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New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

rmstar Re:Wha? (204 comments)

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Actually, it is 'increase' already in the linked article. The quote is

"We will increase the fluidity of information and ideas by taking actions to flatten the organization and develop leaner business processes,"

And it actually makes sense.

about three weeks ago

Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E

rmstar Re:As a Quebecer... (247 comments)

I'm pretty jealous of American billionaires who *do* things.

Elon Musk is south african.

about a month ago

Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

rmstar Re:Specs On Paper & Buyer Mindset (198 comments)

This is simply a stats arms race.

one that seems overheating, too. You can buy quite well speced smart phones (way better than an iPhone, as you have correctly noted) for a very decent prize. Manufacturers seem to be running out of ideas on how to get traction in this market, so this is what they come up with: over-the-top-specs.

A market full of smartphones that can't find a way to differentiate themselves from each other seems to me like a market ready for collapse.

about a month ago

Japanese Stem Cell Debacle Could Bring Down Entire Center

rmstar Re:Why do scientists falsify? Or how can they? (52 comments)

Why do scientists falsify? Or how can they? They must know they will be found out - especially the more sensational the finding.

The answer to that is that they fool themselves. If you ever have been at a top institution of this kind you might have witnessed a certain mix of hubris, megalomania and groupthink. These people tend to be really good, but their selfconfidence, their lack of understanding of statistics, their mutual reinforcement, and the huge pressure to keep producing blockbuster research can warp their thinking. It would not surprise me that they believed the results to be true, but thought it was just the damned data that kept being wrong.

This sectlike atmosphere at some of these institutions is compounded by the fact that people there work so insanely hard that they don't have time to take a step back and think things through.

about a month and a half ago

NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

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

Sure, it's not going to set any records, but with 500-1000 cores and 5-10TB of RAM, it's a lot more than most users will ever see.

Can you provide any links? I'm interested. Thanks.

about 2 months ago

NSF Researcher Suspended For Mining Bitcoin

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

Many of those systems have no (or minimal) idle time.

In my experience, this is true only for the top machines in terms of reputation of the institution where they are run. Many more supercomputing facilities actually idle around a lot if not most of the time. They were bought to confer bragging rights and are embedded into a context that makes them unable to operate effectively.

A lot of these machines are hard to program for, and the institutions that own them hard to deal with (often universities with bad bureaucracy and ridiculous internal rules) which means few bother and even fewer get to run code on them. Of course that is something that is rarely admitted in public.

I think the guy did wrong and should be punished. OTOH, I think he also deserves an award for showing (again) how ridiculous the whole HPC thing actually is. Here we have these supposedly super-high-end machines (in terms of running benchmark software) which just aren't competitive by a hilariously large margin with what is out there mining bitcoins. How embarrasing.

about 2 months ago

A Measure of Your Team's Health: How You Treat Your "Idiot"

rmstar Re: Really? (255 comments)

It is coincidence. Our team idiot is the company owner.

Even after factoring in that he's most likely making more money than you?

about 2 months ago

Security Researchers Threatened With US Cybercrime Laws

rmstar Re:This is what happens... (156 comments)

I would say it was only amoral if exploited for one's own gain or to others' detriment.

So if a hack gives reputation to a security researcher while embarrassing the website owners - how is this not exploitation for the researchers gain to the website owners detriment? You go there and pull off an I-am-smart-and-you-are-a-moron on these folks that are trying to make a living. How is that different from being an asshole?

The argument that security researchers are actually doing good is just an unsubstantiated assumption that needs closer scrutiny, and it is quite likely not true in many situations. For example, the SCADA vulnerabilities have not led to any major or even minor problem, yet they have generated a lot of FUD and maybe even given ideas to criminals and terrorists. Researchers have gotten their nice reputation out of this, but what has the world gained? And look at how the credit card industry works. A lot of their shit is fundamentally flawed from a security point of view, yet it works and is quite convenient. How can that be?

