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Comment Re:More of an issue about how bad Objective-C is (Score 3, Insightful) 87

I'm not sure what the right answer is, but it won't be found in a niche language whose sole purpose is to support one company's ecosystem and lock in developers to their platforms.

It's less niche than at least two dozen programming languages /. has hyped as the best thing since sliced bread. Sometimes I feel this place has become a bunch of grumpy old farts who think C and POSIX was the pinnacle of computer science and everything since has just been poorly reinventing the wheel. Or that programming should be for real men who could hand code it in assembly and that high level languages is just another attempt to recreate COBOL or Visual Basic. There's not a whole lot of money in creating programming languages, just ask Sun. And if you don't have widespread adoption, you're never getting off the ground. That's why the OSS community is still trying to create UI apps using 1980s tech, sure Qt is a decent band aid and GTK.... well it's a band aid, but the base language is way behind Java, C# and Swift. Not in what you can theoretically do, but in terms of how easy it is to do it.

Besides, Microsoft is open sourcing .NET Core, Apple has promised to open source Swift within the end of the year, Java has of course been open a while with the OpenJDK so it seems like the days of the base language being closed source is coming to an end. Of course they all do it with their own platform in mind, but desktop Linux could use a few allies. Yes, GNOME and KDE has been at it for a very long time but have they managed to get any market share? Once a percent of nerds, nobody else.

Comment Re:I find it amusing (Score 1) 101

Because Wayland is being written primarily by former X developers who have pushed X to its limits but have no choice but to start from the ground up to get modern features such as tear-free drawing.

Strictly speaking that's not true, from the Wayland FAQ (emphasis mine):

Why not extend the X server?

Because for the first time we have a realistic chance of not having to do that. It's entirely possible to incorporate the buffer exchange and update models that Wayland is built on into X. However, we have an option here of pushing X out of the hotpath between clients and the hardware and making it a compatibility option.

I guess the main reason Wayland doesn't take so much flak is that it's obvious the mission scope has vastly changed from the 1980s display server to the 2015 display server. And it's main deficiencies are most visible in the markets where it's barely present (desktop) or has been replaced wholesale (Android), while the init system seems like you're changing a winning team, honestly when was the last time init scripts was a deal breaker for anything? It has a much more "nice-to-have" feel to it or at least fixing corner cases most people never noticed.

Comment Re:Not Right Away (Score 1) 304

That only works as long as you have a clear separation of responsibilities and you know what it will and won't do. Driving around with an AI that occasionally spectacularly fails would be like co-sitting a driver with a learner's permit, you're not less tense you're more tense because instead of the ordinary reaction time you only have the time from when you realize the AI won't handle it to react yourself. Not to mention the AI might surprisingly do something wrong creating a situation out of nothing with no warning. I'm with Google on this one, past a certain point either the car is driving or I am, you can't have two masters giving opposite directions. For example say that I intend to make a somewhat optimistic left turn, the car decides uh-oh the road's not clear so it slams the brakes just as I turn the wheel to cut ahead of the opposing traffic, we limp into the opposing lane and bang. Not to mention humans aren't very good at long intermissions, we'll start thinking about or doing other things instead of watching the road. They said they saw this the very first time they let non-project Googlers drive this extremely experimental vehicle, asking ordinary people to do it is pointless. The car will crash roughly as often as the car's AI screws up.

Comment Economic theory is sound, speculation isn't (Score 1) 358

There's a massive bulk of economic theory that explains the applied math of running a business. Can you figure out if $1000 now is more or less than $1100 five years from now given an inflation rate of 2%? The relations between price, quantity, marginal costs and profit are also quite sound. The thing is though, all this information is allegedly available and equal for all, so if everyone agreed to the same model there'd be no profit to be made. Sure, the future would be unknown but it would be like a lottery ticket being scratched, everybody knows at all times the exact value of all the possible outcomes so everybody prices in the same expected value of the future. If you can find a way to make arbitrage, you've found a flaw in the way the market works. For example if you discovered you could make money selling products in one currency and buying them in another, or transporting goods from one market to sell in another for more than the transport and insurance costs.

