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Comet Probe Philae Unanchored But Stable — And Sending Back Images

rockmuelle Super Mario Galaxy! (132 comments)

Those pictures are amazing! I immediately was taken back to playing Super Mario Galaxy and imagined Mario running around the comet.

-Chris

about two weeks ago
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Study: Body Weight Heavily Influenced By Heritable Gut Microbes

rockmuelle Re:Oh no (297 comments)

The first few weeks of any training program typically suck. That's where willpower (or encouragement if you're in a group) plays such an important role.

Once I'm passed the initial hump, I always feel the "addictive" need to get more exercise and chase the high. In my specific case, the "high" comes after sustained exertion in the med/high effort range. I rarely see it biking (I'm a bike commuter and never really push myself). But running, climbing, mountaineering, and snowboarding all bring it out. For running, on long runs at a moderate pace it kicks in around mile 5 or 6. For short, faster runs, it kicks in about 30 minutes after the run and lasts for a few hours. Other sports have similar patterns. In my experience, the feeling is most similar to hydrocodone (which, unfortunately, I also know about from running).

Wikipedia's description of the "runner's high" covers some of the suspected mechanisms for it.

-Chris

about two weeks ago
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There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

rockmuelle Programming complexity (181 comments)

A big reason we accept the trade offs of modern processors is that it's generally easy to program a broad range of applications for them.

In the mid aughts (not very long ago, actually), there was a big push for heterogeneous multi-core processors and systems in the HPC space. Roadrunner at Los Alamos was a culmination of this effort (one of the first petascale systems). It was mix of processor types including IBMs Cell (itself a heterogeneous chip). Programming Roadrunner was a bitch. In having different processor families, you had to decompose your algorithm to target the right processor for a given task. Then you had to worry about moving data efficiently between different processors.

This type of development is fun as an intellectual exercise, but very difficult and time consuming in practice. It's also something compilers will never be good at, requiring experts in the architectures, domains, and applications to effectively use the system.

Another lesson from the period (and one that anyone whose done asics has known for years) is that general purpose hardware generally evolves fast enough to catch up with specialized hardware with a reasonable timeframe (usually 6-18 months, see DE Shaw's ASIC for protein folding as an example).

While custom processors are cool (I love hacking on them), they're rarely practical.

-Chris

about two weeks ago
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Codecademy's ReSkillUSA: Gestation Period For New Developers Is 3 Months

rockmuelle One semester is a start (173 comments)

So, there is some truth to the 3 month number. I learned C from a minimal programming background in one semester as an undergrad, or about three months. Of course, 20 years later I'm still refining my skills. The rest of the CS degree gave me a much more solid foundation than I'd have if I had gone straight to work after learning C. Surprisingly, basic theory like complexity analysis come in handy when building applications.

-Chris

about two weeks ago
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Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

rockmuelle Re:Bruce Perens (240 comments)

Open Standards and Protocols are what this space needs, along with regulations requiring vendors to allow interoperability for free or a nominal fee.

Open Source software, on the other hand, won't really solve any problems. Someone has to write the software and vet it. EHR software isn't an itch people typically want to scratch. Of course, an EHR platform could leverage Open Source software for development. A Web-based EHR could use an entire Open Source stack and even contribute libraries for protocol support.

Open Source is great for infrastructure components, not so great for user-facing applications. At some level in the stack, someone needs to do the UX work, testing, and validation to create an application people can actually use.

I would never advocate for a fully Open Source solution for EHRs or any other complex, user-facing software, but I would put incentives in place to leverage as much Open Source in the stack as possible. Plus, any company that does that right will have much cheaper dev costs and will be able to undercut the competition a bit (though for supported software, dev costs are usually only 10-20% of the costs, with support, marketing, sales, etc taking up the bulk of the costs).

-Chris

about 2 months ago
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Back To Faxes: Doctors Can't Exchange Digital Medical Records

rockmuelle Re:sounds like a job for (240 comments)

Um, Google tried the whole GoogleHealth thing a few years back and gave up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G...

This is not an easy space to play in. Hospitals and doctors are slow to change. Once an investment has been made in a particular platform it's very difficult to replace it.

