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Comment Re:Pseudoscience? (Score 1) 250

And the fact that our conscious short-term memory holds 7 "items", not bits -- the items can be digits, words, names, faces, or objects -- continues to show just how un-like a computer the brain really is.

You know actually, in computers, we call these "pointers" or "references" ;)

I agree with your general point, however.

Comment Re:Pulling it between layers of abstraction. (Score 1) 250

Couldn't it just be that we do not really have direct access to the raw computational capacity of the brain? There are savants and people who have trained themselves tremendously who can do arithmetric like this, using memory tricks and such. Wouldn't that be more like a hack to "reach down" to utilize the low-level capacity of the brain?

Quite right, and described here by the Abstraction Inversion antipattern.

Which is to say, it's nothing specific to a brain, but a common occurrence in systems of any kind, including computers (quick, multiply 357 * 289 on your Wii... no, going to the browser and asking Google doesn't count).

People can learn methods to do fast math, and this guy (who specifically points out he's not mentally 'different') has books that teach you his methods.

The fact the article's author appears surpised at the notion we can't outright address a set of neurons in order to perform algebra is probably a clear sign that the article is targeted at the less-than-informed-and-easily-impressed general public. The generic references to "some scientists", "psychologists think" and "we have brain traffic jams" with no particular reference or support doesn't help either.

Comment Ratonale? (Score 2, Insightful) 510

At my job, I've had a less than favorable history with Oracle that I'm not going to get into — rather let's just say I never want anything to do with them again.

I'd like to think people who deal with technology are rational, so if in your dealings with Oracle you have learned of some objective reason why people should avoid OpenOffice.org now, I believe you should share it, if your contract allows.

If there's no objective reason, then quite simply keep using OpenOffice.org and keep an eye on the situation between Oracle and LibreOffice.org.

In our daily lives we use the services of companies that have wronged us by means of poor policy, or unprofessional employees, but if we took a hard stance every single time and dropped everything, even at no clear alternative, society would not last for long.

If you live in US, did you stop using oil fuel and oil based products (i.e. basically almost everything around you) when the BP oil spill happened? I guess not.

Comment Re:Illustrates importance? (Score 1) 135

Don't confuse "uses" with "has".

When Nokia ships a phone with customized Android, their money/time investment into it is magnitudes lower than that of creating another platform from scratch (relatively speaking).

Although, you reveal another problem of the industry, which is treating the OS just some nuisance they need in order to peddle their low-margin hardware, with no regards for consistency, quality, or long-term effects.

It's why smartphones, tablets and PDA were dying as concepts, before Apple came and injected enough hype back into them so Nokia, HTC etc. start trying again.

Comment Illustrates importance? (Score 2, Insightful) 135

Of course, this also illustrates Symbian's importance to Nokia's smartphone plans, even though the company is also developing phones that run the Linux-based Meego OS.

To me this illustrates that Nokia is not aware of the 80/20 rule and has no focused coherent strategy for their OS platform.

At the same time as Nokia's competitors are hard at work proving the world needs only one smartphone platform, and it's their one platform, Nokia is one company making two platforms...

Comment Re:Wow.... (Score 1) 641

I don't get it. JRockit was always proprietary. Why should they make it free just because they have the good sense to consolidate their JVM projects into one?

Tech-inclined people like to complain how their non-technical bosses are easily swayed into bad tech choices.

It seems tech people as just as easily swayed into silly conclusions by fact-free ideology and hearsay.

To me, this article defines a very good future for Java, to both those using the open JDK, and those needing more in the enterprise. I'm sure once the echo chamber gets tired of their "Oracle is evil" chant, they'll figure out they've spent all this time screaming wolf over nothing.

Comment If you need an answer... (Score 1) 121

the questions are 'Will this automatic rewriting cause other problems, i.e. browser quirks?'

A snippet out mod_pagespeed's "rewrite CSS" filter:

"CSS minification is considered moderate risk. Specifically, there is an outstanding bug that the CSS parser can silently lose data on malformed CSS. This only applies to malformed CSS or CSS that uses proprietary extensions. All known examples have been fixed, but there may be more examples not discovered yet. Without this the risk would be low. Some JavaScript code depends upon the exact URLs of resources. When we minify CSS we will change the leaf name of the file (although leave it in the same directory). This could break such JavaScript."

Yet their own examples show other risks, as they rewrite CSS selectors from longer selectors to completely different short selectors (i.e. from "div.class span" to "#id"), which even in their examples are only superficially equivalent, and not taking into account any dynamic content the page may render via JS. So any application utilizing JS would suffer a range of awkward issues, even if your code is perfectly valid.

