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Comment Re:why not sell your own stuff? (Score 1) 73

In a world where people prefer a subscription over ownership, an individual musician is ill-suited to handle that expectation alone, since even die-hard fans will typically tire of listening to the same couple of albums on repeat ad infinitum. Your idea works fine for direct sales, but people's expectations have changed in the last decade, as evidenced by the fact that artists continue to put up with Spotify, despite the abysmal profit they make from it.

Comment Re:BS (Score 5, Informative) 166

The conclusion I'm taking away from this is that the article (and perhaps study) are complete crap. The stats in the reporting fall apart at the slightest touch. For instance...

1) They're lumping everything from "the phone might've felt a little slow that one time" to "this phone literally summoned the Four Horsemen to usher in the end of the world" into a single "failure" bucket. No weighting, no granularity, and no consideration for the fact that we wouldn't even refer to most of those as "failures" or even the fault of the manufacturer.

2) Their math doesn't add up because they use the term "failure rate" to arbitrarily refer to multiple different concepts, most of which aren't even rates. The most obvious example comes from looking at the Android charts, in which they indicate that Android devices have an overall failure rate of 35%, with the worst manufacturer (Samsung) having a failure rate of 26%. But that makes no sense. If the worst manufacturer has a failure rate of 26%, then the highest the overall failure rate could possibly be (if that manufacturer sold 100% of devices) would be 26%. What they appear to be doing (but don't disclose) is using the term "failure rate" to refer to the share of failures that correspond to each manufacturer.

3) For similar reasons, you can't even compare their own numbers against each other. As the fine print in the image indicates, the "failure rate" for each model actually represents that model's share of the failures for their platform. Basically, there's a pie representing all iOS failures, and another representing all Android failures. The iPhone 6 gets 29% of the first pie, and the Le 1S gets 10% of the second pie, but who's to say which slice is actually bigger, since they never tell us how big each pie is? Plus, they cleverly hide the fact that the quantity of slices in each of those pies is likely orders of magnitude different by only telling us about the top 5 models from each.

This feels like a case of someone massaging the statistics until they get something that suits their need, given the odd bucketing and double-use of terminology. Blancco Technology Group, which authored the study, apparently counts at least one Android manufacturer on its list of clients, but given the way that manufacturer was unfavorably represented, I doubt that manufacturer is behind these trashy statistics. I don't know if Blancco is the one doing the massaging (since the report is behind a "give us your info and agree to receive our marketing" wall) or if it's Softpedia, but either way, there's no useful information in the article.

Were the stats flipped to favor the other side, I'd have the same critiques, since it's trash reporting either way, and Slashdot should be doing a better job of weeding articles that have no factual basis with which to prop up their clickbait headlines.

Comment Re:Apple Just Released an Update to Address This (Score 1) 31

It's seriously frustrating how one-sided the reporting is here. Summaries like these blast Apple while failing to state the obvious: that Apple has already patched...

What's that? They did mention it in the summary?

Oh. Uhh...what was I complaining about again? What was the point of your post in the first place?

Comment Re:Why do people still go there? (Score 5, Insightful) 347

they will have to start treating their guests more normally at some point.

I think you underestimate our insular mentality and the degree to which we believe in American exceptionalism. Only 30% of us even have passports, despite the 2007 change that requires us to present them every time we re-enter the country, even if we just visited a neighboring nation. And regardless of whether it's true or not, I'd wager that most Americans would believe that the tourism taking place within or between states far outweighs the 80 million visitors that come to the US for tourist activities each year.

On the flipside, I think you also overestimate the typical person's level of care about any of this stuff. I've opted-out of going through the body scanners every single time I've gone through an airport since they were introduced, but in all of those trips, I have yet to see anyone else do the same. While you and I might view this suggestion as an abridgement of our rights and a gross invasion of privacy, most people won't give it a second thought, simply because they've already made their vacation plans and a question on a form about something minor like that isn't enough to put them off. I wish it wasn't so, but we both know that to be true.

The fact that international tourist visits to the US have grown in the last few years (only France receives more tourists, but we bring in nearly 4x as much tourism revenue as they do, and nearly 2x that of China, which is the next closest in terms of revenue) only provides evidence for the notion that these draconian measures haven't adversely impacted the industry.

Comment Re:International Units please (Score 1) 190

when will US posters finally stop using imperial

We'd have to start using them first.

A) America uses American customary units, which were derived from colonial era English units. British Imperial units share a common heritage, in that they were derived from those same English units as well, but the Imperial system was created in 1824, after America's independence, so the two countries diverged, resulting in the two systems having a number of differences.

B) Brits still use miles in everyday practice, so feet are consistent with the system already in common use. Moreover, shows like Top Gear (which is about as much exposure as most Americans get to British people using units) still use inches and feet on occasion, so it's unsurprising that a poster would assume all/most English speakers would be versed in using them.

C) Given that things don't magically become metric when they're smaller than a driving distance, isn't it a bit pretentious to expect that others keep up to date with your particular country's mix-and-match of systems? Assuming that you are indeed British, are we really expected to know that feet and inches aren't okay to use these days, even though miles are fine? You're on good terms with pints, but you'll complain if I use cups? And then there's kilos, pounds, AND stones in everyday use, but not hundredweights or certain varieties of tons/tonnes? Or have stones stopped being used this week and I missed the memo?

My point is, the world is a messy place, and when it comes to units it will continue being messy until the world standardizes on a particular system. We can all look forward to that day eagerly, since it'll mean silly posts like mine and yours won't be around. In the meantime, do what the rest of us do: convert the units without complaining.

Comment Re:Learning language (Score 1) 140

You may think that things that are not mathematically definable exist, but in fact they do not.

No, I don't think that. I know that and backed it up with a link to the math to prove it. You asked for evidence earlier, and I've been providing it. You can't just dismiss it with "in fact they do not".

I may be willing to accept your premise that all things are describable, even if they aren't definable, but changing the discussion to being about describing instead of defining is an example of moving the goalposts. After all, whether or not something can be described is a tangential topic of no relevance to the conversation at hand, given that we were talking about languages and the intrinsic differences (or lack thereof) between ones that are formally defined vs. those that aren't formally defined. If we're broadening it to other topics, I'll bow out, since I have no interest in discussing them.

Mixing.things in a single course has never even been tried

Despite the fact that I literally just said that I had experience doing it, I clearly must not know what I'm talking about, since your statement makes it clear that you have a global knowledge of the happenings in every classroom across the entirety of time. How can I argue with someone whose knowledge of my own life surpasses my own?

Comment Re:Learning language (Score 1) 140

You weren't paying attention to your link very closely because Wikipedia just did.

I linked to Wikipedia's page for general closure properties, but I specifically was talking about them with regards to formal languages. I stand by what I said: you can't explain them without first explaining formal languages. Of course, to make another pedantic caveat (I'm not saying that you said this, but just in case), I suppose we could point out that Wikipedia uses natural language to explain biology, astronomy, and nuclear physics too, but we wouldn't assert that any of them lack are in any way similar to spoken languages. Likewise, the fact that Wikipedia used a natural language to describe formal languages has no bearing on the similarities between them. Yes, they're both languages, but the similarities end there.

You bring up recursion and then proceed to contradict your point.

I brought up the exceptions that prove the rule that recursion is not a part of natural language. If you think I'm contradicting my point by bringing those up, then I clearly didn't do a good job at communicating.

My point is that level of rigor is useful in natural language too.

I very much so agree that teaching people to be more rigorous in their thinking would be of incredible use, but I disagree strenuously that this level of rigor should be applied to natural languages. Additional rigor, sure, such as bringing back logic and critical thinking courses, but not to this level, at least with regards to natural language. Natural languages are useful because they can eloquently and understandably (for the most part) convey complex subjects concisely. And while learning how to think more critically and logically can certainly benefit one's writing, I speak from experience (first as a student and later as an educator in both writing intensive courses and computer science courses, all at the college level) in saying that the two are better taught separately. Mixing them too much in a single course leads to sacrificing the benefits of each that makes them good at the tasks for which they are intended.

As for the notion that all things are mathematically defined, I disagree. Moreover, math has already told us that there are things that aren't even mathematically definable . I suppose you could make the argument that the whole universe is just a giant quantum computer (which, coincidentally, was something I first heard about in my Formal Languages class), but that's both well beyond the scope of this conversation and well beyond the point of mattering, since at that point we'd either be getting into deeper parts of this subject than I'd care to go in this discussion, or else we'd be walking into theology, given that God would be the only one capable of providing that mathematic definition.

