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Comment Wrong question (Score 1) 313

You don't want to make it even more cumbersome to change the code, as it sounds like you are already struggling with the 10 Mloc codebase. So forget about having humans "approve" the changes.

What you want to do is make it easy to submit good code and difficult to submit bad code. This means that you will need the capability to quickly assess the proposed patch, for some definition of "good" and "bad". Computers are fairly good at this. In other words: test-first development, with automated testing on several levels.

Bug comes in, you write an automated user acceptance test that FAILS. Then you try to find and fix the bug. When the newly added test passes, the bug is by definition fixed. Add a couple of unit/module tests, and a couple of UATs for good measure. Rinse and repeat.

There's plenty of tools for this. All major platforms have the capability for programmatic reflection. Use e.g. Cucumber for the acceptance tests, and the relevant unit test framework for module/unit tests. In addition to the functional tests, try static analysis.

Comment Re:Wait a minute (Score 1) 54

Is this an article about how the Windows 8 UI was designed?

Or about how they kept the world's population hostage with Clippy the Paperclip? I mean, when they heard Clippy was going to be removed from the next version of Office, around 350 million people upgraded straight away.

Or is it about how Microsoft is paying 500 million (USD, EUR, whatever) in fines every couple of years, in order to keep doing business as a software monopoly? That is probably the most brilliant crime by the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit ever!

Comment Juggling (Score 1) 279

Learn to juggle! Seriously! I learned to juggle with three balls during a particularly stressful software project some 15 years ago. Nowadays when I feel blocked, I pick up three round objects and go somewhere else to juggle for a while. I haven't progressed beyond three objects but then again I'm not doing it for the fame and the money. :)

Juggling activates other parts of your brain than you (as a software engineer or IT guy) normally use. You can juggle as long as you like, ten seconds or ten minutes. The materials (e.g. stress balls, tennis balls, apples, oranges, whatever) are cheap and small. Does you good to get up out of that chair and stop staring at the monitor for a moment. If someone asks what you are doing, say that you're taking a minute to think about some small creative problem e.g. structuring the next three paragraphs you are writing, or looking for alternative ways to implement some feature. The learning threshold is admittedly steep, but the Internet should be full of tutorial videos by now. Also, juggling is a nice party trick, kids especially are fascinated.

Think of it as an off-screen microhobby...


Comment Re:Oh, great, exactly what I don't want... (Score 1) 248

> It's a fact that OS/UI developers seem to believe that [something]

A seeming fact, then? Or an opinion?

> we generally need increasingly large displays [read: pixel counts] in order to restore focus on the application and to minimize the impact on screen and usability which the OS/UI claims.

Not at all. We generally need more and better modes of interacting with our phones and the apps running on them. You see, there is an upper limit to the physical size of a phone: it needs to fit into your pocket. And there is also a lower limit on the size of an UI element: your fingertip. Increasing the resolution only enables the device to show sharper text and more detailed pictures.

There are many "novel" or "trendy" interaction methods like swiping, pinching, multi-finger dragging, gestures and so on, that are not yet commonly used in mobile phones or mobile apps. Properly used, they can free up screen estate. For example, an app that supports pinching doesn't need on-screen zoom buttons.

Many if not all of these interaction methods can profitably be reserved for the system UI. If you replace the most common system UI functions with gestures, you can remove the status and system bars and free up the top and bottom part of the screen. The Android 2.x swipe-from-the-top action is a good example, as it allows the top status bar to become very narrow. However there is no reason to stop there.

> Android 2.x seeks to minimize the UI impact and it does a nice job of it. A minimal row of buttons

No it doesn't. The iPhone minimizes the UI impact by simply NOT having that row of buttons. The Nokia N9 uses swiping creatively to do away with even the physical buttons and touch areas that you find on Androids, iPhones and Windows Phones.

All of these phones, even the N9, still have a slim status area at the top. Jolla's Sailfish aims to do away with even that.

> What Ubuntu-phone is proposing is unintuitive and seeks to infringe on how an app can live on a device. Do. Not. Want.

So you say. Now, in the real world, what Unbuntu proposes is really going to make some if not all of the system areas redundant and give apps more control over the screen real estate.

What is intuitive, by the way? In this context something is intuitive if you can pick it up and use it without training. It's not even remotely synonymous with "whatever I've gotten used to", as you seem to imply.

Have you actually tried a swipe UI? I have been using a swipe-based phone (the aforementioned N9) for a long time now, and it just works. You can either take my word for it, or go and try it yourself before commenting further.


Comment All models are wrong (Score 4, Interesting) 676

"Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful." (George E.P. Box and Norman R. Draper, Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces (1987), p. 74)

"One of the most insidious and nefarious properties of scientific models is their tendency to take over, and sometimes supplant, reality." (Erwin Chargaff)

I think that says it all, really.


Comment The Celine Dion effect (Score 1) 89

One wonders if they'll be turned off by Celine Dion music — a new type of shark repellent perhaps?

