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Comment: Re:I know someone who works on this kind of stuff (Score 1) 265

by macshit (#47421717) Attached to: Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen
The other problem is that all this development seems like an insane urban-planning clusterf*ck... the rulers who are bankrolling it all want a glitzy showpiece to puff up their egos, and basically spend their lives traveling between high-end luxury malls, 60th floor corporate boardrooms, and enormous homes, in fleets of air-conditioned Mercedes SUVs. So they're designing a city optimized for those things. The result seems to be someplace that looks impressive in very long shots of the night-time skyline featured in inflight magazines, but which doesn't really work very well as an actual city (with, you know, people, not all of whom are necessarily ultra-wealthy)...

Comment: Re:Lego Mindstorms (Score 1) 876

by macshit (#46193295) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

Ummm ... Egyptian hieroglyphics were actually phonetic symbols. And Chinese (still i use) is pictographic and not phonetic.

Chinese is (basically) ideographic ("symbols representing ideas"), but not generally pictographic ("symbols representing ideas/objects directly by resembling them"). Some Chinese characters are arguably pictographic, and in many cases there was probably a pictographic stage in the historical evolution of other characters, but the bulk really aren't.

In response to the grandparent: it doesn't appear that alphabetic/phonetic languages are faster to write/read than ideographic languages like Chinese. Chinese seems to be generally faster to read, and roughly equivalent to write in many cases. It's obviously a pretty hard comparison to make, since there are so many variables, but while ideographs are generally more complicated, they're also more information dense (so you need fewer of them to communicate a given idea) and can take better advantage of the human visual system to allow recognition of more text in parallel .

Comment: Re:You can have my feature phone when... (Score 1) 153

by macshit (#45106741) Attached to: Who's Getting Pay-By-Phone Right? The Fast Food Industry

Why can't I just get a 5 cent thingy to put on my keychain, then?

Er, well, you can, sort of ... Japanese phones with NFC payment are compatible with common Japanese smart-cards, for instance public-transit cards like Suica and PASMO in the Tokyo region. These smart cards aren't quite 5 cents—there's typically about a $5 deposit on them—but they're extremely cheap compared to a cellphone, are easily recharged either automatically from a credit-card or via the ubiquitous TVMs in stations, and can be either anonymous or keyed to your name (so you can get something back if you lose it)...

Although pretty much any Japanese phone, "smart" or basic, can be used for payment like this, I don't see the point really... it's easier to just pull out a transit card from my pocket... and frankly, I kinda prefer using cash anyway...

Comment: Re:Political Correctness has no place in Kernel De (Score 4, Insightful) 1501

by macshit (#44291265) Attached to: Kernel Dev Tells Linus Torvalds To Stop Using Abusive Language

Linus isn't a dick though; indeed, he's quite laid-back and personable. When he criticizes someone like this, his criticisms are almost universally very accurate, and he only uses "extreme" language when (1) the person he's addressing did something really stupid ("merely stupid" isn't enough) and (2) that person really should have known better (so he doesn't tend to do this to strangers, only people he's well acquainted with, and has some trust in). He doesn't just call people names, he makes detailed technical arguments which happen to be decorated with er, expressive language.

This particular style is very common in the tech world, and if anything, Linus is far better than most, because he strictly sticks to technical criticisms; his language may be extreme, but for him, it isn't personal—if he is wrong, he'll very quickly admit it and apologize. Almost all of the time, the conversation quickly calms down and settles into a discussion of how to make things right. Note that this makes him vastly better than average: there are many others in the tech community who do take things personally, and won't back down no matter how obviously wrong they are.

This style isn't to everyone's tastes, and to someone who isn't familiar with Linus or the LKML, I guess it can be startling to see one of these exchanges. Maybe there are times when he goes too far. But claims that he's "abusive" are simply laughable. Things are not always as they appear at first glance...

Comment: Re:Yeah. (Score 1, Insightful) 289

by macshit (#44246111) Attached to: Android Co-Founder: Fragmentation "an Overblown Issue"

Apple is still the one making the vast majority of the money. Quantity is a quality all its own, but come on?

Are they making the vast majority of money? There's a great deal of hardware competition in Android phones, which means no one manufacturer does the kind of volume Apple does, but many Android phones seem to have very similar hardware specs and very similar prices to the iPhone, and the overall volume of Android phones is greater than the volume of iPhones; in places like Japan, the overall volume of high-spec (iPhone or better) phones is probably greater than the volume of iPhones. Apple can profit somewhat by taking advantage of volume pricing for components, but many of their competitors are very large companies, with significant sway of their own.

I think Apple thought they'd have iPod-like market domination in this market, i.e., no significant competiton. Despite the iPhone's obvious popularity, Android really threw a spanner in those plans.... [Thus Steve's fury...]

Comment: airline-specific?! (Score 5, Interesting) 123

by macshit (#44192933) Attached to: British Airways Set To Bring Luggage Tags Into the 21st Century

So BA is making an electronic luggage tag ... and as some have pointed out, Qantas already has them.

Are they compatible? Will frequent flyers that use multiple airlines end up with 10 different electronic tags hanging off each piece of luggage?

A universal standard tag would seem a good idea...

Comment: Re:Honestly surprised it works at all in LA (Score 1) 133

by macshit (#44192419) Attached to: Can Ride-Sharing Startup Lyft Survive the SoCal Heat?

Public transit is great for commuting, maybe getting to and from big events, and for low income people completely familiar with lots of routes. It's practically useless for tourists

Of course this is an over-generalization.

There are cities with good transit (Tokyo, London, etc), and there are cities with bad transit (most of the U.S.), and naturally transit in the former is a much better experience than transit in the latter.

Tokyo, for instance, is a rail city (rail has a majority transportation mode-share, across all uses); its many rail lines are fast, clean, efficient, go everywhere, and are significantly cheaper than a taxi. For typical trips (and especially for tourists, who visit mostly popular locations), rail is faster almost all of the time, and if there's any road congestion (which is ... often), it's much faster. If you're loaded down with suitcases, you might want to take a taxi (assuming you're not going too far, because taxis are very expensive), but if you're just looking around the city, you're far better off just using the rail system.

Comment: Re:I go to a fair amount of movies (Score 1) 924

by macshit (#44149999) Attached to: The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

Most phones throw out a huge amount of light from their screen when in use... this isn't noticeable in normal situations, but it's extremely noticeable in a dark theater, especially during dark scenes. It's very annoying when the guy next to pulls out his portable searchlight / phone and lights up during a tense moment in the movie for an angry-bird break...

The real answer is social, of course—people should stop acting like entitled children and show some consideration. In many other countries, peer pressure serves to enforce such unwritten rules, but in the U.S.'s violent and self-focused culture, it's a bit scary even to just ask someone to turn off their phone...

Comment: Re:Viber app (Score 1) 83

by macshit (#44026095) Attached to: Saudi Arabia Blocks Viber Messaging Service

But this app seems totally dodgy. Free communications? No adverts? Where the hell are they getting the funding to run any servers and application development?

I agree with you, and I'd probably never install because it doesn't pass the smell test, but every VOIP app on android seems the same way (crazy permissions, no adverts, free install and free use). That includes those which are massively popular bastions of the establishment, and so presumably considered "respectable" (skype, kakaotalk, etc). [Kakaotalk at least seems to have some sort of attempt at its own store ecosystem integrated with it, but basic use is completely free.]

The entire app ecosystem seems rather dodgy come to think of it, but it continues to steamroller along...

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