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Comments

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Programming Languages You'll Need Next Year (and Beyond)

rdnetto Re:Web = Garbage (306 comments)

It'll be interesting to see where C# is in 10 years. With Microsoft open sourcing it and the multiple compilers that recompile into different environments that are here and are being developed I'm wondering if it'll be everywhere or if it'll be fading away like VB is?

I don't believe C# will ever flourish outside of Windows, unless Microsoft starts supporting it on non-Windows platforms. Mono has had a lukewarm reception, and in my experience isn't as solid/reliable as .NET.

D on the otherhand, has similar syntax and is much more portable. I can easily see it overtaking C# if it gets some proper corporate support behind it...

yesterday
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World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

rdnetto Re:Finally! (474 comments)

As far as I can tell, the only issue with the workhouses was that they provided a better standard of care than the employed poor received. That should no longer be the case today.

The other issue was possibly that the profitability of running such a place was overestimated given how few "able bodied idlers" there were, but it seems obvious that such places would need to be state funded.

about two weeks ago
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CCP Games Explains Why Virtual Reality First Person Shooters Still Don't Work

rdnetto Re:The medium is the message (154 comments)

So surprise surprise VR goggles aren't turning out to be a screen you wear on your eyes but a whole new medium. I am willing to bet that there will be a genre that takes off on VR and that genre might not even really exist right now. Something really different.

I suspect they would work quite well for (an evolution of visual novels), since those are already set in the first person, but don't require moving around the way FPSs do. Not sure how the controls would work though...

about two weeks ago
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KDE Releases Plasma 5

rdnetto Re:Fixed what seem like fundamental GUI bugs? (108 comments)

2. Can a single misbehaving plasmoid still cause the entire desktop to freeze? (This typically happens to me if the network connectivity is lost: poorly-written plasmoids that need network access can block and cause everything -- not just the plasmoid in question -- to freeze.)

I believe this is no longer the case. One of the big changes in Plasma 5 was rewriting the process model used for plasmoids. That said, I can't find a source to confirm this, and am too lazy to download and run one of the Project Neon ISOs.

about two weeks ago
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Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

rdnetto Re:P2P helps movie buffs outside the US (214 comments)

I'm no lawyer but I believe game translations are legal, as they are usually released as pacthes rather than redistributing the entire modified game.

From Wikipedia, citing the US Copyright Act:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation ... A work consisting of ... modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”

Whether or not it's a patch is immaterial; as a derivative work the subtitlers cannot legally distribute it. In practice, both the publishers (at least the smarter ones) and subtiltlers tend to ignore this.

The law was quite clearly written when a translation of the original work would be a substitute for the original. e.g. owning an English translation of a book would negate the need to own the original. IMO works which do not substitute for the original work such as subtitles or dubbed audio tracks should not be considered derivative works. An alternative would be for translation to be recognized as fair use (since it is merely the analog equivalent of format shifting). Of course, the actual likelihood of US copyright becoming less draconian is quite remote...

about two weeks ago
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Python Bumps Off Java As Top Learning Language

rdnetto Re:Good idea (415 comments)

Python isn't a bad first language. It has all the important advanced concepts - objects, dictionaries, closures, and threads. The syntax is reasonable. Some people are bothered by the forced indentation, but for new programmers, it will seem natural.

I would argue that the main issue is Python's lack of static typing. Pretty much every non-interpreted language has static typing, and it's arguably more fundamental/basic than OOP.

about three weeks ago
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The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

rdnetto Re:Now is the time fire the experts. (162 comments)

And the problem is?

The experts developed those rules over time - an expert system is incapable of that sort of learning. If anything changes, they won't have anyone who understands the basis of the system well enough to define new rules.

about three weeks ago
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Human Language Is Biased Towards Happiness, Say Computational Linguists

rdnetto Re:Makes sense (86 comments)

You can't tell people how to feel - how often does telling an angry person to calm down work?

I have some personal experience in this, and the trick seems to be to break the cycle. You're depressed because your situation sucks, and your situation sucks because you're depressed. Working at overcoming the symptoms of depression is a rational solution because it breaks the loop, but it's not an emotional one because they still feel like crap (at least until things pick up, but even then there'll be depressive bouts). Wording things such that you're not invalidating them will make them more receptive, but it is very much a case of having to walk uphill to get treatment for a broken leg.

That said, the person in question actually has to learn how to break that cycle; it's not something you can just tell them. There are things like CBT that are based around this, but at the end of the day it's very much based around learning how to regulate and control your emotions.

about a month ago
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Perl Is Undead

rdnetto Re:There's nothing wrong with Perl ... (283 comments)

I disagree - Perl's biggest issue is that things which should be defined in the language's grammar are instead defined in code. This reduces it to a language of special cases.

Consider the following:

$_ = foo 1;
bar;
print;

Does the function bar, in the absence of an argument, use $_ as its argument?
Some functions do, some don't, and this is true even among the core functions. This is because the implementer of the function must explicitly read from the global $_, rather than the language passing the argument to it. The resulting inconsistency can make it difficult to reason about what a Perl script is actually doing.

There are other issues, such as variables inside functions being global by default, but that's the big one.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Way to Learn C# For Game Programming?

rdnetto C# D (254 comments)

I suggest you look at using D instead. It is as powerful and efficient as C++, syntactically very similar to C#, and can link C++ libraries.
The main benefit this provides (apart from performance) is that it will be much easier to do a cross-platform release - although C# has Mono, I've found it to be unreliable.
That said, D is somewhat obscure, so caveat emptor.

about a month ago
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Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

rdnetto Re:What does "In Good Faith" mean? (211 comments)

tldr: good faith = don't be a dick

Disclaimer: IANAL, and I am not particularly familiar with equity law, which (promissory) estoppel falls under.

In contract law, acting in bad faith refers to following the literal wording of the contract while taking actions that would deprive the other party of their benefits. e.g. you lease a car, but do not provide the car key. In some jurisdictions there is an implied duty of good faith in contracts, while in others explicit terms are required.

Now, in this case there is no contract because there is no quid pro quo relationship between Tesla and the licensees (the legal term is consideration). Instead it is enforceable by promissory estoppel, which essentially means Tesla can't sue someone who relied on their statements.

Since Tesla isn't explicitly receiving anything in return for the license, it's unclear what an action in bad faith could deprive them of.
One argument would be that the benefit Tesla accrues from this is that other companies will (hopefully) build infrastructure. It's entirely possible that they may choose to do so using Tesla's patents but with incompatible, DRM'd connectors. I suspect this is what the good faith requirement is intended to prevent. (Non-DRM'd connectors would be more of a grey area, since they could argue that it was used simply because their technology is better.) In other words, the other company would not be permitted to prevent Tesla from supporting their charging stations if they used the patents in question.

about a month and a half ago
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Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

rdnetto Re:What does "In Good Faith" mean? (211 comments)

You see, if you don't have license terms spelled out, this whole thing is subjective, and you'd be stupid to use their patents.

Subjectivity cannot be eliminated completely; that is why the reasonable person test is used in law. Most (or possibly all) human languages require some interpretation on the part of the reader, and as a result terms like 'reasonable person' and 'good faith' are used in law to imply that such interpretation is required there.

about a month and a half ago
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

rdnetto Re:Not very well written then (230 comments)

Clearly we just need a small set of POSIX apps to do 'git, 'make' and 'gcc' on your phone.
Download the signed source code from the app store.

You jest, but given that ChromeOS is a Gentoo-derivative, it might not be that far off...

about 2 months ago
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Testing 65 Different GPUs On Linux With Open Source Drivers

rdnetto Re:Phoronix Rocks (134 comments)

I'll second this. I got a paid subscription to them after the picked up a kernel performance regression bug that no one else had noticed. They also regularly do file system benchmarks, which are really useful if you're interested in that.

about 2 months ago
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Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

rdnetto Re:Somebody post a SWIFT example PLEASE! (636 comments)

C# is now 14 years old - I highly doubt it can be considered fly-by-night at this point. Not to mention Swift doesn't even achieve feature parity with it - it lacks C#'s variant generics and list comprehensions (which seem to be combined with lazy evaluation and called LINQ in C#).

My underlying point is, why create a new language? It's justifiable if you're actually trying to add new features or paradigms (e.g. Rust was created so that memory safety could be enforced at compile-time), but otherwise it's just change for the sake of change. It would make more sense to adopt the syntax of an existing language (e.g. Java, C#, C++, etc.) so as to leverage existing users of those languages, rather than requiring them to relearn the semantics. If you need to replace Objective-C, why create a whole new language when there are plenty of perfectly good ones already?

about 2 months ago
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Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

rdnetto Re:Somebody post a SWIFT example PLEASE! (636 comments)

Quite frankly, it looks like a poor man's C#, with some Haskellisms (tuples, -> syntax) thrown in for good measure. I'm sure it's better than Objective C, but it's nowhere near competitive with any of the other recent languages. e.g. Rust*

* I think Rust is a long way from perfect and has a myopic focus on low-level coding where manual memory management matters, but at least they're doing something interesting.

about 2 months ago
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KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

rdnetto Re:32 bit version (94 comments)

KDE worked fine on 32-bit ARM, last I checked. If they're going through the effort to support a completely different architecture, I'm pretty sure they'll still support 32-bit x86.
Also, I'm not sure that PAE-support should even make a difference to anything running in userspace...

about 2 months ago
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KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

rdnetto Re:Looks good (94 comments)

That's great, if you're only using KDE apps. What about apps that are neither KDE/Qt or Gnome? VLC is the first that comes to mind. xmms2 is another. Or, what if I want to use WinAmp through Wine? All of this just works in MATE/Gnome/Cinnamon with gvfs.
The media playing apps should be file system agnostic -- they shouldn't have to know about URLs or network protocols.

I just tested this with FTP and Audacity, and the files are copied to temporary directories before being opened in non-KDE apps. (Actually, they're copied for both, but to different directories for some reason...)
I'm using Sabayon with KDE 4.13.0 - you're either using an older, buggy version, or there's something wrong with your setup.

about 2 months ago
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KDE Ships First Beta of Next Generation Plasma Workspace

rdnetto Re:All but another GNOME3, please (94 comments)

I'm not sure about Plasma-next, but I could comfortably run KDE 4.10 (or thereabouts) on a tiny little Tegra 2 clocked at 1 GHz with 1 GB of RAM and no hardware acceleration. Chrome ate more RAM than KDE ever did. I've also used KDE quite comfortable on a Pentium 4.

So if KDE doesn't run on your desktop, then I'll wager one of the following is the case:
-you have horribly broken graphics drivers. Try changing the compositing mode, graphic driver, etc.
-your PC is over a decade old
-you have stumbled across an extremely rare and specific bug in KDE

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Debian to Adopt New Init System

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 9 months ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "Debian developers have been in a very polarized discussion recently about replacing their default SysVinit system with a more modern init system; namely, Debian developers are evaluating whether to use systemd or Upstart.

Debian wants to switch a modern event-based init system that is more robust and provides more features, provides stable support for advanced environments (e.g. SAN), being more similar to the likes of Ubuntu and RHEL, and modern open-source packages like GNOME 3.x are easier to package. Among other reasons, Debian hasn't been quick to switch init systems over lots of work needing to be accomplished.

In one of the latest init system discussions, it was stated "since the init system strongly shapes many other packages, there has to be only one and no other supported options.""

Link to Original Source
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Australian Govt re-kindles office file format war Australian Govt re-kindles of

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 2 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "The Australian Government’s peak IT strategy group has issued a cautious updated appraisal of currently available office productivity suite file formats, in what appears to be an attempt to more fully explain its thinking about the merits of open standards such as OpenDocument versus more proprietary file formats promulgated by vendors like Microsoft.
Though a move away from a clear pro-Microsoft stance, a clear bias towards them remains present."

Link to Original Source
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AI Releases Linux-based Hybrid Netboot/Tablet/MID

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "After 6 months of delays, AlwaysInnovating has released their newest device, a netbook with a touchscreen and detachable wireless keyboard. The screen also houses a secondary screen that can be removed and used as a mobile internet device. The device uses the TI Cortex A8, has 768 MB of RAM, and 19.5 Ah of batteries."
Link to Original Source
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Software is Licensed, Not Sold

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "In a major blow to user rights, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that will go a long way toward ensuring that software buyers will rarely be software owners.
In a triumph of legal formalism over reality, the Court held that the copyright’s first sale doctrine – the law that allows you to resell books and that protects libraries and archives from claims of copyright infringement – doesn’t apply to software (and possibly DVDs, CDs and other “licensed” content) as long as the vendor saddles the transfer with enough restrictions to transform what the buyer may think is sale into a mere license."

Link to Original Source
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EFF Wins New DMCA Exceptions

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos — people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities."
Link to Original Source
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Pirate Party to Run Pirate Bay from Parliament

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "After their former hosting provider received an injunction telling it to stop providing bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, the worlds most resilient BitTorrent site switched to a new ISP. That host, the Swedish Pirate Party, made a stand on principle. Now they aim to take things further by running the site from inside the Swedish Parliament.

The party has announced today that they intend to use part of the Swedish Constitution to further these goals, specifically Parliamentary Immunity from prosecution or lawsuit for things done as part of their political mandate. They intend to push the non-commercial sharing part of their manifesto, by running The Pirate Bay from ‘inside’ the Parliament, by Members of Parliament."

Link to Original Source
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POLL: Which continent do you live in?

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  about 4 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "POLL: Which continent do you live in?
        North America
        South America
        Antarctica
        Africa
        Europe
        Asia
        Australia
        I don't live on Earth, you insensitive clod!"
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Pirate Bay Judge Accused of Bias

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "One of the biggest cases in file-sharing history ended last week with The Pirate Bay Four sentenced to huge fines and jail time. Today it is revealed that far from being impartial, the judge in the case is a member of pro-copyright lobby groups — along with Henrik Pontén, Monique Wadsted and Peter Danowsky. There are loud calls for a retrial.
http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-lawyer-is-biased-calls-for-a-retrial-090423/"
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Part of Copyright Act Ruled Unconstitutional

rdnetto rdnetto writes  |  more than 5 years ago

rdnetto (955205) writes "From http://techdirt.com/articles/20090403/1619494384.shtml:
A year and a half ago, we were quite surprised when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals actually sided with Larry Lessig, concerning how a part of copyright law that pulled foreign works out of the public domain was potentially unconstitutional. This was in the "Golan case," the third of three big copyright cases Lessig had championed. The appeals court had sent the case back to the lower court, and that lower court has now decided that, indeed, a trade agreement (URAA) that pulled foreign content out of the public domain is unconstitutional as it violates the First Amendment. While it may seem narrowly focused, this is the first case that has successfully challenged a part of copyright law as being unconstitutional. The ruling will almost certainly be appealed, so it's not over yet — but it's still a rare and important win for those who are fighting to keep copyright law from destroying the public domain."

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