Security researchers make a nuisance of themselves in many situations, and don't even realize it. Their "told you so" can be extremely costly to a company when there is trouble, because of how it affects liability issues. Most companies would not be viable if they had to fix every bug unearthed by researchers or face full liability claims when their unfixed code fails. The kind of talent needed to get security stuff right is just not available in the needed quantities at a reasonable price (i.e. hourly rates comparable to that of a janitor) so it is unreasonable to expect things to be secure. The alternative to insecure stuff is no stuff. Everybody who's not a propellerhead knows this.

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Should Every Programmer Read?

rmstar C++ FQA (and ignore the downmods) (352 comments)

If you're doing C++ everything by Meyers.

If you are doing C++, you absolutely must read the Frequently Questioned Answers:

"C++ is a general-purpose programming language, not necessarily suitable for your special purpose."

It's a little (though not much) out of date, as it does not cover C++11. But the author has some comments on it, too.

Obviously I am going to be modded down, but hey. Truth is truth.

about 3 months ago

Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

rmstar Re:When (634 comments)

If your Fortran program ran correctly on a PC it would run correctly on a mainframe, mini, or supercomputer. More importantly, it would produce the same result. It didn't matter which compiler you used.

This isn't true. As in C, optimizations might have changed the order of fp operations resulting in subtle differences that often matter. Memory allocation (yes, the static arrays) has some really funny weirdnesses across compilers that make buggy programs produce very different results on different versions of the same compiler. The F77 language has very little support for avoiding bugs, and quite a few booby traps. Most F77 codes are just riddled with bugs and depend on undefined behavior that varies a lot from one compiler to the next.

Just look at all the code generation flags of gfortran to get an idea.

about 3 months ago

The Koch Brothers Attack On Solar Energy

rmstar Re:Buggy whips? (769 comments)

This is a very real problemâ"it's not just some rich people being assholes, but rather some rich people who stand to become substantially less rich if things go the way they seem to be going.

I thought the actual story was that if you or me dislike some policy we can go fuck ourselves, whereas if the Kochs dislike it, they get a real chance to change it.

An oligarchy indeed.

What I also find a little unsettling is that most commenters, including you, don't seem to think much of that power imbalance (or even be aware of it) directly jumping to the solar vs. no solar issue.

about 3 months ago

OpenSSL Bug Allows Attackers To Read Memory In 64k Chunks

rmstar Re:Gee, that's worse than no encryption isn't it? (303 comments)

3) Start writing alternatives in safer languages

Like Ada.

I expect Ada to make a comeback. It is a safe language, but without the bizarrness of a functional programming language, so it can be used to do actual work.

about 4 months ago

Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures

rmstar Re:Out of step with reality (149 comments)

Your law may not be properly upheld in practice but that does not change the situation of Germany being in the very small club of countries where the art of street photography is effectively illegal or at least very cumbersome.

Yes, and they keep constantly weeping about all the street photography they miss out. Well, actually, they don't. It seems they like their law like that. For some reason, people assume that street photography, or being able to shoot photos of whoever you want, is a right nobody would object to. Well, I do, especially in times of facebook, and it seems I am not alone.

Things like google glass belong, as far as I am concerned, banned, and its use in public places punishable by jail. In the same vein, cell phones should be forbidden from having a camera.

There is this thing with privacy. For some reason, everybody is for it as long as it is not them who have to respect it.

about 5 months ago

Bug In the GnuTLS Library Leaves Many OSs and Apps At Risk

rmstar Re:Writing safety-aware code _somewhere_ (231 comments)

The best tools in the worst hands are far worse than the worst tools in the best hands. Yelling for tools is a specious argument. Someone has to do the work, and that someone may well bone the job.

A similar argument was put forward against the use of seat belts in cars. It just does not hold water.

