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Comment Re:Assembly == SLOW ; JAVA == FAST! (Score 2) 372

And, under ideal circumstances . . . its gonna be hard to beat Assembler. (Slower to market . . . perhaps . . . but faster for you the next 20 years as you run it.)

You may be right, but I wouldn't bet on that. First of all, it's not unheard of for a CPU architecture to die in 20 years, but that aside: It would be interesting to take an x86 assembler program written 20 years ago and run it on modern hardware, then perform the same experiment with a C program recompiled with a modern compiler.

The 20 year old assembly program would be optimized for a 20 year old CPU architecture (and essentially running in backward compatibility mode), whereas the C program would be optimized for the current architecture. I'd wager you'd see far greater improvement moving to the modern CPU in the C program. Whether it would be faster than the assembly program would depend on what it did, but I would think that in many cases the C program would be faster, even if the assembly program smoked it 20 years ago.

Comment Re:pointless (Score 4, Insightful) 307

4k is indeed pointless, unless you literally have a full size movie theater in your house. How in the world can anyone make out individual pixels at 1080p on a reasonable screen size without getting right up to the screen? It's physically impossible.

And as for streaming being able to provide 4k before disc-based formats - HD streaming is good, but not close to blu-ray quality today at 1080p/24. This is due to bandwidth constraints. How is increasing the resolution going to help improve the bandwidth?

I would rather like to have a 4k desktop monitor (because I do sit right next to it), but I would not pay more for a living room TV that has 4k (because I don't).

Comment I think there's room for both (Score 1) 432

Though I hate the term "brogramming" and think it's completely stupid to try to program while drunk, I believe there is room for what used to be called the "heroic" model of software development in certain circumstances. The fact is that the technology world is fast paced, and often the product that becomes dominant (makes the most money) is not the one that's the most well engineered. It is the one that works well enough, has features people like, and makes it to the market first. A few very good coders with good domain knowledge and broad skills working heads down on such a project can absolutely run circles around (iterate faster) a large engineering team of siloed engineers focusing on requirements and architecture.

That is not to say that proper software engineering is dead... quite the opposite. In most industries and once a product reaches a certain size - quality, security, etc. are expected. You need a combination of good engineers and the right processes in place to make that happen. You cannot substitute processes for good engineers. As for waterfall vs agile... neither is perfect.... but Agile is better when requirements tend to change. It's bad to be dogmatic about either one though.

Comment Re:Technological masturbation (Score 4, Interesting) 79

>I can appreciate their efforts from a technical standpoint, but in the end they used that time to create a technical novelty that in reality will not see a long term use nor large scale adoption. A sharper and more polished Arch experience would have a tremendously larger impact compared to this.

Personally, I don't see the point to having a Linux userland with a FreeBSD kernel or vice versa. I'd much rather have a stable system with wide adoption (either Linux or FreeBSD, not some unholy hybrid), but I like the fact that this exists anyway. In the free and open source software world, anyone with interest and time on their hands can do what they want to do. This is in opposition to the closed model where a few decision makers are trying to maximize profit given their resources.

FOSS works a lot like darwinian evolution. A lot of random mutations occur and most do not survive. A few, however, do survive and become widespread and we are better off for it. Don't think of it as wasted effort, think of it as part of the process.

Comment Re:80386... (Score 1) 338

I used to use Net tamer (a combination PPP client, e-mail client, and web browser) on my 80286 over a 2400 baud modem. This was in 1996... ah the anguish. Seriously though if you want credit for having the least powerful online machine, you have to be able to do something useful with something less powerful than an 80286. Turns out you can browse the web with a Comodore 64.

