Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×

Comment Re:Analogue vs Digital, and DRM (Score 2) 284

Wasn't this the big bugaboo of Windows Vista? I'm also curious how you think the media industries will re-introduce DRM in the billions of DRM-free songs that all the major online stores have already sold and are still selling.

No, I'm pretty sure this is just about space savings and a minimalistic design fetish. Not everything is a conspiracy, and we already won the DRM war for audio.

Comment Re:Headphone Jack is Pretty Crappy (Score 2) 284

So far, my objection is that they don't work well. I got a BT hands-free headset, and had the idea of listening to audiobooks on my commute. Nope - after a while, my Android phone somehow borked the volume. It plays so soft I can't hear the thing. Until this tech gets much more reliable, it's too early to kill the analog jack.

Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 94

Avast conned more than 1,200 people into connecting to fake wi-fi hotspots set up near the Republican convention and the Cleveland airport

...meaning they caught a lot of non-Republicans in their little "sting operation". All in all, a non-news story. I'm sure they were really hoping that they'd find 10% of the people looking at porn, or something more salacious. Why call out porn and dating apps in the first place?

All this proves is that we really need encryption everywhere, and that we need to make sure it's turned on by default, so that ordinary users don't have to think about it too much (because let's face it - that will never happen). Eventually, anything that's NOT encrypted should signal a warning to the user, although the transition will need to be gradual. Services like Let's Encrypt are slowly eroding any excuses not to make everything secure by default.

Comment Re:Anything for work (Score 3, Insightful) 208

The single return rule makes sense in some circumstances. I like early outs, but then tend to the single return rule. If you're breaking apart your logic to that degree that you need a return in the middle of a long function, then you may want to consider breaking apart the function. Still, I think it's best to consider it a *guideline* rather than a rule. The moment you declare something a rule, someone will find a valid reason for breaking it.

As for other "optional" code, I tend to put parentheses around any C/C++ code that depends on operator precedent. The only one *everyone* knows is * or / before + and -, otherwise, it gets parentheses, just to be clear.

I see a lot of programmers try to cram as much as possible into one line, which I'm not a fan of. As one example, I'm not a fan of assigning a variable inside an if statement. It's harder to read than several short, clear lines, and it likely compiles to the same assembly in the end. So, I'll occasionally leave a formula as several steps and explicitly declare some of the intermediate variables, even if I could have stuffed it all into one line. It's easier to debug, since you can examine the intermediate values, and it helps others to understand what's going on, since the intermediate variables have an actual name as a hint. I'm sure it bugs some people who think it's too verbose or my variable names are too long and descriptive. I don't go crazy, but neither do I stick to single letters when a word or two works better.

Comment Re:Hater's Gonna Hate... (Score 3, Insightful) 158

Is it really that black and white? Spending money on toys means a bunch of people have a job creating, installing or servicing those products. I work in the videogame industry, and I have a good job because people spend money on themselves (or their kids) buying videogames. In turn, I spend my own money on lots of different things, which in turn help other people out. That's how economies function. Does it really matter what the products are?

Moreover, charity can be money down a black hole if you're not extremely careful. The *real* Bill Gates has learned that it's not always easy to ensure charity goes to worthwhile causes or produces any sort of measurable results, improving peoples' lives, even if you're giving away billions.

Comment Re:Public Admission of Stupidity (Score 4, Informative) 219

As a driver, you're obligated to pull over and make way for emergency vehicles, so it's naturally to look for the source of sirens as a driver. We're often required to divert our eyes and look behind us or to the side at times as well, even when driving in normal circumstances. Humans can't focus in all directions at once. Moreover, it's more or less impossible for a person to be 100% focused and ready to brake at an instant's notice.

Accusing him of not looking where he was going is more or less accusing him of not having eyes in the back of his head.

Comment Re:It would also be (Score 1) 87

Besides, who exactly lives anywhere near a "church steeple"? Maybe they're more prominent in other areas of the country? I've seen plenty of churches, but they rarely have steeples near where I live. Also, here in the US, we have "streetlights", not "lampposts". Curious choice of wording for potential perches.

Comment Re:'Enhancements' (Score 1) 370

Download and run Never10. It uses the official Microsoft registry key to disable Windows 10 updates (likely demanded by corporate customers, because obviously they sure as hell don't listen to *us*), and cleans up any downloads you might have incurred. Best of all, it's a use-it-and-discard it program, not something you have to install and keep around.

Comment Re:Hell no (Score 1) 148

You either earn a lot more than I do, or you buy really cheap PCs. But yeah, I'm not sure why someone would only have one. I have three machines I develop on. A Windows box, OS X, and Linux (with several partitions to test various flavors).

Preview versions of OSes are for enthusiasts. I'm a developer. I value stability, because my machines are how I earn my living. There's nothing an OS can deliver to me that's so exciting that I can't wait a few months for all the bugs to be shaken out... by the enthusiasts. I pretty much feel that way about most software that's critical to my workflow. I'll wait for the stable version, and even then, if it's an especially critical piece of software, I'll probably wait a while and keep an ear to the ground in case there are any widely reported issues.

Comment Re:Man, animation must _really_ be evil then. (Score 3, Insightful) 300

I think it's going to take a little longer for directors to properly learn how to use the tools of their trade. Remember that ubiquitous CGI, or "the ability to create anything on screen that you want to" is a fairly new thing. And like any new tool, it tends to get overused at first, because everyone is excited about new and shiny things.

The same thing happened in the videogame industry. Unreal was one of the first shooters with colored lighting. End result: the environments looked like a radioactive clown puked all over them. The artists were so giddy to show off *colored lights* as a feature that they couldn't stop themselves from painting the environment in bright, vibrant, primary hues.

Fast-forward a decade. Programmable pixel shaders are a thing. Ooh, we can do *bloom effects*. Woohoo - crank up the bloom to 11! Let's live in a dream world! Or maybe motion blur, or film grain. Or depth of field. None of which really make for good gameplay, and in many cases, simply distract or annoy the player.

Rinse and repeat for each new technology that comes along.

These days, the best videogame artists have learned that a light touch on these effects are often better than slapping you in the face with them. I'm really hopeful Hollywood directors eventually learn the same thing.

Comment Re:You're not that old (Score 1) 211

You can say that about DOS too.

This is the only point I'll flat out disagree with you on. Even today, there's at least one commercial product I know of sold that make use of FreeDOS to boot into a clean PC environment for some of its operations. It's still a real thing for some people, although an admittedly small group.

No, that's wrong. The personal computer revolution had begun before DOS and in the 1980s was in full swing with or without DOS. There was a wide range of types such as Sinclairs, Commodores, Amigas, Amstrads alongside the IBM/DOS PC in the 1980-95 period. It was standardised on the IBM PC clone only gradually.

When you start getting into subjective territory like this, there will inevitably be disagreement about how you define the "beginning" of the personal computer revolution, I suppose. My guess is many geeks like us will tend to define it as "when I got my first computer". ;-)

I should probably have said *thoughout* the personal computer revolution, because you're correct that there were a lot of competitors in the early days. After all, my first computer was an Apple II, not a PC. Also, I think people are misunderstanding one of my statements. I said:

But it was really the PC, running MS-DOS for the most part, when the vast majority of people were introduced to computers for the first time.

Which I'd bet is probably accurate (although I admittedly have no numbers to back this up), as these were the machines they likely used at work. When it came time to purchase a machine of their own, it made sense to them to get another DOS or Windows-based PC, because that's what they knew. The DOS-PC's success at work made a bit impact on the home market, because as indicated, there were plenty of great competitors.

Well, anyhow, history is written by the winner. Or, rather, in this case, we look back and see the DOS-based PC as the most important of the line solely because of its place in history. We have to acknowledge that DOS is important not necessarily because of its qualities, but because of how widely used it became as the basis for Microsoft's reign over desktop computing, which continues even to this day.

Comment Re:You're not that old (Score 5, Interesting) 211

Yeah, the problem is that the Internet is dominated by the voices of the PC generation, who somehow never learned that there actually was a long history of computing before the PC and MS-DOS.

CP/M and other precursor OSes are really only of interest to historians and nostalgic geeks, but DOS actually has some real relevance to many people and projects even today, thanks to FreeDOS and the fact that we're still running x86-compatible machines... which is sort of astounding, actually.

Sure, there was a long history of computing before the PC and MS-DOS, but it was constrained to very few people for the most part - specialists, hobbyists, professionals, academics, and so on. But it was really the PC, running MS-DOS for the most part, when the vast majority of people were introduced to computers for the first time. So, it's not all that surprising that DOS is seen - rightly, I think - as the OS most used at the beginning of the personal computer revolution.

Even so, I don't think that many people mistake that for the beginning of computing in general. If nothing else, they saw computers on TV, with walls of reel-to-reel tapes and flashing lights.

Slashdot Top Deals

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions