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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:Heard it before (578 comments)

the Chinese do not use QWERTY, either.

Uh, yes they do. Most people type in pinyin on QWERTY keyboards.

As an aside, I just had to correct myself after misspelling QWERTY.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:No big changes (578 comments)

in modern-day Poland, when you ride the train, there are multi-lingual signs instructing on how do do things like open the windows or operate the toilet. The signs appear in Polish (it's Poland, after all), German (much of Poland was Germany and vice versa), Russian (it was under the Soviet sphere of influence), and French (the international language). No English.

That's because they assume English speakers already know how to use a toilet.

I'll see myself out.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:Even in China and India, English will dominate (578 comments)

In large swaths of Africa, German or French is the dominant non-local language

You can't be serious. Like 85 people in Namibia speak it, that's pretty much it.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:Universal Translators? (578 comments)

Google Translate works well with text about long-standing topics and which doesn't employ recently emerged idiom.

And it is far better with language pairs that share a lot of cultural exchange.

That's because it substantially operates without any real semantic analysis, but instead on statistical analysis of human-translated texts. They feed in books and articles which exist in both English and Spanish, for example, and the computer sees which words and phrases tend to match up.

This approach provides workable results, but it has its limits. In particular it's never going to get much better with contemporary idiom, since that's rarely used in translated materials in the required bulk. They'll have some best-selling novels here and there, but not the wide range of contexts necessary to make it really function.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:English-ish? (578 comments)

Can you give us some first hand experience where you found someone in China who was not able to speak Mandarin?

I'm not the person you're responding to, but I traveled from one corner of China to the other with some colleagues from Beijing. They were native Beijing Chinese, I am a foreigner.

We had meetings in almost 100 cities and towns, and also did some sightseeing during free time.

The catchphrase of the journey was "why don't these people speak Mandarin?" I think they said it (in English) more in those few months than everything else combined. We had endless comical misunderstandings over food, meeting arrangements, transport, and everything else that didn't involve higher-ups or more educated people.

When dealing with people who could read and write, very often they'd clarify by making characters in their air with their hands or scribbling them out on a piece of paper, because that often covered the gaps better than speaking.

But sometimes that failed, and on occasion they became so frustrated that I ended up taking over by pantomiming or using my flash cards, just to break the tension and move things along.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:English-ish? (578 comments)

There really isn't a language more simple that I know of.

The simplest one I know of, and one with which I'm much more familiar, is Indonesian (also Malaysian; these are essentially dialects of each other).

You can learn the basic grammar and vocabulary in a few weeks, something that would take months or years in many other languages.

And then you will not be able to understand 90% of what people are saying. Due to the lack of formal grammatical structure, native speakers have created a vast array of continually evolving tags and circumlocutions and helper mechanisms to provide missing semantic details.

I would assume it works the same way in Chinese.

Personally, I'd prefer a grammar that's baked into the language. Indonesian can be extremely poetic, and it's nice when you have the time, but it's a beast to truly follow the nuance of conversations unless you are surrounded by it all day long, and continue to keep up with changes year after year.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:Chinese that speak English (578 comments)

There's cases in English, but they are only used in some contexts, and some uses are optional and/or ambiguous (e.g. "who" vs. "whom" in embedded clauses can be ambiguous as to case agreement), thus making them substantially more difficult to deal with than languages that have regular case systems.

They're not "substantially more difficult to deal with" at all, because outside of pronouns, you can ignore them.

"Whom", like it or not, is dead in 50 years. Nobody cares and almost nobody will even notice if you fail to use it.

Spelling is more complicated by far than the grammar case system in Finnish.

This problem has almost completely been solved by technology. Context-sensitive spelling systems in everyone's electronic devices will put the issue to rest, because people aren't using pen and paper anymore.

Several of the sounds are among the rarest and most difficult to pronounce out there, and the inventory is larger than a majority of languages outside Africa.

Everyone can understand someone speaking with the typical substitutions found in, e.g., a German or Spanish accent. These things don't matter.

about three weeks ago
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What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

raju1kabir Re:English-ish? (578 comments)

Uttoxeter, Billericay or Loughborough

Cherrypick much? 99,999 out of 100,000 English speakers will live their entire lives without speaking any of these names.

I come across a lot of very awkward English from very well educated people; I really do. They are not stupid - English is difficult to master.

Doesn't matter. It functions as a market language. The goal is to be understood. For those with the interest, it is possible to speak English well; a hobby for the refined, like the opera or collecting rare books. For the rest, getting one's point across is a satisfactory outcome, and one reached more easily than with Chinese, where people speaking poorly are vastly harder to comprehend due to lack of tonal fidelity.

China is already on the charm offensive in UK in a major way

And they're conducting this offensive in English. Once everyone in China learns English - and that, or something approximating it, is happening - there's little reason for people in England to turn around and learn Chinese. Perhaps it will provide an advantage for a tiny number of people in certain fields, but that's about it.

Everyone in Denmark learning English sure didn't turn into everyone in the USA learning Danish.

In any case, the Achilles' Heel of Chinese is the writing system, which you ignored in your reply. Even Chinese schools in China teaching Chinese to Chinese children start with the Latin writing system before they move on to characters. As long as there are alternatives that do not use the Chinese writing system, Chinese will never be the global lingua franca or anything like it.

about three weeks ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

raju1kabir Re:Cynicism (148 comments)

Ah, I see, you have to use the HTML entity rather than typing the character directly: €

That seems odd for a page that was sent with a UTF-8 character set indication in the headers. If you send the â character in the form it gets mangled, which is something I would have expected to happen on a site last updated in 1998, before anyone thought about encodings.

about 10 months ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

raju1kabir Re:Cynicism (148 comments)

Your argument seems to require that every phone company is already making the most money that it possibly can. One wonders why they ever hire consultants or make any changes to management.

about 10 months ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

raju1kabir Re:Cynicism (148 comments)

Right, I forgot, markets invariably find optimal price points on their own, and regulation never helps anything. See you in church.

about 10 months ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

raju1kabir Re:Touristy places will be in for a surprise.. (148 comments)

The incumbent operators will have little or no incetive to build out their network capacity/coverage, since the need to upgrade capacity is mainly driven by tourists.

What are you talking about? There is almost no place on earth where the majority of phone traffic comes from tourists. Maybe airports.

about 10 months ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

raju1kabir Re:Cynicism (148 comments)

increased usage means more cost for the provider. How does that offset the income loss?

Let's say the carrier currently charges EUR 1/MB for a service that costs them EUR 0.02/MB to provide, and customers use 1 million megabytes. That's EUR 20,000 in costs and EUR 980,000 in profit.

Then they are forced to charge their domestic rate of EUR 0.10/MB for roaming data, and customers stop being stingy and use 20 million megabytes. That's EUR 400,000 in costs and EUR 1,600,000 in profit.

Obviously these numbers are plucked straight from my ass but surely you can see how it's possible. Roaming charges are almost pure profit as it is, and that's only possible because we're a captive market.

P.S. What is up with Slashdot still not being able to display the Euro symbol (â)? This is 2014, isn't it?

about 10 months ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

raju1kabir Re:Good, I guess (148 comments)

In the USA I believe the idea of the FCC forcing AT&T to wholesale its lines to competitors is completely alien?

It actually used to be the law of the land. During that period (around 2000) there was an incredibly vibrant broadband ISP scene. Unfortunately the FCC changed its mind (and no doubt a few briefcases full of cash changed hands) and now the situation has reverted to the anti-consumer oligopoly you see today.

about 10 months ago
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Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

raju1kabir Re:IPv6 has this tiny problem (574 comments)

Consider how much effort and worldwide coordination has gone into the IPv6 migration, and it really doesn't make sense to do that multiple times for only 250x the address space each go-round. Why half-ass it?

about a year ago
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Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

raju1kabir Re:IPv6 has this tiny problem (574 comments)

I was talking about a solely 40-bit address space -- something different than IPv6.

Well, stop talking about that, it's a stupid idea. If we're going to upgrade billions of devices around the world, I don't want to have to do it again in 4 years' time when 40 bits prove to be inadequate.

about a year ago
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Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

raju1kabir Re:Probably the home router... (574 comments)

Well... don't write shit programs. FTP "active mode" is an example of said shit.

Active mode FTP predates widespread usage of NAT by about 20 years.

It was a perfectly good solution at the time, and saying that its developers wrote a "shit" program is like saying that the people who built ancient Rome were shit architects because the streets weren't wide enough for semi trucks.

about a year ago
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Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis?

raju1kabir Re:NAT (574 comments)

lease times could be really short - maybe a minute or two - even if that were not handled

That would mean more spurious data charges, and lower battery life due to frequent activity that has to trickle up from the radio board to the phone's OS. Also I don't want to lose my IP every time I'm in an elevator.

about a year ago
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Chinese Moon Rover Says an Early Goodnight

raju1kabir Re:Enought with the nationalist crap (284 comments)

Yes, we already knew that the periodic table of elements is pretty much the same all across the universe.

That wasn't his point at all, as I hope you know. He was describing how it helped us project the specific mineral makeup of the moon, which, though falling on the same periodic table, does not necessarily have to be the same as that of the earth.

1 year,9 hours
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Neo900 Hacker Phone Reaches Minimum Number of Pre-Orders For Production

raju1kabir Re:I liked the N900, but.... (109 comments)

I need to be able to hold my finger on a key for pressing on time. I can't imagine how to do this with a "touch"screen. While I generally use a laptop for this, I occasionally use the N900 as a remote (ssh over wlan).

All of my phones have had very erratic latency, even for wifi over LAN. Have yours been consistent enough for this to provide the split-second timing you need?

My N4 is about 3 unobstructed meters from the wifi access point. With 10 samples of each, a laptop at the same distance gets pings to the router ranging from 0.399ms to 0.418ms. The phone's range from 6.89ms to 91.27ms.

about a year ago

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