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Comment Re: Yay for price drop (Score 1) 130

Crude is the raw material. You still ned to manufacture and distribute the gasoline. As a guess, the refinery capacity hasn't increased in your area of the world. Nor is it likely to, as the trend is toward hybrids and all-electrics. Projected future consumption is not likely to support a large refinery project for the next 30-50 years.

Comment Re:A free search engine (Score 1) 152

In many countries, it is illegal for a company to unfairly exploit its dominance in one market to gain advantage in another market.

But Google aren't doing that.

The argument of these complaining companies boils down to "our business is so crappy and generic that we have no customer loyalty at all, and as such our customers simply click on whatever result comes first when they search". Therefore they argue "we should be first because otherwise it's not faaaaaaaair".

If the only justification for your existence is that hapless customers end up at your website due to an accident of ranking, why should anyone care about your business? Facebook, for most of its history, wasn't crawlable at all - the entire site was behind the login screen. Literally the only search term they showed up for was Facebook. Guess what - it didn't hurt them at all, because their customers wanted to go there.

Comment A step forward, but... (Score 4, Insightful) 396

Achieving practical nuclear fusion for power generation would be a very nice step forward. But "holy grail" is rather overselling it, I suspect.

Even when practical, we're still talking very big, very expensive plants that depend on a long supply chain for all its parts, the high-purity fuel and so on. When you consider the building, running and maintenance costs, and the cost of dealing with the spent fuel (much better than for fission plants of course) the energy won't be all that cheap. Hopefully cheaper than fossil fuels at least, but I would not be surprised if a first generation of plants, at least, become more expensive than that.

And they'll be competing with rapidly dropping costs for solar and other renewables. A big, expensive plant like that will need a 40-50 year lifetime to pay for itself. If you can't show that it will likely run profitably for that time period few or no companies will be willing to take on the very major investment. We may well see a technical breakthrough for fusion, and still get no plants actually built.

Comment Re:truth is... (Score 1) 93

Yea, because open-source software is famous for having well-designed, easy-to-use comprehensive instructions. ;>)

It often sucks, certainly. But there is one compelling advantage, in the case of unusual stuff such as this. The developers themselves are happy to talk about and answer questions around their tools. And open source tools tend to attract hobbyists that do things for fun, and are happy talking about what they do, and not just commercial developers that won't publicly say a word.

So with open source tools you're much more likely to find blog posts, forums and so on with information to help you along. There's a chance there's be people out there that had the same trouble you do, and wrote about it in public. With commercial tools - and especially tools with a userbase in the hundreds rather than tens or hundreds of thousands - there may simply be no public information out there at all beyond the docs written by the provider.

Comment B4 (Score 1) 177

Slightly larger than B4 size overall, but with a wider format. The width is 1.9cm wider than A4 and 11cm longer. Plenty of space to show a full A4 PDF and even scale it up a bit, and still have controls, status bars and the rest on the top and bottom.

If it is light enough, this would be an excellent device to read and annotate research papers. Your typical 10" tablet is just too small to fit all of a double-column paper on screen and still keep the text readable. Zoom in on one column and you no longer see the illustrations and lose a lot of context. I'm afraid this will be too heavy to use like that, though.

Comment Re:Looked slick, but so unstable (Score 5, Insightful) 284

Yeah, but that instability was not entirely Win95's fault.

Back then computers had almost no resources. NT had a "proper", academically correct OS design with a microkernel architecture (until NT4). It paid for it dearly: resource consumption was nearly double that of Chicago. Additionally, app and hardware compatibility was crap. Many, many apps, devices and especially games would not run on Windows NT. Microsoft spent the next 6-7 years trying to make NT acceptable to the consumer market and only achieved it starting with Windows XP.

So Win95 was hobbled by the need for DOS and Win3.1 compatibility, but that is why it was such a huge commercial success.

Making things worse, tools for writing reliable software were crap back then. Most software was written in C or C++ except often without any kind of STL. Static analysis was piss poor to non-existent. If you wanted garbage collection, Visual Basic was all you had (actually it used reference counting). Unit testing existed as a concept but was barely known: it was extremely common for programs to have no unit tests at all, and testing frameworks like JUnit also didn't exist. Drivers were routinely written by hardware engineers who only had a basic grasp of software engineering, so they were frequently very buggy. Hardware itself was often quite unreliable. Computers didn't have the same kinds of reliability technologies they have today.

