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Comment: Re:Is this why they call them "smart" phones? (Score 1) 216

by Dixie_Flatline (#47893125) Attached to: iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

It probably wasn't; the phone was wiped before I got it, and I downloaded almost nothing. I suppose it's possible that it was--what, twitter? I guess?--or something, but there was almost nothing running on the phone. I checked the battery manager, and it just showed a monotonic decrease in battery.

Comment: Re:I just want the new Nexus. (Score 1) 216

by Dixie_Flatline (#47893095) Attached to: iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

If the only thing Apple ever does consistently is break the control of the carriers, we should still all bow down. The carriers in North America are all terrible. Any time anyone knocks them down a peg, I'm happy. If Google'd done it, I'd sing the same praises, just as loudly.

Comment: Re:Is this why they call them "smart" phones? (Score 5, Insightful) 216

by Dixie_Flatline (#47891617) Attached to: iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

Oh please. I've seen that graphic, and it's obviously misleading. Yes, there are features that the Nexus 4 had years ago.

One of them is a feature I don't even want, but I'm forced to get--a 4.7" screen. I really rather prefer a 3.5" or 4" screen.

You can't ACTUALLY make payments with Nexus 4 because the tech is there but the infrastructure isn't. Ironically, Apple doing NFC payments may make it possible for someone to use that feature.

And then (as per the article) there's Touch ID. And the 64-bit A8 (the A7 is still beating new phones on single-core benchmarks, sunspider, etc. even though it's a year old). I get a permissions system that isn't ridiculous and if I have a problem with the phone, I can take it into a store and have someone look at it. I don't have to send it back for service, or talk to the carrier.

Oh, and the Nexus 4 has famously bad battery life. I borrowed one for a while from a friend to try it out, and I could lose 60% of the battery in two hours while it was sitting in a locker while I was swimming. My venerable iPhone 4 would lose 0-2% in the same time frame.

These graphics are just elaborate trolling--you and I both know that the Nexus 4 wasn't actually any more usable than the iPhone 5 at the time, and it's obviously not even on the same page right now. The devices are getting closer and closer to parity, but that's not actually surprising to anyone except the most bitter partisans.

Comment: Re: (Score 1) 524

by Dixie_Flatline (#47881073) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

How have people voted this up? I'm not a political scholar, but the goals of communism are generally diametrically opposed to rule by a dictator.

Communism works on small scales. Family scales, generally. I'd give my sister money if she needed it. She'd give me something that I needed. We don't have an economic transaction--we do things based on our mutual benefit. We share because we know that in the future, it'll probably come out even.

It seems to me that real communism wouldn't require anyone to dictate anything because people would be acting communally. They would willingly pool their resources, share and take care of one another. Tribal societies are and were like this.

Scaling up communism has always been the problem. It's easy to come up with scenarios where it works on small scales. It's the scaling up that lets the tyrants in. There's always an opportunist that wants to be the top of the heap. Those people aren't communists at all, I reckon.

Capitalism, so far, has scaled better than communism. There are a lot of problems with it (and most of them seem to be a matter of governments being too hands off, rather than too hands on, if you ask me), but it seems to have done a better job distributing resources than communism has. But if millions of people ever decide, en masse, to give up their possessions and work communally and REFUSE to allow a dictator or a leader, maybe it would work.

Comment: Re:Any removable storage yet? (Score 1) 729

by Dixie_Flatline (#47865257) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

For all intents and purposes, it does replace a camcorder because most people only want a few minutes worth of video.

As with most Apple announcements, Apple is happy to ignore the existence of everything else in the same product category. The 5s also replaces a camcorder by the standards that he's talking about, and so do Android smartphones.

He's right that as a broad group, smartphones have destroyed the camera and camcorder industry. You only buy one of those devices if you want something fairly upscale, or that has features that are cumbersome or impossible to include in a smartphone (macro shots, extreme ruggedness and portability a la go pro, etc.)

Comment: Re:One day battery life in Apple Watch too? (Score 5, Insightful) 729

by Dixie_Flatline (#47865221) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

They're not launching until 2015, so I think basically they're hedging their bets that they might be able to get a slightly better battery in 6 months than they can right now. It's very much like Apple to play their cards close to their chest in instances like this. They won't be able to say how long it lasts for a few months because they literally don't know, and they won't make up numbers that haven't been validated in some way.

However long it lasts, though, it's not long enough. I'd want 5 days, minimum.

It's a pretty piece of jewellery, though. On that front, they're at the front of the class again.

Comment: Re: Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (Score 1) 546

by Dixie_Flatline (#47836441) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

A lot of other people have gone over what's wrong with your argument, so I'll try not to rehash that too much.

I'll admit that my 13 years as a professional programmer (after my degree) are years that I would say are more fundamental to my general programming skill than my CS degree, but I learned a lot of things in University that are hard to come by elsewhere. I learned a lot of things that aren't about computers, and that's been really helpful.

Being good at programming isn't the only thing that makes a good programmer, it turns out. I'd way rather have 5 programmers on my team that rank as 7-8 out of 10 than 5 10/10 programmers. In my experience, those guys are too interested in being good at programming and not interested enough in making something that's going to work for everyone. I'm in the games industry, and our programmers need to be able to talk to artists and designers. You need a few of those really exemplary programmers here and there, but being broadly interested in things is way more useful than being able to pick apart a C++ compiler.

