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Comment Re:no surprises here (Score 1) 281

They make a phone that runs an interface that looks like shit

Odd observation. My partner has a Windows phone and the UI is the only thing about it that I actually like. It's clean and easy to use (I use Android on my phone and iOS on my tablet, so I have a solid basis for comparison here) and so far the only mobile UI that hasn't managed to piss me off. On the other hand, the fact that she needs to test her alarm before going to sleep because sometimes the phone needs a reboot to allow alarms to make a noise and that there's practically nothing in the App Store that you'd want are real problems for adoption.

Comment Re:Oh, sure (Score 1) 283

Only in the USA. In most of Europe, kale has been a staple crop for around a thousand years. It became more popular in the UK in the second world war, when it was one of the easiest vegetables to cultivate at home and food imports were very expensive. It's one of the cheapest leaf vegetables to buy here.

Comment Re:Why would you ever give that refund? (Score 1) 159

The prices change a lot over time. You can use camelcamelcamel to track the historic prices of items. I suspect that this is actually becoming a problem for Amazon: I held off buying something recently for two weeks waiting for Amazon to lower their price back to where it was when I first looked. They didn't, but one of their competitors did in this time so I bought it from them instead.

Comment Re:Have you even had a programming class? (Score 1) 329

Complete rubbish; object based & functional, not OO.

Functional languages are ones that have a strong notion of a pure function (i.e. something that is side-effect free and has immutable state). JavaScript doesn't come close to representing this.

A very good definition for the term: rubbish language.

Name one mainstream language that doesn't have odd corner cases.

by definition not an integer.

Sorry, I meant the only type that you can use for representing integer data. You effectively have a 53-bit integer that silently becomes a floating point value on overflow. This is the type that you must use for all integer data, including things like loop induction variables.

Comment Re:Mechanical storage (Score 1) 319

You don't need much energy to keep them cool, you need a lot of energy to cool them down. Once they're cool, maintaining the temperature is mostly accomplished by insulation. Take a look at the plans for superconducting power lines: the cost of cooling can be less than the savings from reduced transmission loss.

Comment Re:Sense of entitlement, anyone? (Score 1) 308

If you wait 15 years to move in the tech world, you're in for some pain

The problem with this argument is that most of the companies that built systems with VB6 aren't in the tech world. They're in a host of other fields and used VB with some database (possible Access, hopefully SQL Server) for a load of custom workflow automation. They don't want to replace it after 5 years, because writing software is not part of their business and is just a cost centre. They'll replace computers when they become too slow for new software or physically break. They expect their computer systems to have the same reliability as their physical systems. VB was probably entirely the wrong tool for the job for many of these companies given those requirements, but it's too late now.

As for Windows 3.1, you might have missed it but one of the big reasons that 64-bit Windows took so long to reach mainstream was that it couldn't run Win16 programs. That killed it for a huge number of companies that had programs written for Windows 3.1 (or even 3.0) that they depended on and which still worked fine in 32-bit XP.

Comment Re:ummm.no. (Score 4, Informative) 308

I have actually seen well-written VB6 code. Once. But it worked as an existence proof. It's actually quite a bit easier to write good VB6 code than it was in earlier versions of the language. Most of the VB hate comes from the fact that it was so easy to use that it attracted a load of really bad programmers. These days, most of those folks have moved on to Python.

Comment Re:Have you migrated to qbasic? (Score 5, Informative) 329

JavaScript has some nice features. It's a pure OO language, it has a simple prototype-based model with differential inheritance, but it also has a lot of ugly corner cases:
  • 'Semicolon insertion' - the semicolon is optional anywhere that the parser can determine that one should be needed. This means that some things are either code blocks or object literals depending on how you line wrap your code.
  • The only integer type is an IEEE double-precision floating point number. You can't represent a 64-bit integer without using a bignum library. Compare this with something like Smalltalk (an ancestor of JavaScript, with Self as the direct parent), where integers are either SmallInt or BigInt objects and are transparently promoted when they are no longer small enough to be hidden inside a pointer.
  • Javascript has operators that work on objects, but no operator overloading. object + string, string + number, number + array are all well-defined in JavaScript. They won't throw type exceptions, but they will produce really unexpected results.
  • The semantics of 'new' and 'this' binding are really weird. Any JavaScript function (which is actually a closure) can be either called directly or as an argument to the new operator. In the first case, the hidden 'this' parameter is the closure object. In the latter case, the 'this' argument is a new object whose prototype is set to a field in the function object. There are a few other subtleties.
  • JavaScript is a pure imperative language. The execution model is that code is run as soon as it is read, which makes quick startup difficult. V8 cheats and just does brace matching when it encounters a function and lazily parses the function when it's first called, but other languages that have a more explicit declarative structure get this for free and have cleaner entry points (there's no equivalent of 'main()' in JavaScript).

That said, it's not significantly worse or better than most other mainstream programming languages.

Comment Re:FM radio's last gasp? (Score 1) 340

Simpler receiver is definitely true, though that starts to fall down with FM radio. FM radios are now typically ICs and so being simpler doesn't really buy you much when the cost of the FM demodulator chip is no cheaper than the cost of a digital radio decoder chip. As for installed base, I'm not sure I agree. I would be very surprised if, at any given time, more people are within hearing distance of an FM receiver than a mobile phone.

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