Oh yes, the "Celine Dion effect" is well known. For example, playing My Heart Will Go On in railway stations late at night will magically keep the stations empty from pickpockets, rapists and other miscreants and indeed any sentient beings except cockroaches. The high notes will first melt your earwax and then your brain. Cockroaches merely lose their orientation and walk into walls.

I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work underwater too. Unless of course the sharks fight back with lasers.


Comment Re:Sad, but we could see it coming (Score 1) 78

One element I pushed was that nobody was going to be interested in their kernel, regardless of what they did, and that conversion to Linux would eventually be necessary if they were not to continue to expend millions on re-inventing the wheel.

Not a good thing to push because the kernel is the interesting part of Symbian. It's power-tight and has real-time features, both of which are very nice features in a mobile communications device. Unfortunately it only runs on ARM. Linux on the other hand runs on everything. With Qt on top of both Symbian and MeeGo, there's nowhere Nokia can't go. (There's no guarantee they'll actually go there, but they *could*.)


Comment Re:If this were posted to (Score 1) 114

Ouch - this is the best that Hubble can do? The images show serious chromatic aberrations, with significant red-blue fringing on edges. What's worse is that the effect gets more pronounced as the camera moves around.

Given that the camera moves at relativistic speeds, the chromic aberrations are probably a relativistic effect and would of course get more pronounced the faster the camera moves. Another interesting side effect is that while for you the movie is over in a matter of minutes, someone observing you will feel that the movie takes too long, and incidentally also perceive you as significantly smaller.

Kids, don't try this at home!



RIAA President Says Copyright Law "Isn't Working" 473

Kilrah_il writes "Apperantly not satisfied with the current scope of the DMCA, RIAA President Cary Sherman wants to broaden the scope of the law to have content providers such as YouTube and Rapidshare liable for illegal content found on their sites. 'The RIAA would strongly prefer informal agreements inked with intermediaries ... We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship — not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers ... [But], if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine.' Notice the update at the end of the article pointing out that Sherman is seeking for voluntary agreements with said partners and not to enact broader laws without their cooperation."

Con Kolivas Returns, With a Desktop-Oriented Linux Scheduler 333

myvirtualid writes "Con Kolivas has done what he swore never to do: returned to the Linux kernel and written a new — and, according to him — waaay better scheduler for the desktop environment. In fact, BFS appears to outperform existing schedulers right up until one hits a 16-CPU machine, at which point he guesses performance would degrade somewhat. According to Kolivas, BFS 'was designed to be forward looking only, make the most of lower spec machines, and not scale to massive hardware. i.e. [sic] it is a desktop orientated scheduler, with extremely low latencies for excellent interactivity by design rather than 'calculated,' with rigid fairness, nice priority distribution and extreme scalability within normal load levels.'"
GNU is Not Unix

GPLv2 Libraries — Is There a Point? 585

PiSkyHi writes "I understand that if I build an application that links with a library that is licensed under GPLv2, I must also make my application GPL2. I can see that value in this for an application. But for a library, what's to stop me separating my program into a GPLv2-compliant client app that talks to the rest of my (choose my own license) application?"

How Do You Create Config Files Automatically? 113

An anonymous reader writes "When deploying new server/servergroup/cluster to your IT infrastructure, deployment (simplified) consist of following steps: OS installation: to do it over network, boot server must be configured for this new server/servergroup/cluster; configuration/package management: configuration server has to be aware of the newcomer(s); monitoring and alerting: monitoring software must be reconfigured; and performance metrics: a tool for collecting data must be reconfigured. There are many excellent software solutions for those particular jobs, say configuration management (Puppet, Chef, cfengine, bcfg2), monitoring hosts and services (Nagios, Zabbix, OpenNMS, Zenoss, etc) and performance metrics (Ganglia, etc.). But each of these tools has to be configured independently or at least configuration has to be generated. What tools do you use to achieve this? For example, when you have to deploy a new server, how do you create configs for, let's say, PXE boot server, Puppet, Nagios and Ganglia, at once?"

iPhone Users Angry Over AT&T Upgrade Policy 789

All is not sweetness and light in the wake of the Apple WWDC kickoff announcements, especially concerning the evolution of the iPhone. Reader Hugh Pickens writes: "AT&T will offer the new iPhone 3G S when it debuts later this month at a cost of $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models, but only to new customers and those who qualify for the discounted price. AT&T subscribers with an iPhone 3G who are not eligible for an upgrade — those not near the end of their two-year contracts — will have to pay $200 more — $399 for the 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB model. 'This is ridiculous and slap in the face to long-time loyal iPhone customers like me who switched from T-Mobile and the only reason was the iPhone,' writes one unhappy iPhone customer. 'We have to mount a vigorous campaign to change this policy. Call your local AT&T and ask for the manager and complain. Send e-mails and post in forums everywhere.' The issue is spurring heavy debate on support discussion forums, with some customers supporting AT&T. 'The option you have is to honor the contract you freely committed yourself to,' says one forum member. 'If you want to upgrade early then you will have to pay full price with no subsidy discount. You can't blame anyone but yourself for your predicament.'"

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