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Comment Re:Oracle Java: Bad (Score 2) 102

If a Java application requires an older version of the platform, it's probably due to crappy coding (violating a precondition of some method, trusting undefined behaviour, using undocumented libraries that are not part of the standard API, etc.)

I have been developing in Java for like 12 years and I have never had any issues with backward compatibility. The closest I have had to an issue was a change to how word wrapping works in Swing text components in 1.7, which made an application look a bit uglier in that version (but fully functional).

In fact, one of the big advantages of Java IMHO is its great backwards compatibility... they take care not to break anything, stuff that was deprecated back in version 1.1 (1997) is still there and working.

As for compatibility between OSes (mentioned in some child threads), the only problems I've had in all these years were always my fault when I was a novice, on things like developing for Windows, expecting "", creating "" and expecting it to work on Linux. Obviously Java can't deal with wrong assumptions by the developer, but if you don't do that kind of things, programs just work out of the box across OSes.

That said, I agree the Java update mechanism is horrendous. And that's when it works. It's pretty common for the update-system under Windows to leave you with redundant versions, and I have a win 7 machine where it just fails with an uninformative error message.

Comment Re:The light is on but nobody's home (Score 1) 192

I have an HTC Desire HD since early 2011 and I'm very happy with it (in spite of not having an official upgrade to Android 4... but seriously, who cares, I haven't seen any Android 4-only app I'd like to have at the moment).

The screen is perfect, the phone is responsive, the camera is great, but above all, the default Android configuration and the Sense UI are top notch. I have tried new Sony, Samsung and LG phones and I don't like their UI half as much (Sony's is quite good, Samsung's especially crappy). HTC gets a lot of little things right that I now take for granted - for example, when I take a train, the weather widget will automatically update and show the weather for the new city if configured to do so. In the Samsung UI, I have to go to the weather app and tell it explicitly to get my new location from the GPS, which is a pain if you are constantly moving.

When I get a new phone, it's going to be HTC.


The Island of Lost Apple Products 105

concealment writes "most of Apple's products are so popular that it seems everything the company does is destined to succeed. But it doesn't take much digging to find a trail of failures and false starts. Even in recent years, there are examples of products that seemed great but never resonated with consumers, and some that seemed so destined for failure it's hard to imagine why any company would have brought them to market. Here are some examples of Apple veering a bit off course."

Proteins Made To Order 51

ananyo writes "Proteins are an enormous molecular achievement: chains of amino acids that fold spontaneously into a precise conformation, time after time, optimized by evolution for their particular function. Yet given the exponential number of contortions possible for any chain of amino acids, dictating a sequence that will fold into a predictable structure has been a daunting task. Now researchers report that they can do just that. By following a set of rules described in a paper published in Nature (abstract), a husband and wife team from David Baker's laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle has designed five proteins from scratch that fold reliably into predicted conformations. The work could eventually allow scientists to custom design proteins with specific functions."

Comment No Windows key here. (Score 1) 857

Many commenters are saying that in Windows 8 there is still a start menu, but instead of the start button you access it via the Windows key...

So what about those of us that are still sticking to our model M's?

If Windows 8 is not usabe without the Windows key, then I won't use it. I prefer changing my operating system rather than changing my keyboard.


Nearby Star May Have More Planets Than Our Solar System 102

The Bad Astronomer writes "HD 10180 is a near-twin of the Sun about 130 light years away. It's known to have at least six planets orbiting it, but a new analysis of the data shows clear indications of three more, for a total of nine! This means HD 10180 has more planets than our solar system. And whether you think Pluto is a planet or not, all nine of these aliens worlds have masses larger than Earth's, putting them firmly in the 'planet' category."

Comment Re:Feet, foot, inch? (Score 3, Informative) 54

So do Americans find the jump from the tiny cent to the relatively huge dollar inconvenient, then? :)

Seriously, there *is* an intermediate unit (dm), but people usually don't use it because it's not necessary. I'm 1 m 96 cm tall, if I grew 10 cm I would be 2 m 6 cm tall. Dead simple, there's no need for any intermediate unit for everyday use.

It's funny how people not using metric, but imagining what it would be like, always make up strange drawbacks that no one in countries that actually use the system has found.


Third-Generation Apple TV Lands With a Thud 222

DeviceGuru writes "Although generally overshadowed by the iPad 3 debut, Apple also introduced the third incarnation of its Apple TV streaming media players this week. Sporting a revamped icon-based UI, the third-generation Apple TV doesn't add much to its predecessor beyond a truly-HD 1080p video output mode. Although Apple TV is still not supported by an Apple Apps Store plug-in apps ecosystem, its new UI (available as a free update for 2nd-generation Apple TVs) does seem to imply that this capability is coming soon. Meanwhile, Roku is gearing up for a $50M IPO, so this cord-cutting story is far from over."

Comment Icon (Score 4, Insightful) 299

They should have taken advantage of the chance to change that horrendous cone icon. I love VLC, but sometimes I install other alternatives just to get rid of that ugly icon that gives the idea that there is something broken in the files (yes, I know it can be changed, but I'm too lazy to fiddle with that and it's so 90s to mess around with icon configuration).


Fair Labor Association Finds Foxconn Factory "First Class," Says Labor Watchdog 219

Richard.Tao writes "The Fair Labor Association found that Apple's plant where iPhones and iPads are far better than those at garment factories or other facilities elsewhere in the country. A quote: 'The lead investigator stated "The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm."' Which leaves the question, what is the acceptable norm?"

You Will Never Kill Piracy 516

scottbomb writes "This is perhaps the best op-ed I've read about the whole SOPA/PIPA controversy. The author challenges Hollywood to re-think their entire business model. It will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears, for now. But sooner or later, they will have no choice but to adapt. From the article: 'Now that the SOPA and PIPA fights have died down, and Hollywood prepares their next salvo against internet freedom with ACTA and PCIP, it's worth pausing to consider how the war on piracy could actually be won. It can't, is the short answer, and one these companies do not want to hear as they put their fingers in their ears and start yelling.'"

Book Review: OpenCL Programming Guide 40

asgard4 writes "In recent years GPUs have become powerful computing devices whose power is not only used to generate pretty graphics on screen but also to perform heavy computation jobs that were exclusively reserved for high performance super computers in the past. Considering the vast diversity and rapid development cycle of GPUs from different vendors, it is not surprising that the ecosystem of programming environments has flourished fairly quickly as well, with multiple vendors, such as NVIDIA, AMD, and Microsoft, all coming up with their own solutions on how to program GPUs for more general purpose computing (also abbreviated GPGPU) applications. With OpenCL (short for Open Computing Language) the Khronos Group provides an industry standard for programming heavily parallel, heterogeneous systems with a language to write so-called kernels in a C-like language. The OpenCL Programming Guide gives you all the necessary knowledge to get started developing high-performing, parallel applications for such systems with OpenCL 1.1." Keep reading for the rest of asgard4's review.
The Military

Navy May Use Mine-Detecting Dolphins In the Straight of Hormuz 204

New submitter cervesaebraciator writes "The Atlantic Wire reports that the Navy has a tested solution to the possible mining of the Strait of Hormuz. The Navy has 80 dolphins in San Diego Bay trained to use their own sonar to detect mines. When they find the mines, the dolphins drop an acoustic transponder nearby, so that human divers might return to defuse it. Retired Adm. Tim Keating cannot say, however, whether the dolphins will be used in the Straight." The Obama administration has reportedly warned Iran that closing the Strait would provoke an American response.

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