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Comment: Dibs on circular screen (Score 1) 138

by advantis (#47412207) Attached to: BlackBerry's Innovation: Square-Screened Smartphones

Just because developers don't have enough headaches to deal with, I'll go patent a circular screen with a polar coordinate system to access the pixels. :) And I'll find a way to stick 26 letter keys and 10 digit keys around it, and give it a shape that will make it fly as well as a frisbee too. Still not sure if to go overboard by making it squishy too so since it can fly when thrown your dog should be able to bring it back and have it still work.

You heard it here first folks! :D

Comment: Paying to free user ratio (Score 1) 132

by advantis (#47388319) Attached to: Google Reader: One Year Later

While everybody else is busy missing the point and showing off their favourite alternatives (I'm happy with Feedly BTW), there's a different data point I took out of TFS:

15 million users and 24,000 paying customers

That section alone is what interests me: the ratio of paying customers to total users. That's because I'm green enough in the field of business that I have no clue at all about these things, not even as anecdotes.

I don't usually read BI (because my perception of them is that they're BS, even though I don't have enough data points to support my perception), but this one made for an interesting article. From the article I got this other data point: If all 24,000 customers pay at least $45 per year, that means Feedly and its 12 employees are generating more than $1 million per year. and the fact that they were pushed near profitability. Nowhere does it say they are actually profitable. It's a good read for anybody who thinks of starting anything up and want their motivation, hopes and dreams crushed by hard reality numbers :)

Comment: It just clicked + everybody else was playing games (Score 1) 153

by advantis (#47133609) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

This article asks for a rant, so here you go:

I got into this by luck. Otherwise I might have been just the run of the mill awkward person :) My mom found an ad in the paper. A school was looking for students to start 5th year on a computer programming curriculum, and entry was test-based. You had to pass a maths and a literature test on subjects that a 4th grader should be knowing.

I hadn't seen a computer until I started school in September, but there was a book that was recommended, and I got that during the summer holiday. With no computer, just with pen and paper, I went through the book, and it just went in. I had a void in my brain that gladly sucked it all in. The I about forgot it all when I sat in front of a Spectrum clone and didn't realise I had a power button to press on the monitor to turn it on.

Ever since, I've been attracted to the field. I was 11 when I started. Being awkward helped a bit. I was never competitive, so I rarely played any games that others could play, so if it was a game, it had to be a text-based adventure. Nobody would play those, and I'd get my ass kicked in any others, so I avoided those. The guys kicking my ass in games weren't really that good at programming the computers, so hey, while you guys are busy playing games, I'll try this little algorithm I saw in a book and see what it does and try to understand it. I spent my PE classes in the computer lab instead. Things moved on, we got PCs, we moved from BASIC to Turbo Pascal, and it was still great. I dabbled with assembly language, but never got experienced with it. I picked it up a few times, but never got past flinging a few registers and some data on the stack. I don't regret it though. I learned other cool things.

I'm glad I didn't jump straight into C, as in Pascal you have a real string type that you don't care about, but in C you have a... convention... And if anything, when you start to learn programming numbers and strings are what you play with first. These days people are started in C, which I think is plain mad. Back then Python wasn't on the horizon. Nowadays, if you don't start newbies on Python as their first ever language you need to be shot. Python is the new BASIC in my view. What I like about Python is that "batteries included" thing. Want to have a taste with something? import thing_that_does_what_you_want_to_play_with. You'll study what that does later. Play time is now. Some purists may consider this to be ass backwards, but come on: to get interest, you have to play with it first, then study the boring bits. And study the boring bits in locally ordered random sequence. Sequential order can only put you off and make you hate the thing. And by FSM don't start people in Java or C#! You can put that in a follow up class, after your students know WTF to do with a computer in terms of programming.

Nowadays I'm abusing the hell out of Bash, but only because I got really good at it, hated Perl, didn't actually get properly acquainted with Python until recently, and I have serious aversion of using PHP to write console tools.

