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Comment: Boston Dynamics PETMAN (Score 1) 29

by Required Snark (#46689015) Attached to: A New Robo-Soldier Will Test Chemical Warfare Suits
This is not the first humanoid robot for this purpose. Meet PETMAN

PETMAN is an anthropomorphic robot designed for testing chemical protection clothing. Natural agile movement is essential for PETMAN to simulate how a soldier stresses protective clothing under realistic conditions.

Unlike previous suit testers that had a limited repertoire of motion and had to be supported mechanically, PETMAN balances itself and moves freely; walking, bending and doing a variety of suit-stressing calisthenics during exposure to chemical warfare agents. PETMAN also simulates human physiology within the protective suit by controlling temperature, humidity and sweating, all to provide realistic test conditions.

Although it's hard to tell from dueling press releases, it appears that PETMAN is more sophisticated and moves much more autonomously then Porton Man. I assume that it is also a lot more expensive.

Comment: Re:It also killed innovation (Score 4, Informative) 169

The IBM Stretch had an early form of out of order execution. This was in 1959.

http://people.cs.clemson.edu/~mark/stretch.html

Amdahl discussed his original idea for lookahead with John Backus "two or three times". "And John thought what I had proposed initially, he couldn't do a compiler for. So we went ahead and redid it. And we came out with the thing that was the look-ahead structure of the STRETCH." [p. 71, Norberg]. Amdahl recalls that "principally the look-ahead pre-fetched instructions to see branch instructions early enough so that we could get the succeeding instruction and data for each of the two alternative branch paths"

The CDC6600 a more advanced form in 1964.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-of-order_execution

Arguably the first machine to use out-of-order execution was the CDC 6600 (1964), which used a scoreboard to resolve conflicts. In modern usage, such scoreboarding is considered to be in-order execution, not out-of-order execution, since such machines stall on the first RAW (Read After Write) conflict. Strictly speaking, such machines initiate execution in-order, although they may complete execution out-of-order.

From the same source:

About three years later, the IBM 360/91 (1966) introduced Tomasulo's algorithm, which made full out-of-order execution possible.

Comment: Greedy Corporate Assholes (Score 2) 97

Any business as big and monopolistic as Comcast is going to be completely corrupt. They don't make money, they steal money. This applies to all the big corporations, no matter what business they are in.

This example shows how low they will go to defraud their users. Just how many cable subscribers are using non-HDTV sets? This is obviously their lowest tier customer class, so it is likely that they are making the least amount of profit from these users. That is why they picked this group to gouge.

There no real relationship between what they charge and what the delivery cost is. The content charges are just as artificial. The only competition is how the profits from the overpriced service is divided up. The only looser is the customer.

This situation is normal when there is no real competition. It's identical to the telcos and the banks and the pharmaceutical companies and ...

No capitalism here, just move along.

Comment: Re:Must question the "revised" estimates (Score 0) 152

As for Fukushima. Fukushima is the story of a freak Tsunami that was mutated by the anti-nuke community into a "nuclear failure".

So you want to argue this at the level of personal attacks? No problem.

Imagine that there was no reactor at Fukushima and there was a "freak tsunami". Would there be a radioactive water storage nightmare?

Currently about 400 tonnes of groundwater is streaming into the reactor basements from the hills behind the plant each day. The plant has accumulated about 300,000 tonnes of contaminated water, which is being stored in 1,200 tanks occupying a large swath of the Fukushima Daiichi site.

Eventually Tepco hopes to have enough space to store 800,000 tonnes, but fears are rising that it will run out of space sometime next year because it can't keep up with the flow of toxic water.

Your statement is meaningless because it is complete nonsense. In the real world the tsunami happened and there have been dramatic consequences. Putting the blame on the "anti-nuke community" verges on delusional thinking.

Are your suggesting that the water be dumped into the ocean? That would destroy an even larger area of the Japanese seafood industry. It would also violate numerous international treaties.

Since you seem to have all the answers, what's your solution? I'm sure that you response will be better then anyone in Japan or the international community has come up with so far, and it will be immediately adopted. I can't wait!

Comment: Re:"Open source computer"???? (Score -1, Flamebait) 97

You're absolutely right. There is no truly open source hardware.

Since this is so outrageous, I suggest that you immediately give up using anything with a computer. No laptop, pads, desktop or smartphone. Get off the internet entirely. No GPS. No ATM or banking. No electricity, because all electric power generation uses evil closed source hardware.

In fact, the only way you can live and be free of all the closed source hardware is to go and live in the woods like Ted Kaczynski. I hope you do so, because then there would be one less self obsessed moron on Slashdot.

Comment: Re:Wait... What? (Score 4, Informative) 46

Factually incorrect: "Plus they are a heck a lot more reliable then they were 20+ years ago."

Over twenty years ago there were computers that hardware and software that were designed to work together. At least two of these systems had extra tag bits in memory that defined the memory contents. Specifically I am talking about Symbolics Lisp Machines and Burroughs Large Systems that natively ran Algol. I worked on both of these systems and they were intrinsically more reliable then any systems I know of today.

Because of the tagged memory they had hardware protection against a large class of errors that current systems encounter all the time. It was possible to find the bugs and eliminate them so they did not re-occur. It also protected against having undetected errors, which is a true nightmare.

Having hardware and software designed at the same time results in a better product. This is even more significant when the system is designed to run a specific high level language. Everything has less bugs.

Heck, Cray machines had ECC memory: SECDED. Single Error Correction, Double Error Detection. They needed it, because memory was not so reliable as today, but now you are lucky to just have a parity bit. All this work is going on, and no one has a clue if there are bad results or not.

As an industry we have gone backwards. That's not an opinion, it's an observation.

Comment: You've got it all wrong. (Score 3, Interesting) 325

by Required Snark (#46637839) Attached to: FWD.us Wants More H-1B Visas, But 50% Go To Offshore Firms
This isn't selling out resident workers, both green card holders and citizens. It's capitalism in action.

The US government is for sale, and the highest bidders get what they pay for. You buy enough legislation (and legislators) and you can make anything legal.

Want to make more money in the short run by gutting STEM employment and destroying US based intellectual capitial? No problem! (Just look at IBM).

Want to pay no US taxes while you plaster US flags on your equipment? You don't even have to make the flags in the US! (Caterpillar, a proud US giant.)

It really is equal opportunity at work. You don't even have to be a US company to buy what you want.

Stop whining, it's unpatriotic. You obviously don't love the US if you can't afford to buy you own slice of the American Dream. Tata Consultancy Services is clearly a much more important American Enterprise then any of the mere citizens who do useless things like live, vote and pay taxes in the US.

It's not like there is a "Government of the People, by the People and For the People" or any other nonsense like that.

Comment: Blame Ronald Reagan (Score 1) 51

Before Reagan there used to be something called "anit-trust". When some player in the private sector got too big, they would be "broken up" in order to insure "competition". That was in the old days where the US economy had something called "capitalism".

I know this sounds like a fantasy to many younger Slashdot readers, but it really did happen. Besides "capitalism" there were other obsolete ideas like "privacy", "justice", "voting rights", "free press" and "free travel". I'd encourage you to look this up, but then you might get on a list where suddenly you couldn't get on an airplane and they would never tell you why and you could never get off the list.

Comment: Get used to a poorly designed environment (Score 4, Insightful) 306

by Required Snark (#46514407) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can an Old Programmer Learn New Tricks?
If you started to code before the rise of the internet, you learned how to function in a somewhat useful development environment. The infrastructure and tools for internet based programming are severely broken by those standards.

To a significant extent, all the practices that make a workable environment were abandoned for the internet. It's likely that the learning curve problem you are experiencing is a reflection how bad things have become for coders.

Take languages. With the possible exception of Python, all the languages associated with web development have glaring flaws. PHP is conceivably the worst language to ever gain broad acceptance. JavaScript does objects wrong and has evil lexical scoping rules. You have to be very careful or you can step on an assumption made by object in a library that you don't even know was loaded.

Thoughtful system design has been replaced by object oriented programming. The failed assumption is that if you have an object model, you must be doing a good job. This is a prime example of magical thinking. Just because it's all objects does not mean that it was done right. (I'm talking about you, Java).

Then there are the "non-standard" standards. The poster child is HTML in the browser. To reach the full user base web pages must code for multiple incompatible implementations. Chalk up a lot of this to Microsoft, but even they had a lot of help creating the garbage dump called web standards.

Frameworks take the mindset of spaghetti code, force it on the coder and then claim that they are really great. Take Cake/PHP. Using it is the equivalent of chewing on a mixture of crushed glass and push pins. It only seem useful if you have been swimming in the cesspit of PHP.

To be fair, I must say that JQuery is one of the best examples of software out there. I demonstrates that even given a flawed language like JavaScript, and the snake pit of inconsistent DOM implementations, elegant and useful software is possible. It's just too bad that there are very few tools that do such a good job.

So don't blame yourself. You are as smart and capable as you ever were, it's the work environment that has become degraded. If you come to grips with the current crop of shoddy software you can achieve your ends. A more fundamental issue is if you want to work in such a terrible situation. After having the experience of being productive, it's a real let down to experience using such a crap set of tools.

Comment: Elitist America (Score 4, Insightful) 187

by Required Snark (#46460987) Attached to: CIA Accused: Sen. Feinstein Sees Torture Probe Meddling
Welcome to our new unequal 21st century America.

If you are not a member of one of various elites, you have no expectation of privacy, protection under the law, or economic security.

If you are a wealthy investor, top tier business executive, elected to a nationwide office, or famous and rich for any reason, your wealth and position will be protected by the economic, political, and military might of the US. Note: entertainers, particularly pro-athletes and popular musicians, can be dropped at any time. Heavily right wing affiliation will keep you in good standing. See Steven Seagal and Ted Nugent for examples.

The only real crime is interfering with a member of the elite. You can have every economic transaction, phone call, medical record, license plate tracking data and email in a secret database, but if anyone spies on a Member of Congress heads will roll, bureaucrats will loose their jobs and institutional budgets will be slashed.

Suck it up. You count for nothing.

Comment: Re:They sold it at cost? (Score 0, Flamebait) 126

You have the mentality of a peasant. Whatever the nobles do, it must be OK because they would never take advantage of their position at your expense. They're so much more deserving then you.

Let's use a car analogy: suppose that you buy gas at the same station that Google execs do. They get charged the rate that the gas costs at the refinery, and you pay retail. Their gas is 25% cheaper (made up value) then yours. You have to pay for shipping costs, infrastructure costs for the service station (electricity, upkeep), the salaries of everyone involved between the refinery and the pump, etc. All that stuff has to be paid for to get the gas to the pump, so you are subsidizing their gas.

Except it's not a private company selling the gas, it's government services paid for by your taxes.

Look at Eric Schmidt's compensation at Google.

In its 2011 'World's Billionaires' list, Forbes ranked Schmidt as the 136th-richest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of $7 billion. Google gave him a $100 million equity award in 2011 when he stepped down as CEO.[57]

According to insider transaction data available at Yahoo! Finance, Schmidt sold Google stock worth more than $6 billion from January to May 2013.

So you think it's fine to use tax money to make it cheaper for a guy worth $7 Billion to fly his private jet. What the hell is wrong with you?

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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