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Comment: Re: Just learn to program (Score 1) 144

by jonnyj (#49213925) Attached to: Go R, Young Man

R as I use it is essentially a glorified calculator, but it's definitely not a graphical one - although it can produce very high quality graphic.

I'm not sure what you mean 'general purpose programming'; in fact, I'm sceptical that any such concept has any meaning. If you're asking if I'm structuring a large code base, I'm certainly not doing that: I rarely get beyond 100 lines of code, and, due to the nature of R, I can't even recall the precise syntax of a For loop (there's a saying that if you think you need a loop in your R code, you're not doing it right). I've never created a class in R, and I rarely even need to define new functions.

But R is incredibly useful to my day job. That's why I agree with the proposition posted in the original article. Coding doesn't have to be general purpose to be valuable.

Comment: Re: Just learn to program (Score 2) 144

by jonnyj (#49208427) Attached to: Go R, Young Man

A little programming can be a very useful thing.

I'm an accountant and a Finance Director (CFO in US terminology). I don't code for a living, but I know a little R. That gives me a huge advantage: if I want to understand our sales stats or movements in yields, I can analyse the numbers myself. Normally, I have the luxury of asking someone in the team to do the job, but, sometimes when the question is ill-defined and open-ended, it's much more effective and efficient to go straight to the answer myself. Sometimes, if I'm brought some analysis that's 90% of what I need, it's easier and more efficient to complete it myself.

Don't invent specious analogies about casting iron pots because you lack the imagination to see how tools could be used more widely.

Comment: Re: "Free" exercise (Score 1) 304

by jonnyj (#49141699) Attached to: I ride a bike ...

Likewise. I have a 14km round trip commute that's much faster on a bike than in a car. I got showers installed in the office so sweat and rain are no problem.

It's not just free exercise; it's good for the soul. I ride mostly on cycle paths with fabulous coastal views and I arrive in a much worse mood on the odd day when I drive.

Weekends normally see me clocking up 100km or so for pleasure. A good bike ride is one of the finest ways to start the day IMV.

Comment: Re: What is the point (Score 1) 94

Most people have better than 20/20 vision and can resolve finer objects than this oft-repeated but fallacious formula states. Don't take my word for it - the infallible experts who wrote the Wikipedia visual acuity page agree.

I know my vision is significantly better than 20/20. When I had my eyes tested last week, I could very easily read text that was a size smaller than the 20/20 line. Additionally, opticians seek to correct vision to 20/20 for each eye working individually. Anyone who has had a recent eye test will testify that two eyes working together are able to resolve an eye chart much more crisply than either eye working alone.

I'd estimate your formula is out by a factor of 2 for a substantial proportion of the population.

Comment: Re: Honestly... (Score 1) 328

by jonnyj (#48930439) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

    Go even further than that: how much do you understand of macroeconomics, and how much more proficient than you you think the average Greek voter is?

You don't need to be an economics nerd to understand that voting for a government that promises to spend money that it doesn't have is hardly likely to end well.

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 228

by jonnyj (#48925501) Attached to: Facebook Censoring Images of the Prophet Muhammad In Turkey

It's easy to shout "Yahboo!" at Zuckerburg, but content filtering is a complex business.

I am not a Facebook user, but I believe it already applies restrictions to content that offends tastes in the USA and Europe. You won't get very far if you attempt to use the platform to distribute child pornography, photographs of erect male members or detailed examinations of the human clitoris. Many cultures, both present and historic, see nothing wrong in these images; regardless, all Facebook users must comply with C21st western norms.

Having decided that content should be censored to meet the sensitivities of one culture or legal system, how is it conceptually any different to accede to the demands of another culture or legal system? Surely Facebook could fairly be accused of being hypocritical if it adapted to the culture of the enormous US market but failed to adapt to the relatively small Turkish market.

Zuckerberg should either offer all users the freedom to past any content - regardless of taste, legality or consequences - or stick to the cultural norms of each market in which it operates. On balance, the latter approach is probably more reasonable.

Comment: Re: Honestly... (Score 5, Interesting) 328

by jonnyj (#48918741) Attached to: Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister

What Europe calls austerity, everyone else calls living within one's means. Which, in the long term, is non-optional.

Quite apart from the politics and economics, this is a really complex moral issue.

On the one hand, the Greek people repeatedly elected governments that failed to collect taxes or eliminate corruption, spent money that they didn't have and borrowed money that they couldn't afford to repay. On that assessment, the Greeks deserve every bit of misery they've endured since their creditors decided to stop pouring good money after bad. But the trouble with that view is that a different bunch of Greeks are having to pay the bills: an entire generation is growing up with a broken economy because their parents voted for jam today.

It's the same with the creditors. In pursuit of political gain and a quick buck, banks and other eurozone governments supported successive corrupt Greek governments in their act of intergenerational theft. They deserve to lose their shirts as the Greeks default just as surely as a payday lender that fails to assess the affordability of its loans deserves to go bust. The problem is that the bill ultimately gets picked up by innocent bystanders - mostly German taxpayers. True, those same German taxpayers voted for their inept government that failed to regulate their banks' exposure to Greece, but that was hardly a major electoral issue at the time.

So Greek voters and Greek governments connived with European bankers to profit from the German population and younger Greeks. I have no sympathy with any of them. A plague on all their houses!

Comment: Re:Why oh Why (Score 3, Informative) 105

by jonnyj (#48898501) Attached to: Brought To You By the Letter R: Microsoft Acquiring Revolution Analytics

Why good things are always acquired by douchebag companies and ruined to the ground? First Java, now this.