The point of safer tools is to keep the reasonably good programmers from shooting themselves in the foot. Because as good as they may be, they are human and make mistakes. C needlessly invites a lot of mistakes, and even good programmers fuck up in C all the time.

about 5 months ago

Bug In the GnuTLS Library Leaves Many OSs and Apps At Risk

rmstar Re:With enough eyes... NOT (231 comments)

Again one needs MOTIVATED AND QUALIFIED eyes AAAAAND good QA and test cases.

Perhaps using a safety aware language like Ada would be helpful too. C is known to be brittle, yet people insist in writing all sorts of mission critical code in it. I really wonder why.

about 5 months ago

MtGox Sets Up Call Center For Worried Bitcoiners

rmstar Re:Regulation of currency (240 comments)

The more troubling element of your claim is that regulation somehow solves the problems. What if a regulator makes a mistake?

You make it sound as if regulation was something completely exotic. Regulation actually exists, and there is plenty of it. To answer you question: If regulators make mistakes, they are eventually corrected. Happens all the time.

about 5 months ago

Google Funds San Francisco Bus Rides For Poor

rmstar Re:"Unfair"? (362 comments)

When it comes to something like donating money to help poor kids, I don't care who is doing it or why.

This is myopic at best. Part of the reason corporations get away with so much is that there exist people who are happy to let them off the hook as soon as they spend a little on charity.

The issue is that by giving a little to poor kids, this behemoth of a company can get away with the continuing destruction of the neighborhoods where there is affordable housing. It really is a PR move that does not solve any problems on a medium to long timescale. It is important to understand that charity is the sort of thing that just perpetrates problems and is only good as a stopgap. It would be much better if things could be aranged in such a way that charity wasn't necessary.

about 5 months ago

Tim Cook: If You Don't Like Our Energy Policies, Don't Buy Apple Stock

rmstar Re:so let me get this straight (348 comments)

while we can argue the merits of AGW all day long that isnt what I saw here. I saw a smug son of a bitch tell an owner to go fuck himself.

No, the owner went way too far. Being an owner does not entitle you to behave like a pig.

about 4 months ago

Mt. Gox Shuts Down: Collapse Should Come As No Surprise

rmstar Bitcoin is unsafe (232 comments)

[link] Has some relevant information.

Thanks for the link. I find it especially interesting how careful you need to be to not risk getting robbed. See this email on the bitcoin dev list for some details. Among other things, it permeates that the problems that bit MtGox haven't been solved conclusively.

Clearly, the average person on the street should stay clear of things like bitcoin, because you really have to understand the protocol and know exactly what you are doing. The folks at MtGox surely spent some thought on this, and now look at this fuckup. They are in huge trouble right now.

about 5 months ago

Edward Snowden's Lawyer Claims Harassment From Heathrow Border Agent

rmstar Re:The UK border staff are wildly incompetent. (261 comments)

Do you have a right to an attorney in a constitution-free zone? Do you have any rights at all?

It might be tangentially interesting in this regard that, technically, all of britain is a constituion free zone.

Also, you do not have many rights even outside of those buildings. The UK has been steadily degenerating into a police state out of a SciFi movie.

about 5 months ago



England: back to Dickensian times?

rmstar rmstar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

rmstar (114746) writes "In the aftermath of the civil unrest in the UK, two guys were sentenced to four years in jail for Facebook postings that incited to riots that never happened. The judge openly acknowledges that the harsh sentences are not for the alleged crime, but are supposed to act as a deterrent against similar actions. Is this the end of freedom of expression in the UK?"
Link to Original Source

Greenpeace: Evacuation Area Too Small

rmstar rmstar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

rmstar (114746) writes "Independent measurements by environmentalist group Greenpeace suggest that radiation levels outside the current evacuation area around the Fukushima-1 nuclear plant are too high. They are calling for extension of the radius after measuring up to ten micro Sieverts per hour as far as 40km from the damaged plant. That amounts to the maximum allowed yearly dose of radiation for a member of the public every five days."


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