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Comment Re:How is this legal? (Score 3, Interesting) 247

There have been cases where EULAs that were not presented before the product was purchased were declared grounds for returning the product for a full refund. There is also a huge body of case law on contracts in general. In common law countries, the requirement for a contract to be binding is that a 'meeting of minds' has occurred and it is up to the party wishing to enforce the contract to prove this. Signatures, for example, provide strong evidence (and the backing of case law that they count as evidence), but there is very little statute law defining what makes a contract binding (though some on what makes one non-binding, such as requiring one party to break a law).

Comment Re:No Apple (Score 1) 81

How do those numbers change if you look at revenue? Last numbers I saw showed that the iOS ecosystem made about as much money as the Android one for app developers. If you have a small market, but that market has the majority of people who have disposable income and are willing to spend it, then it's not such a good idea to ignore it.

Comment Re:It's no ARMv8 (Score 1) 43

It depends hugely on the workload and it also depends a lot on the core. The ARMv8 ecosystem is quite diverse. For example, you have some players like nVidia's Project Denver, which fuses some of their GPU ideas with designs inherited from Transmeta. The Denver core is VLIW, but with staggered pipelines, so that results from one instruction in a VLIW bundle can be fed into the next (without needing rename registers, which are one of the biggest power sinks on a modern OoO CPU). When you start a program running, there's a simple decoder that turns ARM instructions into fairly inefficient VLIW instructions, but after a little while hot loops are optimised by a JIT and get a lot faster.

At the other end of the design spectrum, Cavium's Thunder X has 48 ARMv8 cores (not hyperthreads) per die, and supports dual-socket configurations for up to 96 processors per board. Individually the cores are weaker than a Xeon, but on some workloads (network routing, some database serving), they're pretty impressive in aggregate. That many physical cores also makes it easier to load balance VMs in a hosted environment. This is especially good for the kind of workload where most clients are idle for a lot of the time, but when they're busy they're very busy.

Comment Re:the comparison is pointless (Score 2) 62

-Os frankly is of little interest to desktop developers. Heck, I spend quite a bit of my time on 8 bitters these days, and I think you're being pedantic.

You might want to tell Apple that, as they compile everything with -Os. It turns out that instruction cache pressure still matters, and matters a lot more if you're in the kind of environment where multiple applications are competing for space.

Comment Re:Willl any of this affect Swift performance? (Score 1) 62

Objective-C++ also works pretty well now (including in the open source implementation), to the point that I generally prefer C++ containers to Objective-C ones. std::unordered_map seems to be faster than NSMutableDictionary for most things, and has the added advantage that you can have primitive types as keys or values without resorting to boxing. The big problem for Swift is that the FFI to C is fine, but the FFI to C++ is basically nonexistent.

Comment Re:Yay for OSX (Score 1) 62

and I believe are its biggest contributors

I'm not 100% sure, but I think that Google passed Apple as the largest single contributor (incrementally, at least, not cumulatively) somewhere in the 3.5 to 3.7 time frame. A lot of the Apple compiler team has been busy with Swift.

Comment Re:What's the real problem? (Score 1) 198

It's not a question of open vs proprietary, it's a question of buying support from the right people. If you're running code that wasn't developed in house, then you probably don't want to be supporting it in house either. You want an SLA with penalty clauses with someone who will fix it when it breaks. If it's open source, that just means that you have more options in terms of who will support it if the level of support that you want involves fixing bugs and adding features.

Comment Re:Comparison? (Score 1) 254

I was going to comment that I'd expect some variation depending on the quality of the venue, but then I looked at the list. Most of the places that they looked at are top-tier publications, so it's pretty depressing. That said, they are focussing on the wrong aspect of reproducibility. The real metric should be, given the paper, can someone else recreate your work. And I suspect that even more papers fail on that. At the ASPLOS panel discussion this year, there was a proposal that PhD students should spend their first year reproducing some published result. We often do something similar for undergraduate projects (take an idea from a paper, reimplement it, see if your results support their claim).

Comment Re:That's gonna be a nope (Score 1) 134

There's an increasing amount of good open source software on Android that can replace the Google crap. I'm now using:
  • OSMAnd, which is actually the reason that I'm still using Android. Best mobile maps app (Nokia's Here is better for driving, but not for walking): offline vector maps that are small enough that you can fit a few entire countries on the phone, offline routing, and so on. The version on the Play store is not as good. I used to use the free version on Play, but actually donated $10 to them after discovering the F-Droid version.
  • K9 Mail is a pretty reasonable mail client.
  • Standalone Calendar is a fork of the AOSP calendar (now replaced by the Google Calendar app on most devices). The UI is not great, but I've not found any mobile calendar app that is. I mostly just use the Calendar Widget on my home screen to look at upcoming events and DAVDroid to sync with my CalDAV / CardDAV server (which also syncs with my laptop).
  • Open Camera is definitely a geek's calendar app: far more configurable settings than the stock one, but the UI isn't quite as polished.
  • KQSMS provides a nicer interface to SMS. For backups, SMS Backup+ will sync SMS with an IMAP server.
  • AnySoftKeyboard provides a configurable set of keyboard layouts and, unlike the Google version, doesn't appear to be spyware.
  • Firefox on Android is actually pretty nice, and the addition of the Self Destructing Cookies addon makes it a lot nicer than any other Android browser I've tried (cookies are automatically deleted when you navigate away from a page, tracking cookies are deleted periodically while on the page. There's an undo button if you realised that you actually wanted them for one site, and and you can then whitelist just those ones).

I'd love to have a company adopt some of these, polish the UI a bit, and provide an Android phone that ships with them by default, instead of the Google stuff.

Comment Re:is the problem not ADOBE FLASH? (Score 1) 244

It's not just that they're complex. The code for decoding them is also not usually with security in mind. Remember that libjpeg was written in an era when a 486 was a high-end machine and all three sites on the web that contained images were pretty trustworthy. It needed to be able to decode and display the image in a limited amount of RAM, on a slow CPU, without the user complaining about the time it took (and it didn't - it was slow, and we complained). Modern CPUs are fast enough that even an interpreted JavaScript PNG or JPEG decoder is fast enough, but video decoding (unless offloaded to an accelerator) is still pretty CPU-intensive, so now video decoders are written with performance as the overriding goal and security a distant second. Doing proper bounds checks costs cycles (and, worse, often breaks autovectorisation), so gets overlooked.

Comment Re:So then the question becomes (Score 3, Informative) 449

Even without that, it's a good scam. You ask people for money to guarantee something that will happen to some of them anyway. Imagine that the odds are 5%. You get 100 people to pay you the $250. 5 of them are lucky, so you keep $1,250. You refund the other $23,750 (after earning interest on it for a year, say $475 at a conservative 2% interest rate). Now you've made $1,725, for doing precisely nothing.

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