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Linus' Lessons On Software Dev Management

Sam Douglas Re:a counterpoint on "no regressions" (132 comments)

One goal of refactoring is to not change the functionality of the code.

I think Torvalds is completely right here, it's all too easy to let the most convenient/nice way to code something dictate the user experience; which is fine if the user is the programmer (e.g. writing library code). Applications with a complex UI often suffer from this; getting something that works the way the user expects it to often means doing 'dirty' things to the codebase to make it work.

more than 2 years ago
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Weak Typing — the Lost Art of the Keyboard

Sam Douglas Re:Depends on finger strength and coordination (362 comments)

I was never formally taught how to touch type, and I sort of developed an ad-hoc style on QWERTY. It was fast enough for me, but after a few years I was getting quite bad strain in the back of my hands if I typed too much. I don't really type faster on Dvorak, but it has fixed bad habits I developed with Qwerty and I don't get hand strain when typing. (It has probably made me a better touch-typist because I never rearranged the keys on my keyboard)

about 3 years ago
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Coming Soon, Shorter Video Games

Sam Douglas Re:WHAT!?!?!?! (637 comments)

It was agonising watching a friend play through it in 3 hours... I got it at launch and played it twice (commentaries) in that time. Great game though, that and EP2 easily justified the price of The Orange Box.

about 3 years ago
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Making Graphics In Games '100,000 Times' Better?

Sam Douglas Re:Yeah, and I am a Pony (291 comments)

Both techniques are useful. New hardware tessellation features in DX11 capable cards mean we should start seeing games using displacement mapping. A relatively low polygon model is rendered, a displacement map texture is used to deform each triangle. My understanding is that each triangle is subdivided and then a displacement map is used to shift each new vertex. This allows models to have detailed geometry when close to the camera, but not waste time rendering the detail when it is going to be pointless. ((I haven't actually played with displacement mapping, so I could be wrong about the details))

more than 3 years ago
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MPEG LA Says 12 Parties Have Essential WebM Patents

Sam Douglas Re:One single sentence says it all. (136 comments)

Exactly what they are getting is easy; pay up and we won't sue you over any patents that may cover "x". It will be cheaper for you than working out a licensing deal in court.

more than 3 years ago
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Facebook Blocks Google+ App, Google Removes Twitter From Real Time Search

Sam Douglas Re:How Microsoft of Them (250 comments)

I think Wave's key problem was direction. Wave did a bunch of technically cool things, but when it came down to it, most people who got Wave invites went on there, created a couple of meta-waves and found a bunch of shortcomings of the implementation. They didn't know why they wanted it.

I think in that sense, Gmail and Google+ both had a better start. It is annoying having to clear out your inbox, hunting for that important email is annoying. Gmail has lots of storage space and searching. We interact with lots of different groups of people in our lives. Sometimes it is good to know only certain people can hear you. Sometimes posts that are important to you get lost amongst the chaff. Google+ gives you control over who you share with and who you listen to.

more than 3 years ago
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No Additional Firefox 4 Security Updates

Sam Douglas Re:Guess I'll just wait a few months (445 comments)

Did you report them? I've been using Chrome pretty much exclusively for a long while and I don't recall coming across what I would consider a bug.

more than 3 years ago
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C++ the Clear Winner In Google's Language Performance Tests

Sam Douglas Re:Common knowledge (670 comments)

A good garbage collector already has memory set aside to allocate new objects in. No searching is required, just like allocating memory on the stack.

When the pool of memory for that gets full, the live objects are copied to a new location and the entire memory pool is emptied.

The "generation 0" collection is normally pretty painless, as most objects are short-lived anyway.

more than 3 years ago
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C++ the Clear Winner In Google's Language Performance Tests

Sam Douglas Re:Common knowledge (670 comments)

Well, you'd just allocate a block of memory and write an allocator that returns 'handles' which can be updated when the memory is compacted. See, no garbage collector needed. /facetious

more than 3 years ago
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Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate

Sam Douglas Re:Same with 1080p (666 comments)

I should work on comprehension. Open matte is preferable to pan and scan.

more than 3 years ago
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Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate

Sam Douglas Re:Same with 1080p (666 comments)

But the remainder of the frame was intended to be cut! With The Shining, I ended up cropping it to the correct aspect ratio in VLC because it annoyed me the composition looked weird. Plus at times there were objects in frame that should not have been, such as helicopter blades during the intro sequence.

more than 3 years ago
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Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate

Sam Douglas Re:Same with 1080p (666 comments)

It's basically using as much of the 'bandwidth' that is available on the picture and leaving the black bars to the playback equipment. In cinemas this means a widescreen film is 'stretched' (optically) onto a 35mm frame (which are ~4:3) and then unstretched using the lens on the projector to be the correct aspect ratio. Making the most of what you have.

more than 3 years ago
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Users Want Matte LCDs While Glossy Screens Dominate

Sam Douglas Re:Same with 1080p (666 comments)

Letterboxing on VHS! Waste 2/3rds of your precious resolution on black bars. I can kind of see why that was unpopular on small televisions.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

Sam Douglas Re:Don't do it... (427 comments)

Powershell might be better than cmd batch files, but don't expect to be able to write a script that will run on machines that haven't had Powershell explicitly installed. I attempted to use Powershell for a simple automation task, but couldn't write a script for automating something and expect it would work at all on a client's machine like I probably could if it were a Unix shell.

Running software in Windows is a massive pain because there is no good way for the shell to find commands, so scripts that depend on external programs need to jump through hoops to find the appropriate binaries.

I ended up whipping up a quick program in C# to do the automation; it took less time than trying to figure out Powershell, didn't require many dependencies and could provide UI for selecting directories etc.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Kicks Off Third-Party Bug Warnings

Sam Douglas Re:Java's and Adobe's updates suck. (86 comments)

I quite like the approach of just installing to your home directory by default, and offering to install for all users as a secondary option. It works well for single user systems and somewhat limits the damage that can be caused on a multi-user system.

In my opinion too much software is packaged to target some experience in between individual use and corporate use. I like that Google Chrome just installs somewhere and updating just happens without me really being involved or having to prod it along. Minecraft is another popular app that uses that model to good effect.

more than 3 years ago
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Microsoft Kicks Off Third-Party Bug Warnings

Sam Douglas Re:Java's and Adobe's updates suck. (86 comments)

If my work is dependent on an application that no longer runs on modern operating systems, then I have a problem. I will make the application work, and/or try to find a way to not be dependent on unsupported software that will leave me up shit creek in future. Luckily VMs make it easy to run various operating systems as needed, even if modern hardware is poorly supported by them.

more than 3 years ago
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5 Out of 11 Crashed Unity In Canonical's Study

Sam Douglas Re:Not that surprising, actually (468 comments)

Did the PulseAudio problem ever get solved? I remember putting up with problems in 8.04 (ended up hacking out PulseAudio I think), 8.10, 9.04 (IIRC it worked okay-enough) and then having PulseAudio problems on 9.10. That was the last straw, and my laptop has been running Sid since. At least that's reasonably stable.

more than 3 years ago
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NZ MP Enjoys Copyright Infringement, Votes For 3 Strikes

Sam Douglas Re:Um, she says borrowing a CD/DVD is ok ... (220 comments)

If I understand it correctly, that is not what "fair use" in US copyright law covers, however it seems to be permitted by the first sale doctrine (i.e. selling or giving away a copy does not constitute infringement because a copy has not been made).

more than 3 years ago
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NZ MP Enjoys Copyright Infringement, Votes For 3 Strikes

Sam Douglas Re:It's passed (220 comments)

In this case though the bill was passed through the final stages. It wasn't like the bill was introduced and pushed through entirely under urgency with no select committee. The language of the bill has been changed a lot in response to public submissions etc. and compared to the previously passed "three strikes" law it is an improvement.

more than 3 years ago

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