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Comment: Re:Isn't Government wonderful? (Score 1) 146

It may be a private company, large portions of UK (and US I believe) functions are performed by private contractors and have been since the 1980s.

That said, even if it isn't, this experience is something most of us have suffered over the last 15 years from public and private entities. Most have ended up capitulating under pressure to knock it off with the "IE6 only" BS, in part because Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) forced the issue with IE7 and its follow-ons, itself in part because too many people liked Firefox for Microsoft's comfort.

It shouldn't surprise anyone there's still "IE only" crap out there. Especially amongst organizations that are (1) large, and (2) constantly cutting their budgets and having to apply "defered maintenance" to everything they do to stop going under.

And those budget cuts are, for the most part, the fault of the same people who insist governments are always incompetent.

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 1) 83

I think of all the times anyone has tried to explain it to me, this is the one that clicked. If I'm understanding correctly, they're (electrons, photons, et al) not really either a "particle", as I think of it (like you say, teeny tiny baseballs with well defined boundaries and positions), or a "wave", but entirely different animals that happen to have some, not even all, of the features of both.

Thanks (assuming I didn't misunderstand!)

Comment: the difference us in the SQL (Score 4, Informative) 40

by WebCowboy (#49342103) Attached to: Michael Stonebraker Wins Turing Award

Postgres is the predecessor of PostgreSQL. Postgres used a different query language when it was still a university project led by Stonebraker. Postgres was the next project after Ingres as the name suggests, and its query language was originally similar...called QUEL instead os SQL or something like that.

Postgres forked into two code bases after the university project ended. Stonebraker started a company called Illustra to sell a commercial version of Postgres. Informix eventually bought Illustra and called it Online Dynamic Server if i recall, and by the time IBM bought informix this sibling of Postgres was the flagship product.

The second fork of postgres was picked up by former students of Stonebraker (initially Joly Chen if i recall and one or two others..too lazy to google for the details). They introduced a SQL parser front end of their own and called the initial release Postgres95 v1.x since it was the fad MSFT started to use years in product names, and also resetting the version number given the changes in features and management (postgres was at version 4.x).

When it came time to release the next major version the name was looking dated and redundant since there was still a release number. So the name became PostgreSQL as it was more meaningful (the primary feature difference being the query language). The version number was then "un-reset" too...postgres95 1.x being considered as 5.x and the first PostgreSQL named release being 6.0.

So yes, postgres isn't the same as postgresql. It is mist accurately described as the father of PostgreSQL and Informix. Architecturally the latter two are essentially the same, but their SQL parsers are unrelated as they were each developed post fork, plus the codebases diverged quite significantly over the past 20 years.

They are both fantastic databases by the way...they wipe the floor with mysql. To say postgreSQL is not web scale are ignorant and probably last used it in the 1990s if at all. It truly kicks butt for full text search, geospatial data for mapping or survey data, astronomy and so on. It is 10+ years ahead of Microsoft SQL server or mysql at that stuff as well as things like multi version concurrency...i was spoiled by PostgreSQL MVCC when i had to contend with rows and tables being locked until transactions wete committed in other RDBMSes.

MySQL has no extensibility, nowhere near the rich set of data types or extensibility, and is not optimised for write heavy ACID transaction stuff. MySQL is great for your CD collection or your blog or whatever, but PostgreSQL is still far superior for accounting/erp/mapping/etc, though i do acknowledge MySQL/MariaDB has gotten "good enough" it is far frpm the best.

And dont start with me on noSQL. Its a great hammer but only some applications are nails, even at "web scale".

Congratulations to Dr Stonebraker. His legacy in the industry is impressive and his work has led to a Free database project that can truly take on the big O on many serious fronts.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 481

by squiggleslash (#49336325) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

No, it's completely understandable and shouldn't even be thought of as strange to seasoned programmers.

The critical issue is there's a difference between calling an I/O function like write, and actually manipulating the IDE control lines on a hard disk. Typically for the former, the operating system is sitting there buffering things up in a relatively simple, uncomplex, way - ie it has some memory allocated, a pointer, and when you call the function all it does is copy the bytes to the memory and increment the pointer as needed. Once either enough time has passed, a critical function has been called, or enough data has been written, the OS then starts manipulating the IDE control lines to write the data.

Now, the comparison becomes "the OS's buffer handling" vs "Your language of choice's string handling and garbage collection algorithms." For C, chances are you're as good as the OS as C's string handling is extremely uncomplicated and bare metal. For almost anything else - such as Python and Java, both tested in this scenario - you're likely to end up with the OS handling some situations more quickly than your language would.

Does it make sense now? It should. There are very few programmers this should surprise. Unfortunately, I know quote a few that will be...

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 4, Interesting) 83

You think you have problems? I'm still trying to get my head around "It's both a particle... AND a wave!". How the f--- does that work? It doesn't even make any sense! It's insane! Wave things are not particles, and particle things are not waves!

(Note: yes, I know, it's true, I've seen the double slit experiment et al, I'm not doubting the science, I'm just saying my brain is too small to understand it. So put me in a position where I have to understand that something is in every state possible until observed, and... well, the worst part is I can visualize it, but only in a way I know deep down is wrong...)

Comment: That's a waste of time (Score 1) 60

by WebCowboy (#49332995) Attached to: Facebook Engineering Tool Mimics Dodgy Network Connectivity

Why explain anything? Anyone worth my time has my phone number and/or email. The only response required to queries about me and facebook can be "phone me" or "email me" or "text me".

If anything, using facebook is more trouble than picking up a phone or tapping out an email or sms, and NSA dragnets notwithstanding less intrusive as well. So after signing up years ago and getting poked and having sheep thrown at me for a couple months my account has been virtually dormant since.

Comment: Re:Marketing over primary function of searching (Score 1) 232

by squiggleslash (#49304611) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

That might actually be an artifact of the same bugs that caused Google recently to embarassingly change searches like "famous female scientists" into "Searching instead for 'famous male scientists'. Click here to search for 'famous female scientists'"

There appears to be a lot of crap in Google's algorithms they're still trying to dig out that assumes synonyms of completely opposite words. Which is one of the many reasons why Google's searches tend to be miss rather than hit nine times in ten these days.

Comment: Re:Well no shit! (Score 2) 232

by squiggleslash (#49304583) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

That's because their search system is crap. You ask for a Bluetooth Mouse, they'll search for anything that has Bluetooth, Mouse, or the word "The" in it (yes, I know you didn't type "The" - that's how stupid it is) It's a rare day I search for anything and more than 50% of the first page of searches actually relate to what I wanted - as in, at the very least, have all the keywords I specified.

It has nothing to do with Amazon Basics, which I doubt even makes Amazon any more money than their regular inventory.

Comment: Re:I just don't care (Score 1) 232

by squiggleslash (#49304549) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

No they don't, unless you're using a custom operating system. I installed the Bing app and disable Google services on my old Galaxy Nexus (which runs an official Google version of Android) and now that search box searches using Bing.

In fact it's kinda annoying, because I didn't do either of those in order to get that result (wanted to try the Bing app at one point and happened to have it on my phone, and in an entirely unrelated process was having problems with my handsfree and found the only way to cut off the - broken and unusable anyway - voice dialing was to disable Google search altogether.) But that's besides the point.

Try it. Disable Google Search (Settings -> Apps -> All -> Google Search -> Disable), reboot, install Bing from Google Play, run it, and reboot again. See what happens when you use that box now.

Comment: Re:It is time to get up one way or the other (Score 1) 1089

by squiggleslash (#49297861) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

To be honest, the people most ignorant seem to be those who keep going on about how ignorant the other voters are.

Here's a question: what, exactly, do you vote on the basis of.

Is it (a) You believe Candidate A will pass the Good Things I Agree With Bill?

Or is it (b) You believe Candidate A has the judgement and values to make the best decisions for the country?

Most people whining about how ignorant other voters are think (a). They think other voters are ignorant because they haven't educated themselves on exactly what issues are before Congress et al.

But (a) is an utter waste of time. You will never get a candidate, even if they weren't fucking corrupt, who will agree with you on every single issue. Moreover, YOU will never be informed enough because there are far too many issues out there you don't even think about. But you're a software developer (or some other kind of geek) so you ignore that, you think you know everything, you think you've thought of everything, and you complain about the other voters being ignorant.

Whereas, actually, for the most part, the other voters - the ones you keep writing off - have an easy decision to make. Which one do they trust more to make the right decisions.

Actually, they do have an informed enough opinion on that, even if they end up deciding the wisest course of action is to check all the boxes in the {Party they prefer}.

Which is fine, because that's the entire point of political parties anyway.

So knock off the "Too many ignorant people" crap. It reveals much more about the person making the claim than the voting population.

Comment: Re:meanwhile (Score 1) 342

by squiggleslash (#49285603) Attached to: UK Chancellor Confirms Introduction of 'Google Tax'

Funnily enough everyone wants a lot less regulation. What we want are only those regulations we agree with to be in force (and maybe a few extra regulations here and there that we think should exist, though we never think it's anything like the number that'd get cut.)

I think even Stalin was in favor only of the laws he agreed with, and wanted everything else removed from the rule books.

Libertarianism is truly the wildcard of politics. Everyone's a libertarian, at least as defined by the promoters of the concept. The term is meaningless.

What makes your politics are not the number of rules you want, but what rules stay and what rules go.

Comment: Re: Transparency in Government is good! (Score 1) 334

Voting only changes nothing when you vote to change nothing. That is why you have no change. The vast majority of Americans vote for a Democrat or a Republican, and both represent status quo.

If America really wanted change they would yake their votes seriously, study all the options and vote for candidates that represent neither democrats nor republicans because the track record of both is quite clear--no matter what is said by candidates of either of those parties you get the same thing.

It has to be driven by voters too. Independents and third parties wont run for office in great numbers unless voters support then in great numbers and voters must be the ones to break the cycle. Nobody will care to run for office that is truly different until voters care to have a different government. Voters dont care and dont actually vote. The ones that bother to go to the voting station are often not really voting, they are just picking a name because it is the incumbant or because it was the one on the most campaign signs and tv ads.

American government is an example of what happens when people DON'T vote, not that change doesnt happen despite voting.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle