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Which desktop environment do you like the best?

Digi-John stumpwm (611 comments)

It's a tiling window manager written in Common Lisp, which means I can change any of the behavior on the fly. I guess you can do the same with xmonad, but I don't know Haskell, I do know a bit of Lisp.

Unlike a lot of tiling window managers, it does user-defined "static" layouts. You start with a single frame covering the whole screen. You can split that vertically or horizontally. You can then split either of the new frames vertically or horizontally, and so on. When I used to use i3 and xmonad, I'd get annoyed when my windows kept moving around and resizing whenever I opened/closed a window. Now I have a few different virtual desktops with layouts I find useful. Browsing on one, with a big frame for the browser and some smaller ones on the sides for xterms. Programming has half the screen for emacs, the other half for an xterm or two.

It takes a second or two to start, because let's face it, modern Lisp implementations are slow to launch, but once it's running it's quite responsive. Memory footprint isn't tiny (we're running a full Common Lisp system here), but I'd wager it's still smaller than KDE, GNOME, or Unity.

One thing I really loved was that the default keybindings were good. The default keybindings in WMs like i3 often eat a bunch of bindings for other programs--I had a hell of a time using i3 and emacs at the same time, for instance. Most of the commands are prefixed with a Ctrl-T, so you'd hit "C-t c" to create a new terminal, sort of like doing an Emacs command (C-x C-s). Yes, I know you want Ctrl-T to open a new tab in your browser; to send a Ctrl-T, you just hit it twice (C-t C-t). You can also add keybindings to the running WM using a little snippet of Lisp code, and if you like it, stick that in your .stumpwm file so it works every time. I left most things default but added Alt- to switch between desktops.

about 7 months ago
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Has Supercomputing Hit a Brick Wall?

Digi-John Re:No? (185 comments)

The thing about scientific computing is that scientists like to write MPI and Fortran. They just love that shit. And they are traditionally really resistant to any new programming model. So when you tell them they need to start using XYZ instead of MPI so their programs can actually complete at exascale *before* hardware failure, they get unhappy and instead implement things like checkpoint/restore that takes 70% of the runtime. Source: I work in HPC.

about a year and a half ago
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Sandia Lab Fires Up 300,000 Virtual Android Devices To Test Out Security

Digi-John Re:Clusters (39 comments)

I don't know what a Beowolf cluster is either. I am, however, familiar with Beowulf clusters, an overly fancy name for "a bunch of commodity computers running MPI". MegaDroid is not a Beowulf cluster, nor does it run on a Beowulf cluster.

more than 2 years ago
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Sandia Lab Fires Up 300,000 Virtual Android Devices To Test Out Security

Digi-John Re:Virtual Android devices? (39 comments)

A "virtual android device" is an instance of Android-x86 running in a KVM virtual machine, which takes advantage of hardware virtualization instructions to give better performance. You could take the same software and install it on a desktop PC, assuming Android-x86 includes the appropriate drivers.

more than 2 years ago
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Sandia Lab Fires Up 300,000 Virtual Android Devices To Test Out Security

Digi-John Re:Virtual Android devices? (39 comments)

Actually, each virtual machine has a VNC session running. And they run on 520 desktops with i7 processors and 12 GB of RAM each.

more than 2 years ago
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Survey Finds Cheating Among Students At All GPA Levels

Digi-John Re:It's not just drugs. Sometimes it's culture, to (333 comments)

At least at my school, it was clearly (and frequently) explained what plagiarism is and exactly what happens if they find you pulling that kind of stuff. Now, maybe if you come in as a 3rd year or something like that you might be able to miss all the talks, but I think any school would be extremely remiss if they neglected to give that sort of orientation to incoming foreign students.

As a personal anecdote, semi-related, my girlfriend is from India. She has a cousin back home who is paying somebody to attend college for her, so she can get a teaching degree. It blew my mind that yes, it's considered acceptable to do this--her whole family knows, and at least the ones over there don't see any problem with it.

more than 3 years ago
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Inferno OS Running On Android Phones

Digi-John Re:MeeGo? (109 comments)

It should actually be easier than Android. MeeGo seems much more of a standard Linux system, and Inferno already supports Linux/arm systems. It's up to you to run Inferno as an app on top of the MeeGo graphical layers, or to strip things down to the kernel/utilities layer and build from there, like we did.

more than 3 years ago
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Biological 'Logic Circuit' Destroys Cancer Cells

Digi-John Re:They can't say "AND" gate (98 comments)

It would be far better to just make a NAND. You can build any logical function out of NAND gates.

more than 3 years ago
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James Gosling Leaves Google

Digi-John Re:Oracle? (192 comments)

I have helped write non-trivial programs in Go. It's quite pleasant. I think the big reason Google hasn't bothered to provide "adequate tooling" is the developers. That is, I think many of the creators and big users prefer to just work with a plain text editor rather than an IDE. There's a reasonably decent Emacs mode for Go, but it's readable enough without any syntax highlighting, and gofmt will fix your indentation and such for you. As for the debugger, well, there's http://blog.golang.org/2010/11/debugging-go-code-status-report.html (very old but even then they already had GDB support going), but as the first line says, "When it comes to debugging, nothing beats a few strategic print statements to inspect variables or a well-placed panic to obtain a stack trace", which is all I ever used to debug my Go code--and found it reasonably painless! Oh, and regarding generics--I'm not sure they'll ever go in. It is proposed CONSTANTLY on the mailing list, and Pike et al always indicate that they're not interested.

more than 3 years ago
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I've lost more computers to ...

Digi-John Re:20 years and kicking (317 comments)

PDP-11/23 (with 4 MB of RAM and a 512x512 framebuffer card!) in my apartment. It still works but the hard drives I have for it are shot.

more than 3 years ago
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Sports Bars Changing Channels For Video Gamers

Digi-John Re:Still not a sport, try as you may.. (351 comments)

Being on the new Sci-Fi Channel (sorry, SyFy) seems to make things into giant crocodile movies and professional wrestling.

more than 3 years ago
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Negroponte Sees Sugar As OLPC's Biggest Mistake

Digi-John mistakes (268 comments)

When your customized system takes 2-3 times as long to boot as Windows on the same hardware, you probably have made a mistake. Maybe next time don't write it all in python.

more than 5 years ago
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Researcher Trolls MMO, Surprised When Players Hate Him

Digi-John Re:If it's within the rules, it's within the rules (895 comments)

Of interest in the "players set the rules" topic is LambdaMOO, where players actually sent in petitions which became ballots which were voted on and implemented. Frequently, a ballot to permanently shut down the game was submitted; luckily, they never passed. Other ballots would include changes in quota policy, new user policy, etc.

more than 5 years ago
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The Science of Folding@home

Digi-John Not particularly efficient... (88 comments)

Compare the FAH systems to BlueGene/P. BlueGene is made up of System-on-Chip PowerPC computers, stuck on DIMM-like cards and then put into arrays, which go into racks, etc. Hugely power efficient, in part because each system doesn't maintain a disk and other crap.

On the other hand, your home computer is inefficient in terms of both heat, power, and space, because it has to run all the other hardware stuff you don't have in a proper supercomputer.

more than 5 years ago
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MS Word 2010 Takes On TeX

Digi-John Re:Low (674 comments)

Replying for truth--every (mostly CS or supercomputing) conference I can think of wants PDF, with some accepting LaTeX or troff.

more than 5 years ago
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MS Word 2010 Takes On TeX

Digi-John Re:Low (674 comments)

Real computer science students (and the computer engineering students who end up taking the classes too) are smart enough to pick up Unix as they work through the CS courses. It's a good idea to have one or two class sessions to talk about Unix, but having actual Unix courses seems rather silly.

So yeah, if they're teaching a full course on just using Unix, it's probably IT.

more than 5 years ago
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Is Your Mood a Result of Where You Live?

Digi-John Re:My mood? (364 comments)

I spent a longer-than-is-healthy period of time trying to figure out to build a mostly safe EMP device to fry cars at stoplights with stereos that do that.

HERF gun.

more than 5 years ago
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Persistent Terminals For a Dedicated Computing Box?

Digi-John Re:Yeah it makes sense (288 comments)

Synthesizing FPGA designs (the given example) is not graphics-intensive.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

Journals

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OpenMosix Cluster, part 2

Digi-John Digi-John writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Well, I have added significantly to the cluster webpage. There are some pictures of the cluster and a bit more information on what I am doing.

The other day I was sent a response to my request for things to run on the cluster. This is a project with programs to calculate pi to however many digits you want. I have started the OpenMosix version and told it to calculate to 1 trillion digits, which will probably take a few days.

Keep checking the website, I do add stuff from time to time. Next up are some screenshots from the master node. By the way, my SETI@home account for the cluster has completed 118 units, with 3592 CPU hours contributed over a real time of 849 hours.

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OpenMosix Cluster

Digi-John Digi-John writes  |  about 11 years ago

Since school started this year, I've been working on an OpenMosix cluster as an independent study project. Having set up 8 nodes, I am almost out of workspace and will probably stop at the current level. I have something like 1200 Megs of RAM total, and the collective processing power of 8 Pentium and Pentium II processors. As soon as I can get a connection to the network I will begin running seti@home and other distributed projects, comparing the performance to that of, say, my home computer. (I may have to drill a hole in the wall to get network access.)

There is a log and information page available at this site which covers what I've been doing.

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