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Adobe Stops Flash Player Support For Android

Tetsujin Re:Where are all those Flash is the Future ppl now (332 comments)

Steve Jobs:

First, there’s “Open”. Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary.

We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

HAY GUIZE, THE FOUNDAR OF APPEL IS COMPLAINING THAT ADOBE IS NO FAIR BECUZ FLASCH IS NOT OPEN. OH NOES!

Well, not really. It's more like he's saying "I will not allow Flash to become a de-facto part of the iPhone development platform, because Adobe would then be in a position in effect to delay deployment of enhancements to the platform."

more than 2 years ago
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Adobe Stops Flash Player Support For Android

Tetsujin Re:Where are all those Flash is the Future ppl now (332 comments)

Considering the standard of 2007 in mobile browsing (i.e. tiny screen displaying abridged version)

I thought the "standard" of mobile browsing in 2007 was, for instance, Blazer on the Treo: not necessarily an abridged "mobile site" (how I loathe those) but rather a browser that was reasonably good at rearranging a page's layout to fit the screen better.

more than 2 years ago
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Will Dolby's New Atmos 62.2 Format Redefine Surround Sound?

Tetsujin It's all part of the Sontarans' plans! (298 comments)

The Sontarans are going to get Atmos installed everywhere and use it to kill off people who get in their way and then, finally, use the large number of installed systems to poison our atmosphere so they can use the Earth as a cloning facility! ...See, it's a Doctor Who reference. I like that show.

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot

Tetsujin Re:It is not your computer (393 comments)

MS has not thought of it as your computer for quite some time. Vista took away your control further in order to please the movie industry which does not trust anybody (if they could, they'd require a memory zapper so we couldn't remember films we've seen without paying a fee.)

That would actually be kind of cool...

I mean, there's the obvious jokes to be made ("zap my memory so I don't remember the Matrix sequels", etc.) - but apart from that fun nonsense, there are times when I find myself wishing that I could approach a familiar movie with a totally fresh perspective.

The original Star Wars trilogy comes to mind. I saw those movies when I was very young, and repeatedly (on TV) - I wonder what I would have thought of Yoda's introduction if I didn't already know who he was, or the various revelations about the Skywalker family in the second and third films. It would be neat to see that stuff with a fresh perspective. Of course there's the possibility that I would be extremely disappointed with the experience, too. *shrug* But sometimes a story can be so familiar, either because I already know it or because of various forms of incidental exposure (like movie trailers) that I wish I could just go in without any preconceptions.

about 2 years ago
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Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot

Tetsujin Re:The rootkit would just infect the kernel (393 comments)

You can do this in linux. we boot workstations from a read only partition and most software runs from there. even a master virus cant infect anything but the user partition.

If the malware is able to exploit a kernel bug to gain root access, then "read-only partition" ceases to have any meaning.

about 2 years ago
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Kazakh Gold Medalist Is Played Borat Anthem

Tetsujin Re:Not Just A Kuwaiti Problem (155 comments)

It is hard to believe that the US Marine Corps could get something that simple wrong. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that the US Marine Corps would do that deliberately.

Maybe they were still holding a grudge over the Battle of Bladensburg and the burning of the White House?

more than 2 years ago
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Kazakh Gold Medalist Is Played Borat Anthem

Tetsujin Re:Starbucks! Disney World! Porno! Valium! (155 comments)

Most Americans wouldn't notice the difference.

"Oh, they must be starting on the second verse. I always forget how the other verses go..."

more than 2 years ago
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Kazakh Gold Medalist Is Played Borat Anthem

Tetsujin Re:Starbucks! Disney World! Porno! Valium! (155 comments)

It has already been mentioned that the tune is rather similar to the actual Kazakhstan anthem, but with "nonstandard" lyrics.

It might be especially fun if the anthem-trolling did the same, using the basic national-anthem medley, but with more "interesting" lyrings.

In the case of the US, I can hear a choir singing the well-known (among American school-kids) lyrics: "Oh, say, can you see / any bedbugs on me ...".

While it lacks the juvenile fun of a crude mockery of the "Star Spangled Banner" lyrics, I think I would lean toward the anthem's built-in parody potential, the lyrics of "To Anacreon in Heaven", whose tune was used for the anthem. Though reaching that far back for trolling material means a lot of people won't necessarily even understand the joke...

more than 2 years ago
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New Doctor Who Companion Announced

Tetsujin Re:I hate to say it... (255 comments)

And yet humans annihilating 10% of their ancestor humanity required a piece of complex equipment based on a time machine to achieve.

10% was just the initial attack. The paradox being held at bay was that humanity's future was being drastically changed, and future humanity (whose history did not include those events) was the instrument of that change.

With the Doctor's little trick, the only paradox is how he got out of the Pandorica in the first place. But the resulting events don't contradict themselves. There's nothing he did when going back in time to get himself out of the Pandorica that prevents him from getting out of the Pandorica. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Doctor Who was never exactly consistent with regard to specific rules of time travel, anyway...

more than 2 years ago
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Van Rossum: Python Not Too Slow

Tetsujin Re:007087 (510 comments)

Because he has all that free time with which to do so, having completed his programming assignments much faster than his C/C++ counterparts.

And since he now has to wait for his program to run, he has even more time to kill!

about 2 years ago
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Van Rossum: Python Not Too Slow

Tetsujin Re:007087 (510 comments)

You're missing something here. Python compiles to PYC files ("Python Compiled"). File timestamps are used to see if .PY code has been updated since the last compile to .PYC.

It doesn't do a huge degree of "compiling" as I understand it, in large part because of the extremely dynamic nature of Python.

about 2 years ago
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GCC Turns 25

Tetsujin Re:And showing every bit of its age too, apparentl (192 comments)

Well, one thing that's happened to me an awful lot is that GCC seems to generate smaller *and* faster code when using -Os rather than -O3. That it'd be smaller was no surprise to me, but the speed-up was. (For reference, I'm using an IA32 2 GHz CPU with 1.5 GB of RAM.)

Fewer cache misses, maybe?

about 2 years ago
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Blackjack Player Breaks the Bank At Atlantic City

Tetsujin Re:Not much skill (294 comments)

Also the article states that in the last casino, his $100,000 a hand bets were authorized by a high ranking employee meaning those large bets are not normally allowed.

Well, it's not so much that they're "not allowed", I think. Seems like they're happy to have people come and drop that kind of cash. They just like to pick and choose, try to find the marks who will lose more than they win.

about 2 years ago
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Blackjack Player Breaks the Bank At Atlantic City

Tetsujin Re:I Can't Help But Feel (294 comments)

Only if it ends with a guy trying to sell just such a "system". The only sure-fire get-rich-quick scheme is selling get-rich-quick schemes.

Well, there's always opening a brown envelope and briefcase store in Washington DC during lobbying season.

Hey, I used to know a great place like that. It was right next to the place that sold signs with catchy, grossly one-sided messages to protesters.

about 2 years ago
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New Doctor Who Companion Announced

Tetsujin Re:Too Bad (255 comments)

No, you're not alone. Tennant and Smith both seem more like self-parody (although there's some precedent for that in Doctor Who).

Personally I feel like the 2005 series started out with a heavy dose of self-parody (the initial Auton story, then the Earth's destruction story right after were both loaded with this - "New Earth" and the space station from "The Long Game" were pretty heavily loaded with this as well), and it's mostly just in the Matt Smith years that it's emerged from that. Some of that in the Tennant years was just holdovers from Eccleston (like "New Earth", Cassandra as the ultimate expression of plastic surgery gone too far, the Slitheen and Captain Jack, etc.) but there was a lot of "wow that's a goofy alien name"-type stuff and "veiled commentary on a contemporary thing" stuff (Adipose, for instance)

For sure there's a lot of the Eccleston and Tennant years that I enjoyed quite a lot, but to me season 5-6 with Smith is the best the new show's been. I think the show grew up a bit at that point, and developed into a better show with less reliance upon parody.

about 2 years ago
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New Doctor Who Companion Announced

Tetsujin Re:I hate to say it... (255 comments)

Series 5 and 6 of the new Who actually did something that Doctor Who has needed for a long time: it made time travel an important plot point in several of the stories. Time travel has obviously been an important part of Doctor Who, a story about a time traveler, since it began in '63, but usually time travel has been used as a plot device to get the Doctor into a dramatic situation. Steven Moffat has taken time travel and made the paradoxes an important part of the story itself.

Unfortunately, Moffat has failed to resolve any of these dramatic time travel story lines in a way that makes any sense. He uses time travel as a device to get out of a sticky plot complication without worrying about if it makes any logical sense. The finale of Season 5 illustrates this: The future doctor goes back in time and gives Rory the sonic so that Rory can free the Doctor so the Doctor can go forward in time so that he can go back in time to give Rory the sonic... The only way that I can digest that poorly thought out resolution to the problem of getting the Doctor out of "the perfect prison" is to shake my head and let it slide because I like Doctor Who. But seriously... couldn't the writing staff of the series come up with a better resolution than that?

Don't know what's to complain about. I like when time travel stories have weird paradoxes. The Doctor was able to free himself from the Pandorica because he'd been freed from the Pandorica. :)

about 2 years ago

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Toward a New Unix Shell

Tetsujin Tetsujin writes  |  more than 5 years ago

One thing that's interested me a lot lately is the idea of improving upon, or reinventing the Unix command shell.

