Why Mobile Web Apps Are Slow

Here’s the point: memory management is hard on mobile. iOS has formed a culture around doing most things manually and trying to make the compiler do some of the easy parts. Android has formed a culture around improving a garbage collector that they try very hard not to use in practice. But either way, everybody spends a lot of time thinking about memory management when they write mobile applications. There’s just no substitute for thinking about memory. Like, alot.

I can’t speak for Android, since I’ve no first-hand experience in it, but that’s an accurate summary of my own iOS experience.

Or my Ruby experience, for that matter, in the sense that improving the performance of Ruby frequently involves decreasing the need for garbage collection.


Hundreds of Marijuana Plants Sprout in German City

The German university city of Göttingen is being taken over by marijuana plants. Behind the phenomenon is a group of pro-pot activists who planted seeds around town to stir debate over the plant’s illegal status. City authorities are not amused.

Perhaps they should lighten up and grow a sense of humor?


How Microsoft Handed the NSA Access to Encrypted Messages

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.


Update: Predictably, Microsoft denies the report.

With the understanding that secret laws and directives have absolutely no place in a democracy, methinks I’ll stick to that quote I volunteered last month:

“First rule of politics: never believe anything until it’s officially denied.”


One Strategy, One Microsoft

The reorganization sees an end to the product-based divisions such as “Windows and Windows Live” and “Microsoft Business Division.” What Ballmer wants instead is “One strategy, one Microsoft.” To do this, the company is being organized by function. Microsoft will have four engineering teams — operating system, apps, cloud, and devices.

Sounds a lot like Apple.


Three Cities, Malta



Apple Colluded on e-Book Prices, Judge Finds

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan found “compelling evidence” that Apple violated federal antitrust law by playing a “central role” in a conspiracy with the publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise e-book prices.

Apple adds competition to the eBook in the form of a new, credible distribution platform. This prompts book publishers to tell Amazon that they need to negotiate more palatable prices or make do without them. And in the aftermath, everyone but Amazon gets charged for anti-competitive practices — conspiring to increase eBook prices.

Look… I hate to pay eBooks for $9.95 or $14.95 as much as the next person. I think eBooks ought to be sold for a buck or three. And Apple deserves a good beating if it conspired indeed. Still, I find it shocking that everyone seemed perfectly content with the previous situation, i.e. with Amazon keeping competitors from emerging by selling eBooks at a loss.


Brussels Sets Up Clash With Berlin Over Banks

Brussels is confronting Berlin over the future of Europe’s banking union, with a fast-tracked plan for a powerful bank executioner in Brussels to wind up failed lenders, backed by a €60bn cross-border rescue fund. […]

This “Single Resolution Mechanism” would empower the European Commission with ultimate authority over the eurozone’s 6,400 banks, with responsibility to pull the trigger on a shaky lender and the clout to overrule its home state.

As much as it might be desirable, I can’t help but think of this as an enormous power grab by the European Commission…


Eurozone Grants Lifeline for Greece

Greece secured a lifeline from the euro zone and the IMF on Monday but was told it must keep its promises on cutting public sector jobs and selling state assets to get all the cash.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised.


Yanko Tsvetkov’s Atlas of Prejudices

Fun collection.



(In case you wondered too: no, the “nucular” reference is not a typo; or more precisely, it’s there for a reason.)


NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Horribly Wrong

Staff from the National Security Agency got more than they bargained for when they attempted to recruit students to their organisation earlier this week.

Here’s a taste:

Male student: “General Alexander [head of the NSA] also lied in front of Congress.”

Recruiter 1: “I don’t believe that he did.”

Male student: “Probably because access to the Guardian is restricted on the Department of Defence’s computers. I am sure they don’t encourage people like you to actually think about these things.

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