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Comment: For those interested... (Score 4, Informative) 82

by Dimwit (#48378087) Attached to: Five Years of the Go Programming Language

Go was developed in large part by Rob Pike who has a long history of concucrrency programming going back to Plan 9 from Bell Labs and earlier.

Some of his more interesting papers about concurrency are: (The Newsqueak Programming Language) (Newsqueak Implementation) (A Concurrent Window System)

You can even see some hints of what was to come in his paper outlining the design of the Blit terminal for Unix:

Comment: Re:While you're at it... (Score 1) 242

by Dimwit (#48362879) Attached to: HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

Greg Egan's stuff wouldn't translate well to the screen, I think. I absolutely love his work (Permutation City is one of my favorite books, and I loved Schild's Ladder, Quarantine, and all of his short fiction). The problem is that there's too heavy of a cognitive science/philosophical bent to them. You'd have to have a character sit down a monologue for a while to get everything out.

Comment: Dear lord... (Score 4, Insightful) 459

by Dimwit (#48361843) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

Okay, here's the deal. I am passionate about computer science and programming. It's what I do, both for my job, and as my only hobby. I write code for open source projects, and I write code for work, and I design little one-off projects for my own entertainment.

I stayed up all night every summer growing up teaching myself how to code. When I go to the used book store, I go to the section and buy old computer science textbooks talking about esoterica (I'm the only person I know under 45 who knows any APL, for example). My bedtime reading last week was the Oberon System manual that I got off eBay for $5.00.

All this was despite the fact that I grew up in rural Texas and got my ass beaten on a daily basis for being a "geek". The fact that my family was the only non-Christian family in town meant that I couldn't go to the school administration for help; when I tried it turned into a "let's pray for you, son." And yet, I kept doing it because I was passionate about it.

And guess what? If you're that passionate about something, you'll do it regardless of what your peers think. You'll *make* it happen. We didn't have any money growing up, so I'd stay after school and work on the computers there. When we finally scraped up enough money to buy a used Commodore 64 in like 1992, I had that hooked up to an old black-and-white TV and taught myself 6502 assembly.

So yeah, I'm sick of people saying "it's someone else's fault that I can't do this." No, it's not. If you're passionate enough about it, you'll *make* it happen.

Comment: Re:no dimocrats (Score 1) 551

by Dimwit (#48301233) Attached to: In this year's US mid-term elections ...

"I don't believe in hateful divisions on the lines of gender, race, heritage, etc, so therefore I'm logically going to vote for a party whose official platform includes denying women the rights to their own bodies, homosexuals the rights to marry the people they love, and actively attempted to limit access to democracy to people of color."

Look, when you've got a shit sandwich and a crazy guy who wants to shoot you in the head, well...shit sandwiches aren't that bad.

Comment: I live in the Northeast part of Austin... (Score 4, Insightful) 88

by Dimwit (#48165599) Attached to: Google Fiber To Launch In Austin, Texas In December

...and I'm never getting fiber internet. Certain parts of the city are completely ignored for infrastructure upgrades. We just spent $10 million putting bicycle repair kits and air pumps in the richer parts of town, while delaying the sewer installation in my part of town (we were annexed by the city in 2007 and were supposed to have sewers hooked up in's 2014 and now they're saying they "hope" it'll get done by 2015). We spent another $1-2 million on "sharrows", which are little arrows that go in the roads to show that we should share those lanes with bikes. We also just spent something like $30 million finishing a bicycling bridge over Town Lake.

In other words, rich people in the south and southwestern parts of town get whatever they want on the taxpayer dime while people in the north and east have to put up with roads without sidewalks, failing sewer systems, and lackluster police protection. Yay.

Comment: Re:Does anyone still use Gnome? (Score 1, Insightful) 60

by Dimwit (#48151775) Attached to: KDE Releases Plasma 5.1

KDE is too "busy". There's drop shadows everywhere and HUGE icons and constant distracting animations. Plus, it's the only desktop I've ever stat down at and couldn't immediately understand how to use it. What's an "Activity"? Is it a workspace? Without trying, I was able to get myself into a situation where I had zero controls on the screen and no idea how to get out of it. GNOME "just works".

Comment: Conservatives and hearing the people (Score 3, Insightful) 283

For a group that just loves to scream "democracy!" and "republic!" they sure don't want the wrong sort of people having a say in their government, what with fighint tooth and nail to reduce early voting, vote-by-mail, and now, apparently, making it harder to file opinions with government agencies.

Comment: Terminal vulnerabilities (Score 2) 399

by Dimwit (#47985719) Attached to: Remote Exploit Vulnerability Found In Bash

My favorite of this sort of thing is CVE-2009-1717, which was a bug in Apple's terminal emulator in Mac OS X. Sending certain escape sequences to it caused it to blow up and potentially execute code. What was fun is that putting a "telnet://" link in a web page would automatically cause Mac OS X to automatically open a terminal and connect to a remote host with no prompting by the user. It was a pretty neat vulnerability.

Comment: Drug companies and profit motive (Score 3, Interesting) 74

by Dimwit (#47871693) Attached to: Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

Let's compare two companies that depend on science - IBM and GlaxoSmithKline.

Let's say IBM discovers a new method of lithography for building microchips. They publish their results, and their results are replicated. More importantly, IBM gets a new, presumably better way of making microchips.

GlaxoSmithKline makes a new drug that treats a psychological illness. To some degree, because there are no objective physical tests for most psychological illnesses, the determination of effectiveness is made subjectively.

Both companies want the science to turn out right, because it makes them money. One of them has a much easier time massaging the results of any studies.

Comment: Re:Oh it'll happen... (Score 3, Interesting) 727

by Dimwit (#47716235) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

This is a much bigger deal than people seem to think. I tried getting my father set up on Linux not that long ago.

"I need help, this says GNOME needs updating, I thought I was running Linux?"
"You are, Linux is the kernel, but GNOME is the desktop environment."
"Well, what's Debian? It says Debian needs updating."
"You're running the Debian distribution of Linux."
"I thought it was GNOME?"

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.