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Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

aberglas Re:Or maybe it's because (233 comments)

+1. Our fast changing world is not stable over large timescales.

2 days ago
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Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

aberglas Re:One lift per lift well is not efficient either (242 comments)

Or, just have stops along the way.

There only needs to be one lift that goes all the way to the top, and that is only for the King.

Another issue is that it takes more time for even a fast lift to get all the way to the top of a large building. So the number of transactions per hour goes way down.

2 days ago
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Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

aberglas One lift per lift well is not efficient either (242 comments)

A big building will have a lot of people and require a lot of lifts. If there is only one lift per well then there will need to be a lot of wells. Most of the building, in fact, would end up as lift well.

The solution is "simple". Allow multiple lifts per well, and allow the lifts to overtake each other. All while dangling on this new tech rope. Hmm.

2 days ago
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Barrett Brown, Formerly of Anonymous, Sentenced To 63 Months

aberglas Why only in America? (110 comments)

Australia, Canada and the UK are hardly perfect. But this type of legal abuse is unheard of. Somehow the courts have remained independent of politics. There are no huge sentences handed down for trivial crimes. And plea bargaining is nothing like as bad.

Is it really true that the religious right are so law and order driven?

about a week ago
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Barrett Brown, Formerly of Anonymous, Sentenced To 63 Months

aberglas Re: There is no anonymity (110 comments)

You should not talk about your wife in that way.

about a week ago
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Eric Holder Severely Limits Civil Forfeiture

aberglas Why only in America? (316 comments)

Looking from Australia we admire the focus of the US constitution on civil rights etc. None of that is in the Australian constitution, and the UK does not even have one.

Yet the US has these crazy laws. Civil forfeiture, way out of control plea bargaining, no legal representation for the poor, and, until relatively recently, slavery. I do not think that any other country in the western world has abuses to anything like that level.

Does the US constitution actually remove people's rights? Or would the situation be even worse without it?

about two weeks ago
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An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI

aberglas Short Term vs Long Term Issues. (227 comments)

There are two distinct issues. The first is what will happen over the next several decades as robots leave the factor and surveillance becomes omniscient. Will there be utopia or unemployment and slavery. Only the future will tell.

The other question is what happens in the longer term (> 50 years) when software finally becomes genuinely more intelligent than people, and starts to program itself. I think the answer to that is clear, based on natural selection. The software will be competing with other software, just like it is today. Why would it want to have an albatross around its neck by looking after us?

about two weeks ago
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Rust Programming Language Reaches 1.0 Alpha

aberglas Re:Obligatory (161 comments)

eh, don't take it so personally. This is Slash Dot.

But it is true that many of the criticisms of Java-like languages are based on old misunderstandings. (I am an old Lisp guy.)

Certainly there are idiot decisions in the design of Java specifically. Such as that strings require Two objects on the heap each. And are UTF-16. Not being able to share pure coded. And the c# structs are good. But overall there is not the performance penalty that is claimed. I have even worked on real time Lisp systems -- just made sure no garbage collection was needed during the real time part.

My guess is that about 90% of "system programming" could be made in a Java like language. The old Lisp machines had their O/S written in Lisp on hardware that had to be run efficiently.

No exceptions are a real killer for me. Yes C++ got them wrong but having a good quarter of the code testing for exceptions (probably badly) is not OK.

As to taming threading, that part of Rust could be much more interesting. But I did not understand it from the description. My personal preference is for independent processes, with only copy semantics for sharing. One of the worst things about Java is that it makes process creation expensive, and so kills this approach. But a partitioned memory space might be good.

Anthony

about two weeks ago
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Rust Programming Language Reaches 1.0 Alpha

aberglas Re:Obligatory (161 comments)

Yes, Java does not let you take the address of a local variable. And it is no big deal. C# does in a controlled manner for parameters only, so is safe and efficient. Both have excellent whole program JIT optimizers that will do powerful things. Just because you write

    f = new Foo()

Does not necessarily mean that anything actually gets put on the heap if Java/C# can see that it does not need to be. C# is better because it allows structs inline, but even this lack has not been an issue in Java.

It is an old result that properly written garbage collection is often faster than explicit malloc/frees. The bigger issue is that garbage collected languages tend to produce more garbage because there is no need to write code that collects it.

In a few benchmarks that I have done over the years Lisp and Java have proven to be faster than C. Usually for odd reasons like a programmer forgetting to inline a critical function. When fixed they run withing 20%.

But this is slashdot. So any programming language that does not permit
    while (*x++ !=0)
is clearly grossly inefficient. Of course it is important to be able to increment a pointer to arbitrary memory. And there will always be a null eventually...

about three weeks ago
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Mercedes-Benz's Self-Driving Concept Car Is Here

aberglas Re:When they test these autonomous cars... (167 comments)

+1. Brilliant. You have the answer.

Dirverless cars just need somebody to walk ten paces in front of them ringing a bell. That will make them safe.

(Realistically, cars that can "only" drive down freeways on sunny days will be very useful and here very soon. Despite all the recalcitrants on slash dots.)

about three weeks ago
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Space Policy Guru John Logsdon Has Good News and Bad News On NASA Funding

aberglas Re:how is that good news? (78 comments)

+1. Cancel the completely pointless ISS and we will have the Webb, probes on Europa, you name it.

about three weeks ago
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Writer: How My Mom Got Hacked

aberglas Re:This is why Time Machine is such a boon... (463 comments)

+1. Out of the box Windows only comes with junkware for backups, after all these years. So there is no good way for an ordinary user to back up their files. I have written some scripts, but cannot expect an end user to do that.

