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Comment: Movie doesn't consider its own implications (Score 3, Interesting) 175

by sapphire wyvern (#46090013) Attached to: An OS You'll Love? AI Experts Weigh In On <em>Her</em>
I think Robin Hanson's commentary on the movie's lack of internal consistency is valid. I don't think Slashdot supports spoiler-hiding, so I'll just leave a link rather than quoting plot-relevant sections of the post. But his conclusion is:

This is somewhat like a story of a world where kids can buy nukes for $1 each at drug stores, and then a few kids use nukes to dig a fun cave to explore, after which all the world’s nukes are accidentally misplaced, end of story. Might make an interesting story, but bizarre as a projection of a world with $1 nukes sold at drug stores.

http://www.overcomingbias.com/2014/01/her-isnt-realistic.html#sthash.m9uOR6Cg.dpuf

Comment: Re:Booo, hissss (Score 1) 250

Fourth: Tabs under the address bar please. I don't care about your ideas about how it's illogical, I am more likely to want to change tabs than to click on the address bar, and if I need to get to the address bar I can use ctrl-L or alt-D.

I agree that I'm more likely to want to switch tabs. But that's the exact reason why tabs on top is better. When the top of the tab bar is flush with the top of the desktop (with your browser maximised or aligned to the top of the desktop), all the tab buttons are effectively infinitely tall because you can just smash the mouse vertically upwards and only need to precisely navigate in the horizontal axis. This (by Fitz's Law of GUI design) makes it faster to switch between tabs by mouse.

This is the design principle which led to the Mac's use of a fixed menu bar at the top of the desktop for all applications.

Comment: Re:Choice of average (Score 2) 374

by sapphire wyvern (#43638843) Attached to: Why US Mileage Ratings Are So Inaccurate

Because the test course is a fixed length and profile, and they're comparing the number of gallons consumed between vehicles to complete the standardised course.

M/g with fixed M and varying g means that the denominator is changing.

It would be difficult to test the cars on a fair yet realistic basis if you had to drive along some kind of (varying) course until you have consumed exactly one gallon and then measure the distance you have travelled.

Volume / distance is a better metric anyway because it's easier to correctly compare the performance of two vehicles. Your fuel savings suffer from diminishing returns from increasing MPG. An improvement from 10 MPG to 20 MPG (halving your fuel consumption) is much, much, much bigger than an improvement from 40 MPG to 50 MPG (cutting your fuel consumption by only 20%). But an improvement of 1 GPM, or 1 L/100 km, is always going to yield the same amount of savings no matter what your baseline is.

This is particularly relevant when you consider that for most use cases, the amount of travel a particular person needs to do is a fixed variable and the type of vehicle they drive (and hence fuel efficiency) is the independent variable. People choose a car based on their needs; they don't select their commuting route based on the kind of car they drive.

Comment: Re:What is "GNU/Linux?" (Score 1) 320

by sapphire wyvern (#43616087) Attached to: RMS Urges W3C To Reject On Principle DRM In HTML5

Busybox may well be the most deployed Linux distribution.

But, in terms of actual person-hours of interactive use (as opposed to quiet background service provision), Android would curb-stomp Busybox as the most popular distribution.

Same would apply for most-popular on a brand recognition & loyalty basis. Everyone knows what Android is and it has a lot of actual fans (and fanboys); only a few software and hardware engineers have heard of Busybox.

Comment: Re:What did they think was going to happen? (Score 1) 290

by sapphire wyvern (#43345519) Attached to: Falling Windows RT Tablet Prices Signify Slow Adoption

If you could target Windows RT with win32 desktop code, I'm sure many of the proprietary vendors would happily release arm versions of their products.
But the need to target a whole new set of platform APIs (Metro /Modern) for apps on the Windows Store / WinRT makes the barriers to entry significantly higher for the proprietary vendors.

Access to the source code is only required if the end users need to do the build themselves. Obviously a big advantage of FLOODS is that you're not as dependant on a vendor's business case to target a new platform, but I don't think there's much enthusiasm for targeting metro amongst OSS enthusiasts.

Comment: Why would you want to know about existing patents? (Score 1) 92

by sapphire wyvern (#43268351) Attached to: Can Innovation Be Automated?

Why would you want to search existing patents, especially in software?

Patents, particularly software patents, are written to be incredibly general and almost entirely devoid of anything that's actually useful.

All you would get from searching for patents would be wilful infringement liability and treble damages when the patent holder sues you.

Maybe patents for physical processes and inventions are more useful to someone doing novel work?

Comment: Re:VP8 is terrible (Score 1) 112

by sapphire wyvern (#43111887) Attached to: Google and MPEG LA Reach VP8 Patent Agreement

How much you'll have to pay Google for the royalty-free license, or whether Google will subsidize the cost for all VP8 users has not yet been announced, as far as I can tell from TFA.

Am I fundamentally misunderstanding some terminology here? It seems to me that a royalty-free licence is, by definition, free as in beer. Isn't that what royalty-free means?

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

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