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MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

manicb Music analogy is good (205 comments)

The music analogy is more correct than they realise. A huge proportion of music is poorly served by cherry-picking the most appealing tracks; any kind of suite or conceptual work is much better understood when you experience the whole structure. If you can pick a couple of tracks from an album and get a comparable or better experience than someone who listened to the whole thing, it probably wasn't a very good album to start with. Similarly, a course with light depth and populist subjects might be well-suited to cherry-picking, but this would be a symptom of a shallow course.

The solution of course is to create analogous "Double A-Side" and "EP" courses, which are short, stand alone, and add some breadth to the student experience at a reasonable level of quality. The standard should still be the LP.

about two weeks ago
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NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

manicb Re:Throw the book... maybe literally at him. (220 comments)

Hi, I use research supercomputers. There are rarely many idle cores, as they use queue systems to allow many researchers to simultaneously submit multiple jobs with different requirements. Scheduling software attempts to manage the parallel job sizes to minimise unused nodes. When there are idle cores it is usually for a reason (i.e. running down certain queues at certain times to support certain patterns of use) and it wouldn't be possible to easily squeeze in a little bitcoin crunching.

about 2 months ago
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NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

manicb Re:Throw the book... maybe literally at him. (220 comments)

I don't buy it, but I do use it. The UK academic supercomputer ARCHER has a handy cost calculator:
http://www.archer.ac.uk/access/au-calculator

150,000 USD is about 90,000 GBP; playing with the numbers here that would buy a non-partner research council about 1200 hours of 3072-core jobs; about 3.7 million core hours on 2.7 GHz 12-core Ivy Bridge CPUs with 64GB of RAM per 2-CPU node. A non-trivial amount of computer time!

Given that this is what would be charged to national and European and academic research projects, and is run by a UK research funding council which will have taken some national funds to set up the facility in the first case, I doubt the pricing is wholly unreasonable. It's a shame the article is not clearer on this point, but the most obvious assumption would be that they are talking about $150k at research council rates. In which case the 'fantasy' is in the form of ignored subsidies to capital costs.

about 2 months ago
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TSA Missed Boston Bomber Because His Name Was Misspelled In a Database

manicb Re:It was not misspelled (275 comments)

If only there were some kind of universal character set that included all these scripts

about 5 months ago
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Report: Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) Scans Your DNS History

manicb Re:GoG? (373 comments)

PlayOnLinux also makes it pretty easy, and explicitly supports a lot of GOG installers... Currently enjoying Neverwinter Nights from the GOG Insomnia sale on my Linux music production rig. Still, native versions are nice, and I won't buy a game from them if I have reason to suspect a native version is available.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Configuring Development Environment On a Shared Workstation?

manicb Re:Let work provide tools for work (158 comments)

Welcome to Slashdot 2014: news for professionals, stuff that you're being paid to care about

about 7 months ago
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Free Software Foundation Endorses a "Truly Free" Laptop

manicb Re:Well... (340 comments)

When was the last time a proprietary video card driver or wifi chipset called home and caused you any problem?

I have no idea, and that's the scary part.

about 8 months ago
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Exponential Algorithm In Windows Update Slowing XP Machines

manicb Re:No Sympathy (413 comments)

I didn't realise that arguments could be invalidated by mere unpopularity.

about 8 months ago
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AMD Continues To Pressure NVIDIA With Lower Cost Radeon R9 270 and BF4 Bundle

manicb Re:Unfortunate Card Naming (142 comments)

I happen to like being able to choose a video card based on specs. I can find what I want at the price I want.

The difficulty is in understanding what you want. If I sometimes get choppy performance in a game, does that mean I want faster memory or more memory? If I want good rendering performance in Blender using OpenCL, what is the break-even ratio of core clock speed/core number?

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Cross-Platform (Linux-Only) Audio Software?

manicb Re:Renoise (223 comments)

Freaking love Renoise, but trackers aren't for everyone. I use it in combination with a DAW (Logic when I was on Mac, now REAPER running in WINE like a champ on linux) for beat generation and sample mangling.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Cross-Platform (Linux-Only) Audio Software?

manicb Re:Ardour (223 comments)

Another vote for REAPER here. Runs very well in WINE as they actually test it. KXStudio is a nice distro that provides useful tools for a low-latency setup and will even install REAPER for you.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Use Markdown and Pandoc?

manicb Re:WYSIWYM vs. WYSIWYG and other axis (204 comments)

Is MS Word really "all-purpose"? I'd say it was optimised for middle management.

about 10 months ago
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Milestone: The Millionth UK-Made Raspberry Pi

manicb Not great for audio (129 comments)

Mine is idling at the moment; I couldn't get an acceptable audio setup. I wanted it to pair up with one of my synths (Novation X-Station) which has an audio interface, so I could use it for playing long samples, backing tracks etc. Wouldn't have minded if it had just turned out to be too slow or unstable, but I think the problem is a mixture of not enough USB power and general poor linux audio. Ah well, back to my netbook for that application, and it was cheap enough that I don't mind having it kicking around for a rainy day project. Home/SSH file server, perhaps?

about 10 months ago
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All Your Child's Data Are Belong To InBloom

manicb Re:What's the problem? (211 comments)

Are you seriously using IQ scores as a meaningful reference point while arguing that people may be under-appreciated if you judge them with arbitrary quantitative measures?

(Not that I doubt your story -- depressingly plausible.)

about 10 months ago
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Apple Starts Blocking Unauthorized Lightning Cables With iOS 7

manicb Re:To be fair (663 comments)

Because the phone manufacturers who use standard usb connectors are having so much trouble...

about 10 months ago
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A C++ Library That Brings Legacy Fortran Codes To Supercomputers

manicb Re:Code... (157 comments)

"Secret codes" or "cipher codes" are countable. So are "weather simulation codes".

about 10 months ago
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How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

manicb Re:Musician's prospective (617 comments)

You've hit on a really interesting point with construction kit songs. It is now common knowledge that anyone can download the tools, read some magazines and *produce* a track. What's a shame is that there is still very little knowledge of how to *write* a track.

There are plenty of blogs, forums, articles out there, countless books on theory (I'm sure I could find something second-hand for pennies....) So why are there entire subgenres of music that are unable to execute a basic modulation? And why do the handful of pop songs that modulate up towards the end do it so, so badly? Has there ever been a hip-hop track with a tempo change? Why does every emo band think that "vocal harmony" means doubling the line up a third? (Not intended as a slight on the specific genre; at least they acknowledge the presence of more than one musician in the band to do the singing).

We need to get people listening to better-written music. The industry filter was never a big help.

about a year ago
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How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

manicb Re:Differentiate (617 comments)

No there isn't. You just don't know what you want or how to find it.

about a year ago
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55,000 Sign Twitter Abuse Petition After Jane Austen Campaigner Threats

manicb Re:In fairness (421 comments)

I'm fairly sure that dashes can also be used in the manner of matched commas or ellipses – as is common in gothic literature – but they do carry a little ambiguity. I find the main benefit is that they reduce the formality of the text – as in speech, sometimes the pacing of a flow of ideas is of more interest than the exact relationships.

Perhaps the rule should be that a person has to demonstrate proper use of a semicolon before they are permitted to use a long dash?

1 year,22 days

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