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Comment: Re:Trivial observation (Score 1) 111

by swillden (#47556973) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

some bullshit "universal compresser"

Not a universal compressor, a standard compressor, such as gzip. The metric is ultimately just a comparison between the compressor being evaluated and the compressor chosen as the standard, and it is unitless.

That said, I agree with you that the scaling constant has no reason to be present. As for using the logs of times... I don't know. It's essentially a base change, expressing the time of the compressor being evaluated in the base of the standard compressor, which is then multiplied by the ratio of the compression ratios. Handling the time relationship as a base change may have some useful properties, but I can't see what they would be.

Comment: Re: What alternative could be built? (Score 1) 143

The internal "SD Card" is formatted with a Unix-style file system that provides access controls to keep apps from being able to access one anothers' data. External SD Cards are formatted with FAT32, because that's what the whole world expects. Unfortunately, FAT has no concept of ownership or permissions, so the path-based restriction is necessary to ensure that apps can't muck with each others' data.

Comment: Encrypt your devices (Score 1) 102

by swillden (#47553639) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing an Android Tablet For Resale?

It's too late now, but if this device had been encrypted before it was broken, you'd have a lot less to worry about.

OTOH, it's worth pointing out that if the level of effort required to find the storage on the broken device so you can wipe or destroy it is too much to bother with, it will almost certainly be too much effort for anyone to go through the same effort in order to retrieve your data, on the off chance there might be something of value in there somewhere.

Comment: Re:Laziness (Score 1) 143

I think that HTML5 would make it far worse. Where do most of these bad programmers start? Where the barriers to entry are lowest-- javascript. You'd be making the problem worse, not better.

I do think that there's much improvement to be made with permissions on mobile phones. But that's a separate problem, and one a lot of the Android custom ROMs do well.

Comment: Re:Laziness (Score 5, Insightful) 143

Design guidelines are just recommendations. Frequently bad ones. A developer should design the best UI he can, not follow what Google says regardless of whether it fits. And most developer guidelines, Google and Apple both, are crap.

The problem is that the whole app movement has brought in a whole slew of crappy developers who's idea of coding is to search stack overflow or git for stuff to copy paste. They don't read it, don't understand how to use it right, and expect it to magically work. Worse half of the people writing that code fall into the same category, so its the blind reading the blind. If you pick a library off of github and assume it will work, you deserve what you get. Unfortunately your users don't.

These people have been around for a while (they used to be "web developers" and program by copy pasting big chunks of javascript). The problem is that on a phone they can do more damage. In a world where the number of quality programmers is fixed and far less than the demand for programmers, how do you fix it? Making it easier to program actually hurts, you end up with those crappy coders trying to do even more. Maybe its time to raise the barriers to entry for a while.

Comment: Re:No surprises here (Score 1) 119

by AuMatar (#47546699) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

Sure they are. My school had AP classes, but not everyone in the class takes the test- those who didn't think they would pass skipped it and save the 70 bucks. In each one the teacher suggested to a few people not to take the test because they didn't think they had the understanding to pass. In at least 1 case they talked someone into taking the test when they were borderline (I think he passed).

As for financial incentive- read the article. Google was paying teachers directly. It was going to the teachers, administrators not involved. With financial incentives I can easily see the teachers telling more/all of those tweeners to take it and see if they pass.

Comment: No surprises here (Score 2) 119

by AuMatar (#47539747) Attached to: AP Computer Science Test Takers Up 8,000; Pass Rate Down 6.8%

You tell teachers they'll be paid if more people pass a test. So they encourage more of their students to take it. Many of those aren't ready, they're just hoping they'll pass for a payout. So the pass rate goes down, as the majority of additional takers weren't capable. Yup, statistics work.

Comment: Re:Even better, reflect true cost of cell phones (Score 2) 77

by swillden (#47536091) Attached to: Compromise Struck On Cellphone Unlocking Bill

And are you seriously telling me if she gets an iphone 64 GB 5S it's the same price as if she gets the $20 special?

In many cases... yes. The most expensive phones have an up-front cost in addition to the two-year commitment, but if you get the most expensive phone you can without an up-front fee, then there is no price difference between that one and the cheapest phone.

Yes, this is ridiculous.

Comment: Re:call them (Score 1) 350

by AuMatar (#47534239) Attached to: Netflix Reduces Physical-Disc Processing, Keeps Prices the Same

I don't have kids, but when I was one my parents were spending most weekends taking us somewhere to do something. Watching movies was not on the agenda, at least not at home (maybe the occasional trip tot he movie theater). Why would you waste prime family time on movies? You do those on the weekdays because there's fewer entertainment options and most of them are closed by the time you get home from work.

Comment: Re:Not news (Score 1) 310

Hallam said it best: there has never been a time when humanity has successfully and peacefully coexisted with nature.

That would be a nice quote, but it contains an implicit assumption which is seriously wrong: That there is any distinction between humanity and nature.

It's not surprising that we tend to see ourselves as distinct from the rest of nature, because we are dramatically different from all other forms of life around us, and not just because we're self-centered, or even because we're objectively hugely more successful than any other species. We're dramatically different because we're the only species we know of that is capable of creating explanatory knowledge, of conjecturing and criticizing ideas, individually and in collaboration, to understand how and why things work. Many species on Earth are capable of learning, but as far as we can tell it's all "behavioral" learning; understanding merely that specific behaviors cause specific results. Sometimes the results of that level of understanding can be quite sophisticated, as in the animals who can create and use tools in complex sequences to accomplish goals, but it's still on a completely different level from the ability that humans have to deduce deep explanations of the structure and nature of the universe, and how to manipulate it.

Regardless of the temptation to view ourselves as separate from nature, though, we're not. That doesn't mean we won't benefit from applying our understanding of the rest of nature to maintain the elements of it that are beneficial to us. Obviously, we're better off if we don't make the world a worse for ourselves -- the flip side of that is that we are better off if we make the world a better place for us, so stasis is not the goal. That's really good because stasis (aka "sustainability") is impossible.

Comment: Re:That's great, but ... (Score 3, Interesting) 120

practical long distance EVs at a reasonable price and/or can recharge in less than half an hour

The price may or may not be reasonable, depending on your budget, though it definitely is for a non-trivial number of people, but the Tesla Model S fulfills the other requirements today.

My Nissan LEAF doesn't, though it's still a very practical car that easily manages all but a small fraction of my driving.

Almost anything derogatory you could say about today's software design would be accurate. -- K.E. Iverson

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