But also, I have a lot of options available to me now. I won't always work on games. I could probably jump ship to an environmental science firm without too much effort because my minor was in Earth and Atmospheric science. I speak geologist and meteorologist and even some palaeontologist. So much programming is undertaken by scientists that have no other choice but to program their own tools because the programmers of the world don't understand the problem space and it would be harder for them to learn the problem space than for the scientist to learn how to code a bit.

Lastly, I think you misunderstand computing science as a discipline. The fact that I finished my degree 13 years ago doesn't mean that much of it is out of date. The optimal rasterization of a line is still the same, algorithmically. All the graph theory that I learned is permanently correct--and permanently useful. Compiler implementations change, but compiler theory is largely the same. The stuff that you learn in computing science is actually really fundamental, which is what prevents it from going out of date. I can't stop learning without being left behind--the same as you--but I learned things up front that will always be mathematically, provably true. I'm not saying all of it is immediately useful (I think a lot of it isn't, in my field) but just because it's old doesn't mean that it's useless.

I wouldn't discount hiring a programmer without a degree. I've worked with several excellent--really, truly excellent--programmers that came to the industry without anything other than motivation. But don't tell me that just because out of my 18 years of being academically involved with computers, 4 of those were spent mostly in the classroom that I don't know how to fucking code.

Comment: Re:Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (Score 1) 546

by Dixie_Flatline (#47836035) Attached to: Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

This is how the games industry works. This was particularly necessary in the previous generation when writing 'optimised' code wasn't guaranteed to really be that much faster depending on the platform. The PS3 is fast, but making things run well on it involves jumping through a lot of hoops and understanding what data needs to be in what bit of memory at what time. As long as the general developers were writing code that wasn't obnoxiously slow, it was fine.

It's almost always a surprise when you run instrumentation tools and find out what the real bottlenecks are. There are a lot of interactions between various agents in large-scale games, so doing anything other than writing obvious, clean code is just making trouble for everyone else.

Comment: Re:Here come the Samsung fanboys... (Score 1) 110

Some of the devices are powered by Samsung's Exynos chips, so Samsung probably stepped on the patents there. That's what I got out of it. Remember that Samsung doesn't just use other people's stuff--they do a lot of their own manufacturing when it suits them.

Comment: Buy an iPhone (Score 1) 253

by Dixie_Flatline (#47817185) Attached to: Why Phone Stores Should Stockpile Replacements

Seriously. You've got complaints, and Apple has solutions. If you think that this sort of service is essential enough to legislate, you should just buy from the company that does this thing you want. Does it outweigh the advantages of your Android phone? You've got an LG Optimus that you've complained about before, so the thing you seem to be concerned about is how much this phone costs.

I don't understand why you don't seem to get that your user experience is correlated with what you're willing to pay. You can get a NICE Android phone that avoids the problems you talked about in your other article, or you could get an iPhone. If having a quick turnover on a replacement phone is ALSO important to you, you're pretty much looking at Apple to fulfil your needs.

You can get the things you want by putting a little more money on the table. You don't seem to object to the notion that some of these things are costs to the store and you even say that you may have been willing to pay the $50 restocking fee in retrospect. Just gather up your pennies, pay the fees up front, and stop complaining about service that's lacking when a viable alternative exists.

But if price really is your main consideration, just buy a Moto E or G, phones that don't cost much that review really well (if I recall, you can get a G for less than your insurance claim + restocking fee that you were talking about--off contract) and be done with it. Honestly.

Comment: Re:Proportionally highest # of post-secondary grad (Score 1) 221

by Dixie_Flatline (#47811263) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

I took standard analysis. I wasn't in honours. It was a requirement for my computing science degree. Abstract Algebra *wasn't* a requirement for my computing science degree, but I took it anyway. For some reason, it was packed with education students, but it was what you'd expect--rings, fields, groups, etc.

I'm not saying that arts students are somehow also scientific powerhouses, merely that they've got science requirements to meet, and not all of them are fluff. Logic 101 was popular because it could fulfil either a science or an art requirement. Geology 101 was popular despite having a lab component because as these things go, it wasn't actually that difficult. Either way, those kinds of classes could help explain why science literacy is so high in this country. Even decent exposure to one or two classes could make a big difference.

Oh! I just remembered that you could actually Major in Mathematics at the U of A and get a BA. You'd do all the same Math courses as someone in the Science faculty, but your other requirements would be more arts focused.

Comment: Re:Diet is very important. (Score 1) 587

by Dixie_Flatline (#47811173) Attached to: Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

I covered that. Read my comment again.

I'm tired of hearing how a calorie isn't a calorie. The problem isn't with calories. The problem is that people don't understand how to measure them when they're eating, or worse, that they don't measure them at all. You will starve eating junk food if you don't eat enough calories a day. You will get fat eating 6000 calories of apples a day. Calories are a measure of ENERGY, not QUALITY. They are neutral in determining how good a food is for you.

My metabolism and microbiome are essentially guaranteed to be different than yours, but we can still both be a healthy weight. It still is about the simple balance between calories in and calories out.

Claiming that calories are different from food to food is a different sort of quick fix problem. It encourages people to find the 'right' calories, and those don't exist. A variety of different food should be eaten to provide the best nutrition, and you should understand that different foods have different numbers of calories. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. ALSO eat fat and protein. The body needs a lot of stuff.

If you don't mean to contradict the tautology that a calorie is a calorie, *don't say that*. Say something meaningful instead.

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