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Comment: Re:Bring back 19.34b (Score 1) 146

by 19thNervousBreakdown (#48192959) Attached to: GNU Emacs 24.4 Released Today

Yes, how hard can it possibly be to get millions of lines of code written over a span of decades by thousands of authors to interoperate close enough to flawlessly to parse some simple text in hundreds of grammars through the use of a couple dozen basic operations executed billions of times a second? Geez.

Whenever a computer problem arises, the first thing to remember is that it's not strange that it doesn't work.

Comment: Re:"xxx hate this man!" (Score 1) 194

by Jeremi (#48186795) Attached to: Favorite clickbait hook?

With xxx being power companies, doctors, etc, because this man supposedly knows something that will save you lots of money and put xxx out of business.

I always wonder about the psychological mechanism they are trying to exploit with that -- do people really gravitate towards blood-in-the-water scenarios like that? "Oh goodie, finally I can find out the way to put my local grocer out of business!"

Comment: Re:Cumulative? How about other quantities? (Score 1) 414

by Jeremi (#48186753) Attached to: Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

I just had an argument about this with my lady, my contention was that soda fountains were a great thing but that soda in a can is a monkey on society's back.

I can't speak to old-fashioned soda fountains (with a soda jerk, etc), but modern American-style self-serve soda fountains might be a problem as well -- in my experience at least, when a person can walk up and pour himself another refill "for free" without even having to ask for it, the amount of soda consumed in a single sitting tends to double or triple.

Comment: Never mind the new font, the new font looks fine (Score 4, Insightful) 364

by Jeremi (#48180535) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

What really causes my eyes to bleed is the new "flat" buttons that don't really look like buttons; they look like text labels. The top of every window now looks like someone gave a junior high student a screenshot of a Mavericks window and told him to reproduce it using construction paper, scissors and glue.

And the frosted-glass semi-transparency effects are just a pointless and unnecessary in Yosemite as they were in Windows. I get the feeling that the Apple UI team has run out of useful work to do, and now they are just changing things because they're bored. The next OS/X release will no doubt change them back, and then add in some other dubious changes that be reverted in the release after that.

Comment: Re:Golden Hammer (Score 1) 192

by Jeremi (#48178131) Attached to: JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Browser-side application logic is a nightmare and cannot ever be reliable or secure. If you really need client-side processing, do a real piece of software for it.

I don't see why a browser-base app could not, at least in principle, be as reliable and secure as "real software". As an example, say I write the real application you recommend, and then I also find a way for it to run inside a web page. Will it become insecure simply because there is now a web-browser window wrapped around it?

Comment: Re:Why the hell... (Score 4, Informative) 192

by Jeremi (#48178105) Attached to: JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

Why the hell are we still stuck using Javascript for the web? Why have we not got some virtual machine (not a language specific one like the JVM), that we can compile any language we like to?

JavaScript is the 'bytecode' to compile to these days.

Not saying that's optimal, but if JavaScript is what the world's web browsers run, then JavaScript is what people will target to get onto those web browsers. At least you can still use your language of choice to do so...

Comment: Re:Value (Score 1) 155

Of course it's not perfect. I seem to recall hearing about that issue. I wonder if they considered giving people a choice.

I don't think it's a real problem. Any laptop on the market today can go from sleep mode to fully usable in less than a second; barring implementation bugs, why shouldn't the electronics in the Tesla computer be able to do the same?

Booting up is something that only needs to happen if the batteries ever completely drain.

Comment: Re:It's Not Even That (Score 1) 240

by Jeremi (#48141261) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

Code is not immutable. If it doesn't do something you need it to do, MAKE it do what you need it to do. Write a library, redesign a layer, simplify an interface, whatever.

I completely agree in principle, but in practice, the more software that is using the current version of the code, the more things will break when you change the design. That has the effect of making the code less malleable, proportional to the number of its dependents.

So for a function that is used only by your own program, it's no problem at all. For an in-house library that is used in several programs across your company, it's a bit of a hassle but doable. For a new computer language that is being used by a small number of devotees, it can be disruptive but worthwhile. For a library that is used worldwide by thousands of corporations, it has to be managed extremely carefully. And finally, for a ubiquitous computer language (e.g. C++) that has billions of man-hours of code that needs to keep working, breaking backwards compatibility might not be practical at all, no matter how great the benefits might be.

I think the moral of the story is: rewrite and redesign your code to make it as awesome as possible before it gets too popular, because afterwards you'll be stuck with it. :^)

Comment: Re:Simple != worse (Score 1) 240

by Jeremi (#48140967) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

But for the 99.9% of code that has almost no impact whatsoever on performance, I can just say "if X then Y else Z" rather than using cool-but-cryptic bitmasking tricks to avoid executing a conditional instruction.

... and even in that other 0.01% of the time, it's likely that your compiler will optimize the pretty human-readable code into the cool-but-cryptic bitmasking trick at the assembly level anyway. There's no need for the human programmer to do that sort of obfuscatory wizardry at the source code level, when the compiler can do it for him -- and likely do it more reliably as well, since compiler writers pay more attention to what is strictly language-legal vs what-seems-to-sort-of-work-today.

Comment: Re:No difference here (Score 5, Insightful) 279

by Jeremi (#48137173) Attached to: Who's In Charge During the Ebola Crisis?

The 26 year old nurse in TX has probably already had her policy cancelled for a pre-existing condition

Ah, good old "probably". A sure indicator that the poster hasn't bothered to actually research what he's claiming, but rather is just making something up that would support his pet conspiracy theory, if it were true.

Comment: Re:Are power companies really that dumb? (Score 1) 608

by Jeremi (#48136907) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

The cost of mining and burning coal is basically the same, and there's nothing new in wind-turbine technology to make it more effective.

While there may not be any dramatic breakthroughs, wind-turbine technology is become more cost-effective through good old economies-of-scale: bigger turbines, and larger production runs.

There's no new rush for wind-generating operations because there's nothing new to "phase in".

The new thing to phase in would be economical wind-turbines (as opposed to the smaller, more expensive-per-watt turbines of previous decades). And arguably, it's happening now (at least in places where conditions are favorable to wind)

Comment: Re:Just an excuse.. (Score 1) 228

by Jeremi (#48136781) Attached to: Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

So who wants to bet against the powers that be choosing to increase military spending rather than spend a fraction as much actually breaking our addiction to fossil fuels? Anybody? Aww, come on, I've got all this money just burning a hole in my pocket, I'll give you good odds..

I've got $50 that says they will break their oil addiction, at some point. (of course, that point may be only when there's no more oil remaining to be extracted... ;^) )

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.