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Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

bored Re:Modula-3 FTW! (463 comments)

but that it provides nothing of value to offset the cost of maintaining a separate toolchain, training programmers, building libraries, etc.

That is why there is rust, go and a dozen other languages trying to replace C or C++.

I sort of like C++, that said, I think object pascal is a much better language, it fixes a lot of the core problems with C (can you say embedded string length? There goes 1/2 of the buffer overflow problems that have happened over the last 20 years) while maintaining the ability to optimize nearly as well. Pascal is actually faster than the vast majority of "C" replacements people are using today.

just because of all the extra typing, and the reduced readability:

If typing "begin" and "end" instead of "{" and "}" were a big problem I would claim you need a better editor. That said the speed of code generation is just about never an issue in any language because thinking about the problem or debugging the code is a much larger time sink. Finally, I would claim that pascal is light years ahead of C++ and even C due to the restricted syntax. Did you forgot about the IOCC? Because getting to those levels of obfuscation is going to be a lot harder in pascal.

yesterday
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How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads

bored Re:Application installers suck. (324 comments)

Long term, with filesystem level deduplication becoming more common, I wonder if the best thing would be to move back to statically linked executables.

Especially on windows with WinSxS basically duplicating every shared object in the system. The point of shared libraries was to reduce the application footprint, but MS decided it was more important to maintain every single version of every single shared library being used rather than allow them to collapse together in the oft chance that it caused some application defect.

Since every single application it seems, manages to find their own version of any given DLL its pretty rare for any sharing to actually take place. Might just as well statically link the whole darn thing.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?

bored I hear about your way of working... (325 comments)

Let me tell you about mine. I have an 8 year old "workstation" class machine that is basically a dumb terminal running web browser, editor, xserver and a couple other things. It has 4 monitors raised to eye level, and a keyboard that is probably larger than your laptop. The whole setup spans the corner of my desk where I sit in a really comfortable chair, leaned back slightly.

About 50' away, through two doors is a room that sounds like a jet engine lab full of modern servers and disks in racks.

All the data is stored on a network attached server with SAN attached IO. It takes regular automatic snapshots of everything in mine and my co workers "home directories" and rolls them regularly to tape on a daily basis.

When I need to build some code, I hit a key in my editor and it tells an enormous build box (with multiple GB/sec of IO to the disk storage system) in the lab to spin up a shit ton of CPU's and built my code. When its done, I run it on another cluster of machines.

When I leave work, I carry a light weight laptop (sometimes just an ipad) and use RDP to connect to the workstation at my desk. In the rare case that I don't have internet access, I can usually find some documentation or other "lightweight" laptop appropriate work to do that doesn't require a connection to more hardware than you will ever be able to carry in your backpack.

As others have said, you might consider analyzing your workflow.

about three weeks ago
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5,200 Days Aboard ISS, and the Surprising Reason the Mission Is Still Worthwhile

bored Re:Send probes not people (219 comments)

Interstellar travel would require unimaginable breakthroughs in propulsion. Even sending an unmanned probe, capable of slowing down to orbit another star, and then communicating over the enormous distance back to Earth is totally impossible with current technology.

By "current technology" you mean the lame chemical rockets we have been using for nearly a century? How about we step into the 1960's and actually build one of the proposed project Orion vehicles?. Something like that could actually reach another star within my children's lifetime, especially if it was only designed as a flyby rather than stopping in system.

Furthermore, Nuclear thermal rockets provide approximately twice (depending on design) the ISP as conventional rockets, and are just as clean and possibly easier to build if the working fluid is carefully chosen. Frankly I'm a little surprised that space-x hasn't announced some designs, they aren't limited by the stupidity of the anti nuke crowd.

Finally, the real breakthrough that would make human travel interstellar travel possible is actual cryogenic suspension. Which is quite possible, I just don't expect to see it in my lifetime due to the complete lack of funding for that kind of research. Most of the funding that goes in that direction is narrowly focused on prolonging organs outside of the body, or allowing extended surgical procedures. Frankly, this is one area where appropriate funding might be able to create a major scientific expansion of our understanding of biology, and economic benefits to go along with it.

So, no, interstellar travel is not at the level of new physics, just a willingness to focus on the problem and solve the remaining issues.

about a month ago
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Thunderbolt Rootkit Vector

bored Re:Hasn't this been known? (163 comments)

Using an IOMMU gives such devices direct virtual memory access which it fully safe (compared to physical memory access which is not safe and what apple did here).

I was going to mention IOMMUs, but I thought it would just confuse the issue (see the host controller confusion on my other comment).

In this case IOMMUs will only help you a little, as the article mentions that the option roms are being executed. Executing in the early boot environment, without a hypervisor, or in the hypervisor context, means that the option rom code can simply set the IOMMU to map to any memory the device wishes to access.

about a month ago
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Thunderbolt Rootkit Vector

bored Re:Hasn't this been known? (163 comments)

I'm pretty sure in the case of USB 3 that DMA is a function of the host controller. A device by itself cannot inject into arbitrary memory. This thunderbolt "vulnerability" is the equivalent of the windows autorun on insertion function that was disabled years ago. Only this functions above the level of the current user (aka much worse).

about a month ago
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Hot Springs At Yellowstone Changed Their Color Due To Tourist Activity

bored Re:Public land closures (48 comments)

It may not seem like a big deal, but things like this are used more and more to justify land closures.

Well, just about anything justifies a land closure now. The balcones canyonlands was created for the express purpose of preservation and recreation which didn't infringe on the preservation goals. Yet, it has _NEVER_ been open for recreation even though the two species its intended to preserve are _MIGRATORY_ and only spend a few months a year in the preserve. The place is surrounded by fences and no trespassing signs, and the web page talks about the recreation opportunities, and then lists all _SEVEN_ miles of trails in 23,000 acres of preserve. There is actually something like 10x as many miles of public roads running through it.

Worse yet, a lot (possibly most) of the studies seem to suggest that human presence (in the form of hiking and biking trails) actually helps the birds because it scares their main predators away.

about a month ago
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

bored Re:Tape is dead (284 comments)

The problem is cross vendor replication ends up taking the form of rdiff-backup or rsnapshot. Otherwise you end up with a single point of failure when your stupid NAS vendor pushes a firmware update that corrupts all your backups.

about 2 months ago
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

bored Re:Shyeah, right. (284 comments)

Yah, you are 100% right, to bad you don't work for the tape vendors.

The one little niggle, is that your numbers fail to account for the price of the library, which anyone writing more than one tape's worth of data is going to want really fast. Add in the price of a small/medium sized autoloader and it doubles the break even point.

Hence my own personal use of cloud backup technologies and small portable eSATA/USB raid arrays. Just don't drop them, and make sure to transport them in very well padded containers.

about 2 months ago
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

bored Re:its all about selling Autoloaders (284 comments)

I use LTO3-6 all the time, they are pretty bullet proof. I can't remember the last time there was an actual hardware problem. All the tape problems I've had over the last few years have been PEBCAK, or should that be PEBCAL(ibrary).

LTO and modern tape aren't like the old ones (1990 and earlier) with dropped leaders, read errors, etc. Besides, running at many hundreds of MB/sec per drive, they have layers and layers of ECC, embedded servo tracks, etc ,etc. All the reliability engineering you expect from modern hardware. Also, while your vendors will cringe if you drop them on the floor, I've actually thrown them around, cracked the cases, etc and the data is still recoverable, heck fingerprints on the media are even tolerated.

Its just to bad that they are dragging their feet coming out with new generations cause its a fantastic way to take a snapshot, and bury it somewhere in case of disaster.

about 2 months ago
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

bored Re:its all about selling Autoloaders (284 comments)

The T10kd which came out over a year ago, puts 8.5TB uncompressed on a tape (reusing the previous generation's media no less). So, basically the vendors are holding LTO back for unspecified reasons, probably in a vain attempt to recoup the last generations investment, or maybe to boost sales of their "enterprise" drives (T10kd, 3592).

about 2 months ago
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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

bored Re: GM will have a model come out. (293 comments)

Hydrogen can be produced from the electrolysis of water

And it hideously inefficient, generally less than 50%, although HTE can apparently get as high as 64%

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

And that is just one step in the chain, now you need to catalyze or pressurize it, transport it, etc.

about 2 months ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

bored Re:So what's Metro? (545 comments)

? Are you trying to tell me that GDI wasn't directly accelerated in pre vista, non win9x OSs?

Because I believe you to be strongly mistaken. From the windows 2000 XDDM reference, GDI functions Implemented by printer and display drivers:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-u...

You will notice that everything from font rendering to curve drawing, path filling (yes with xor), you name it _CAN_ be implemented although only a small subset is required. _BUT_, I would say that most were implemented by the better hardware manufactures for the common video resolutions.

