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Comment Re:Running Linux on Windows is awesome? How so? (Score 1) 183

Using Wine on Linux is much better for development and there are hardly any other use-cases.

...only for the subset of Windows applications (often old versions) that have gold/platinum support in Wine.

That said, once you accept that some people do actually want to run Windows (probably for the GUI - Linux folk never did get the message that a GUI is more than a way of running 8 copies of vim side-by-side), the real competitor to WSL for development is running Windows, with Linux as a virtual machine (as others have said, nobody ever picked Linux for its user-friendliness) set up to mimic your target environment.

Seems like the long-term advantage of WSL would be if future containerisation products could support both Windows and Linux containers side-by-sice while running natively on a Windows machine: currently Docker et. al. on WIndows install a Linux VM as the base OS. Of course, presumably you could use Wine to run server-side Windows stuff on a Linux container, but you can see that Microsoft wouldn't see that as Plan A. That said, hell did freeze over when MS started doing SQL Server for Linux...

Comment Re:cult of mac (Score 1) 168

you obviously don't remember the "smartphones" of the day. yes, they had those paper features but in real life it was easier not to use them.


I had bought a Windows smartphone shortly before the iPhone came out. Yeah, it did lots of stuff that the iPhone did but it was horrible to use. Basic problem: it had a slide-out querty keyboard, a joystick, a jog wheel, a touchscreen, a toothpick stylus and a set of applications that were optimised for none of those input methods. Apple took the minimalist approach: multitouch + one home button, and everything was designed to work well that way.

After persisting with the WinPhone for a year or two I actually ended up going with Android (iPhone was more than I wanted to pay for a phone), but its obvious that Android would be nothing like it is today if the iPhone hadn't happened.

Comment Re:the smell of E-6 in the morning (Score 2) 213

I think this just reminds you that Kodak missed the boat a long time ago

It wasn't an easy boat for Kodak to jump on.

Kodak's reputation (and the core of their business) was film and film processing, not making good cameras . Their famous cameras of the past - Brownie, Instamatic etc. - were mainly about innovations in film & processing, not cameras per se. The arrival of digital killed the "Gillette razor blade" business model - suddenly Kodak had to start making its money from actually selling cameras, not film. They were stuffed.

Kodak did launch digital cameras - both professional 'digital backs' and a consumer range (ISTR they tried to establish a standard camera OS) - but if you see a rack of expensive digital cameras of various brands, which one were you going to pick up first: Nikon, Canon, Olympus... or Kodak? Right. Even Sony, by then, had a rep for making video cameras & they got themselves some more cred by using Zeiss-branded lenses. Panasonic, likewise, released Leica-branded digicams.

Also, in the 90s, Kodak did start to shift their processing systems to a digital workflow - i.e. scan the negs and print digitally, offering all sorts of post-processing and printing options - which would have put them in pole position to offer print services for digital cameras. One spin-off was PhotoCD for which they had great plans - but in practice I think it just got used by semi-pros who wanted a cheap way of digitising their slides. As for print-from-digital, people getting blow-ups of their favourite shots is never going to replace the volume of business from developing film. I guess their biggest mistake was letting the likes of Epson beat them to the punch when it came to photo-quality home inkjet printing (welcome back King Camp Gillette!)

Comment This is about turnover (Score 2) 188

that Britons spent 2.4 million pounds ($3.03 million) on the old-school wax last week while only doling out 2.1 million pounds ($2.65 million) for digital downloads.

So, its about turnover rather than numbers of sales. Lets have a look on Amazon...

Thought so:
Dark side of the moon vinyl: £18.98
Dark side of the moon digital download: £7.99
...or stream for £0 if you already have Amazon Prime
...or rip the CD you bought in 1988 for £0
...or screw over those poor, penniless artists and torrent for £0.

So, yeah, you can see why the turnover on vinyl is tasty.

Got to hand it to the music industry: after getting everybody to replace all their vinyl with CDs in the 80s, it must have been so frustrating when the next big format let you convert all your CDs for free, but now they've gone back to the drawing board, applied themselves and found a wheeze to get everybody to replace all of their MP3s with vinyl again... so it looks like vinyl may even outlive the CD.

