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Comment Re:Technically... (Score 4, Interesting) 123

Actually, in a sense, you can. The Turing machine doesn't require an infinite tape, just a tape of arbitrary length. Basically, you need to be able to always add more tape. Eventually, of course, the universe will run out of mass for you to make tape out of, but the machine is still a proper Turing machine. The distinction may seem meaningless, but consider the set of all finite bitstrings. This set will not contain any infinitely long strings, but it will contain arbitrarily long string. However long you want your string, there's one in the set, and a longer one, but no infinitely long ones. There's a definite difference between arbitrary finite length and infinite length. I've always found that this realization makes the Turing Machine just a little bit more real.

Comment Re:Then Dell is doing it wrong. (Score 2, Insightful) 376

No, it means "We have a single image that goes out to tens of thousands of customers in hundreds of different hardware configurations, If the software configuration in that image changes, we have to test with the maximum level of paranoia to ensure that we don't get a flood of complaints, and requests for refunds, that each have to be verified independently and will set us back millions of dollars."

I'm sure their imaging system is in order and whipping up a new image will take at worst a few hours. But I can certainly understand the cost of testing will be considerable.

And remember that this is an issue caused by absurd software patents, so for once the Slashdot groupthink is on the side of Microsoft.


Neuros LINK Mixes Quiet, Aesthetics, and Ubuntu 121

jonniee writes with a link to Dr. Dobb's Journal's look at a rather cool living-room-suitable media-centric computer from Neuros (presented as being suitable mostly for developers and serious hobbyists for now), excerpting: "The Neuros LINK is essentially a quiet x86 PC running Ubuntu Linux with an ATI graphics card delivering video via VGA, DVI, and HDMI output. ... What makes the LINK such a compelling platform for these folks and Linux/open source developers in general is the recognition that a real business entity is stepping forward to spend the money necessary to market and commercialize what tech enthusiasts have been doing for years."

Comment Re:Turn off javascript... (Score 2, Insightful) 250

Or maybe most web programmers don't want to spend a lot of time and money supporting the 1% of users out there that don't have or disable JavaScript. I'm just sayin'.

That's not really the point. Most websites are built on a lot of different client-side technologies. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, and god knows what else. And you're not implementing for just the few technologies you use, but for all four or five implementations of each technology by different major browsers. So if you use HTML/CSS/JavaScript and support the top five browsers, that that's fifteen implementations that can behave unexpectedly on your code. And that's just the ones you can test during development. In about a year ad a half, each of those browsers will have a new version out with new quirks and new unexpected behaviors.

The best way to ensure that your code won't embarrass you, is to make sure it degrades gracefully. That if one of those elements fails, the site will still work, and work in a way that you can reasonably predict. That means starting with working HTML. Adding CSS, making sure it works and then adding javascript (or perhaps doing the JS first, if your site relies on it for a lot of things).

If you start out coding JavaScript, the only way to be sure it keeps working is to test it every situation it might be used, and you can't test on browsers that haven't been released yet. That's why so many businesses are now stuck with IE6. Because the people that made their intranet software didn't feel like supporting some percentage of the market. It's not about support, it's about proper design.

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