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Comment: Re: Best of 2009? May be, but we live in 2014. Rig (Score 3, Insightful) 132

by Dixie_Flatline (#48633845) Attached to: Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

I haven't found this to be true. I've tried swiftkey and swype for weeks at a time, and I've found that they're generally slower than me tapping words out. The problem is that the worst case--that the system gets the word wrong and you need to replace the whole thing because none of the suggestions are correct--comes up surprisingly often for me. I also find the flow of tapping to be a lot more comfortable. I never stop tapping until I'm finished, while with the swiping methods, I have to pause in between words before I start swiping again.

Mileage varies, but I'm considerably faster with the built-in Apple keyboard unless I'm walking and typing with one hand. In that case, the swiping method has an obvious payoff because I can be less accurate with my movements.

Comment: Re:When you're right, you're right. (Score 1) 133

by Dixie_Flatline (#48522845) Attached to: Chinese CEO Says "Free" Is the Right Price For Mobile Software

I think the market will end up bifurcated.

For my part, I try to avoid products that are priced free. I've looked at a lot of mobile software, and so much of it that's free is low quality or has a punitive pricing model. Free games with pay-to-play mechanics, for instance, tend to be designed so heavily around monetizing the fun parts of the game that the game isn't fun no matter what you do. These fundamental decisions corrupt the process. By trying to keep fun behind a wall, even the fun parts aren't as good anymore.

It's a bit better with productivity software and the like, but I prefer payment models that unlock all the features at once, rather than one feature at a time. One-at-a-time apps necessarily remove the interaction and synergy between features. Instead of making a set of features that seamlessly works together, you get a bunch of individual features that are less powerful split apart. Again, design decisions end up being made that undermine the making of a good product.

So I'll be paying for software. As a software developer (video games) myself, I feel that we deserve to be paid for our best work, and we can't do our best work while begging for scraps. You can't make the big, great games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age or Far Cry by monetising through small transactions. The $50-$70 you pay up front is for a whole piece of coherent work that wouldn't otherwise be possible.

Comment: Re:Oh no (Score 1) 297

by Dixie_Flatline (#48369375) Attached to: Study: Body Weight Heavily Influenced By Heritable Gut Microbes

Sure, but what you're asking is nearly impossible to measure. You'd have to test your poop for each food that you eat. It's not going to be the same for each sort of food exactly because your gut digests different things differently. It's irrelevant because it's impossible to know. If you eat a carrot and excrete 50% of the usable calories, it doesn't mean that the same will hold true for a potato or a porkchop. You can't even really average it out because different foods are going to affect your gut differently.

If you know the UPPER bound of the caloric energy of the food you eat--that is, the calories listed on the box, or the calories calculated from a bomb calorimeter--you can start making calculations from there. You can make good estimates of how much you eat using a scale and the internet. You can make good estimates of how much you burn using a whole bunch of different devices. The empirical, day-to-day measurement is what's going to tell you how you're doing.

For several years, I weighed my food and tracked my exercise for about 3 months in the spring so I could lose weight for the cycling season. I weighed literally everything I ate and kept detailed logs of my exercise. The balance equations were more or less what I expected.

All these things change over time as well. As we get older our metabolisms slow. On a more narrow scale, the more we do one sport, the less energy we burn doing it. I use fewer calories going 50km on my bike than I did when I was a beginner.

In the end, the one quantity that's actually measurable is the food that goes in. All the other things are observations that either validate or refute your hypotheses about your calories-in/calories-out equation. Whether you happen to burn more calories standing still than I do or you simply excrete more usable calories as waste as I do is a meaningless distinction for the question of weight change.

Comment: Re:Ya...Right (Score 2) 285

by Dixie_Flatline (#48368309) Attached to: U.S. and China Make Landmark Climate Deal

China is already the world's largest producer of renewable energy. (378 GW in 2013.)

And unlike Western nations that govern by consensus, China will turn on a dime if it sees the benefit on it. They shut down the factories and took half the cars off the road so the air would be clear for the Olympics. They can do that any time they want.

The benefit to China is cheap power and complete energy independence. The price of renewable energy is dropping sharply, so they no longer have to turn to coal and oil to fuel economic growth. They're the ones making the solar panels ANYWAY.

I suspect China could meet these goals a lot sooner, honestly. I reckon they were on pace to meet these goals with or without the USA. This is just a way to wring concessions out of the US later. China just wants LEVERAGE.

Comment: Re:Oh no (Score 1) 297

by Dixie_Flatline (#48350085) Attached to: Study: Body Weight Heavily Influenced By Heritable Gut Microbes

It IS about willpower and it IS up to the individual, but I don't think those things are undeserving of sympathy and broader societal support. We make it hard for overweight people to change their diets. Fattening, unhealthy food is cheap. Good food is more expensive. Exercising takes time, we increasingly make sure that people don't have any time outside their jobs. Our jobs are more sedentary than ever before and the bad food is targeted directly at making our brains feel good. Depression goes untreated for years at a time.

The problem is less about food and thermodynamics and our guts. If you want to lose weight, you have to obey thermodynamics. You have to eat less than you burn, and you need to exercise to be healthy. But if we don't give people the opportunity to do those things, then we can't expect them to lose weight consistently.

