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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use 224

Posted by timothy
from the wait-til-you-see-how-scully-revives-walter-white dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: Vimeo and Youtube are pressured to remove a dark, fan-made "Power Rangers" short film; Vimeo capitulated, while Youtube has so far left it up. I'm generally against the overreach of copyright law, but in this case, how could anyone argue the short film doesn't violate the rights of the franchise creator? And should Vimeo and Youtube clarify their policies on the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters? Read on for the rest.

Comment: Vulkan vs. OpenGL ES (Score 1) 79

by Misagon (#49171757) Attached to: Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12

Imagination Technologies (PowerVR) posted this today with more in-depth info:

The purpose of Vulkan is apparently to be a low-level alternative to the high-level APIs OpenGL and OpenGL ES.
Game consoles such as the Playstation series have had both high-level and low-level graphics API:s for many years. Using the low-level API means that you can squeeze out more performance, perhaps at the expense of more developer time. The application takes over more duties, such as resource management etc.
If your app is a game, then your resource management and shaders are often pretty much static anyway.


Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12 79

Posted by timothy
from the cross-platform-good dept.
Phopojijo writes The Khronos Group has announced the Vulkan API for compute and graphics. Its goal is to compete against DirectX 12. It has some interesting features, such as queuing to multiple GPUs and an LLVM-based bytecode for its shading language to remove the need for a compiler from the graphics drivers. Also, the API allows graphics card vendors to support Vulkan with drivers back to Windows XP "and beyond."

Comment: A variant of C++ (Score 1) 369

C++ isn't really one language. The language has evolved in several ways over the years. C++11 is vastly different from the first incarnation.
In real-world programming you might therefore encounter many different styles: C++ used as a better C, C++ but with the coding style dictated by the C libraries that are used, C++ as "C with classes", C++ with STL, C++ with STL and Boost, and then C++11.

I would suggest C++11 or at least C++ with Boost. C++11 is the most modern, and shares some traits with other modern languages such as C#, Python and Ruby but which older versions of C++ lack. Also, several of the more recent additions to C++'s standard library have come from Boost.

C++ is also an incredibly complex language, with many workings that are more or less implicit. An assignment, parameter passing or return could involve several calls to virtual functions into the classes being used.
But once you have learned the philosophy behind programming in C++ and how to do it correctly, you will find that C++'s way is very powerful.

Objective-C is like "C + Smalltalk", and is mainly used by Apple because of historical reasons.

Comment: Bad usability, man (Score 5, Insightful) 513

by Misagon (#49135531) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

The biggest problem with the new icons is not lack of beauty but that the overly stylistic design has made them more difficult to visually parse.

The purpose of icons is to make recognition of objects on the screen easier. The use of three dimensions, contrasting edges, shading and shadows are significant visual aids - and those are the things that these new icons lack the most. It takes more than Photoshop skills to earn the title of UX Designer.

Comment: Re:Don't complain about 'the Intenet' (Score 1) 188

by Misagon (#49130679) Attached to: Google Now Automatically Converts Flash Ads To HTML5

It is not about having ads, but the nature of the ads. Ads that blink, flash, have lots of moving objects .. and worse of all: play sound.

There is a reason why some browsers have had the feature to disable GIF animation for many years. Until recently, the majority of animated ads were made in Adobe Flash, which you could have configured as click-to-play.
With HTML5 and the most popular browsers, there is no click-to-play.

Comment: Re:6 key on the left side (Score 1) 146

by Misagon (#49037945) Attached to: Building the Developer's Dream Keyboard

Different schools of touch-typing assign the digit 6 key to different hands. This goes back a long way.
We talked about this at a keyboard-oriented discussion forum recently and one user had found two different touch-typing manuals in English from 1889 and 1893 that were different about this key.

The original Scholes and Glidden QWERTY layout used the letter I as the digit 1. The numeric row started with the digit 2, so the whole row was shifted one step to the left compared to modern keyboards.
So originally, the number 6 was truly on the left side but moved to the right when the numeric row got a proper 1-key.

