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Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

IAmR007 Re: Why? (2219 comments)

The mod system is far better than any sort of system where people can vote as much as they want. The quality of the comments here are far better than they have ever been on Digg, Reddit, etc. The mod system ends up doing a pretty good job with debates. It's not just the most popular or vote manipulated side that gets seen. While the beta doesn't do away with that entirely, hiding or collapsing the low-ranked comments is a big part of encouraging good comments. I believe it's a big reason as to why Slashdot is still around.

about 7 months ago
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First Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Emerge In the United States

IAmR007 Re:Natural selection (618 comments)

I find that when discussing social issues, in general, people tend to assume everyone is rational. Many social problems wouldn't exist if people were always rational. However, you have to expect such failures when dealing with a large number of people. Just as in engineering, the goal should be for things to fail gracefully rather than catastrophically. There will always be people who take horrible drugs, and there isn't enough emphasis on the "fail gracefully" part: programs that will help them recover.

about a year ago
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What the Insurance Industry Thinks About Climate Change

IAmR007 Re:You would trust insurance companies on this? (385 comments)

Climate modeling is definitely hard to do, but they definitely aren't worthless. So far, the models seem to have been underestimates, which may be problems with the models, or may indicate that we are underestimating global warming. Perhaps, if we can model the climate at or beyond the exascale, we will find that we don't need to be as cautious. For the meantime, though, I think it best to err on the side of caution.

about a year ago
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What the Insurance Industry Thinks About Climate Change

IAmR007 Re:You would trust insurance companies on this? (385 comments)

Weather models and climate models look at an entirely different scales. Both involve complex fluid dynamics and such, but look at a different scale. Weather forecasting tries to predict the chaos. Climate modeling, on the other hand, concerns the patterns. A model of the Earth in current conditions can then be modified to have increasing greenhouse gases, geological cycles, etc. Some of those, like geological cycles, occur at a rate several orders of magnitude slower than what we are currently seeing. Just because computer models are virtual doesn't mean they can't be used to experiment. Computer models are vital for our understanding of things at extreme scales. Source: Masters in High Performance Computing

about a year ago
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Nokia: Microsoft Must Evolve To Make Windows Phone a Success

IAmR007 Re:Good luck .. (230 comments)

Nokia should have stuck with Qt.

about a year ago
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Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping

IAmR007 Re:Parallel is not necessarily better (98 comments)

Well, x86 CPUs are designed to do a hell of a lot more than compute. Their advanced caches and other complex features take a lot of die area but make them well suited for general computing and complex algorithms.

You are right that our current algorithms will have to change. That's one of the major problems in exascale research. Even debugging is changing, too, with many more visual hints to sort through millions of logs. Algorithms may start becoming non-deterministic to reduce the need to communicate, for example. Of course, I'm referring to millions of cores, here. Desktop applications using a few cores is a much simpler task, but still an area that a lot of developers lack good training in. At least the methods have been largely figured out for things at the consumer and server level.

about a year ago
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Adapteva Parallella Supercomputing Boards Start Shipping

IAmR007 Parallel is not necessarily better (98 comments)

I'm skeptical as to how useful this chip will be. High core counts are making supercomputing more and more difficult. Supercomputing isn't about getting massively parallel, but rather high compute performance, memory performance, and interconnect performance. If you can get the same performance out of fewer cores, then there will usually be less stress on interconnects. Parallel computing is a way to get around the limitations on building insanely fast non-parallel computers, not something that's particularly ideal. For things like graphics that are easily parallel, it's not much of a problem, but collective operations on supercomputers with hundreds of thousands to millions of cores are one of the largest bottlenecks in HPC code.

Supercomputers are usually just measured by their floating point performance, but that's not really what makes a supercomputer a supercomputer. You can get a cluster of computers with high end graphics cards, but that doesn't make it a supercomputer. Such clusters have a more limited scope than supercomputers due to limited interconnect bandwidth. There was even debate as to how useful GPUs would really be in supercomputers due to memory bandwidth being the most common bottleneck. Supercomputers tend to have things like Infiniband networking in multidimensional torus configurations. These fast interconnects give the ability to efficiently work on problems that depend on neighboring regions, and are even then a leading bottleneck. When you get to millions of processors, even things like FFT that have, in the past, been sufficiently parallel, start becoming problems.

Things like Parallella could be decent learning tools, but having tons of really weak cores isn't really desirable for most applications.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Encrypted Digital Camera/Recording Devices?

IAmR007 Re:Why (285 comments)

You have to turn over keys, but don't have to turn over passwords, as keys are written down and passwords are memorized. So, make sure the private key has a good long password and uses as good of an algorithm as you can.

about a year ago
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Clues of Life's Origins Found In Galactic Cloud

IAmR007 Re:Hey, wait a sec... (80 comments)

Another problem in searching for life is that anything that is intelligent enough to start outputting radio transmissions will take time to evolve to that point. There may be quite a few advanced civilizations out there, but light only travels so fast.

about a year and a half ago
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Did Google Tip Off EU About Microsoft Browser Ballot?

