Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Something wrong in this picture (Score 1) 579

by TobiX (#48649651) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Oh but robots did create massive unemployment. Now there are millions, soon to be billions of people out of work, who can play tennis and soccer all day long.

Except they have no food, nor clothes, nor shelter. There are people called "owners" that keep all the food and clothes and shelter produced by the robots, unless you give them something they need in exchange. Which of course you cannot do, because there's nothing you have that they might need, not even your body—unless you are an attractive female, or they need one of your organs. There are already poor people selling their organs to buy food for their families.

That is quite simply what's wrong with the picture. Owners.

Comment: Not a Singularity (Score 1) 579

by TobiX (#48649575) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Our trajectory going out of any singularity may have a lot to do with our trajectory going into it.

Wrong. A trajectory going into a singularity has nothing to do with the trajectory going out of it—if any is even taken.

The definition of a singularity is a point where a mathematical formula is not defined. Except for the case of removable singularities, any derivatives are also undefined. So if your model ends up at a singularity, your math is simply not up to the task of describing what happens next.

Around an essential singularity, the most interesting and worrisome kind, the formula takes every possible value, infinitely many times. You can approach the singularity from any value and exit with any other value. So "at" the singularity, the formula is even less defined than in a regular "oh noes I divided by zero" kind, where at least you know the value to be infinitely large.

I realize that, by Occam's razor, the journalist may not even know what a singularity is and just threw the word around because it's cool. Sigh.

Comment: APL (Score 1) 332

by TobiX (#42899841) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Spreadsheet With Decent Programming Language?

Consider learning an "executable mathematical notation" such as APL.

It has the advantage of looking like math formulas, naming entire matrices with a single letter and using symbols for the operations, while avoiding the pitfalls and chores of traditional programming languages, such as explicit loops.

APL was designed to allow non-programmers to express complex computations with ease, in a non-ambiguous, reproducible, executable way.

There are excellent commercial implementations (with trial or free-for-personal-use versions) such as AplX and Dyalog. They both have good tutorials. There is even a Try APL online site

Comment: Many don't (Score 1) 330

by TobiX (#42837757) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do Most Programmers Understand the English Language?

I'm among those who set their computers and gadgets to English the moment I get my hands on them, among the consternation of friends and family.

But I can attest to the fact that a LOT of programmers don't speak a word of English. They have learned the CS meanings of a few dozen words, but that's as far as they go.

They may know that 'this' refers to the current object in OO programming, but they have no clue how to pronounce it (I have heard things you humans...) let alone that it means 'this' as opposed to 'that.'

They know 'Windows' is the name of the most widely used OS, as most programmers clearly understand what an OS is. But if they came to your house and you asked them to open the windows, they would probably walk to your PC, not to the walls.

So there you go, developer tools need localization like everything else.

If anything, you must put EXTRA effort with developer tools, as opposed to generic software, to find and use the RIGHT translation. You wouldn't be very happy if your browser tool suddenly asked you to "gaze at the fountain" instead of "view the source", now would you?

Comment: Article is nonsense (Score 2) 270

by TobiX (#38868683) Attached to: Jailbreaking the Internet For Freedom's Sake

The money will always be in the "mainstream", or the particular mainstream of every place and time, by definition.

Megaupload exists because it makes money. It makes money because millions of people watch movies and download shit off it, not because it makes a few hackers "free" to share stuff.

No mainstream = no money = not *existing* in any noticeable capacity.

Comment: Re:AppleCare (Score 1) 218

by TobiX (#38533828) Attached to: Apple Fined By Italy For Misleading Customers About Warranty Terms

It is in fact slightly different than what was reported.

Three of Apple's registered companies in Italy have been fined not just for misleading customers about their two year state-mandated warranty terms, but for hampering access to warranty services after the one year mark.

Official press release (in Italian)

Comment: It's actually a good idea (Score 2) 154

by TobiX (#38324822) Attached to: Google Demonstrates Chrome Native Client With <em>Bastion</em>

Think of how most developers are using Javascript nowadays: it's a target language for their compilers.

Whether the source was Java (GWT compiler) or Javascript itself (YUI compressor, Google closure compiler) the fact remains that what browsers are given to run is not what the developers wrote. Which is standard practice in the software business (it's called compilation) and for good reasons.

Now, JS makes for a poor machine language. So we could either beat around the bush with an intermediate bytecode language (Java went there, and Python and all the others too, with varying results) or go for the real thing and come up with a good x86 sandboxing and code verification standard.

Remember, x86 is currently in use by 99% of desktop machines. When other architectures will gain momentum, websites will just offer two or more compiled versions of their code. In the mean time, they will just have to emulate or translate the x86 instruction set, a task for which a large open source code base has already been developed, and which would still be more efficient than parsing plain Javascript, by several orders of magnitude.

So what's the problem with that, again?

Comment: Re:Summary is a little misleading (Score 3, Informative) 845

by TobiX (#38324678) Attached to: Are You Better At Math Than a 4th (or 10th) Grader?

This is the 10th grade math course.

I can see how a successful person from one or two generations ago could fail 100% of it.

And I don't think such material should be requirement for everybody. People with other skill sets (social, artistic, etc.) should be recognized and valued too. The world needs musicians and clothes designers and yes, managers and salesmen, as much as we need good scientists and engineers.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.