It is also better to back up to write once DVDs. Otherwise malware can get at your backups. But data has bloated beyond DVD sizes and there is no good software to help.

about three weeks ago
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Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

aberglas Re:Dupe (840 comments)

I do fix stuff. Often fairly easily. But I would have to admit that spending an hour fixing a $50 gadget that will still be old when done is not an economical use of time.

The other problem for me is the Australia Tax. Parts for white goods etc. are ridiculously expensive. E.g. solinoid for fridge $170 vs $28 in USA (which the wrong voltage and requires more time bodgying it up). That is because nobody fixes things any more. Anyone that is silly enough to pay a repair man $100 to come and say it is not worth fixing can afford to pay the ridiculous prices for parts.

about three weeks ago
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Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services

aberglas But Google can Analyze the data (281 comments)

People forget that the NSA is now a huge government bureaucracy. Sure they sniff a lot of data, but I'd bet pennies to pounds that the software that they use to analyze it is as broken as most other large government systems.

Google, on the other hand, has yet to become an unworkable bureaucracy (I give it another 5 years). They do have tools and expertise, so your data on Google is not only available to the NSA, it is actually *accessible*, which makes it far more potent.

about a month and a half ago
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French Cabbies Say They'll Block Paris Roads On Monday Over Uber

aberglas Taxi Drivers are NOT Taxi Owners (295 comments)

Unless Paris is very different from elsewhere, the people that drive taxis do not own the licenses. The drivers derive no benefit from the license, the drivers get paid below minimum wage rates on contracts.

But most Taxi drivers seem to believe that they benefit from the licensing, from paying maybe 55% of their income to the license owner. Whereas many of them would be better off just driving for Uber. Or at least no worse off.

about a month and a half ago
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Australia Pushes Ahead With Website Blocking In Piracy Fight

aberglas Re:You are looking too deep (100 comments)

Indeed. But that does not mean that phase 2 censorship will not come in soon afterwards.

I think that the extent that Labor got burnt by the anti-censorship back lash will give the Liberals pause. Most of them don't know or care, but Turnbull does understand.

about a month and a half ago
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Google Releases Android Studio 1.0, the First Stable Version of Its IDE

aberglas Re:goodbye Eclipse! (115 comments)

The best thing about Eclipse is the many features that it copied from IntelliJ (which is the basis for Android Studio, apparently).

I'd like to see the android environment ported to PCs, so that I can use it for thick client development too.

And then there is the question of HTML5. Will Android development continue to be relevant?

about 2 months ago
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Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

aberglas Re:Google engineers... (239 comments)

Yes and that is what I did. But it is not easy, and 99% of users just used sent mail. And even when done it does not group related messages. So no, not close to the GMail threading.

I actually do not think that there was a single widely used EMail system that supported threading in the way No News did.

What is sad is that labels and threading are the type of features added by smart engineers in small teams, which is what GMail would have been long ago. But it is not the sort of thing that the MBAs that run large teams would do. They do cost benefit analysis, end user surveys, study the in flight magazines and thereby attempt to create a faster horse. Hence all the changes to GMail in the last 10 years are cosmetic rubbish following fashions, often making the actual email harder to read (e.g. picking apart long threads). Products generally have a short initial innovative phase, and then if they are successful they are squashed by management.

I think that whatever Inbox turns out to be it will be the end of GMail for me.

about 2 months ago
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Google Hopes To One Day Replace Gmail With Inbox

aberglas Re:Google engineers... (239 comments)

Sure, Usenet viewers used threading back in the 1990s.

But inventing something is nothing. Popularizing is everything. Until GMail ALL the major mail clients just used a nasty sent mail box. Thunderbird, Outlook, Lotus, Eudora, all of them.

Anthony

about 2 months ago
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Hawking Warns Strong AI Could Threaten Humanity

aberglas Re:So What (574 comments)

Why would the computers want to merge with us? What is in it for them?

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Australian NBN targets users which already have fibre

aberglas aberglas writes  |  about 9 months ago

aberglas (991072) writes "The taxpayer funded NBN has announced that it will prioritize people that already have fibre provided by rival TPG instead of the poor sods that have no broadband at all or are stuck on ADSL 1. To date they have mainly provided service to those that already have fast ADSL2 or cable. That is because the NBN bureaucrats are more interested in stifling competition and fattening their own portfolio than they are at helping those without internet. The NBN lobby group hopes to help shift that crazy priority. The article discusses the issue in some depth."
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Internet censorship back on Australian agenda

aberglas aberglas writes  |  about a year ago

aberglas (991072) writes "The conservative government's George Brandis wants to force ISPs to block sites that might infringe copyright. Brandis said he stood firmly on the side of content creators (a.k.a. Hollywood). Ban gross violators today, obscure ones tomorrow, porn sites, far left sites the day after..."
Link to Original Source
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Why it is important that software projects fail

aberglas aberglas writes  |  more than 6 years ago

aberglas writes "The paper boldly challenges the long established misconception that the catastrophic failure of expensive software projects is detrimental to society.

By analyzing the effect of software systems on several bureaucracies it provides detailed theoretical and empirical evidence for Berglas's corollary to Parkinson's law, namely that software automation can never actually improve productivity. It is then shown that not only is it acceptable for software projects fail, but that it is essential that they fail if society is to function effectively.

In this way the heavy burden of guilt can be lifted from the shoulders of the numerous project managers that have subconsciously devoted their careers to ensuring that projects rarely, if ever, succeed.

http://berglas.org/Articles/ImportantThatSoftwareFails/ImportantThatSoftwareFails.html"

Link to Original Source

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