Of course, as you might imagine for a Slashdot reader, my social life is absolutely devoid of content :) I don't like it that way anymore, but if I let go I have no idea what to do next. It's like you either do this full-life, or you don't. If I cut down, I just feel that I'd write OpenSSL-style code instead, and I'm not at ease with the idea at all. The fact that I work in a very tiny company that relies on me probably doesn't help. This paragraph is probably good material for an "Ask Slashdot" article: "How do you cut down and get a life?". I know it's a viable proposition for an article after reading the comments on the "Parenting rewires male brains" article. Either everyone there was masterfully trolling, or I've been doing everything wrong in my life so far. I'm yet to see what I can do to fix that, but I have to, as I'm 31 now, and I don't want to become Larry Laffer (he is 40 in the game).

Oh, and I think I'll be getting my first downmods ever. But do as you like. /RANT

Comment: Peering vs net neutrality (Score 3, Interesting) 105

by advantis (#46978239) Attached to: FCC Chairman Will Reportedly Revise Broadband Proposal

It dawned on me how they could work a fast lane within net neutrality rules. They don't even need to change anything.

It goes like this: Hey, we're douchebags and like to bleed our customers dry for slow Internet. We do this by overselling our transit capacity. But, if you want our customers to be able to use your service, our peering prices are $100/MB/month.

That's why Level 3 Wants To Make Peering a Net Neutrality Issue I guess. But should peering be a net neutrality issue? On the Internet, different pathways have different speeds. Your LAN and ISP network are usually a lot faster than general Internet access, and nobody said Netflix can't pay a premium to plug straight into your LAN.

In Romania you get gigabit links within RDS - a nationwide ISP, and if you run Linux, you're in luck because they peer with RoEdu (the Romanian education network), who mirror a lot of stuff, and that peer is fast as lightning if RDS is your provider. But mirrors who are in the country but not peered get Internet speeds - which are still faster than what I generally get in the UK mind.

Comment: Like TV licensing vans (Score 2) 93

by advantis (#46959589) Attached to: UK ISPs To Send Non-Threatening Letters To Pirates

If piracy is actually a problem, this may be as effective as the TV detection vans they (used to?) have roaming around, supposedly able to detect if you're watching live TV without paying the TV licence (which makes you a criminal in the UK). Apparently the high tech of those vans is... a list of people who don't have a licence. Nobody knows if they have a remote listening device like in spy movies that they point at your window, and apparently they don't even bother sending the vans out these days - they just tell you they do, and it's just as effective.

Using that logic, just the appearance of threats can get most people to comply with the law, or demands from the law that you don't have to comply with (like in "can I search your car please?"). Since an IP address doesn't identify a person, that's pretty much all they can do: send educational material, which makes people think "we are watching you", which makes them subscribe to Netflix and give up on 0-day TV shows (freshly ripped off the air).

I'd like to see "piracy" and "loss" numbers a year after people start getting these letters. My belief is that the piracy numbers will go down, but the revenue of content creators will not follow suit.

Comment: Trojan Horse (Score 4, Interesting) 150

I'm not sure if I'm reading it right, but it feels like:

1. Get dedicated wires laid down by Comcast for you;
2. Start with Apple-only services on your new national network that Comcast gladly laid down for you;
3. A bit later, start offering general Internet services through your brand new national network that Comcast can't take away from you no matter how much they scream in horror;
4. Be ahead of Google Fiber in term of reach, since Comcast were so helpful in helping you compete with them;
5. Profit!

Did I miss anything?

Comment: Re:No shit ! (Score 2) 144

by advantis (#46533595) Attached to: Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

My most infuriating experience was when I solved a problem I had at work, it compiled, it did everything it needed to do, but when I went to commit it to SVN I had no Internet. After a few attempts, I realised I was dreaming and I woke up. And I had to type all that again when I got into the office.

Comment: Re:Phishing sites (Score 1) 187

by advantis (#46482485) Attached to: Google Blurring Distinction Between Ads and Organic Search Results

They did that before the layout change too. Even I got tricked by them for a while. Never gave them any money, but they frustrated me quite a bit, as the information I wanted wasn't there. They looked like the government websites I was used to - same layout, same fonts, same colour theme - so it took me quite a few minutes to force my eyes onto the URL and realise that it's a $ website instead of the $ I expected.

It's gotten so bad that it warranted some press attention.

Comment: Free upgrade (Score 0) 241

by advantis (#46357817) Attached to: Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

Given that it costs you nothing to upgrade to the latest OS X now, why are people still running the old version?

