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Comment: I went into management in my thirties... (Score 1) 376

by Simon Brooke (#48496103) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: IT Career Path After 35?

... and now at fifty nine I'm back cutting code. I prefer it, and I'm better at it.

Management suits some people, but the problem with our business culture is that if someone is really good in a technical area they get promoted into management, which means you lose your best technical people and gain a lot of second-rate managers.

Comment: Re:Apparently "backers" don't understand the term (Score 2) 473

by Simon Brooke (#48409333) Attached to: Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

I was one of the original Kickstarter funders.

I threw my money into the pot because I got so much fun and game play out of the original Elite. Basically I thought David Braben and his team had already earned it. Am I disappointed that there's no single player offline? Yes, I am. My home internet connection has a long ping time (it's via satellite) so multiplayer combat was never going to work for me. It may be, for that reason, the game won't work at all - FOR ME. But I'm not making a fuss.

Basically if you back a kickstarter you're taking a risk. This kickstarter has enabled an amazing game to be built, and lots of people will get a huge amount of fun out of it; as far as I'm concerned, my money's well spent.

Comment: Re:$4649 as configured? (Score 1) 138

I have an 8 core i7 on my home-brewed home machine, and I have to say this: neither the Windows nor the Linux scheduler efficiently load balances across eight cores, and furthermore writing my own custom software which efficiently load balances across eight cores isn't easy. I can load up all eight cores, sure, by spawning huge numbers of threads, and have computations complete faster than they would on a single core - but of the order of three times faster, not of the order or eight times faster. Spawning just eight threads just causes them to run in series on one core, taking longer than one thread, which kind of spoils the point.

So, even for your fantasy gaming rig, with present-generation operating systems you're not going to get a useful return on your investment from the extra cores. Sorry.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 163

by Simon Brooke (#48219749) Attached to: British Army Looking For Gamers For Their Smart-Tanks

Actually, modern full scale combat is going a long way towards reducing the number of people who will be killed in conflict. The point of ground warfare is to take and dominate ground and systems like this make it happen more quickly and efficiently. That's a good thing.

No, it's reducing the number of combatants killed in conflict. The amount of 'collateral damage' (aka civilian deaths) continues to increase exponentially.

Comment: Re:Bad example, interesting points. (Score 1) 240

by Simon Brooke (#48140211) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

Clojure is designed to be be compatible - not backwards compatible, but intercalling compatible, with Java. The consequence is that a Clojure program can crash out of stack when it still has masses of heap. Why? Well, the JVM was designed for small embedded devices which would run small programs, which weren't expected to do a lot of recursion; and were low power with limited memory so allocating stack as a vector was seen as an efficiency win. The fact that most of the time we don't run Java on small embedded low power limited memory systems is beside the point: Java is designed to work in those circumstances, and therefore it allocates stack as a vector of fixed (limited) size. When it hits the top of that stack it's stuck, and falls over hard.

Clojure doesn't need to be like that. Even running on the JVM, it would be possible to implement a separate Clojure spaghetti stack in heap space. But the design decision was to make Java interoperability easy at the expense of limiting recursion depth. Similarly Clojure does not automatically fail over from storing integers as java Integers to storing them as bignums, as many much older Lisps are able to do. It easily could have, but it doesn't. Again, I think this is for interoperability with Java; otherwise it looks like a really odd decision.

Easy Java interop is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. It allows access to a wealth of pre-existing Java libraries. But it's a choice, and one should not blind oneself to the fact that other choices could have been made - and would have had significant merits.

Comment: Re:as the birds go (Score 1) 610

by Simon Brooke (#48138751) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

No. Birds can perch safely on high voltage wires - and you'll frequently see them do so. The reason is obvious. They aren't connected to the ground; there's no potential difference across their bodies. High voltage wires - provided wires carrying different phases are further apart than the wingspan of the bird - pose no threat to birds.

Comment: Re:Don't complain... (Score 1) 212

by Simon Brooke (#47991909) Attached to: Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

I would say the world is going more lefty, with governments consolidating their power bases and censoring/silencing criticism. It's the left that wants to grow the size of government and have it spy on/manipulate as much of peoples' lives as it can.

The left-right axis is orthogonal to the authoritarian-libertarian axis. There are as many right-wing authoritarians as left wing authoritarians, as many left wing libertarians as right wing libertarians.

Comment: Re:Australia voted... for a kick in the nuts. (Score 4, Insightful) 212

by Simon Brooke (#47991871) Attached to: Australian Senate Introduces Laws To Allow Total Internet Surveillance

The actual libertarians call themselves either anarchists or communists. The 'libertarians' in the US are conservatives. They believe in laws such as property laws which protect the rich against the poor, but no laws which protect the poor against the rich.

Comment: The same public key can map to many private keys (Score 2) 76

by Simon Brooke (#47962839) Attached to: Researchers Propose a Revocable Identity-Based Encryption Scheme

Private key and public key are factors in a two factor mathematical relationship.

So there can potentially be many (possibly infinitely many, I haven't tried to prove this) valid private keys for any given public key.

So I can see that, given the public key john@doe.com, I can see that there could be potentially many private keys. I see how you could brute force selecting a private key that matched your public key, and I can see that, depending how the brute-forcing is done, it would not be determinate that an attacker also trying to brute force a private key from the same public key would not come up with the same private key.

What I can't see is how, if you have a message which unlocks with the public key, how you can tell whether it was locked with the 'authentic' private key or with an attackers' inauthentic private key.

Anyone?

Comment: Re:Actually, it does ! (Score 4, Insightful) 375

We've actually paid more tax per head, and received less back per head, than England for every one of the last 110 years, which is as far back as the available data goes. So it's long before the discovery of oil.

However, that's not the point. The United Kingdom has, through imperialism and military adventurism, very reasonably made itself the second most hated nation on the planet. I'm tired of being embarrassed to travel on a UK passport. I'm tired of paying taxes to bomb other people's countries. I'm tired of my country providing bases for the US to set up its torture centres. I'm tired of my country supporting every two-bit dictator who will buy weapons.

We can do better than this - and we will.

Comment: Political background (Score 4, Insightful) 151

by Simon Brooke (#47447527) Attached to: Scotland Could Become Home To Britain's First Spaceport

Relax, everyone. This is a non-story; it isn't going to happen, and no-one seriously expects it to.

We're having a referendum in September on whether to separate from the UK and become an independent nation. The UK government has woken up - very late - to the realisation that it's quite likely to lose, and consequently will also lose its only nuclear submarine base, 90% of its oil revenue, and probably its permanent seat on the UN security council. Consequently they're panicking and offering us all sorts of unlikely bribes. The spaceport won't happen because

  1. If we vote 'yes', it's not going to be an urgent priority of the Scottish government;
  2. if we vote 'no', this and all the other promised bribes will be quietly forgotten.

So relax. The fact that there's no money and no commercial use for it, and that we're too far from the equator, doesn't matter; no-one seriously intends to build it. It's a media stunt, pure and simple. It isn't going to happen.

"The identical is equal to itself, since it is different." -- Franco Spisani

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