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Comment Re:problems, lol (Score 1) 107

Or, you know. You could actually learn how to write good code at the most powerful level. That's a radical thought.

I did, and that's why I'm using Python. I'm capable of writing web services in C, but who the hell's got time for that craziness? Also consider Amdahl's Law: in most of stuff I write, the "running code to process data" bit is a teensy portion of wall clock time. Much more is spent in socket handshaking or waiting for database queries to finish. Out of a 50ms request lifecycle, perhaps 1ms is spent inside a box that I have complete control of. Even if I rewrote it in assembler (C is for high-level pansies) to be 1000x faster, the request would still take 49.001ms. An assload of work porting security-sensitive code into an untyped languages so that the end result can be 2% faster? Yeah, no. My boss would fire me with a quickness if I proposed that.

I'd be much more likely to rewrite performance-critical code in Go or Rust. They're as fast as C but without the death of a thousand cuts like gotofail waiting to ruin your careful planning. Life's too short to waste it hacking in languages that hate you and make you want to look incompetent.

Comment Re:Unsustainable pricing on high tech gadgets (Score 1) 96

It doesn't cost $800 to manufacture an iPhone. More like $100. In the US it would maybe be $150. It is Apples greed that is the blame.

There are always lines around the block on launch day. People cheerfully buy tens of millions of each iPhone. If people are willing to pay that price without a gun to their head, and there are alternatives that they could buy instead but they choose to buy iPhones anyway, how do you justify describing it as greed?

Comment Seen elsewhere on the planet (Score 1) 148

So you send ballots to everyone, even those who have no desire to vote, and have not bothered to study any of the issues at all because of that. Why should they be voting if they really care so little about the process?

Surprisingly, that's exactly how things work in some democracies, specially in direct democracies where population is always voting on everything (e.g.: Switzerland).

People un-interested in voting generally throw away the ballot.
(Though probably there are few trying to find way around the - relatively simple - voter identification, and try to cast illegally an extra vote)

But such widespread diffusion of ballots is necessary in a country which votes every couple of months instead of every couple of year.

Comment OSX (Score 2) 96

They're often inferior spec-wise unless you go to the top of the line models that are generally overpriced

Which by the way is also the case of any non-beige box PC...

(Self-built hardware is the king !)

and all you're really getting is OSX which isn't that great.

Compared to what ?

To Linux ? Yeah sure. (OSX is the "bargain bin" of Unix, but with a nice coat of paint).

To the craptastic clusterfuck called Windows 10 ? Your mileage may vary...

Comment iPhone (Score 1) 96

I miss the old Apple where products actually worked

You mean like the first iPhone, that had a battery that barely held a couple of hours, and certainly not to the end of the day ?


At the time they released their crap, I had :
- an old EPOC-running Ericsson stupid phone. With which I could go on vacations *without* taking a charger.
(Similar to all the Nokia that people still have, lost somewhere at the bottom of a drawer. Still in working order. With the battery still at ~30%)
- paired over bluetooth to a PalmOS 5.x running PDA, that could do anything that the iPhone did back then (web, e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes) and more (ssh, and other 3rd party apps), while holding charge for 1-2 days of heavy use, or up to a week of light use.
- and I was complaining loudly a lot, because since the switch from m68k to ARM processor, battery life had massively sank (the previous PDA could hold for a week of normal use, and I could safely go on vacation without a charger), and I found ludicrous to need to buy a power-sledge for my newer device.

Apple didn't announce products once they were good. Apple announced product as soon as Jobs could bluff his way through an impressive demo (while needing to remember the exact order of clicks/taps to avoid the product crashing on scene like Gates' demos)

Comment Renewable jewelry (Score 3, Insightful) 96

The thing is, jewelry usually is durable.

It's nice and shiny and expensive today, and it's supposed to continue being nice and shiny and expensive in the future.

(Unlike fashion where, after a couple of months, the clothes are just good to be thrown away and you certainly wouldn't like to risk be seen with things on you which are "so last season" !)

Whereas, with the current hardware in smartwatch (similar to circa when Apple introduced the world to a smartphone that can only handle charge for a couple of hours and needs to be constantly docked), current smartwatch will be completely worthless in a couple of months.
You still need to wait a couple of years until Apple's smartwatch are at the point where their current phones are (sure there's going to be an even better out eventually, but for most people, their current device works for everything they need most of the time, so why bother changing ?)

