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Comment Re:Impacting my purchasing decisions (Score 1) 364

There's nothing ironic at all about it. You don't get to pick out one feature that iPhone has over Android, and then declare that because of that feature a move to the iOS platform is a "downgrade".

Actually, for my usage, it isn't even clear that going from 3g to 4g would be an upgrade. I realize everyone is different, but while I use my phone a lot, I don't do a lot of things that require huge amounts of bandwidth. Faster is faster, but 4g also has a huge downside in that it eats up battery life. The marginal benefit I'd derive from the increased bandwidth probably wouldn't outweigh the marginal cost in battery life.

There are actually a lot of things I like about the Galaxy Nexus over the iPhone 4S, but 4g isn't a significant one.

Also, there are a lot of good reasons for wanting to be up on the latest version of an OS beyond just wanting the newest shiny thing - not the least of which being that the current situation exacerbates the problem of fragmentation in the Android ecosystem. I guess I don't understand why you're trying to defend Google's update strategy (or lack thereof) - there's really nothing good about the current situation.

Comment Re:Even more BS Google smearing (Score 1) 364

I'm a huge Google fan, but there are a lot of problems with the update strategy around Android. Being stuck on an older version has several problems:

1) Getting a new OS to take advantage of new functionality shouldn't be seen as a luxury - you don't go buy a new computer every time a new version of your OS comes out, and phones are expensive and powerful enough that the story should be similar for them.

2) You miss out on security, performance, and stability improvements.

3) You might not be able to use new apps, or at least take full advantage of them.

The secondary effect is actually much worse - having an ecosystem where phones are generally not updated very often makes the fragmentation problem considerably worse, which hinders developer investment into the platform.

I think this is a legitimate problem, not people out to get people or whining because they don't have the latest shiny thing.

Comment Impacting my purchasing decisions (Score 4, Interesting) 364

I'm replacing my Droid Incredible next month, and this very issue is steering me towards an iPhone 4S even though I'm generally happy with other aspects of Android.

If I'm locked into a contract for 2 years for a phone, I don't think it's incredibly unreasonable to expect updates (especially ones that relate to security, stability, or performance) for at least 18 months.

Comment Re:Half of $750 Million is Still Some Money ... (Score 4, Insightful) 131

If a net loss of over $100 million per quarter counts as "profit", then yes, Groupon is turning a profit.

Groupon is losing money, facing growing competition, and has a questionable business model. The restating of revenue is just icing on the cake. They should have taken the billions Google offered them when they had the chance.

Comment Re:Some speculations (Score 2) 233

The simple fact is that budget cuts will be made based on what is politically easiest, not based on what will save the most money or will be best for our long-term future. Congress is trying to drum up loose change from the couch while ignoring where the bulk of our spending actually goes. We'll cut (comparatively) tiny amounts from research, while leaving intact hundreds of billions in spending to fight an enemy that stopped existing decades ago.

To put it into perspective, the CBO estimates NASA has cost us around $790 billion total (adjusted for inflation) since it was founded in the fifties. That resulted in decades and decades of research, education, new technology, national pride, and a whole host of other benefits. We are poised to spend almost that much on the military, just this *year*.

That figure ($790 billion) represents less than half of what we'll end up spending on the Iraq war. But, hey, at least we got Saddam, right?

Comment A somewhat complex and interesting problem (Score 5, Informative) 397

Someone in our company ran into this several weeks ago, and I had kind of a fun time tracking down the problem. The summary and most of the comments are missing a lot of details and nuance, which actually make this problem kind of interesting.

1) It wasn't even running out of memory

Sun/Oracle's VM implementation (HotSpot) has a concept of a permanent generation, which is separate from the rest of the heap and has its own maximum size. This generation holds stuff like the code cache and interned strings. Whether or not this is a good concept is debatable, and as far as I know, they are planning to do away with it in the future as JRockit and HotSpot merge. At any rate, this is the space that was filling up. This probably didn't happen very quickly on a normal Eclipse distribution, but with a lot of plugins installed (and thus a lot of classes being loaded) it crashed pretty quickly.

2) This is only because of somewhat subtle differences between the various VMs

HotSpot is the only major JVM I know of that has a PermGen space - J9 (IBM) and JRockit (Oracle, via BEA) don't have this concept. Thus the requirement to be able to behave differently based on which VM you are using. Being able to behave properly on multiple VMs is especially important for Eclipse because not only do they have a lot of people using it on HotSpot, but because it is the basis for IBM's RAD, they have a ton of people using it on J9 as well.

