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Comment Re: 29 years old (Score 1) 432

There is no such thing as "correct" English.

You be writin' in Ebonics in a college English class an' see what da mofuggin teacha say about it, foo.

Spoken English is not written English. Double negatives always parse as positives when written.

The point remains, though, that going by current most-widely accepted theories of linguistics as an academic subject, there is no such thing as a universal "correct" version of English. Grammars and dictionaries are descriptions of the way people speak, not prescriptions for how they should speak. Identifying one variant of language as correct and another as incorrect is a cultural bias, and not an appropriate thing to do while studying the language in question from an academic perspective. Therefore, to make any definitive statement about English grammar, particularly one as controversial as "double negatives always form a positive", is clearly not the kind of thing you would expect an academic in the field of linguistics to say.[1]

This does not mean, however, that they wouldn't prescribe a particular dialect and set of grammatical rules that they expect their students to use. To require a particular variant of a language in a particular context is a matter of practicality, and is somewhat orthogonal to the study of the language from an academic perspective. (Consider that the students could be studying French and writing their essays in English, for example.)

[1] All of which kind-of detracts from the joke. Change the MIT professor to a high-school English teacher and it works much better.

Comment Re:29 years old (Score 3, Insightful) 432

Productive != creative.

At least the places I've worked older workers are more interested in keeping the status quo. When you consider that the hot new thing all the startups want to write in changes every 5-6 years it's no surprise that older workers don't hold as much value.

Creative != using the latest buzzword-compliant language/framework.

The older workers just realize that switching to a new framework will usually end up wasting time that could be spent actually coming up with some interesting ideas for novel features that customers might actually care about. The productivity gains of new environments are marginal if you spend most of your time learning how to use it effectively. You're not going to hit your 10,000 hours to master a skill (per Gladwell's suggestion) if you switch to a new one every 5 years. Or at the very least, you're not going to have chance to do very much with that knowledge once you've obtained it.

Comment Re:Gonna Have to Disagree with You There (Score 1) 658

The smaller the proportion of population sampled the larger the likelihood that the sampling wasn't *truly* random, or representative.

While this is technically true, the effect is small for any realistic sample size and population size, as it proportional to the square root of the fraction of the population who are not included in the sample, so you might as well assume the population you are sampling is infinite (which is how these surveys tend to work out their error margins). While this may make for a sizeable difference between the reliability, say, of a 10%-of-population and a 20%-of-population sample, here we're talking about some numbers that are very close to zero.

For 1,000 people in 300,000,000, sampling population size correction factor of sqrt(299,999/300,000) results in a decrease of error of 0.0002% from those calculated based on infinite population.
For 1,000 people in 16,000,000, the decrease in error is instead based on a factor of sqrt(15,999/16,000), so is 0.004%, meaning that a random survey of 1,000 people in the USA is about 0.0038% less reliable than a similar survey of 1,000 people in a much smaller country.

Comment Re: If it makes you sleep well at night.... (Score 1) 375

The Norman invasion didn't create England. England was created through the uniting of the Saxon kingdoms by Aethelstan in 927.

You consider it the same country even after the Normans trounced you, completely changed the government and aristocracy, and even started to change the language almost beyond recognition. Yeah, right.

As I understand it, although obviously the office-holders were changed, the Normans basically retained the old Anglo-saxon system of government, because they felt it was better than their own. Therefore, as far as I see it, this only differs from what happens in a republic when the governing party loses the election by the means of chosing who gets the power, which seems irrelevant from the point of view of determining whether the country is the same country or not. If the Normans had come in and imposed their own system of government, making England part of a Norman empire, I'd agree with you, but that's not what they did.

Comment Re: If it makes you sleep well at night.... (Score 1) 375

America changes "adminstrations" about every eight years (with the potential to have them change every four.... or more frequently due to "other events"), but that isn't changing governments except in the sense like the British get a new "government" each time they get a new Prime Minister.

Except for the fact that your government (two chambers + head of state) changes completely at this time, whereas only one of our legislative chambers does, and our head of state has the position for life. We have much greater continuity than you do.

Comment Re: If it makes you sleep well at night.... (Score 1) 375

Except the list makes them a single country. It almost seems the choice has been made explicitly to keep the numbers as low as possible.

(Personally, I prefer the "sovereign entity" definition, so would include both UK and Austro-Hungarian Empire as countries, but a project like this really ought to apply some degree of consistency, so should have either both or neither.)

Comment Re:Looking forward to 1st August (Score 2) 85

APK's are signed with what amounts to the normal jar signing process. So either they have found a way to create a hash collision, or there's some other bug in the verification process that allows some unsigned code to be included in the file and executed.

AIUI, at least part of the APK signature verification only happens when you first install the APK. If you modify the file on the data partition (for which you would require root access), you can actually change the code and android does not notice that it no longer has a valid signature. I have done this, years ago, on a Froyo install for a phone that was running on a very slow processor, in order to remove certain delays (e.g. animation of screen on/off, which was taking too long). Nothing ever noticed that the apks had been modified.

Comment Re:Will they just get over it already... (Score 1) 229

I want workstation class ARM processors back. 16 core 4 processor behomith Motherboards to give us on the desk the performance we should have had a decade ago.

Have you looked at the performance of the latest Cortex-A15 chips? Stuff like the Exynos 5 wipes the floor with workstation class processors from only a handful of years ago and at a fraction of the price. The Exynos 5 Dual, clocked at 1.7GHz, performs within a factor of 3 of a core i3-330m (2.1GHz) on many benchmarks, and approaches half its speed on some. Which means it's probably not an awful lot different to my current desktop machine, a first generation core 2 quad. And the quad-core version used in the Galaxy S4 should be even better, as long as you hardwire it to always run on the A15s rather than scaling back to the energy-efficient A9 cores.

Comment Re:Poor premise (Score 1) 229

Most of those are simple resolution changes. Android developers have had to deal with this since day one, iPhone developers were coddled in comparison as their aspect ratio was locked for something like five years.

Yeah, but then Android had the tools to handle it (proper layout managers) while iOS developers had to make do with automatic resizing of controls and not much else.

Comment Re:why? (Score 1) 778

Those kind of attacks are extremely rare these days.

Really? I removed just such a link from a client's web site only a couple of months ago when their shared hosting provider was compromised. And having searched to find what the scripts that were added actually did, I found quite a few reports from other people who had had similar problems. It seems to still happen quite a bit.

Comment Re:Absence of a test suite (Score 1) 641

Being given a big pile of code and being asked to maintain it with no test suite.

Each time you change it you could theoretically be breaking a ton of features. But there's no way to be sure.

I have an idea...write a test suite for it! Or no...perhaps that's too radical an idea.

How do you know which aspects of its behaviour are intentional and which are bugs? What if you miss a test for a corner case that isn't apparent from the documentation and/or source code?

Comment Re:True story (Score 2, Interesting) 641

Mandatory fields in addresses are a truly insidious form of evil. They screw everything up, because not all addresses have the same structure. I've seen address forms that have mandatory house number/name and street name fields (sure, I can fill those in for my parents' address, but you'll get them the wrong way round when you print them out and the delivery might never arrive). Here in the UK, one thing that really annoys me is mandatory county fields, which you see sometimes. Yes, we have counties, but they have officially not been part of our addresses for 15 years now. So why are you insisting I make my address incorrect so I can fill in your form? (For reference, I've lived in one of those locations where my actual county is different to the county my post town's delivery office is in, so putting the county I actually live in in my address was even more incorrect than not including a county at all. I don't think this situation is at all uncommon.)

Comment Re:As the song asks... (Score 1) 358

Because the owner says so

I was expecting an answer from the owner's perspective.

In the original context, interviewing a candidate for a job, it would be highly unlikely the person in front of you is the owner.

Because providing our code to competitors could cause us to lose our competitive edge?

If your program is useful to a competitor, then perhaps the competitor's improvements to your program are useful to you.

Yes, but they would not be obliged to release those improvements (GPL requires release of source only when you distribute to a third party, and most business management software is never distributed to a third party), so it is unlikely that will help.

Better yet, if your program is useful to one of the clients or suppliers who has to interact with you, that could improve your ability to make money.

Most business software would only be useful to somebody in exactly the same line of business, so it is unlikely other users are people you would end up interacting with.

Because there's no point releasing code that wouldn't be useful to anyone other than us?

Then there's no risk in releasing it to anyone else either, is there?

No, but there is a cost (preparing the code, probably adding missing documentation, and certainly a little management and IT staff time organising the actual release) and if there's no benefit, why do it?

Comment Re:NoScript (Score 1) 778

Does this break noscript functionality as well? That would be massively unappealing.

No. NoScript is a plug-in that refuses to load undesirable JavaScript references. They are stopped before they get into your browser.

The mechanism you describe wouldn't work against inline javascript, so I must conclude that this is not how NoScript actually works.

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