Most importantly nobody had the internet, so apps couldn't report crash dumps back to the developers, so most developers never heard about their app crashes and had no way to fix them except by doing exhaustive, human based testing. Basically that's what distinguished stable software from unstable software: how much money you paid to professional software testers.

Everyone who used computers back then remembers the "save every few minutes" advice being drilled into people's heads. And it was needed, but that wasn't entirely Microsoft's fault. It was just that computing sucked back then, even more than it does today :)

Comment I remember ..... (Score 5, Insightful) 284

.... the Briefcase!

I just can't remember what it was for.

Win95 was such a huge upgrade. We forget now, but it packed an astonishing amount of stuff into just 4mb of RAM (8mb recommended). If someone produced it today in some kind of hackathon it'd be praised as a wonder of tightly written code. They even optimised it by making sure the dots in the clock didn't blink, as the animation would have increased the memory usage of the OS!

It's surprising how little Windows has changed over the years, in some ways. Not because MS didn't want to change it but because the Win95 UI design was basically very effective and people still like it, even today.

Comment Re:I'm Retired, I Already Live "Robotic Nation" (Score 1) 755

This is exactly it. The vast majority of people do not just sit back and do nothing. We like to do stuff, we like to feel needed, and we like to feel part of a group. Even with basic income taken care of, most people will do some kind of work (paid or not) given a chance.

If anything, this should make the economy more efficient, not less. People can work at the most needed stuff, for the optimal time they want or need, without regard for minimum income or weekly hours.

Comment Re:Exploit? (Score 1) 42

That's good to hear. These exploits often don't seem to be as bad as initially suggested. No big surprise there, I guess.

This Google Admin app bug doesn't seem to be a general sandbox bypass as the summary implies. It's not even a bug in Android. One app by Google to let people admin their custom Apps domains will open a URL with an embedded webview, if asked. So then perhaps the embedded web view can be used to exfiltrate files from the Admin app. But are there any sensitive files there to be stolen? The advisory does not say, so I expect the answer is "no".

Well, any OS that lets apps talk to each other can have this sort of issue - it's like blaming Windows for a bug in Firefox. Makes no sense. Probably good for getting attention though.

Comment Re:Then you don't quite get a number of things (Score 2) 457

3b. I've noticed the memory issue. I've also noticed a lot of java programs seem to have a hard time going beyond 1GB of ram. I'm sure there is a way to make them do that but... I've had to screw around with work arounds more than a few times to deal with that issue.

There are people happily using Java with 300 gigabyte heaps. Look at the Azul Zing JVM for examples of this. Also: they're using it in ultra-low latency financial trading apps. Just because you haven't seen this sort of thing personally doesn't mean it never happens.

As to your claim that it isn't slower if it has enough memory... That's not my experience. I'm sure I could get you testimonials and links to people talking about Java being slow. But I rather suspect you won't listen to it or will say it is invalid for some reason.

Performance is complicated. There are lots of cases where a Java program is just as fast as a C++ program or even faster. PIC-optimisable virtual method dispatch in a tight loop is one example of where Java/JVM stuff has stomped C++ for many years, with devirtualisation optimisations only appearing very recently in GCC stuff it seems. HotSpot is an excellent compiler and can do a lot of interesting things.

Moreover, it's not like for any program there's a choice of Java or C. Many developers use languages like Ruby or Python. It turns out that there's an advanced research JVM which allows you to co-compile Ruby and the C source code of Ruby/MRI extensions together with performance that's radically faster than the original code.

But mostly, people use Java because the performance is good enough, and the benefits over the C/C++ ecosystem are big. For instance, you get reliable debuggers, stack traces that are never corrupted, no manual memory management, ultra-fast compiles, a huge and standarised package repositories/dependency management system, high quality profiling tools, lots of libraries etc.

We have less bullshit to deal with the compiled programs. They just "work" more reliably.

I don't doubt your experience but it has nothing to do with AOT compiled vs JIT compiled. Applets that stop working on newer JVMs are probably relying on bugs in earlier versions. This can happen any time there is dynamic linking. Every time I upgrade MacOS X some apps I use stop working properly, even though they're all compiled. Apple just isn't very good at backwards compatibility.

If it wasn't for Newton, we wouldn't have to eat bruised apples.