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Comment PHP makes it hard to do things right (Score 2) 435

Out of the box, PHP's mysql interface makes you concatenate/interpolate strings yourself to compose the SQL, and you have to manually escape parameters. In short, it requires extra work for programmers to do things right. All of those "Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours" books aren't going to help, either.

In contrast, almost all other programming languages make it easy to do the right thing. For example, Perl DBI and JDBC both encourage you to use '?' placeholders, which are automatically filled in by parameters. It takes no extra work to avoid SQL injection, and your code ends up being cleaner too.

Comment Also, can't share IDs because Siri is stateful (Score 2) 403

Another thing to consider is that Siri remembers things about you. For example, you can tell it "Justine is my mom", then later say "Call mom". Also, there are sessions — your command can be a interpreted in the context of recent commands. I would guess that the state is saved on the server side and tied to your unique ID. If so, then sharing an ID among multiple users would result in a nasty user experience, and would certainly defeat the point of Siri's more intelligent features.

Comment Worry about the movie and book industries instead (Score 5, Insightful) 472

The music industry has already lost. They lost it in 1979 when the compact disc was released. At the time, there were no PCs, 650 MB was a huge amount of data that couldn't be stored cheaply by other means, producing a CD required a factory, and strong encryption was hardly possible to implement in a consumer-grade CD player. As soon as the CD-R was invented, it was possible for average users to make cheap lossless copies. When the Internet became popular, all modern music was already digitized; sharing it was just a trivial matter of compression and hosting. You might argue that the current legal framework lets the music industry inflate their prices, but really, it's hard to beat the convenience of being able to download almost any commercially available piece of music imaginable, DRM-free, for around $1 per track. The music industry was the first to be digitized on a large scale, even before the movie and book industries, and are in a relatively weak position as a result.

The movie / TV industry was lucky to have the DVD come out after all those technological innovations, and learned from the music industry's misfortune. Today, the video market is so consumer-unfriendly that one could reasonably argue that piracy gives you a better product with fewer hassles. (If you pirate music, though, you're just a cheapskate.) For example, just try to purchase a movie without DRM, region coding, or unskippable segments. Try to purchase computer or video equipment without Macrovision, region coding, or HDCP. We don't even have a mainstream patent-free video codec. It's all those technological encumbrances that make the movie industry an even greater threat to the future of computing and media consumption than the audio industry ever was.

Surprisingly, the e-book industry is even more technologically backward than the movie industry. In addition to DRM, it also suffers from marketplace fragmentation. The display technology is new, and the handful of hardware manufacturers are as eager to control the distribution mechanism as the content publishers. The stakes are higher, too. If the music and movie industries manage to strangle themselves, we mainly lose a corpus of entertainment. If books are replaced by specialized gadgets with uncopyable, unlendable, unprintable, and remotely erasable e-books, that would be a serious step backwards for humanity.


Submission + - Apple's XCode IDE Is No Longer Free (apple.com) 1

GlobalEcho writes: Apple has historically made its development tools available free to anyone willing to register on their website and wait for a 1GB download. Starting with XCode 4, the software will cost $4.99 for anyone not already a paid member of their Registered Developer program ($99/year). The new version will now come as an App Store download.

Comment NeoOffice (Score 1) 436

The NeoOffice UI layer is written in Java, and according to the developers, would have been difficult to implement natively. The Vuze (Azureus) BitTorrent client and InterMapper Remote are also implemented in Java. In fact, Java applications on the Mac can look just like native ones, so it's often not obvious when Java is being used.

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