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Same thing, different price?

Kitkat prices
Kitkat prices

Both are 10 packs of Kitkat, weighing 41.5g per pack, for a total weight of 415g. On the left, it says "New Intense chocolate" (mmm, tastes the same to me) and on the right it says "Offre Gourmand" (on the right, not in the photo; one is conditioned to assume that this means a better value pack, ho ho ho...).
Yet one costs €3 while the other is 15% more expensive at €3,46.
Guess which I bought.


Taking too long

Come on Google, you can do better.

Application is not responding...
Application is not responding...

My tablet is slow, I get that. However something that pops up quite a lot is Android telling me that an application is not responding, and do I want to kill it?

The problem here is two-fold. Firstly, when determining is an application is "not responding", one should not have any sort of fixed time-out, but rather base the timeout on some sort of measurement of how responsive the system is as a whole. Clearly a slower system will take longer to do stuff than a flagship device.
Secondly, the problem seems to be greatly exacerbated by Android's weird decision to prioritise background applications. When I power up the tablet, it's best to leave it for five minutes or so in order that Play Store can check stuff in the background, that K9 can scan the mailboxes, that Google Docs can download offline documents (again and again), and whatever else goes on behind the scenes. This is because it's damn near impossible to get anything much running until all that has been done.

I guess, somewhere along the way, the Android programmers forgot that "the user" is the most important user of the device. No, not Google or Samsung or any number of carefully selected advertising partners. The user.

Oh, and that prompt above? Do not terminate the System UI. Thinks rapidly go south if you do.


Is an API discovered or invented?

There is an interesting discussion on the ROOL forum about whether an API is a "discovery" or an "invention".

While there is some overlap in the terminology, generally a "discovery" is something that exists that is found. For instance, what we know as Teflon was discovered by a guy cleaning out some cannisters of something back in... what was it, the '30s? I don't recall the entire story, suffice to say that he wanted to understand why there was an unexplained weight difference so upon opening a canister it was discovered that either high temperature or high pressure (I forget which) had caused a reaction inside which had caused a previously unknown molecule to form.
From this, non-stick coatings for cookware (mainly frying pans) were invented.

In the case of an API, it neither pre-exists (so cannot be "discovered") nor is it really "invented".
Programming languages, libraries, ways of interworking stuff... all of these are created. An API is a formalised way of gluing the pieces together in a manner that is clear and concise. I do not think that APIs are "invented" either, but rather they arrive as a natural consequence of what is happening. They may be a part of a bigger invention, like the C programming language, but unless the system is completely closed and interacts with nothing at all outside itself, an API is inevitable.

A little way into the discussion, DavidS mentions that a user guide for a machine came in two editions. The first did not describe the system's API. Since publication, users figured out parts of it, so the second edition of the book documents the API.
He says: "The example I mention, there was no intended API, the users descovered entry-points that were later documented as an official API."
This is, unfortunately, erroneous. That is to say, there is an API and it's quite likely that the system made use of it internally. The API exists and was documented. It just wasn't (originally) documented publicly. After some users began to examine the system and work out where the various entry points were, they then made the API public for people to use. This is usually considered better than relying on potentially incorrect information gleaned by disassembly and experimentation. For example, perhaps something usually uses these registers, but in some cases can also use other registers; therefore if you only preserve the first set having not encountered the second case, things can go badly wrong if the second case should occur. Official API documentation should clear up such issues.


His Dark Materials

Since I don't watch much non-streaming TV these days, I wasn't aware that this series was back on. I've set up the satellite dish to pick up BBC HD so I can record episode 5 tonight. As for the previous four? Nominally on BBC iPlayer, but since that's a UK only thing, I needed an alternative option.
Which took about five minutes. ☺

Do I feel guilty? Not in the slightest. I pay a French TV licence for broadcasting I make no use of. I just makes things easier given that I have a dish stuck on the front. I would switch to paying a UK licence for the few things that I do want to watch, however overseas use of the BBC has been more a technical matter of overspill than anything actively supported or encouraged. Just like with Brexit, us expats simply don't exist.
Their loss. The French licence is something like €135, so I'd see nothing wrong with paying a tenner a month (or £120 a year) for proper access to British TV services. Multiply that by every other expat who is willing to pay, and it could add up to a non-negligible source of revenue.
But, like I said, their loss.

I'll have record this episode blind, and watch it when I've caught up.


Advent Calendars

Now the part you've been waiting for.
I've fixed up the titles to be the correct size, and also added some sparklies to the intro.



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Andy S, 7th December 2020, 20:07
Good to see you're still joining in the ROOL discussions, albeit outside the forum. 
I'd say the code for an unwritten API exists just as much (or as little) as a number exists, because the binary code can be represented as an extremely huge number. 
Of course, even if the code theoretically already exists as a long number, I'm sure the patent trolls would assure you that using that code "with a computer" is a brand new idea (an invention?). ;-)
David Boddie, 7th December 2020, 21:33
At least you didn't get "System UI has crashed" though I suppose it's nice that it keeps you informed when it does that.

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