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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Euler Re:What's the point? (508 comments)

Mean == average (sum of samples / number of samples)
Median == 50th percentile within the set of samples.
Mean != median (unless by chance the distribution is symmetrical.)

When an even number of samples exists, the common practice is to find the median between the two central samples by averaging the two. But that does not imply an average of the whole data set.

about a week ago
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If Java Wasn't Cool 10 Years Ago, What About Now?

Euler Re:What's the point? (508 comments)

Or visual basic

about a week ago
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Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

Euler Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (275 comments)

The real question is whether the rules of engagement in various scenarios keep the F35 beyond visual range or not. Military planners like to have that capability, but often in modern warfare, the rules of engagement require visual confirmation. Also, once the stuff hits the fan in a larger conflict, sheer numbers of opponents and battlefield confusion might close that distance quickly. Once the enemy can see you visually, they can target you with a variety or means besides radar and traditional maneuverability and speed become crucial. Also, an opponent having even a low-quality/low-frequency radar hit from a ground station on an F35 will give enough warning for opponent force to take evasive actions.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

That is very true, but for several reasons:
1) location: embedded work is not necessarily something you find in every city. Much of it is concentrated in cities like the SF Bay area, Detroit (cars are at least still designed there), place where aerospace is. So much of consumer devices are designed off-shore now.
2) how talent is scouted: in my job-seeking experience, most engineering jobs are never posted. And the jobs that are posted are vaporware or duplicates of jobs already filled - usually just to help recruiters fill their databases in case a job opens up. Sometimes you have to cold-call HR departments or work with head-hunters. Hiring of friends or classmates is very common, so it pays to know people.
3) HR: jobs that need embedded programmers are often listed more generically by HR if they don't understand the significance of embedded vs. systems or applications programming. Often people find themselves doing embedded programming when the job description was simply an EE-type job posting for hardware design.

about three weeks ago
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Algorithm Predicts US Supreme Court Decisions 70% of Time

Euler Re:biased algorith (177 comments)

You could train it with 80% of the historical data and see if it predicts the next 20% of historical data.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:Beards and suspenders. (637 comments)

Things that require assembly:
- special instructions that the compiler didn't support, but that need to be manipulated
- extensions to the instruction set like DSP, SIMD, etc. Compilers generally won't automatically make use of these. If you are lucky, your compiler has macros that basically translate to asm instructions.
- math operations not supported effectively in the abstract concepts of your programming language (overflow, carry, etc.)
- access to data types or structures that your language cannot support effectively
- work-around compiler bugs or limitations
- access to special memory areas that the compiler doesn't understand
- code that just won't run fast enough or use resources efficiently from the compiler

Granted, C++ on x86 or ARM probably has enough maturity to avoid these issues. But these are daily occurrences on embedded platforms.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:ASM (637 comments)

There is a turtle standing on silicon at some point. Get a micro-controller evaluation kit and twiddle some bits. Write a "Hello World", and no using that fancy printf stuff. Write the bits to the UART and manage the status flags.

Then just for fun, do some add with carry to a longer int type.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:"Real programming" is BS (637 comments)

The things you list are excellent. Without understanding basic pitfalls and trade-offs, no amount of MIPS or RAM can save you.
6502 was very limiting; I'm grateful that we have cheap micros that can do 30 MIPS instead of 0.5 MIPS. So whole new classes of problems can be solved in real-time. But embedded programming is still a place were bytes and number of instructions are a big deal.

It boggles my mind how inconsiderate programmers have become where a news webpage can bring a multi-GHz 64 bit CPU to its knees.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

Euler Re:Not this again. (637 comments)

Embedded systems may not get the attention of mobile apps or web development, but they are literally surrounding you. They are everything but a niche. Every entertainment device, appliance, furnace/AC, remote control, toys, car, cable modem, etc. And they all run on low-cost processors where bits and instruction cycles make a difference.

about three weeks ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

Euler Re:Fusion (377 comments)

True. My only criticism of projects like ITER, NIF, etc. are that they are more academic than deliberate in achieving energy generation anytime this century. Granted, you have to work out the fusion part first, but then what? Do we wait another 50-100 years for the anointed project scientists to build a working power plant? We need tons of engineering going into this - now.

The ROI of fusion research is unimaginable if it ultimately works out. $20 billion _per year_ should be the least we could do. We should keep throwing ITER a bone _and_ triple whatever domestic (USA) programs we have currently. Get multiple projects in the pipeline, humanity cannot wait much longer.

Ending energy scarcity forever is _the_ most important thing humanity will have done up to this date. Wealth, poverty, hunger, and greed will have very little meaning when energy is virtually free. On the other hand, there is much political denial since it would certainly be a game changer for those in power.

The same effort that went into the Manhattan project, or the Apollo program should just be a given here. Being over-budget is rather meaningless; you could be over-budget by 10x, and I wouldn't bat an eye. The Manhattan project built multiple enormous facilities in parallel. Laying foundations for enrichment refineries that weren't even designed yet. That took some leap of faith.

You have to take a lot of false paths and then breakthroughs can happen unexpectedly. But we won't get there by not trying at all. Until it is proven to be impossible, the risk of dropping a few tens of billions a year to end energy scarcity forever is a reasonable gamble.

about a month ago
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The Truth About Solar Storms

Euler Re:Another ignorant fearmongering article (91 comments)

DC voltages would be blocked at the transformer. The miles-long transmission lines wouldn't carry a DC voltage into your house unless the protective gear on the pole failed somehow. The transformer itself could likely overheat leaving you without power later on.

about a month ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

Euler Fusion (377 comments)

The answer to just about all of our problems. Yet how much effort are we really putting in.

about a month ago
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Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

Euler Re:old news from decades ago (199 comments)

Your statement is perfectly true.

Unfortunately, faulty compilers are more than just hypothetical. But besides that...

Even with a perfect compiler, the knowledge it takes to avoid these 'equal semantics' traps is beyond most experienced programmers (no matter how much our egos say otherwise.) But otherwise, I totally agree that most 'optimizer bugs' I've seen are just lack of understanding by the programmer. The compiler rightfully saw its solution as equivalent to what the source code stated.

I think there should be a rule of thumb: "Every year of programming experience gets you halfway closer to knowing all the gotchas"

So we can blame the programmer, but that isn't going to produce better code in the real world. The tools and languages need to meet with common expectations. If that means taking a more "secure by default" approach then so be it. The experts can choose to take off the training wheels with pragmas or additional compiler options.

about 2 months ago
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Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

Euler Re:old news from decades ago (199 comments)

I don't think any language is portable at that level, so you may as well use asm (my preference is linked instead of inline to ensure a clean and simple abstraction.) Every processor has different math status registers and different math instruction capabilities. I'm not sure how C can express these things.

about 2 months ago
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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Euler Re:You make it... (519 comments)

Life is hardly based on facts - that information just isn't always available. Humans generally create good outcomes based on limited information. When school administrator have wildly bad judgement they usually get booted out by parents and/or school board.

about 3 months ago
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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Euler Re:You make it... (519 comments)

It would only take a few motivated parents to vote in new school board members to remedy that.

about 3 months ago
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UK Ballistics Scientists: 3D-Printed Guns Are 'of No Use To Anyone'

Euler Re:But... (490 comments)

Does gun control save lives in Mexico, Russia, or dozens of other places it is on the law books? Statistics do lie if you cherry pick the results you prefer. I'd promote gun control if I thought it had a strong correlation to reducing violence. But it doesn't, the results are lost in the statistical noise. I'd prefer to look at the issues of poverty, inequality, education, abuse, mental health, addiction, etc.

The USA is not and analogue to Canada, UK, or Australia. We have massive social problems more like a 3rd world country. We also like to make laws and then not follow them.

There may be innovative approaches to gun control, but simple bans, license, or registration are constantly ignored on the black market by criminals.

about 3 months ago
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Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Euler Re:Cash and checks (117 comments)

I have to agree that the CC company makes a difference, Capital One has always been the one to tell me when something bad has happened. Slight inconvenience to me. Somebody besides me ate the cost (probably Capital One.) So obviously their business model is profitable enough to not really worry too much.

That being said, it is about F'ing time that retailers and CC companies make the investment into chip and pin systems. Not perfect, but would basically shut down most causal card skimmers. The one-time card numbers for online transactions are a good compromise, especially considering it might be difficult to get the card reading devices at the home-user level.

about 3 months ago
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Teacher Tenure Laws Ruled Unconstitutional In California

Euler Re:Good (519 comments)

I agree that many schools bend the rules for athletics, music, theater, chess club, whatever... But I've never seen how tenure stopped that injustice.

Hard teachers should be unpopular... good, effective teachers that help kids pass Regents, SAT, and AP tests are popular. If you live in a place that doesn't care about those things, then feel free to ignore this post.

about 3 months ago

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