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Comment: Re:Ada (Score 1) 211

by roca (#49408027) Attached to: Rust 1.0 Enters Beta

Rust offers manual memory management with automatic safety checking --- the language guarantees you don't leak memory, and you can't access an object after it's freed (assuming you don't opt into unsafe code). No other mainstream language, including Ada, offers that.

Comment: Completely reasonable (Score 2) 740

by roca (#48964109) Attached to: New Jersey Gov. Christie: Parents Should Have Choice In Vaccinations

Even the quote Slate cherry-picked to drive their click-bait headline is innocuous. Parents *do* have a right to decide what's best for their children. That right must be balanced with public health concerns, so it makes sense to make vaccination mandatory (or mandatory-for-public-schoolers) in some cases, but surely not *all* cases as you move down the scale of public health impact. In particular there will be cases where the public interest would be served (a little) by forcing everyone to be vaccinated, but that interest doesn't outweigh the additional dilution of parental rights. That seems to be all Christie said here.

Comment: Re:No, you really havent avenged anything. (Score 5, Insightful) 1350

by BZ (#48754721) Attached to: Gunmen Kill 12, Wound 7 At French Magazine HQ

Unfortunately, Stephane Charbonnier is one of the people who were killed in this latest attack. I really hope you're right that Charlie Hebdo will keep going, but it's a lot easier to recover from physical damage to offices than it is from having the staff that make the magazine what it is killed. :(

Comment: The response isn't all that good (Score 1) 556

Just because it's from a reputable scientist doesn't make the response brilliant.

The argument that in a universe with different values for constants, life could exist --- just not as we know it --- is weak. Evolution requires heritable traits subject to selection pressure. A serious argument for "life, but not as we know it" needs some thought experiments suggesting how evolution could work in alternative universes, e.g. universes where hydrogen is the only element that can exist. I've read widely in this area but not found such thought experiments. In their absence, it would have been better to leave this argument out.

IMHO by far the biggest problem for the claim that life must be abundant in the universe is Fermi's paradox. Such claim must be accompanied by an explanation for the absence of evidence (not unlike many religious claims!). There are various possible explanations for Fermi's paradox, but the credibility of the life-everywhere hypothesis depends on them so they have to be made. That wouldn't fit into a short letter-to-the-editor rebuttal, which means a short-letter-to-the-editor rebuttal is not a good format for addressing this issue.

Comment: Massively patent-encumbered (Score 5, Informative) 377

by roca (#48570937) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

The problem here is that H.265 and by extension BPG are heavily patent-encumbered. These are not just latent patents but patents that the H.265 contributors are using for a revenue stream.

Bellard suggests "just use the licensed hardware decoder you probably already have" but a) that doesn't make technical sense in lots of cases and b) most people don't, in fact, have such a thing currently and c) the encoding situation is even worse.

Comment: Re:What do they spend the money on? (Score 1) 161

by BZ (#48438847) Attached to: Mozilla's 2013 Report: Revenue Up 1% To $314M; 90% From Google

Browsers are pretty complicated, yes. Things like low-latency high-performance VMs, hardware-accelerated video pipelines, plus the details, like actual HTML parsing, CSS layout, a network stack, and so forth. Also, what matters is not just the complication but how fast you're trying to change things, and people are adding new things (flexbox, more complicated CSS layout modes, mode DOM APIs, etc) faster than ever before.

But also, in addition to a browser Mozilla is working on FirefoxOS, which involves a whole separate bunch of developers, since it's not like the browser developers are writing things like the dialer app for FirefoxOS. Also, you need QA, not just developers.

And yes, Mozilla has 1000-ish employees, for what it's worth.

It's not just Mozilla. If I look at https://www.openhub.net/p/chro... I see on the order of 600 committers with commits in the last month. And that's not even counting whoever is working on the non-open-source parts of Chrome. And not counting, again, QA and so forth.

And the worst part is, this is not a new development. Microsoft had over 1000 people working on IE6 in 1999, according to http://ericsink.com/Browser_Wa...

So yes, browsers, complicated.

Comment: Re:Chrome Soon? FireFox on the other-hand... (Score 1) 67

by BZ (#48415035) Attached to: Chrome 39 Launches With 64-bit Version For Mac OS X and New Developer Features

The "let" keyword is not the same thing as "let blocks" and "let expressions".

The keyword looks like this:

    let x = 5;

and is in ES6. A let block or let expression (neither of which is in ES6) looks like this:

    let (x = 5) alert(x);

so that "x" is only in scope for the duration of the let block. It's syntactic sugar for:

{
    let x = 5;
    alert(x);
}

Seen on a button at an SF Convention: Veteran of the Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force. 1990-1951.

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