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1  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-03 02:30:34
The way we categorize programming is actually one of the biggest problems I have our current educational models. I wouldn't necessarily suggest that most students be exposed to Computer Science as such. The reality is that you don't have to learn big-O notation or advanced data structures in order to learn how to program. In fact, most programming languages have features and libraries that will abstract away any need to learn these things. You use a built-in function/method, and you're already working with a highly-optimized sorting algorithm, etc. "Knowing what results X produces" is all that's required for computer programming. "Knowing how X produces that result" or "how to make a Y yourself that will produce the same results as X" is within the larger scope of Computer Science.

I have a huge problem with how learning to program, on an institutional level, is almost always tied to a larger Computer Science track. The reality is that most people don't need to know how to optimize algorithms if they're already going to be using algorithms that have been iterated to mathematical perfection by proper Computer Science experts already. There is value in having a bare-bones understanding of the various search and sort algorithms, for example, but it's not exactly essential. If you're already working with these functions in libraries, it's as simple as reading the documentation to find out which one would be best to use for your specific case.

I really wish, at the institutional level, we would stop treating programming as an entree to Computer Science (very few people actually want to be academic gearheads, though I have tons of respect of course for people who do), and allow it to exist as its own educational subset, an educational package that CS people will obviously need to go through, but which people who don't plan on going into hardcore CS can essentially use as a terminal point. This isn't to say that you learn the fundamentals of programming and then you stop learning, of course. The best programmers will always be learning something, whether it's a new language, or a new stylistic flair in languages they already know. But the whole point of abstracting things in the first place is so not everyone has to be a CS geek to use what are often incredibly advanced algorithms. There is no reason why we have to marry programming and CS as tightly as we do.
2  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-02 05:47:17
Umm ... reading and writing are incredibly complex tasks, and yes, that's compared to programming (and tons of other things, to boot). Just because people learn verbal language in a highly organic process (though the same absolutely cannot be said for reading and writing) doesn't mean that it's not complex. It means we're lucky that immersion handles most of the fundamentals of communication all by itself.

There are, by the way, tons of people in the industrialized world who can't write to save their lives. And I'm not talking about not being able to write masterpieces of fiction and poetry. They can't even write a cogent email that would be fit to send to a coworker or boss. This is after 12 years of primary/secondary education and 4 years of university for a lot of people. Writing is hard for many of us, so hard that we actively avoid doing it (which, of course, means our skills will never improve in the first place).

Programming, by comparison, is easy as pie. Learning a programming language is a very simple process of picking up a rather limited set of syntax (far more limited than the syntax of any verbal/written language known to mankind). Beyond that, you're always learning the same principles within any programming paradigm (OO, procedural, functional, etc), the same basic control flow functionality, etc.

Being a good writer is harder than being a good programmer, but being good at the former will almost always make you better at the latter, because if you can write down a problem in plain, descriptive English, you can usually solve it with a program. If you don't know how to wrap your head around a problem, on the other hand (because you lack the facility with written language to break things down and communicate them clearly), the chances of being able to program a solution are slim to none.
3  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-02-01 00:15:14
The elephant in the room is that nobody wants to admit that girls and boys are very much different. It really is that simple but in a world of political correctness one is liable to be shot down in flames for pointing it out.

The even bigger elephant is that you can't fairly say that a lack of women in STEM fields comes down to these supposed "differences" until you make everything else equal. I find it strange how seemingly logical thinkers will often default to this dodgy, entirely unscientific way of thinking when it suits the case that they fundamentally already want to make. You'd never say, "Well, let's find out which of these two cars is faster ... here, we'll let this one race a straight line on the salt flats of Utah, and this one can take a winding mountain road in the Alps."

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I've never seen this marginalisation in action... what does it look like?

A little something like this.

This homegrown, informal HR technique is pretty widely flaunted in the world of tech, especially when in proximity to Silicon Valley, where there's a purposeful aversion to the standard ways of handling these sorts of business issues.
4  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-31 05:10:13
And that's why we need to focus on exposing students to new things, because while we can't manage what sorts of things are encouraged at home, we can design education to be an "equalizer," where we don't make preconceptions about what students are "predisposed" to do, etc. Throwing our hands up in the air and accepting the fiction that a kid is born into a certain situation, and is already on this one predominant path toward X (whether that means becoming a laborer, a doctor, a teacher, etc) is silly, and proven wrong day-in and day-out. There are plenty of people in this world who started one place, and ended up somewhere completely different, doing something they never imagined they'd be doing. Not everybody who grows up in a coal town ends up working for the coal company.
5  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 12:13:49
I'm probably being too abrasive, but this isn't anecdotal. Half the kids at school just aren't that bright and they just don't even really need to be.

You don't need to be all that bright to program, though. That's the larger point I'm trying to make. Programmers, of course, enjoy making it sound like what they do is wizardry, but it really isn't.

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As for why there aren't many women programming... beats me. It's seriously not as if they are actively or even passively discouraged.

Maybe that's how it is in the UK, but certainly not in the US. There is no good reason why there aren't more women in STEM fields other than that they are enculturated to avoid "male" things like that. And most of the people currently in STEM fields don't do a great job of making women (or minorities) feel welcome when they do enter into those types of jobs. The misogyny of Silicon Valley is pretty well-known at this point. Just one portion of the industry, but a high-profile one, and I think fairly representative of the whole.
6  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 09:46:15
Again it's easy to forget when you're in IT that most people are really not very bright at all. I mean, seriously not bright. It's hard to frame this in a politically correct way, but if you're using a computer now in a desk job, it's because you were already in the upper half of the IQ curve.

I'm not in IT. And honestly, your anecdotal reasoning is precisely what we don't need to be using as the basis for educational policy. I get that you're being "edgy" here with the jaded cynicism, but it's not exactly a constructive outlook, now is it?
7  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 02:30:57
In America, only 15% of computer science graduates are women. 8% are Hispanic Americans or African Americans. (source)
Pretty sure that's similar with all of STEM though. Maybe marginally worse in computer science.

It is. But I think a big part of the reason why this happens is because we steer young girls away from "technical" areas to begin with, and when it comes to racial disparities, we have a tendency to treat early struggles with learning (faced disproportionately by minorities because they are, on average, poorer and less advantaged than white children) as a statement about a person's "aptitude." This gets back to the point I made before about how computer programming is miscategorized at the institutional level. It's believed that you have to be some sort of genius, an overachiever experiencing wild success in regular Math classes, in order to even qualify as ready to learn programming. And honestly, that's just not the case. If we tore down this conception of the practice, and did a little work to demystify it, it would go a long way toward drawing a more diverse set of people to programming (not to mention other technical fields).
8  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-30 02:06:51
There aren't that many ways to get into the medical profession either and I don't see people jumping up and down to teach primary school kids the basics of surgery.

C'mon... programming is a very, very specialist skill. Fewer than one in thirty people will ever have any use for it, if that. Probably a lot less. There's no point in wasting the valuable (and very short) time kids have in education on something literally as f**king useless as programming.

I don't think programming is useless, though. There are actually concepts in programming that I would have found very useful in reinforcing concepts in other subject areas (particularly the interplay between programming graphics and dealing with geometry/vectors, etc). Programming could be a very useful cross-disciplinary tool in K-12 education, and provide an immediate answer to kids who get discouraged and wonder "why do we have to learn this thing if we're probably never going to use it?" You can show children instant applications for things by introducing them to final products that they can see and interact with, which will likely cause a good many of them to wonder, well, how do you actually create this thing? Each day, children are interacting with software more than they ever have before. It is a clear point of entry for getting them involved in a broad range of educational concepts.

This doesn't mean that computer programming has to become a mandatory, core educational subject like Math, Science, History, English, or what have you. I'm just saying, I think we're squandering a good opportunity to let students see a broad range of concepts from a different perspective. I mean, hell, when I learned remainders while doing long division in Math, I constantly found myself wondering, like, what is the point of this? What can you really use this for? It makes sense if we're talking about decimal figures, because you can relate this to money and all sorts of other practical applications. I found learning the role of the modulus operator in computer programming extremely eye-opening. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about. And the key is that you can work pretty much any discipline into the programming atmosphere. You could have students design an application that incorporates text on a certain subject (say, historical dates), or which elucidates elements of English grammar, and so on. There are tons of applications here.
9  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Schemes to teach the masses to code on: 2015-01-29 13:30:48
It's well worth giving all students a chance to try computer programming at a certain point, if only to eliminate a lot of the mystery surrounding the subject. I personally had the impression for a long time that programming was this thing that only math geniuses could do. This wasn't aided at all by the fact that, in high school, while there was a computer programming class, being in the most advanced math track was seemingly a prerequisite for taking part.

For someone like me, who ended up getting into programming in a non-traditional manner (my degree was in English, and I always gravitated toward liberal arts subjects), I feel like I could have benefited from having a way into it earlier. There are some real problems with how we categorize computer programming on an institutional level. At university, for example, programming is tied up Computer Science, and even sometimes Electrical Engineering. If you even want to get involved there, you have to go down this intense path that's more geared toward theoretical knowledge that will mostly only be used for academic research pursuits.