Remember guys - store all your CDs carefully for the grandkids so they're ready for the big 16-bit revival in 2050...

Comment Provided the prediction engine is clever... (Score 2) 59

E.g. I type "o-p-e-r"...
Browser immediately opens "Download Google Chrome"* page.

*or other browser of your choice provided it doesn't have a mouth-frothingly insane "speculatively download and render potential malware" feature... because nobody ever left any security loopholes in any code ever.

Even the existing not-very-smart-bar feature in most browsers keeps wanting to google "http://mytestwebserver.local" or "" instead of doing what I obviously want.

Comment Re:NoSQL all the way down (Score 1) 332

Postgres / HSTORE could have probably solved pretty much the entire set of persistence use cases

Hey, but PostgreSQL is buzzword compliant with the new hipness... you want a JSON-based document store?
CREATE TABLE docstore (
document JSON

OK, don't code-review that off-the-cuff doodle too seriously, but implementing NoSQL features in a decent RDBMS is easy, implementing RDBMS features in NoSQL is hard...

Comment All this has happened before, and it will (etc) (Score 2) 332

Wow, ExtJS brought all development to a complete multi year halt. In the first few months ExtJS development is way way way faster than any other framework out there. But after about 6 months all you are doing is fighting with the framework

This is the good old "Rapid Application Development" myth that has been doing the rounds since before many of today's trendy agile NoSQL programmers and the PHBs who encourage them were born. Even with things like Microsoft Foundation Classes and Borland's OWL that were used to create substantial apps, the initial drag-n-drool honeymoon didn't last very long. Then when Multimedia came along there were more "authoring systems" than applications created using authoring systems, and they were all great until you hit the brick wall that the designers had never anticipated, and ended up re-writing from scratch.

"Ooh look, I can create a fully-functioning GUI app by clicking 3 buttons and writing 1 line of code... this is going to save weeks of development"

Six months later: "Ooh, look - I'm wading through the sparsely-commented source code of the framework trying to figure out why I can't get the 'print' method to do anything beyond the trivial case given in the sample project... what's this? '/// TODO - implement print function'...?" (Its too long ago for me to remember the details so I won't name the application framework in question).

Turns out that a couple of days writing the "boilerplate" code for your application paid dividends further down the line...

First example I remember was this: The Last One - yes folks, the last computer program that would ever need to be written, heralded by magazine articles predicting mass unemployment of programmers... but I'll bet you an internet that Ada Lovelace had some brilliant ideas for making the Analytical Engine take all the hard work out of programming...

Put simply: we all know that the last 10% of development takes 90% of the time. RAD tools eliminate the first 10% of the development thus ensuring that the last 10% takes 100% of the time.

Comment Re:Good (Score 2) 49

Making a entire spin-off distro for one single specific application seems like the biggest waste of time and effort to me.

I think that's true now, but back in the day there were very good reasons for Mythbuntu: first, it was used for single-purpose Home Theatre PC "Appliances" - often small-form-factor systems with mediocre resources. MythTV needed X Window, but you didn't want the bloat of a full distro. TV tuners, hardware-assisted video playback, infra-red remote control didn't work straight out of the box on regular distros - you had to at least build and install kernel drivers, if not customise the kernel, then faff around to get it to boot straight to full screen MythTV. Mythbuntu had a lot of this already set up.

Now, things have moved on - the standard distros now typically include all the LinuxTV kernel drivers so well-supported cards are plug'n'play, and the unsupported ones usually rely on binary blobs or customised versions of the LinuxTV stack that can't be distributed with Mythbuntu either. As someone already pointed out, PCIe-based cards that support HD are like hen's teeth (YMMV depending on which standard you use) and the "driver-free" HDHomeRun seems to be cornering the market.

Also, now, any streaming box that can run Kodi or MrMC (XBMC as was) can be a MythTV frontend - a Raspberry Pi works brilliantly, or you can use a FireTV, AppleTV, or Android TV box - so it makes much more sense to run the backend on a server or NAS and keep that noisy spinning rust out of your living room. That cuts out all the frontend/video/remote control setup stuff, at least on the MythTV side. You're probably using the server for other things so you don't want a dedicated distro.