IAmR007 Re:Who cares? (187 comments)

Judging by Windows 8's design, a 1920x1200,2560x1600,1920x1200 display configuration is just a really really big phone.

about a year and a half ago
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Shuttleworth On Ubuntu Community Drama

IAmR007 Re:!Hypocrisy! (302 comments)

My biggest complaint about their new projects is that they're all so intertwined, and don't work well on other distros. It seems they've completely thrown the modularity principle of Unix design philosophy out the window. The same can be said about udev, systemd, networkmanager, etc. Keep things human readable and independent. If anything, the direction things should be moving in is like plan 9, where you can make unrelated programs work together in awesome ways by chaining programs together.

about a year and a half ago
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Global Temperatures Are Close To 11,000-Year Peak

IAmR007 Re:Yay (416 comments)

It's not about the change itself, but rather the rate of change. The closest things to the current rate of climate change are extinction events. Humans have a huge impact on how well the environment does. It's hardly a situation where our actions are irrelevant. Humans have created massive ecological disasters in the past, and it took a lot of government intervention to get people doing things correctly. Just read about the Dust Bowl. That was caused by the fertile soil lulling farmers into thinking they didn't need crop rotation. The US government actually had to pay the farmers to get them to use proper farming techniques, as they all wanted maximum short term production.

about a year and a half ago
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Florida Sinkhole Highlights State's Geologic Instability

IAmR007 Re:Who would have thought (206 comments)

Another city that is in for a great deal of natural disaster damage is Tacoma, Washington. There hasn't been much geological activity since the city was built, so it's not something many people in the area really think about. First of all, it's basically on the coast with little protection from tsunamis; the Cascadia subduction zone is due for a 9+ earthquake. The buildings in the region don't have nearly as good earthquake proofing as Japan, either. Seattle will get hit, too. Secondly, the river Tacoma is built on comes from Mt Rainier, which would produce massive lahars and bury a good chunk of the city in mud. It seems it's the rare events that are particularly hard to avoid. Mt. Vesuvius also has a large population around it these days, and we all know how that turned out for the Ancient Greeks.

about a year and a half ago
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President Obama Calls For New 'Space Race' Funding

IAmR007 Re:Not gonna happen (291 comments)

To add to that, the vast majority of hard science has always been government funded for the precise purpose that there isn't any money in the science itself. This work has been funded either directly from the government (such as Newton at Cambridge), or the scientist was a member of the aristocracy. Sure, there can be inventions making use of that new science, but the science often comes far ahead of the practical applications. Those who think the government shouldn't be involved in science don't understand the difference between science and technology and should read some history.

about a year and a half ago
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Bit9 Hacked, Stolen Certs Used To Sign Malware

IAmR007 Re:Serves them right (65 comments)

The problem is that Microsoft had the manufacturers use an implentation that's hard to use for non-Microsoft OS's. The FSF proposed a fair implementation, but Microsoft said no. That alone proves what their goal is.

about a year and a half ago
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Deloitte: Use a Longer Password In 2013. Seriously.

IAmR007 Re:not my problem (538 comments)

X.509 authentication is quite a bit more secure than passwords and dead easy to use. However, it relies on the user keeping the certificate safe. Smartcards fix that problem, but most devices don't have built-in support for them.

about a year and a half ago
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Deloitte: Use a Longer Password In 2013. Seriously.

IAmR007 Re:I love old news. (538 comments)

Just look at how insecure credit cards are. They could at least make them smartcard-only devices and use real cryptographic security. As for online banking, USB smartcard readers are cheap.

On the other hand, when banks are dealing with each other's money, they can really go all out on security. Although the range is still limited, several banks have set up point to point high quality fiber lines with quantum cryptography devices on either end, which is perfectly secure like one-time-pads.

about a year and a half ago
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Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews Arrive

IAmR007 Re:Laptop==no stylus==no thanks (was Re:Can I just (320 comments)

Wacoms are active digitizers. They actively sense where the stylus is with an antenna that sits behind the screen. The stylus itself is active as well, using induction. The pen's circuitry then sends back a signal indicating its rotation, angle, and tip pressure. You can make an active digitizer draw by pressing the tip without even touching the screen, and hover actions can be used due to being able to sense the pen above the screen.

about a year and a half ago
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Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews Arrive

IAmR007 Re:It's a laptop... (320 comments)

The whole point of a tablet is that it's more portable than a laptop. As someone who has used a nice stylus-based convertable tablet/laptop for several years, I feel confident saying that touch based input is only superior in a dual device for a very niche list of applications. Even an accurate stylus is only useful when needing to draw or write math. Even a mouse is inefficient enough that shortuct keys are ubiquitous in GUIs. Additionally, Microsoft has forgotten that blocking view of the screen is distracting and very bad UI design; this applies to both touch input and the new "start" menu.

about a year and a half ago
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Microsoft Surface Pro Reviews Arrive

IAmR007 Re:Can I just ask (320 comments)

I have a Fujitsu t5010. The tablet functionality on a full blown laptop is very nice for students or anyone else who needs to be able to draw, write math, and type. Adding touch/stylus functionality to a laptop is a high-end feature, and the main drawback for current models are that too many corners were cut. A hybrid has to have substantially better hinges than a normal laptop, which is something the more expensive Fujitsu hybrids excell at, but is nonexistant in the case of the Surface Pro.

The reason hybrids haven't taken off is that they are a very niche product. Nothing in my Masters program requires more than a keyboard, so I no longer use the tablet functionality. An artist would need a very high end system with a very good screen and full wacom integration, which would carry such a high price tag, I've never seen such a system.

Because tablet functionality is useless when you need to be productive (have a real mouse and keyboard for tactile feedback), what I see as the best course of action would be to design laptops and tablets to pair via a connection like USB 3.0. The laptop could provide the raw processing power if required, and the tablet could clip to the back of a monitor and disable the laptop's lid-closed power switch for ease of use without a table. This would also allow for quick keyboard access and dual screen real estate when working at a table.

about a year and a half ago

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