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Comment Re:Right. (Score 4, Insightful) 170

I think you're doing Lost a disservice. Sure, it's not the first to do non-linear storytelling, and the article is daft to suggest it does.

But I think Lost is a fascinating form. An epic story told over the course of 121 hours (OK, ~90 hours + ad breaks), with an overall structure, a proper beginning, middle and end, and a kind of fractal-ness, in that each series also has a story arc, and to some extent so does each episode.

I have trouble thinking of anything else that's achieved this. Other TV series and comics tend to have an open ended structure, so it's beginning followed by endless "middle", and maybe a tacked on "end" when it gets cancelled (e.g. The Sopranos). Things like the X Factor, Prison Break, Heroes tease us with some kind of big potential denouement, but in reality the writers don't know what it is, and will churn out episodes until they're told to wrap it up. Novels are usually much shorter. Even the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy has less plot than Lost.

It's especially not fair to compare Lost with Heroes. Lost's writers claim to have always known how the overall story would work out -- and that appears to be true. With Heroes, it's pretty clear that they make it up as they go along.

Comics *usually* have the same open-endedness that TV series do. I'm sure some comic geek will tell me of a great comic with 200 issues in which the writer clearly knew how it would end, as he was writing the first issue -- but I don't know of one off the top of my head.

Oh, I would say The Shield pulled it off. So Lost is not quite unique.

Comment Re:The candle experiment seems bogus (Score 1) 172

First sensible comment all day. Let's also remember the source: PBS. Remember how they make their money? No performance driven financial incentives for them.... Let's also not forget the openly alluded to whiff of Marxism. Enough said.

There definitely is something to the thesis that people can underperform under pressure. However form there to generalize to: 'all performance compensation is worthless' is like saying 'because I got shortchanged today at the grocer's, we should ban all cash transactions as being inherently unfair, and we should all have to use credit cards'.

Furthermore, abolishing sales commissions is a guaranteed way to triple sales for essentially any company (and that no one has thought of it before in the history of business) because it removes the pressure to perform and releases the creative side of the brain?? That is a patently ridiculous statement for anyone who has managed even a small group of people. It can be true in some circumstances, but it is hardly a Law of Nature. And referencing the overused metaphore of the two brain hemispheres only lends the argument a pretentious air of faux science, but does little to strengthen the argument.

All in this article is absolutely shameful with its breathless over-enthusiasm to overreach to implausible and poorly argued conclusions.

Comment Re:now, how many of those bugs have been fixed? (Score 2, Interesting) 244

I used to file a lot of bugs with Apple, but I haven't filed any for a few years. They have an irritating habit of marking them as duplicates, but then not letting you see the bug that it's a duplicate of, so you can't provide any additional feedback or see the progress towards the fix. They also left some of them open for 2+ years with no progress towards a fix, or just marked them as 'works as expected' - new version loses user's data and removes features from old version? Not a bug.

In contrast, I file bugs on every LLVM issue that I find, and they're fixed very quickly (usually be someone who works at Apple). They're also very good at assigning the bugs that are my fault (of which there are none) to me so that I can fix them quickly.

Since the last time we had this poll, I think I've fixed and closed more bug reports than I've filed.

Comment Re:Replacing good parenting with tech solutions .. (Score 1) 618

Your stove example works, but is not an apt simile. What TFA suggests in this case is putting up a barrier between the child and the stove, so that the child never sees or has access to the stove until he is old enough to cook on it; and then he has no idea about the nature of stoves.

Comment Re:Why bother ... (Score 0, Redundant) 601

But will it run Crysis? No mod points, but parent is right. Technology like this will move real games into the browser. I won't be long before the DirectX toolset it setup to render in HTML5. If Microsoft can grab this then their little netbooks with shared GPU could actually push out some decent gaming and graphic capabilities to you live in a browser (without the need for hard drives).

Comment Re:Disgraceful! (Score 1) 370

The moment US decided to go for the shuttle the game was over. Form over function is ok for household gadgets but not for space exploration.

Actually, NASA was 'going for the Shuttle' as far back as 1958, and it's predecessors and space theorists were proposing them earlier than that. If you actually go back and study space history, you find that the general plan was to start with aircraft, and go ever higher and faster until you ended up with a reusable in orbit. All that changed when space became political. Getting there first and fastest became all important, and form over function became critical, and reusables were shoved onto the back burner in favor of expendables.

The US had did have the best launch system and just tossed it aside because it was more cool with a rocket with a bolted on hip looking spacecraft.

Best at what? Sure the Saturn V (assuming that's what you're referring to, as folks usually do), was great at heaving heavy payloads around. But it was extremely expensive and heavy payloads only come around once in a great while. Which means you're paying for guys to sit around on their asses for four years out five in order to lift a heavy payload that fifth year. (Which means a Saturn V based launch systems ends up being hideously expensive.)

Comment Re:Am i missing something? (Score 1) 309

They don't eat a lot of sushi, but the traditional Japanese diet consists of rice, fish, and sea vegetables. Being a relatively small island nation with horrible terrain for farming, it has a much higher ratio of fishable coast to farm land than most other countries (even somewhere like the UK). The enzymes that they found are not for digesting sushi, they are for digesting seaweed, which is an ingredient in sushi, but also in a lot of other Japanese food.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 164

Irrelevant. How an open standard is defined is not the point (unless it's seriously lacking in functionality - but then it would never be used anyway).

If a standard is open it means that

a:) Somewhere there is publicly available definition of how to implement that standard. Like a list of all HTML tags, what they mean and guidelines on hwo to render them.

b:) No patents or licencing restrictions. A particular library or implementation may be protected (Opera's paid for web browser, for example), but I and others are free to choose other software that also follows the standard or implement our own.

c:) Documents and data based on the standard are interchangeable - I can view an HTML document in nearly any browser and still read and view it.

Ultimately, encouraging the use of open standards limits noone (be it company or individual) and empowers end users and society in general. In the case of a format like ODF for example, nothing at all prevents MS fully supporting it - that they do so half heartedly is their choice.

What a widely used open standard does do, however, is force sofware implementations to compete - be it on value for money, features, reliability, speed etc. That's only bad for those companies or groups that simply lack the ability to compete fairly.

So no, it matters not how the standard was defined - if it's solid, useable and open then it's all good. Needless to say, it's often better to have multiple open standards for certain things to allow competition between the formats themsleves.

Comment Re:Article summary (Score 1) 444

Well, depends how you define NoSQL. The idea behind it is to use anything but SQL -- do you seriously mean to say that SQL is the only possible way to abstract database operations?

The idea isn't to "use anything but SQL". Some "NoSQL" databases use a subset of SQL for queries.

The idea is to "use anything but relational DB". And, of course, a relational DB needs not use SQL for a query language, either.

When we're talking about a system where I can design my application without knowledge of where data will physically be stored, yes, that's more abstract than a system where I must manually shard my data and send the SQL query to an appropriate server.

I think you misunderstood my application of "abstract". They are on the lower levels of conceptual abstraction - they expose the user to concepts that are more primitive than relational ones. For example, in a proper RDBMS (SQL to not), transaction are magic - they "just work", In a NoSQL DB, if you want ACID, you need to roll it out yourself. Or, say, joins - again, in a RDBMS, you specify the join, no matter how complicated in terms of what you want to get, and let the query analyzer figure out how to get there; whereas most NoSQL DBs don't support joins at all, only key lookups (but, of course, you can do a join yourself - with dismal performance, though).

Comment Re:Article summary (Score 1) 444

You could say the same about assembly language. You could also say the same about threads, and dismiss things like functional programming and the actor model as fads.

It's an interesting comparison, but I don't know if it's really apt. Consider this: when comparing e.g. hand-coded assembly, or even C, to FP or actor model, the latter is all about higher-level abstractions. In contrast, when you're comparing SQL to "NoSQL", the latter is less abstracted . It's like going from Java back to C.

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.