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Comment Re:Dunno (Score 1) 4

Yup. We'll see if it lasts better than Technocrat. Hopefully enough people will move over that it will have momentum. I'm willing to give it a go - I'll avoid checking Slashdot for a few weeks and see if Soylent picks up enough to be a viable replacement.
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Journal Journal: Soylent News 4

I've not been posting on Slashdot much this week, because I've been trying out Soylent News, which is using (and old version of) Slashcode (with some improvements) and lacks corporate overlords. It seems to have captured most of what I like about discussions in Slashdot, although is suffering slightly from not having nearly as many active users (50 or so comments is still the norm and it probably needs 100+ to be sustainable).
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Comment Re:Very old games (Score 1) 669

I should try it again. I found it frustrating on my 400MHz machine that gameplay became really slow when the map became complex (2-3 minutes for all of the AI turns to run really breaks immersion), but on a modern machine it's probably quite a lot faster.

Actually, thinking about how long I spent playing it, maybe I shouldn't...

Comment Re:FTL Faster Than Light (Score 2) 669

Don't start playing FTL unless you have a lot of spare time. It's about as addictive as Civilisation was back in the day - one of those games where you think you'll just explore a couple more systems and then realise that two more hours have elapsed. It's periodically on sale on GOG: I got it for $2.50, and it's been $5 a few times. I probably wouldn't have paid full price for it based on the screenshots, but based on the gameplay I'd say it would definitely be worth it. I think they priced it a bit too high though - at $2.50 it was an impulse purchase and I didn't care if I only played it a couple of times, and I suspect a lot more than four times as many people would have bought it on the same principle than would pay $10 for it. At $10, you most likely won't buy it unless you're pretty sure you'll enjoy it.

Comment Re:Didn't stop Amazon (Score 1) 168

Amazon launched their app store long before they launched the Kindle Fire. It's not tightly integrated with the Kindle line, and you can download it as an apk. There's nothing stopping other manufacturers from building their own custom Android version and shipping the Amazon store by default. There's also F-Droid, which maintains a large repository of open source Android apps, and also makes available the infrastructure that they use to build it, so creating a vendor-specific app store with a moderate set of applications as a bootstrap would be quite easy.

Comment Re:Didn't stop Amazon (Score 1) 168

I was quite impressed with the Kindle Fire. My stepfather got one for Christmas, and is now using it as his primary computer. It was very easy to set up and use. I did find the pervasive adverts somewhat annoying, but from a UI perspective Amazon has done a pretty good job at implementing something that is easy for non-technical users to set up and run. The walled garden aspect is quite troubling though, and more so given that it's quite an appealing garden: no one would care about walled gardens if they didn't contain things people wanted.

Comment Re:Make it complete without Google apps (Score 1) 168

I had a look, and all of the proprietary Android apps that I'm currently running are available on the Amazon store, which you can download as an apk. I'd love to have a phone with the Amazon store and F-Droid installed by default, but without any of the Google things. If the device manufacturer would guarantee OTA security updates for 4-5 years, I'd buy one today.

Comment Re:Performance (Score 2) 136

JavaScript is quite different in its use from most languages that live in VMs. Java or .NET applications, for example, tend to be quite long-lived and often CPU dependent, so spending a couple of seconds at the start optimising them can be a big win. The VM will then build some profiling data and recompile things based on that, and may do some other tricks.

With JavaScript, in most cases, the thing that users care the most about is load time. It's often better to use a simple AST interpreter for JavaScript than a clever compiler, because you can start executing the interpreter as soon as you've got the text. If you spend more than a few ms getting the JS ready to run, users notice even if the resulting code is faster.

The 'often' is the important bit here, because some pages use JavaScript extensively for animations, games, and so on. In this case, users will notice if it's slow. They'll also notice if it's eating all of the CPU on their mobile device and flattening the battery. It's better in this case to switch to an optimised compiled representation as soon as possible, because you can get away with running the game slowly for a few second (while it's typically loading assets and displaying splash screens anyway), but after that people notice.

In both cases, after a while you've got some useful profiling data and so you want to recompile and generate more optimised code (unless it's just doing menu animations and the JavaScript is using 1% of your CPU, in which case the compiler is likely to consume more CPU time than the compiled code will save). Ideally, you want to do this in the background, on another core (or, at least, on a lower-priority thread on the same core), because otherwise you're interrupting the thing that the user cares about to run the compiler.

Comment Re:This is worth a Slashdot article? (Score 1) 136

Especially if they've set the thread priorities correctly. The compilation thread should have a lower priority than the interpreter thread, so it will run in the gaps where the interpreter is waiting for input (and a little bit anyway). The interpreted code will be slower than compiled, and may remain interpreted[1] for longer, but the compiler won't be preempting the real work, as happens when they do it synchronously.

[1] 'Interpreted' in V8 really means compiled with no optimisations.

Comment Re:What Google apps _do_ people really care about? (Score 1) 163

I tried Google Maps a bit, and then switched to OSMAnd. It was about the only Google app I used, although I don't know if the Android Browser is developed anymore now that Google has shifted all of their focus to Chrome. I would love to be able to get a reasonable Android phone with F-Droid installed as the default market and no Google stuff.

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Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.