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Comment: Transmeta (Score 2) 181

by Sebastopol (#48343521) Attached to: There's No Such Thing As a General-Purpose Processor

This whole discussion just made me laugh whilst remembering the hype around the Transmeta / Torvalds code-morphing engine.

Ah, the 90's. They were fun.

CPUs have been "general purpose" since day one. The only non-general purpose hardware are ASICs (like the article says). Everything else is just marketing hype from Intel, et al.

This is such an amazing rehash of what Intel used to call *T technologies in the 90's, starting from the 80's, when coprocessors started appearing (x87). The big trend was toward DSPs in the 90's, but that never happened, instead they pushed on new hardware like MMX, SSE and now vector processors. That's why we have graphics processors as non-general-purpose CPUs.

To call something a GPGPU is just an egregious assault of on common sense.

"Dark silicon", while a catchy name, is simply a side effect of latency, something the article mostly skips (hints at it with locality): the memory hierarchy exists and dark silicon is a result. When latency is zero, more of the silicon will be engaged.

While one could easily claim that because parts of any chip power down that means it's not general purpose, that's an oversimplification: 100% utilization is fundamentally impossible because problems aren't solved that way, there is no infinite parallelism.

I really think the author's analysis isn't fully developed. While the conclusion that hardware looks like the software may be a pleasant tautology, it overlooks Turing's thesis entirely. Which is odd, because that's what they author -started- with!

Comment: Re:CurrentC does not solve for the Customer (Score 1) 631

by Sebastopol (#48267257) Attached to: Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

Bank account or debit card?!? That's audacious.

Wow. I'm happy with my old fashioned pieces of plastic.

I have 22 years of Quicken data, 20 years with a credit card, and only 3 fraudulent transactions out of ~16,000.

Financial security: check.
Personal information security: ah jeez....

Comment: Re:Beware coverage tools (Score 1) 169

by Sebastopol (#48235719) Attached to: Tetris Is Hard To Test

Validation is way more important than writing code. Coding is grunt work that literally anyone can do. There is a huge demand for programmers, and very few are "good" programmers, 90% are just grunts who will never get any better, and that's life due to demand. So you need validation. I wrote and managed RTL development for 15 years at Intel and code coverage is simply mission critical. No other way around it.

If you think being able to "read code" is enough to see all the corner cases, you're either very young, or one of the aforementioned grunts.

Comment: How do we actually know? (Score 2) 203

by Sebastopol (#47874453) Attached to: 5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

I could harvest 5m gmail names from google searches, and then publish them with bogus passwords and create panic. Is there some statistic that says how many of these were real passwords? Because wouldn't it be illegal to use them (accessing another person's account w/o their permission is a crime in the USA).

Seems like it would be easy to manufacture a lot of FUD by making these claims w/o really having any passwords at all, and no one could verify it?

Comment: Re:Big shoes to fill this one has (Score 1) 183

by Sebastopol (#46313849) Attached to: The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

I didn't state my original point clearly enough. If you edited Cosmos to take out Dr. Sagan's lengthy and yawn-inducing monologues about our insignificance in the cosmos, you end up with The Mechanical Universe, which is paced at the speed of top-tier college lecture.

I also don't think it is a problem to match the pace of the lecture with what today's you are accustomed to. When sound was added to cinema in the early 20th century, purists claimed it would ruin the art form. The same thing happened when people actually began to edit with an artistic eye and shots reduced in time from 30-60 seconds to 5-10 (with the advent of new technology). In fact, there was even resistance to technicolor by the French auteurs!

I wouldn't be quick to claim the way I learned, or the way engineers in the 1950's (or 1850's!) learned, or the way you learned is "the one true way." If youth are accustomed to fast-paced editing, then use that form. If you personally don't like it, open a book and learn at your own pace, or launch a Kickstarter. :)

Comment: Re:Big shoes to fill this one has (Score 3, Insightful) 183

by Sebastopol (#46264939) Attached to: The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

When is the last time you watched the original Cosmos? There are a lot--and I mean A LOT--of scenes featuring Carl sitting on a beach or in a meadow looking off into the distance with pontificating voice-overs that kinda ramble. Believe me, I'm 42 and I grew up on that series, but having re-watched it recently, I was surprised at the large spans of near bloviation that adorn the show. I absolutely adore the series, I just think it could have used some tightening up during editing.

Also, I graduated from COSMOS to The Mechanical Universe, which--aside from the haircuts of the classroom--would still feel modern by today's standards.

Comment: Missing the point (Score 0) 325

by Sebastopol (#46015535) Attached to: The Whole Story Behind Low AP CS Exam Stats

Obvious Men's Rights Activist is obvious.

Sure, if there is a problem where people who want to take the CS AP exam and cannot, it should be addressed.

So start a campaign about it, its a great idea.

But when you position it AGAINST studies citing under-representation of minorities in a field that has long been hostile to them, especially women, you're trying to cover it up and become part of the problem.

So yes, please start a campaign to increase CS AP coverage, and please stop trying to marginalize / cover up another legitimate problem in the process. Both need addressing, it is not either / or.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.