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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

smellotron Re:A solution in search of a problem... (326 comments)

My point was sarcastic, I don't know if you missed it (non-native language?) or if you responded in-kind. Plainly, prohibition and licensing are not the same thing. An unlicensed "operator" is prohibited yes, but the cost of licensing is always goint to be lower than the cost of a black-market solution (by its nature; the black market solution is not attractive if it is worse, because of the inherent risk!) Therefore, the net result is more regulatory control when licensing is an option vs. total prohibition.

Ultimately, my point is that (1) comparing licensed driving to the War on Drugs is not valid, because (2) increased license requirements would serve to change the economics of learning how to drive rather than just imposing randomized penalties.

5 days ago
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Solar Powered Technology Enhances Oil Recovery

smellotron Re:Steam to extract oil that shouldn't be... (81 comments)

This is a good example of greenwashing.

This doesn't sound anything like greenwashing; greenwashing is a PR move to appear more "eco-friendly". This is simpler to explain as a rational economic decision: There are forms of non-renewable energy that are not harvested only because the energy cost to extract them exceeds the energy value they provide. If the energy costs to extract them can be brought down to near-zero, it is to Shell's economic benefit to extract and sell the heavy crude.

Your argument that the oil should "stay in the ground" is totally unrelated. I do not have an informed opinion in the matter of heavy crudes, but please don't use it as a rebuttal.

5 days ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

smellotron Re:A solution in search of a problem... (326 comments)

Perhaps we need stricter drivers license requirements?

It worked so well for the war on drugs!

Yeah, because prohibition and licensing are the same thing!

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

smellotron Re:Powershell (729 comments)

I see that it is in C99. But it wasn't when I was learning C in the 1980s.

Well! I'll get off your lawn now. I learned on C99, I did not know that the guarantee was new.

Don't use a language that encourages pointer calculations. If you're working in the kernel or hardware drivers maybe.

That is hardly an argument against sizeof as a language feature. I think we both agree—outside of the first learning experience—developers who are getting tripped up by sizeof should't be using C in the first place; but it is not the fault of the language or a misfeature.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:C (729 comments)

If you think all strings can be defined as const char arrays

Lucky for both of us, that's not what I think. I specifically said "string literal", which is a const array and not a pointer. This is relevant for the sizeof discussion because the operator is evaluating the size of the array (therefore the entire string) and not just evaluating the size of a pointer.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:Numeric equality in PHP (729 comments)

Since (almost) no computer actually stores 1.0

Since almost every computer nowadays implements IEEE floating-point, they can all store 1.0 exactly. From the link:

Any integer with absolute value less than 2^24 can be exactly represented in the single precision format, and any integer with absolute value less than 2^53 can be exactly represented in the double precision format.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:C (729 comments)

it should return the size of a memory pointer on the target machine, since that is what a "string" is in C.

A string literal in C is of type char[N] (where N is the minimum value required to store the whole string, including the null terminator). String literals degrade to pointers quite easily, so yours is a common error. So...
const char direct[] = "string";
const char *const indirect = "string";
sizeof(direct) == 7;
sizeof(indirect) == sizeof(char*); // 4 or 8 on most 32- or 64-bit architectures, respectively

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

smellotron Re:Powershell (729 comments)

So to allocate a string you have to multiply sizeof with strlen and add 1 for the null terminator?

Since you specifically mentioned strlen, I can tell that you are doing the wrong thing. It is guaranteed that sizeof(char) == 1, so you can skip the sizeof. And then instead of allocating strlen(x)+1, you could use the standard function strdup .

Aside from this particular example, what is your beef with sizeof? Do you know an alternative for compile-time size calculations?

about two weeks ago
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Does Learning To Code Outweigh a Degree In Computer Science?

smellotron Re:Probably not. (546 comments)

What's wrong with optimizing something by hand if it's so blatantly simple?

In what situation will an application of DeMorgan expected to actually be an optimization? I expect the compiled code would just end up using inverted comparison instructions and swapping ands/ors around. Net benefit: nada. In such a situation, the effort of optimization is a total waste and any resultant obfuscation is also a total waste, so that's what is wrong.

about two weeks ago
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California Man Sues Sony Because Killzone: Shadowfall Isn't Really 1080p

smellotron Re:They deserve it (286 comments)

I still rock a 720P panasonic plasma TV which I find to be better than my sisters 1080 LCD sharp

Well duh! Rock on.

about a month and a half ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

smellotron Re:Fine ... (245 comments)

Nobody programs fast enough to fill data-centers with 'new programs'.

I don't read that as "new program text" i.e. the storage for newly-released executables. I read it as "storage for [data generated by] new programs," where the new programs are "programs" from a TLA organization's perspective and not individual executables. From that perspective, it is quite believable that the NSA would be capable of filling new datacenters with new programs.

about 3 months ago
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NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

smellotron Re:Too Big to Be Indicted... (245 comments)

try to explain the intricacies of Java garbage-collection to an equity-options trader...

If that is a problem in your organization, this would probably be a good start: "The equity-options traders that understand the role of technology in their trades will inevitably be eating your lunch."

about 3 months ago
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Lego To Produce Three Box Sets Featuring Female Scientists

smellotron Re:How do you make a lego character female? (208 comments)

You just plainly CANNOT build anything out of the pieces but exactly what you are sold.