There just aren't that many great ways into programming. It's something we should probably fix, and the earlier the better.
10  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-11 06:16:25
All new OSX have like a acceleration on mouse movement. This makes it behave differently than Windows/Linux mouse movement. Starting from like 10.4 not sure exactly when, Apple removed the option to adjust this.

This is literally the only thing I modify about OSX with third-party software (Steermouse, which lets you change all of those settings to your liking, and honestly with far greater granularity than even a stock Windows installation). You can tweak the stock settings to make it somewhat more bearable. The mouse acceleration is far better suited to laptop use, but it really does suck on the desktop, in my view.

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Also a hackintosh uses a stock OSX image, just with specific hardware, as far as I know, not user made.

It is nevertheless an involved process, not something that your average user is going to be doing. And I also understand that OSX can be touchy on PCs with certain hardware configurations, because it's only really designed to support standard Mac specs, which are fairly limited in number and variety.


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Well at work I just got a new one, no questions asked. But the fact that it is so expensive and build specifically to break down in this case so that you have to buy a new one, could make me angry, if I cared about Apple stuff. (Which is objectively true because way cheaper keyboards dont have this problem)

"Designed to break down" is quite the statement. If I drop my smartphone into the toilet and it stops working, does that mean it was "designed to break down"?

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Mac stuff often doesnt even have screws.

Yes, it does. If you remove the glass on the front of an iMac (it's held in place with magnets), you can access the insides of the machine, though this is a fairly laborious process that involves a lot of unscrewing and dismantling and will void your warranty. Looking at the bottom of my Macbook Air right now, the whole bottom side looks to be a metal panel held on by 10 screws. I imagine that if you remove those screws, you'll have access to the insides of the machine.

Upgradability has, for a long time, been a sticking point with Apple. I think some of their earlier machines actually pioneered the concept of upgradability, with slots on notebooks where you could swap in entirely different peripherals, and so on. But at some point, they learned that, in order to make smaller, more elegant devices, upgradability was going to have to be put on the chopping block. It remains the case that, if you value the ability to upgrade your machine, you can just get a PC. Problem solved. But honestly, with all the PCs I've owned in my life, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I made an upgrade to one that I couldn't also have made on my Mac (basically adding new RAM). So for me, this has never really been an issue. I'm not a huge hardware upgrader, no matter what platform I happen to be using.

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Valid question.
This comes from hundreds of clueless people bragging about how they like mac or iphone, who all know jack about tech and whenever asked why answer with braindead stuff like "I just like it. All my friends have it. I like the way it looks"
Sheep behaviour makes me angry - not just in case of Apple. Whenever people just do as others do without thinking for themselves.

But you're assuming that every single person who speaks positively about Apple products falls into that category. That's the problem.
11  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-10 00:38:51
Evidently someone making that choice has no idea about specs and prices or just loves apple that much. They dont start an argument because they have no points to make other than "I prefer Apple"

Huh? I explained why I liked the Macbook Air for the OP's desired purposes. I offered substantive reasons, and all you were able to attack me with were raw specs and pricepoint. It's clear to anybody who's actually read the posts in this thread that raw specs weren't the OP's priority.

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The logical approach is: I want to do this, this and that: what tool would be best ?

And the Macbook Air does what the OP wanted to do very well. I never said it was the only machine that could do it. I said that, having one myself for pretty much the exact same purposes, I could attest to the fact that it was a good option. The fact that the OP was replacing an old Mac notebook seemed to indicate that an Air would be a solid match, as well.

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Well fine, however, you didn't make any point "you like it better" why ?
I have Ableton and Adobe on Windows, there is plenty of writing programs, Eclipse works the same and runs better on Windows.

I like the basic filesystem better than Windows because apps are packages that contain all of their files. This makes the OS, after extensive use without a fresh install, feel far better organized overall. You don't constantly feel like you've got "loose ends" hanging around from applications you've uninstalled, and so on. I like having access to a true Unix command line, right out of the box. I like the overall functional design of the OS, which feels like an integrated design from top to bottom, whereas Windows feels like the same old shit with a shiny coating on top of it (I'm comparing to Windows 7, by the way, because that's what I run on my Windows partition). I like virtual desktops (a nice inspiration from the Linux realm). I like the dock, which Windows also has its own version of now, but OSX had way before, so I'm just used to theirs now (and find it to be better integrated and more functional, to boot). I like the OS/software update process way, way more than Windows. Microsoft apparently doesn't understand the concept of a "cumulative update," so if you ever need to reinstall Windows 7 from a factory disc, be prepared to spend hours downloading and installing every single crucial update they've ever released, having to reboot your machine a dozen times, and so on. Shall I continue?

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intangible element - now tell me this isn't like religion ?

I said that it's a slightly intangible element, because it has to do with how the form feeds into the function and your overall perception of the device. If you consider the way the whole package functions together, obviously tangibility comes into play (how the trackpad and keyboard physically feel when you interact with the OS and the software running on it), but there's also a psychological component to it that is intangible. Everything "feels" better together, more like a coherent whole. Interacting with OSX on an Apple machine has always been a more pleasant experience, for me, than interacting with Windows on most PC laptops. Of course, there are so many different PC laptops out there that mileage is always going to vary. There isn't a single person out there who can honestly say they've got the definitive take on this. Which is why I consider it a personal preference, and never argued that it was anything but.

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Gotta make something clear though: Preferring OSX over Windows is not the same debate: you can install OSX on a windows PC.
Yes Apple has software that actually works bundled in, windows doesnt. Everything Windows comes with should be ignored or removed. True. But thats no saving grace because I don't use bundled Apple software after all because when it comes to real productivity they are not enough.
Not gonna cut a whole movie with iMovie. So bundled stuff sucks anyway, unless you got a very nice Linux distro.

If you want to install OSX on a PC, you have to use one of the available user-made "distros" in order to do it (unless you go ahead and roll your own, which is probably out of most people's leagues, including my own). Are you honestly telling me that this is supposed to be a viable option? I get why some people would choose to do it. They're enthusiast types who like messing around with stuff like this. But for the average user, I think safety is going to be a pretty big concern. Who knows what the makers of these "distros" have added to them? The community isn't anywhere near as extensive as the distro community for Linux, where you can pretty much trust that a mainstream distro is not designed with to include malicious stuff. You're acting like you can just readily install OSX on any PC. That's not how it works. And I'd be really interested in knowing how well these user-created OSX distros work with the software update system.

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If you dont intend a MAC/no MAC war, then don't come and ask I need a good device for a good price to do X, Y, Z and then say you like Apple.
Not much options with Apple and not really a logical choice if you want to A) save money, B) have good specs for your money or C) ever open you thing

If you go back and read the thread, perhaps you'll note that I'm not the person who started it. I wasn't seeking anybody's advice. I was giving advice to the OP.

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At work I put some water on my mac keyboard to clean it. It completely broke. Plus since you cannot open any mac product, tough luck.
A decent keyboard is like 10-25 bucks, and if water gets it, you open it, dry it, and move on, nothing shorts out and its easy to open and fix.

Ah, now we get to the heart of the matter. You're angry because you poured water on an electronic object and it happened to stop working.

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Apple doesn't allow for things to be opened because:

Apple's target audience are people with a lot of money and no idea about technology.

Or it could be because they design with form factor and size efficiency in mind. I hope you understand that designing products to be easily upgradeable usually comes with drawbacks in terms of the product's overall design. But if upgradeability is a big concern--for many people it is, and that's totally valid!--you have a load of other options at your disposal. I don't know why some people find it so utterly offensive that there's a company which does things a bit differently, which prioritizes certain concerns over others. It's not like the existence of Apple means that the countless other PC options can't exist. You live in a world with a massive amount of choice, and yet you get bent out of shape about something you don't have to buy or use in the first place. My question is: why? Why is this so important to you? It just makes no sense to me.
12  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-09 02:56:29
Thinkpad keyboards are far superior to any Mac keyboard I've seen.
My trackpad has buttons and is very nice and clean to use.

A common feature when you move up the size range of PC laptops. But if you're talking about comparable, mobility-oriented laptops, you're typically not going to find keyboards or trackpads that come anywhere near the ones Apple has in, say, the Air line. Your Lenovo is a 15" model, not mobility-oriented, decisively enterprise-facing, and priced for high-quantity movement in that market segment. When you're selling oodles of notebooks to businesses, likely on a yearly basis, you can afford to drop the price down to $600. That's the market at work, not the design of the notebook.

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As anyone will tell you, thinkpads are (relatively) indestructible.

I'm not worried about dropping my notebook or having it run over by a car. I'm worried about normal wear and tear from extensive use. For example, my aforementioned 2007 Macbook was a plastic model. After years of use, the hand-rest area started chipping in places. I'll never have to worry about that with a metal Macbook Air.

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I've got a dedicated graphics card, and a pretty decent one for a laptop at that.

All the better to bake your lap with when you actually try to set the thing down on your legs. I get that some people want laptops that will behave more or less as mobile desktop platforms. Hey, you can play games! That's great! But not everybody is in the market for that when looking for a laptop. I've already got a desktop I can play games on. It's a big priority for me that this thing be lightweight, have long battery life, and not be a furnace. I can barely feel any warmth coming from the Macbook Air, even after I've spend 3 hours coding with the thing sitting on my lap (and I'm talking about in XCode, using the iOS simulator, and so on, not just typing out code in Notepad or something).

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It's definitely not small or thin, but as we've seen with the new iPhones, thinner is not better. And size is not much of an issue.

Who ever said that thinner was necessarily better? This is all about one's specific needs. I suggested a Macbook Air for the OP because his needs seemed to be a small, thin, "netbook"-like device, and he'd mentioned that he was replacing a 2009 Macbook. Having just recently gotten an Air for myself, for basically the exact same purpose, I felt I was able to attest to its usefulness in that regard. That's all that's going on here. Thinner isn't always better. It's just better for this purpose.

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I have a theory that the Apple battery monitor lies. If it were to be believed then a Macbook would have nearly double my battery life. However in actual use, my laptop lasts a little bit longer (up to 30min).

I've never known this to be the case. The battery monitor on my 2007 Macbook was painfully, brutally honest with me all the time. I think I could get about 4-5ish hours of casual use out of it. Knock a sizable chunk off that if anything video-related was going on. I read several reviews of the Air before I bought it. CNet did a video drain review and the battery lasted for 14 hours (this was for offline video). Another outlet got north of 12 hours out of the battery in a similar test with wi-fi enabled the entire time. While I have not actually attempted to work normally on the Macbook Air from full charge to battery depletion, my own experience (and regular monitoring of the battery status) indicates that these reviews are accurate.

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You ever tried Linux? Both Linux and OSX are Unix-based and POSIX compliant, so it should be mostly familiar for dev use. But Linux is free (as in beer and freedom) and isn't restricted to Apple devices.

Yes, I've tried Linux several times. The problem with Linux is that it's not well-supported (or even supported in the first place) by a lot of the applications that I use on a regular basis. And while I understand that mileage can, of course, vary based on the distro that you choose, I find OSX to be an exemplary operating system right out of the box, for both desktop and laptop platforms. I don't see a real need to wrestle with Linux when I already like OSX so much.

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On the shininess and aesthetics the Mac is (not surprisingly) better.

I really don't get this argument. Yes, Apple cares about aesthetics, but they care about it in the same way as a good architect. Form and function are interlocked concerns. I'm not sure why the anti-Apple crowd is always so quick to argue that Apple devices are just "shiny" baubles, or whatever. The reason why the designs work is because they advance the functionality, too.

Additionally, it's not exactly like I agree with every single one of Apple's design decisions. For example, I've got a PC mouse because I just can't stand a one-button mouse on a desktop (though on the laptop, I actually prefer to use CTRL+click). I've also got a PC keyboard on the desktop, not because I feel like the Apple keyboard is mechanically bad, but just that it's needlessly stripped-down for the desktop experience (and also because I do use Windows regularly, so I want a keyboard that's going to play nice with everything). I also really hate wireless input peripherals, so that's another reason.

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My Thinkpad (from 3 years ago): $660 US.
Current Equivalent Macbook: Somewhere between $1200 US and $1500 US. Both the $1200 and $1500 models do not have a dedicated graphics card.

I don't know what calls for the more than double price.

Different target markets. Like I said before, your Lenovo Thinkpad is targeted at enterprise. They'll make their nut on business contracts that allow them to push out basically guaranteed quantity year-in and year-out. Apple is shooting far more for the consumer market, with enterprise deals (in the Mac line, I mean) probably being a fairly niche thing for them, and a rather small part of their revenue. You're making the mistake of thinking that the design/parts/etc. are the sole pricing factor when it comes to these machines.
13  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-09 02:08:58
Devotion to ANY brand or company is beyond stupid; in case of Apple its just even more the case.

Great point. I agree 100%. What I don't understand is why you choose to read a preference as "devotion" when it comes to Apple. It seems like that's an all-too-common assumption. And yet, the odd thing is that it's rarely Apple users who start the ball rolling on such conversations. They're not walking around accusing PC users of being brand devotees. I get it: the fact that Apple designs the whole product from top to bottom turns their users into a ripe target for this particular jump-to-conclusion, but it's nevertheless an obsession that only PC users seem to harbor. In other words, they always seem to prove themselves, through this obsessive behavior, to be bigger platform/brand devotees than their targets could ever hope to be. There is nary a post about an Apple product on the internet that doesn't have at least one "You iSheep have been tricked into buying pieces of shit" comment underneath it. I mean, come on, this stuff is on the same level as yawn-inducing "PC Master Race" comments any time someone talks about the console version of a game. You really need to find something more entertaining to say or nobody's really going to listen.
14  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-08 14:02:40
Do those laptops with "better specs" also have stellar keyboards, trackpads, and displays? What are they made of: metal or plastic? In the case of mobility-oriented devices, do they weigh less? Are they smaller/thinner? Do they have better battery life?

I don't mean to imply that all, or any, of these questions must necessarily be answered in a way that's favorable to Apple. What I'm trying to point out is that raw internal hardware specs don't tell the whole story, and aren't always enough to satisfy every need all on their own.

Speaking personally, OSX is a must-have for me. I run a Windows partition on my desktop for games, but I do everything else in OSX (Ableton, Scrivener for writing projects, Java/Ruby/Obj-C/Swift coding, and so on). I simply prefer it over Windows, hands down. And that goes double for when I'm on my laptop, because OSX is simply superior as a laptop OS. Every time I use a PC notebook, I feel like it's this totally disjointed mishmash of components and software. With Apple notebooks, everything fits together from the outset, because it was designed that way from top to bottom. It's a (slightly) intangible element--and a personal, subjective one, to boot--that one must factor in when deciding on a purchase. Raw specs alone will never be the sole determinant for me.

The automatic assumption that "shiny bits" distract Apple device users is what really grates. I'm not sure why so many PC users seem to care about it. It's as though they take other people's mere use of Apple products as a negative commentary on their own decision to use PC products. I've never gotten this, and I never will.
15  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-06 09:00:35
You could just buy a freaking netbook at that point.
Owing a mac means not playing games for the most part. It can do java and office and it saves your money. And they are low in weight... not that I understand how that is so freaking important to spend hundreds more...

He's not trying to play games on it. Seriously, the knee-jerk anti-Apple position is so tiresome and boring. I'll bet you've never actually used a modern Mac--laptop or desktop--to the extent that you'd be even remotely qualified to judge them "overpriced pieces of shit." Maybe you should look into why you feel the need to respond in this fashion any time somebody expresses genuine satisfaction about Apple products. What does it matter to you?
16  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-05 01:30:27
I don't get why people keep trading performance and price, to shave off a kilo of weight.

Did you even read his post? You're not taking into account his actual needs. He doesn't want a large screen. He doesn't want a big, honking beast that's going to be a pain to drag around. He expressed interest in the Surface Pro 3, but balked at the outrageous price (and really, that price is outrageous for what you get). And furthermore, his previous ownership of a Macbook indicates that the platform itself is a match (it's not like anybody's trying to convince a diehard Windows user to switch over or something).

The Air is absolutely great for its intended purpose as a platform which emphasizes mobility in all of its dimensions, but remains a "real" computer that can do "real" computer stuff. If you're looking for a desktop replacement, the Air is not going to be it, unless doing productivity-level work or less is all you ever use your computer for. You're not going to do hardcore video editing on it. You're not going to play graphics-intensive games. But the thing is basically perfect for coding and other productivity-style tasks. It has a great keyboard, a great trackpad, a nice display, superb battery life, and more than enough power to handle these sorts of tasks in a zippy manner.
17  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Mobile Java game development, without using a full-size laptop on: 2014-10-03 23:27:02
The pricetag might not be to your liking, but I just got a stock 13" Macbook Air to replace a beast even older than yours (2007 Macbook) and am 100% delighted with it for coding purposes. It's super-light, has a great keyboard/trackpad, starts up in about 10 seconds, has 128gb of storage, 4gb of RAM, 1.4ghz dual-core i5 (turbo boosts to 2.7ghz if/when needed), and the battery lasts like 12 hours.

I think they're now $899 for the 11" and $999 for the 13".
18  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Rock Simulator 2014 funded on IndieGoGo on: 2014-07-06 00:13:46
Ehh, honestly, they deserve it.

I'm typically not the kind of person who likes going around telling people what they "deserve," but I totally agree. Obnoxious idiots need to stop supporting obnoxious idiot projects on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or wherever else. Supporting these "joke" games creates a toxic, anti-user atmosphere of opportunism in gaming culture. I mean, hell, why make a real game when you can just churn "Goat Simulator" for next-to-nothing and make bank on novelty and irony? They squander an opportunity to make something of substance, and at the same time, end up knocking a potentially substantial game out of a coveted slot at the top of the sales charts. Discovery is already enough of a problem on Steam and elsewhere without these empty "humor" games (which aren't even funny) taking up space. I'm all for Steam opening the floodgates eventually, but these sorts of games present the most compelling argument against doing so that I've seen thus far.
19  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Rock Simulator 2014 funded on IndieGoGo on: 2014-07-04 14:56:17
I agree. Also I know people from other forums who said that they're not happy about indie games coming to consoles because they're poor quality games with small amount of content to offer. While obviously this is a naive viewpoint, these kind of games do make this stereotype stronger. Sad

Yeah. The reason why I think Surgeon Simulator works is because a) it came first; b) it was a funny, on-the-mark reference to the ridiculous numbers of "legit" Simulator games on Steam; c) aside from the Simulator thing, it harkened back to crazy, difficult, old-school surgery simulator PC games like Life & Death; d) the game was a polished product with jokey mechanics, rather than an unpolished product we're meant to believe is part of some purposeful humor.

What I find most obnoxious are the people who buy into it, who just find the joke oh-so-funny, and won't think twice about tossing $10 down a hole for the chance to hear it again, only with ever-crappier delivery. It's part of the impulse purchase culture that Steam has introduced and perpetuated. Don't get me wrong, I think Steam is overwhelmingly a net positive for gaming, but discovery is bad enough on there without the top of the list being populated with endless reams of joke games and early access projects.
20  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Rock Simulator 2014 funded on IndieGoGo on: 2014-07-04 14:15:24
It was only funny when Surgeon Simulator did it. These pathetic cash-in attempts that came after it are the worst. It's like the video game version of buying fake vomit from a novelty store. The joke is incredibly old at this point, and the developers are ever-more-transparently hoping that they can give players as little as possible and charge a premium for it. They're not deserving of praise just because they happen to be successful. They're polluting the indie marketplace, and they're not even being funny about it anymore.
21  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Software patents? on: 2014-06-26 12:53:01
The ruling doesn't do much to indicate what constitutes an "abstract," and therefore unpatentable, idea. It merely invalidates the notion that turning this idea into a computer program somehow renders it less abstract. Essentially, if an idea to be carried out by non-computer means isn't patentable, then it shouldn't be patentable if it's carried out by computers, either. An idea doesn't gain special patent legitimacy just because it's been implemented as software.

I think it's quite an important ruling, though. It should make it far more difficult for people to be like "Oh, we dreamed up this special kind of computerized transaction and we're going to force the world to license it from us or face the wrath of our overzealous legal team!" The patent simply won't hold up if it's an "innovation" whose only real novelty is that it's done by a computer. Just to call on a real-world example, it should be interesting to see how this would affect Amazon's patent on "1-Click" purchasing.
22  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-19 10:55:51
Here's another amusing take on the subject:
http://www.alexstjohn.com/WP/2014/06/08/direct3d-opengl-metal-full-circle/

(some of the commentary is particularly interesting)
(and note that this is from someone who really knows what they're talking about)

Cas Smiley

What he fails to mention in that article, or the previous article to which he refers in the first graf, is that Metal API is only shipping in the iOS8 SDK. It's only designed for use with the A7 mobile chip. Unless Apple is suddenly going to start powering its laptops and desktops with A7 processors, Metal doesn't really sound like a comprehensive solution to me.

Is Apple hoping to back-burner OpenGL as the API for heavy-duty graphics in iOS? I'm sure that's the case. Developers have long complained that it's an utter pain to work with. What you can see from the Metal API code example is that you're working with objects in Objective-C, not a bunch of C structs masquerading as "objects." I'm sure a lot of this also has to do with Apple's overarching goal to step away from "the baggage of C," as they put it.

But the reality is that powerful, useful, and recently-introduced APIs like SceneKit and SpriteKit already rely on OpenGL to work as of right now. I don't see why OpenGL would have to go anywhere. Metal and OpenGL can coexist. But yeah, for sure, I think Metal is going to be the preferred route for graphics-intensive mobile development in iOS from now on.
23  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-19 10:09:17
Scanning rather further back in the thread btw will elucidate what the thread was actually all about (go and read the linked article), which is why this whole discussion is taking place:

Quote
With Metal, Apple hopes to replace the industry-standard 3D-graphics API (application programming interface), called OpenGL, with its own development API
(emphasis mine)

Cas Smiley

Well, those are the words of a CNET.com article, not a sourced quote from Apple. To be honest, a lot of the mainstream reporting on WWDC '14 has been riddled with misconceptions. At no point in the presentation did Apple ever say that Metal was meant to replace OpenGL. Nor does that CNET article provide any in-depth analysis to support the statement.
24  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-19 08:23:03
On swift: I can't say if it's a good idea or not...I don't know enough about it.  I can't say why they even created it in the first place.  It could exists for the exact same reason as why we have Java.  Some Sun employees were bored and they hated C++ and its tooling.  So rather than have them jumping ship, Sun tossed them a bone to chew on and out pops Java.  Swift was created by the LLVM creator.  Maybe he needed a bone.  Whatever the reason, it's about time they tried to killing of "industry standard" Objective-C thank you very much.  Maybe it's an awful idea.  So what?  Like I said: I like it when people try to shake the tree.  Would C++ been an better idea?  Or one of the dynamically typed languages?

I'm in the developer program now, so I've been able to use the Xcode 6 beta and work with Swift. It's pretty excellent thus far, even if the IDE itself, in beta form, is still sort of buggy. Code completion in Playgrounds, for example, is not currently that helpful. But the Swift language itself is a major improvement in many ways over Objective-C. Inferred types are quite nice, and the way the language prefers that you use actual constants as much as possible (and not just for global data, for example) is refreshing. The syntactic sugar with ranges (instead of Objective-C's clunky insistence on having to initialize an NSRange object, and then pass that object to a method as a parameter), and so on, is also great. Oh, and the fact that pointer arithmetic is not going to be a thing anymore, that's great too. String interpolation, and generally getting rid of the whole mutable/immutable class thing is excellent.

Apple's main motive in developing Swift and moving away from Objective-C was, I think, to make Mac development more welcoming for people who are used to working with more modern languages like Python, Ruby, and so on. The language gives you all the OO perks, but also embraces functional programming. Methods can take functions as parameters and return functions as well. Methods are actually denoted with the keyword "func" now.

A lot of people claim it will be easier for programmers to learn, but in a way, I think Objective-C was actually easier, if only because it had far fewer things to learn, like optionals, tuples, generics, and so on. Objective-C is, in many ways, a far more stripped-down language. But it's also clunkier, and its dependence on its C underpinnings leads to inconsistencies that really start to gnaw away at you after a while if you ever end up using both in the same project.
25  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-19 07:26:26
Not sure how that would go down.

I'd rather have Android on an iPhone than iOS on an Android Phone.

But I'm sure that it would get picked up at least on some basis. Better shot at increasing market share, anyway, than trying to lock the tiny subset of people who'd even use a low-level graphics API to the platform. I mean, seriously. How many small-time developers do you imagine that would apply to? Not many, in my estimation. Any development outfit with people experienced enough to use Metal directly (i.e. not through an engine like Unity) is likely too big to get "locked in" in the first place. They'd have teams working on iOS and Android releases already.
26  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-19 05:02:22
I'm curious, what would Apple have to do?

Make iOS available for use on third-party devices.
27  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-19 00:32:33
Any speculation is silly.  Sell more units.  This helps because you have an advantage if you can go low-level on an embedded fixed-hardware device vs. any generic API (regardless of how well written it is).

This. Apple has no reason to get rid of OpenGL. Metal will filter down through third-party engines while SpriteKit and SceneKit, which basically compete with simpler third-party engines (like Cocos2d, Corona, JMonkey, etc) will continue to benefit from OpenGL's continued existence. Large-scale developers creating graphically-intensive games may use Metal directly, but most game developers will use it with Unity, and other popular engines, as the interlocutor. Generally speaking, Apple just wants people to be able to make the best games possible on the devices, because games make a lot of money for Apple. If Apple wanted to gain OS market share, there would be far more effective ways to do it than "locking" people to a low-level graphics API (which most people would never use directly anyway).
28  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-18 21:45:12
Tifanta, a discussion is supposed to involve listening as well. Otherwise it's called a monologue... Here people are speculating about what Apple's ultimate goal with Metal is, based on what Apple has done before. Most of your questions have already been answered.

I have listened to the speculation, and I've refuted most of it directly, in detail.
29  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-18 13:18:32
Not sure what you're arguing about here. Why would they even develop Metal then? That's the odd part. It's not making any sense to developers to have all these crazy different ways of doing the same thing... unless they're trying to push people in a particular direction and then deprecate the redundant methods.

They developed Metal because they have a proprietary mobile chip and they want developers to be able to wring the best performance possible out of it. Metal is only part of the iOS 8 SDK. It's an alternative, not a replacement. A lot of people are suggesting that the main audience for it really is middleware/engine developers. The ordinary developer won't use it directly, but will benefit as Metal is built into Unity or whatever else.
30  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Apple announces new graphics API: Metal on: 2014-06-18 12:42:48
I can't imagine many professionals using those API seriously tbh. If I thought that Metal was vendor-lock in then I really can't imagine the sense in using an entirely OSX-only framework in this manner. Excepting perhaps to adhere to specific OSX-only requirements. The pros will have their own systems. For the rest of us there's Unity. Oh, and libgdx.

Are you talking about SceneKit and SpriteKit? SpriteKit is essentially Cocos2d, except guaranteed not to break when iOS gets an update. Lots of iOS developers use Cocos2d, and SpriteKit is easy to pick up if you're experienced with it. SceneKit is kind of a 3D counterpart to SpriteKit's 2D-centric scope. Both of these are built on OpenGL.

I'm really not understanding how you can even pretend to maintain your point now. Apple wouldn't gain anything by carrying out such a silly action.
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