Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

soldack happened in philly suburb (474 comments)

I live in a suburb of Philadelphia, PA and comcast tried to do this to me. They did send me a notice though. I replaced their router with a third party wifi router and cable modem. I didn't trust that they would keep their traffic separate from my traffic and I didn't see how someone hanging off of my router wouldn't degrade my service.

about 3 months ago

Winamp Shutting Down On December 20

soldack large playlist handling and skipless play (400 comments)

Winamp was the first player that could handle massive playlists. I could drag a network folder with over 80 GB of music and it would populate the playlist in seconds. I could then randomize and walk through that list without repeats for days. It also played skipless so that live albums didn't have annoying breaks. New players today still can't do that. Sigh. Their android app is pretty good too. I guess I will jump to amazon now. Their cloud playing is great.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Open Source Project For a Router/Wi-Fi Access Point?

soldack openwrt is very well maintained, full featured (193 comments)

We use openwrt as a base OS. It works pretty well. It has a lot of packages and many single board computer vendors support it. It is pretty hackable and has lots of embedded patches that would never make it into mainline linux but you really need on embedded platforms.

about a year ago

For Education, Why TI-83 > iPad

soldack Re:They shouldn't be using IPad or TI (340 comments)

Graphing calculators are an amazingly powerful way to understand functions visually. The ability to instantly draw functions at various scales and trace along them can really help visual learners understand the math.

1 year,18 days

Has Supercomputing Hit a Brick Wall?

soldack interconnect (185 comments)

I wish there was more discussion on the interconnect and routing challenge of these systems. I used to work on an InfiniBand SubnetManager. Exascale will require more complex topologies and more complex routing. Does anyone think today's systems are up to the task?

about a year ago

Ask Slashdot: How Many Time Standards Are There?

soldack Re:Excel's year 1900 bug (214 comments)

VBA within excel does not consider 1900 a leap year...getting the two to work together is fun.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Spreadsheet With Decent Programming Language?

soldack C/C++ using dlls in excel (332 comments)

You can have excel load dll functions. I wrote financial add-ins using this technique with all the real code in c++ with c wrapper exports. The vba was just a bit of glue code.

about a year and a half ago

New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

soldack Re:Best example of Vaporware I've heard in a while (130 comments)

My thought is what if a LAN client, C, is sending UDP traffic through the AP to A. As long it blasts, B can barely speak. It would be interesting if they were dynamically altering the multi-rate retry algorithm to decrease retries as the queue filled and to even turn on ack requests when the queue was all the way filled. That can help at the cost of reliability. Send it and forget it.
I wonder if they experimented with traditional router methods of dealing with queuing issues. Things like Random early drop may help as well.

about 2 years ago

New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

soldack Re:Best example of Vaporware I've heard in a while (130 comments)

While the AP is sending faster and more often, clients will suffer. If the AP is blasting to client A, client B will struggle to upload. This may cause client B to disconnect or reassociate. It isn't clear how they prevent starvation at the client transmit side.

about 2 years ago

New WiFi Protocol Boosts Congested Wireless Network Throughput By 700%

soldack dynamic QoS (130 comments)

As their txqueue fills up they are just shifting packets from the best effort queue to the video queue and then to the voice queue (highest priority). These queues use more air time and have less space between packets. I am curious how it performs under a variety of traffic conditions (upload vs. download vs. mix). It would seem that if uploads and downloads are done at the same time, the downloads will block the uploads. What if the clients do the same thing?

about 2 years ago

Can Anyone Become a Programmer?

soldack More importantly why don't more want to? (767 comments)

I think enjoying programming is some kind of genetic mutation. No matter who good the software jobs market is, few people get CS degrees or otherwise want to be software engineers or programmers. It isn't quite a mono-culture but programmers and software engineers have so much in common that one can almost forget about how the rest of the world thinks. As you move out to other engineering disciplines, there are still an amazing number of personality traits and interests in common.
This is all good for those of us who enjoy programming and would like to be paid well to do it but it is strange to me. I often see IEEE and ACM articles about how to "fix" this issue but I don't think it can be fixed. Most folks would not like what we do even if they were totally capable of doing it.

about 2 years ago

Is a Computer Science Degree Worth Getting Anymore?

soldack Sounds more like advice to get more compliant help (630 comments)

It sounds like advice to other folks to hire people without a degree in the field so that they will be more loyal to you and less expensive. Without a lot of experience this is true. Folks with a year or two of experience with a degree will earn more than folks with a year or two of experience without a degree. That said, after a few more years it events out.