Speculation is all about betting on these flaws, but sometimes the market has priced in risks you haven't imagined. Or there are forces that only become dominant at a certain size. In this particular case it was more like you create a theory of chemistry and when the market goes to an extreme you have nuclear fusion instead. That doesn't make chemistry wrong, but at certain times it's irrelevant and you can't rely on it to always produce correct answers. Oh and just to put a nail in that coffin, no scientific theory is proven to be universally valid since there's still the future and it hasn't happened yet. There's no absolute guarantee gravity will work the same five minutes from now, if it suddenly starts behaving different it just will. In that case reality will be right and the formula wrong, no matter how correct and comprehensive it might have looked.

Comment Re:Hipsters fight over limited supplies of juice (Score 1) 538

ITYM "10 minutes out of your week." vs. 10 minutes out of each day finding a spot with charging near where "you're stopped for another reason anyway," getting the cable out, plugging, unplugging and stowing the cable. If that's an advantage, it's one for gasoline powered vehicles.

Most people - though I can't make any guarantees about the people in the article - will choose a car with at least twice the range of their commute distance, so plugging it in at home will do. If you need to get a charge at work or some other charger every day, you're pushing the limits of good sense. My guess is that there's two kinds of people charging, those who just use it as free electricity instead of plugging in at home and those who could really use it because they have been/will be driving far and needs the charge. And they're a bit pissed when all the spaces are occupied by people just saving a few bucks or just top up every day because they come early. Just because it's "green" you still have well-pissers who don't care how their use of a common resource negatively affects others.

Comment Re:Very Probably Wrong (Score 1) 263

There is an exponential amount of scientific research, but there's a diminishing gain. Over the last 40 years we've expanded average life span here in Norway with less than a decade and the trend is slowing. Healthcare is exploding with new and advanced treatments that is extracting the last bits of life at an exponential complexity and cost. The Concorde is still the world's fastest passenger jet and it's not because people don't value time anymore. Every 10 mph you want to increase road speeds with puts increasing demands on roads, cars, drivers and resource efficiency. Building a ten story building is not twice as hard as a five story building, it's harder.

Computers have so far dodged most of the physical limitations, but we know the sky is not the limit. Process technology can't get arbitrarily small, it can't run arbitrarily fast, batteries can't get arbitrarily powerful and the faster you want to go the more power, frequency spectrum and other resources you'll need. In 30 years I've seen a ~6 order of magnitude improvement in RAM, from 64 kB to 64 GB. I really doubt that in 30 years we'll have 64 PB and even if we did, the number of things you can't do in 64 kB is much larger than the things you can't do in 64 GB. Most of the electronic revolution is behind us, not ahead of us. But of course, we can always come up with more new things. That we'll always find major advances and not just hit a wall of marginal improvements is optimistic though.

Comment Re:Scammers (Score 1) 281

And you think either will survive the hoarding and looting during the early collapse? Anywhere that lots of people know about is going to be hit with well armed and/or desperate masses. The only way a modern city survives is through massive imports of food from the countryside, cut the supplies and the electricity so there's no refridgerators or freezers and mass starvation starts in less than a week as food is eaten and spoiled and not being replaced by anything. Even if you can survive the worst of it by stashing away some supplies, it's still not a sustainable place to be. I'd probably go with a rural farm at the end of the road, prep for 19th century-style living off the land. Nothing big or fancy, just far enough off the radar that you won't get hordes from the city - who'll soon run out of gas and be stuck where they are and not worth the trouble for the few stragglers that come by. With maybe a bugout bunker up in the hills with supplies if you meet heavier resistance than you can handle, a roving band needs to keep roving to sustain itself so they'll be on their way soon.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Plutus' Revenge

It was the only life-bearing planet in the entire universe; the very first planet to have life. It was the only planet in existence to have the conditions necessary for biogenesis, including being a double planet, each orbiting each other. The double planet was one of the keys of biogenesis, because of the tides. The timing of orbits and gravities had to be perfect, as well as chemical and photonic conditions.

Comment Not too hard (Score 1) 186

1. Detection
Pulses of prime numbers. Not natural phenomenon, same in all number systems. Simple beat with silence:

01111111111 111111111

2. Binary, you speak it
We repeat this in binary, which should be fairly easy to recognize as the previous information aligned to 8 bit = byte values.
00000010 00000011 00000101 00000111
00001011 00001101 00010001 00010011

3. Length of payload in bytes + payload
00000000 00000000 00000001 10110000 = 432
432 x ????????

4. Goto 1, rotate payload.

As for the actual payload.... You could for example send atom configuration from the periodic table.
1 - 1
2 - 2
3 - 2,1
10 - 2,8
11 - 2,8,1
18 - 2,8,8
19 - 2,8,8,1
20 - 2,8,8,2
21 - 2,8,9,2
22 - 2,8,10,2
23 - 2,8,11,2
24 - 2,8,13,1

It will be pretty obvious to any physicist this is the list of elements. Using that and a bit more you can explain the units of mass, time, distance and so on.

