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Comments

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Vax, PDP/11, HP3000 and Others Live On In the Cloud

khb SPARC not Sparc (62 comments)

A nit but faithful emulation is all about tiny details (potentially even emulating chip errata)

Nothing in the article explained the OS licensing issues. If the point is to keep critical apps running making sure it's legal isn't a nit

about three weeks ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

khb Re:Lisp, Forth, APL, J, Prolog, PostScript (387 comments)

APL and J are useful for doing the sort of ad hoc big data analysis that R is also popular for.

The speed (or lack thereof) of your terminal isn't really the issue, its being able to think in matrix/vector transformations. A skill which is actually more important today than 40 years ago.

about a month and a half ago
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Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

khb Re:Mainframe Programmers (387 comments)

"...access to a mainframe system"....

Well, there is more than one kind of mainframe, and they aren't much alike. But let's assume you really mean IBM zSeries. You have several options:

1) Take a course. Many schools have IBM sponsored classes with access provided.
2) Find a copy of the "Hercules" emulate http://www.hercules-390.org/
3) Sign up for ANY university class to become a "student" and apply to IBM http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/...

Also note the growing popularity of Linux on zSeries systems, so your Linux skills can be directly applied.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

khb Move Corresponding (729 comments)

Removed from modern versions of COBOL, the traditional "MOVE CORRESPONDING" was unique. Given two records with differing layouts, MOVE CORRESPONDING would shuffled the values based on the names (putting in default values where needed, or tossing aside unneeded ones).

about 1 month ago
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California DMV Told Google Cars Still Need Steering Wheels

khb Clearly there IS a question (506 comments)

90% of accidents (or more, depending on the study) are due to human error. So the DMV insistence on putting the humans back into the drivers seat is actually counterproductive. "there's no question when it comes down to the safety of those on the road." ... the question is are the other humans on the road more or less safe with the google vehicle operators able to override the computer?

While I'm not interested in being an early adopter of this or most automotive technologies, there are lots of questions when it comes to safety. It is a pity that government hardly ever uses science or logic in the decision making.

about a month ago
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gcc LTO reduces firefox package size by 50%

khb What was the performance impact? (1 comments)

The "article" is just a pointer to the bugtracker entry which is good but lacks any clues as to measured performance.

LTO has been a win in commercial workflows for many years. Obviously it can be an obstacle for debugging (when entire call trees are eliminated or collapsed single stepping in the debugger is problematic) and if build times become excessive the results may not be worth the cost.

But in the end the real payoff is runtime. Without impressive speed ups for user critical to acceptability operations it is just air guitar!

about a month ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

khb Consider Unix (826 comments)

Compare and contrast SysV init vs Solaris SMF. Not that systemd is SMF but there are real Enterprise class problems with the more traditional model. And systemd developers aren't the first to notice them.

I haven't looked closely enough to have an informed opinion about how good the systemd solution is, but SMF on Solaris is vastly better than the situation in older SunOS system I've dealt with over the years

about 2 months ago
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Consciousness On-Off Switch Discovered Deep In Brain

khb Very promising ... vs Re:This is scary (284 comments)

If it can be employed in surgery (putting aside the current implant requirement) it would be a surgical boon (might not be so good for anesthesiologists ;>)

about 4 months ago
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Krebs on Microsoft Suspending "Patch Tuesday" Emails and Blaming Canada

khb Email expensive? (130 comments)

"dumping an expensive delivery channel"....

Aside from the $CDN potential fines, just how is email *expensive"?

about 4 months ago
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NASA Launching Satellite To Track Carbon

khb *the* greenhouse gas! (190 comments)

Given that methane is known to have a larger immediate effect one would have thought that a multimillion dollar mission would carry more than one instrument to nail down which of the many green house gases are having the most impact ... rather than assuming the models are right and that it's the CO2

about 4 months ago
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Overeager Compilers Can Open Security Holes In Your Code

khb Complete nonsense.... (199 comments)

"...decide it's an error.."

No, it is an "optimizing" compiler not a "correcting" compiler. The optimizer can detect that no language defined semantic will be changed by removing the code, so it does. As others have noted, "volatile" is the fix for this particular coding / compiler blunder. However ill-defined, it is *not an error*.

As for the folks commenting that only C can run in small embedded processors that's hogwash. Huge mainframes of the early ages had smaller memory sizes and ran FORTRAN (now Fortran, but then it was all caps), COBOL, PL/I (and .8 for IBM internals), Algol and other languages. Most made entire classes of C blunders impossible, and there is no fundamental reason why we couldn't go back to safer languages for embedded programming (and good reasons why we ought to; not that I expect we shall).

about 4 months ago
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It's Not a Car, It's a Self-Balancing Electric Motorcycle (Video)

khb Why? (218 comments)

The gyos add complexity, and dropping a third wheel doesn't save that much space. See Riley's classic http://www.amazon.com/Alternat... or just search for some of his existing designs.

As a previous owner of a Sparrow, I wish these guys luck. Unfortunately, I need a three seater ...my trusty (actual) motorcycle sits idle since I've too often got to worry about hauling two kids these days.

about 4 months ago
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GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet

khb Re: $150 MRC for hotspot that doesn't travel with (216 comments)

"... No one owns a car for 10 or 20 years anymore..."

Each of my Hondas have done at least 10 years. My 1996 Acura is still quite healthy. My 1987 Shadow as well.

