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Comments

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MA Gov. Wants To Ban Non-Competes; Will It Matter?

aberglas Re:Uhm... since when are non-competes a bad thing? (97 comments)

+1. Non-competes are good for big established companies (like EMC) but bad for the state's economy. Innovation comes from people leaving heavy bureaucratic companies and exploiting opportunities. And of course they continue to work in the same field.

There is no way that any US government will do something that big established companies would not like. So what happens is that more and more successful start ups happen in places like California, and the industry moves.

Those types of heavy non-compete clauses are, of course, generally unenforceable outside the USA. Certainly unenforceable in Australia.

5 days ago
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Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

aberglas Re:Why send humans (307 comments)

Why would we ever need to ever send humans anywhere in space? Not for science, humans are already obsolete technology for space travel. Just for the feel good movie.

Think about how much real science could have been done if the international space station had been abandoned like is should be. White elephant. I want the Webb to go up. But that does not look as good on the movies.

Eventually humans will become obsolete technology here on earth. Then the point will be mute.

about a week ago
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Most Expensive Aviation Search: $53 Million To Find Flight MH370

aberglas It had to be an NSA Software attack (233 comments)

Come on, this is Slash dot.

The 777 is totally fly by wire. Control the computers and you control the plane. Like most other SCADA systems the security is rough. They probably do not actually connect the plane to the internet, but it does download flight info, software patches etc. over a radio link to the airline's computer, which is connected to computers that connect to the internet. Remember that Iran had an air gap that did not protect them from Stuxnet. And these days it probably downloads software patches directly from Boeing.

There are two parts to such an attack. First is to get control of the plane, second is to do something with it. The first would have been developed to do something very benign, or nothing at all. They could then just see if it worked on real planes knowing that it could do no harm. Might even use some Boeing installed back doors.

The second would be some semi-intelligent software that had rules to take over at international borders, fly along standard corridors until out of radar range then dump the plane in one of a number of pre determined locations. This would never be run out of a simulation environment.

Then some manager accidentally picked up the wrong files.

The only other plausible explanation was pilot suicide, and yet both pilots appear to be perfectly normal, balanced, individuals. So it must be the NSA. Stands to reason.

about two weeks ago
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.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

aberglas Re:Translator? (217 comments)

That would be impossible. It is not possible to write garbage collected code in C. That's why C++ libraries resort to reference counting etc. That bit about the C++ compiler back end is misleading, it just means some sort of shared compiler.

C is not really a high level assembler. It just enshrines an archaic programming model that was popular in 1978.

about two weeks ago
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.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

aberglas Re:Is JITC finally going to die? (217 comments)

Any C programmer that does not really care about how builds work are not going to be developing substantial applications very long!

There are a log of subtlies about what happens when shared dependent modules are updated, and you had better be aware of how the compiler optimizes them.

Yes, it can be made to work, but it cannot just be a black box.

about two weeks ago
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.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

aberglas Re:Is JITC finally going to die? (217 comments)

Um, what makes you think that Java/.Net do not use the stack? Indeed since Java 1.6 doing a "new" will actually allocate on the stack if possible. Remember that Java does not allow crazy pointer arithmetic, so it can tell how objects are referenced, and does a lot of inlining.

One other trick that Java can do that C cannot (without a lot of effort) is store 36 bit long long aligned pointers in 32 bit fields. That makes them very memory efficient for heap sizes up to 64 gig, which is still very large by today's standards.

One thing that .Net can do that C cannot is detect integer overflow with negligible run time overhead. On occasion that has saved me a lot of pain. Its the sort of thing that keeps C programmers up late at night debugging.

The cowboy nature of C enabling things like ptr++ actually makes it difficult for compilers to optimize fully.

C is still widely used in the sense that oxen are still widely used to plough fields. They work, but take a lot more effort.

about two weeks ago
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.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

aberglas Re:Is JITC finally going to die? (217 comments)

I don't see how C++ can do global opts. The idea that programs are compiled one file at a time is burnt into C's soul. Within the same source code file certainly, but between files, and between library archives seems impossible without fundamentally changing the way builds work.

Just because .Net/Java etc make garbage collection easy does not necessarily mean that you need to do a lot of it. You can use the same techniques as C to optimize, although reusing objects is generally frowned upon as error prone. Long ago I used a real time system in Lisp that did zero CONS (mallocs) after initialization, worked fine.

That said, .Net/Java programmers tend to be sloppy about producing lots of garbage. Java has an idiot design that makes Strings (the most common object typically allocated) two objects instead of one.

P.S. with this arcaic /. editor is it really necessary to put /P P between each paragraph?!

about two weeks ago
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.NET Native Compilation Preview Released

aberglas Re:Is JITC finally going to die? (217 comments)

You miss the point entirely. The vast majority of CPU time in most applications is spent in a relatively few leaf subroutines. What the JIT does is just compile those bits that are found to be CPU intensive.

In tests I had done some time ago with the early compilers, .Net code was actually faster than C implementing the same algorithm. The reason is that it can perform global optimizations, in-lining aggressively. Sure that can be done with C (and you do not even need macros), but it takes extra work, slows down the compiler if too much is put into header files, and programmers usually miss some of the routines that need in-lining.

Modern generational garbage collectors are also faster than malloc/free, and do not suffer fragmentation.

Delaying compilation makes it architecture neutral, same distro for 32, 64bit, ARM etc. What is needed is to cache the results of previous compiles which causes a slight but usually negligible start up penalty.

Compiling all the way to machine code at build time is an archaic C-grade idea that became obsolete thirty years ago for most common applications.

about two weeks ago
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Book Review: How I Discovered World War II's Greatest Spy

aberglas Re:germany ran out of people (102 comments)

Germany delayed its invasion due to a late thaw in the spring. It was not actually to attack Greece, although that was a silly thing to do.

Splitting forces in Stalingrad avoided road congestion, and Stalin really needed the petroleum further south. The bombing actually helped the defenders somewhat. But the big issue was political, being so nasty that they did not have more ex-soviet troops on their side. (They did have quite a few.)

about two weeks ago
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Book Review: How I Discovered World War II's Greatest Spy

aberglas Re:germany ran out of people (102 comments)

To win, they just needed to not attack France, which was a crazy gamble that they got away with. Instead, build their military for another year using the phony war as an excuse, and then attack the Soviets. Unlikely that France would have attacked any more than they did for Poland.

As part of that attack, do not be so nasty, an encourage nationalist soviet armies. Stalin was so evil, and the purges and deliberate starvation so severe that many if not most of the soviet armies would be more than happy to join an opposition, and indeed many did join the Germans. Millions were captured early on, most could have been turned around. It was a real achievement of the German SS to treat the soviets even worse than Stalin did and so lose this opportunity.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft: Start Menu Returns, Windows Free For Small Device OEMs, Cortana Beta

aberglas Be glad they left Windows Explorer (387 comments)

Why did they do it? Because the Ipod/phone/pad makes money, and some senior MBA pointed at one and said "I want dat, make it do that so we can make money too. Just like that one.". Design process over.

But Ipod/phone/pads do not have an accessible generic file system. Every type of object is treated differently, be it sound, documents etc. So I think we should feel grateful that Windows 8 still has a Windows Explorer!

Remember, these are the people that thought that an "App" must always run full screen, even on a large modern monitor! So I reckon the accessible file system will go sooner than later.

about two weeks ago
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Why Did New Zealand's Moas Go Extinct?

aberglas Moa not as tasty as Maori (180 comments)

The Maori's favorite food was ... other Maoris. During the Musket Wars about a third of them became dinner.

I have always been impressed by the way the great chief Hongi Hika could be born before significant European contact, then arrange to take himself all the way to England to bring back a boat load of muskets to feed his people.

about a month ago
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Crowded US Airwaves Desperately In Search of Spectrum Breathing Room

aberglas Spectrum owners would not want more allocated (105 comments)

If companies have paid billions for spectrum, then the last thing that they want is more to be allocated which will simply reduce the value of their asset. Tight spectrum means one can charge more for 4G, with less competition. There must be some fierce lobbying going on.

Does anybody know how much spectrum below and above 1Gig (say) is actually available of telephony, in the USA and Australia? It seems like it is well under 10% of the available.

about 2 months ago
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WhatsApp: 2nd Biggest Tech Acquisition of All Time

aberglas $80 per active user? (257 comments)

I just do not get this at all. 200 million users for $16 billion is $80 per user. For much less than that you could offer all sorts of free things and sign up users. It is also surprising that after all this time messaging is still totally proprietary, and nobody cares. I suppose that it is a historical accident that a *nux box can send an email to an Outlook, GMail and even Apple account. Maybe that will soon change.

about 2 months ago
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Hubble Telescope Snaps Images of Tarantula Nebula

aberglas Easily visible to naked eye (32 comments)

For those in the Northern hemisphere, this appears to be about as bright as the great nebula of Orion, which itself is pretty impressive. But the Orion nebula is some 1,200 light years away, whereas the Tarantula is 160,000 light years away!

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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Internet censorship back on Australian agenda

aberglas aberglas writes  |  about 2 months 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  |  about 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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