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Comment: Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (Score 2) 153

by GrahamCox (#47726729) Attached to: Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'
Exactly. Originally Wikipedia had a statement that "wikipedia isn't paper", so anything and everything was fair game for inclusion. That was one of its great attractions. I have no idea if that still stands, but if so it seems at odds with the whole notability thing. What they *should* do, if notability is an issue, is to have a little +/- thing on each article that rates the article for notability. Over time that will end up indicating the relative 'notabilty score' of the article, without having to have it actually deleted. Brainless fucks the lot of 'em, it's been years since I've contributed to WP, the attitude was just not worth battling over.

Comment: Re:Header files (Score 1) 425

by GrahamCox (#47675309) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Bjarne Stroustrup About Programming and C++
Header files are great when you are writing code to be used by other people (i.e. most oft he time, for a professional). They allow you to separate the public parts of your blob of code from all the private nasty bits you'd rather they didn't see or use. Headers define your code's contract with the outside world, the rest is implementation detail. I'd hate to have to link against code that didn't use them - it would massively increase the learning curve for arbitrary libraries.

Comment: Re:Remove the Bloat (Score 1) 151

by GrahamCox (#47675185) Attached to: Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?
C=64 1Mhz 6510 with 64k RAM (38 useable), also fast and efficient

It wasn't fast by any stretch (I had the European PAL spec, which was even slower). If you wanted to use "high resolution" mode (320x200 pixels) then it took minutes to draw even simple curves. If you programmed it using the built-in BASIC, anything non-trivial took minutes or more. The only way you could write anything like a useful program was to use assembler, coding directly to the bare metal. Some of the games resulting were impressive enough for their time, but wouldn't look much today.

The problem isn't sloppy coding, but that expectations are higher - people want photographic fidelity for images and video, interfaces that look good, and the ability to download stuff over the internet quickly. All that takes a lot of processor power, and a certain amount of code. A modern PC is hardly wasting CPU cycles to get its work done (except in the trivial sense that it's using a lot of power for things that some people consider frivolous, like blurry translucent window backgrounds), there isn't a way to speed up our devices by 10x and still have them do what they do. The idea that modern code is wasteful and bloated is a myth.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 4, Informative) 151

by GrahamCox (#47674343) Attached to: Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?
Then the rate of improvements fell off a cliff

That's only true if you're only judging it by outright speed, height, etc. Things have continued to improve in terms of efficiency, thrust-to-weight ratio, noise, cleanliness of fuel burn and above all, reliability.

The original RB211 turbofan (the first big fanjet of the type that all modern airliners use) had a total lifetime of 1,000 hours. Nowadays it's >33,000 hours. That's an incredible achievement. In 1970, as a young kid with a keen interest in aviation, I would watch Boeing 707s fly in and out of my local airport, all trailing plumes of black smoke, all whining loudly (and deafeningly, on take-off), and understanding where all the noise protesters that frequently appeared on the news were coming from. Nowadays you don't have that, because noise is just not the problem it was, there's no black smoke, and jets slip in and out of airports really very quietly, when you consider how much power they are producing (which in turn helps them climb away more quickly).

As far as computing is concerned, you're right - there's still plenty of room at the bottom. But the current fabrication technology is reaching its limits. Perhaps jet engine manufacturers in the late 60s couldn't see how they would overcome fundamental limits in materials technology to produce the jets we have today, but they did.

Comment: Re:Legal... sort of (Score 5, Insightful) 178

by GrahamCox (#47674217) Attached to: Hemp Fibers Make Better Supercapacitors Than Graphene
Which is nuts, actually. Hemp is a brilliant raw material with hundreds of practical uses which *should*, if people had any sense of balance, far outweigh the small issue of the cannabinoids. It could probably even be selectively bred to eliminate that aspect, but no, concern about a few potheads sends legislators into a tailspin. This is why we can't have nice things.

Comment: Soccer's been sold out (Score 1) 39

by GrahamCox (#47669351) Attached to: Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher
Soccer has been sold out to the corporate sector. It's no longer about players and the love of the game, it's just about maximising profit.

Germany, who just won the World Cup, don't tend to do it this way so much - instead they invest in youth soccer training and mentoring, spotting and nurturing young talent. As a result, most of the teams in the Bundesliga are "worth" far, far less in pure financial terms (though I'm not claiming that there isn't a great deal of corporatism there as well, it just hasn't quite reached the same insane levels as the UK for example).

It's sad to see the game that was once the passion of every working class member of society become basically Formula 1 with boots on, with ticket prices only the wealthy can afford.

Comment: DLNA is crap (Score 0) 112

by GrahamCox (#47660837) Attached to: Xbox One Will Play Media from USB Devices, DLNA Servers
Why DLNA, in this day and age? It's garbage, with a "lowest common denominator" approach to media files, with only 8.3 filenames and very few supported formats. It's like the companies got together to grudgingly agree a simple standard that would mean they didn't have to do any real work with each other, just a bare minimum that would just about allow interoperability and a minimum of effort to implement.

Comment: Re:I don't get it. (Score 1) 539

by GrahamCox (#47652809) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution
why is intellectual variability so verboten

Show me a) how the brain works (at the intellectual level, not just neurons firing, which is only the hardware, not the software) and b) what IQ means, and c) how the genes influence either a or b.

It seems likely that whatever constitutes "intelligence", genes may be a factor. But there's a gulf of understanding the cause and effect between the two right now. That's why it's really just bad science to write about it as if it were a proven fact.

Comment: Re:Heysham (Score 2) 120

by GrahamCox (#47651673) Attached to: Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK
I can assure you it was not for time between nuclear accidents, but don't let that little truth stop you from you from making a slant.

I never claimed it was. I designed the thing; it was pretty clear they meant industrial accident in the normal sense of someone cutting themselves, dropping a hammer on their foot, etc. Nevertheless it struck me as a strange thing to want to put on display, because no matter what value the display showed up to 999, it would either be misinterpreted (e.g. as a nuclear accident) or always look far too low. The only way it would ever be impressive would be if it had a 10-digit display that always showed some very large number (but then that would be dishonest). So what's the point of it? Not for me to question, we were happy to take the customer's money.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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