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Comment Re:Yey! (Score 0) 130

I thought the game looked okay (especially for a one-hour thing), but then I saw what he'd actually had to do. The things that were done for him:
  • Drawing the game board.
  • Collision detection between ball and player, goal, and walls
  • The bounce logic.
  • Events delivered for the buttons.
  • The mechanic for introducing a new ball into the game.
  • The score management. This is like those lego sets that have about half a dozen pieces and can be quickly assembled into a single design of spaceship. Yes, sure, you've built something, but there was little creativity or effort involved. It's not a bad learning tool (and for something that expects people with no programming experience to get something done in an hour, it's fine) but if he doesn't realise how much harder all of the pre-defined bits were to write than the simple logic for gluing them all together then he's now dangerously ignorant.

Comment Re:cheap chinese crap (Score 1) 75

There was a lawsuit against Apple for the original iPod for a similar reason. Steve Jobs was mostly deaf, so insisted that he be able to hear the sound, so the maximum volume was loud enough to be dangerous. Airline in-flight entertainment systems are the worst: they give you crappy headphones so that you have to turn the volume to max to hear anything if you use them, but if you buy a decent set of noise-cancelling ones then you want the volume down at around 20-40%. This is all fine, until they do an announcement, when they pause the movie and slam the volume up to 100% with no warning.

Comment Re:Pain: 120db. Damage: 85db (Score 1) 75

I remember someone in my class getting a Walkman (back when they were still expensive and exciting). After six months, he admitted that he'd gradually been having to turn up the volume to be able to hear the music clearly. I've been hesitant around headphones since then and as a result I can still hear the bats when they fly along with me when I cycle home.

Comment Re:Glitchless streaming. (Score 2) 157

This is not something that network neutrality prevents. QoS is completely allowed. If something on the customer's endpoint (or the remote) marks its packets as more sensitive to bandwidth, latency, or jitter then you are completely free to put them into different queues that priorities one or two of those attributes at the expense of the others. The only catch is that you must do the same for all traffic marked in such a way, irrespective of the remote endpoint. If you offer a VoIP service and mark its traffic as being low bandwidth, but being very sensitive to latency and jitter then you can't special-case this and make sure that the experience for your customers is better than a third-party SIP provider or Skype. Similarly, you can't launch your own video streaming service and give it a bigger share of the bandwidth and you can't take money from Hulu or Netflix to prioritise their traffic over their competitors.

Comment Re:1980s/1990s online service redux (Score 1) 157

It went downhill once they started sending out CDs. Back in the day, AOL and Compuserve would send out their client software on floppy disks (one initially, two later). It wasn't until very late that they started popping out the write-protect slider. I'd call them up every few weeks as a child (freephone number) and ask for a trial pack. Most of it went into the bin, but I'd reformat the disks and they'd be good to use.

Comment Re:Bad is better than Worst (Score 3, Interesting) 405

Depends. China is, apparently, a pretty nice place to live if you're relatively wealthy and are on the good side of the Party establishment. Trumps America will probably be quite similar. Going from one such country where you're on the wrong side of the people in power to one where you're on their right side is probably an improvement.

Comment Re:Why should this be surprising? (Score 1) 157

The problem with that idea is that internships are a two-way interview. You're judging the candidate, but they're also judging you as a place to work. If you give them a crappy experience and they still come and work for you then that tells you that they couldn't get a job anywhere else. Probably not the candidates that you actually want to hire.

Comment Re:Why should this be surprising? (Score 1) 157

Why would you bother with interns at all if this is how you treat them? Internships are a (comparatively) cheap way of hiring. You get three months to judge how competent someone is, how well they work with the team, how quickly they pick up your workflow, and so on. At the end, you can make a far more informed decision about whether to offer them a job than in a one-day interview. If you're not taking advantage of this, then you're just wasting a load of money and you'd be better off dropping the whole thing.

Comment Re:Students are income tax exempt, too (Score 1) 157

I think the US system is different, but in the UK you don't pay tax on the first part of your income and a student stipend is non-taxable. This means that you can live very comfortably as a PhD student: the stipend covers your cost of living and then you can earn roughly as much as someone working a full-time minimum-wage job on top of that before you start paying taxes. When I did mine, I was coming close to the tax-free allowance from consulting work, so at the end of it I'd saved enough for a deposit on a house (not a massive achievement: I was living somewhere with very low housing costs).

This also leads to some unfortunate unintended consequences: the main funding body has made it very hard to fund PhD studentships from grants, so the work around is to hire PhD students as research assistants and enrol them as self-funded PhD students. This means that the university charges overhead and the student pays tax, so it ends up costing 2-3 times as much as a funded studentship for about the same level of take-home pay for the student. Worse, they're then above the tax-free income threshold, so they pay tax on top of any other earnings, so PhD students funded on a grant get a much worse deal than ones funded from a scholarship or other award.

Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 324

The US has been fed a dichotomy of two opinions for several decades: One side believes that the government should have the power to oppress the people. The other side believes that this is inefficient and that oppression is better handled by multinational corporations. The two main parties flip between these two ideologies depending on who controls the government and who looks more attractive to big corporate donors.

Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 3, Insightful) 376

It describes the very low level of a program and a computer.

No it doesn't. It describes the very low level of a program running on a computer from 30-50 years ago. The lessons that it teaches about algorithmic complexity are still valid, but the low-level stuff is not. Once you get to limits of the implementation, rather than of the algorithm, artefacts of caches in pipelines are far more important to performance. Not only will you not find, for example, Hopscotch Hash Tables in TAOCP, you also won't find an explanation of the underlying reasons for their performance.

Comment Re:Surprising? Not so much. - they're stupid (Score 1) 134

Exactly. Is there extra funding for ISPs to add extra security for politician's data? If not, then it might not be easy to get with a search warrant, but you can bet that some of it will be leaked. Do MPs have some special sign-on for all Internet access? If not, then you can bet that some hotspot or mobile provider won't know that they're MPs and so will hand over the data when someone goes fishing for data on a particular IP address. Do MPs have their own Internet accounts that they don't share with their family? If not, then you can bet that someone will request the data on their husbands or wives and get the results indirectly.

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