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Comment What happens on X... (Score 1) 210 210

'What happens on tour, stays on tour' is a well known saying. This is what these campaigners desire for minors (that is, what happens online for minors disappears when they become adults.)

'What happens on the internet, stays on the internet' is the practical reality. There will need to be some kind of enforceable government certification of social medias which will do such deletion, and a means to prevent other sites getting hold of content. Can't see that happening anytime soon.

Comment Re:Won't allow forwarding? (Score 3, Interesting) 198 198

(GUESS) If you don't have their app installed in Chrome and view within Chrome, you get emailed a link, which opens in a browser. Most likely it will be a rendered image (or something like that), though of course you could still attach that. (/GUESS)

If I receive a 'click on this to see your message', like many, I will probably email back whoever sent it, ask them to resend as a conventional email (that is, disable Dmail) or else I will simply delete it. Quite possibly I might consider writing an app which goes through my gmail via IMAP and automates this process (that is, scan inbox, detect dmail messages, auto-reply requesting conventional email, and move to dmail-spam).

Comment Re: Or speak English, it's 7bit clean (Score 1) 196 196

As I pointer out elsewhere here, Chinese can be written with a latin alphabet and a few accents. Likewise languages such as Sanskrit. Just as there is a difference between English handwriting and what can be represented in Ascii, we face a related issue with ideograph based writing systems. We would be better of writing Chinese webpages in pinyin, and developing a separate system for calligraphy and ideographs.

Comment Re: Why not just use English, and only English? (Score 3, Insightful) 196 196

Just write chinese in pinyin and speak it normally. (the number of Chinese speakers does not matter, the issue is with how it is written down.) When it comes to ideograph based languages, we would have been better off designing an entirely separate text system rather than trying to shoehorn it into a font-character paradigm derived from the needs of writing and printing latin scripts. Indeed having a writing system designed around the needs of calligraphy would be a useful thing, but like with ideograph based writing systems it is a long way from the use case we normally see with alphabet based writing systems.

Comment Ease of development perspective (Score 1, Interesting) 267 267

I wish more people would do the 'imaginary ideal language' thought experiment, amongst other things. Suppose I want a window with no UI controls, and all events sent to a simple handler, for the purpose of displaying an image or drawing, all one needs to write informally to make a program which does this is (as an illustration, using a python-style syntax with a few Ruby-isms thrown in):

  w = Window().title("Image").handle(key=self.keyHandler,mouse=self.mouseHandler,midi=self.midiHandler) # see later comment
  i = Image(argv[1])
  def keyHandler(e):
    if e.key.lower() = 'q':
  def mouseHandler(e):
    pass # do something when we can be bothered to decide what
  def midiHandler(e):
    pass # I wish event stacks would treat keyboard, mouse, pen tablet and midi, amongst other things, in a uniform way*

[ The following comments are not related to the point I am making above, but my fingers decided to add them before I thought
to make this remark.]
* If midi events were integrated into the event stack in the same way as mice and keyboards, it would be straightforward in, say, krita,
to have a midi CC control something like brush size or colour mixing.
* If the event stack was written in a way which permitted more flexible routing (consider something looking like puredata, max/msp or, on the mac,

Comment How easy is end to end encrypted instant messaging (Score -1) 174 174

Much of the complexity of apps such as snapchat and facebook messenger are about making the app pretty and fun to use.  Consider how easy it would be to take AjaxIM and plumb in CryptoJS at the client end, for example.

Comment Re:'Faceglory' (Score 1) 293 293


I am, and I almost facepalm every time I hear someone come out with that line. Likewise, when various activities are talked of as 'sinful', or talked about in a way so as to imply that they are wrong, as if they are self-evidently wrong.

Some Christians take simplistic lines, but some do not.

The trouble is the drift in meaning caused by tradition and human nature. That the Gospel accounts illustrate precisely this problem, and yet too many churchgoers seem blissfully unaware of it takes a little effort to get your head around.

Comment Re:Throw it all out (Score 2) 484 484

One thing I love about xfce (I tend to use UbuntuStudio on most of my machines) is the ability to assign arbitrary keystrokes to commands in the desktop preferences. I thus use the Windows key (call it Meta if you like, but I am too used to calling it Windows, especially since it has a Windows logo on) so that Win-W launches my default word processor, and then if necessary modifiers like shift and ctrl will launch an alternative word processor. Win-T launches the terminal, Win-G does gimp, Win-Shift-G does krita, Win-E does the file manager (having got used to this one on Windows), Win-K does kodi, and so on.
Rather than rely on some dodgy AI to figure out what I want, give the user an easy way to teach it what you want, so that one can easily teach the user how to train the computer to respond. The idea that a few software engineers in a country a few thousand miles away can anticipate how I would want to use the computer is just silly, but that is what Apple, M$, and many desktop environments effectively do.

This hotkey arrangement means that I can go from off to word processor in three touches (power button, which boots to desktop*, Win-W) and about ten seconds. With windows 8, already booted and logged in, it usually takes me longer than that, and many more touches, to get a working word processor. Likewise for other common apps (Win-B does Firefox, Win-Shift-B does Chromium)..

One thing I dislike about how things are on my Linux boxes at present is a kind of 'fragmentation' in the sense that only certain bits of my environment can be directly controlled from the command line, and the command line is limited compared to a language such as Python. I would personally take the idea of sending messages in a command language that would, in practice, resemble a simplistic Lisp, as a core of all applications. UI events like changing font in a word processor or changing colour in a paint program would resolve to commands sent to a mailbox in the app somewhere. This would make the MVC paradigm much more explicit, and I would have the ability to 'log in' to a command processor built into every program (essentially stick such things into the runtime -- look at F-Script anywhere on Mac Os X for an idea about what I am describing).

In particular, if I can conceive of a simple task for, say, my word processor, I would like there to be an easy method to tell it to do this. I am a big fan of the idea of pervasive scriptability, But that does require more thought about the nature of the scripting languages: you want something data-structure based (like Lisp) that is easy to compose programmatically (so that any old scripting language can compose a script for this pervasive scripting language) and easy to pass between processes, whether local or remote (so that a script can throw a complex request to a process somewhere else to handle).

*and I take care to use encrypted containers for anything that I don't want someone with physical access to my machine to get at.

Comment Re:Please insert Multics subthread here. (Score 2) 484 484

It has occurred to me before that a 64bit memory space is adequate for most purposes (except really big computers), and then a hierarchical arrangement of 64bit address spaces (essentially give each 64bit memory space its own index, with 0 meaning local-default or something like that). Similarly, I started thinking through the idea of a really minimal Forth for 64bit chips where, rather than strings naming words, we just limit things to strings of 8 1-byte characters, possibly using a different character set than ASCII, and ordering it so that lexicographic ordering is identical to the native integer ordering of the processor (then you can remove all need for string processing from the Forth, and move it, if needed, into a frontend).

Chuck Moore (of Forth fame) once commented about the database. Casual users forget that their filesystem is a database, and quite possibly one that is far from optimal for what they are doing with it. Viewing memory and storage as a database of 4K pages, and working up is something that to a certain extent already happens, but making it explicit in system architecture makes a lot of sense to me.

Ideally I would have a system where a minimal Forth like this sits at the bottom level, then there is a minimal Lisp for higher level stuff, with access to a sufficient compiler infrastructure to do basic assembly and writing of components. As for system architecture, I would strip away many of the abstraction layers we currently have. View both storage and memory as a database of 4K pages, each of which is natively viewed as a vector of 512 64bit integers, and viewing smaller cells as fractions of a 64bit integer, and larger cells as vectors of 64bit integers.

As one goes up, implement systems for the various programming paradigms, borrowing from languages such as the various oo languages, the various functional languages, and things like erlang, and the bright ideas that turn up in webserver systems such as nginx and node.js (that is, lightweight 'threads').

The difficulty with any dream like the above, however, is to avoid the 'design by committee' problem of ramming in every pretty idea you see, and of trying to arrange things so that the complexity of the end result system does not blow up massively as things grow towards what we would expect of a modern operating system.

Comment Re: All possible languages? (Score 2) 293 293

I wonder how much their idea of 'sin' resembles that of those people who wrote the various Bible passages with that word.

I can also imagine it backfiring when someone considers how appropriate faceglory could be as a name for a rather more naughty website.

Comment Still misunderstands the Turing Test (Score 4, Interesting) 50 50

A major feature of the Turing Test is that it is interactive: later lines of conversation are sent to the computer after earlier lines of conversation are known. A 'Turing Test' where someone is given a transcript and asked to decide who in the transcript is human or computer is a much weaker test. A more 'Turing Test' like test would be one where I give the computer/human a brief to draw a sketch in, say, an hour, and see the end result, then get to ask for a few more sketches. The kind of thing they are developing here is more like an algorithm to generate a single line of conversation given knowledge (pre algorithm design) of the previous lines in the conversation.

Even so, computer generated art is something which should be explored, and then the art will be in finding new clever ways to use the computer as an artistic medium.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"