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BitTorrent Performance Test: Sync Is Faster Than Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox

Dixie_Flatline Re:Am I missing the point? (124 comments)

Wait, why didn't you include this section?

"Yet it’s worth noting that Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox still performed worse. They were limited by the same download bandwidth, but the upload section of the process was notably much slower (many ISPs worldwide offer much slower upload speeds than download speeds)."

So VB's test still gives the prize to sync. It's a bit weird that they didn't publish any times, though.

Anyway, I'm not saying Sync is obviously better, but your quote misses context that's important. I think this is just another tool in the toolbox.

about a week ago
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GNU Emacs 24.4 Released Today

Dixie_Flatline Re:Still no decent source browser integration (156 comments)

Oh, thanks for the tip. I'm using ECB...sort of. I'm mostly just using helm to search through all my files and trying to force semantic to parse through my humongous project and not screw up the class referencing. :/

Projectile looks interesting--I'll give it a shot. Any other stuff you like? :)

about a week ago
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Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Dixie_Flatline Re:Fantasy based laws. (474 comments)

Even if the person is never weaned off the images, as long as they never offend against a real person, I'd consider that a win.

Every once in a while a story comes up about a doctor that says that these people should be protected if they come out to a medical professional so they can get treatment, and inevitably in the comments, people scream about locking them up and punishing them right away, even if they've never done anything wrong. As a consequence, these people DO go on to offend because they can't get help, and two lives are ruined in the process. I never understand why, if we're interested in harm prevention and reduction, that they'd allow even one innocent child to be hurt when that could be prevented with significantly more humane laws.

(Actually, from what I understand, that IS how it works in Canada--you can ask for treatment and get it--and I hear there are good results here. I don't know the comparative statistics, though.)

about two weeks ago
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Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Dixie_Flatline Re: Moral Imperialism (474 comments)

Don't forget Australia's law where if the person looks young, it counts as CP. It effectively puts a ban on taking pictures of women with small breasts (if they're in their 20s or otherwise look young). http://theweek.com/article/ind...

What this means is that it would be illegal to take pictures of a young-ish looking 24 year old with A-cups, but perfectly legal to have sex with her 16-year-old sister as long as you didn't take pictures of it.

Remember, laws always exactly reflect what is moral. If it's not illegal, it's not immoral!

about two weeks ago
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:First taste of Mac OS X (305 comments)

I prefer the OS X method of window/application switching. But more to the point, I think expose is a better method than the alt-tab method, straight up. You can do it for all windows or just the application you're in. I've always found it faster. It's something I miss when I'm on other systems. (I've tried the Windows versions, but I've yet to find one that's nearly as good.)

about two weeks ago
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OS X 10.10 Yosemite Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:First taste of Mac OS X (305 comments)

You may want to look into uBar (ubarapp.com)--I've heard good things about it. I'm considering it myself, though I've never had problems with the dock.

Different systems have different control paradigms. The fact that things don't work the way you expect doesn't mean they're bad, just that they're different.

For instance, cycling through open applications makes a lot more sense to me. I really like that I can raise a single window without bringing the entire application to the front. This is something that consistently infuriates me in Windows with certain applications. I also like that an inactive window that you have your cursor in will still respond to the scroll wheel. (I know that's something that works in most XWindows window managers, but it doesn't in my Windows work environment.)

Anyway, a lot of the functionality can be hidden, but that's why Macs are popular among us that are buying computers for other people. Most of what you want is available in some form or another. You may have to learn some new tricks, just as I'd have to relearn a bunch of tricks if I went back to Linux or OpenBSD. Context switches are never free.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Dixie_Flatline Re:Inequality isn't harmful (839 comments)

Yeah, you're right. I was distracted and I didn't complete my thought.

It basically boils down to this: large accumulations of wealth are effectively outside of the economy, and inheritors of wealth wield outsized influence with respect to the contributions they've made to society.

These massive disparities in wealth would be fine if there were reason to believe that we really are all equal under the law, but I've seen more evidence against that than for it. The Waltons are effectively a new form of landed gentry, contributing little, but manipulating the system to be favourable to them and to keep other people from displacing them. We can see that money effectively creates a new tier of citizen that exists beyond the normal confines of the legal system--not only can they pay for legislation favourable to them, the super-rich generally get lighter sentences than everyone else, and can afford to buy better lawyers to begin with.

about two weeks ago
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Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Dixie_Flatline Re:Inequality isn't harmful (839 comments)

Inequality is harmful when it persists without merit.

That is, the Walton family has made a lot of money from Wal-Mart, but the wealth of the youngest Waltons isn't money that they earned, it's money that came to them because of how they were born.

Sounds like a landed gentry, to me. I have zero problems with Warren Buffet being rich, but it seems unreasonable that his children would also be multi-multi-billionaires just because he made a lot of good decisions. And Buffet agrees with me, since he's giving away most of his money and leaving his children with a lot, but not much in comparison to the total value of his fortune.

The vastly wealthy horde money over generations, and the fact is that money begets money. If you have a million dollars and invest it in something that returns 7% a year, you can live off of that forever if you're careful. You don't have to work or do anything at all--money and markets do all the work for you. If you're a multi-millionaire, you've made some money by your efforts but far more because after you have a lot, the rest is easier to come by.

about two weeks ago
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Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

Dixie_Flatline Re:On one hand... (571 comments)

I dunno, it might make up for all the things they've used to kill people over the years. If they can make more money producing reactors than selling missiles that blow up people that have oil that we're fighting over, they'll save more people than they ever killed. Available fusion power suddenly makes all sorts of other problems moot because it suddenly doesn't matter how energetically expensive the process is, we'll just throw more reactors at it, and that solves a lot of resource issues in the world.

about two weeks ago
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Ubisoft Claims CPU Specs a Limiting Factor In Assassin's Creed Unity On Consoles

Dixie_Flatline Re:Cell (338 comments)

Probably. But that's a big trade-off to make in this era of ever-increasing graphical demands. We're talking about a game that's running at 900p and people aren't happy that it isn't 1080p. If you offload AI tasks to a GPU, those are cycles that you're not getting back for rendering later.

Additionally, it's much too early in the generation for anyone to have any decent libraries that could do such a thing, even if they were willing to make a much simpler game graphically in exchange for something more complicated gameplay/AI-wise.

From a gameplay standpoint, good AI is almost entirely smoke and mirrors. There's no meaningful difference from an agent being smart because they're calculating a lot of different options and picking the best one, and me programming an agent to do something that LOOKS smart. When they worked on the AI for the original Halo, the little grunt guys would throw themselves on grenades so that only one of them would die instead of the whole group. Playtesting revealed that players thought that was stupid (why would he kill himself? That's dumb!) even though that's actually a fairly clever thing to do. In the end, I believe they just upped the HP of everything--that had the most positive effect on the perception of AI. Just taking longer to die was interpreted as something being 'smarter'.

about three weeks ago
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Ubisoft Claims CPU Specs a Limiting Factor In Assassin's Creed Unity On Consoles

Dixie_Flatline Re:Cell (338 comments)

Vacation, probably. I'm sure he earned enough in the last few years to take it easy for a while. :)

about three weeks ago
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Ubisoft Claims CPU Specs a Limiting Factor In Assassin's Creed Unity On Consoles

Dixie_Flatline Re:Cell (338 comments)

Well, like I said, I won't comment on that game. I didn't work on it, and I don't know what problems they were trying to solve. I don't like speaking for other people, and I've never had any contact with them.

about three weeks ago
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Ubisoft Claims CPU Specs a Limiting Factor In Assassin's Creed Unity On Consoles

Dixie_Flatline Re:Cell (338 comments)

Disclaimer: I work for Ubisoft. I did not work on the game in question and I won't comment on it.

Now, the PS3. I have a friend that's made a very good living for the last few years doing nothing but PS3 optimisation. He'd go in 3 days a week and make more than I would in a year. The PS3 setup was fiendishly complicated and difficult to wring real performance out of. Even by the end of the cycle, I'd say there were only a few games that significantly made use of the potential power that was available in the PS3. On paper, it was impressive. In practice, it was a mild nightmare. You had completely different tools than when you were making a 360 game. The compiler was different. You had to be a lot more meticulous about where data was and how you were moving it around.

I worked on the PS4 earlier this year, and it's dead easy to use. The tools integrate well into the environment, and you don't have nearly the same optimisation headaches that you did on the PS3. It's trivially faster than the XBone, and there's virtually no platform specific code (except for the obvious stuff, like connecting to the respective online services, etc.)

From a developer perspective, the PS4 is a lot nicer than the PS3. That'll mean more simultaneous releases on the PS4 and XBone, and this time there's no delay before the PS4 is at or past parity with its competition (which is more important for Sony and Sony fans, really).

That's just my opinion on the matter, but Sony really listened to the developer community when it came to tools and ease of use. It may be less interesting, but interesting generally means 'troublesome', not 'exciting' when you're writing software.

about three weeks ago
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Antarctic Ice Loss Big Enough To Cause Measurable Shift In Earth's Gravity

Dixie_Flatline Re:Ugh... (232 comments)

While we're at it, maybe you should share your sources so they can be cross-checked.

about a month ago
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Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

Dixie_Flatline Re:What's in a name (427 comments)

Yes, yes I would. Geez, what's in a name? Do you really need it to be called something more aggressive and manly? It's a tool used for chatting with other people. I talk to my Google-employed friends using Hangouts. I chat to my Human-Rights-Lawyer friend using Hangouts. And if it were called "The Pink-Lace Chatroom App" and my friends preferred that, I'd use it. I don't care--my applications are there to get things done, not impress people with their branding.

Are you somehow concerned about the perception people will have of you if you use something to talk to people you know? I figure the only thing my apps say about me is that I know people and I like to talk to them. I'm only a few years away from 40 at this point--maybe it's just my age that makes it so wildly unimportant to me what the name of the application is.

Honestly, I think Hangouts is among the worst of my chat applications. It's among the least reliable, and has the fewest features. If they decided to make it 10 times better and give it the name 'My Little Pink Unicorn' as you suggested, I would 100% keep using it. What's wrong with pink unicorns anyway?

about 1 month ago
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Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

Dixie_Flatline Re:worse than crapware (427 comments)

Yes, heavens forfend that you use your communications device to communicate with people.

The things I use most are chat applications. I use iMessage, Hangouts and WhatsApp because that's what the people I want to talk with use. I like iMessage best for various reasons, but the whole point of my phone--by which I mean this little communications computer that I carry with me--is to stay in contact with people throughout the day. I also use it for social media because that's also about keeping in contact with people.

I understand everyone's use case is different, but slagging Hangouts as an app for teenage girls? C'mon.

about 1 month ago
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Hundreds of Thousands Turn Out For People's Climate March In New York City

Dixie_Flatline Re:Just in time for another record cold winter (200 comments)

It's the only meaningful definition, honestly.

Climate scientists are the ones actually doing the work. You have to listen to them. If I say something to you, I URGE you not to take my word for it until you've verified it against some actual science, or at least the work that I'm claiming to get it from.

Pundits and internet commentators are more often a source of noise than signal. I try to be honest and accurate with all of my claims, but at the end of the day, I can't think of a single reason why you'd trust me. Sometimes you develop a level of trust for a science writer and you can use that as a convenient short-hand for actually verifying the science yourself.

They're the ones working on the IPCC reports. Those reports are effectively what the scientists are saying, so they've said a lot, and they say it frequently. Some of those scientists also blog. If you haven't heard anything from them, it's because you haven't been looking. You can definitely see what they say if you want to.

about a month ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Dixie_Flatline Re:Maybe (253 comments)

No, the decision makes sense for the iPhone 6+ when you consider the impact on developers. The iPhone 6 and 6+ are at resolutions that allow for very simple scaling; the multipliers are easy to work with. If you haven't updated your app, the system scales them up, and the math is super easy. Even still, the 6+ represents a 3x scaling target for developers, but then downsamples the render to fit the display, which actually has fewer pixels than the virtual target that the programmers are working with. It's a bit goofy, but it makes sense if what you're trying to do is balance between developer time and user experience.

If Apple had kept the scaling factor of the 6+ to the same as the 6, they would have been BELOW 300ppi, which obviously wouldn't fly.

Apple put the fewest number of pixels on the screen that they could get away with while still adhering to a few design and usability constraints. They didn't make the density any higher than that because it just burns battery with no advantage.

about a month ago
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Do Specs Matter Anymore For the Average Smartphone User?

Dixie_Flatline This is something I've been noticing for a while (253 comments)

I keep coming back to this great bit of analysis from Anand when he was reviewing the iPhone 5s:

"In such a thermally constrained environment, going quad-core only makes sense if you can properly power gate/turbo up when some cores are idle. I have yet to see any mobile SoC vendor (with the exception of Intel with Bay Trail) do this properly, so until we hit that point the optimal target is likely two cores. You only need to look back at the evolution of the PC to come to the same conclusion. Before the arrival of Nehalem and Lynnfield, you always had to make a tradeoff between fewer faster cores and more of them. Gaming systems (and most users) tended to opt for the former, while those doing heavy multitasking went with the latter. Once we got architectures with good turbo, the 2 vs 4 discussion became one of cost and nothing more. I expect weÃ(TM)ll follow the same path in mobile.

Then thereÃ(TM)s the frequency discussion. Brian and I have long been hinting at the sort of ridiculous frequency/voltage combinations mobile SoC vendors have been shipping at for nothing more than marketing purposes. I remember ARM telling me the ideal target for a Cortex A15 core in a smartphone was 1.2GHz. SamsungÃ(TM)s Exynos 5410 stuck four Cortex A15s in a phone with a max clock of 1.6GHz. The 5420 increases that to 1.7GHz. The problem with frequency scaling alone is that it typically comes at the price of higher voltage. ThereÃ(TM)s a quadratic relationship between voltage and power consumption, so itÃ(TM)s quite possibly one of the worst ways to get more performance. Brian even tweeted an image showing the frequency/voltage curve for a high-end mobile SoC. Note the huge increase in voltage required to deliver what amounts to another 100MHz in frequency."

In light of this sort of thinking, Apple's decisions continue to make a lot of sense. They can use less power, generate less heat, and still come out on top of most real-world tests and benchmarks. Anandtech's preliminary review of the iPhone 6es shows the A8 being far ahead on most relevant benchmarks, but falling behind on the physics simulation. Realistically, most people programming for mobile don't actually have problems that parallelize very well. My email client or podcasting app might need two threads or processes going on at once (one for foreground processing and another for background downloads, perhaps?) but it's unlikely that it'll need more. Physics simulations parallelize nicely by comparison, and the Android phones with more cores clearly stomp the 2-core A8. But how often do I run that sort of simulation on my phone? Nearly never, even with today's games.

about a month ago
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Apple Sells More Than 10 Million New iPhones In First 3 Days

Dixie_Flatline Re:How many are new Apple customers? (206 comments)

That's not a terribly meaningful observation. Early adopters are always going to be the people most enthusiastic about the company, and in this case, that's far more likely to be people that already own iPhones.

I just got a new iPhone 6 myself because I've been using an iPhone 4 since release, and it was important to me to keep my device on the latest OS. That's not terribly remarkable.

about a month ago

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