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Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs

Second_Derivative Orgs make public win32 to linux transition noises (367 comments)

...in order to extract more favourable terms during licensing negotiations with Microsoft, nothing more.

Nothing to see here.

about a month ago

Intel Dev: GTK's Biggest Problem, and What Qt Does Better

Second_Derivative GTK+ is standalone (282 comments)

Qt, on the other hand, is its own universe. It's written in a weird dialect of C++98 (though I'm sure it works just fine in C++11 these days), it has its own object model, networking stack, container library, threading library, graphics primitive library (i.e. not Cairo). This object model also leaks into its language bindings if you don't want to write your software in C++.

It's the same problem that Java and C# also suffer from: they're not cross-platform, nothing is. What they actually are is their own platform built alongside a perfectly good already-existing one, and you can see the seams.

There's more to each platform's UI than what bitmap you skin buttons and checkboxes with. If you want a cross-platform application, then write a completely different UI for each platform using those platforms' native UI toolkits. Sadly "good enough" is the order of the day here, so you end up with platform-refugee applications that look like shit.

about 3 months ago

Victory For Apple In "Patent Trial of the Century," To the Tune of $1 Billion

Second_Derivative Re:Apple stifling innovation in lawsuit (1184 comments)

Game changers earn a short-term first-mover advantage, and given the revenues generated from Apple's iPhone division I don't think they've had any shortage of THAT. Longer term, people will copy innovators and incrementally improve on their new technology, and everybody benefits as a result, in the form of accelerated innovation and lower prices. As the law stands right now, competition is severely hindered in order to extract even more exorbitant revenue than what the Free Market(R) naturally has to offer. You can't have a competitive marketplace when you have to ask the incumbent's permission to compete with them.

Anyway, fuck Apple and fuck the iPhone. Dictatorial control wrapped up in a shiny package, and the masses love it. It is the antithesis of the equalising power of technology that made the field so attractive to me in the first place.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Aren't You Running KDE?

Second_Derivative Because, in my opinion, it looks really ugly. (818 comments)

If I'm going to use a desktop for hours on end then I'd prefer that it had aesthetics that don't make me barf. Primary colours everywhere, sharp specular highlights, drop shadows, grey gradients, chunky 3D bezel effects, even the spacing between visual elements and their sizes are just all horribly wrong. I can't understand how anybody could stand looking at that, but I guess KDE has a sufficiently large user base that at least some people disagree.

GNOME 3 might not be ideal, but at least it looks nice. Actually, in my opinion, I think it looks even nicer than Apple's stuff, but again that's just my personal sense of aesthetics talking. If they made the workspace management a little less rudimentary (e.g. if they went back to having a fixed number of workspaces that you could create and destroy on the fly, and allowed you to re-arrange the workspaces themselves as opposed to just the windows on them), then I think I could get used to it. It's still extremely bare in terms of currently-implemented functionality, but hopefully this will improve over time.

about 2 years ago

William Shatner Wakes Up Crew for Final Discovery Mission

Second_Derivative Re:Pretty Ironic.... (185 comments)

So that would be why all those towns full of "retards that can't take care of themselves" such as Detroit and Camden see their population dry out rapidly?

Come on mate, please don't swallow this "welfare queen" propaganda. It is not in your best interest, never mind the best interests of the world at large.

more than 3 years ago

Land of Lisp

Second_Derivative Re:Modern Computers do come with BASIC (330 comments)

You're kidding about VBScript, right? Short of abusing Scripting.Dictionary in some rather awful ways you can't even define data structures in it, and writing code that spans more than one module involves the use of some obtuse XML crap (.scs files) which most people don't even know about. VBScript has its place but using it for anything other substantially more complex than short straight-line automation scripts is lunacy.

You could write some ephemeral JavaScript programs in an .html file that can't even interact with the filesystem, sure, but these creations would be obvious fourth-class citizens on your shiny 21st century computer, which doesn't yield a particularly satisfying experience for the novice programmer.

No, if a kid with an internet connection wants to start programming stuff then in some senses the ground has never been more fertile. Even if you're not willing to leave Win32 you can quickly and easily download IDLE or a win32 build of Ruby, and the latter has plenty of really gentle tutorials to ease a novice into the world of programming, to the point where the interested reader could probably stumble oneward from there through Wikipedia well enough for most of the intermediate concepts to stick. The sort of things you can easily accomplish with MinGW and a bit of Googling today would have absolutely blown my ten year old mind back when anything above the level of BASIC was a forbidden art unheard of outside of obscure BBSes (which show up on your parents' phone bill) or a university library.

On the other hand, a modern PC environment is a frightfully complicated beast compared to an Amiga or a Spectrum. That I think is far more of a problem than the availability of simple tools and documentation these days... that and a more comfortable consumption-oriented environment on a modern desktop that doesn't force you to make your own fun.

more than 3 years ago

Anti-Google Video Runs In Times Square

Second_Derivative Nobody ever mentions the second part of that quote (346 comments)

"but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it’s important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities."

Which is basically the most direct way of saying "the NSA has a gun to my head" that that is available to him. Honestly, I'm not all that worried about Google in and of itself. They seem to be fairly transparent about what they do and why they collect that information in the first place, and they are staffed by a lot people with similar views to the prevailing opinion on Slashdot (though these views are necessarily going to be much more moderate than a lot of the views expressed here, or they wouldn't be working for Google in the first place).

No, the fact that Google is a treasure trove of personal information for the United States' various three-letter agencies is far more worrying to me than any ill will on the part of Google, particularly given the US' eagerness to conduct national and corporate espionage to secure themselves any economic advantage for the United States. Or to scour the world for all the entities that they might consider to be a threat, real or imagined. Naturally I'm just another unimportant geek and not a visionary engineer or a trade negotiator, so I shouldn't have anything to fear personally from this system (yet, anyway), but nonetheless I still find this unbridled use of dirty tactics to be morally repugnant. /That/ is the real message we should be hearing about Google, but I doubt that it lines up with the interests of whoever is controlling this particular drawerful of sock puppets.

more than 3 years ago

Is a US High-Speed Railway Economically Feasible?

Second_Derivative Re:Another stupid idea that will increase the defi (1139 comments)

A private consortium tried just that back in 1991 in Texas. Then Southwest Airlines called in a few favours and had the project destroyed (some details on Wikipedia here.). Free market capitalism may or may not have worked here (if it did then one could certainly expect other consortia to follow suit) but the Texas state government never gave us a chance to find out.

more than 3 years ago

Microsoft Losing Big To Apple On Campus

Second_Derivative Re:damn (764 comments)

It is the year of Linux on the desktop if you count smartphones as desktops

more than 3 years ago

'Bloatware' Becoming a Problem On Android Phones

Second_Derivative Re:This is why I was for the Nexus One (415 comments)

Nexus One has precisely this problem, which is why I didn't buy it. It comes with a Facebook app and an Amazon MP3 Store app, neither of which are removable without rooting the phone. Yes there's an officially sanctioned mechanism for rooting and reflashing the devide, but I shouldn't have to void the warranty to remove unwanted functionality.

more than 3 years ago

Droid X Self-Destructs If You Try To Mod

Second_Derivative Re:I do! (757 comments)

For fifty freaking bucks a month, just so you can send text messages AND make calls? are you fucking kidding me?

My experience of America so far is that for every walk of life there's a government-backed corporate monopoly eager to bend you over the barrel, but even by American standards the GSM networks are fucking highway robbery (yes I know Verizon isn't even GSM, but they're no better in any other respect either). I have my own non-smart phone and I want to continue using it instead of switching to your country's third-world technology.

No, fuck T-Mobile and fuck every other carrier over here too. Why should I beg and show gratitude for something that's a basic service in every other part of the world.

more than 3 years ago

Finland To Legalize Use of Unsecured Wi-Fi

Second_Derivative Re:Scandinavian countries seem wise (151 comments)

It's also the country that passed Lex Nokia not too long ago. Certainly the Finnish situation isn't as bad as it is in the UK and the US, but it's still not perfect.

more than 3 years ago

How Did Wikileaks Do It?

Second_Derivative Re:GPU Parallel processing (973 comments)

Brute-forcing problems are exponential in key size, though. Add a few more bits to your key, and even if you could turn the entire mass of the sun into Tesla blades, cool it, and power it, then that still wouldn't help you. It's true that the last few years have seen the emergence of commodity hardware with some truly terrifying amounts of compute power, but these security standards are engineered against "turn-the-solar-system-into-a-supercomputer" assuptions of adersarial compute power just to account for semi-unexpected revolutions such as these.

Something else is probably afoot here.

about 4 years ago

Obama Backs MPAA, RIAA, and ACTA

Second_Derivative Re:First rebellion (703 comments)

Posting to retain a reference...

more than 4 years ago

Europe To Block ACTA Disconnect Provisions

Second_Derivative Re:I'm an American... (194 comments)

They're standing up to your government. Why the hell aren't you?

more than 4 years ago

Google Italy Execs Convicted Over YouTube Bullying Video

Second_Derivative Re:Bread and circuses (391 comments)

Isn't that the whole point of this judgement?

Some owner of an Italian-language search engine must have done an awful lot of whining to his friends in the judiciary recently.

more than 4 years ago

Texas Textbooks Battle Is Actually an American War

Second_Derivative Re:A Christian's take (1252 comments)

PHP is proof that there is no God

more than 4 years ago

Linux Foundation Announces 2010 "We're Linux" Video Contest

Second_Derivative Re:Smashing my keyboard! (460 comments)

Your Windows admins are incompetent, then. Ever heard of WinPE?

more than 4 years ago

Has a Decade of .NET Delivered On Microsoft's Promises?

Second_Derivative Re:Java too complex (558 comments)

The problem with "making all those decisions for you" is that writing good programs is hard and writing good frameworks is harder. Therefore, all else being equal the chances are that any given framework will suck. Five years ago Java had several hundred web development frameworks. 99% of those sucked and nobody used them, the others were built on the lessons learned from the sucky frameworks' mistakes, as well as the rare bit of genuine technical vision.

We've ended up with the Spring framework in Java, which is a top-notch web development framework; the first one I've met that really truly does not suck, and web development isn't even the main point of Spring. Contrast that with the decision Microsoft made for your web development needs in the form of ASP.NET, which is pure unalloyed garbage. It's built around some completely ridiculous metaphors and tries to fight every reality of the web platform, leaving you with a programming environment that's about as flexible as a brick. You can build dumb intranet web views that are completely un-abstracted and welded to the tables you've laid out in your SQL Server database, with rather limited control over any non-elementary features over the DBMS, and if you try to step one inch outside of that mindset then it fights you every step of the way.

That isn't even an indictment of Microsoft's technical development practices as it is a reflection of the fact that they only tried once and (since the odds were against them) they blew it. Many Java frameworks that were as bad as ASP.NET or worse came and went, what survives today is far more likely to be made of stronger stuff.

Fortunately for Microsoft that doesn't matter, because in most organisations the people responsible who choose the organisation's preferred technical platforms are not the people who actually have to use them. As long as their effort can be used to rapidly create a facsimilie of the equivalent demos found in the Java glossies and the number printed by wc -l is smaller in their version than Sun's they're fine.

more than 4 years ago

The Design Failures That Led To Rock Band

Second_Derivative Re:Rail games (177 comments)

Someone did think of it first: Konami. Notice that they mention Beatmania and DDR as inspirations, but curiously omit Guitar Freaks and Drum Mania...

GFDM are on something like their eighteenth release in Japan at the moment. Konami has been pumping out all manner of wonderful music games for over a decade now, they just really suck at publishing their shit abroad, much to the chargrin of the Western Bemani fanbase (which exists despite their best efforts, and believe me the use of 'despite' in that sentence was intentional).

more than 4 years ago


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