Talking about valid code, one of their other filters:

"The quote removal filter eliminates unnecessary quotation marks (either "" or '') from HTML attributes. While required by the various HTML specifications, browsers permit their omission when the value of an attribute is composed of a certain subset of characters (alphanumerics and some punctuation characters)."

The rest is predictable and of little use: cache headers, image compression, JS minification, CSS/JS outlining/inlining, whitespace collapsing, and removing attributes that specify defaults. Those are all basic and low yield optimizations that any web developer would, for the most part, have done in his original source to begin with.

Unfortunately Google's expertise in searching doesn't automatically transfer into other areas, and this clumsy tool, which at best does little, and at worst produces broken code, is definitely one of their weaker efforts.

If Cotendo intends to force this option on their users without an opt-in (the press release doesn't clearly say), then that's one distribution network I'm definitely not using.

Comment Re:Need a better client-side scripting language (Score 1) 141

Why, oh why did javascript become the defacto client-side scripting language for the browser
If you want to scale horizontally across multi-cores, you need a language that allows easy multi-threading and concurrency
About the only thing JS offers for concurrency is that horrid settimeout function

What we need is a better scripting language
Why not incorporate a Python interpreter into browsers, and develop a stripped down sub-set of python for use on the web
I see no technical issues in doing this, only trying to battle the inertia of JS

I want to correct you on two confusions. First, while setTimeout relies on a timer, but once the event occurs, the user handler is executed synchronously within the primary thread, and its semantics don't allow for parallel execution without serious side effects. You can use setTimeout to simulate cooperative tasking, but not for implementing actual multi-core concurrency.

And second: Web Workers is gradually being adopted by browsers, which is the tool for implementing concurrency: a safe alternative to raw threading. This is a threaded and simplified implementation of the Actor pattern, a background thread that you feed some input, and it's executed isolated in parallel and then returns results in an event back to your primary thread.

Don't confuse a language with the browser API, and don't assume languages and APIs are frozen in time. Other things coming to JS/HTML these days are audio processing, video playback and even OpenGL (WebGL), as you may know, so I'd say JS is keeping up with the times adequately.

Comment Re:Paging lawyers (Score 1) 262

Does a guy with a blog who occasionally posts a video of his cat acting stupid, and has a google ad just to try to defray a bit of the hosting costs, count as "for profit"?

The definitions I've read say that if end users have free access to the video, then it remains royalty free. Including if he has other products or ads on the site. If the guy wants to sell the video itself for, say $0.49 over PayPal, he may have to give a fraction of a cent to MPEG LA.

Comment Re:Adobe has one (Score 2, Insightful) 126

Semi-closed platforms like the iphone/ipod where the proprieters have turned their back on flash?

The introduction of yet another semi-functional Flash alternative is doing nothing to change this position, as it's a practical position, not one of open source ideology. Having it in Java makes this even less interesting to Apple.

Steve Jobs, like any other mobile maker, can have full access to the actual Flash player source code, if he only wanted it. Maintaining an independent port is not cheaper than simply fixing the one Adobe provides.

Comment Adobe has one (Score 5, Informative) 126

Adobe (back then Macromedia) used to ship Flash in two version: native binary and Java version in the days when Java applets were popular. They stopped developing it around the time Flash 4 was out, because the tables have turned: Java applets were going down, while Flash was going up.

The article never mentions any reason as to why this player was developed, and I'm struggling to come up with a reason myself, as it's easier to port the native runtime to any platform, than maintain an independent copy in a constant "catch up" mode.

Comment Re:Still waiting for my Smartbook (Score 2, Insightful) 497

When are all those ARM-based netbooks with Linux that we were promised going to show up? I'll take one with a Tegra 2 processor, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, and a Pixel Qi display please!

I'll pay extra for one in a form factor more like a Macbook Air, with a little extra screen, decent sized trackpad, etc.

Hello? Anybody out there?

Shhh... Keep quiet. We're currently really busy copying Apple and failing faster than you can say "and one more thing".

Comment Re:I'm torn (Score 1) 548

I'm torn.

Is this a good thing for creating verifiable stats on the number of users, or a bad thing because of the "phone home" behaviour.

At least it's not doing this secretly...

I'm also torn.

When people on this site are presented with information that conflicts their sanitized ideal of "FOSS vs the evil corporations", they just declare the conflict and refuse to analyze it, or reconcile it with their world view.

At least they're saying something.

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