-Chris

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

rockmuelle If High School is sufficient for CS, then why not? (392 comments)

The question is interesting in relation to the current bias against four year degrees for software developers in some circles. If, as Peter Thiel claims, you don't need a degree, then it shouldn't matter what your degree is if you get one. So, from that perspective, a tech degree or a liberal arts degree shouldn't make a difference. If a liberal arts degree makes for a more intellectually well rounded person, then it could be argued that that's the better degree for tech.

Of course, I don't buy Peter's argument at all. A good CS degree teaches foundational methods that can be applied throughout a career. Don't get me started on the number of times basic complexity theory or knowledge of the full memory hierarchy has helped improve performance of web pages. Most hobbyists don't have those skills and write them off as just academic oddities. A good CS degree also exposes you to a range of technologies and methods for developing software (no, CS is not just math, no more than physics is just theoretical physics). It gives you an environment where you can develop your skills and gain exposure to the breadth of topics in the field. It's a Good Thing(tm).

Should all programmers have CS degrees? Of course not, but those that do are always going to have an edge over most of the other ones (there are always exceptions - I know a few great developers without degrees).

-Chris

about 2 months ago
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Oculus Rift CEO Says Classrooms of the Future Will Be In VR Goggles

rockmuelle Re:Some classes would be AWESOME! (182 comments)

VR simulations are only as good as our ability to model and simulate the things we're studying. Physics, maybe. Chemistry and Biology, no way. The latter two are messy and don't lend themselves to simulation expect in a few very specific situations. If it's simply for information retrieval and watching videos, a book or screen is sufficient.

I've spent a lot of time with various 3D emersion technologies and scientific applications (old-school VR, Caves, polarized googles, etc) and the reality is that they don't add much. Don't get me wrong, they make GREAT demos. I love playing with the technology. But, spend any amount of time doing real work with them and their limitations quickly become apparent. It's not that the technology doesn't work, it's that most content doesn't really lend itself to the medium and for content that does, getting the user experience right is a difficult and expensive task.

-Chris

about 2 months ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

rockmuelle Re:Wait a minute, a few years ago I recall and AA (819 comments)

And that is how our current implementation of the free market actually works. No business action is made for the customer's benefit. It's always about making one more dollar off a captive customer base and pretending you're doing them a favor. America needs to return to stakeholder capitalism rather than the current shareholder model (yes, there actually are different models for market-based economies).

about 3 months ago
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C++14 Is Set In Stone

rockmuelle Re:What about (193 comments)

Yes!!! I wish I had mod points. They basically had them ready to go for C++11 and then committee infighting killed them (Bjarne stubbornly backed the wrong horse - not that I have a strong opinion on this or anything ;) ).

Syntactic support for generic programming would be the single best addition to C++ to breathe new life into the language and get a whole generation of developers who've written it off interested in it. Generic programming is as paradigm shifting as OOP. It just kills me that it's so thoroughly obfuscated by template meta-programming in C++.

about 3 months ago
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The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft

rockmuelle Re:good (125 comments)

Markets are defined by their rules, plain and simple.

The rules for an ideal free market are pretty straight forward: everyone is free to do whatever they want. There's also another term for this approach in the political sphere: anarchy.

What most people really mean when they say free market (in America, at least) is a market defined by the rules of property law (the foundation of most western legal systems). As soon as you have some basic rules, you no longer have a free market.

A real free market is a theoretical extreme, like an ideal gas. It's useful for reasoning about things, but doesn't actually exist in any practical form in real life.

-Chris

about 3 months ago
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PHP Finally Getting a Formal Specification

rockmuelle Re:Formal specifications are pretty useless for th (180 comments)

Actually, neither C nor C++ have formal specifications. They both have very well defined and curated standards documents that can be called specifications (without the formal part), but neither has a proper formal specification.

