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Comment choppy slashdot (Score 1) 488

The choppiest site I've visited on my 4S with iOS7 is slashdot's mobile site. The background of each story is "active" in the sense that when I thumb-down to scroll, the story's background dims to grey. The regular white background returns when I lift my thumb. This, combining this action with scrolling really makes for a choppy experience!

Comment Does ultra low-latency really matter? (Score 1) 177

I am very skeptical of the marketing claims of low-latency human input devices like gaming mice and keyboards. I understand the usefulness of special device configuration (e.g., macro buttons), but does a mouse really need to be polled every 1ms (like Razer mice)? In driving tests, the reaction time of a prepared driver is on the order of 750 to 1000ms ( --- sorry for the paywall). Obviously, driving is not gaming, but let's suppose a gaming reaction time is half this: 375ms to 500ms. Let's compare two mice: one polls at 1ms and the other polls at 10ms. With a base reaction time of 375ms, the resulting difference is about 3% at worst, 2% at best. Is low-latency input devices where we should be optimizing a player's performance? Does it really matter all that much? Wouldn't it be better to focus on things such as network latency and possibly even OS schedulers?

I admit, I am not a serious gamer and I don't invest heavily in gaming equipment. I would be very interested in hearing objective opinion from a gamer. Does an input latency 10ms really matter? If so, do you have objective data that can rule out the placebo effect?

Comment They've moved--can't raise a family in the Valley. (Score 4, Interesting) 432

I wonder if it's not so much a function of age, but rather that "older" programmers want to live in a place where they can own a home and raise a family. That is exceedingly hard in the Silicon Valley, even for someone with a well-paid tech job. The cost of a rundown three bedroom bungalow in Cupertino is in excess of one million dollars (Zillow link: A four or five bedroom home is closer to two million. Purchasing such a home is a challenge for even a family with two tech incomes, harder for a family with one tech income and one "normal" income, and damned near impossible for a family with a single breadwinner. Even if you manage to pull off purchasing a home, you've still got a rundown bungalow. Why not go somewhere where you can better enjoy the fruits of your labor?

As a tech worker in his early 30s in the Valley, guys my age talk constantly of moving to Austin, Raleigh, or some other non-Valley tech hub---some place where the idea of raising a family doesn't boggle the mind. I suggest that while age discrimination may be very real, we must also consider that "the old guys" are merely moving out of the Valley. Thus, the average employee age of any company that has the bulk of their operations in the Valley will skew towards the young side. I don't believe it's a coincidence that the average age is less than 30, since 30 is about the age many educated men start a family.

Comment 3D printed guns don't have to look like guns (Score 5, Interesting) 280

It strikes me that a 3D printed gun doesn't need to actually look like a gun at all. Indeed, a 3D printed gun could use colors/markings and form of existing toy guns (a nerf gun that fires real bullets!), or perhaps it could look like a toy dinosaur that actually shoots bullets from its head. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but it never occurred to me during all these discussions about 3D printed guns. Something like this puts security/police/secret service officers facing people armed "toys" in a terrible position.

Comment Oversupply due to China's policies (Score 2) 313

A capitalist economy partly guards against oversupply. However, oversupply has resulted directly from Chinese policies:

Now both American and Chinese solar companies are failing. Further private investment in this oversupplied economy seems unwise; there is a distaste for subsidizing failed business models in the US (at least where green tech is concerned). Perhaps university research is the best alternative investment.

Comment Re:"Uses an X86 Processor" (Score 1) 587

With respect to throughput and multitasking, your desktop OS may be better. Theoretically, a focused game OS may take steps to reduce worst-case latency (real-time OS techniques) and optimize operations for game-related workloads (possibly game-tuned memory allocators?). Unfortunately, console makers are very secretive on how their OSs are designed and implemented. I would be interested to hear from anyone who is familiar with modern game OS development. Is there any secret sauce?

Comment Undesired Side-Effects (Score 0) 559

Normally, I would agree, but I must disagree in this case. The vast majority of people in the U.S. are science-illiterate and easily swayed by sensational headlines (For example, last week slashdot posted a story on how the background radiation in Fukushima is less than that of Denver, yet people panic over radiation exposure in Japan, but not Colorado.). I worry that a similar backlash against GM crops could negatively affect the world's food supply.

While we can disparage crops that have been crafted to withstand copious amounts of insecticide, please keep in mind that there are 7 billion people on the planet, and all of them need to be fed. Much of the world depends upon the United States' agricultural output. GM helps boost this output. While the American consumer can withstand a few cents increase in cost due to decreased food supply, the same increase can trigger food riots in less fortunate countries. If the United States' agricultural output is enhanced by GM, then I'm all for it. I worry that shunning GM food in the US could hurt further investment/development.

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Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy