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Comment UX is not always UI! (Score 3, Informative) 192

A few thoughts

- UX is not always UI. Most discussions on this topic end up being about UI aesthetics, the Metro look, and what not. UX is about the user experience. Eye candy certainly has the bling aspect to it, and might even get you into the door with certain clients. However, I do feel that for complex products (ERP certainly is one!), what is more important is that the application functionality and application data should be structured around the way people *want* to use the application. It should not be based on how product designers or even UX experts think that people *should* use the product.

tl;dr - You can improve UX significantly by making small changes in a legacy user interface.

- From what I have seen, big bang approaches to UI overhaul (or even functional overhaul) almost *never* works for a large complex product. Think about chipping away at the problem instead. Think about the 80/20 rule of getting the most bang for the buck by making a few quick changes that can significantly improve the UX of your product.

- Consider a survey or face to face interviews or best, both. If you can measure the benefits of the changes you are making, or even get enough qualitative anecdotal feedback (especially from power users and from key clients), you will have a much stronger case for making more far reaching changes.

- This is a topic of debate and some controversy - but consider the Net Promoter Score. It gives you at least one way to measure what your clients think about your product.

Comment Re:Not actually that impressive.... (Score 1) 179

GPU floating point performance has been leading general purpose x86 CPU floating point performance by an order of magnitude - for many many years now. There's nothing new in what you are saying.

What is indeed new is that this is the first general purpose x86 based solution that gives you similar floating point performance as a graphics card. And you get all the advantages of the general purpose CPUs as well as all the x86 codebase you might want to support.

There must also be a reason why the number 1 supercomputer on the planet, the Tianhe 2, uses Xeon Phi.

Oh, and while the dedicated RAM allocation is much smaller than the nVidia card in question, it is also much higher bandwidth, and is stacked RAM, similar to AMD's HBM.

Comment Set *top* box? (Score 1) 153

So... does anyone actually put a set top box on top of their TV set these days? Once upon a time, TVs were deep enough front-to-back to support this; these days, most aren't.

Or is this a term that was once accurate, but will never be accurate again, like "dialing" a phone? It's been a long time since phones had dials, unless they're being purposefully retro.

Comment Re:Hurd.. why? (Score 1) 129

He reused the MINIX filesystem layout, and initially hosted builds on MINIX, but to my knowledge he never directly incorporated code from MINIX. Some have claimed that, but no claim has ever stuck, especially given that Andrew Tanenbaum himself agrees that Linux didn't annex any MINIX code directly.

It appears Wikipedia's account jibes with my memory.

Comment Re:Timestamps (Score 1) 129

I can't tell if you're trying to be humorous.

The rationale given is: "The kernel now keeps timestamps relative to the system boot time. Among other things this fixes bogus uptime readings if the system time is altered."

Presumably, this means the internal timestamps Hurd uses are now all monotonically increasing, regardless of any changes to the system time. Obviously, there's a relationship between the internal timestamp and what POSIX calls time_t (and related such datatypes). As I read it, they've decoupled the notion of system time (ie. something that resembles what you'd read from a clock, representing time and date as humans understand it, and subject to humans or network time daemons messing with that setting) from the internal timestamps it uses for computing the relative passage of time, such as 'uptime', network timeouts, etc.

Comment Wire, not write (Score 5, Informative) 129

According to the release:

The kernel now allows non-privileged users to wire a small amount of memory.

This is not a typo. Wiring memory means pinning it in memory so it cannot be paged out. This is potentially important both for security and real-time applications. On the security front, memory containing keys and passwords should be wired to prevent it going to disk. On the real-time front, if you can fit your working set in wired memory, you can be guaranteed you won't suffer a paging fault while you stay within that working set.

In Linux / POSIX systems, this is what mlock accomplishes.

Being able to write to memory, in contrast, isn't particularly noteworthy. You've been able to do that since pretty much the beginning...

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 259

The answer is that "walkable" Evanston is only walkable in a handful of spots - downtown, parts of Chicago Avenue, Dempster/Main shopping districts. Effectively, only the part of the "city" that is east of Ridge Street or the 8 blocks nearest Lake Michigan.

Which is a tiny part of actual Evanston - the majority of which is an old-line suburb with a mix of single family homes and small apartments with lots of cars. You have two other business "districts" (Central/Green Bay and Emerson/Dodge) but the two block Central district is the only one that's "walkable" and it doesn't have a grocery store. Dodge is a high crime area (and location of the high school) - walking is a daylight operation only and even then there's parts you don't walk.

The Evanston city council is basically made up of goo-goo types from the richer East Side attempting to buy off the poor South/West side with services that no one can afford. It sort-of works - unless by "works" you mean has a reasonable budget and tax base and schools that perform on par with surrounding communities, in which case it doesn't work at all. But they do have better restaurants...

Yes, Dodge is definitely dodgy. But you miss the point completely - the article was about Evanston using a contrarian strategy (unlike other suburbs) and reinventing itself to attract businesses, shops, and more residents.

And that fact is undeniable. It is indeed the suburb with the biggest buzz compared to most of Chicagoland, or even other Northshore "villages" or "towns" in Chicagoland. Yes, this has not been inclusive and Evanston has really rough parts. But it has had this problem for decades - the problem has not arisen because of the commuter oriented policies. And for what it is worth, the outlying communities are also seeing the benefits of overall prosperity of Evanston. Slowly, yes, I will agree with you.

And if you talk about being "on par" with neighboring communities, you were really referring to the much richer communities North - Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe etc. Which are also 97% white communities where every rich white person in Chicago ends up sooner or later because they want to be around more people like them, and because of New Trier high school (or the other private schools in that area).

But you conveniently ignore the other neighborhoods like Rogers Park, Skokie, Devon etc. For better or for worse, Evanston is really a meeting ground of these two very different worlds. Fact of the matter is, it has been able to manage these contradictions and challenges quite decently. Room for improvement - for sure.

But you are cherry picking when comparing Evanston to other communities, while ignoring the other very real challenges that are an integral part of Evanston and always were. You simply cannot have diversity, safety, prosperity, amazing schools - all at once, all at the same time. At least Evanston is doing something bold about this.

Comment Re:Not a huge surprise (Score 2) 208

I'd expect it to be a very minor effect. I'm not aware of anyone getting worried about this.

Got it. With everything else you've explained, that makes sense.

A related effect is convergent evolution. Say two species of bacteria each colonize high temperature environment. Then certain mutations which are favoured in high temperature will likely occur in both of them. When we compare their DNA, this can make it look like they are more closely related than they really are.

Ah, that also makes sense.

I thank you again for the informative responses. You've expertly escorted me up to (or possibly even well past) the edge of my competency. :-) I've certainly enjoyed the trip.

It's truly a fascinating topic, but for me to really get much more out of it, I think I need to do some homework to learn more about what's already known. There's only so much a generically analytic mind can do w/out learning what's already known in the field.

Thanks again.

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!