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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re: no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (152 comments)

Your conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from your set up. They may have decided not to implement it because it's a pain in the ass (as I've talked about in my other comments). It probably wasn't worth their time and money in a bunch of different ways, not least of which is that it may not give the user experience that they wanted out of it.

1 hour ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (152 comments)

Look, you and I actually agree on this. Some of the steps that I had to go through were insane. We were working with a Kinect, so you had to trigger a save, dive for your XBox and yank out the network cable and the memory card at exactly the right time. At that point, you're TRYING to corrupt the data. But developers aren't just allowed to let bad things happen, even if it seems like it's the user's fault. Weak passwords and bad answers to security questions are ALSO technically the user's fault, but we can see how far it gets a company to blame users for those sorts of things.

But pathologically worst case behaviour aside, even normal behaviour can be a pain to handle. What if your app had some data saved on the card, but you removed it in the interim and now it needs it? Okay, you prompt for the data, but the user doesn't have it--they left it at home. Now what? Do you create new data? Refuse to progress?

Okay, you create new data. Now the user gets the card and puts it in, and you've got DUPLICATE data. Great. Merge? Throw away?

One storage device is a lot easier for the mobile paradigm, I feel. It's not the same as a desktop system--manipulating data is a lot easier on a desktop. Mobile systems should be lightweight and streamlined. But that's just my opinion.

1 hour ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:Keyboard (152 comments)

*sniff* An anon doesn't like my opinion but has no ability to hold a conversation and discuss anything on their own merits. I'm so sad. :( :( :(

1 hour ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (152 comments)

SD Cards are a whole other world of complexity; it's no wonder Android has started to clamp down on how they work somewhat. I worked on an XBox 360 game and I had to deal with the TCR requirements regarding removable storage. They're the worst. If someone removes the device during a save, you have to deal with that. If they remove it right before or right after a save, that's something else too. Basically, if anyone does anything with the removable storage at any time, you have to handle a bunch of exceptions, and then you also have to handle the case where the data is corrupted. It's awful.

Anyway, yes, you're probably right. I don't know what that kind of storage costs and what the economies of scale are, but I'm sure Apple could soak them up if they wanted to. But to a certain extent, that choice exists merely so people can feel like they HAVE a choice, and people like that. Even if zero people bought the 16GB version, it's there to make the other two options look better. But that's what the market will bear, I guess. Capitalism. What're you gonna do?

3 hours ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:Keyboard (152 comments)

I type one handed all the time while walking on my iPhone. Autocorrect guesses correctly more often than not.

The new shift key is 100% garbage, though. You have to wonder which exec at Apple has made that their pet feature. That's the only possible way that such a wholly unintuitive thing still exists. I've yet to meet a single Apple user, no matter how partisan, claim that the iOS 7 shift key makes even the slightest bit of sense.

4 hours ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:Keyboard (152 comments)

Yes and no. I actually really think the (new) BB phones are pretty neat. I like that with BB10, they really swung for the fences with the interface design. To an extent, it's a crippled ecosystem and that's not really about the OS any more. They missed the boat. (That said, people will stick with very old BB phones because they can't give up the keyboard. By most measures, they're really not good phones any more.)

No, I'm talking about all sorts of other phones--Android ones, honestly. People will put up with a really garbage phone just because it has a physical keyboard.

I've got a lot more respect for Blackberry than, say, Samsung. Samsung capitalised on an opportunity and makes a lot of money, but they've never, ever had the focus or innovation of Apple and Blackberry.

4 hours ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (152 comments)

I ordered the 16GB version because my on-board data needs aren't heavy. I'm near wifi 90% of my life, and so I'm willing to stream or re-download a lot of things on my phone. I've got a 32GB iPad because that needs to store magazines and bigger games and things, but I like my phone to be a bit leaner. Saving $100 for that was totally worth it for me. I wouldn't have objected to a 32GB entry-level, but 16 is fine too.

But some people really love to have EVERYTHING with them. They spend a lot of time travelling or out of wifi range and they've got a limited plan (so do I, actually, but that doesn't matter as much to me). It's the same sort of person that always bought the biggest iPod, so they could carry ALL their music with them at once. Me, I'm happy to have a few playlists and 8 hours of decent music with me at all times, even for long trips. Those people are going to love the 128GB version and be excited to pay the extra $100 over the 64GB version, no question.

5 hours ago
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iOS 8 Review

Dixie_Flatline Re:Keyboard (152 comments)

I think you're overselling it somewhat. I've tried the swype systems, and I always devolve to just tapping. Same with my friends that have access to it. Out of 4 of us, all of us hate swype based systems. That's not data, obviously, it's just an anecdote. But I've yet to see anyone stop using the keyboard, let alone a phone, just because the keyboard isn't what they expect. (The lone exception being people that like hardware keyboards. They will stick with a sub-standard phone just for the better typing experience.)

I would also question whether Apple has ever lost anyone permanently that wasn't lost from the start. I've seen a lot of people in comment threads today consider Apple's phones again because it was *screen size* that was holding them back.

I've actually always really liked the Apple keyboard; I have a lot fewer problems with it than other people, though I couldn't tell you why. I borrowed a Nexus 4 and hated the keyboard (and didn't want to install a new one for the short time that I had it) but my hate of the keyboard wasn't actually a dealbreaker even if I'd had to use it forever. If I'd liked other things about the phone, I would've put up with the keyboard I didn't like, no question.

It's a fair opinion to have, but I really don't see any evidence for the grandiose claims you're making.

5 hours ago
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iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

Dixie_Flatline Re:Is this why they call them "smart" phones? (222 comments)

It probably wasn't; the phone was wiped before I got it, and I downloaded almost nothing. I suppose it's possible that it was--what, twitter? I guess?--or something, but there was almost nothing running on the phone. I checked the battery manager, and it just showed a monotonic decrease in battery.

5 days ago
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iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

Dixie_Flatline Re:I just want the new Nexus. (222 comments)

If the only thing Apple ever does consistently is break the control of the carriers, we should still all bow down. The carriers in North America are all terrible. Any time anyone knocks them down a peg, I'm happy. If Google'd done it, I'd sing the same praises, just as loudly.

5 days ago
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iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

Dixie_Flatline Re:Is this why they call them "smart" phones? (222 comments)

Oh please. I've seen that graphic, and it's obviously misleading. Yes, there are features that the Nexus 4 had years ago.

One of them is a feature I don't even want, but I'm forced to get--a 4.7" screen. I really rather prefer a 3.5" or 4" screen.

You can't ACTUALLY make payments with Nexus 4 because the tech is there but the infrastructure isn't. Ironically, Apple doing NFC payments may make it possible for someone to use that feature.

And then (as per the article) there's Touch ID. And the 64-bit A8 (the A7 is still beating new phones on single-core benchmarks, sunspider, etc. even though it's a year old). I get a permissions system that isn't ridiculous and if I have a problem with the phone, I can take it into a store and have someone look at it. I don't have to send it back for service, or talk to the carrier.

Oh, and the Nexus 4 has famously bad battery life. I borrowed one for a while from a friend to try it out, and I could lose 60% of the battery in two hours while it was sitting in a locker while I was swimming. My venerable iPhone 4 would lose 0-2% in the same time frame.

These graphics are just elaborate trolling--you and I both know that the Nexus 4 wasn't actually any more usable than the iPhone 5 at the time, and it's obviously not even on the same page right now. The devices are getting closer and closer to parity, but that's not actually surprising to anyone except the most bitter partisans.

5 days ago
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iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

Dixie_Flatline Re:I just want the new Nexus. (222 comments)

Well, I'm not sure. But don't worry, I'm sure the order page won't have the same capacity problems!

5 days ago
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iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

Dixie_Flatline Re:Is this why they call them "smart" phones? (222 comments)

It won't, actually. Apple's prices don't drop in the middle of a cycle. It'll cost exactly the same in July of next year. In August, you may see carriers cut the prices to entice people to clear their existing stock.

5 days ago
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Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

Dixie_Flatline Re: RT.com? (530 comments)

How have people voted this up? I'm not a political scholar, but the goals of communism are generally diametrically opposed to rule by a dictator.

Communism works on small scales. Family scales, generally. I'd give my sister money if she needed it. She'd give me something that I needed. We don't have an economic transaction--we do things based on our mutual benefit. We share because we know that in the future, it'll probably come out even.

It seems to me that real communism wouldn't require anyone to dictate anything because people would be acting communally. They would willingly pool their resources, share and take care of one another. Tribal societies are and were like this.

Scaling up communism has always been the problem. It's easy to come up with scenarios where it works on small scales. It's the scaling up that lets the tyrants in. There's always an opportunist that wants to be the top of the heap. Those people aren't communists at all, I reckon.

