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Comment: Re: Government s a crappy investor (Score 2) 55

by TheRaven64 (#47918687) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry
Not really. They've increased a bit above inflation, but the amount I'm spending on electricity has remained pretty constant, increasingly slightly below inflation (increases in device efficiency offsetting increase in costs). The amount I'm paying for gas has gone up a bit more.

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 1) 126

by TheRaven64 (#47918667) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic
I switched to DuckDuckGo and haven't looked back. They used to be noticeably worse in results quality, but Google has gone a long way downhill. Occasionally I don't find things with DDG and try Google. When I do, I have to wade through pages of totally irrelevant stuff to find that there are no matches, whereas at least DDG tells me straight away that it can only find half a dozen possibly-relevant things. I especially like the way DDG integrates with a number of domain-specific search engines.

Comment: Re:well (Score 2) 165

by tlambert (#47918183) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

Or just the better alternative. It is hard to seriously argue that Boeing is so much behind Elon Musk, that anything space related should be given to the latter.

Given that Boeing will already be 3 years late to the party, when SpaceX has manned capability up and running this coming January? We're supposed to wait another couple of years for manned launch capability, when the Russians have already said they wouldn't be hailing our asses into orbit any more? I don't think "Time To Market" is a difficult argument.

Music

Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album 254

Posted by timothy
from the auf-wiedersehen-baby dept.
Ronin Developer writes Apple has listened to the complaints of those who object to having received a pushed copy of U2's latest album as part of their recent campaign. While nobody has been charged for the download, some objected to having it show up in their purchases and, in some cases, pushed down to their devices. While it is possible to remove the album from your iTunes library, it takes more steps than most would like to take. Apple has responded and released a tool to make it possible to remove the album from your iTunes library in a single step.

Comment: One thing Swift will address... (Score 2) 160

by tlambert (#47916599) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

One thing Swift will address... There are currently 3 memory management models in use in Objective-C, and for some of those models, you don't get a retain count automatically (for example, this is the case for a number of collection objects when doing an insertion).

Swift has the opportunity to rationalize this, which is not something you could do with the Objective-C libraries themselves, since doing so would change historical APIs and thus break old code.

It wasn't really until Metrowerks basically became incompatible with the Intel switchover and the 64 bit support had to drop certain types of support from Finder due to 64 bit inode numbers, and while I happily would have made them new header files so that they would have continued to work with the UNIX Conformance work, where Ed Moy and I basically broke their local private copies of their header files, since Motorola sold off the Intel version of the Metrowerks C the week because Apple announced Intel, it was pretty much DOA at that point.

So it basically took an Act Of God to get some people to get the hell off some of the old APIs we had been dooming and glooming about for half a decade.

Swift is another opportunity for that type of intentional non-exposure obsolescence to clean up the crappy parts of the APIs and language bindings that haven't been cleaned up previously due to people hanging onto them with their cold, dead hands. Hopefully, they will advantage themselves of this opportunity.

Comment: Re:What for? (Score 5, Interesting) 160

by TheRaven64 (#47915739) Attached to: Why Apple Should Open-Source Swift -- But Won't

I maintain the GNUstep / Clang Objective-C stack. Most people who use it now do so in Android applications. A lot of popular apps have a core in Objective-C with the Foundation framework (sometimes they use GNUstep's on Android, more often they'll use one of the proprietary versions that includes code from libFoundation, GNUstep and Cocotron, but they almost all use clang and the GNUstep Objective-C runtime). Amusingly, there are actually more devices deployed with my Objective-C stack than Apple's. The advantage for developers is that their core logic is portable everywhere, but the GUIs can be in Objective-C with UIKit on iOS or Java on Android (or, commonly for games, GLES with a little tiny bit of platform-specific setup code). I suspect that one of the big reasons why the app situation on Windows Phone sucks is that you can't do this with a Windows port.

It would be great for these people to have an open source Swift that integrated cleanly with open source Objective-C stacks. Let's not forget that that's exactly what Swift is: a higher-level language designed for dealing with Objective-C libraries (not specifically Apple libraries).

Objective-C is a good language for mid-1990s development. Swift looks like a nice language for early 2000s development. Hopefully someone will come up with a good language for late 2010s development soon...

Comment: Re:If there was only one viable choice ... (Score 1) 126

by TheRaven64 (#47915717) Attached to: Court Rules the "Google" Trademark Isn't Generic

It wasn't just about interface. People tend to forget how search engines did an absolutely horrible job of intelligently ranking the sites you wanted to see.

I find it pretty easy to remember - I go to Google today.

The UI was what made me switch both to Google originally and from it some years later. When I started using Google - and when Google started gaining significant market share - most users were on 56Kb/s or slower modem connections. AltaVista was the market leader and they'd put so much crap in their front page that it took 30 seconds to load (and then another 20 or so to show the results). Google loaded in 2-3 seconds. The AltaVista search results had to be a lot better to be faster. I switched away when they made the up and down arrow keys in their search box behave differently to every other text field in the system.

