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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

DuckDodgers Re:Why the hell... (194 comments)

Dynamic languages were under discussion, and the only dynamic language I'm aware of that's slower on the JVM than in its original interpreter is Javascript. The Javascript interpreter Nashorn on the JVM is fast, but not as fast as Chrome's V8 or Firefox's IonMonkey Javascript engines.

For other languages, sure - I imagine Ocaml, Haskell, C, C++, etc... would be slower if they ran interpreted on the JVM.

5 days ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

DuckDodgers Re:Why the hell... (194 comments)

Thank you for that link. Interesting. I was aware of about ten projects that compile to or enhance Javascript, but that list is enormous.

about a week ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

DuckDodgers Re:Why the hell... (194 comments)

You will be sitting in the corner holding to your best practices and ideals while the world uses Facebook, Twitter, Google Mail, Office 365, Google search with autocomplete, Netflix, Youtube, Hulu Plus, Ebay, Amazon, and a hundred other websites that make extensive use of Javascript.

about a week ago
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JavaScript and the Netflix User Interface

DuckDodgers Re:Why the hell... (194 comments)

Since Java is Turing complete, you can use objects and methods on objects to mimic those other language features.

about a week ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

DuckDodgers Re:Huh (240 comments)

The biggest problem with Perl6 was that it was incredibly ambitious, so much so that nobody has successfully implemented most of it. Python3 has the advantage that it came out, so I think it's a better illustration of the points under discussion. Perl6 couldn't be widely adopted because even people who love the cutting edge are reluctant to try something only half-done.

about two weeks ago
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Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

DuckDodgers Re:Easy to say when not dealing with customers (240 comments)

Legacy codebases in languages like COBOL, Fortran, and C++ might run from today until hell freezes over. But if you've got two million lines of code behind your operation and someone wants to tweak a few of the input fields and do some surgery on the user interface, you're going to need three geniuses and five months to get it done. If you want some more serious modifications, you might be spending a few million dollars, waiting a year, and sacrificing animals to some Aztec deity before it gets done. So you have something rock solid, but like anything else rock solid it's damn difficult to move.

That's where a rewrite done well has some chance of being a better choice. Haskell, Ocaml, F#, Scala, Clojure, Rust, Go... pick your new tool, vette it carefully. Pick your developer team even more carefully. Maybe they can give you something that has all of the useful features of your existing monolithic built out of languages that manage to have more features, more corner cases, and more cruft and write something smaller, just as fast, and far more flexible.

Now to be fair, if you cherry pick your developers and your language features very carefully a clean rewrite in C++11 or Fortran 2008 might get you the same advantages. I suspect world class Haskell developers (for example) might to better than equally world class C++ developers, but that's a hard call.

Sometimes "backwards compatibility at any cost" has a cost of being able to innovate.

about two weeks ago
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IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

DuckDodgers Re:Rule of thumb: $1/kW or forget it. (268 comments)

As you said, higher utility costs change the break-even point. My in-laws in rural Virginia pay $0.04 per kwh for electricity. I'm closer to a city and pay $0.16 per kwh.

Government "economic stimulus" program effectiveness depends upon what the job does. The fundamental problem with jobs in the US is that every industry is more labor efficient than it has been in any other point in human history. That's driving the total market demand for labor down, while the supply is much higher. Since supply dramatically exceeds demand, prices are dropping. There is no free market solution, except maybe letting 30% of the population starve. And any government intervention to artificially constrain the supply of labor (restrictions on overtime, mandatory vacation, government-run make work programs like FDR's Public Works Administration) will be ruthlessly opposed by conservatives. So the 99% is on a slow slide to hell even while the GDP is growing nicely.

about a month ago
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IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

DuckDodgers Re: OK (268 comments)

Earth? I'm going to blow it up. It obstructs my view of Venus.

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

DuckDodgers Re:It's not just speed (253 comments)

I'd prefer if all of our manufacturing doesn't come from one location - that's an economic risk all by itself. But since most parts in most cell phones come from China anyway, I don't lose sleep over it.

The Huawei Ascend Mate 7, ZTE Grand S, and Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro are all within a stone's throw of the Galaxy S5, LG G3, and HTC One M8 for cutting edge features - cameras, displays, processors, etc... and I think all three are on Android 4.4. So it's just a question of getting consumer attention, they're already making competitive products.

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

DuckDodgers Re:It's not just speed (253 comments)

Thanks for responding! I will give CyanogenMod a spin. I hadn't heard anything good or bad about the camera support, I just assumed since their camera hardware is somewhat different from the other vendors it might not be well-supported.

I am worried that we're heading towards an Android monoculture, in which the only manufacturer left for Android devices is Samsung. So I'm determined to buy anything but Samsung for Android phones. The only problem with that is that because Samsung is so popular, their devices are the first ones to get support from Firefox OS, Replicant, and Ubuntu Touch. So by avoiding Samsung I make it harder to take those for a spin.

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

DuckDodgers Re:It's not just speed (253 comments)

That's not my experience. On my wife's Samsung phone and mine, if we don't manually kill background tasks or set a task manager to do it for me, there are many long pauses when we open an application or interact with the user interface. She has more problems than I do, since she runs the Facebook, Twitter, and Skype clients on her phone. I disabled those applications on mine (but I can't remove them, because fuck Verizon).

about a month ago
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Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

DuckDodgers Re:No more cash in the bank? (109 comments)

Linux isn't too complicated if you're taking someone that has never used a computer before and teaching them how to use it. Then it's more or less even with Windows. But across the US, 95% of the people with computer experience have used some form of Windows before, fewer than 5% of the people with computer experience have used Linux. So a company looks at paying Microsoft maybe $500 per employee per year in license fees versus the cost of retraining their employees on Linux, and decide it's cheaper to use Microsoft products.

I don't like it, but it's reality. Microsoft isn't easier, it's familiar. But the end result is the same - they continue to dominate business software use and the richest company in the world built on a fully open source software model, Red Hat, makes literally 1% of Microsoft's revenue.

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

DuckDodgers Re:It's not just speed (253 comments)

There's also crapware to consider. The Nexus 5 is a good phone because you can mostly, or maybe only, get it from the Google Play store. If you buy a Samsung Galaxy S-whatever, an HTC One, a Motorola Droid, and so forth, chances are good that you're getting it from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile and they've taken any chance it had of not sucking and blown it to hell by adding so much junk.

I have an HTC One Max. I love the phone. But with a quad core ARM processor and 2GB of RAM, I need a task manager in the background set to insane-frenzy-autokill for the thing to be useful. Otherwise I get twenty services running in the background and everything slows to a crawl. It works wonderfully, but only because of the task manager I installed. Out of the box it's shit. I'm thinking of taking CyanogenMod for a spin, but I'm concerned that the camera driver support won't be as good as HTC's. Even if it does work, 97% of smart phone owners aren't going to install a custom ROM on their phone any more than someone buying a PC from Dell or HP is going to install vanilla Windows (or Arch Linux or something) to avoid all of their prepackaged garbage.

The only other headache I have is that Android applications don't handle switching wifi sources well. If I move between two wireless access points, all of my applications give "network connection lost" errors until I manually kill the application and restart it.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Lays Off 2,100, Axes Silicon Valley Research

DuckDodgers Re:No more cash in the bank? (109 comments)

Excellent point. Except of course that Microsoft is currently wildly profitable, 22 billion in net income this past year. If the total cost of each employee in the layoff is a quarter of a million dollars, the layoff boosts Microsoft profitability less than 3% when profits are already tremendously high.

Now, I'm an open source software fan that is becoming more and more aligned with the GNU FSF fanatics as I get older. So part of me is inclined to think a move by Microsoft to sacrifice their chance to be relevant in 2030 in order to boost profitability 3% today is wonderful.

But I think the reduction of pure researchers is a sad event for the industry as a whole, and the world as a whole. By definition, most pure research divisions don't come out with anything useful to a company. But every once in a while they do, and that's the point - you accept the 500 projects that give you nothing of value in return for the few that make the difference between staying ahead of other innovators and being left behind.

Among other things, Microsoft Research pays Simon Peyton Jones, one of the lead developers on the Haskell language specification and the most popular implementation, the open source Glasgow Haskell Compiler. Haskell may never become a popular language, but it strongly influenced the design of languages like F# and Scala and had a lesser but significant impact on many others. Now that research occurs in Microsoft's Cambridge Research center, so maybe Peyton Jones did not or will not get the axe too. But there are hundreds of other publications and projects in a number of fields to come out of Microsoft research, and whether we like it or not many open source projects have been positively changed by the influence of those ideas.

Seriously, I consider keeping Microsoft Research one of the few things that Steve Ballmer clearly got right, and the first thing that Satya Nadella unequivocally got wrong.

about a month ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

DuckDodgers Re:It's not apple this time! (134 comments)

If Apple insisted that no lower prices be advertised elsewhere and then took a notably smaller than usual percentage of sales, I would agree with your point. Since their percentage of sales is, as far as I know, even with Amazon or Microsoft I think they do want profit from their applications and media delivered through applications on their app stores.

about a month and a half ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

DuckDodgers Re:Spoon (134 comments)

The philosophical problem I have with Windows RT is the Microsoft walled garden. But the reason sales flopped is that it had inadequate specifications and too few interesting features at that price point, and it was further hampered by the fact that the only Microsoft hardware brand name with some consumer enthusiasm - Xbox - wasn't on it.

"Microsoft came out with something that's a tablet-laptop hybrid. If you get the cool keyboard it adds $100 to the cost, so $450 for the base model." "Oh yeah? How does it compare?" "Well, a $500 iPad has far more applications and better performance, plus a display resolution that's twice as good. A $500 laptop has shorter battery life but can run far more software, has a bigger screen, and runs the same software as the Surface RT - Office, Internet Explorer - much faster." "Oh, then who do they expect to buy it?" "I haven't figured that out yet. I don't think they have, either."

If Microsoft was going to launch a Surface RT, they should have launched it later this year with a 64-bit ARM CPU, 4+GB of RAM, 2048x1536 or better display resolution, the features of Windows 8.1, and the lineup of RT applications that their Windows store has now. Lucky for us open source fans, they launched way too early with something uncompetitive.

about a month and a half ago
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Under the Apple Hype Machine, Amazon Drops Fire Phone Price To 99 Cents

DuckDodgers Re:It's not apple this time! (134 comments)

Apple still cares about a cut of the app sales and so forth, that's why they won't let companies that sell through their app store offer products more cheaply elsewhere.

So I would amend your comment to stay that Apple cares about content but cares about hardware sales more. Amazon just cares about content sales.

I'm happy the Amazon Fire flopped. I don't want Microsoft to be the undisputed king of desktop PC operating systems, I don't want Apple or Samsung to be the undisputed king of smart phones, I don't want Google to be the undisputed king of search engines, and I don't want Amazon to be the undisputed king of internet stores.

about a month and a half ago
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Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

DuckDodgers Re:MMO Crap (203 comments)

Wow, you've probably read as many RPGs as I have. I'm familiar with FATE too.

10% chance of critical hits, and the associated damage bonus are a very big deal at lower levels. They're just not significant next to spellcaster power at higher levels.

I like games in which experience for overcoming obstacles is awarded the same regardless of whether combat is involved. Bribe the Duke to stop attacking with his army? Trick the Dragon into taking on a Lich and getting itself killed? Talk the Orc Chief into a peace treaty instead of war? Outrun the pirates that are trying to capture your ship? Pose as a messenger from the Hill Giants ordering a group of Ogres to move in the wrong direction?Same XP as killing them outright. But I just don't see it done that often in practice. Maybe I gamed with the wrong groups and read the wrong gaming fiction.

Again, I loved Earthdawn as a concept but want a simplification of the rules.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree with respect to Dungeons and Dragons. From what I've seen, most of the DnD fans fall on your side of the fence.

about 2 months ago
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AMD Releases New Tonga GPU, Lowers 8-core CPU To $229

DuckDodgers Re:Sigh. (98 comments)

In the Athlon64 era Intel started negotiating with PC makers under terms like "we'll charge you 50% less per CPU if you sell zero AMD processors, 40% less per CPU if you sell less than 10% of your total sales volume as AMD processors, 30% less per CPU if you sell less than 20% of your total sales volume as AMD processors, and full price otherwise." AMD hemorrhaged cash, and could no longer afford the research investment they needed to make the Steamroller/Bulldozer chip family competitive with Intel's i-line of CPUs.

Hopefully things are turning around.

about 2 months ago
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AMD Releases New Tonga GPU, Lowers 8-core CPU To $229

DuckDodgers Re:Time to cut prices (98 comments)

For AMD, these are top end processors. Their very best desktop CPU is now $230. That's pretty good.

To my knowledge, the best current ARM tablets have maybe 4GB of RAM. So if you want something that offers superior performance, an x86_64 bit dual core processor matches or beats any current 8 core ARM chip (correct me if I'm wrong, anyway) plus a minimum motherboard plus 4GB of RAM plus a 32GB USB flash drive plus a cheap case and power supply, not including monitor, keyboard, and mouse will probably run you... $300? That's for much faster computing power than any $300 tablet. It's still competitive in many respects, if not power consumption and portability. (Of course, all of this assumes you install Linux yourself. If you add in a Microsoft OS license, the price comparison gets less favorable.)

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Potential database breakthrough

DuckDodgers DuckDodgers writes  |  more than 5 years ago

DuckDodgers writes "The database company Ingres announced a partnership with research firm Vectorwise to bring to market an efficiency breakthrough in databases. They assert that most complex queries run by a database engine can run over 100 times slower than a C++ program hand coded to get the same information from the files on disk. They're working on a database engine that closes the gap dramatically by using several methods, like batching tuples for processing in sizes that fit in the processor on-chip cache, other methods for minimizing back and forth between RAM and processor cache, and structuring the data to be processed in a way to make best use of CPU branch prediction. Their example in the whitepaper (unfortunately, it requires registration) is a moderate complexity aggregate query against 6 million rows of data that takes 16 seconds in the regular database engine, 0.04 seconds with a C++ application built to do the same thing, and about 0.2 seconds with their optimized database engine. The press release is here, and some of the technical details are discussed on this blog (no, not mine): Next Big Future. Is this impossible, impractical, or well within the realm of possibility? If it can be done, why haven't we seen it before?"

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