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Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

Abroun Innovation is more than tools (143 comments)

It's unlikely that SAS is the root cause of a lack of innovation, so it's unlikely that introducing a new tools by itself will make a difference. The fact that you work for a 'huge company' is more likely the problem. Does senior management agree that innovation is a priority? Are they willing to make the changes to encourage it (which usually means breaking down fiefdoms, giving up power, and lots of things that senior managers hate doing)? The choice of language is kinda irrelevant absent the right environment.

about 7 months ago

CCC Says Apple iPhone 5S TouchID Broken

Abroun Re:Easy! (481 comments)

But you can register several fingers, in case you lose or forget one.

about a year ago

Banker Offers $1M To Solve Beal Conjecture

Abroun Differing incentives (216 comments)

Having spent lots of time around bankers, it's no surprise to me that one would view money as incentive to solve an interesting mathematical problem. I doubt Andrew Wiles spent all that time in his attic hoping to get rich, and I wonder whether other mathematicians with the chops to solve this challenge will be influenced to try harder or change focus for something as cheap as money.

about a year and a half ago

How Did You Learn How To Program?

Abroun ZX80, 1k of RAM (623 comments)

...typing in machine code from Byte and Personal Computer News. Then a big boy computer - Apple ][+ with 48k, and the optional Z80 2nd processor that ran CP/M.

about a year and a half ago

Sir Patrick Moore Dies Aged 89

Abroun An inspiration (130 comments)

In 1974 I was 7 years old and wrote to him at the BBC complaining that 'The Sky at Night' wasn't on at a time I was allowed to watch it (in the days before home VCRs). I still have his gracious reply.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Using Company Laptop For Personal Use

Abroun My approach (671 comments)

...our company's laptops are very locked down, all internet request go through proxies, and they bar access to personal email sites, social networking etc (I work in a highly regulated industry). So I carry an external hard drive and just boot from that into Linux - the internal drive is encrypted and the two OSs never know the other exists. Works great.

more than 2 years ago

Researchers Discover "Magnetic Current"

Abroun Re:Maxwell Equations (249 comments)

Div.B=0 That '0' explicitly says that magnetic monopoles don't exist. So Maxwell's equations DO claim that they don't. Now, those equations are based on experimental observation, so really it's saying that "we've never seen one" rather than expressing any deep underlying reason that they shouldn't exist.

more than 5 years ago

Using a House's Concrete Foundation To Cool a PC

Abroun Not convinced... (465 comments)

First, you can use anything (flexible or not) to connect from the copper pipe to wherever in the house you're going...so the arguments about being locked in one place don't...ahem..hold water. But...while the concrete slab is going to be a nice big thermal anchor, you also have to look at how quickly heat will disperse through the slab. You might end up with a hot core around the pipe that dissipates more slowly than you'd like. It will show up as the water slowly heats up on you. Not that hard to calculate...look up the thermal conductivity of concrete, and calculate the thermal gradient you're going to get for a given power input...will fall off like r^2 for a 1-d pipe.

more than 5 years ago

Google Announces Chrome OS, For Release Mid-2010

Abroun Don't focus on installing the OS (1089 comments)

Lots of comments here are (rightly) skeptical that individuals will download a new OS. But that's probably not Google's main intended audience. Running on PCs is a happy (if necessary) side effect of the Intel-dominant world. The most basic and original function of an OS is to mediate access to the hardware. Windows got where it is today by 'owning' the hardware ecosystem, from the original IBM PC through all the gazillion peripherals, Intel iterations etc etc. Then they cemented leadership by pushing the app suite (Office) that is the de-facto standard for business. If you want to challenge Windows you have to tackle the hardware problem. It's only recently that open-source has had the critical mass to address this. And it's in the past 12-24 months that new classes of hardware have begun to emerge to challenge the PC. So my guess is that Google sees the planets aligning, and are aiming NOT at displacing Windows on the classic PC platform, but creating a free and viable alternative for all the new classes of hardware they hope we'll be migrating to...netbooks, tablets, uber-phones, embedded, whatever. Disruption! Love it.

more than 5 years ago


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