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Comment How about those that bump into people? (Score 2) 113

Not joking. I live in London, we've tried a couple of experiments by just stopping, as one does, and morons on mobiles (may I suggest the hashtag #moronsonmobiles) just bump into you. A few apologise, most do not. So, let's get rid of the lot. Nothing that you need to do on your phone is that important, even looking at pictures of cats.

Comment In the Future (Score 1) 144

Only Microsoft will be allowed to attack and spy on you, without being perturbed or sidelined by these annoying competitors.

Sorry, that's juvenile and I should know better, but these little outbursts of virtue signalling from them get my goat. And I haven't even got a goat.

Comment Adding to space junk, satellite by satellite (Score 4, Insightful) 157

This is great, technically speaking. However, here's a little article from the BBC on the current space junk problem: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/scie... Just look at the statistics at the bottom of the article.

We've managed to fill near-earth with almost as much rubbish as the surface, the actual atmosphere and (more recently reported) the depths of the sea: https://www.theguardian.com/en...

I love tech, but we need urgently to work on its by-products.

Comment Re: I predict (Score 1) 557

Since 'doug' with his msn email address has chosen to spam the above assertion, I've also added my previous remark here, in the interest of balance. I'd add that I have half a dozen old people using Linux Mint, at time of writing.

linux is not for the general public, it is for the computer literate.

This is also why the millions of people (including small children) currently using Raspberry Pis cannot possibly use it, it's too difficult for them, when we see them using it, we are dreaming or deceived by Descarte's evil demon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

Sarcasm apart, I've used it as a desktop for about 10 years, it's become steadily easier over that period. We started a project for a housing estate (that's a 'project' for Americans, but it may be nicer) with about 20 older machines that we repurposed. Older people (therefore without some of these prejudices) used Linux, without really realising that they were not using the market standard.

I can see that a lot of commentary here will be Microsoft astro-turfing, so I won't both to reply to each one, but the above statement is nearly nonsense. Incidentally, I'm not a fanatic either, I keep a Windows laptop for music, because I still use Pro Tools. I must say, in terms of random problems (and I'm very careful about virus protection etc.) it is much more of a pain than my vintage 2006 tower running Linux Mint, usually due to driver problems and resultant BSOD episodes.

Comment Re: I predict (Score 1) 557

This is the new astro-turfing mantra from Microsoft now that people are switching away. Actually the last large Windows deployments where I worked, we waited 20 minutes for roaming profiles, each morning, multiple crashes each month. Every other recent place where we (developers) have been given the choice, it's always been some kind of Linux desktop, faster boot, free of Windows viruses, lower powered systems etc. etc.

I'd love to see the 'measurements' for this assertion, since Win 10 has only been around for a moment too.

Comment AI isn't Artificial Intelligence (Score 1) 251

Anyone else notice this? Most of statistical machine intelligence is either optimisation or training neural nets. Symbolic, in the form of expert systems and Cyc: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... seems to have submarined (although I saw someone from Lucid AI in Cambridge about a year ago). I'm not sure where we are with hybrids, since I'm not a specialist.

Things can play Go, Poker and Jeopardy and (this is more sinister) approve people for loans and credit cards. But they lack the huge compositional flexibility of the human mind. They lack explanatory power and (this is bad for the so-called 'financial industry' ) they often don't deal with outliers well. So we're a while from AGI yet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... but the hype and distorted language is outpacing the capabilities. There may be marketing reasons for this. After all, 'our AI said no' is a lot more authoritative than 'our little program said no'.

Comment Re:perl is not surprising. (Score 1) 149

In the last year Perl has become more popular than Java, PHP, and ASP as a weekend programming language

To declare interest, I've done a great deal of contract programming in Perl, for 'big' shops, BBC and a bit of Amazon for example. I've been in the industry since 1976 and done a lot of COBOL, RPG2, Filetab, some PL/1 etc. and more recently some Java and Python. So I'm not a one language programmer, I've been messing with Erland recently too.

Perl takes a lot of shit, and, I agree @ [ % $ (for example) makes things very mysterious, starting out. However, it's a very productive language with a huge set of library assets on CPAN (yes, too many perhaps and some are flaky as hell) and a lot of mature tools like Catalyst and mod_perl. You have to be defensive because of weak typing, but that becomes a habit, good to be defensive, anyway.

Lastly, the community is good, funny and pretty welcoming. As I'm a Londoner, I got to: http://act.yapc.eu/lpw2016/ every year, learn some stuff, meet some friends too. Lastly, lastly (I lied about the previous 'lastly') it's not in anyone's hands, like Java and Go, for example.

Try it and see. You may be surprised.

Comment Re: I predict (Score 2) 557

linux is not for the general public, it is for the computer literate.

This is why the millions of people using Raspberry Pis cannot possibly use it, it's too difficult for them, when we see them using it, we are dreaming or deceived by Descarte's evil demon.

Sarcasm apart, I've used it as a desktop for about 10 years, it's become steadily easier over that period. We started a project for a housing estate (that's a 'project' for Americans, but it may be nicer) with about 20 older machines that we repurposed. Older people (therefore without some of these prejudices) used Linux, without really realising that they were not using the market standard.

I can see that a lot of commentary here will be Microsoft astro-turfing, so I won't both to reply to each one, but the above statement is nearly nonsense. Incidentally, I'm not a fanatic either, I keep a Windows laptop for music, because I still use Pro Tools. I must say, in terms of random problems (and I'm very careful about virus protection etc.) it is much more of a pain than my vintage 2006 tower running Linux Mint, usually due to driver problems and resultant BSOD episodes.

Comment Re:Somewhat selfishly, I look forward to this. (Score 1) 291

Yes, me too, I add it into the rice in my rice cooker. I'm not aware of any real bitterness and I hate the idea messing with the genetics of stuff to improve 'taste'. Sturdier plants, I can see the purpose of that.

Next stop is probably tef: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... unhappily, when Westerners latch on to things, the price rises, with predictable results for the poorer producers.

Comment Well, Disney, says it all really (Score 1) 328

Since when did major corporations decide what was good for school? Don't answer it was a rhet-or-ical question.

I'm bilingual in French, know 'some' Japanese and have been a programmer most of my career. The one is not a substitute for the other and, also, learning foreign languages is to do with what Aristotle called flourishing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... enhanced human condition, ability to communicate with and enjoy other cultures. School and university is not just preparation for work, although Disney et al. would prefer that that be so.

Comment Unconferences and informal conferences (Score 1) 197

I'm a 40-year industry 'veteran' and have been to a great many conferences. In the main, my employers paid for (usually) expensive tickets.

However, I often find nowadays that the informal ones, self-organised unconferences, open-source meetups are a great deal better. We talk about things that concern and are useful to us as equals rather than being sold products and being lectured to by 'thought leaders', 'evangelists' and 'horizon scanners' (whatever they are, I'm joking, before anyone tells me). Immediately I see the choppy two-hand motion and the inevitable outpouring of buzzwords, I know I'm in the wrong place. As for the networking, that's often fairly cynical.

Better, because I'm a Brit, I've been going to and (in one case) organising some Raspberry Pi Jams: https://www.raspberrypi.org/ja... for kids, parents and teachers etc. The levels of enthusiasm and expertise in these put some of the 'professional' ones to shame, ok, agree, that's slightly off-topic. There's a few Saturday the 11th too, look at the calendar further down the page.

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