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Comment Re:Man up and learn emacs? (Score 1) 831

Actually, I find most of the syntax stuff either worthless or almost worthless. It's certainly less important than the editor itself. If I have to choose between syntax highlighting/validation or using vi, I'll take vi every time. Maybe not true for everyone, but I can code/edit much, much, faster in vi than in any other editor I've ever used or been forced to use. The includes teco, ed, Word, OO, and any editor supplied with any SDK I've ever used.


Comment Re:mixed feelings and abstract hate. (Score 1) 917

Personally, I am "crying censorship". I don't think Apple should be in the business of deciding what is or isn't appropriate. I don't need Apple telling me what I can or can't run on my iPhone, and I've told them this. Several times.

Not that it does any good.

However, Apple makes the rules, because it's their platform and their device and their store. I may not like those rules and I have every right to express my dissatisfaction with those rules, but until they open the ability to install an iPhone/iPad app from places other than the app store, everyone who writes or uses apps has to play by their rules. (Jailbreaking is inconsequential. The vast majority of users do not have a phone that's gone through the process. More importantly, they don't want one.) Apple doesn't want to give up the app store -- it's a revenue platform for them. They also have decided they don't want anyone offended, so they police the apps available. I don't like it, but I understand it.

And no, it's censorship no matter which side it's on. I don't like what the Exodus organization does or stands for, but they should be able to express themselves by writing an app to "help" the people they claim to serve. I've been tempted to protest again various apps in the app store -- it doesn't really even matter which, as the idea is to show that people can be offended by stupid things, not just things that are truly offensive. But I doubt it would do any good, nor do I believe anyone at Apple would understand the point of it all.

Comment Re:Tablet (Score 1) 789

iPad useful? I think it's a matter of opinion.

I haven't traveled with my laptop since I bought my iPad. Since the laptop -- while traveling -- was used for replying to emails, surfing the 'net, and the occasional game, and the iPad could do all those things, I no longer felt it necessary to carry my 17 inch laptop in a big heavy bag when I could carry something the size of a notepad. The iPad gets used when I want to look something up on the internet while I'm watching TV. It gets used to stream films occasionally, though not often. When my son was in a book club, I took it with me and worked or browsed or whatever until the book club was over. It gets taken to meetings for notes, it housed the app that kept track of my hours for consultant work. It even produced the invoices for that work.

Useful? To me, certainly. Is it necessary? Of course not. It does nothing one of my desktops or my laptop couldn't do. On the other hand, my laptop wouldn't ever be taken to meetings, never sat on the couch beside me just so I could pick it up if I wanted to.

The iPad is more convenient, it goes more places, and what it does, it does extremely well.

I had a netbook. The keyboard was smaller than the keyboard on my iPad. It had less memory, less disk, and never got used. I sold it. Someday soon I'll upgrade to the iPad 2. My old iPad won't get sold -- my son has wanted one since he first saw mine. I'm considering getting my Mom one as well. She has a laptop, but for her needs -- mostly internet and email -- the security of not having to worry about bots and viruses on the machine is a very big plus, especially since I'm the one that gets to fix the problems. (No, while Linux would work, it's not a solution. Long explanation which I won't go into.)

So, just because you don't find a tablet useful doesn't mean it isn't useful or worthwhile to others.


Comment Re:Gotta agree with purging it all (Score 1) 361

You never watch a film a second time?

Some people like film quite a bit, and may watch a film several times. There are films out there that were released on video, then pulled, and are often impossible to see today. There are films where a particular version was released in one format, (laserdisk, for example), but that version is no longer available in any format.

But you know what? I simply enjoy film and watching film. If I want to go back and watch "The Road Warrior", I can, because I purchased it a good many years ago. If I want to see the version of 1776 where the congressional congress spills out into the streets still sings, I can, because I bought it back when it was available. I picked up "The Fall", knowing almost nothing about it, but having heard good reviews. It cost me just a bit more than two tickets to a movie would have cost, and I can show it to friends who will enjoy it but won't have seen it.

Just because you don't enjoy something doesn't make it a waste of money to the person involved.

And a quick comment about having bookshelves full of books. I have no idea how many books I own. I've got a twenty foot wall of bookshelves, floor to ceiling, full of books down stairs. I've got at least three bookshelves full of books spread over two bedrooms. I don't do it to show people I'm smart. In fact, the largest collection is in the basement, and it's rare for me to ask people down there, and the other books are, as I said, in two bedrooms, and visitors aren't often in those either. I have those books because I read. I read a lot. While the non-fiction doesn't get much use anymore -- except for the ones sitting on my desk -- the fiction gets looked at and read.

