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Comment: Re:The thing that made the Sinclairs popular ... (Score 1) 110

by Teckla (#48552747) Attached to: Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

That was wonderful time. I really look forward to when we get a new generation of computers as easy to pick up and develop for as home computers were. It's a shame Microsoft didn't bundle VB with Windows back in the 1990s, and we're still stuck with relatively impenetrable - for newcomers - tools for mainstream development elsewhere.

The web was kind-of sort-of another programming renaissance (of sorts), but as the years go by, I'm not sure such a thing as our beloved 8-bit years or the web will ever happen again. Software expectations are too high. Nobody is amused by simple text games anymore. Once in a while a retro graphics style game makes an impact but it's pretty rare and not much of an impact.

I fear those days are over, never to return.

Comment: Re:GPL (Score 1) 205

by Teckla (#48552283) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

How about you use the GNU General Public License? It has strong copyleft, which prevents people from distributing closed-source software that uses your library.

It may also result in less contributors / contributions. The company I work for contributes to open source, but only to open source with liberal licenses (e.g., BSD). The GPL is strictly off limits.

Comment: Re:Marketshare (Score 1) 205

by Teckla (#48552223) Attached to: The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

There needs to be a licence that obligates those who profit from software to contribute whilst still allowing colaborative development and still free for personal use.

Such licenses have existed for a long time. They typically specify something along the lines of "free for non-commercial use" (which tends to imply "you have to buy a license to use the code in a commercial application").

The company I work for contributes to open source / free (little 'f') software, but only when the licenses are liberal in nature (e.g., BSD). The GPL is off limits.

Comment: Re:FBI Director James Comey may not care. (Score 1) 93

by Teckla (#48443525) Attached to: WhatsApp To Offer End-to-End Encryption

Yeah, pretty much. The power of subpoena to acquire those keys would be trivial.

I think that's one of the problems Perfect Forward Secrecy is supposed to solve. If I understand it correctly, upon connection, the two connecting systems that support PFS generate brand new and ephemeral public/private key pairs for bootstrapping the encrypted connection.

Since those keys are ephemeral, even if some entity collected all the data between the two connecting systems, it would never be able to decrypt that data, even with subpoena in hand: those keys are long gone, as they only existed for a few seconds before being wiped from memory.

Comment: Re:Why should I care? (Score 1) 97

by Teckla (#48178387) Attached to: Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving

The part of that page that confused me is right above what you quoted: "Notably, using native code on Android generally does not result in a noticable performance improvement."

Yeah, I agree that the page is confusing. It seems to contradict itself. My guess is they consider games a special case, or something.

A friend of mine does iPhone and Android development and his comment is that NDK is basically a requirement for any non-trivial games on Android.

Comment: Re:Why should I care? (Score 1) 97

by Teckla (#48175543) Attached to: Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving

I thought the Android NDK wasn't intended for performance [] as much as for sharing the model [] (application logic and data access) code with versions of the application made for other platforms.

A quote from the URL you linked to:

Typical good candidates for the NDK are CPU-intensive workloads such as game engines, signal processing, physics simulation, and so on.

So, according to that page, the NDK is largely made available for performance.

Comment: Re:Maybe a Mini (Score 1) 355

by Teckla (#48173069) Attached to: Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

The mini wouldn't be a bad way to go... it's not that expensive and I can still use my 27" monitor.

The Mac mini looks interesting to me as well, to replace an older iMac.

However, I do think 4 GB of RAM is insufficient for all but the most basic usage (web browser plus one other application running). Apple really needs to upgrade their entry level RAM to 6 GB or 8 GB.

Ditto with the storage on their iOS devices. 16 GB doesn't cut it anymore. 32 GB of storage should be the entry level these days.

Comment: Re:Git is an example of Linus Torvalds at his wors (Score 1) 387

by Teckla (#48172925) Attached to: Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

And yet we use it, because it's that effective If you can make a better git than git, I'm sure we'll all eventually move to it.

What makes you think people would reliably move to a better git than git?

The history of computing is littered with the carcasses of applications that were better than the competition, but never achieved much success for whatever reason (e.g., perhaps the competition got the first mover advantage, and that was enough to guarantee its dominance).

Comment: Re:HALO (Score 1) 368

by Teckla (#47899149) Attached to: Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

No it would not have to be reverse engineered again as even though they now own it, it is still available and under the gpl v2. So that would be impossible for Microsoft to shutdown as it would be forked the next day and you can't retroactively re-licence someone else’s copy of gpl'ed software, remember GPL is viral and thats a good thing.

How does GPL being viral help? If it was BSD licensed, even after a Microsoft purchase, they couldn't un-BSD the BSD version, so it would still be available...

Comment: Re:Null Terminated Strings (Score 1) 729

I believe none of you actually programmed in C. A string terminated by \0 can be represented by a single pointer and an have any length. You can also easily let the string keep growing (until the allocated memory is finished.) That is the epitome of KISS.

And a written language with just two letters in the alphabet is simple too, right? So, let's do that!

There's KISS and then there's KISS. C strings aren't the right kind of KISS.

Comment: Re:various card games (Score 1) 382

by Teckla (#47790769) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

When you don't have friends, cards are really just a stack of colored paper. That's the problem I've always had with Dungeons and Dragons and multi-player games like that. When I was a kid I used to buy D&D books and modules and be fascinated with the lore and how much fun it all sounded. But when the realization hits you that you don't have anyone to play it with, it all becomes pretty useless.

I ran into a similar issue. (1) Very small circle of friends. (2) None of them interested in playing role playing games like D&D. (3) People get married, buy houses, start pumping out kids, and aligning schedules becomes near impossible.

You're not alone in being alone. I recommend something like an MMORPG where you can meet people and develop online friendships. My favorite has always been EverQuest.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 548

A Roth 401(k) [] is to a traditional 401(k) as a Roth IRA is to a traditional IRA.


Roth 401(k): Post-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are not taxed; employers are legally allowed to do the same things as with a traditional 401(k); same contribution limits as a traditional 401(k) [technically the contribution limit applies to the sum of all 401(k) contributions, traditional and Roth alike].

Excellent information; thanks! I had no idea such a thing existed. I wonder how many employers offer Roth 401(k) plans. I don't think mine does; then again, 10 minutes ago, I didn't know that Roth 401(k) plans even existed. Thanks for educating me. I should have looked it up before assuming it didn't exist; I'm sorry about that.

tl;dr Roth retirement accounts let you pay a 0% tax rate on all capital gains as long as you pay tax on "principal contributed" instead of "principal withdrawn" (because you're paying tax on the principal either way), unlike traditional retirement accounts, which make you pay tax on all gains. Why would the average person go traditional?

Indeed. This merits more investigation. Thanks!

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 548

I don't know what a "Roth 401(k)" is -- I've never heard of that before. My understanding is as follows:

Traditional IRA: Pre-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are taxed; fairly limited yearly maximum contributions.

Roth IRA: Post-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are not taxed; fairly limited yearly maximum contributions.

401(k): Pre-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are taxed; sometimes employers contribute extra as a benefit; much higher maximum yearly contributions.

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