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Comment Re:Not all religions are bad (Score 1) 910

Leviticus 11 also says that God's followers shouldn't eat pork, but that doesn't stop millions of Christians around the world from having their morning bacon.

Claiming a biblical basis for homophobia makes most Christians hypocrites who selectively apply the bible to support their prejudices. They should admit that they're against it for the eww-factor and not because their religious beliefs dictate it.

Comment Node.js? (Score 1) 287

If you're bound and determined to use a scripting language (which, from what you listed, you appear to be), why not use the same language on the server side as you do on the client? It will allow you to share code on both sides and there's plenty of reasonable MVC frameworks that will work on Node. And Node should out-perform PHP and Ruby and likely Python as well.

I tend to lean towards the Java/Spring approach, but I've been pleasantly surprised with Node.

Comment Does she like to read? (Score 1) 155

Games aren't the only thing that will mentally challenge someone...hell, most iPad games don't.

If you want an inexpensive tablet-format device that will mentally challenge her, get a Kindle or a Nook. They're great for elderly people because they allow the font to be increased for easy viewing. And with the tight integration with Amazon/B&N, she wouldn't have to get out of bed to order new books. The Kindle even has some pretty fun games, though the eInk screen makes the interface crap (Nook might have them to...I don't own one, so I can't say.)

Best of all, it fits in the "cheap" category coming in at roughly 1/5 the price of the cheapest iPad. And it they need charging so infrequently, you could do it whenever you visit so that she doesn't have to worry about doing it herself.

Comment Re:Cyanogenmod (Score 5, Insightful) 770

BTW how long do you think handset makers and carriers should be forced to update phone software for?

Let's start with the length of the cell phone contract and work from there. If they're going to sell 2-year contracts, you should reasonably expect that the phone you buy will receive updates during that time. Once the contract expires, people can base their decision to get a new phone or switch carriers on the lack of updates. But when you're still under contract, you've got no choice but to accept the crappy situation, and that's not right.

This story is pointing out a legitimate problem with Android. As of yet, not one single iPhone has been sold that has not been supported for the entire 2-year contract. Meanwhile, 7 of the listed Android phones never ran the latest version of the OS, even when they were sold. I don't really take sides in the Android vs. iOS argument, but this is an area that Google really needs to address.

Comment Re:Use Firefox (Score 1) 574

Since the behavior that you use annoys so many others because it's so easy to do accidentally, why not require it to be an explicit action rather than an implicit one governed solely by mouse accuracy. Wouldn't it make sense to tie the tear-off functionality to a modifier key such that dragging merely re-ordered but SHIFT+drag (since SHIFT+click on a link opens the link in a new window) separated it into its own window?

Usability is all about making the most common usage patterns natural and the rest easy enough for people to adapt to them. For advanced users like you, I don't see a problem with requiring a slightly more complex action if it will make the product less annoying for the majority of users.

Comment Re:And in addition: (Score 1) 904

The good old days will be 140 years ago, instead of just 60.

I know this is a somewhat off-the-cuff statement, but I think there's profound implications of this. With people living longer, our connection to historical events will become that much stronger. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I view events from the depression era on very differently from events prior to that. WWII feels much more concrete to me than the Civil War because I've met and talked to so many survivors (both military and those that fled Germany) and heard so many personal stories. If Civil War veterans had lived to an average age of 150, I would have met some of them and see those events through a much different lens than I do now. If the founding fathers had lived to that age, there would a lot of us who could have heard first-hand accounts from great-great-great grandparents about personal encounters with those men...given how often we debate what their intent was when writing the constitution and creating our governments, it would make those discussions a lot more interesting.

It's fascinating to think about, for me, the implications of a world where events take that much longer to get put into the historical archive where they're no longer part of living memory. Would we, as a society, be more aware of our history and less likely to repeat past mistakes? Would people behave differently when the requirements for and results of leaving your mark on society change so radically? And would we spend a larger part of our lives studying what is currently known and delay entering our useful part of our lives or would we be just as quick to move from learning to doing?

On a less profound note, we'd need to come up with a better system for referring to ancestors. Having to say or write great-great-great so frequently would get annoying.

Comment Re:Software Patents Should Be Abolished (Score 1) 248

If you're making a superior product, then there's no reason to do the other

Sure there is...people don't make purchasing decisions based solely on quality. Otherwise, no one would by anything from Walmart and we wouldn't import everything from China. The free (as in Beer) nature of Android lends itself to outcompeting iOS even if iOS is a superior product since iOS has to be better by a healthy margin to justify the difference in price. Note I'm not arguing that iOS is better, just that if it were it wouldn't necessarily be enough of an advantage over Android.

Price is an important consideration and, from Apple's perspective, using their patents could be a way of protecting them from having to compete solely on a price and specs basis. Android handset manufacturers have always been able to cram more impressive specs into the phone for a lower price than Apple. Apple likely sees iOS as a competitive advantage that allows them to sell hardware for more than they would otherwise be able to. If Android copies iOS (again, not saying they have), Apple may feel that it diminishes that competitive advantage and that they need to use their patents to protect that advantage.

Comment Re:Reinventing the Web Services Wheel? (Score 2) 86

From the sound of it, it decouples the service call from the service end point and allows the user to select which end point they'd like to use. Rather than making a call to a specific service provider, the page simply registers that it'd like some intent to be completed and then dispatches it. The user then gets to pick from the list of sites/apps that have registered their ability to handle that type of intent.

Comment Re:But what about non-static pages? (Score 1) 205

Some of the things on your list can't be done automatically without possibly causing problems.

You can't rewrite inefficient selectors or remove CSS rules because classes can be applied and DOM elements inserted dynamically in JavaScript. Unless you're going to do fairly complex analysis of the JavaScript on the page to determine that it's not changing classes on DOM elements or adding/removing to/from the DOM.

You also can't easily move JavaScript to the bottom of the page without possibly breaking things. There's a reason rendering stops when it hits JavaScript code...it's because document.write can introduce HTML code that needs to be added at the point the script executes. You can check whether a script uses document.write directly, but JavaScript is dynamic enough to give you quite a few ways of invoking that function (eval, document["write"], etc.) You could run it through a browser to determine if document.write ever gets called, but even if that passed, there's no way to ensure that the JavaScript isn't browser specific.

You can recommend those steps to developers because they can ensure that those rare occurrences aren't happening, but you can't apply them automatically without at least telling developers so they can add some HTTP header or other means for opting out of that functionality.

Comment Re:Commercial databases (Score 2) 509

In my experience, you don't really have to worry about the types of SQL that MySQL won't accept or the specialized syntax that MySQL will accept. The biggest pain is worrying about the SQL that MySQL will accept and choose the stupidest execution plan possible. This leads to unintuitive queries designed around MySQL's shortcomings.

For example, one hack we had to employ regularly was to select only the columns from a table that were part of the WHERE or ORDER BY clauses and then join back against the original table once the results had been filtered and sorted. When we just selected normally from the table, MySQL would retrieve the entire rows and then determine that the amount of data it had to sort through exceeded the amount of RAM we had on the machine so it must use a file sort. This technique would commonly bring queries that were taking days to complete down to under 1 minute.

In the end, our application was full of this kind of "keep MySQL from doing the stupidest thing possible" queries that would probably run decently under Oracle or PostgreSQL but would be better written in a way that allows a real SQL database to perform its own optimization and allows the developer to easily grok what the query does. It's that kind of SQL that's the most insidious. The kind of SQL that MySQL forces on you not through syntax errors by through painful lessons.

Comment Re:Pure Arrogance (Score 1) 495

Moreover, resisting code reviews is directly overlooking something very important, which just proves what you're saying that anyone can overlook something.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the person resisting code reviews is that mythically-rare example of someone who doesn't overlook things and doesn't make mistakes. If that's the case, why would you waste the opportunity to have other mere-mortal members of the team learn from reviewing the divinely perfect code that this individual produces? By questioning why certain decisions were made when writing the code, less experienced coders can learn to improve their own code. To deny them that opportunity would be entirely selfish and counterproductive to the goals of the team.

Basically, code reviews should have multiple goals. In addition to improving the code being reviewed, they should improve the code that hasn't yet been written by improving the coders who will be writing it. To only consider the first benefit is being incredibly shortsighted.

Comment Re:HTTP vs HTTPS (Score 1) 241

Except that, according to the article, those HTTP connections that included no personal data did include session cookies, which creates a session hijacking vulnerability. It's possible to architect the app such that HTTP connections are used for things that aren't sensitive, but you need to separate it into its own domain so that the client doesn't send the session cookie. The developer didn't do that.

Comment Re:Tax Principle #1: Minimized Disruptive Impact (Score 1) 623

So someone shipping a watermelon would pay significantly more taxes than someone shipping a million dollars in diamonds. Sounds like a good plan.

If you want out of the box, states should be leaning on the credit card companies. They should start threatening consumer protection legislation that hurts creditors when dealing with its residents. In exchange for not passing that legislation, they should require those companies to collect data on interstate transactions of their residents including whether tax was assessed and what category of item was purchased and report it back to the state. From that information, they can easily come up with a list of people who aren't paying their required use taxes. At that point, it becomes a matter of simply enforcing existing laws.

No new taxes. Minimal legislation that needs to be passed. And you only really have to deal with 4 companies to get it done (Visa, MC, AmEx and Discover.) That's outside the box and it would work.

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