I once did a survey of split ergonomic keyboards. The most popular series: the Microsoft Natural Keyboards, has it on the left.
Out of 24 keyboard models, 16 had the number-6 key on the left side, 7 had it on the right side and one even had it on both.

Comment: Re:Gee, what a coincidence (Score 1) 146

by Misagon (#49037853) Attached to: Building the Developer's Dream Keyboard

Most people don't use the number pad on a full-size keyboard.
The function keys are largely superfluous if you are using anything but MS Windows.
Most people press the Space bar in exact the position where it is located on this keyboard.
Using the mouse too far to the right, past arrow and numpad contributes to shoulder problems. ... and I have met lots of programmers who use emacs or vi who don't need the cursor keys or the nav cluster.

This form factor is actually quite popular among professionals who do a lot of typing. Just look at the Happy Hacking Keyboard, Poker and Ducky Mini, to name a few. They are small premium keyboards, and they sell.

The big feature of this keyboard that separates it from others is that it splits into two. I can tell you from having tried many ergonomic keyboards that just separating the hands a bit is the most significant feature that an ergonomic keyboard could have. Besides that, you can position and tilt the halves the way you want.
You could view this keyboard as a more portable alternative to the Microsoft Natural Keyboard if you will.

Comment: Re:Middle wheel/button seems to work ok, no? (Score 1) 431

by Misagon (#48895501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

I use the middle mouse button mostly to open new tabs/windows in web browsing where invoking the scroll wheel inadvertently causes the page to scroll away from where I'm clicking. That is very annoying.

Most mice I have used use the same type of microswitch for the "middle button" as for the left and right buttons, but in most mice the buttons are levers with a rod on the microswitch.
These levers are usually the same on the left and right buttons, but very different on the middle press so the sensation is very different.

Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today? 431

Posted by timothy
from the hiding-with-the-egg-cream dept.
guises writes Ever since mouse wheels were introduced the middle mouse button has been sidelined to an inadequate click-wheel function, or in some cases ditched altogether. This has never sat well with me, a proper middle button is invaluable for pasting, games, and navigation. More than that, my hand categorically rejects two button mice — the dangling ring finger causes me genuine physical discomfort. I have begged Logitech on multiple occasions to make just one, among their many screwy specialty mice, to replace the Mouseman which I loved so dearly. I thought for a moment that I had been answered with the g600, only to find that they had put the right mouse button in the middle.

So my question to Slashdot is: where does a person turn for a three button mouse these days? I've only found two, both ergonomic and priced accordingly. I use the Contour and like the shape and wheel position, but would love to find something wireless and with a higher DPI sensor.

The Most Popular Passwords Are Still "123456" and "password" 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-have-the-same-password-on-my-luggage dept.
BarbaraHudson writes: The Independent lists the most popular passwords for 2014, and once again, "123456" tops the list, followed by "password" and "12345" at #3 (lots of Spaceballs fans out there?) . "qwerty" still makes the list, but there are some new entries in the top 25, including "superman", "batman", and "696969". The passwords used were mostly from North American and Western European leaks.

Comment: Re:Easily my favorite modern features (Score 2) 180

by Misagon (#48811407) Attached to: The Legacy of CPU Features Since 1980s

Yes, but instead of having a status register, you compare each item in one vector with each vector in another and get the results as a vector of booleans.
Then execute a SIMD instruction, where each component scalar operation is conditional according to each corresponding boolean.

Or, you could convert that vector of booleans into something else. For instance, you could count the number of leading 1's in the vector and store into a scalar, which would allow you implement operations such as strlen() or strcmp() with vectors.
(It is a bit like programming in APL, if you have tried it)

These types of operations have hitherto mostly been done by DSPs.
An architecture for general-purpose computing under development that would do this well is The Mill. Mind you, it is very interesting in other ways. There is a lot of stuff about it on the web site, and good talks about various features on Youtube.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.