Comment Re:Learning language (Score 1) 140

You were basically claiming that we could use swans to teach students the mechanics of jet flight. I generally don't provide evidence in response to posts such as those, since the distinction should be obvious to anyone who gives the topic even half a glance.

But backing up for a sec and giving you the benefit of the doubt (since you responded more politely than my comment warranted), whether you realize it or not, your original assertion effectively says that there isn't a distinction between natural languages (of which spoken languages* are a subset) and formal languages (of which programming languages are a subset), which is wholly incorrect. While a number of concepts carry over between the two (e.g. alphabets, grammars, etc.), there are a number of other features that remain unique to each, meaning that you'll quickly get into the weeds if you try to use the one to explain the other, just the same as if you were trying to use a swan to explain jet flight.

Just consider what makes a formal language "formal": that it's mathematically defined. They consist solely of denotation. Everything is literal and can be taken at face value. In contrast, natural languages frequently make use of both denotation and connotation, the latter of which cannot, by definition, exist in a formal language.

Likewise, you can't explain the closure properties resulting from the various mathematical operations on formal languages without first delving into an explanation of the mathematics that make formal languages what they are. Natural languages have no analogous concept. Even if we restrict ourselves to the practical matters of programming languages, there are a number of everyday concepts (e.g. recursion) that don't exist in everyday natural language (cue people linking WINE and GNU).

Perhaps more central to your original comment, I disagree with the apparent implication that they can be taught similarly. After all, even if we set aside the technical distinctions, the types of thinking required by the types of languages necessitate that they be taught differently. Natural languages are very fault tolerant and provide us with a number of "recovery" mechanisms to infer meaning in cases where there's the potential for ambiguity, thus splitting the burden of successful communication between the speaker and the listener. In contrast, formal languages put the onus solely on the speaker to successfully communicate. And they either do it, or they don't. 1 or 0. That level of rigor forces a different sort of thinking than anything you'd see in a natural language, and thus it needs to be taught very differently.

All of which is to say, I don't disagree with the notion that programming suffers from a problem in the way that it's being taught, but I do take issue with your over-generalized assertions regarding the lack of differences between spoken and programming languages.

* Pedantic caveat: The Venn diagram circles for "spoken languages" and "formal languages" can technically intersect if you do something silly like read C++ aloud. For the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to assume that "spoken languages" is a way of referring to everyday, spoken, natural languages, such as English or Chinese, and not a silly case like what I just mentioned.

Comment Re:Whatever happened to "location not found"? (Score 4, Informative) 175

It would make more sense if they returned latitude 0, longitude 0.

Why? That's a location off the coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, which means that it doesn't even have the benefit of being useful for identifying the correct country, which is what the software is currently configured to do.

The real problem is that they're providing a point in these conditions in the first place. They shouldn't be. Instead, they should be providing something else if the conditions aren't sufficient to identify an actual point. If all they know is the country (as is the case here), then they should return an object that represents that country, rather than co-opting a point to represent the country and hoping that the people who build on their software will be diligent enough to check the precision as well and realize that the point is virtually useless.

Comment Re:Oh really? (Score 1) 158

[...] but "preposterous?" Really?

Yes, "preposterous". Silly. Contrary to reason. Absurd. Suggesting a premise is preposterous because there's an ample supply of evidence to the contrary is an appropriate use of the word "preposterous". Anyone who had given even a cursory glance at the industry (which we'd hope would include journalists paid to research the topics they write about) should have been aware of how patently absurd their premise was.

And while I don't see any relation between politics and the topic at hand, no, I'm not afraid of the stuff going on in the current US election cycle.

Comment Re:Oh really? (Score 1) 158

GameFAQs definitely has its own hive mind, just like any other site that's been around for awhile, and they definitely lean in certain directions that differ from the mainstream. Even so, all I was attempting to get at is that No Man's Sky is shaping up to be a much-anticipated launch, arguably the biggest one this month. Given the level of coverage in the press, the water cooler talk I've been hearing around the office, and other anecdotal evidence such as the poll, I think that's a fair assessment.

For my part, I currently have no plans to purchase or play either of the two titles we're discussing. No Man's Sky isn't my cup of tea (I generally view giant sandbox games as an unwanted time sink), and I want to play through the other Deus Ex titles I already own before I purchase any more.

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