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Comment: Re:Time for a new date (Score 1) 197

Peak oil isn't about quantity of oil, it's about rate of oil extraction. For example, Mexico's Cantarell field at its peak produced oil at a greater rate than the entire Canadian tar sands despite being around 0.1% of the size of what Canada has. We don't yet know whether the rate of production from this field will do anything at all to when peak oil happens.

Comment: 5v lines (Score 4, Informative) 164

by Alioth (#48010695) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

It's not at all unusual for the 5v and 0v (Vcc and GND) lines to be in the middle of a DIP package (the Slashdot summary sort of implies it's an odd thing). It means the leads within the package are shorter for those lines, lowering parasitic inductance and capacitance for the power supply to the chip, generally you want the decoupling capacitors to be as close to the actual chip as possible so they can be as effective as possible as the power demands change. Putting the supply pins at opposite corners (like it's done on things like 14 pin 74-series standard logic) would very significantly lengthen the distance that the actual supply rails on the chip are from the decoupling capacitors.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 2) 494

by Alioth (#47926639) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

I don't think it will take as long as you expect to rejoin the EU (the UK will continue to exist on Friday if the vote is yes, it's at least a couple of years away for the first day of Scotland as a new sovereign nation in the event of a yes vote). The EU will make sure that Scotland is in by that deadline - for one, the Spanish fishing fleets won't tolerate being denied access to Scottish waters.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 2) 494

by Alioth (#47926589) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

I don't see what the beef over immigration is -- it actually works both ways. There are about 1 million Britons living in Spain right now under the same rules.

What happens is this: older Britons who are more likely to be in poor health and a drain on the NHS, and who are frequently trying to dodge taxes move to Spain, and burden the Spanish economy (I know some of these people - they basically do everything they can to avoid paying any tax in Spain where they are consuming public services). Basically, economically inactive people who burden public services. In return, the immigrants we get from the EU are young, healthy, fit people who are eager to work and contribute, do not put a burden on the health service and contribute more than they take. A win-win situation.

The funniest thing I saw was a rant from a British person (in the Daily Fail of course) who had immigrated into Spain about how Spain was much better at keeping immigrants out than the UK...despite the fact that he himself was an immigrant into Spain!

Comment: Lament the DC10 (Score 1) 112

by Alioth (#47926171) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

While many plane enthusiasts lamented the exit of the DC-10 from passenger service, I did not.

That aircraft had an awful, awful 2-5-2 seat arrangement in economy. More often than not I ended up in the middle seat of that set of 5 and had to crawl over 2 people if I wanted to use the toilet in the middle of the night, and didn't get the compensation of a view out the window which at least makes up for it in aircraft with the 3-4-3 configuration). Inevitably, it would be a parent and a very noisy child occupying BOTH sides.

Good riddance, DC-10. You won't be missed.

Comment: Re:Hmmm .... (Score 3, Informative) 112

by Alioth (#47926123) Attached to: A DC-10 Passenger Plane Is Perfect At Fighting Wildfires

That problem was fixed and is not the reason why the DC-10 isn't used any more. The DC-10 (and MD-11 followon, which is still in service) went on to fly millions of safe, reliable hours once the issue with the overcentre locks were fixed with the cargo doors.

The DC-10 is out of (passenger) service now just because it's old and burns too much fuel. (It remains in cargo service, where it will be pressurized).

Comment: Re:Abject brand mismanagement (Score 1) 352

by Alioth (#47887895) Attached to: Microsoft Killing Off Windows Phone Brand Name In Favor of Just Windows

Not only is does it have negative value in the phone marketing, it's confusing and disappoints people - they think because it's Windows it will have more compatibility with their PC and will run PC applications and then find "yes it's Windows but it doesn't run Windows apps". Apple didn't call the iPhone the Mac Phone for a reason (even though it reputedly runs the same OS kernel).

Microsoft would have been better off just calling it Metro instead of Windows. Or pretty much any other easy to pronounce name.

Comment: Re:COBOL - it's all about the data (Score 1) 387

by Alioth (#47878805) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

COBOL is just as disadvantaged in dealing with an SQL database. All that DATA DIVISION syntax is about reading and writing flat files, not interacting with a database engine in a separate executable. (It's a while since I've done any COBOL so perhaps matters have changed now, but COBOL was always about fixed width record flat files).

My Java code needs no changes if table formats changed (things like added columns) because I try to use the supplied classes and the JDBC properly (and also take the time to make sure the database is designed right - such as using views, so the underlying data format can be changed without requiring all the things that depend on it to change).

Comment: Re:My take on COBOL.... (Score 1) 387

by Alioth (#47878781) Attached to: Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative

SQL didn't exist until long after COBOL was a major thing. What COBOL is good at is dealing with fixed width record format flat files, which was a common way of storing stuff when COBOL was first invented. When you have a large complex system that's been going for decades, is fully debugged, and just works there is a huge cost in rewriting it that may just not be worth it.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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