Capitalism, so far, has scaled better than communism. There are a lot of problems with it (and most of them seem to be a matter of governments being too hands off, rather than too hands on, if you ask me), but it seems to have done a better job distributing resources than communism has. But if millions of people ever decide, en masse, to give up their possessions and work communally and REFUSE to allow a dictator or a leader, maybe it would work.

about a week ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Dixie_Flatline Re:Any removable storage yet? (730 comments)

For all intents and purposes, it does replace a camcorder because most people only want a few minutes worth of video.

As with most Apple announcements, Apple is happy to ignore the existence of everything else in the same product category. The 5s also replaces a camcorder by the standards that he's talking about, and so do Android smartphones.

He's right that as a broad group, smartphones have destroyed the camera and camcorder industry. You only buy one of those devices if you want something fairly upscale, or that has features that are cumbersome or impossible to include in a smartphone (macro shots, extreme ruggedness and portability a la go pro, etc.)

about a week ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Dixie_Flatline Re:One day battery life in Apple Watch too? (730 comments)

They're not launching until 2015, so I think basically they're hedging their bets that they might be able to get a slightly better battery in 6 months than they can right now. It's very much like Apple to play their cards close to their chest in instances like this. They won't be able to say how long it lasts for a few months because they literally don't know, and they won't make up numbers that haven't been validated in some way.

However long it lasts, though, it's not long enough. I'd want 5 days, minimum.

It's a pretty piece of jewellery, though. On that front, they're at the front of the class again.

about a week ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

Dixie_Flatline Re: Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (546 comments)

A lot of other people have gone over what's wrong with your argument, so I'll try not to rehash that too much.

I'll admit that my 13 years as a professional programmer (after my degree) are years that I would say are more fundamental to my general programming skill than my CS degree, but I learned a lot of things in University that are hard to come by elsewhere. I learned a lot of things that aren't about computers, and that's been really helpful.

Being good at programming isn't the only thing that makes a good programmer, it turns out. I'd way rather have 5 programmers on my team that rank as 7-8 out of 10 than 5 10/10 programmers. In my experience, those guys are too interested in being good at programming and not interested enough in making something that's going to work for everyone. I'm in the games industry, and our programmers need to be able to talk to artists and designers. You need a few of those really exemplary programmers here and there, but being broadly interested in things is way more useful than being able to pick apart a C++ compiler.

But also, I have a lot of options available to me now. I won't always work on games. I could probably jump ship to an environmental science firm without too much effort because my minor was in Earth and Atmospheric science. I speak geologist and meteorologist and even some palaeontologist. So much programming is undertaken by scientists that have no other choice but to program their own tools because the programmers of the world don't understand the problem space and it would be harder for them to learn the problem space than for the scientist to learn how to code a bit.

Lastly, I think you misunderstand computing science as a discipline. The fact that I finished my degree 13 years ago doesn't mean that much of it is out of date. The optimal rasterization of a line is still the same, algorithmically. All the graph theory that I learned is permanently correct--and permanently useful. Compiler implementations change, but compiler theory is largely the same. The stuff that you learn in computing science is actually really fundamental, which is what prevents it from going out of date. I can't stop learning without being left behind--the same as you--but I learned things up front that will always be mathematically, provably true. I'm not saying all of it is immediately useful (I think a lot of it isn't, in my field) but just because it's old doesn't mean that it's useless.

I wouldn't discount hiring a programmer without a degree. I've worked with several excellent--really, truly excellent--programmers that came to the industry without anything other than motivation. But don't tell me that just because out of my 18 years of being academically involved with computers, 4 of those were spent mostly in the classroom that I don't know how to fucking code.

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

Dixie_Flatline Re:Is Coding Computer Science? Of Course! (546 comments)

This is how the games industry works. This was particularly necessary in the previous generation when writing 'optimised' code wasn't guaranteed to really be that much faster depending on the platform. The PS3 is fast, but making things run well on it involves jumping through a lot of hoops and understanding what data needs to be in what bit of memory at what time. As long as the general developers were writing code that wasn't obnoxiously slow, it was fine.

It's almost always a surprise when you run instrumentation tools and find out what the real bottlenecks are. There are a lot of interactions between various agents in large-scale games, so doing anything other than writing obvious, clean code is just making trouble for everyone else.

about two weeks ago
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NVIDIA Sues Qualcomm and Samsung Seeking To Ban Import of Samsung Phones

Dixie_Flatline Re:Here come the Samsung fanboys... (110 comments)

Some of the devices are powered by Samsung's Exynos chips, so Samsung probably stepped on the patents there. That's what I got out of it. Remember that Samsung doesn't just use other people's stuff--they do a lot of their own manufacturing when it suits them.

about two weeks ago

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