- That explain why Apple (and other smartphone manufacturers) has jumped so soon on the smartwatch bandwagon. It's not only to have a piece of the Pebble's cake, it's also that they finally have a new product that they can again force their sheep-customers to rebuy every year.

- That means that Apple can't yet partner with jewelry makers. Their customer want long-term value storage. Something that they can buy now and that will still hold value a couple of years later. Whereas a potential Apple Jewel would cost a lot today, but in a few years down the line it would be just an expensive platic/metal trinket attached to a somewhat valuable bracelet.

(And that's not only my opinion. That is the actual market analysis of a couple of swiss luxury watches makers who have looked into it)

The only way a jewelry smartwatch could be popular now, is if the jewelry make sold the bracelet as the primary product, with the possibility to upgrade the electronic timepiece as model generations come and go.

That might be possible with a manufacturer like pebble where the form-factor seems more or less stable.

Comment You jest, but you're actually serious. (Score 1) 174

Complex and explosive chemisty?

That's it, no more batteries for me.

I'll stick to safe and simple combustion.

I know you joke but:

- gaz (petrol) doesn't explode (unlike what Holywood has taught you), it just burns.
To make it explode you need the perfect mix of oxygen. Hence the complicated fine mechanical components in a internal combustion engine (pistons, manifolds, etc.)
Fun fact: you could in theory make anything that burns explode by making a correct mix with oxygen:
- a big block of wood just burns. Saw dust suspended in the air burns explosively
- grain might burn if dry enough. But you can actually make bombs out of flour suspended in the air
and the one that every chemistry and fireman know:
- gaz (methane/buthane) at the gaz burner just burns. (hence the name, duh). On the other hand, a roomful of gaz (gaz + air mix) + spark....

The reason why we use gaz (petrol) inside most cars is due to energy efficiency. But you could make explosion out of anything BUT NEED TO MIX AIR FOR IT TO WORK.

- On the other hand :
Lithium is highly reactive. (Well the whole point of a rechargeable battery's chemistry is to have a lot of electrons that you can easily move around [=easily make red-ox reactions]...)
It has a nasty tendency to explode (if you over-charge, if you undercharge too much before recharging, if you draw too much current, if you charge too much current, if you overheat, if you puncture, if.... well basically if you look at it the wrong way).

Luckily that's why nearly all modern lithium batteries have built-in electronics (a.k.a.: "battery manager") to control and protect them.
(That's what the third pad in addition to "+" and "-" on smartphone batteries is: it's a data channel to communicate with the built-in protection and get some extra informations, like temperature).

Well "nearly all"... /. and Youtube kindly remembers for you a certain batch of Sony laptop batteries with faulty built-in managers that had several laptops burst into flames.
Fast forward a few years later and we see again the same faulty batteries with the cheapest and shittiest "hover board" self-balancing boards out of China.

That's one of the major fallacies in Oatmeal's strip about his new Tesla car (but yeah he's a cartoonist, not a chemist):
the gaz in the tank of a ice-powered car is *theoretically* a lot less dangerous than the lithium in an electric car's humongous battery.
(there's no explosive liquid stored anywhere near the balls of an ICE driver. The electric-car driver is the one sitting above a big mass of lithium no matter how far away is the sun that was used to charge the battery).

Luckily in practice, Tesla isn't like the shady Chinese companies making craptastic batteries mentioned above.
They do the necessary design to make the battery secure and in *practice* their car aren't explosive (despite all the bad mouthing around the 2-3 fires reported).

But to go back to the subject of the discussion and my above post :
well that's why Tesla's 100kWh battery cost so much more. battery are expensive, because of all the above.
Want more gaz ? Just make a bigger jug to store the gaz. At worst, if its catch fire, it's going just to burn a little while longer. That's it.
Want more electricity ? be ready to pay a lot, battery are complex and you need complex electronics to regulate the electricity that goes in during charging or that goes out to power to motor, because if you don't you're in for quite some fireworks (see Sony laptop batteries and Chinese self-balancing board maker for what happens when you fail to do your homework).

So modern car batteries in practice aren't dangerous, but that comes at a price.

(That's also why I'm highly doubting about the Chinese car manufacturer mentioned here on /. that wanted to make electric cars for free/paid by the ads.
To make the batteries that cheap, some very dangerous compromises might have been made).

Comment Re:Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in (Score 1) 75

At least you can learn interesting history.

No you can't you can be presented with a strange grab bag of facts ascribed to the wrong subjects, at the wrong moments in the wrong context. Its fine enough for folks that mostly know the real story. Its a source of confusion for everyone else.

Comment Re:Who are the main characters based on (Score 1) 75

I have to agree, I have never cared for the spaghetti western and the spaghetti tech story isn't really any better. The real events are plenty interesting and certainly can be dramatized with some little interpersonal side stories, and self reflection history obviously did not record without veering to pure fiction. You can also go the strait facts documentary route like "Triumph of the Nerds", which as far as docs go probably belongs up there with the "The Civil War" in terms of excellence.

Treating history as a grab bag of events and ascribing them to different people, and simply ignoring the greater context and historical backdrop does not compelling story telling make. Its confusing, and it usually feels hackney because its to close to reality to suspend disbelief your brain therefore is keeps pulling in everything else you know and remember from that time and saying "but this would never have happened because..."

Comment Re:Morons (Score 1) 296

Why do people think things like the Bechdel test are worth more than a fart in the breeze/

For the same reason they think "the lack of qualified people to fill 500,000 U.S. tech jobs" has anything to do with "how STEM careers have been presented in film and television" instead of the fact that the primary "qualification" being looked for is H1-B eligibility.

Comment Really I am not so sure (Score 1) 453

"If you're getting a refund after playing a game for 50 hours you're a thief."

I have not played the game but its basically marketed as expansive. Could it take 50 hours to be sure that content you were lead to believe is include isn't, that features you were anticipating and paid your money on the expectation you'd get them are missing?

Submission + - Young grads in India aim to land a robot on the moon. (

GillBates0 writes: Team Indus ( is one of the 16 remaining from the 29 that had entered the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP: competition. It plans to use ISRO’s ( workhorse — the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) to send the spacecraft to the moon. Among it's rivals are – Israeli non-profit organisation SpaceIL and US-based start-up Moon Express. An official designated as ‘Skywalker’, said that such space missions used to be limited to extremely elite people and PhDs in the past. That stereotype is now breaking. “I was just a college student a couple of years ago and now I am working on an actual space mission, how cool is that,” said Karan Vaish, 23, who is helping the team to design the lunar rover. Eighty per cent of the team is reported to be less than five years out of college (

Comment Re:Another late submission/question (Score 1) 40

It is ironic that we have to design something in specific ways for it to feel random.

What got me noticing it first was an MP3 CD player I got about 15 years ago. When started, it would play, always, Track 1, then 2, then 4, then 8, etc. When this number grew larger than the number of MP3s in your playlist, it would wrap. I never tested it to see if, with a power of 2 number of tracks, it would wrap to the same song infinitely.

That first song, by the way, was 54-40's "Nice To Love You", and I can't listen to it any more.

FWIW, this problem also happens with random image screen savers...

Comment Re:They actually want to kick appliances off. (Score 1) 155

I have to agree with you on this one having done the same experiment in the 90's myself. AC savor switches are aggressively stupid. Guess when all the summer time "peak times" are, hint its when everyone spins up the 2500W HVAC systems.

If your AC was installed by a reputable professions who correctly sized the unit and it has a decent SER rating 14+ than turning it off at peak time is a terrible idea. These things are designed to cycle, to short a cycle the wear prematurely to long a cycle (well that won't happen they will cut off ) or rather to frequent cycles they wear prematurely and will be less efficient (hot side of the loop stays to hot).

The outcomes will be that you are less comfortable. Your total energy use might actually go up with you unit always playing catch-up, unless the utility really leaves you shut down for a long time. Net energy wise recall most of us don't get billed less for off peak on residential circuits won't be improved unless you live in a very poorly insulated home, meaning you will be subject to even more violent temperature swings.

The whole point of investing in AC is so that you can be comfortable, if you sabotage the things ability to deliver that why have it at all? No a much much better solution would be have enough generation/storage and distribution capacity to meet peoples needs.

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