You will also notice that the documentation has been updated and says "The functions documented in this section are implemented by printer drivers and by drivers in the Windows 2000 display driver model, but they are not implemented by drivers in the Windows Vista display driver model." This is also directly noticeable in GDI benchmarks between the two OS's (especially when run on slower CPU machines, or while monitoring CPU usage). There are also a fair number of youtube ( for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?...) videos of people showing things like the scrolling speeds in explorer on XP vs vista. 7 improved the situation slightly, but as of a few years ago the benchmarks I remember seeing were still strongly tilted in XP's favor if one monitors CPU usage during the benchmark.

about 4 months ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

bored Re:Bring back windows XP. (545 comments)

You said nearly everything I was going to say, except that it is possible to bypass the 4GB _license_ limit in XP32.

about 4 months ago
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What To Expect With Windows 9

bored Re:So what's Metro? (545 comments)

Standard desktop apps were accelerated on OS's that predate windows vista. In fact GDI was hardware accelerated all they way back to the window 3.0 days.

This is actually one of the reasons that older windows releases often feel snappier, since probably >50% of windows applications are using GDI or a toolkit that uses GDI.

about 4 months ago
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If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

bored For the same reason you don't have a solar panel. (444 comments)

There are dozens of reasons. Lets start with, the costs go up. Its the free market after all, if a company could _ACTUALLY_ reduce their power bill they would do it.

Second, lots (most?) of companies are strongly OPEX leaning, meaning that they are already shifting all their CAPEX , and investing in solar/wind is overwhelmingly CAPEX (or its going to drive up their debt).

Third, most companies are busy worrying about their next product, and a long list of other issues.

I could probably list another dozen things, but I'm betting that combination pretty much covers 99% of US companies.

about 4 months ago
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Fedora To Get a New Partition Manager

bored Re: So.... (170 comments)

I considered moderating you, but I think this is really a case of <whine> "C++ is haaardddd, learning it enough to understand how to plug in a new module is going to take me months. Instead I'm going to rewrite it" </whine>

Or similar bullshit by people who think "scripting" languages are appropriate for base system tools. Now you will have python dependency hell every-time you want to do something simple like repartition your disks. Oh, and is that project python 2 or python 3? On and on..

Frankly, its fsking stupid and its another sign that redhat is jumping the shark.

Plus, do you really want to depend on the skills of some "leet" hacker that thinks python is an appropriate tool for this?

about 5 months ago
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Amazon's Plan To Storm the Cable Industry's Castle

bored Re:Russian revolution? (85 comments)

It will never be a real battle until amazon starts providing last mile services. The Cable Co's and the content providers (amazon in this case) need each other to much to actually have a battle to the death.

So, much like the "blackouts" and other BS that happens once in a while, the end result is not positive for the consumer. The cable bills never go down or even stay the same. Instead they go up and both sides get to blame the other. All while making record profits for wall street.

Nothing will change until we start actually regulating the last mile providers in meaningful ways. That includes a more alacart channel selection where the _CONSUMER_ chooses which media/content providers they wish to subscribe to. I don't mind the content providers bundling things (aka get National Geo, Fox New, FX, etc as a block), its just that I want to be the one making the choices rather than having to give Fox money when all I want is to watch a couple HBO channels.

about 5 months ago
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Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

bored Re:DDR2/3/4 (181 comments)

CAS latency hasn't been measured directly in nanoseconds for some time now. It is now measured in clock cycles.

Yah, so to compare two different sticks of RAM you have to multiply the time/cycle by the number of cycles. Which gives you (wait for it....) time!

Which the parent did, to point out that all these "new" memory technologies haven't been decreasing the RAM latency much at all. RAM latency is still a _VERY_ important part of overall execution performance. Particularly for single threaded operations reading RAM in unpredictable manners. Cache misses are overwhelmingly the single largest optimization variable for modern applications.

about 5 months ago
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Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

bored Re:*drool* (181 comments)

Yes, and for a desktop machine probably 90% of what I do is limited by the single thread performance .Hence why I haven't upgraded in a while myself.

So, I do welcome faster machines, what I don't welcome is the fact that the vast majority of machines being sold today are actually _SLOWER_ than what was available a few years ago.

This happened at work, we replaced a couple of older machines that cost a fortune with a couple newer far less expensive one and the performance was actually worse.

about 5 months ago

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