Comment: Re:Oh no (Score 2, Informative) 297

by Dixie_Flatline (#48350025) Attached to: Study: Body Weight Heavily Influenced By Heritable Gut Microbes

To a certain extent, that's meaningless. Those calories are bound up in a way that you can't use them--which is why they're waste). It may be that there are some usable calories in there if you went back and ingested them again, but obviously there are significantly diminishing returns.

There are a certain number of calories per gram of food. Your body is capable of removing and using somewhere between 0-100% of those calories. Your gut flora pushes you in one direction or another--at the highest end, you can capture nearly 100% of the available food energy from your meals. No matter what, you cannot gain more than 1g of weight from 1g of food. Physics and chemistry being what it is, you probably won't, though.

In the end, there are two things that people need to know if they want to control their weight: how much they're eating, and how much they're burning. Those are the only things you can meaningfully control (there is some evidence that changing your diet significantly can affect the microbiome--it seems pretty imprecise right now). If your gut microbiome is super efficient, you'll need to find ways to eat that don't leave you hungry but also don't give you too many calories.

Comment: Re:Am I missing the point? (Score 1) 124

Wait, why didn't you include this section?

"Yet it’s worth noting that Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox still performed worse. They were limited by the same download bandwidth, but the upload section of the process was notably much slower (many ISPs worldwide offer much slower upload speeds than download speeds)."

So VB's test still gives the prize to sync. It's a bit weird that they didn't publish any times, though.

Anyway, I'm not saying Sync is obviously better, but your quote misses context that's important. I think this is just another tool in the toolbox.

Comment: Re:Still no decent source browser integration (Score 1) 156

by Dixie_Flatline (#48199537) Attached to: GNU Emacs 24.4 Released Today

Oh, thanks for the tip. I'm using ECB...sort of. I'm mostly just using helm to search through all my files and trying to force semantic to parse through my humongous project and not screw up the class referencing. :/

Projectile looks interesting--I'll give it a shot. Any other stuff you like? :)

Comment: Re:Fantasy based laws. (Score 1) 475

by Dixie_Flatline (#48188773) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Even if the person is never weaned off the images, as long as they never offend against a real person, I'd consider that a win.

Every once in a while a story comes up about a doctor that says that these people should be protected if they come out to a medical professional so they can get treatment, and inevitably in the comments, people scream about locking them up and punishing them right away, even if they've never done anything wrong. As a consequence, these people DO go on to offend because they can't get help, and two lives are ruined in the process. I never understand why, if we're interested in harm prevention and reduction, that they'd allow even one innocent child to be hurt when that could be prevented with significantly more humane laws.

(Actually, from what I understand, that IS how it works in Canada--you can ask for treatment and get it--and I hear there are good results here. I don't know the comparative statistics, though.)

Comment: Re: Moral Imperialism (Score 5, Insightful) 475

by Dixie_Flatline (#48188711) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Don't forget Australia's law where if the person looks young, it counts as CP. It effectively puts a ban on taking pictures of women with small breasts (if they're in their 20s or otherwise look young).

What this means is that it would be illegal to take pictures of a young-ish looking 24 year old with A-cups, but perfectly legal to have sex with her 16-year-old sister as long as you didn't take pictures of it.

Remember, laws always exactly reflect what is moral. If it's not illegal, it's not immoral!

Comment: Re:First taste of Mac OS X (Score 1) 305

by Dixie_Flatline (#48170297) Attached to: OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

I prefer the OS X method of window/application switching. But more to the point, I think expose is a better method than the alt-tab method, straight up. You can do it for all windows or just the application you're in. I've always found it faster. It's something I miss when I'm on other systems. (I've tried the Windows versions, but I've yet to find one that's nearly as good.)

Comment: Re:First taste of Mac OS X (Score 1) 305

by Dixie_Flatline (#48169469) Attached to: OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

You may want to look into uBar ('ve heard good things about it. I'm considering it myself, though I've never had problems with the dock.

Different systems have different control paradigms. The fact that things don't work the way you expect doesn't mean they're bad, just that they're different.

For instance, cycling through open applications makes a lot more sense to me. I really like that I can raise a single window without bringing the entire application to the front. This is something that consistently infuriates me in Windows with certain applications. I also like that an inactive window that you have your cursor in will still respond to the scroll wheel. (I know that's something that works in most XWindows window managers, but it doesn't in my Windows work environment.)

Anyway, a lot of the functionality can be hidden, but that's why Macs are popular among us that are buying computers for other people. Most of what you want is available in some form or another. You may have to learn some new tricks, just as I'd have to relearn a bunch of tricks if I went back to Linux or OpenBSD. Context switches are never free.

Comment: Re:Inequality isn't harmful (Score 1) 839

by Dixie_Flatline (#48162221) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Yeah, you're right. I was distracted and I didn't complete my thought.

It basically boils down to this: large accumulations of wealth are effectively outside of the economy, and inheritors of wealth wield outsized influence with respect to the contributions they've made to society.

These massive disparities in wealth would be fine if there were reason to believe that we really are all equal under the law, but I've seen more evidence against that than for it. The Waltons are effectively a new form of landed gentry, contributing little, but manipulating the system to be favourable to them and to keep other people from displacing them. We can see that money effectively creates a new tier of citizen that exists beyond the normal confines of the legal system--not only can they pay for legislation favourable to them, the super-rich generally get lighter sentences than everyone else, and can afford to buy better lawyers to begin with.

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer