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Comment Re:what is Arimaa? (Score 1) 58

I would be surprised if a high-end smartphone in the world could out-compute a reasonably spec'ed desktop from the early 2000s (which was point at which computers began to rather consistently beat grandmasters.) The lack of CPU fan is the biggest limiting factor of all.

An iPhone 6 can do 77 GFLOPS. Deep Blue could only manage 11 GFLOPS. Now, Deep Blue had specialized VLSI chips that are hard to measure, and chess computations are going to be mostly integer, not floating-point, but the point stands that a modern phone has plenty of computing power for crushing puny meatbags at chess.

Comment Re:Bananas vs Grapes (Score 1) 127

Today's bananas are not the slippery bananas of vaudeville yore. The current cultivar of mass-produced banana is the Cavendish, which replaced the earlier Gros Michel when it started succumbing to widespread outbreaks of the Panama Disease fungus. Apart from having a somewhat different flavor and texture, they also have different peels, with the peel of the Gros Michel supposedly being much slipperier. Thus, the joke used to make a lot more sense (even though banana-related accidents were still a ridiculously rare occurrence in actual life).

Comment Re: The worrisome part (Score 1) 233

Secretly I hope that the next Iphone won't have the killswitch and won't be sold in California. Let's see how long the treehuggers are still in control of this State after that.

You're aware that iPhones have already had Activation Lock since the release of iOS 7 a year ago, before this was mandated by anyone, right?

Comment Freemium vs DLC (Score 3, Interesting) 139

What I wish app stores made it easier to do is to distinguish between apps that offer one-time DLC in the form additional content (e.g. more levels, maps, factions, game modes, etc.) vs freemium apps with repeatable purchases for in-game currency and power-ups (which you need to get around the "free" game's increasing difficulty and enforced waits). The former is fine, and a good way to let people try-before-they-buy, but the latter is a toxic plague of money-grubbing crapware. As-is, I have to do things like drill down into the list of top in-app purchases and read the titles to see if consists of things like "level pack" or "10,000 gems". I'd also love it if they showed what percentage of users buy which in-app purchases, or the median amount of money spent per user on in-app purchases.

Comment Re:Anyone else remember... (Score 2) 126

It's totally possible to build them. They're just going to be twice as thick and 50% heavier than an all-in-one device, so a few weirdos who post on Slashdot will buy them so they can feel smug about how modular their phones are, while everyone else will keep on buying the thinnest, lightest (or cheapest) phones they can find.

Comment Not just games! (Score 5, Funny) 285

Before my daughter gets to ride in a fancy-pants self-driving car, she's going to start in a Model T, with a steering rod and a hand-cranked starter. And that's only if she's mastered horse-riding first! Also, we're only speaking to her in Latin and Ancient Greek for now, gradually working our way up to modern English and Spanish by the time she's around 10. She's gonna love some of these Jacquard Loom games I've printed out from an abandonware punch-card site...

Comment Re: GOOGLE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT ERRORS !!! (Score 3, Insightful) 225

You have no idea what you're talking about. Dropping the occasional search result is fine, but what about failing to record billing for the ad system, dropping mails you were supposed to receive in your Gmail account, or failing to save the doc you were editing? Google does a lot more than serve search results, and most of that needs to work every single time.

The fact of the matter is that even the most expensive hardware eventually fails, so your software needs to be able to deal with it and fall back to working units. Once you've written your software to handle hardware failures, you can run on really cheap hardware. And, it turns out that buying a lot of really cheap computers some of which are broken all the time gets you way more computing power than trying to buy a few really robust machines.

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann