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Comment: Re:AT&T 210M Trimline (Score 1) 260

by tlambert (#49756311) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

Is it made out of bakelite? I hope it has a dial, none of this DTMF crap either!

It has DTMF, but there's a switch to make it pulse dial instead of using tones.

PS: Do you perhaps live in St. George Utah? I know for a fact they installed an exchange with stepper relays instead of DTMF decoders a while back, and since they amortize equipment over 20 years, the thing's still inservice.

Comment: Re:The absolute #1 contribution of Java (Score 1) 368

by tlambert (#49754947) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

"Whoosh," is the sound you hear over your head. What's the point of Java?

You really do *not* want the honest answer to this question, but I will give it to you anyway: So people who would otherwise be employed asking "Would you like fries with that?" can get non-performance critical programming jobs.

Why do people use it vs why do people use C/C++ vs. Java? Sometimes you need to be closer to hardware. This is one of those times. Therefore, you wouldn't use Java.

You *always* have to be closer to the hardware:

#1: Almost everything is a mobile device these days; people buy laptops instead of desktops, cell phones music players, etc.. The closer you are to the hardware, the better your battery life, the lower power your processor can be to do the same amount of work, the cheaper the unit price for the lower powered hardware and smaller battery, the lower the cooling system costs (mostly, you can go without them, or operate them on "low"), etc., etc..

#2: Being closer to the hardware lets you reduce the number of blades/servers/PaaS instances that you require in your data center or cloud. This reduces costs, again in terms of cooling, but also in rack space, and power requirements. Facebook rewrote their PHP code to be compiled to binary code, and it saved them over 50% in servers. When you are a startup, and have tons of VC money to throw hardware at a problem, you can get away with not having to worry about those things, but when it's time to get to scale, they start to become major issues.

You can *get away* with not being closer to the hardware... for a *short time*, when you are engaged in rapid churn (e.g. new web UI ever 2 hours), or doing a lot of rewrites or running on hardware that better than the hardware you intend to deploy on, but after that being closer to the hardware is *the overriding thing*.

Comment: Answer to the related question... (Score 1) 260

by tlambert (#49754809) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Dumb Phone?

Answer to the related question... "What smart phones out now are (or can be reasonably outfitted to be) closest to a dumb phone, considering reliability, simplicity, and battery life?".

That's easy: any of them that you don't install all of those crappy, battery-sucking Apps on, and turn off polling for push notifications from Facebook, email, and so on, so they they aren't constantly running the battery down because then they can actually get the application processor into sleep state once in a while without some stupid polling interval waking them up to use more battery every few picoseconds.

Comment: "One is much scarier than the other, why?" (Score 1) 218

by tlambert (#49752721) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

People fear exotic deaths.

Death by lethal injection or beheading, results are the same. One is much scarier than the other, why?

Well, presumably it's because you happen to know when you've murdered someone, you aren't going to be beheaded for it, but the risk of lethal injection is actually real?

Comment: Re:The absolute #1 contribution of Java (Score 1) 368

by tlambert (#49751643) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

so you say that java creates an environment where you can hire developers that don't have MIT master's degrees and you can expect them to be able to do useful work?

This is true, to an extent, for some definition of useful. The JVM is an environment where you can do some types of useful work, without having to be a great coder, and not do too much damage.

I suppose a good analogy would be Commodore 64 BASIC.

Comment: The absolute #1 contribution of Java (Score 4, Insightful) 368

by tlambert (#49750609) Attached to: How Java Changed Programming Forever

The absolute #1 contribution of Java: it has allowed colleges and universities to turn out a generation of coders who are incapable of dealing with pointers, explicit memory management, stack layout, static memory maps, etc., etc..

In other words: a crapload of people with "Computer Science" degrees who could not write an OS or even a trivial part, like the C library signal trampoline, to save their ass, because they are in this walled garden/protected environment where they are "safe" from having to actually deal with real hardware.

Ironically, all of their JVMs on which they are normally running this code are not written in Java, because it's not really practical to do that.

Comment: Re:Thank you - just PR for his presidential run. (Score 4, Interesting) 345

by tlambert (#49748003) Attached to: What Was the Effect of Rand Paul's 10-Hour "Filibuster"?

Two: He also prevented it from passing cloture by unanimous consent, which is really silence. The chair asks a variation of "Without objection, so ordered" and if everyone is silent, it passes. There are no up/down votes, so no up/down vote is recorded

Now people are going to vote yea or nay, and THAT will be on the record for the next election.

Forcing the jackasses to go on the record as to whether or not they support the bill, rather than allowing them plausible deniability on whether or not they would have voted for it is actually a fantastic thing, particularly after the John Oliver interview of Edward Snowden, which basically makes it pretty obvious that the government gets to see you dick/boob picks if the bill is passed.

Comment: Re:Now if only the rest of the country would follo (Score 1) 544

by tlambert (#49744139) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

Our current vaccination rate for measles is not really adequate which allowed an introduced infection to spread a bit and even find a second epicenter due to travel. However, we do have a sufficient immunization rate that it died out fairly quickly. The empirical evidence proves that.

If you are correct, why isn't measles spreading in a big wave across the country right now? Most of the population has never had the measles.

It's not spreading all over because infected people from hot zones like the Philippines are not really doing a lot of traveling to the U.S., and, as I said, after onset of symptoms, people self-quarantine, and after an outbreak, people avoid other people they don't personally know, and avoid large gatherings of people where transmission is more likely.

Vaccination is not 100% effective, but strong border controls on people traveling from hot zones and strict quarantine rules are 100% effective.

Can't have an outbreak without a patient zero...

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