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Spectrum Vega: A Blast From the Past

Teckla Re:The thing that made the Sinclairs popular ... (110 comments)

That was wonderful time. I really look forward to when we get a new generation of computers as easy to pick up and develop for as home computers were. It's a shame Microsoft didn't bundle VB with Windows back in the 1990s, and we're still stuck with relatively impenetrable - for newcomers - tools for mainstream development elsewhere.

The web was kind-of sort-of another programming renaissance (of sorts), but as the years go by, I'm not sure such a thing as our beloved 8-bit years or the web will ever happen again. Software expectations are too high. Nobody is amused by simple text games anymore. Once in a while a retro graphics style game makes an impact but it's pretty rare and not much of an impact.

I fear those days are over, never to return.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Files a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit For Activating Pirated Software

Teckla Re:They used the wrong windows (268 comments)

The windows 7 I installed was pre-activated when I downloaded it from the Pirate Bay.

And the deeply embedded malware included in just about everything from The Pirate Bay is just icing on the cake.

about two weeks ago
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The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

Teckla Re:GPL (205 comments)

How about you use the GNU General Public License? It has strong copyleft, which prevents people from distributing closed-source software that uses your library.

It may also result in less contributors / contributions. The company I work for contributes to open source, but only to open source with liberal licenses (e.g., BSD). The GPL is strictly off limits.

about two weeks ago
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The Failed Economics of Our Software Commons

Teckla Re:Marketshare (205 comments)

There needs to be a licence that obligates those who profit from software to contribute whilst still allowing colaborative development and still free for personal use.

Such licenses have existed for a long time. They typically specify something along the lines of "free for non-commercial use" (which tends to imply "you have to buy a license to use the code in a commercial application").

The company I work for contributes to open source / free (little 'f') software, but only when the licenses are liberal in nature (e.g., BSD). The GPL is off limits.

about two weeks ago
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WhatsApp To Offer End-to-End Encryption

Teckla Re:FBI Director James Comey may not care. (93 comments)

Yeah, pretty much. The power of subpoena to acquire those keys would be trivial.

I think that's one of the problems Perfect Forward Secrecy is supposed to solve. If I understand it correctly, upon connection, the two connecting systems that support PFS generate brand new and ephemeral public/private key pairs for bootstrapping the encrypted connection.

Since those keys are ephemeral, even if some entity collected all the data between the two connecting systems, it would never be able to decrypt that data, even with subpoena in hand: those keys are long gone, as they only existed for a few seconds before being wiped from memory.

about a month ago
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Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving

Teckla Re:Why should I care? (97 comments)

The part of that page that confused me is right above what you quoted: "Notably, using native code on Android generally does not result in a noticable performance improvement."

Yeah, I agree that the page is confusing. It seems to contradict itself. My guess is they consider games a special case, or something.

A friend of mine does iPhone and Android development and his comment is that NDK is basically a requirement for any non-trivial games on Android.

about 2 months ago
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Android On Intel x86 Tablet Performance Explored: Things Are Improving

Teckla Re:Why should I care? (97 comments)

I thought the Android NDK wasn't intended for performance [android.com] as much as for sharing the model [wikipedia.org] (application logic and data access) code with versions of the application made for other platforms.

A quote from the URL you linked to:

Typical good candidates for the NDK are CPU-intensive workloads such as game engines, signal processing, physics simulation, and so on.

So, according to that page, the NDK is largely made available for performance.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Announces iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite and More

Teckla Re:Maybe a Mini (355 comments)

The mini wouldn't be a bad way to go... it's not that expensive and I can still use my 27" monitor.

The Mac mini looks interesting to me as well, to replace an older iMac.

However, I do think 4 GB of RAM is insufficient for all but the most basic usage (web browser plus one other application running). Apple really needs to upgrade their entry level RAM to 6 GB or 8 GB.

Ditto with the storage on their iOS devices. 16 GB doesn't cut it anymore. 32 GB of storage should be the entry level these days.

about 2 months ago
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Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

Teckla Re:Git is an example of Linus Torvalds at his wors (387 comments)

And yet we use it, because it's that effective If you can make a better git than git, I'm sure we'll all eventually move to it.

What makes you think people would reliably move to a better git than git?

The history of computing is littered with the carcasses of applications that were better than the competition, but never achieved much success for whatever reason (e.g., perhaps the competition got the first mover advantage, and that was enough to guarantee its dominance).

about 2 months ago
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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

Teckla Re:HALO (368 comments)

No it would not have to be reverse engineered again as even though they now own it, it is still available and under the gpl v2. So that would be impossible for Microsoft to shutdown as it would be forked the next day and you can't retroactively re-licence someone else’s copy of gpl'ed software, remember GPL is viral and thats a good thing.

How does GPL being viral help? If it was BSD licensed, even after a Microsoft purchase, they couldn't un-BSD the BSD version, so it would still be available...

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Teckla Re:Null Terminated Strings (729 comments)

I believe none of you actually programmed in C. A string terminated by \0 can be represented by a single pointer and an have any length. You can also easily let the string keep growing (until the allocated memory is finished.) That is the epitome of KISS.

And a written language with just two letters in the alphabet is simple too, right? So, let's do that!

There's KISS and then there's KISS. C strings aren't the right kind of KISS.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

Teckla Re:various card games (382 comments)

When you don't have friends, cards are really just a stack of colored paper. That's the problem I've always had with Dungeons and Dragons and multi-player games like that. When I was a kid I used to buy D&D books and modules and be fascinated with the lore and how much fun it all sounded. But when the realization hits you that you don't have anyone to play it with, it all becomes pretty useless.

I ran into a similar issue. (1) Very small circle of friends. (2) None of them interested in playing role playing games like D&D. (3) People get married, buy houses, start pumping out kids, and aligning schedules becomes near impossible.

You're not alone in being alone. I recommend something like an MMORPG where you can meet people and develop online friendships. My favorite has always been EverQuest.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Teckla Re:Simple (548 comments)

A Roth 401(k) [wikipedia.org] is to a traditional 401(k) as a Roth IRA is to a traditional IRA.

...

Roth 401(k): Post-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are not taxed; employers are legally allowed to do the same things as with a traditional 401(k); same contribution limits as a traditional 401(k) [technically the contribution limit applies to the sum of all 401(k) contributions, traditional and Roth alike].

Excellent information; thanks! I had no idea such a thing existed. I wonder how many employers offer Roth 401(k) plans. I don't think mine does; then again, 10 minutes ago, I didn't know that Roth 401(k) plans even existed. Thanks for educating me. I should have looked it up before assuming it didn't exist; I'm sorry about that.

tl;dr Roth retirement accounts let you pay a 0% tax rate on all capital gains as long as you pay tax on "principal contributed" instead of "principal withdrawn" (because you're paying tax on the principal either way), unlike traditional retirement accounts, which make you pay tax on all gains. Why would the average person go traditional?

Indeed. This merits more investigation. Thanks!

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Teckla Re:Simple (548 comments)

I don't know what a "Roth 401(k)" is -- I've never heard of that before. My understanding is as follows:

Traditional IRA: Pre-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are taxed; fairly limited yearly maximum contributions.

Roth IRA: Post-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are not taxed; fairly limited yearly maximum contributions.

401(k): Pre-tax contributions; money grows tax free; withdrawals are taxed; sometimes employers contribute extra as a benefit; much higher maximum yearly contributions.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As a Programmer?

Teckla Re:Simple (548 comments)

The size of the contributions you can make to Roth IRAs are very limited, making them useless as your sole retirement investment vehicle.

401(k)s let you put in much bigger contributions, and grow tax free. Only withdrawals are taxed.

about 3 months ago
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Google Brings Chrome OS User Management To Chrome

Teckla Re:Graphical terminal (68 comments)

I wish your comment wasn't posted anonymously, it deserves to be modded +5, Insightful.

about 4 months ago
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Google Brings Chrome OS User Management To Chrome

Teckla Re:Graphical terminal (68 comments)

In the room next door I have a DEC VT240 from around 1990 which is capable of displaying text and vector graphics using the ReGIS instruction set. I'm so happy to see that, 24 years later, Google is reviving the graphical dumb terminal.

Except that web browsers are not dumb terminals. Web browsers can do local processing. In fact, many Chrome apps run entirely offline.

Your post isn't insightful, it's just plain an invalid and flawed analogy.

about 4 months ago
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Windows XP Falls Below 25% Market Share, Windows 8 Drops Slightly

Teckla Re:XP losing Market share is not bad news. (336 comments)

I'm typing this on a nine-year-old Dell Latitude D410 running Windows XP. I've got a current version of Firefox, current versions of all of the plugins I use on a regular basis

Your fully patched browser and plugins still make heavy use of operating system DLLs, and those DLLs are no longer getting security updates. This puts you at risk.

Continuing to use old hardware is fine, as long as the OS is updated and secure. I have a similarly old machine that I put Linux on.

I'm afraid your highly modded comment might make non-technical people think using XP to browse the web is still OK. It's not. Even with a fully updated and patched browser.

about 5 months ago
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Nintendo Posts Yet Another Loss, Despite Mario Kart 8

Teckla Re:I owned a WiiU for 1 month..... (203 comments)

1. Grab Tablet.

I have a Wii-U. I consider the tablet bulky and inconvenient, without offering enough advantage in exchange for the inconvenience. It often needs to be plugged in, making it even more inconvenient.

about 5 months ago
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Comparison: Linux Text Editors

Teckla Re:What's there to compare? (402 comments)

Notepad++ is windows-only.

You can, if you want, run it under WINE.

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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The Truth about Violence

Teckla Teckla writes  |  about 2 years ago

Teckla (630646) writes "Just as it is prudent to wear your seat belt while driving, it makes sense to know how best to respond to violence. In fact, it is overwhelmingly likely that some of you will become the targets of violence in the future. The purpose of this essay is to help you prepare for it."
Link to Original Source
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The Riddle of the Gun

Teckla Teckla writes  |  about 2 years ago

Teckla (630646) writes "Fantasists and zealots can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America. On the one hand, many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. On the other, proponents of stricter gun laws often seem unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm. Between these two extremes we must find grounds for a rational discussion about the problem of gun violence."
Link to Original Source
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Teckla Teckla writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Teckla (630646) writes "With Democrats soon having the majority in the House and the Senate, the issue of minimum wage is sure to follow. I've seen very little in the way of convincing arguments that minimum wage is a good thing or bad thing. Democrats typically argue that everyone deserves a minimum living wage, and that the economic impact on companies is negligible. Republicans often argue that imposing an artificial minimum wage hurts the economy. I haven't seen either of these viewpoints supported with any kind of serious economic analysis. My question for Slashdot is simple: Is minimum wage a good thing or a bad thing, and why?"

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