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X Window System Turns 30 Years Old

lophophore Late 1989, on a VAXstation II/GPX (204 comments)

Late 1989, on a VAXstation II/GPX running VMS 5.0. Not exactly a desktop workstation, it was a desk-side box as big as a 2-drawer file cabinet. That newfangled DECWindows came out and killed off the old VMS GUI "VWS". Right about that same time the VAXstation 3100 came out, a true desktop VAX workstation...

The early versions ran a "desktop" called "XUI", which was replaced with Motif in 1991.

Another commenter wrote that the performance has not improved that much since the early 90s. My current desktop Linux box has the equivalent CPU horsepower of 10,000 VAXstation 3100s, but it boots to the login window only about twice as fast. Progress?

about a month and a half ago
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Wikipedia Mining Algorithm Reveals the Most Influential People In History

lophophore what utter bullshit! (231 comments)

Michael Jackson, and Hitler?

What utter bullshit!

This is like mining Facebook to decide who the best rock band ever was! Think there's any bias?

My vote goes to Gutenberg. You want to talk about inflection points in human knowledge? Gutenberg, and then Tim Berners-Lee.

Jeff

about 2 months ago
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After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out

lophophore Re:rot in pieces (166 comments)

Sun stood on the shoulders of giants.

That 68000 processor that Sun used? Modeled after DEC microprocessors. That ethernet wire they connected to? They don't call it Digital-Intel-Xerox Ethernet for no reason. That "new thing" unix Sun used? And the C language? Built on DEC PDPs. Your terminal emulator? Emulates a DEC terminal. USB? A consortium, including DEC. That X-Window System sun used after NeWS tanked? Yep. Came from Project Athena, sponsored by DEC. MIT & IBM.

One of the many reasons that DEC died was that many people in the company were blinded by the brilliance of VMS and the layered products, and could not understand why anyone would want to settle for less. Digital had stuff in the 80s and 90s that the rest of the industry caught up with 10 or more years later, and in some cases, have still not caught up. The problem was that DEC's stuff was very, very expensive, and very proprietary, and DEC was out-marketed by other vendors selling supposedly "open", and certainly cheaper unix based solutions (See "snake oil".)

about 2 months ago
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After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out

lophophore Re:rot in pieces (166 comments)

You're not very old, are you?

about a month ago
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After the Sun (Microsystems) Sets, the Real Stories Come Out

lophophore rot in pieces (166 comments)

There were a lot of Sun people who celebrated the demise of Digital Equipment Corporation.

Well, what goes around comes around eventually. Sun got theirs, let them rot in pieces. They never made the impact that Digital did.

(and no, I'm not bitter about Sun. I'm waiting for HP's turn. It's coming...)

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

lophophore Detention (153 comments)

I was in Detention in 7th grade.

My teacher had a book "101 Basic Computer Games" on her desk. I was bored. I opened the book. I read the BASIC source code, and I thought "I can do that."

That was in 1975 or 1976. The rest is history.

about 2 months ago
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Grace Hopper, UNIVAC, and the First Programming Language

lophophore ultra low latency over microwave and laser link (137 comments)

not fiber. point to point laser and microwave links.

I believe you are referring to ultra-low-latency trading.

They prefer microwave links to fiber because the microwave signals propagate faster through air than light does through a glass fiber. Light travels through glass fiber at about 65% of c, which is also pretty comparable to the velocity of a electric signal in a transmission line (.65 to .75 c) (which is where Admiral Hopper ties in)

Microwave signals propagate though air at damned close to the speed of light, and the microwave signal paths are direct by necessity. That means the path can be significantly less than half the distance a cable (electric or optic) and the speed about 50% faster.

Optical paths are also used, they are by laser through the air. This has the same direct path, near c speed advantages as microwave.

about 2 months ago
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The Struggle To Ban Killer Robots

lophophore seen 'em (138 comments)

I saw the Killer Robots. They opened for the B-52s at the House of Blues in Orlando.

They were... interesting. Why does the UN want to ban them? I've seen many worse bands.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Practical Alternatives To Systemd?

lophophore Re:Hmm (533 comments)

systemd is best avoided. Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!

(pulseaudio, avahi, systemd. Why are these things all such a f*cking bear to deal with? Why, oh why?)

CentOS might work for you, if you don't feel the need to be completely modern. No systemd in Centos 6. I expect to see in in RHEL 7 / CentOS 7, though.

about 3 months ago
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Implant Injects DNA Into Ear, Improves Hearing

lophophore use hearing protection now (34 comments)

This is an article about "hearing loss." Much hearing loss is preventable.

Use hearing protection now.

Use hearing protection when running your leaf blower, weed whacker, power sander, lawn mower, and especially when making like a war-mongering imperialist at the shooting range. Use hi-fi hearing protection at rock concerts and loud clubs.

Once your hearing is damaged, it is not recoverable, unless you become The Bionic Woman -- and for about 50% of us, that is pretty much completely impossible.