Finally, sadly, MythTV is getting long in the tooth - all the support for analog TV is now redundant, it depends on everything from X.org to MySQL to Apache (if you want the web interface) so its not great for a NAS/Server, and all the tedious X.org GUI configuration screens desperately need ripping out and replacing with web-based versions.

I stopped using the MythTV frontend some time ago, in favor of Kodi on a Raspberry Pi, and I've actually just (tentatively) dumped the backend for TVHeadEnd + HDHomeRun with a MrMC frontend running on a FireTV. TVHeadend is quite a bit less sophisticated when it comes to managing recorded programs (the plus side is that you get a bunch of media files with human-readable names) but, boy, is it easier to set up. I'll see how it works out...

Plex have a PVR app in beta, as do HDHomeRun.

Still, thanks to both the Mythbuntu and MythTV devs for years of service...

Comment Re:That would help logistics too (Score 4, Informative) 159

Except you can't, because some countries use the weird 104-key layout and the rest of the world uses the wonderful 105-key keyboard.

Well, at least they could reduce the number of physically different keyboards to about 3 - ISO, ANSI and JIS - rather than have a different model for every country with suitable key caps.

Also, maybe then we could get a patch to fix the hideous mutated chimera of UK and US layouts that is Apple's current UK keyboard (I mean, how the hell? I'd get it if they'd just taken a US keyboard and changed the "#" label to "£", but they've gone to the trouble of re-shaping the Enter key... and then still just changed the "#" label to "£", missing all the other US/UK differences....)

Comment Nostalgia ain't what it used to be. (Score 1) 370

If you weren't using computers and programming between 1976 and 1984, you probably can't intuitively grasp how things actually were,

Nobody was advertising computers on prime-time TV much, and they certainly weren't advertising big-budget games and online services targeted at the mass market. The kids buying (or pestering their parents into buying) those early "home" computers were the nerds who'd seen them in electronics magazines etc. and read the reviews (which, at the time, used half of their column-inches to discuss how good they were for programming). Sure, there were kids who couldn't have a home computer because their family couldn't afford one, or because the Commodore PET at the orphanage had been stolen to pay for drugs... but at the time there were many, many kids who could have had a computer, if they'd made it a priority, but didn't because they weren't remotely interested in computers and Facebook hadn't been invented yet.

I got one mainly because I'd been hooked on programmable calculators and wanted to take the next step. To afford it, I flogged virtually every half-decent, non-essential possession I had (not claiming too much hardship here - at least I had the stuff to sell - point is it didn't just magically appear after a hint to Mum & Dad). Oh, and as for that "BASIC programming book" it was missing from the set of photocopied manuals I got with my Superboard II so I had to suss it out from a couple of examples, a list of keywords and a couple of pages of "Illustrating BASIC" serialised in a magazine that I had a couple of copies of (I did eventually find a copy of Kenemy & Kurtz in the school library - god knows how it got there - and that was a brilliant book). When you wrote programs you saved them to cassette tape and crossed your fingers. "Editing" code mainly consisted of completely re-typing the line you wanted to change - maybe your system had some sort of kludgey "line editor" to help. Later on, you got to save up money for things like an assembler, decent text editor, FORTH, Pascal and eventually C - the latter two being complete non-starters unless you had a floppy drive (which, at the time, cost more than the rest of the computer).

In short, not many kids in the late 70s or early 80s stumbled into programming because they stumbled onto something called BASIC on this box that they'd been given to play games on (not that you'd get a 1980 personal computer purely on the strength of a game of "Star Trek", "Hunt The Wampus" or a Scott Adams text adventure). Later, maybe, when the first generation of kids had written some games for them to play, but not then.

