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Comment So much stupid (Score 5, Informative) 175

Among the great revelations of relational databases was the JOIN command. With JOIN, we could save disk space by removing repeated fields like city, state, and ZIP code. By storing this frequently accessed and repeated data in separate tables that can be included in future results through a JOIN, we keep our database tidy and our disks slim. But JOINs can be tricky for some and hard on RAM, and though it's still a good idea to isolate and access data in separate tables through JOINs, there's not as much need to save disk space now that disk drives are measured in multiple terabytes. The space is so cheap that some database designers end up denormalizing their data because the JOINs are too slow.

This is just so wrong. If you store, let's say, city/state/zip redundantly, then you run the risk of having the copies, that should be kept synchronized, diverge. This is especially true in the absence of all-or-none transactions. And not to mention the fact that having to update the "same" datum in multiple places is going to affect performance.

Comment Re:Contacting Server... (Score 2) 238

Heh heh heh.

And then there are dumb programmers. I was working on a server product, which could be accessed by a browser. IE something.something used to put up a generic "... or contact Microsoft support" message when the server being contacted wasn't responsive. We were debugging a server, so of course it wasn't responsive. This dummy was seriously arguing with me that the right course of action was to call Microsoft support.

(He wan't a novice. He was experienced, in the sense that he has been pressing buttons attached to a computer for many years. But a dummy.)

Comment Really bad review (Score 3, Interesting) 523

I suppose writers, spreadsheet jockeys, and developers all have to share the "generic" category, which doesn't seem right.

In the generic category, they are going for cool appearance (interesting materials, backlight) over functionality, key layout, tactile feedback, and durability. How else to explain the complete absence of any "clicky" keyboards? The old IBM keyboards are still available. They are fantastic, I'm using one right now. And there are newer keyboards with similar mechanisms -- I expect that they are very good but I haven't tried them.


Evolution of Intelligence More Complex Than Once Thought 453 writes "According to a new article published in Scientific American, the nature of and evolutionary development of animal intelligence is significantly more complicated than many have assumed. In opposition to the widely held view that intelligence is largely linear in nature, in many cases intelligent traits have developed along independent paths. From the article: 'Over the past 30 years, however, research in comparative neuroanatomy clearly has shown that complex brains — and sophisticated cognition — have evolved from simpler brains multiple times independently in separate lineages ...'"

HP's Fury At Vista Capable Downgrade 499

More documents are coming out in court proceedings over the Vista Capable debacle. has good coverage of HP's fury over Microsoft lowering the requirements for a Vista Capable sticker, at Intel's request. "Intel officials may have been pleased that Microsoft lowered standards for obtaining the company's Windows Vista Capable logo program sticker, but the same can't be said about HP's execs. 'I can't be more clear than to say you not only let us down by reneging on your commitment to stand behind the [device driver model] requirement, you have demonstrated a complete lack of commitment to HP as a strategic partner and cost us a lot of money in the process,' said one e-mail from Richard Walker, the senior vice president of HP's consumer business unit, to [Microsoft executives]." follows the trail of accusatory emails inside Microsoft from there: "HP's email prompted then Microsoft co-President, Jim Allchin, to send a furious email of his own to company CEO Steve Ballmer. Allchin's email suggests the decision to lower the requirements was made in his absence by Ballmer, following 'a call between you and Paul [Otellini, Intel CEO].' 'I am beyond being upset here,' Allchin wrote to Ballmer. 'What a mess. Now we have an upset partner, Microsoft destroyed credibility [sic], as well as my own credibility shot.' Ballmer, in turn, blamed another Microsoft executive, Will Poole, in a rather erratically typed reply to Allchin."

Comment One device per contract is a deal-killer (Score 5, Interesting) 221

BInding a single device to a 2-year contract is nuts. Especially a device as limited as a cell phone or netbook.

The iphone, for example, is very cool, but I'm just not interested at $70/month. Yet I pay more than that for my tv/phone/internet connection at home. I'm OK with that because at home I have flexibility -- I can attach as many phones and computers as I want.

I'm sticking with my pay-as-you-go, featureless cell phone until there's an expensive contract that gives me a lot more flexibility.

Work is the crab grass in the lawn of life. -- Schulz