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Submission + - Apple announces new programming language called Swift

jmcbain writes: At WWDC 2014 today, Apple announced Swift, a new programming language. According to a report by Ars Technica: "Swift seems to get rid of Objective C's reliance on defined pointers; instead, the compiler infers the variable type, just as many scripting languages do. ... The new language will rely on the automatic reference counting that Apple introduced to replace its garbage-collected version of Objective C. It will also be able to leverage the compiler technologies developed in LLVM for current development, such as autovectorization. ... Apple showed off a couple of cases where implementing the same algorithm in Swift provided a speedup of about 1.3X compared to the same code implemented in Objective C."

Comment Incorrect Timescale (Score 5, Insightful) 189

One CPU cycle as one second might be a good metaphor for computer memory but not AI. It's closer to the equivalent of a neuron firing in the human brain, then it is to 1 second of human time. Human speech takes more than one neuron to fire, and it would take way more than one CPU cycle to process. An AI algorithm which is processing data, and analyzing it would literally take millions or billions of cycles most likely to do the most basic things. While no doubt speech recognition has gotten much faster, it is still and probably will always be a massive undertaking for a CPU to do, as opposed to say adding two 32-bit integers.

Comment Re:Code Complete by Steve McConnell (Score 1) 352

Yes this book (the 2nd Edition) is indeed something everyone should read. As is The Pragmatic Programmer, Gang of Four Design Patterns ( but initially I found it a bit terse, so Head First Design Pattern was a good initial grounding for OO), as well as whatever seminal books there are for your language of choice. For instance Effective C++ or Effective Java.

Comment Populism (Score 0) 245

While I can see the allure of being very responsive to voters, this seems to be a potentially dangerous idea. By being very receptive to voters immediate desires, voters who by and large are not informed enough to make good decisions, it seems like we could very easily be stuck in both political standstill or trap where required actions could not be taken. If the logic end of your idea is that more candidates should be doing this, it seems we could very quickly become paralyzed.

Comment I did something like this for a first year project (Score 1) 188

I did something like this for a first year project, it involved charged particles which obeys a similar inverse square as gravity does for determining position. You basically had a fixed set of charges, that users could toggle to be between {-8,-4,-2,-1,0,1,2,4,8} * K, then you'd hit start and you'd try to get the puck to go to the goal (It was very much based on this: It involved basically looking at F_x (the force applied in the x direction, from every other point). F_y (the force applied in the y direction, from every other point). When you sum these up you get an instantaneous picture of the scene, that is you know it's position, and you know the forces acting upon it. Then I believe I used a technique called Runge-Kutta which gets me a prediction, of where it would be in a small time slice, (say 1/20th of a second), so I moved the particle there and repeat (This was all done in Java AWT I believe). All in all it was fairly straight forward, and gave the user the experience I think you are looking for.

Submission + - Aussie researcher cracks OS X Lion passwords (

daria42 writes: Thought your Mac was secure running Apple's latest operating system? Think again. Turns out that in some respects Lion is actually less secure than previous version of Mac OS X, due to some permission-tweaking by Apple that has opened up a way for an attacker to crack your password on your Lion box. The flaw was discovered by an Australian researcher who has previously published a guide to cracking Mac OS X passwords. Sounds like Apple had better get a patch out for this pronto.

Submission + - What to do with old CompSci/Engr Textbooks? 1

HockeyPuck writes: I'm cleaning out the house in preparation for a newborn, and I've come across boxes of old (mid 90s) college engineering/compsci text books. Most used books stores won't take them and I'm hoping to avoid having to put them in the recycle bin. I'm not a developer so EE or programing books are useless to me and shipping books to a Books for Africa depot is too expensive. Anybody within the /. crowd have some ideas?

Submission + - Best Smartphone Plan for Vacation in the US

SJrX writes: I am planning on visiting the Pacific Northwest for several weeks, and was looking for the best smart phone option available. Roaming Data rates and SMS rates are ridiculously high (best plans are $0.80 / MB, and $0.75 / message). Beyond AT&T, Verizon Prepaid are there any other options (I'm on an iPhone 4 so GSM is a must), I assume in the US, I have no credit history for which to qualify for a plan, and a contract is obviously out of the question. Data and SMS are the only important things with a few hundred minutes being plenty. I'm only planning on being in the US for 2 or 3 weeks, but mainly in rural areas (US Route 101) so large (3G) coverage is important.
Wireless Networking

Submission + - What's killing your Wi-Fi? (

Barence writes: "PC Pro has taken an in-depth look at Wi-Fi and the factors that can cause connections to crumble. It dispels some common myths about Wi-Fi problems — such as that neighbouring Wi-Fi hotspots are the most common cause of problems, instead of other RF interference from devices such as analogue video senders, microwave ovens and even fish tanks. The feature also highlights free and paid-for tools that can diagnose Wi-Fi issues, such as inSSIDer and Heatmapper, the latter of which maps provides a heatmap of Wi-Fi hotspots in your home or office."

Submission + - Java Floating Point Bug Locks-Up Servers (

An anonymous reader writes: Here we go again: Just like the recently-reported PHP Floating Point Bug causes servers to go into infinite loops when parsing certain double-precision floating-point numbers, Sun/Oracle's JVM does it, too. It gets better: you can lock-up a thread on most servers just by sending a particular header value. Sun/Oracle has known about the bug for something like 10 years, but it's still not fixed. Java Servlet containers are patching to avoid the problem, but application code will still be vulnerable to user input.

Rick Regan has the story at


Submission + - Feds settle case of woman fired over Facebook site (

Mr.Intel writes: Employers should think twice before trying to restrict workers from talking about their jobs on Facebook or other social media.

That’s the message the government sent on Monday as it settled a closely watched lawsuit against a Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she went on Facebook to criticize her boss in 2009.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.