In the end, you have to judge the individual, what they learned, and how they learned it. I have met idiots who had a degree (even multiple degrees!) and idiots who had no formal education. They come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone who thinks in blanket statements like, "All college graduates in CS are worse than self taught" is proving my point.

I found my programs at West Chester (CS undergrad) and Villanova (master computer engineering) to be very useful and improved my abilities at work. I learned a lot in both and I had been programming since I was 7 or so on my TRS-80 Model III. They also made me more marketable. I feel it was totally worth it.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ad-Hoc Wireless Mesh Network For Emergency Vehicles?

soldack Re:Not appropriate (200 comments)

The military is using meshing products from the company I work at, Rajant, They are secure enough for their use. As for reliable, we are used in open pit mining operations with 100s of mobile nodes in vehicles that are like multistory buildings on wheels. These folks loose tons of money if they are down for just the smallest amount of time and they rely on our meshing networks for their fleet control.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Ad-Hoc Wireless Mesh Network For Emergency Vehicles?

soldack Rajant for rugged mobile mesh (200 comments)

I work at so I may be a bit biased but our BreadCrumb line will work great for rugged meshing. We support 4.9 GHz radios that are reserved for emergency responders. We are in use by the military and large mining operations that require 24/7/365 networks with 100s of nodes and lives on the line.

about 2 years ago

Microsoft Research Introduces Record-Beating MinuteSort Tech

soldack only 10 gigabit Ethernet? Too slow (118 comments)

They used 10 GigE with a very advanced set of switches that support OpenFlow so that they could get the full bisectional bandwidth. They could have use InfiniBand and probably done much better with FDR adapters capable of 56 gigabit per second. Even "old" IB adapters were faster. Most of the IB switches supported full bisectional bandwidth right out of the box. MS should look at the High Performance Computing world. They need to do handle large amounts of data with low latency.

more than 2 years ago

Forbes Names Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Worst CEO

soldack only measured by stock price? (444 comments)

Microsoft still prints money at an insane rate. They are one of the most profitable public companies in the world year after year and Balmer gets no respect as if he is just coasting on what was there before. It doesn't work that way in tech. You can't coast. Vista was a problem but Windows 7 is a massive success. Windows phone struggles but XBox does well. Windows Server and Office are still cash cows. They are moving up in the virtualization market. People want growth levels out of MS that are just not possible given their size and dominance.
#4 just below Apple and they did it with much less revenue.

It used to be that being massive profitiable and having better margins meant something.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Mobile Phone Solution With No Data Plan?

soldack republic wireless (294 comments)

They use sprint's network and are $19/month. You can't get much better than that. Even though the phone costs about $200, you will make it back pretty quickly compared to other plans.

more than 2 years ago

10-Petaflops Supercomputer Being Built For Open Science Community

soldack Re:56 gigabit InfiniBand (55 comments)

I know about this...I worked on the SilverStorm's Fabric Manager while I was there. I remember going into the VT System-X room and seeing piles of bad cables from earlier setup. If I remember correctly, the very first network had more switch ASICs than hosts...both were around 2000 or so. I think the first switches used 8-port ASICs internally. We made massive improvements to our fabric scan time and reaction time to moving cables, nodes going down, etc. This was a good thing because the non-silverstorm IB switches that were there were at the start were having a failures all the time. I believe System-X eventually moved to SilverStorm IB switches (those 288s and 24 port switches). That 288 was fun to work on. Moving to 24-port ASIC based switches really cuts down on fabric scan and setup time.

more than 2 years ago

10-Petaflops Supercomputer Being Built For Open Science Community

soldack 56 gigabit InfiniBand (55 comments)

They claim they will use 56 gigabit InfiniBand. Has anyone tested Mellanox's FDR adapters and switches? From what I understand, that is 14 gigabit over 4x cabling. I remember all the problems just getting 10 gigabit to work over 4x 2.5 gigabit copper. I imagine this must use fiber to get any distance from the server to the switch.

Their asic seems to support only 36 ports. Building a 2000 node network with 36 port switches will take a lot of interconnected switches. I wonder what topology they are going to use. Is anyone building bigger switches based on many interconnected 36-port asics?

more than 2 years ago

Why Science Is a Lousy Career Choice

soldack what about engineering? (694 comments)

According to this article: engineering jobs are doing quite well. This seems to suggest it might even be sexy!

