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Comment: Re:FP? (Score 1) 438

by tibit (#48035863) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

I don't think there's anything super-intelligent to it. When you've got a 5-digit number, you need a thousand separator anyway. Whether it's a thousand separator or a decimal point is a matter of preference, but you need *something* to make it easier to read. The imperial system makes it even more readable, since for single-family homes you typically have 2-3 digit number of feet, 1-2 digit number of inches, and then a base-2 fraction of inches. 5'6"1/2 is plenty readable to me. That's 1689mm. Both are 4 digits long. I don't see a clear advantage of using mm.

Comment: Re:So, now HP sells a tablet (Score 1) 178

by tibit (#48035631) Attached to: HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

Breaking down into manageable units shouldn't be conflated with iteration/repetition. Divide and conquer isn't a for loop. Integration by parts isn't a for loop either. The approach for long arithmetics taught in school is quite unproductive, actually, since if you *really* want to multiply and divide quickly by hand, you should be more like Feynman, not like the Japanese abacus guy. By the time I got into high school, I usually was much faster at long arithmetic by doing iterative approximations and trying to extract statements about the properties of the problem. For example, looking at factors, at constraints that must hold for values of some digits, etc. That's what teaches you actual mathematics. Doing long arithmetics, fraction reductions and similar menial stuff for weeks and weeks is a waste of time and I have not read any convincing arguments otherwise. It's a stand-in for unimaginativeness and lack of deep mathematical understanding among the teachers and the curriculum authors. The only reason we do it is because there was a time when it was useful. It's only the lack of historical context that makes people who should know better repeat ad nauseam that "we should do it cuz' it's good". No, it's no good at all. It keeps you back from learning more mathematics.

Comment: Re:Now sharing music is illegal? (Score 1) 151

by tibit (#48030585) Attached to: Grooveshark Found Guilty of Massive Copyright Infringement

I hate to be obvious, but in the U.S. at least, all "recent" music is subject to copyright protection unless the creator specifically places it into public domain (or it is so under law, like works of U.S. gov't employees). To distribute any such music at all you need a license.

Comment: Re:Battery life? (Score 1) 178

by tibit (#48030335) Attached to: HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

And to think that my friend was using a 2009 macbook with 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD until a few months ago. Now it has 4GB of RAM, and while doing development work (Eclipse and another copy of JVM running) and having two accounts logged in, both with Safari open, the swap sits unused, and there's a few pageouts but not too many (a couple thousand per hour)... And this is on Mavericks, which has higher resource needs compared to Snow Leopard.

My kid uses a MBP of similar vintage with 8GB of RAM. It works great even though I'm can't seem to bother to replace the mechanical hard drive with an SSD. On Mavericks you essentially either need an SSD or lots of RAM to cache the underperforming hard drive. Mavericks seems to access the hard drive in such a way that makes mechanical drives seem very sluggish. Minecraft, multiple instances of youtube, etc. -- all work great.

Comment: Re:So, now HP sells a tablet (Score 1) 178

by tibit (#48030175) Attached to: HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

My worry has been that kids in grade schools waste a lot of time doing menial arithmetic while they could have been - gasp - actually learning more advanced math instead. Like, you know, shit that one can use later in college. I really wish I didn't need to do all that long division/multiplication etc. - it was really pointless. I used to believe that it was good. I now know better. The whole reason for menial arithmetic was the Victorian-era-called-need for civil servants - back when nobody had a spreadsheet application to run the numbers back then. A civil servant doing manual math these days in a 1st world country would be probably reprimanded for wasting his or her time.

Comment: Re:now that its not $700 (Score 1) 178

by tibit (#48030115) Attached to: HP Introduces Sub-$100 Windows Tablet

It's probably good enough to do software development on. I can't see it being any slower, CPU-wise, than a Core II duo 5 year old MBP, never mind that it has 2 more cores. It seems like it could be a very good deal - hook up to an external monitor and BT keyboard/mouse and it should be a screamer. It's astonishing how good consumer-grade hardware is these days.

Comment: Re:Ahh yes (Score 0) 157

by tibit (#48028465) Attached to: Apple Fixes Shellshock In OS X

I don't think that those issues have eluded anyone. It's much simpler than that: nobody looked in that mess of code. A lot, and I mean, a lot of core gnu code is sorely due for an overhaul. Heck, I wish they rewrote a lot of it using modern C++ (perahps without iostreams, though). It'd become a much smaller, more manageable code base. Properly done C-to-C++ ports should shed at least 50% of the code outright, possibly much more.

Comment: Re:It seems to me... (Score 1) 443

by tibit (#48028329) Attached to: The Physics of Space Battles

There is no such thing as a reactionless drive. Without reaction you're not changing your trajectory. Like, um, duh. Sure, if you think it's efficient to convert energy into momentum and you've got oodles of energy, you can emit very energetic photons, but the mass is conserved: no matter what your energy source, you craft is losing exactly the same mass as the E/c^2 of the emitted photons. Even a car battery loses the E/c^2 of the energy you take out of it. It's just rather hard to measure :) Of course the photons you emit can carry lots of momentum, linearly proportional to their energy, and you lose the mass proportional to said momentum.

Comment: Re:It seems to me... (Score 1) 443

by tibit (#48023413) Attached to: The Physics of Space Battles

That's precisely the mental model mistake that everyone makes. If all you've got is reaction mass and relatively low Isp thrusters, the requisite orbital momentum changes make any sort of extended maneouvering impossible. If your opponent is in an orbit perpendicular to yours, good luck. It'll be trivial for them to avoid you forever until you rotate your orbital plane. With chemical engines without on-orbit refueling, you can pull that trick off once or twice and that's it. And if you have multiple opponents and they happen to understand that they should have launched in multiple orbital planes, they'll be pretty much invulnerable to any sort of conventional (chemical) propulsion pursuit by a single craft.

Comment: Re:Smells a lot like US v. Microsoft (Score 1) 404

by tibit (#48022447) Attached to: Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

Call me silly, but does Vimeo actually, you know, reliably work?. Every other time I get across a Vimeo link, there's something wrong either with the link itself, or the web player, etc. I don't know what Youtube does right that Vimeo doesn't, but for me, the bad UX just doesn't justify using Vimeo. And this has nothing to do with anything that Google has any influence over, BTW, I'm using neither Chrome nor Chromium, and I'm not following google search result links either.

Comment: Re:worse than crapware (Score 1) 404

by tibit (#48022365) Attached to: Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

Hangouts is a conferencing tool. It's most definitely not something that was designed for teens. It's a Google alternative to Skype. It's also not true that the crapware always runs. Sure, it's part of the factory image, but it never needs any additional space, and it's stored compressed on that image. Simply uninstall any updates to it and disable it. Done and gone.

If you think the system is working, ask someone who's waiting for a prompt.