* Posts by Kevin McMurtrie

1211 posts • joined 15 Jun 2007

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Uber sued by ex-Lyft driver tormented by app maker's 'Hell' spyware

Kevin McMurtrie
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The Californian part of this world wouldn't mind Uber's cash bonfire burning out either. Between Uber's "Assholes win" mission statement and Lyft's horrible software security, the old cabs are a refreshing bit of simplicity.

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Stanford Uni's intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

Kevin McMurtrie
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The first step is to see what you have done

JavaScript integrates with the most familiar UI of all - the web browser. It gives starting students a way to visualize what they're doing. I think it's a great starting point even if the language details are a bit of a mess.

Java's native UI sucks. It started out as a bunch of randomly arriving callbacks and semi-documented magical containers then evolved into heavyweight event-driven layers of code-generated-code that you were wrongly assured would look right on each system. From there it only gets worse if you want to touch pixels and sound samples. This is why (non Android) Java became mostly a server language.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

Kevin McMurtrie
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All the desktop operating systems

Desktop computers are going to hell no matter which operating system you're using. Cellphones are massively successful so OS makers think desktop computers should be simplified to match them. At the same time new features must be added to drive upgrades. This contradiction is converging into a mess that is complex yet offering fewer useful features. There's a big fail coming and I hope it clears a path for new things.

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FCC greenlights small cell free-for-all in the US

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Close the a tag...

A bird flew through the 5G signal where the close tag was. Those millimeter bands are rather fragile.

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Flaws found in Linksys routers that could be used to create a botnet

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Your router and firewall is no place for 'consumer-oriented' firmware

"Small Business" firmware makes consumer firmware look like fine art. You're lucky if it boots and stays running for an hour. It likely has executable file paths embedded in the admin console URLs and little bits of binary garbage leaking out here and there. You suspect that each software update cycle was outsourced to a different lowest bidder, but that still can't explain half the problems.

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Trump's self-imposed cybersecurity deadline is up: What we got?

Kevin McMurtrie
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Doesn't matter

Most politicians are elected by masses of people who can't hold a thought long enough see the outcome of promises made. You can check the web site... Gotta go - Somebody just yelled, "Cake!"

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Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Googley eyes

Let us also not forget that Chrome was created by a marketing company that specializes in intimate data collection. The fine print of the TOS must surely bother some people or conflict with security requirements at work environments. I'm actually amazed that most people don't care.

Next stop: Google extending their untrusted certificates and harmful sites blacklists to include things Google just doesn't like.

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'Nobody's got to use the internet,' argues idiot congressman in row over ISP privacy rules

Kevin McMurtrie
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WTF?

"Nobody's got to use the internet."

Nobody's got to accept bribes either, right?

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Burger King's 'OK Google' sad ad saga somehow gets worse

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Please Sir?

I think "doubling down" is what happens after you eat a Whopper burger.

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Verizon's bogus bills tanked my credit score, claims sueball slinger

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Wow, deja vu

The debt collectors are looking for easy money. Tell them you have documented proof of the billing error and they must either quit calling or take it to court. That's the end of their easy money and they go away. They can be reported as abusive if they call back.

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How's that for a remote login? NASA puts New Horizons probe to sleep 3.5 billion miles away

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Re: "was sent at less than 2Kbps."

And it's only as fast as 2Kbps if they keep powering it off and on again.

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72-layer flash die from SK Hynix towers over all, capacity a bit meh

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: this can't go on for long

Stacking the dies comes next. Need to make that little 'b' a big 'B'.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Childcatcher

The cloud! Won't somebody think of the cloud!

Google, Apple, Amazon, and media rights managers have been telling everybody to stream from the cloud and pay monthly fees for everything. Now storage is fighting back.

I already have a 200 GB microSD card in my phone for offline everything. IT departments don't like streaming music and the best time to have a map and a copy of Wikipedia is when you're in the middle of nowhere without a signal.

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Revealed: Blueprints to Google's AI FPU aka the Tensor Processing Unit

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Can it do anything else?

I don't think Google cares if it does anything else. When it looks like you need $15 billion of new servers for a new project, running at 1.9x the speed saves $7.1 billion. Even a tiny 5% performance gain saves $714 million.

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Staff, projects shed as Ubuntu maker Canonical tries to lure investors

Kevin McMurtrie
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A lot of people use MacOS because they don't like Windows, and Apple seems like it has no idea what to do with Macs anymore. This would be a good time to convince MacOS users to jump ship to Linux.

Yes, Linux desktops suck. I will never forgive the idiots who decided to add a billion global keyboard shortcuts to Ubuntu so there's nothing left to use in apps. With a bit more market share, people might get around to improving it. I've been using Linux here and there for a long time but I just ordered a Linux box as my primary desktop since the Mac Pro isn't going anywhere.

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Boeing-backed US upstart reckons it'll be building electric airliners

Kevin McMurtrie
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Based on a true story

Boeing has been researching hybrid planes for a long time. It's pretty much the same idea as hybrid cars - narrowing the operating range of a fossil fuel engine to where it's most efficient and making up the difference with an electric system. A bonus is that short trips have a higher percentage of their time on battery power. Being able to put little electric engines anywhere can help performance too.

The question is why Boeing is handing over development to another company rather than doing it themselves. It seems like an attempt to avoid risk.

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Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear

Kevin McMurtrie
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Tells customer to get a refund?

Usually customer support keeps telling you that a fix is on its way until the in-store, credit card, and manufacturer warranties have expired. At that point you're still entitled to a refund but it's a difficult process. Tech that doesn't work on day one needs to be returned on day one.

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Mac Pro update: Apple promises another pricey thing it will no doubt abandon after a year

Kevin McMurtrie
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Placing an order for Linux box now

I was wondering if there'd be a good desktop Mac coming this year. Trash Can Mac is like delivering a sporty roadster with a trailer hitch to professionals asking for a truck.

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Alabama man gets electrocuted after sleeping with iPhone

Kevin McMurtrie
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A long time ago

US wall plugs have holes in the tips that mate with clips in the outlet so that plugs can not wiggle loose. They snap in and out. Properly made outlets that clip onto properly made plugs cost a few dollars extra so nobody has them anymore.

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Good Guy Comcast: We're not going to sell your data, trust us

Kevin McMurtrie
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I read this as...

Comcast has the technology to collect customer data but they've grown tired of rebooting it every day to keep it working

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Trump sets sights on net neutrality

Kevin McMurtrie
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President Swoop and Poop

I figured Trump would delegate everything to a bunch billionaires and plunge the US into years of depression, social conflict, and global economic sanctions. Somehow, he's on target to be worse than that.

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US cops, firefighters to get new emergency wireless network – AT&T to get $6.5bn

Kevin McMurtrie
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$6.5bn to build

I wonder how much of this is deploying hardware and how much of this is sending new firmware to cell towers. Private networks don't really exist anymore and AT&T isn't known for preemptively upgrading infrastructure.

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Web-app devs note: Google wants to banish JavaScript dialogues

Kevin McMurtrie
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Windows

The "Chrome Team" is saying this because

Google can't delete the 90% of their Play Store inventory that is serving up fraudulent full-screen ads masquerading as a running application to hijack user input.

Time to reassign the Special Brew guy icon to Google.

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Oracle doing due diligence on Accenture. Yep, you read that right

Kevin McMurtrie
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Owner of Java buys Java consultant company

There must be a new "Enterprise Edition" of Java coming out. Sell the problem and sell the solution.

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Boffins name 12 new types of cloud in first Cloud Atlas since 1986

Kevin McMurtrie
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Coat

Re: BTFH?

"spewing out lightning at 60 a second"

That's only a problem with UK's 50Hz power. Those 60Hz lightning storms work nicely in the US, even if the transformers get a bit buzzy from saturating through half the cycle.

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We're 90 per cent sure the FCC's robocall kill plan won't have the slightest impact

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Spoofing ?

Making spoofing impossible is the one and only real cure. It won't ever happen - telcos would lose all those telemarketing customers.

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Carnegie-Mellon Uni emits 'don't be stupid' list for C++ developers

Kevin McMurtrie
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Compiler help

In most cases the compiler knows or could know when you're doing something wrong. If it doesn't know what you're doing, that's also a good sign that you're doing it wrong. I don't write C++ often, but an IDE that highlights potential problems decimates debugging time. C++ is complex as hell, and some of the helpful language tricks to reduce complexity actually make it more complex.

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Strike that: 17,000 AT&T workers down tools in California, Nevada

Kevin McMurtrie
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This is surprising

I did not know that AT&T was maintaining its infrastructure. I had always figured that AT&T was one of the worst telcos but nobody complains about them because they're so easy to leave.

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Android O my god! It's finally here (for devs)

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: there for the benefit of Google, not the [..] phone's battery life

Other way around. Google keeps trying to fix the problem of too many Google tasks independently asking the phone to wake up for work. The obvious solution would be to not have those tasks, but no Googler would be called innovative for fixing it that way. Consolidate task wakeup requests for Marshmallow. Guess which tasks are non-essential in Nougat (none belonging to Google). Add throttles to ease resource deficits caused by 1000 idle Google threads waking up at the same time for O.

Google - simultaneously discouraging rooting while giving users big incentives to do it.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

iPhone SE?

I'll hold out for the iPhone SE/30.

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Google Spanner in the NewSQL works?

Kevin McMurtrie
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99.9999%

Are you kidding me? Calling services degraded or regionally unavailable rather than "down" is cheating when any given observer will regularly have issues with Google services not working.

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Nest cameras can be easily blacked out by Bluetooth burglars

Kevin McMurtrie
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Facepalm

In other news

Cutting the small round cable to the house also disables cloud devices.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: The future's cloudy!

The laser and tracking system only has to work better in bad weather than its drone target would.

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San Francisco reveals latest #Resist effort – resisting sub-gigabit internet access

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: $1bn

As also mentioned in another post, SF has utility poles everywhere. It's the standard view from any SF window. Very high speeds and reliability are easy when such a short range is involved. I'm talking about 10 to 20 meters here.

Replace them with drops later to boost the speed, but start with a solution that has a chance of being completed. Drops are difficult because it involves permits, modifying very homes that pre-date modern wiring, tree trimming, landlords, and all the crazies that live in SF.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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$1bn

I think the first task should be engineering a solution to that projected cost. It seems like SF would be a place where stringing fiber optic cables along utility poles with periodic short-range transmitters would work very well. Actually, I'd use small LTE transmitters so that there's no money spent creating or distributing endpoints. People could use their phones or buy their own inexpensive LTE network adaptors.

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Be our Guetzli, says Google, to make beastly JPEGs beautifully small

Kevin McMurtrie
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Better JPEG/MPEG/you-name-it encoders have been around for a long time. The trick is avoiding the patent trolls.

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Spammy Google Home spouts audio ads without warning – now throw yours in the trash

Kevin McMurtrie
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Terminator

This is nothing

Wait until everyone has figured out the real reason for self-driving cars.

Human: "Take me to Ramen Seas"

Car: "Ok... If you like Asian food, I have a $4 off coupon for PF Chang's."

Human: "Are you f'ing with me?"

Car: "Ha, Ha. Ok. Ramen Seas is crowded. Would you like me to call in a reservation and drop you off at the Macy's 50% off sale?"

Human: "Let me out now"

Car: "Playing 'Let Me Out Now'... Would you like to purchase this song?"

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Oracle gives FCC a great big sloppy kiss: You're doing a great job axing net neutrality, privacy

Kevin McMurtrie
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FAIL

Oracle on life support

What does every dying company do? Spam! Spam to bring the customers back. Spam to get the name out again. Spam to hold back imminent death.

Oracle has been acquiring mass-mail companies and promoting customer engagement and retention as their hot new service. My personal experience is that Oracle's mailing lists have been used in a manner inconsistent with current US privacy and e-mail laws. If my experience isn't unusual, they may be vigorously pro-Pai to prevent themselves from getting into a lot of trouble for what they are doing.

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Marissa! Mayer! out! as! CEO! of! Yahoo! corpse! post-Verizon! gobble!

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Poor, poor Marissa

Well, when you put it in that context, she's going to be the next President of the United States. Four years from now we'll want nothing more than a new POTUS while still not having any ability to choose a good one.

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The future of storage is ATOMIC: IBM boffins stash 1 bit on 1 atom

Kevin McMurtrie
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Trollface

Sad times

Until this gets built, I'll carry my 35 million iTunes songs on 1 TB SD cards stacked in a tray like little punch cards. Yeah, those cards are a bit pricey but it's not bad compared to the cost of 35 million iTunes downloads.

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What a Flake: Congress mulls trashing privacy rules, letting ISPs go to town on your data

Kevin McMurtrie
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Big Brother

Hello ISPs

I'd like to purchase marketing data on DNS lookups and web traffic from US elected officials. It's worth a lot to me. Name your price. "Anonymize" the source if you wish.

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Windows Server ported to Qualcomm's ARM server chip. Repeat, Windows Server ported to ARM server chip

Kevin McMurtrie
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Download AppName.<os>.<cpu>.<cpu version><cpu bits>.<graphics library>.zip

Hopefully this pushes some innovations in deploying software written for virtual machines. The software - hardware compatibility matrices are already bad enough.

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ZTE-gads! Chinese giant fined $900m by Uncle Sam for Iran trade deals

Kevin McMurtrie
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Not yet guilty

If Iran got anything like my ZTE phone, they're still about 10 software updates away from the hardware working as promised.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery

This article is about some new meters not measuring current transients correctly, so power factor does matter. If I'm reading it correctly, inductive pickup is measuring the derivative of the current and it's being digitally integrated with some component of error. Put the errors in the right place and you can alter your bill.

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Kevin McMurtrie
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Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery

Way back a long time ago, the backs of magazines used to sell plans for changing the power factor of appliances and even entire homes. The idea is to change the phase between alternating voltage and current so that it's measured incorrectly; exploiting the difference between sum(volts * amps) and sum(volts) * sum(amps). They used to be scams but it sounds like they could work now.

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Did your in-flight entertainment widget suck? It's Panasonic's fault, claims software biz

Kevin McMurtrie
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I've always been surprised at how bad in-flight entertainment is. The seatback displays look like they're 20 year old recycled laptops. The new WiFi streaming systems seem to need some impossible combination of modern secure hardware running ancient insecure software. This is why people download movies off the Internet.

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Li-ion king Goodenough creates battery he says really is... good enough

Kevin McMurtrie
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Lithium Ion batteries have a flammable electrolyte that bursts through the safety enclosure and sets everything on fire, then there's a hot sparking core to make sure the fire can't be put out. A glass electrolyte battery could safely hold much more power if it calmly fails as a blob of yellow-hot sparking goo. A bit of glass weave and sheet metal can hold that.

I assume that this technology is the standard 3 to ∞ years away from mass production.

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Java? Nah, I do JavaScript, man. Wise up, hipster, to the money

Kevin McMurtrie
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Re: Crippled C++

Java exists because it has safer memory handling. Desktop app developers can laugh this one off, but C++ memory management is really hard on multi-threaded servers. In Java, a hundred threads can continuously grab references to a shared cached object, a dozen of those threads can throw random exceptions due to GIGO, several threads can stall because somebody is on dialup, and at the same time the cache can be updated without ever a single memory leak or pointer bug. C++ can do that too but it requires a tedious level of manual effort and testing.

It's a double-edged sword. Java can't bulk-allocate structures so it's a mess for image and signal processing where there may be 100 million complex data points.

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Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Kevin McMurtrie
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Megaphone

Feel the music

I'm still waiting for a cellphone that can use its linear haptic feedback driver as a woofer.

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Amazon S3-izure cause: Half the web vanished because an AWS bod fat-fingered a command

Kevin McMurtrie
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Funny, this should have finished while I was at lunch

$ cd storage

$ rm -rf tmp1* tmp2* tmp3 *

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