Several years ago, I would have agreed with you. Now it just sounds like you aren't looking hard enough, or haven't looked recently—check out the Creator series. Almost all of my newer lego collection is from those box sets, and they are very good about providing reusable pieces.

about 3 months ago
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High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

smellotron Re:and front-running? (382 comments)

By continually extracting money from the exchange without injecting value, they reduce the overall value of the stocks... the best solution would be for legitimate companies to not allow their stocks to be traded on exchanges that permit HFTs. It would keep their stock values higher...

This is a weird analysis. HFTs are market-neutral, meaning they are trying to avoid taking any big directional bets. Because they are buying and selling symmetrically, they tend to have very little impact on long-term market prices. Instead, their profit comes from buying low and selling high on average, meaning that they are profiting at the expense of their trading counterparties. At the end of the day, the value of the stock should be unchanged by HFTs. Except when their systems go bonkers, a la Knight Capital.

about 3 months ago
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High Frequency Trading and Finance's Race To Irrelevance

smellotron Re: Arbitrage (382 comments)

Per transaction fixed cost is the way to go if the goal is to discourage frequent trades.

Most transaction taxes discussed are a percentage of the notional value of the transaction (price * quantity, e.g. 100 shares of a $4 stock is $400 notionally). So Sweden's 1% tax could have easily been 1% of the value of the transaction, which is not at all stupid. In general, a transaction tax can be a function of the notional value of the transaction, quantity of the transaction (shares or contracts), or fixed per transaction; and in any case it will discourage frequent trading.

about 3 months ago
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HP Makes More Money, Cuts 16,000 Jobs

smellotron Re:one device to rule them all (288 comments)

You are definitely moving the goalposts, but I will play along. Wikipedia names several products which use Infiniband, mostly for storage (not a surprise that NAS systems want high-bandwidth interconnects). On the HPC side, Los Alamos National Lab has IBM's Roadrunner cluster, which uses Infiniband. Finally, your underlying objection sounds a lot like "640k ought to be enough for anybody." Why wouldn't we want networks to get better? IB may eventually go the way of Betamax (there are other competing low-lateny/high-bandwidth interconnects out there), but even so it is currently providing value and pushing engineering boundaries.

Getting back to the original topic, I don't think HP deserves much credit for pushing IB. The customers whose needs are met by it are probably already working directly with all of the vendors in the chain: IBM or Intel for chips, HP or Dell for the base systems and BIOS, Mellanox and Cisco for networking, etc.

about 4 months ago
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HP Makes More Money, Cuts 16,000 Jobs

smellotron Re:one device to rule them all (288 comments)

please name 2 environments that actually benefited from using Infiniband

HPC clusters and cloud providers. Several financial exchanges (CME, NASDAQ) appear to be in the process of adopting Infiniband, but every reference I see sounds like a press releases from Mellanox and not yet a demonstrable application.

about 4 months ago
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London Black Cabs Threaten Chaos To Stop Uber

smellotron Re:Who the F gets to live without competition? (417 comments)

Nurses do a considerable amount of the work

Nurses are likewise professionally regulated. In their particular sub-field, they are much closer to doctors than they are to laypersons. A better analogy for Uber drivers would be a CNA.

about 4 months ago
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Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

smellotron Re:Lets call it what it is..... (246 comments)

What you describe is not arbitrage. Arbitrage would be buying stock on one exchange and selling it on another without knowing jack about the order book.

What I am describing is exactly arbitrage. There is not one order book, there are fourteen order books (one per exchange). When one order book gets cleared out, the arbitrageurs make a bet that the other order books will get cleared out as well, so they take on the position with the hope of now being long at the new bid, or short at the new ask. They do not know that the other books will get cleared out, because they don't know if you wanted e.g. all 22,000 Intel shares, or just 2,000 (which just so happened to clear out 3 exchanges, but not the others).

This is definitely a problem for large executions: you move the price before you are done with your whole "trade". This has always been a problem for executing orders larger than the current top-of-book. It is made worse because there are so many exchanges, but also because some of them are so darned fast that HFT systems can beat brokers' order routers. You could argue that there should be a delay in publishing market data to ensure that routers can compete. You could also argue that it doesn't make sense for fourteen exchanges to exist, with regulation that merely attempts to paper-over fundamental natural laws (simultaneity). But you can't argue that it is not arbitrage.

about 6 months ago
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Adaptation From Flash Boys Offers Inside Look at High-Frequency Trading

smellotron Re:Lets call it what it is..... (246 comments)

Obviously what they are doing is not illegal as they are still doing it. They are very good at gaming the system.

There exist regulations to establish a "National Market", but the reality is that right now there are 14 different exchanges*, and therefore 14 independent order books to participate in. The HFT that you object to in particular is the style that performs arbitrage among the order books. If you think that arbitrage is front-running, you should start complaining to the SEC about the massive fragmentation in the US stock market which creates this situation in the first place.

* NYSE, NYSE ARCA, NYSE MKT (formerly the American Stock Exchange), NASDAQ, NASDAQ PSX (formerly the Philadelphia Stock Exchange), NASDAQ BX (formerly the Boston Stock Exchange), NSX (formerly the Cincinnati Stock Exchange), CBOE, Chicago Stock Exchange, BATS, BATS-Y, EDGX, EDGA, and now LavaFlow. Notice that's 14 exchanges with three owned by NYSE, three owned by NASDAQ, two owned by BATS, two owned by DirectEdge. Clearly market fragmentation benefits the exchanges.

about 6 months ago

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