I suspect that no one who reads /. Is in the target demographic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

about 5 months ago
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GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet

khb Re: $150 MRC for hotspot that doesn't travel with (216 comments)

"... No one owns a car for 10 or 20 years anymore..."

Each of my Hondas have done at least 10 years. My 1996 Acura is still quit healthy. My 1987 Shadow as well.

I suspect that no one who reads /. Is in the target demographic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

about 5 months ago
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Students Remember Lectures Better Taking Notes Longhand Than Using Laptops

khb Re:You know what worked better for me then longhan (191 comments)

Indeed. In one of my first college courses we were permitted to take notes in the (very small) margin of the text itself. This led to focus on the instructor and very small amounts of note taking.

In High School I took more notes and learned less.

The best situation was where I took little or not notes, but paid one of the transcribers for the hearing impaired for their professional notes (in those dark days before professors provided pointers to their web page ;>). I focused on the lecture, and a professional took notes. I wound up not using the professional notes all that much (usually it repeated things in the text book ... but for the one time in a hundred that material wasn't in the textbook AND was on the test ... it was invaluable ;>).

The other "trick" was to write notes immediately *after* class. While precise dates and fiddly facts weren't recorded, the overall structure of the lecture and the immediate impressions I formed were there for the recording. This has proved useful in the many years since ... recording the gist of discussions (if I can't remember it 10 minutes after the meeting, it probably wasn't terribly important) ... and sending them out as minutes (soliciting corrections from attendees) is usually far more effective than recording and ignoring the mp3 when trying to figure out at what meeting we went down the wrong algorithmic path ;>

about 6 months ago
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Microsoft Cheaper To Use Than Open Source Software, UK CIO Says

khb Re:True Costs (589 comments)

Perhaps the language from "across the pond" is hard for some US readers to parse. "Exploitation" meaning "use effectively" ... without knowing more about what this bloke's department(s) are tasked to do, it is hard to call him to task for his choice.

I would not be surprised if Macintoshes were even a better match for his user base.

I cannot seem to find it, but I recently ran across a bizarre claim that the average office worker's time is dominated by outlook (duh) but that Microsoft Word was number two at a paltry few minutes per day, and Powerpoint even less than that. Quite possibly true, and while that does tee up the question for why they need Microsoft products at all (since casual users needs can be met by a wide variety of FOSS projects) it would explain why retraining is *so* difficult. For people who live and breathe computing, learning a new platform isn't hard and is even "fun". For people who really only need to tinker with a few characters in documents that pass through their hands for a few minutes per day ... virtually ANY change is highly disruptive.

about 6 months ago
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Did the Ignition Key Just Die?

khb Relocate the bloody thing (865 comments)

SAAB dealt with this issue mechanically decades ago. Mechanical key in the center, where the handbrake is located. No stress on the mechanical switch due to heavy key rings.

Worked very well, unless they had (have) a patent on it, seems like an easier more reliable fix.

about 6 months ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

khb Re:Little disturbing (491 comments)

The published text of the PM's speech makes it clear its based on the analysis (what you are calling "statistical probability") not debris or black box.

I don't know why anyone would find that disturbing.

Even if he had debris, for any given family there would still be some "statistical probability" that their loved one survived (infinitely close to zero) involving some sort of miracle, a hidden parachute or a missed connection, etc. Just as we'd discard such false hope, pretending that there is some other place folks ought to be looking or that there is any realistic chance that their family members are safe as hostages in some terrorist base.

It is exceedingly unfortunate that the data analysis was relatively slow (and the data itself was never open sourced); the delay resulted in much lost time and resources by many naval and air groups, and lots of needless gnashing of international teeth.

If there's any lesson here, the satellite data feed(s) should become a bit more formalized, and their release in the event of an accident be as standardized as the black box information. As for the $10/flight for the data, even if the airline doesn't pay for it up front, the data collectors should collect it, and save it until after the flight has landed. If it doesn't land, the airline can pay some much larger fee to get the data ahead of it going public ;>

about 7 months ago
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Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

khb $100K? (382 comments)

Yesterday the discussion seemed to center on how bloody expensive it would be to track the planes and how special equipment and etc. would be required. Now everyone seems to understand that messages can come from the planes ... indeed, it would have been trivial (although it would have involved a fee) to record the rest of the plane sensor data.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, and making some magical device to transmit just before an accident ... the folks who maintain the current system record the last 5 positions ... but not release them except when they are paid OR there is an accident. The amount of data storage would be small, and the infrastructure apparently already exists.

Obviously, old enough airframes might not *yet* have the equipment, but rolling them in as engines and/or other major renovations occur should be feasible.

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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(stop) the attack of the Killer Robots!

khb khb writes  |  about a year ago

khb (266593) writes "It seems that the UN has started a debate on whether to place limits or bans on robots that can kill without manual supervision. It seems that bombs are viewed as "kinder" than robots which might be programmed to achieve specific ends (e.g. destroy that bridge, kill anyone carrying a gun, etc.)."
Link to Original Source
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Error Injection for Fun and Profit

khb khb writes  |  more than 4 years ago

khb (266593) writes "Good designers provide error detection and (where feasible) correction at the lowest levels of the system. But how are such mechanisms comprehensively tested through the entire hw+sw stack? Often they aren't. Some lessons from the the Sun e-cache fiasco of 1999."
Link to Original Source

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