I remember, circa 1981, "acquiring" a copy of a new game that had (for the time) a massive advertising campaign consisting of quarter page adverts in colour in a computing magazine... it was a huge inspiration on the grounds that, (a) it was pretty crap, and (b) if they were prepared to publish that crap, they might publish my crap. So I threw together my own crappy game in a weekend and, sure enough, a few weeks later I was published and slightly richer: Never got to join the ranks of those teenage computer game millionaires who learned to drive in Ferraris, but I did stretch to a 70cc scooter. There were plenty of opportunities for anybody who could do simple programming at the time, and even those of us who didn't join the lucky few who hit the jackpot could, with a bit of application, make useful money. Certainly, my first computer was the last time I had to rely on the Bank of Mum & Dad for stuff I wanted.

Fast forward to today: if you care to look that "basic-free" Mac actually comes with Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby and bash scripting as standard. The browser has Javascript built-in. For a free download you can get XCode with C, C++, Objective C and Swift, along with a complete IDE - including the "Swift Playgrounds" that Apple have been working on specifically to provide an "instant gratification" tool for learners. All the documentation and tutorials you can eat are available free online. A Windows PC is, arguably, not quite so loaded out-of-the-box but offers similar opportunities. Heck, you can even download BBC Basic for your phone... Oh, and the kit costs the same number of dollars as it did in 1981, if not less, despite (a) inflation and (b) the kit being several orders of magnitude more powerful.

Any kid who is genuinely interested in programming will put in the minimal effort to find the huge wealth of resources available today - far beyond what we could dream of in the 80s. ...however, they're unlikely to knock out a crappy computer game in a weekend and make instant money, or secure a well-paid job on the basis of 6 months of self-taught BASIC skills. Oh, you can write apps and, once in a while, someone will pull a "Flappy Bird" and go viral - but the odds of that are up there with winning the lottery (NB: I don't think Minecraft was a weekend job).

TLDNR: there is no problem with the availability of programming resources, and if kids can't find them then they're probably not motivated to learn coding - plus, we're not living in the 80s with a fledgling IT industry incubating in garages offering endless opportunities to self-taught programmers.

Comment Re:Elon Musk was high as shit in that interview... (Score 1) 1042

Do you know how hard it is to keep exponential growth going for any length of time?

Hang on - I thought that the end of the world was nigh because, if humanity were destined to expand exponentially for the next 1000 years, there would be so many trillions of people living in the future that the odds of us "finding ourself" amongst the few billion humans alive today would be negligibly small... I'm confused - which bit of pseudo-statistics attempting to extrapolate an unfalsifiable claim from a single data point should I believe?

If you extrapolate from zero data, the logic may appear valid but the uncertainty of the conclusion is infinite.

I suggest that Musk has SpaceX send an expedition to the far side of the sun to look for that bloody teapot - the chances that the designers of his simulation didn't add an easter egg are truly negligible and that would be an obvious choice...

Meanwhile - when is someone going to arrest all of these so-called "lottery winners"? Everybody knows that the odds of you winning the lottery jackpot are as near to zero as makes no difference, so these people claiming to have won millions are clearly liars and any big houses, yachts and sports cars they posses must be stolen.

Comment Re:Is anyone else (Score 1) 497

They were scientists, he is a huckster.

...for a huckster, he's put a remarkable number of actual satellites in actual orbit, not to mention nearly cracking the booster recovery problem. Now, I know that's not exactly rocket science... oh, hang on, yes it is.

I guess he has scientists on the payroll to do the math while he drums up the money: or has he ever claimed he designs all the rockets himself?

True, the guy has a reality distortion field of 2.83 Jobs but, then, Apple ended up pioneering (which isn't the same as inventing) half of the worthwhile things in the modern personal computer industry without Steve knowing which end of a soldering iron was hot.

Comment Re:No return trips? (Score 1) 497

That's the problem. They are cutting corners to make their flying death trap cheap. That will get people killed.

They're not flying people, yet. Meanwhile, customers get their satellites and ISS supplies launched cheaply in return for a slightly higher risk of loss, while SpaceX get paid to beta test their rockets.

If their failure rate doesn't drop with time & experience, they will have a problem - but its early days yet. Meanwhile, NASA have been talking about recovering boosters for 40 years, SpaceX have done it.

Ok, yeah, the Mars trip looks like its missing a few details so far, but they're not selling tickets just yet.

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"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban