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HP (Re-)Announces a 14" Android Laptop

MilenCent Android actually works pretty well on laptops (121 comments)

I've been using Android x86 for a while on an old spare laptop and, generally speaking, it's worked pretty well! Surprisingly many Android games don't seem to like it (swipe gestures don't seem to map well to a mouse), and apps that rely on portrait orientation are annoying, but for general web browsing it's been fine.

about 4 months ago
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The Dirty Little Secrets of Search

MilenCent User attitudes towards search are the problem (154 comments)

I can't help but think the only long-term way to reduce the effectiveness of these kinds of SEO tricks is to remove all storefronts from Google results. Even that isn't foolproof certainly, and I'm sure that online shopping sites will then just use non-store entry pages. But these SEO tricks work because many people, when they want to buy something, just go to Google and click on the first link presented, which I don't think anyone knowledgeable about web search will think is a good idea. That behavior has to change, and until Google gets serious about informing users about it, or Google somehow loses its place as the #1 search provider and whoever takes its place does so, SEO will probably continue to be big business, and Google/Whoever will continue having to run around putting out little fires.

more than 3 years ago
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The Great Ethanol Scam

MilenCent Re:Ethanol is just stupid (894 comments)

The free market's whole point is to kill failures, so no doubt there is many.

The free market does not have a point. The idea was to create a financial system out of the general economic trading that has been with man since prehistory. An exchange of goods and services. There is a rough justice to such bartering, given there are no great differences in wealth and power between the participants.

What we have now, however, is not this thing, and I'm glad of it. The primary sellers are huge corporations that pursue every legal avenue available to maximize profits, including patents, licenses and copyrights. When the laws do not favor them, they lobby to get the laws changed. To them it has nothing to do with fairness; it is entirely a cost-effectiveness equation.

Regulation, at its best, is the only really effective shield against this kind of rapaciousness. That's not to say it's always good, but to decry all government intervention is to also bash the only check on corporate power available to us.

more than 5 years ago
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The Great Ethanol Scam

MilenCent Re:Ethanol is just stupid (894 comments)

Isn't life wonderful when we just let the government do things?

Sometimes it is. There are unquestionably things government is best suited to do. Regulation to take the sharp edges off the free market is one of those things.

As far as corn prices go, it's unlikely that ethanol is a big part of that, and Pepsi and Mountain Dew release their "throwback" line as a small thing, not nearly in large enough quantities to lend credence to your theory. And to describe the market for corn as "free" is ignorant at best, and disingenuous at worst; government farm subsidies play a substantial role in the price of corn in the U.S., which in turn has fueled high fructose corn syrup's ascendancy as universal filler-sweetener in this country.

more than 5 years ago
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EFF Says Obama Warrantless Wiretap Defense Is Worse than Bush

MilenCent Re:RTFS?? (904 comments)

Demonstratively false. I haven't heard anyone defend Obama for the wiretap issue.

Come to think of it, while there was a lot of love directed at Obama for a while there, I noticed no one shouting down people who disagreed with him.

more than 5 years ago
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Project Aims For 5x Increase In Python Performance

MilenCent Re:Kill the GIL! (234 comments)

Psyco is such a nice tool; add just a couple of lines of code, and suddenly 90% of Python programs become multiple times faster on Intel processors... assuming it's single-threaded, of course.

Psyco's been lagging a bit behind lately though, and little progress has been made on shortening that list of features it doesn't support. The main reason for this has been the developer going on to work on PyPy, a subset of Python in which a Python interpreter itself can be written. The ultimate goal appears to be another massive-speedup JIT compiler, although I'm not sure how it gets there from here.

more than 5 years ago
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How To Build a Web 2.0 Government?

MilenCent Re:The medium is NOT the message (249 comments)

The problem with accessible government is that no-one's interested. Even where there are dedicated TV channels (e.g. in the UK) hardly anyone watches them. Why's that? Because the work of government is almost 100% pure tedium. No-one wants to watch what happens in committee meeting - even if that's where the laws are actually made, nor do are they prepared to sit through hours of televised debate.

This is, strictly speaking, not true. It's not that no one is interested, it's that almost no one is.

And that's not practically the same thing, either. Transparency makes it so the good journalists and bloggers, those who actually somehow like sifting through all that tedious data, can, and then report the upshot to us. Transparency allows the press (when it's working correctly, which one could argue, I admit, it isn't right now) to do its job.

But it is not true that this necessarily renders everything down into sound bites. There's a world of differences between insightful commentary and five seconds of video.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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devnull Nethack Tournament Turns Ten

MilenCent MilenCent writes  |  more than 5 years ago

MilenCent writes "The devnull Nethack tournament turns ten years old in two days! Register to play on November 1. In addition to being an excellent excuse to play NetHack, the tournament servers also provide "challenges," minor additions to the game that players can accept for a special trophy or refuse to just play the basic game. Returning challenges from prior years are the Kingdom of Loathing challenge (requiring that players visit KoL and play their Nethack-themed subdungeon), the Grue challenge (containing many Zork references), and the Pac-Man challenge (with a special maze-like dungeon level). Every year a new challenge is added, but players aren't told what it is! They must figure it out in game.
Every year, a player called marvin tends to win the "Best of 13" trophy by winning 13 games in a row (yes, IN A ROW), but last year some other players were finally beginning to give him a run for his money. Who will take the prize this year?"

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