-Chris

about 4 months ago
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Three-Year Deal Nets Hulu Exclusive Rights To South Park

rockmuelle Re:Not worth it (138 comments)

I look at it this way: I can pay $100+ a month to watch cable TV with commercials or I can pay $9 for Netflix, $8 for Hulu Plus, and nothing for my TV antenna for local shows. Yes, the ads on Hulu Plus are annoying, repetitive, and can't be skipped. But, I grew up in the 70s and 80s and have developed the skills to cope with ads and the lack of time shifting for local news. Millennial's milage may vary...

-Chris

about 4 months ago
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Former NSA Chief Warned Against Selling NSA Secrets

rockmuelle Re:Laugh-worthy (138 comments)

Nope. I've talked about this with many lawyers. It varies by state. In CA, non-compete clauses are basically unenforceable. In TX, where I live, they're the law of the land.

-Chris

about 5 months ago
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How Virtual Reality Became Reality

rockmuelle Re:Except It Isn't (104 comments)

I've tried Occulus and agree with the parent (I'm also 40 and have been around this block before). VR will never be a mainstream, mass market application. Now that the tech is mostly working (OR is awesome - it works like we all wanted it to the first time Jaron Lanier was in the news), it needs applications. Sure, core gaming will change as will some industrial applications, but otherwise there aren't a lot of good reasons to put an app in an head mounted display. HMDs are not exactly a great fashion accessory (even at the scale of google glass).

-Chris

about 6 months ago
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Could High Bay-Area Prices Make Sacramento the Next Big Startup Hub?

rockmuelle Didn't Happen in 2001, won't happen now (190 comments)

Sacramento and the rest of the Central Valley has been trying this forever. It didn't happen during the first bubble, it likely won't happen this time around. The Delta and Valley regions may as well be flyover country as far as techs are concerned. It's almost as easy to hop on a plane and be in Austin, Boulder, Portland, SLC, or any other regional tech hub than it is to drive around in CA.

I grew up in Merced and have seen this same story too many times in the past... 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s... This conversation is a good predictor for bursting bubbles, though. ;)

-Chris

about 6 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

rockmuelle Re:So a bicyclist is safer..... (490 comments)

I'm a bike commuter and I own two cars. I pay more taxes relative to car commuters for the use of the roads.

Of course, I could get rid of the fun car and keep just the practical one, but I'd still be paying more than most drivers relative to my impact.

For rule 1 to be a valid argument, all bikers can't own cars. In the US, that's almost universally not the case.

-Chris

about 6 months ago
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Applying Pavlovian Psychology to Password Management

rockmuelle Wrong side of the Pavlovian... (288 comments)

How about this: sites that have their password databases breached pay a $1B fine, the fine paid in part by the company, the management, and the devs responsible.

The users are not the ones in need of training here.

-Chris

about 7 months ago

Submissions

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Just what is 'Big Data'?

rockmuelle rockmuelle writes  |  more than 2 years ago

rockmuelle (575982) writes "I work in a 'Big Data' space (genome sequencing) and routinely operate on tera-scale data sets in a high-performance computing environment (high-memory (64-200GB) nodes, 10 GigE/IB networks, peta-scale high-performance stroage systems). However, the more people I chat with professionaly on the topic, the more I realize everyone has a different definition of what consitutites big data and what the best solutions for working with large data are. If you term yourself a 'big data' user, what do you consider 'big data'? Do you measure data in mega, giga, tera, peta-bytes? What is a typical data set you work with? What are the main algorithms you use for analysis? What turn-around times are typical for analyses? What infrastructure software do you use? What system achitectures work best for your problem (and which have you tried that don't work well?)?"
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CorePy - Assembly Programming with Python

rockmuelle rockmuelle writes  |  about 6 years ago

rockmuelle writes "We are pleased to announce the latest release of CorePy, now with full support for x86 processors (32 and 64-bit) and an Open Source license. CorePy is a Python package for developing assembly-level applications on x86, Cell BE and PowerPC processors. Its simple APIs enable the creation of complex, high-performance applications that take advantage of advanced processor features usually inaccessible from high-level scripting languages, including multiple cores and vector instruction sets (SSE, VMX, SPU). Based on an advanced run-time system, CorePy lets developers build and execute assembly-level programs interactively from the Python command prompt or embed them directly in Python applications. CorePy is available under a standard BSD license."
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