First, I'd repeat the observation made by many that Revolution Analystics doesn't own R; it simply provides commercial support.

As an R user in business, this seems like good news. Microsoft has been promoting R for some time as an analytic layer to sit over its databases, but people in business are a conservative bunch. I've spoken to many associates in other businesses, and the main reasons that they prefer to continue with SAS is that support, training and consultancy are far more readily available for SAS than R. 'Supported by Microsoft' is a label that may persuade some to shift, especially if it's supported by a genuine expansion of commercial R support.

Comment: Re: a better question (Score 2) 592

by jonnyj (#48846495) Attached to: Why Run Linux On Macs?

what on earth could make Linux a more useful OS than Mac OS X?

Windows i get for specialty applications like gaming and such, but Linux?

apt-get, perhaps? Linux repositories typically have a far superior range of free apps and dev tools compared with the OS X software centre and other stuff like Mac Ports. More comfortable integration of many Linux apps than their OS X ports, perhaps? A consistent user environment between apple and non-apple hardware where a user has multiple machines, perhaps?

It sounds ridiculous, but, for me, it's about the shortcut keys. I have to use Windows in work so keyboard shortcuts for navigating and selecting text (eg ctrl+shift+right) are deeply embedded in my brain. Editing text on OS X becomes a tedious chore because the shortcuts are all different. That's why I always choose Linux rather than OS X when the boot screen fires up on my home laptop.

Comment: Re: Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

by jonnyj (#48729153) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

The movie industry don't know I exist, but everyone that I know in the UK uses Hola or equivalent to access more stuff, particularly since a huge amount of old BBC stuff was removed from the UK service a few months ago. It's a fairly safe bet that a reasonable proportion of those people will simply switch off if Hola stops working, but I doubt that many will turn to alternative ways of giving the movie studios their cash.

For most of the population, movies and old TV shows aren't that important. If they're cheap and easy to access, people will pay. If they're difficult, unreliable or expensive, most people will do something else instead.

Comment: Re: Cat and mouse... (Score 5, Interesting) 437

by jonnyj (#48727619) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

Netflix may be obligated to do this, but the media companies will see their revenues fall from my family if they push it.

I don't need the movie industry. I have my bike, my running shoes, my surfboard, my kids, my dog, my football season ticket and my church. Movies fill in my leftover time. UK Netflix has such weak content that I'll simply cancel my subscription when Hola stops working. I won't go to the cinema or buy DVDs instead. I'll just walk the dog more.

It happened with music. When I discovered Pandora, I started buying music weekly because it opened my eyes to new bands and new genres. Then Pandora got closed down in the UK. I haven't bought music for 2+ years. I can't easily find new music so I do other stuff instead.

Farewell, Hollywood.


Comment: Re:This is not the problem (Score 2, Interesting) 688

by jonnyj (#48615889) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

...very recent history is starting to show companies can make plenty of money just catering to the upper middle class...

It always was ever thus. Companies like Rolls Royce, Gucci and most of the retailers in the West End of London make money only from the affluent. The same could be said for owners of cruise liners, managers of hunting estates and wealth fund managers. In fact, most of the economy works by supplying goods and services to the rich.

On the other hand, many people make a living from the poor. Developers of social housing, discount retailers and energy companies are just a few examples of very large businesses that make a tidy living from selling stuff to people who are lower down the income scale.

Comment: Re:So which came first (Score 2, Informative) 138

by jonnyj (#48601385) Attached to: How Birds Lost Their Teeth

They have the loss of teeth and the development of the beak, but where did the gizzard develop? They would not have been able to loose their teeth and develop a beak without one, and birds are the only animal (That I know of) that has one.

Plus gizzards are great when fried. ;)

According to Wikipedia, many reptiles including dinosaurs have/had gizzards.

Comment: Re:I wonder who bought him (Score 1) 216

The problem with your thinking is that if they start to monitor traffic, they'd have to disallow HTTPS. They'd have to disallow anonymising proxy use. They'd have to watch every packet to see if it might be used for any kind of illegal activity for any country worldwide.

Once you make an ISP responsible for policing for one law, they become responsible for any law breakage, which would essentially shutdown the internet entirely.

I send an e-mail with a joke that includes a rough drawing of Mohammed - boom - Islamic Radicals attack the ISP for allowing it to go through.

Your falacy would also have to be applied to all of the backbone operators globally, which would halt internet traffic in it's tracks.

There would be no need to watch every packet; there would simply be a need to put in place risk-based, technically achievable procedures that would have a reasonable chance of detecting activity that is against UK or international law. It's not against UK law to send a joke about Mohammed, so ISPs would have no responsibility for that. HTTPS is not easily inspectable at a packet level, so there would be no responsibility for that, either - although it might be reasonable to other matters associated with HTTPS traffic such as the end IP addresses and the volume of data transmitted. If you took the financial services model, backbone providers would be able to rely on measures taken by the consumer's ISP, so the internet would not be shut down.

You have identified no falacy[sic] in what I'm saying here.

Comment: Re:I wonder who bought him (Score 1) 216

Banks are common carriers of money. Most money transmission is legitimate, but all banks are required to have systems in place to detect whether any particular transaction is associated with criminal activity. If banks do not have these systems in place, their directors are subject to personal fines and possible prison sentences. The rules are rigorously enforced by the FCA.

How is an ISP's common carrier service conceptually different from what banks do?

"Success covers a multitude of blunders." -- George Bernard Shaw