Now, there's a certain class of Unix users who have stuck with the command shell while GUIs have come and gone, been released, overhauled in various releases, and so on until new versions barely resemble old ones. One of the problems I face in this kind of plan is that many of these users are fairly attached to the tradition. They use the current command shells because it's the environment they like, and many of them don't want to use a "reinvented" shell. When in my design I start thinking about giving the shell its own type system to be used over pipelines, or devising a set of rules that tools would have to follow to "play nice" in this environment - I know that a lot of my target audience just flat out isn't going to like it. This concerns me. But still the idea of this environment appeals to me. Somehow I want to make it work, and make it stick.

Now, the first question one has to ask about something like this is, why? Why should the shell change? There are a few reasons I have in mind:

  • If the shell could know things like the type of a piece of data, or the kinds of command-line options a tool supports, it could offer context-relevant help.
  • In present shells, when connecting the output of one tool to the input of another, the user must insert parser/serializer steps. I feel it's appropriate for the shell to be able to offer a greater degree of help than that.
  • I think there's real value in giving the shell a way to deal with "objects" and higher-order programming in general. For instance, an object could be an XML parser or an open network connection or a window into a running application: for the lifetime of that object the shell should be able to issue commands to that object - and when the shell's last reference to that object is destroyed, some action (like closing a connection or killing a process) may be appropriate. There are some command-line tools that implement this sort of behavior themselves, but I think it would be very nice if it were a real feature of the shell.

Also, I believe the current model of the shell has fallen behind how people actually use their computers. For instance:

  • Modern GUIs offer a lot of useful functionality - but the extent to which this functionality is integrated into the command shell is rather limited for various reasons. For instance, why isn't the volume manager or the wi-fi manager that I used inside the GUI also available outside the GUI? The basic answer is that command-line tools aren't well suited to that kind of usage profile in which they are started as a service and then, while running, receive and respond to outside commands. The framework for such a thing simply isn't in place.
  • Scripting languages like Perl and Python offer large and useful libraries that perform all kinds of different features. Why can't shell scripts access these? The basic answer at present is that the programming language provided by the shell lacks the constructs necessary to usefully interface with these utilities. The lack of "object" support (and, specifically, lack of a good mechanism to start something, keep it running, and interact with it, and shut it down when finished), the lack of any sort of namespace support, and the fact that any data going into or coming out of such a library has to be arranged in some ad-hoc format for which the shell provides no specific support - all of this severely hampers the ability to expose these libraries and the practical benefits of doing so.

Microsoft has already come up with their own solution: "Powershell" - a command shell somewhat similar to cmd or a Unix shell, but with support for "commandlets" - commands on the search path which are actually .NET classes which are dynamically loaded and run as part of the shell's process. These "commandlets" exchange .NET objects as their input and output. The shell can then store these .NET objects in environment variables for later recall (and keep track of when the object is no longer referenced, and delete it) - this goes a long way toward usefully exposing Windows API functionality within this shell.

My goal is a bit different. Linux has no standard representation for "objects" (and I'm not in a hurry to embrace Mono, let alone encourage others to do the same) so Microsoft's approach isn't suitable for my goals. Furthermore, without the ability to restrict the behavior of a piece of code within a single process, it becomes more important for the stability of the shell to continue to have tools be separate processes. Therefore, whether these outside processes communicate via shared memory or pipes, either way they need to respect a few common conventions about how data is formatted, and (in the case of "objects" - data in which it's important to know when it's time to destroy it) how to manage object lifetime.

One of the typical complaints is that a plan like this requires all shell tools to agree upon and use the same set of rules for how they format their data. This would be a real problem: people would be slow to move to this format, which in turn would make the shell less useful (since it would lack the tools to run in its "enhanced" environment). No one would want to write a tool that runs only in a new, unproven shell, and no one would want to either shoe-horn their problem into an uncomfortable data format, or waste CPU time by translating their optimal data format into the one the shell wants.

So clearly putting everything into a single data format wouldn't work. And in general, the fewer things I "mandate", the better. So my idea is this: tools can go on communicating with whatever encoding makes sense for them, but there should be some shared means of identifying what that encoding is. In order to do this without requiring, you know, every program in the world to be changed for compliance, there has to be a way to provide this information out-of-band - and, presumably, statically. That way, even if the binary itself has no provisions for working nicely in my shell, the end-user can work around that, without changing source code or recompiling, and without needing the authority to install such a workaround system-wide.

Of course, there's still all kinds of problems with this plan. Among other things, this new shell somehow has to provide a nice new environment, while simultaneously working nicely with things not made for it. For instance, if I provide my own version of "find" - do I have to give it a different name so it won't conflict with the GNU find everybody's used to running? There seems to be a never-ending supply of small problems that need to be solved before this design can really go anywhere. But if all goes well, then maybe someday I'll get it written and you'll give it a try. :)

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