Hearing protection is cheap. I like the Etymotic ER20 for rock concerts. Maybe I look silly wearing them. But... I can still hear after the show. I really don't care if people think I look silly. I've been to some literally deafening rock concerts, and my ears have suffered for it... Now I always bring (and wear!) my ear plugs to shows, And I use hearing protection when running noisy power equipment.

about 3 months ago
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Apple Patent Could Herald Interchangeable iPhone Camera Lenses

lophophore in other news (160 comments)

Apple receives patent #999666 for "power adaptor allows handheld device to be charged from AC mains" and patent #666999 for "Handheld device User-interface buttons".

I hope this is an April Fools joke. How long have cameras had a bayonet lens mount?

about 3 months ago
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Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

lophophore not "news for nerds" (440 comments)

this "does not matter". it is sad, yes, but it does not matter. there are many worse things that happen every day. I do not visit slashdot for this kind of news. Samzenpus -- **you suck**. Thanks for wasting my time.

about 4 months ago
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Yahoo May Build Its Own YouTube

lophophore good luck with that (162 comments)

Yahoo cannot even make yahoo mail work right. The "redesign" -- when it works -- is not user friendly at all. Most of the time it doesn't load pages and show mail at all.

Good luck getting video going.

They need to pack their shit and go home, not blow more shareholder money on a(nother) losing venture.

about 4 months ago
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GNOME 3.12 Released

lophophore Slightly more user friendly than Windows 8 (134 comments)

Gnome 3.12: **slighltly** more user friendly than Windows 8, which is like saying it is slightly more user friendly than a rabid zombie wolverine in a kindergarten playground.

I watched the video. Gnome 3.12 still sucks. It is an embarrassment to Linux; it is one of the reasons why after 10 years we still don't have "the year of the Linux Desktop". This is a continuing example of the developers deciding how the users should work, not thinning about how the users are used to doing things. Yecch.

Thank goodness for XFCE. XFCE's developers seem to actually have the user experience in mind.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

lophophore not Age discrimination, it is Wage discrimination (379 comments)

My boss can hire two fresh-outs for what he pays me. He knows this. A short sighted person might think two fresh-outs are more effective than me. My boss knows better. I regularly deliver way more than two fresh-outs, and I show up on time every day, not hung over. No drama.

Not every boss is like mine. Many think that more cheap labor can get the job done. Good luck with that. You get what you pay for.

about 4 months ago
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Why San Francisco Is the New Renaissance Florence

lophophore bah! (250 comments)

Let me guess the city where the writer lives...

I'd argue that it is nothing like classical Florence, where the artists had sponsors. There's no analog in Silly Valley for that, none of the new rich are sponsoring great art, whether for themselves or the public.

about 5 months ago
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Comcast Turning Chicago Homes Into Xfinity Hotspots

lophophore Re:Comcast WiFi (253 comments)

Comcast router software completely BLOWS. And I mean that. Laden with bugs, utter crap. I just got a new "gateway" from them, a Arris TG862 and it was pretty much completely unusable until they put it into bridge mode. I would get pages that would not load (static DNCP), pages that said features were disabled (dynamic DNS), etc.

I got on chat with support and they put it into bridge mode. The support guy told me I would have to get them to put it back into router mode if I ever desired (I don't)

The good news is that the thing is crazy fast, and I mean > 120 mbit/sec incoming and > 20mbit/sec outgoing. Yee-haw.

about 5 months ago
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Death By Metadata: The NSA's Secret Role In the US Drone Strike Program

lophophore change you can believe in! (202 comments)

anybody think Obama is still not Bush 2.0?

about 6 months ago
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Second World War Code-cracking Computing Hero Colossus Turns 70

lophophore Re:Bomba kryptologiczna (110 comments)

Actually, Turing designed an improved "bombe" -- the "Turing Bombe" -- and there are reproductions of those at Bletchley Park, as well as the Colossus.

Note that Colossus was not built to crack Enigma. It was built to crack teleprinter code. The "Lorenz Cipher" -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C...

about 6 months ago
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Edward Snowden and the Death of Nuance

lophophore Re:meant well, broke the law, should be punished (388 comments)

You need to pay more attention. The NSA's spying on Americans in the USA is absolutely contrary to the 4th amendment. What Snowden leaked shows much, much more than that.

For instance: spying on Russian politicians is part of what our national intelligence organizations are supposed to be doing, and Snowden revealing that Sweden and Norway have helped us to that is worse than unhelpful to every American, as well as being damaging to Sweden and Norway.

Further, his disclosures have shown what the tools and methods used to by the NSA to accomplish their legitimate role have damaged the NSA's ability to collect the intelligence they are charted to collect. Another example: The NSA had put some espionage "malware" onto computers used by the Russian Military, mexican drug cartels, and others (see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01...) -- how was disclosing this information useful to anybody but our adversaries?

No apologies from me for the NSA. They broke the law with respect to the fourth amendment by illegally spying on Americans at home and they should answer for it. Clapper and Alexander lied to Congress and they should be made to answer for that.

about 6 months ago

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