3) This problem is in the launcher, not Eclipse itself

So, the crux of the problem is that Eclipse needs to start a VM, and has to know the proper flags to pass to it *before* it starts up. A few people have suggested trying reflection or other runtime methods as a better way to solve this, but this ignores a) Once the VM has started up, you can't change the heap or PermGen sizes, and b) As far as I know, there is no way to query the VM at runtime to figure out what its underlying heap structure looks like - that is an implementation detail.

So, while it does kind of suck that Eclipse was relying on a vendor name, it is trickier to solve than it appears at first glance. The only really graceful ways I can think of to solve this problem rely on some changes to the VM spec.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 698

That sort of advertising might seem more accurate, but it really isn't.

Since, at some point, the bandwidth is shared, do they advertise the bandwidth at the theoretical worst - ie, everyone is using it at 100%? That number would be incredibly low, and you'd never see it go that low. It would be confusing and inaccurate.

What they do advertise is what they provide to most people under most circumstances, which seems fair and accurate enough for me. They do need to do a better job of disclosing how and why you might be throttled, but doing so in a concise and accurate way that people who don't post on /. would understand seems like a pretty tall order.

Comment The freerider problem.. (Score 1) 615

For those that block ads in a wholesale fashion, I have an honest question -

If everyone blocked all ads, what would you see that as gaining for the internet as a whole?

A lot of quality websites require a lot of resources to create and distribute the content. Most of them are supported by advertising. If they could no longer make sufficient money via advertising (and many are heading to this point), how would they support themselves?

- Converting to a paid service.

This would be bad because it would cost you money, and very few sites would be able to pull it off. Micropayments are one way this could maybe work, but they are still a pipe dream.

- Begging for donations.

Again, very few sites could pull this off.

- Selling personal and/or aggregate user data.

Not a lot of sites that are useful collect much data, and this is arguably worse than advertising.

I'm not trying to make a moral argument out of this, but more of a pragmatic one. You obviously visit ad-supported sites that are useful to you, and it is probably in your interests for them to make enough money to continue providing useful functionality or content, so how do you propose they do so if not through advertising?


I'm a PC and I'm 4-1/2 435

theodp writes "Microsoft's new Windows ad made its debut during the Grammy Awards on Sunday. It stars a 4-year-old cutie named Kylie (Silverlight required) showing how easy it is to use Windows Live Photo Gallery to edit and share photos. And while it's impressive that little Kylie is able to transfer a snapshot of her pet fish from her camera to a PC, color-correct it, and e-mail it to her family, what's truly amazing is that the toddler was also apparently able to read, understand, and accept Windows Live's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. (But minors can't legally execute contracts, can they?)"

Submission + - Patent for lists stored in databases?

suresk writes: "It appears Channel Intelligence is suing website operators for infringing on Patent 6,917,941 — allowing users to store lists of things in a database. The defendants are all very small businesses, less able to fight back against the questionable patent, including the operator of an open source project for managing lists. On an interesting note — the patent was filed in 2001, so one would assume that finding prior art would be fairly easy."

Comment I have mixed feelings.. (Score 4, Insightful) 519

I used to think that a programmer's tools are sacred and you should basically let people use whatever they feel they are most productive with, but I'm starting to see problems with that, at least in big organizations..

First, IDEs - I've worked on teams where 3 different IDEs were being used by different members of the team - IntelliJ, NetBeans, and Eclipse. It worked fairly well and no real problems came about as a result of the different IDEs. I've also been in training sessions where everyone is using the same IDE except for some crackhead insisting that their IDE is better and that they can't switch to Eclipse even just for the training, and everyone in training has to wait for half an hour why the instructors try to help them figure out why stuff isn't working in their IDE.

Second, platforms/libraries/frameworks - There are really a lot of valid reasons for standardizing the platforms, libraries, and frameworks your organization uses. You have better internal support, can leverage work done by other groups, and training is easier. Being able to switch people around easily is perfectly valid as well - people leave, get promoted, need a break from their project, want to explore different career goals, etc.. Plus, I think it is good to send people off to other projects to learn and share good practices. Having a standard set of tools makes this relatively easy - all you really need to learn on a new project is the business side of things.

That said, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, so it probably makes the most sense to pick a standard set of tools for common project types. If a project needs to deviate from one of those standards, that is fine, but they need to make their case for doing so.

So for full-blown enterprise apps, the standard may be Java EE. For smaller apps, it might be Rails or Grails. For desktop apps, you might mandate .NET. Then if someone says "Hey, it would be cool if we wrote this small app in Python", then they could do it, but they would have to show that the benefits gained by using Python in that scenario would outweigh the costs of using a non-standard platform.

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