I have a MacBook Pro made in 2007 that I bought from a friend last year because I needed a Mac, not because I wanted the bragging rights that come with the latest shiny. It came with 10.6 (Snow Leopard) - because he was lazy, and I gave Apple the vast amount of 13 British Pounds to upgrade to 10.8 (again, because I needed it - Xcode didn't like 10.6, and the guy with the latest OS X DVD was on holiday). I did all this only because I needed the stuff there and then an Apple was taking its time with the latest shiny, so I wasn't planning to upgrade to 10.9 if they wanted more money for it. But since they offered it for free I didn't wait long.

If it costs money to upgrade I understand the reluctance - that's what's keeping XP still alive and kicking (it has an even more incentive to stay around as the upgrade costs a hell of a lot more than Apple used to charge), but it's free people! You don't even have to get a cracked copy off the Pirate Bay!

Waiting for the responses that "company policy", "IT department won't approve", bullshit. Kick the IT department in the nuts. They're the ones that will need to fix your Macs when your VPN login details get pastebinned.

Comment: Bug! Where are the bugs?! (Score 1) 745

by advantis (#46261451) Attached to: Mathematician: Is Our Universe a Simulation?

[Neo sees a black cat walk by them, and then a similar black cat walk by them just like the first one]
Neo: Whoa. Déjà vu.
[Everyone freezes right in their tracks]
Trinity: What did you just say?
Neo: Nothing. Just had a little déjà vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Cypher: What happened?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat?
Neo: It might have been. I'm not sure.
Morpheus: Switch! Apoc!
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.

Comment: Re:Fucking idiots (Score 1) 1532

by advantis (#45001387) Attached to: U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed

Interesting form of dictatorship you got there...

A discharge petition signed by 218 members (or more) from any party is the only way to force consideration of a bill that does not have the support of the Speaker. However, discharge petitions are rarely successful, as a member of the majority party defying their party's leadership by signing a discharge petition can expect retribution from the leadership.

So if they rebel against the Dictator^W Speaker, they get kicked in the nuts by their party leaders. Why do you need members of Congress again? They should just stay home and let the Speaker vote for them.

Which part of the law allowed the Speaker to impose this "majority of the majority" rule anyway? Wikipedia says it's "an informal governing principle used by Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990s to maintain their speakerships". I take "informal" to mean "because that's how I like it", but not like "and you can't do anything about it". USA being the land of lawsuits, I'd assume this would have gone to court by now - or something.

Unlike some Westminster system parliaments, in which the office of Speaker is considered non-partisan, in the United States the Speaker of the House is a leadership position and the office-holder actively works to set the majority party's legislative agenda. The Speaker usually does not personally preside over debates, instead delegating the duty to members of the House from the majority party.

(That's from Speaker of the United States House of Representatives)

You what?

Comment: Different markets (Score 1) 214

by advantis (#44904515) Attached to: Intel Rolls Out Raspberry Pi Competitor

The Raspberry Pi's main mission is education. I have no idea where they're at with that, but the commercial aspect of selling boards to the masses is a very slick way to raise funds. Would you give them money just because you like their cause? Not so readily. Intel isn't competing in this market and most likely won't do so any time soon.

If this board had an Nvidia card that did VDPAU, instead of that GMA cruft, I may have been interested - because I need VDPAU, and it works awesomely well with an Atom CPU and 1080p H.264 video on the ION platform. Not an ION? Not interested. (to Nvidia: wink, wink)

If people actually do switch to Intel's "competitor" board in the detriment of the Raspberry Pi, it's going to hurt Raspberry Pi Foundation's goals, the people who buy Intel's stuff will be a lot more out of pocket for not much in return (can you get the same or more power if you give the $200 to Raspberry Pi and build a cluster with their boards?) I somehow don't see that happening though...

Bottom line is that if you want a Raspberry Pi you get a Raspberry Pi, and if you want a crap x86 computer - just because it is small - you get the "competing" board from Intel.

Comment: Market share (Score 1) 463

by advantis (#44034643) Attached to: MS To Indie Devs: You Have a To Have a Publisher

Is it me, or is Microsoft trying *really hard* to lose customers? And the idiots just won't leave! Of course, they can't just say "stop buying our stuff".

Feels like MS got a friendly letter about their dominant position from the DOJ or the EU, and they're trying to tell them that even if they build high walls and put large chains and locks on their gates* people still want to get in.

*somebody, somewhere, is now imagining Bill Gates with large chains and locks around him, and smiling.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.