Comment: Re: Government s a crappy investor (Score 2) 55

by TheRaven64 (#47915703) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry
My 'precious electronic toys' use about a tenth of the power that the ones I was using a decade ago for the same purpose did. Even lighting power consumption has dropped. My fridge, freezer and washing machine are the big electricity consumers in my home - efficiency has improved there, but nowhere near as fast as for gadgets.

Comment: Re:Tricky proposition (Score 1) 55

by TheRaven64 (#47915695) Attached to: Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry

There's a lot more to government than military intelligence gathering and law enforcement (although it would be a good idea for someone to remind most current governments that those are two things, not one). And most government projects end up spending insane budgets. This isn't limited to the US. It amazes me how often government projects to build databases to store a few million records with a few tens to thousands of queries per second (i.e. the kind of workload that you could run with off-the-shelf software on a relatively low-spec server) end up costing millions. Even with someone designing a pretty web-based GUI, people paid to manually enter all of the data from existing paper records, and 10 years of off-site redundancy, I often can't see where the money could have gone. Large companies often manage to do the same sort of thing.

The one thing that the US does well in terms of tech spending is mandate that the big company that wins the project should subcontract a certain percentage to small businesses. A lot of tech startups have got their big breaks from this rule.

Comment: Poor comparison... (Score 5, Interesting) 59

by Mister Transistor (#47910999) Attached to: New Data Center Protects Against Solar Storm and Nuclear EMPs

A "Carrington-level" event nowadays would most likely be much less disruptive, as back then all the early radio and spark gap stuff was well under 50 MHz, which is where almost all of the natural noise winds up in the spectrum. Ever notice, for example you can hear your shaver motor on an AM radio but not an FM one. This is not due to AM vs. FM, (well, it is a little) but mostly due to the fact that AM is about 1 MHz and FM is about 100 MHz, well above the "static line" around 50 MHz.

It would take a much stronger signal than back then to cause the same level of disruption. Not saying that can't happen, but modern radio communications are quite a bit more robust than they were back over 100 years ago.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 1) 181

by TheRaven64 (#47907301) Attached to: Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles
Add to that, about 10-20% of the population get motion sick using the kind of VR in Oculus Rift (myself included - I can use it for 2-5 minutes, depending on the mode). It's ludicrous to imagine building a school that would exclude 20% of the potential pupils on some random criterion. You might as well make schools that didn't let in gingers...

Comment: Re:intel atom systems keep 32 bit systems around (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#47907067) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build
Apple already ships 64-bit ARM chips and a lot of other vendors are racing to do so. The Android manufacturers that I've spoken want 64-bit for the same reason that they want 8-core: It's a marketing checkbox and they don't want to be shipping a 32-bit handset when their competitor is marketing 64-bit as a must-have feature. ART is in the top 10 worst-written pieces of code I've had to deal with and is full of casts from pointers to int32_t (not even a typedef, let alone intptr_t), but it should get a 64-bit port soon.

Comment: Re:The ones I witnessed... (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#47907057) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build
64-bit is here for a while. A lot of modern '64-bit' CPUs only support 40-bit physical addresses, so are limited to 'only' 128GB of RAM. Most support 48-bit virtual addresses (the top bit is sign extended, so all 1 or all 0 depending on whether you've got a kernel or userspace address), limiting you to 'only' 32TB of virtual addresses. If RAM sizes continue to double once every year, then it takes another year to use each bit. We currently have some machines with 256GB of RAM, so are using 41 bits. 64 bits will last another 23 years. RAM increases have slowed a bit recently though. 10 years ago, you always wanted as much RAM as possible because you were probably swapping whatever you were doing. Now, most computers are happy with 2GB for programs and the rest for buffer cache. As SSDs get faster, there's less need for caching, but there might be more need for address space as people want to be able to memory map all the files that they access...

Comment: Re:It's not Google's fault. It's Mozilla's. (Score 1) 129

by TheRaven64 (#47906847) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build

The real problem for Firefox is not the interface changes that people like you whine about, it's mobile. Now 30% of traffic is mobile and Firefox doesn't have an app for any Apple mobile devices and is effectively excluded from Android by Google's Microsoft-like illegal anti-competitive licensing deals with manufacturers (you can get the app, but it's not preloaded and only a few geeks ever would).

Huh? It's in the Google Play Market and is no harder to install than any other app. Once it's installed, the first time you click on a link from another app you're asked to choose the app that will handle links. I fall into the geek category (and so installed it from F-Droid, not Google Play), but found it trivial to switch to Firefox on the mobile. I mostly did because Chrome has spectacularly bad cookie management and I'd been trying to find a browser that did it better. Early Firefox ports were as bad, but now it's quite nice and with the Self Destructing Cookies add-on does exactly what I want.

The mobile is actually the only place I use Firefox...

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