You can complain about my 1000 LPs and my 400 CDs too, if you like.


Comment Re:Bye-bye! (Score 1) 997

Lines of code isn't really a good measure of productivity, and while I've produced a lot of code in a single day (1000 lines? Not sure.) I don't really worry about the number. On brand spankin' new code, where I'm writing it for the first time and I don't have to worry about how other programmers will write code that interacts with mine, sure, I can write code about as fast as I can type.

It's far more likely that I'm revising existing code, though. And I don't care how good the comments are, it's unlikely you can revise at the same rate you can code new stuff. I've had times when I worked for ninety minutes to figure out exactly which piece of code needed to be changed and then to change it -- and added two lines of code. It was a special case, yes, but one that could happen to any developer.

So, it depends. In some cases producing just a few -- and I mean 20 - 30 -- lines of code may be very productive. On the other hand, pushing out 1000 lines of code may be worthless.

Comment Re:Too Much Imagination Required? (Score 1) 429

If we can learn to understand what gravity is -- not just measure it, but understand and create it, that opens a whole class of objects and effects that don't exist now. As for ships traveling faster than light, again, there are classes of study that might make that possible.

(We aren't given any possible technology for a "light" saber, so supposing that it's built on light is just that, supposition. It might be called a light saber because of the way it looks, not the way it works, after all.)

I did mean to say that I was excluding anything to do with the "force", as that is obviously magic and shouldn't be classed as anything but. Then again, it isn't claimed to *be* science in the original film, so maybe it should be excluded automatically.

But even if I classed everything that's done in SW as "magic" and not science, it's still a lot easier for me to set aside disbelief in that film than in either Tron film. Tron shows something I *know* doesn't and can't exist, rather than show something that in all probability doesn't exist. For me, it isn't science, it isn't magic, it isn't even fantasy. It's just a dumb idea and I can't suspend disbelief long enough to make it work for me.

Comment Re:Too Much Imagination Required? (Score 1) 429

The original Tron was okay. At best. But while I could enjoy the film -- it had an okay plot, at least -- I never really was able to get past the fact that computers simply weren't like that on the inside. It always bugged me.

This new version has the same issues as the first film, but bored me.

It isn't that I don't have enough imagination, it's just that if you're going to show me a talking rock and call it science, you'd better give me a very good scientific explanation about where it got its mind and ability to talk, else it isn't really science fiction. And if you're going to show me the inner workings of a computer, with programs moving around some landscape supposedly inside that computer, there'd better be a good reason -- and there isn't one in either Tron film.

So, I disagree. Plausability is essential to good science fiction.

Even Star Wars, which stretches the plausability quite a bit in parts, I can handle. I can think of potential ways light sabers might work that depend upon understanding of concepts we don't yet understand, and if you can do light sabers, anything else in the film is easy.

I didn't like the first Tron much, liked this one even less. It was purty, that I admit, but it was also boring.

Comment Seems obvious to me.. (Score 1) 250

What use was it in our evolutionary development to be able to multiply two three digit numbers? That hasn't been something important to humans on a whole for, at most, two or three thousand years, and we could probably make an argument that it has really been important for more than a few hundred years.

On the other hand, how important has it been to be able to recognize faces in a crowd? Extremely so, at least since we start running around in groups. Gotta know who's friendly and who's not, right?

So the brain evolved to solve the problems that actually helped survival, and arithmetic was kinda low on the list.

On the other hand, anyone with reasonable intelligence can train themselves to do arithmetic problems in their head. There are relatively easy techniques, some of which have already been mentioned in the discussion. Mostly it's a matter of learning how to break problems down into easily manageable pieces.


Comment Re:Yes, Android will win eventually (Score 1, Interesting) 410

On shear volume, Android will probably win, if fo no other reason than (as others have said) Apple isn't competing in the low end market.

I develop for both -- I own an iPhone, and I bought my son an Android so I could test.

