Posts by Michael Homer

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  • Hard News: Do Want?,

    Including by Apple as a matter of fact, but see also IBM, MySQL, the FSF ... Should add I'm buggered if I know what IBM pays people to work on

    Apple now owns CUPS, which they are still paying people to work on, along with WebKit, Darwin, launchd, and others (just counting the projects they administer). WebKit and launchd in particular they've been very good with, and CUPS is everywhere.

    IBM has a whole bunch of Linux (the kernel) developers, and also a lot of people on OpenOffice, Apache, GCC, and Eclipse. Jonathan Corbet's talk at linux.conf.au last week had updated statistics on it all but the slides aren't online to check at the moment. The trend was towards more and more developers, though, and most of the code came from people with employer affiliations.

    Apple, for all that I'm unlikely to buy anything from them in the near future, has improved a lot on the openness front over the last few years. Maybe they will get there eventually. They're a way off yet, with the iPhone or iPod or their computers or the new tablet. The processor in the thing really looks like it's a bigger deal when you see it in operation. Really remarkable, I'd like to see more from it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Do Want?,

    The problem with Apple's products is less that they're defective and more that the parts that work are designed to fuck you over. Apple is the king of the antifeature. Some people do find that an acceptable trade, and it's not necessarily because they're starry-eyed (though that happens too). It's still an undesirable position and not something that should be encouraged.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: Bare Breasts Key for Important…,

    The Crowd Goes Wild is far and away the best thing on at 7pm. That is not high praise.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: So-called celebrity justice,

    With all the attention given to the actual name here, what I'm wondering is how the TV networks were able to get away with airing clearly recognisable footage of him entering the courtroom. They blurred the face in the most token way, but not nearly enough for you not to be able to see who it was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Island Life: The World Is Full of Cu*ts,

    The churches could also just set up affiliated organisations to carry out their actual charitable work. Those could register as charities on the same basis as anything else. In part they've already done that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Smack to the Future,

    Charting the turnout against the "yes" vote paints an interesting picture that suggests the "no" voters really were quite a bit more exercised about it all.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Up Front Guide to Parenting,

    All of which was a bit handwavy, but the gist of it is that yes, there is more than one infinity, and they are meaningfully different in some situations. Not cheating; the distinction between countably infinite and uncountably infinite really is important.

    The rest of the infinities are less practical.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: The Up Front Guide to Parenting,

    Different kinds of infinity:

    From memory (I think of a PHIL paper, though it could have been maths), it's things like:

    {1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... } is smaller than
    {2, 4, 6, 8, 10 ... }

    You can add them together and stuff.

    No. {1, 2, 3, ...} is smaller than the reals (i.e. decimal numbers), but the same size as {2, 4, 6, ...} or any other infinite subset of the integers.

    For that case in particular, clearly {2, 4, 6, ...} is included in {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ...}, so it can't be bigger. You can transform one into the other by doubling or halving every element, so they must be the same size. That infinity is called aleph-zero.

    The real numbers are uncountable, meaning they can't be matched one-to-one with the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, .... Their infinity is called 2^(aleph-zero), and it's distinct from aleph-zero itself. It may or may not be the same as aleph-one.

    Virtually any infinity you might encounter outside of mathematical theory is the same size as one or other of those. There are infinitely many other infinities you can reach by transforming those, and also some others that are qualitatively different and less common. Outside of mathematics it doesn't really matter which one you have though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Short and Long of It,

    Please do fix the RSS feed, though. I would read more posts if they were there, rather than blowing it off when the couple of lines' teaser isn't immediately enticing. Often they're pretty useless; especially given how meandering the posts can be.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Inimical to the public good,

    Well, for one thing, you don't know if a vid contains infringing material until after you've seen ("downloaded") it. The same argument doesn't quite hold for torrents, etc.

    Why not? You can't possibly know what's in anything until you've downloaded it already, by which time you've already infringed. There's no difference between downloading from Youtube and downloading anything else that I can see.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

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