For math you can send a list of (input A, operator code, input B, result) and it will be obvious that this operator means addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and so on. Once you have subtraction, explain 0-1 and two's complement and you'll have negative numbers.

Then you can start making advanced concepts like C+O+O = CO2 and describe properties of that gas. I really don't think it's going to become a problem bootstrapping communication, if we could just find someone to communicate with.

Comment Re:A remarkable number of people are idiots (Score 4, Interesting) 364

Anyhow, if we were to reinstate some sort of poll test, it may not be used to disenfranchise according to racial lines, but you can be sure that whoever is in power will find a way to stop others from voting or to make their vote count less. It's probably impossible to design a system that couldn't be manipulated once you start disenfranchising people. Who gets to define the relevant "knowledge"? How do we measure " intelligence"?

And you must realize that political parties immediately get incentive to do this if the voters most likely to be excluded lean a particular way politically. Say party A is strong with the low income families and party B is more of a middle class party and that statistically if you make the test harder more low income families will drop out because they're already working their ass off making ends meet. Now one party has obvious incentive to set the bar higher, the other to set the bar lower. Here in Norway there's a campaign to lower the voting age from 18 to 16, you can compare the youth vote scores with the parties supporting it and it's obvious why. Voters who've mostly never had a real job, never paid taxes and never had to balance a budget because they live at home with mom and dad with an allowance tend to vote quite differently than people who've had to support themselves.

Comment Re:You're a funny dinosaur, and wrong (Score 3, Insightful) 67

You have to remember that Christianity is at its core a guilt trip. We are all pitiful sinners that can be redeemed by the mercy of our Lord, who selflessly sent his only son so he could die for our sins. That's how it starts in the garden of Eden with the original sin, the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride and so on. Who has never had a touch of any of them? Not to mention all the implied ones by breaking the commandments and so on, unless you're a walking saint everybody needs forgiveness for something. Sexuality is of course a big one, take a basic instinct humans have and turn it into something shameful and you'll have a never-ending supply of people needing forgiveness for their sinful thoughts. Fortunately this institutionalized manipulation is in massive retreat though there's still some slut shaming at the fringes but for the most part people seem to feel good about their sexuality. As it should be.

Comment Re:RAM is not cheap (Score 1) 209

Yeah, DDR3 prices hit rock bottom right before Christmas 2013. I was considering upgrading to 32GB just because it was so cheap, but really I had nothing maxing out 16GB. Still don't really, even now running a ton of crap I'm only using 8-9GB and the rest is cache. For prosumer money ($1000) you can even get 8x16GB DDR4 for an X99 motherboard, prices have bottomed out but so has demand for most people too. Faster CPU, GPU, SSD and so on great.... more memory? Meh. I suppose it could be cheaper, but at least on the PC it's not much of the total anyway. It's usually the tablet and laptop producers charging an arm and a leg for RAM upgrades.

Comment Re:Benefit to end users? (Score 1) 688

The question is also how much has he tired from politics in general or the LKML in particular. Because whenever you are building something together with other people, you'll have disagreements on how it's supposed to be built and how it's supposed to work. One of the freedoms of open source is copying the code and going home, saying I'm build my own kernel. By myself. Exactly how I want it to be. And I don't have to discuss or argue or respect any majority opinion or prove why it's a good idea or anything. And when I'm done people can use it or not use it, I don't have to market it or make a business case for it.

So he wants to ditch the politics and just write the code, good for him and it could even result in some nice features if somebody else goes up to bat for it on the LKML or one of the other places opinions clash. But there's always going to be a place like the LKML, there's always going to be disagreements there and in any sufficiently large group of people there will be jerks and drama queens. The question is if the LKML is a particularly bad case or if you could actually create something better. Maybe it's just my experience, but often when you try you end up attracting all the malcontents of the current incarnation and the new place is actually worse since they all expect this to be the place they get their way.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen