Reader Mail – 02/16/2014 To 02/22/2014

fosamax commented on Will GCW Zero Deliver Their Kickstarter Handhelds?.
So things started to move again lately. Shipping resumed and I got a tracking number so I may see the GCW Zero quite soon. I hope I will like it anyway.

I'm still using a Xperia Mini Pro as my main phone. It's a great little device with a physical keyboard. The CPU is the same as in the Xperia Play so it's quite capable but it's only single core. It's quite enough for a bit of GBA on the go (games like advance wars play well with a physical keyboard).

MP commented on FSK Benchmark Test - C/C++ vs. Javascript vs. PHP.
Okay, Java is done. Here's the code.

It fared better than I expected. Runtime is 2.5 seconds. For comparison we have:

C++: 0.56 secs

Java: 2.5 secs

Python: 42.5 secs

So Java is only 5x slower than C++. Thoughts?

5x slower? That really is pretty bad. I've had people swear to me Java was at worst 10%-20% slower than C/C++. They were lying and/or stupid, as I suspected.

Of course, that isn't tuned Java, but I doubt you could tune it enough to overcome the 5x deficit.

So the winner for languages other than C/C++ is Javascript? With only 2.5x-3x slower than C/C++?

I'm really souring on these higher-level languages now that I performed this benchmark test. I always knew it was a little slower, but 5x-40x slower is not acceptable.

Some people will say that for I/O bound operations it doesn't matter as much. Number-crunching is my specialty, so it certainly matters for the stuff I typically write.


I put your code in the ftp directory (in case you ever take it down from your site).

MP commented on FSK Benchmark Test - C/C++ vs. Javascript vs. PHP.

My comment didn't come through quite right. I tried to italicize the "only" -- as in Java is "only" 5x slower. I did look into profiling the Java code, but I was less than impressed with JVisualVM, and it didn't prove useful.

Thank you for putting the source with the other examples. If you can, I think you should run all of the samples on the same machine to get better numbers for comparison.

I'm kind of thinking I should put together a C# implementation to compare with .Net. I'd expect it to be on par with Java (possibly slightly better -- IIRC it's better about native types than Java, but I haven't kept up with details like that in a while).

Your score for C++ is close to mine, so I'm confident in the others. I've had bad experiences with Java messing up other things, so I'm not that eager to install the Java SDK on my PC.

5x worse is pretty bad, considering how many people told me Java was "the same" performance as C/C++.

I wonder how older languages would fare, like FOTRAN, COBOL, and Pascal? Those were also written relatively close to the metal, so I think they'd do well.

MP commented on Whatsapp And Mark Zuckerberg Steal $19B From Facebook Shareholders.
The only reason this is dumber than Google's Nest buy is the price. There is no way the app is worth $19B. The only time I've heard of it was when a coworker figured out WhatsApp was killing his Galaxy S3 battery.

I've noticed that on Android. Something that runs in the background can really drain your battery, even if your phone is locked and the screen is off.

If a program runs in the background with frequent updates and push notifications, it can drain your battery AND your data.

What I do now is reboot my phone whenever I'm done, which flushes things that would otherwise be running in the background.

[Apparently the newest version of Android PREVENTS APPS FROM WRITING TO THE EXTERNAL SD CARD. That seems to be another effort by Google to force people to use cloud storage like Google Drive.]

MP commented on Whatsapp And Mark Zuckerberg Steal $19B From Facebook Shareholders.

The external storage issue is more complicated, and I don't know how I feel about it. There are reasonable arguments for why blob of storage should be available for any program (I use different audio players, etc.), and also reasonable security arguments for why programs should be separated.

I'm just bummed at how limited the external storage market has gotten. All the phone vendors except Samsung seem to have given up on them, and then make you pay an extra 100-200 dollars for a measly additional 16 to 32 GB. Meanwhile I picked up a 64GB MicroSD card for my Galaxy Lite (a $150 non-subsidized phone). My only requirement for a phone was 1) external storage available, and 2) removable battery. How hard is this for manufacturers to figure out?

Saurabh commented on Whatsapp And Mark Zuckerberg Steal $19B From Facebook Shareholders.

Whatsapp is quite popular in India. And not because bunch of indians were paid to use it. Majority of the mobile users in India use prepaid and before Whatsapp we used to pay for unlimited SMS plans every month. Due to the surge of cheaper Android handsets, as well as cheap data plans, most of the users now prefer Whatsapp over traditional SMS (also because it support longer messages, images and videos). That being said this buyout is quite ridiculous if facebook thinks it will help users turn to use facebook messenger. Whole point of prefering Whatsapp over facebook was that you don't have to fill lots of details about yourself before using it, your phone no is your username and your contacts are your friend list.

That's the reason to limit the external storage. Why let people use a removable SD card, when you can charge them $100-$200 more for an extra 16G-32G of internal storage? That's been a huge profit center for Apple, charging people a lot more for a little extra storage.

You should be allowed to give an app unlimited access to external storage, if you want. It's your phone! Almost every app I use writes to external storage! (text editor, emulators)

I'm considering switching to T-Mobile. The phone isn't subsidized, but it's more than offset by the cheaper monthly cost. Plus, if I keep my phone more than 2 years, it winds up cheaper.

I miss the physical keyboard on my Droid 3. I didn't get the Droid 4 because it didn't have a removable battery. Do you realize how many times I had to take out my phone's battery to reset it due to an Android OS bug?

I would try something other than Android or iPhone, if there were a viable alternative. Maybe ubuntu phone will be good, but I'm skeptical.

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