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Comment: Re:Why ODF? (Score 1) 147

by DrXym (#47514125) Attached to: UK Cabinet Office Adopts ODF As Exclusive Standard For Sharable Documents
Saying a file contains Korean is a meaningless statement say unless the doc unambiguously tells you the encoding. Otherwise you're just guessing. If the XML file says it is encoded as US-ASCII but contains shift bits or extended chars then your XML parser would be fully within its rights to throw your non-compliant file out on its ass. If you're lucky it would allow the chars through but it would still be up to your app to heuristically figure out what they meant. So no you can't just shove some Korean in there without dropping a clue of some kind (which isn't the font either).

That is of course why software tends to use Unicode is used these days. A file can unambiguously include the chars it uses and the codepages they come from. How they are stored is where an encoding comes in. UTF-8 tends to be a popular encoding of Unicode because legacy tools tend to cope with it better and the files can be a bit smaller than UTF-16 depending on the contents (amount of markup vs text).

Comment: Re:Why ODF? (Score 1) 147

by DrXym (#47514049) Attached to: UK Cabinet Office Adopts ODF As Exclusive Standard For Sharable Documents
ODT contains printable characters. Unzip an .odt file - all the content is XML. Of course there may also be pictures and diagrams in there too but that's why its a zip file in the first place. But perhaps you mean human only characters. Well throw the content through pandoc or any other converter.

Comment: Re:Why ODF? (Score 1) 147

by DrXym (#47514019) Attached to: UK Cabinet Office Adopts ODF As Exclusive Standard For Sharable Documents

Why do we have to use something so complicated and unreadable without certain software? Something like markdown or even LaTeX if you have smart users would be better.

A bit condescending there. "Smart users" might prefer their time to be spent more productively with a WYSIWYG word processor than learning some stupid markup language just because the file format is potentially a bit simpler.

Besides, I'm sure someone could produce an ODT to Markdown / Latex tool if they wished. Both sides are fairly well documented and open standards after all.

Comment: Re:this is great news! (Score 1) 84

by DrXym (#47513743) Attached to: Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java
Tinfoil hat off please. The "unknown code" is on a Blu Ray is a brain dead jar file running atop of a J2ME profile VM. It has a very limited view of the world that allows it to stream video, trickplay, display graphics, receive limited input, talk with the internet, and access to limited storage.

If you are paranoid about it you could unplug the internet cable. After all, if you're worried about what your Blu Ray disc is capable of then you should also be worried about what ALL the software on the device is capable of. e.g. the Netflix app, BBC iPlayer, PS3 games or whatever else is on there.

Comment: What an utter waste of money (Score 1) 262

by DrXym (#47506013) Attached to: How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads
I'm sure school kids do love their ridiculously expensive luxury tablets. A more fiscally responsible school system would have used cheaper tablets, or even required parents to buy them from a shortlist of devices which supported some minimum spec (e.g. ability to run 6 hours on a charge, read epub format books, capacitive screen, 8" or larger etc.)

Comment: Re:It was pretty cool in its day (Score 2) 183

by DrXym (#47499703) Attached to: The Almost Forgotten Story of the Amiga 2000
Most demos and games would use vsync as their timer so theoretically they would cycle at 25/30hz regardless of CPU. Probably the biggest compatibility issue were demos and games that made bad assumptions about the memory architecture (e.g. the amount of fast/slow memory), or the addressable space (e.g. using the top 8 bits of registers for something else), or use self modifying code or some other trick which would consequently fail hard on a later CPU.

The bigger failing IMO was that all the software hitting the custom hardware made it increasingly difficult for the platform to support higher resolutions, pixel bit depths and stuff like virtual memory. It was left to 3rd parties to provide a solution but by that point it was already too late.

Comment: Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (Score 2) 155

by DrXym (#47493343) Attached to: Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars
The point since it eludes you is that governments have overarching policy objectives and subsidies are one way they can steer individuals and the market to reach them. In the case of Japan, I expect they are highly desirous of lowering their dependency of foreign oil and so they're stimulating interest and demand in alternatives.

Comment: Re:Apple has 'done nothing'??? (Score 1) 138

by DrXym (#47485599) Attached to: Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As 'Free'
Free apps with in-app purchases show that fact right under the 'Buy' button. And a simple setting controls whether in-app purchases are allowed at all, require approval, or can go through automatically (default is require approval). And iOS 8 has the proxy stuff for family accounts (parental approval for everything if you want). Not really. An app could be genuinely free and the in-app purchase permission might be to sell extra content, or some enable some additional functionality, e.g. maybe a word processor sells you a font pack, or a book reader sells you a book, or a game lets you upgrade to remove ads.

There is no way to tell these sort of apps apart from some scummy Skinner box which hits you up for cash after you're sufficiently hooked.

Comment: All kind of obvious (Score 1) 154

VR would be best suited to games where you remain seated, mostly look forward, mostly travel in a straight line and the game controls map onto equivalent virtual controls. Something like a race car, plane or space ship.

I suppose a FPS would be possible providing the person can remain seated but there are obvious control issues to figure out. For example if I look around for real, e.g. turn my head to look over my shoulder, what does that mean in a game where I'm lying prone staring down an iron sight at the time? Or if I'm standing in the game and I I look right in real life and then click aim - does my virtual counterpart assume some ludicrous pose to accommodate my action, or does it reorient itself facing forward while my real self is still looking over to the right? How does it reset the camera afterwards? It could prove messy and just serve to increase the chance of disorientation.

On the plus side, I guess VR could pull of a very realistic FPS Saving Private Ryan game where the people puke their guts up on the virtual landing craft and stand a good chance of serious injury when they storm the beaches.

Comment: I have a Miix 2 11.6" (Score 2) 125

It's a really good device packing an i5 CPU, lots of storage and quite a bit cheaper than a comparable Surface 3 (e.g. the price includes a decent keyboard attachment).

I think some of the smaller Miix and similar devices are less useful for some clear reasons:

  1. Metro doesn't have as many apps as it should. The situation is getting better it must be said but it's nowhere near as comparable to Android / iPad. This in itself must be a major reason people are turned off these devices
  2. The screen is too small to use as a desktop and the form factor is all wrong. Yeah you could poke away with a stylus or something but most desktop apps are designed for and expect a keyboard and mouse. These tablets should really come with a keyboard and stand.
  3. They don't have much performance or storage. They're packed with some low power atom processor and the 32GB is half eaten up with Windows OS and crapware.
  4. The cost similar to Android devices like the Nexus 7 which come with better screens, more apps and are better designed for that size
  5. Windows 8 has gotten a bad rap although 8.1 with the service update is actually quite good (except for the missing start menu)

I think Windows tablet / hybrids or 10, 11 or 12 sizes are far more viable, particularly for people who have to actually do work on the go but appreciate being able to flip their sideways and use them as a tablet for some mindless browsing or whatever.

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 180

by DrXym (#47423345) Attached to: Will Google's Dart Language Replace Javascript? (Video)
Well JS sucks as a language to develop in so there is a benefit in developing in something else even if it ends up being machine generated into JS. However... it would be far more useful for browsers to support a low level bitcode (e.g. LLVM) with a set of APIs that tie into the gui, web, threading, local storage etc. than another high level language. Google has something already suitable for the job - PNaCl, but it should be standardized and simplified so any browser can implement it.

Dart could compile to bitcode and then it would execute at near native speeds. Even stuff like asm.js that is an optimized usecase for machine generated js is still a workaround of the fundamental issue - the lack of a lower level alternative.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll