mess around Unicode and issues around print / integer calculations and some lesser stuff. Scripts can identify and in some cases fix the issues or offer advice. The timeline should have been faster.

As for Unicode, from experience the best solution for any language is that all source code is treated as UTF-8. Even if the source is laden with Japanese comments it's still more compact (and tool friendly) to store it as UTF-8. It still looks right in the text editor but it losslessly saves as UTF-8.

At runtime the choice is harder since Unicode requires 32-bits encapsulate every code point but that's horribly inefficient. Java (and QT and Windows API) uses UTF-16 which *mostly* works until you hit some esoteric ancient language and then its guaranteed to break. So personally I'd use UTF-8 at runtime with string classes that would encounter non-ASCII code points enough to be well tested and robust. The biggest danger of all encodings is that length_of_string != display_length and iterating / splitting strings can be dangerous and for that the only solution is to educate developers not to do dumb things.

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DrXym
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Not backwards compatible can cause a lot of problems

Python 3 has been out for 7 years now and the majority if scripts will still only run on 2.7. Why? Because Python 3 has relatively minor differences in its syntax, methods and behaviour and many modules don't run on it.

To make things worse, some stuff from 3 has been backported to 2 which puts even less incentive on switching to the new version. And then some software such as Django wants to run on 2 *and* 3 so it has to use compatibility kludges like Six to paper over the differences.

The same will happen to PHP if it doesn't either a) support the old syntax even in some degraded mode or b) put a definite end of life on older versions. The end of life could still be a few years hence to give people time to update their code but it should be clear that end of life means end of life. No feature backports, no additional bug fixes etc. Activity will wind down on a schedule and all focus will be on the new version. The faster the transition, the better for everyone in the long term.

Next up to the plate with backwards compatibility breaking changes will be Perl 6. The fun and games with migrating code from Perl 5 will probably put Python in the shade by comparison.

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Star Wars Battlefront: Is this the shooter you’re looking for?

DrXym
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I was tempted to buy this game

But the threat of DLC scared me off. I don't want to pay full whack for a handful of levels when premium DLC will appear in a few months to make the game what it should have been in the first place.

EA can do multiplayer games right - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is a blast. I simply don't trust EA (or Ubisoft, Activision etc.) to release complete and fully formed games any more. It'd be one thing for F2P games, but it is totally unacceptable for full retail titles.

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Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years

DrXym
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Re: Sorry Nadella looks more like Erdogan...

"Much/all of the data collection that is new to Windows 10 can be turned off, yes it's on by default (even in Enterprise edition which is not so good) but for home users this is probably a good thing. "

No, it's not a good thing. It's a terrible thing.

The power of the default means that lots of people unwittingly opt into data collection which provides little benefit to them, which they don't understand the implications of and didn't explicitly give consent to. Microsoft doesn't allow users to change all the privacy settings during installation (even assuming they spotted less prominent link which lets them change them). Some settings for Edge, Cortana, Media Player and who knows what else have to be changed after installation. Some things can only be changed by logging in online with the Live account and changing them there.

The correct way for Microsoft to have approached this is to explicitly ask the user in a single clear, coherent, unskippable screen what information they want to give and what benefit if any it provides. They could still have a "recommended" button if they want, but it should not receive any due prominence and there should be a maximize privacy button right next to it.

Let people explicitly pick. And thereafter they should see ALL the Microsoft controlled privacy settings from a single location. Not just most of them with more smeared around elsewhere.

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Google launches virtual plastic pal who's fun to be with

DrXym
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Emulator changes should be a sea change

The Android emulator in 1.x was okay for normal apps but virtually unusable for OpenGL development. Even if you turned on host GPU acceleration it still sucked. So if they're addressing this it should make a huge difference. Personally I found the easiest way to develop was to build the app for the desktop (easy enough with libgdx) and debug it there and only switch to Android (emulation) once I knew it's more or less working.

I have no love at all for IntelliJ. I use it at work, I use it in the Android Studio and I'm fairly proficient with it. But the build / debug cycle is painful compared to Eclipse. In Eclipse you could just hit Run / Debug and it would instantly Run or Debug, and even in-place edit code. In Android Studio / IntelliJ it prefers to farm out the build to an external builder like Gradle. Gradle takes so long to start you have to run it in daemon mode and even then it might taken 10-20 seconds to build / run something which is virtually instant in Eclipse. And if you edit the Gradle script you have to resync everything. That isn't to say I hate Gradle for other build lifecycle tasks but for trivial Run / Debug iterations it's a pain.

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Brit filmmaker plans 10hr+ Paint Drying epic

DrXym
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I doubt the BBFC really care

I bet 99% of what BBFC is forced to watch is terminally boring to begin with. I'm sure they'll take the money and pass the thing. Or they'll have some fast track process in place to deal with certain kinds of content and they'll force the guy to use it.

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Struggling to understand Docker? Let's start with a Minecraft demo

DrXym
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There are countless ways to "play" Minecraft so which one in particular would be the right one?

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Remember Windows 1.0? It's been 30 years (and you're officially old)

DrXym
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Re: "While arguably less efficient than a command line"

"I'm not sure what those would be."

DOS was essentially a single tasked system which kludges for very small TSR applications. It wasn't multi tasking in any sense whatsoever. Many of the leading DOS applications became veritable kitchen sinks of extraneous functionality in order to circumvent these issues.

"You do know that the first thing you do when setting up a DOS machine is write batch files for all your tasks. Right?"

I don't doubt it. It doesn't help unless your workflow is extremely rigid and inflexible.

"I still use DOS most days and find it very efficient alongside KDE. "

That doesn't make any sense. KDE is a GUI for Linux and Unix systems. If you don't like KDE you would open a command prompt which would typically be bash. I suppose you could launch dosemu or freedos via a VM in Linux though I don't see much point. If you're so dyed in the wool that you haven't advanced from DOS then why bother with KDE at all?

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Cat discovers GNOME desktop bug

DrXym
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I wish they'd get rid of that sliding screen lock thing

I can see how having to slide a screen up would be a useful intent in a touch screen or whatever but it's a really dumb metaphor in other scenarios. When I lock a Windows 10 machine all I have to do is push any key and start typing my password. In GNOME I get a misleading "slide to unlock" message and it's only if I'm psychic and know the keyboard shortcut that I can bypass it.

It should die, or at least be smart enough to only enable "slide to unlock" when the person actually has a touch device, and sets it as their primary input (e.g. toggling into a tablet mode).

There are a number of other annoyances around GDM, screen lock, flickering etc. I hope that as X is shown the door and more control comes under KMS and Wayland that some of these will go but it is a little jarring that they exist at all.

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Speaking in Tech: Anonymous’s ‘total war’ on ISIS – how effective can it be?

DrXym
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Re: Any Disruption

"Any disruption of ISIS' online activities will be of some benefit. "

Not necessarily. Disrupting their public sites and feeds might be detrimental to any security services who happen to be monitoring them. I expect the UK, France, Germany, USA, Australia etc. all have their eyes on these things already and would be fully capable of taking them down if it served their interest to do it. Perhaps they get more information from leaving them up - IP traffic, chatter etc.

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Eric S Raymond releases hardened, slimmer NTP beta

DrXym
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Perhaps the hideous python thing refers to gyp. Many C++ projects use gyp or cmake to produce their makefiles these days. They're kind of like meta makefiles - the input describes the project source code, flags etc. and then the tool is run with a target platform to spew out the appropriate makefiles. It means someone can generate Visual Studio projects, or gnu make, or Ninja scripts from a single description.

Personally I prefer cmake but the both it and gyp do more or less the same thing.

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Untamed pledge() aims to improve OpenBSD security

DrXym
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Re: Pretty bad idea

"If you need to make it do something different, you're probably modifying source anyway. Anything you want the program to be able to do shouldn't be dropped."

I didn't have to modify openvpn to make it work with the dir I wanted to store my certs in. I just ran a command to add an exception.

I don't see how policies are less flexible. As I said you can make them any strength you like. You could even "train" a policy by running the software to see what it does and then lock the policy down to that set of permissions.

Also, the upfront model of permissions has utterly failed on Android and I don't see the concept of a pledge being hugely different.

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Royal Mail mulls drones for rural deliveries

DrXym
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Re: So what does this driverless van do....

" I will take an automated van over that any day."

I doubt you would if it ended up mindlessly nudging towards you simply because it had no concept of reversing into a spot behind.

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