The Android's UI isn't nearly as nice as the iPhone's. There are a bunch of pay-for-me apps showing that can't be deleted. It's slower and more difficult to use. Now, some, maybe even all of that could be fixed by installing a newer version of Android (assuming it's finally available for the device). Certainly I could reinstall the OS on the thing and get rid of the the pay-for-me apps. But with the iPhone, I don't have to. No advertising crap is was on the phone when I received it. Yeah, Apple concentrates on the user experience, and that experience is *far* better than the current Android user experience.

The other issue is that Android is becoming very fragmented, and developers and going to get more and more frustrated in trying to test applications that work on one device and not another.

I was excited about Android when I first heard about it. But the reality is that Google has let it become much less than it could have been.


Comment Re:They've already busted that twice now (Score 4, Informative) 795

Don't watch Oprah, don't care.

As for what Obama himself said.

You don't quite quote him correctly, but so what, I guess. You do misstate where the quote came from. It came from the end of the speech he gave when accepting the democratic nomination. Again, so what, I guess.

However, you seem to imply that that he was calling himself some kind of savior, and that I don't believe, and I think that it's certainly worth pointing out that he said a bunch of other things as well:

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when [...]

Right or wrong I think he made it clear that these things weren't things that he, alone, could do. These are issues that take many people working for them. And that makes him believe himself to be a leader, *not* a messiah.

Comment Re:Fallacy (Score 1) 795

Okay. I'll bite.

I, personally, have never seen any serious discussion that I have ever construed as "Obama worship".

But then, neither have I ever seen anything that I would construe as "Palin worship".

In my personal discussions with people, and what I've viewed in videos, I have seen an almost fanatic belief in some that everything Obama does is wrong, that everything he wishes to do is wrong, and that everything he might accomplish will lead the United States into fascism or socialism. On the other side, I see Palin referred to in derogatory ways that, most of the time, question her intelligence or whether she does what she does for the good of the United States or to further her own celebrity.

I've seen people devoted to Obama's policies, but I see much more publicity about the people of the Tea Party. (The *people* not Obama's policies nor the Tea Party's policies.) And while both can be fanatical about their causes, I see many, many, more people I would class as fanatics on the conservative side. Not because of their beliefs, but because of their actions.


Comment Re:You guys are really missing the point (Score 1) 1348

What he said.

Linux on the desktop isn't dying. It never was.

I've been using Linux since kernel version 0.98. Once I found WindowMaker, it was my preferred window manager for years. I also ran Linux as my only OS on my only computer in the late '90s. I ran a webserver from home using Linux. Now that computer sits, turned off and pretty much obsolete (it's a 386) and my gaming box is the most powerful computer in the house and it runs Windows because that's currently the best platform for games. I'm using a Mac right now. I purchased it to write for iOS, and now it's become my work machine. What do I need Linux for?

I've spent my life making a living either writing apps that run under Unix or admining Unix boxes. SunOS. AIX. Solaris. HPUX. SUSE. Red Hat. At some point in my career I worked professionally on every one of 'em. I *like* Unix as an OS. I remember when we moved the PDP-11s from AT&T something or other to BSD 2.9, and getting an actual full screen editor -- this weird thing called "vi" -- that acted kinda like ed, but not really.

So, coming from the standpoint of someone who really does appreciate Linux for what it is, I say that it doesn't matter that Linux isn't a desktop system. I doubt it's ever going to have the applications and support it needs to make it as a desktop OS.

But, so what? It's a fantastic server OS. It's taking over the Unix server market that used to be held by Solaris. Why do people care whether or not it's being used as a desktop OS?


Comment From someone who's done both... (Score 1) 403

After 371 comments, you probably don't need one more, but since I do development for iOS, as well as a bit for Android, my take on the matter might be worth a few sentences.

Probably the most important thing you should know is that if you're going to use the Apple dev kit as your primary development platform, you'll be using Objective C. Unless you already know Smalltalk or Obj C, it may well be difficult to get a handle on. It's very different than C++ or Java or pretty much anything else in both syntax and method. If you're thinking your C skills will get you through, well, not really. You'll still need to learn a whole new syntax, and that syntax is, let me say again, *very* different from most other languages.

Android uses Java, and if you haven't already used Java, you've probably used something close to it.

There are also several platforms out there that allow you to write once then compile for both. I happen to use Corona SDK which uses Lua as it's development language, but it's certainly not the end-all of development for iOS.

If you're looking to actually make money, I suggest writing for Android. It's easier to get seen on Android than on the App Store, and response seems to be a little better.


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The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.