Comment Started with Slack (Score 1) 867

Here they are (as best I can remember, and excluding any non-linux operating systems):

Ubuntu with unity (got rid of it immediately after installing)
Mint LXDE edition (still using)
Raspbian (still using)

My primary motivation for switching early on was the package manager. I thought RPM would be better than Slackware's lack of a package manager (at the time), but I still ended up in dependency hell. Debian package management is a few steps up from this (love apt-get) , but I wanted more recent software (and libraries) than are in debian stable, so I switched to Kubuntu . I tried Unity, hated it, so moved to Linux Mint, which is basically the same as Ubuntu without Unity.

Comment Re:Was Jesus riding Nessie? (Score 1) 936

>I'd also like to point out that mankind may be having a detrimental effect on evolution. There are too many efforts lead by humans to rescue species that have been slated for extinction.

As evolution doesn't have a predetermined direction or speed, it's difficult to say what is detrimental - that's a value judgement. Evolution is simply the mechanism by which species change to survive and reproduce given their environmental pressures. There's also no slate that marks species for extinction. The reason we rescue species that are almost extinct is that we are causing their extinction, and we also value biodiversity. From a strictly Darwinian perspective, we could say that humans are fitter than those other species, therefore they should go. But at least some of us try not to do that because we value biodiversity and what we can learn from it.

You're right though that we do have the ability to consciously or unconsciously direct evolution. Ever heard of the Aurochs? It now provides the cheese flavor on your Cheetos... well, the "Cheddar cheese" part of it anyway. It is interesting to speculate about how human intervention medical science will direct human evolution over time. We've effectively eliminated most selection pressures, made the infertile fertile, and generally intervened in coupling, fertility, birth and death in every way we can think of. Does this stop evolution or is this evolution at work?

Comment Re:new ending? (Score 1) 256

>I thought A Scanner Darkly was pretty close to the book...

The movie was pretty accurate reading of the events in the book, but the telling of it was lacking. The book is gripping in some ways, but the movie was largely emotionless with flat voice acting and toned down dialogue. For a better passive experience than the movie, I recommend Paul Giamatti's audiobook version.

Comment Re:Class Action Lawsuits suck anyway (Score 1) 470

>I don't have a solution, but I wish I did. The present state of affairs isn't really satisfactory to anyone IMO.

Agreed. I find myself almost on Microsoft's side of this. Our current class action system has devolved into ambulance chasing and legal theft; rare is the class action lawsuit that actually helps someone, or punishes a company for doing something genuinely bad. All they do in general is harass companies into lining lawyer's pockets. The law firms involved are representing themselves and not the plaintiff class, since they have much more to gain.

I would like to propose the following changes to class action law:
1) Class members would have to opt in and not out. If a majority of the class does not care enough to opt-in, the suit cannot proceed.
2) A Law firm representing a class may work on contingency, but may take no more of the award or settlement than the actual costs incurred, with receipts presented to and audited by the court. Class members would be given full access to all receipts, and could protest any of them.

Yes I'm aware that this would cut down on the number of class action lawsuits by 90% or more. I assert that is a good thing. Remaining consumer annoyances can be handled via other mechanisms.

Comment Re:When an electric car should be an easy sell (Score 1) 599

Until a huge breakthrough is made in battery technology, electric cars are doomed to fail, no matter how high the price of gasoline.
Not so sure about that. If electric commuting is 10X cheaper than gas, and you can get by with an electric's range, it would be stupid economically to use gasoline.

Electric cars are too expensive -- it's cheaper to just pay the high gasoline prices.
The Volt is expensive, but it is not a pure electric. It's a very expensive series hybrid. The Leaf is still a bit expensive, but not outrageous.

With batteries, there is no repair or rebuild or get a used one from a junk yard
Incorrect. There are many companies that can recondition a Prius battery, and there will be companies that do the same for Leaf batteries once there is a market demand.

I agree that electric cars aren't for everyone (not even the majority) but there certainly is a market niche in which they are practical and economical and will likely be moreso in the future as gas prices have nowhere to go but up. We have 100s of models of gasoline vehicles to fit every possible buyer's desire, isn't it a good thing to have choices in how your vehicle will be powered?

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.