It seems the first article in the main post talks about STEM but doesn't provide any real evidence but may be talking about an article noting the brain drain of the finance world and that the percentage of MIT grads going into finance increased. It was not the majority. This isn't a bad thing. I am a software engineer with a BS in computer science and an MS in computer engineering. I worked on financial software, device drivers, internet advertising software, remote control car embedded software, and wireless meshing software. STEM can take you into all sorts of industries. I don't know why this is a bad thing and I don't think that was what the President was saying.

The author says, "First, American culture has always realized this 'stuff' is important." I find that hard to believe. When I was in school, there were almost no computer science majors. My graduation had 3 CS majors walk with me with over 10,000 students enrolled at the university. Other STEM majors did a bit better but the reality is that our society looks down on STEM folks. It is considered weird and odd. Hollywood uses this stereotype often because the public believes it. We are geeks, nerds, dorks, etc. STEM really does need better PR since keeping the world running doesn't seem to matter much anymore.

The second article attacks pure science jobs. Most folks that major in STEM probably do not go on to pure research jobs. Why is this a bad thing? Many folks become engineers and use the research to create other things. They compare school teachers to scientists even though many are both. Many "pure" researches are college professors. "The women I know who are university professors, by and large, are unmarried and childless. By the time they get tenure, they are on the verge of infertility. " My wife is a university professor and we have two kids thank you. I know several other professional female mathematicians who married and had kids. It seems they these folks get married at the same rate as most other folks and have kids at about the same rate too. Also, the author ignores that the PhD can go into public school teaching and will be paid extra for having the degree. They can leave college and go into the private sector. Some do both. My wife programmed for a while and then came back to teaching because she liked teaching a lot more.

"men tend to lack perspective and are unable to step back and ask the question 'is this peer group worth impressing?' " That is an incredibly sexist statement. Does the author have any proof that women do not do the same? As far as I can tell the sentence should be changed to "people sometimes lack perspective..."

"When Albert goes to graduate school to get his PhD, his choice will have the same logical foundation as John Hinckley's attempt to impress Jodie Foster by shooting Ronald Reagan. " The author compares getting a PhD to being a stalker. This is why STEM needs better PR! Americans see most PhDs as potential stalkers who are just trying to impress the other potential stalkers. Maybe someone gets a PhD because they are actually really interested in the field and really want to study it for its own sake. Maybe someone cares about something other than money. Maybe there is more to life satisfaction than just making more money. Do you want a job that pays 20% more that you will hate or a job that you will love? Perhaps the PhD candidate is actually smarter enough to do what he/she loves.

"What about women? Don't they want to impress their peers? Yes, but they are more discriminating about choosing those peers." Really? There are many pieces of media about who girls get caught up trying to impress the wrong peers. Are they all wrong? I have female friends and relatives that have fallen into this trap just as much as my male friends and relatives.

"If you are extremely introverted, you might prefer to work as a computer programmer. " I work as a computer programmer and I have developed many great friendships through this field. I met my wife through a fellow programmer. I have friends that have been there for well over a decade through my career as a programmer. Contrary to popular belief, computer programmers do have to talk and work with other people, even non-programmers. I have work with folks in documentation, testing, marketing, sales, accounting, finance, etc. I find that introverted folks are only good at a very limited subset of programming. Most complex problems require teamwork.

"For whatever reason we've decided that science in America should be done by low-paid immigrants." What? 1. What is wrong with immigrants? 2. Who says that immigrants are the majority of scientists? 3. Who even cares? I have worked with folks from many corners of the earth and been richer for it. It has not hurt my career and in fact has helped it as I have seen things from very different points of view. If someone is going to try to outwork me for less money, than I will just try to make myself more valuable to justify earning more than them. Life is competitive. Get over it when someone from another country out works you. Prove that you deserve your salary but being more productive than the other person.

"Imagine if one of those kind souls that Summers was speaking to had taken Condoleezza Rice aside and told her not to waste time with political science because physics was so much more challenging. Just think how far she might have gone... " She seems smart. Perhaps she would have discovered something that would have changed the world for the better. Perhaps should would have changed our view of the universe itself. But perhaps she would not have made as much money. Perhaps that isn't always the most important thing.

more than 3 years ago



google drive is down

soldack soldack writes  |  about a year ago

soldack (48581) writes "Both my personal and professional (paid) google drive accounts are showing no documents. They just show an error: The server encountered an error. Please try again later."


soldack has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>