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Comment Re:Common knowledge (Score 1) 670

Not being an "expert" in any of these languages, I actually RTFA and discovered the following on Page 9: "Jeremy Manson brought the performance of Java on par with the original C++ version. This version is kept in the java_pro directory. Note that Jeremy deliberately refused to optimize the code further, many of the C++ optimizations would apply to the Java version as well." Sounds to me like Java can be as fast as C++. YMMV....

Comment Smartphones Work Pretty Well (Score 1) 143

I have been reading ebooks for ten years, since acquiring my first Palm Pilot. I've evolved my devices to a Toshiba Pocket PC PDA, then a Samsung (Palm) smartphone, and now a Palm Treo Pro (WM). My sources are RSS feeds, Gutenberg classics, free ebooks, and occasionally books downloaded from usenet. About 90% of my reading is electronic, excepting technical books and new fiction I borrow from the library. The small screen sizes have never bothered me nor have I suffered any eyestrain in my 60+year old eyes, which have actually improved with age. I have enjoyed many happy hours reading in lines, in airports, on trains, backpacking, etc. while others fretted or were bored. The only thing I have lost is viewing images and maps, sometimes of value in travel books or some fiction, or reading electronically at a beach, for which I have a supply of paperback "beach" books. However, I can curl up on a sofa or bed and read quite comfortably, without a lamp, or when someone else is driving. Although I do it a lot, I don't "really like" reading online using my 6 lb. 15" notebook and have considered moving to a netbook. But today's smartphones give me nearly everything I need in single device that fits in my shirt pocket, including music, and even limited TV and a basic GPS. However, physical size and professional layout is necessary for most technical books, such as Tufte's, with maps, diagrams, images, etc. So I suspect I will always need some device with the resolution of paper or a bigger screen, until such time as direct eyeball projection devices are perfected and comfortable.

Comment Chickens are smarter than people (Score 1) 184

From "The Chicken Vanishes" by Calvin Trillin The New Yorker, February 8, 1999 ....On my walks from my house in Greenwich Village to Chinatown, I have truly had the custom of taking out-of-town visitors to a Mott Street amusement arcade, otherwise known for video games, where the out-of-towners get to try their hand at playing tictacktoe against a chicken. My wife waits on the sidewalk. She has a low tolerance for video games, and she somehow acquired the impression that requiring a chicken to play ticktacktoe is cruel. ("Cruel!" I say to her. "I've never seen the chicken lose. What's cruel?") The chicken is in a glass cage that is outfitted with the sort of backlit letters common to pinball machines - so that, at the appropriate time, "Your Turn" or "Bird's Turn" lights up. When it's your turn, you push a button on the outside of the cage to light up your "X" in one box or another; when it's the bird's turn, the bird goes behind an opaque piece of glass marked "Thinkin' Booth" and pecks once to produce an "O" in a box you were sort of hoping it wouldn't notice. If you win, you get a bag of fortune cookies. I furnish the entry fee - fifty cents. I am, after all, the host. When I tell the chicken story, I always point out that nearly all the people I take down there have precisely the same response to the the prospect of playing ticktacktoe with a chicken. After looking the situation over, they say, "The chicken gets go go first!" "But she's a chicken," I say. "You're a human being. Surely there should be some advantage in that." Some of my guest, I always report with some embarrassment, don't stop there. Some of them say, "The chicken plays every day. I haven't played in years."

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