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Comment x86 isn't the performance bottleneck it once was (Score 2) 51

x86 is no longer a microarchitecture. It's just an ISA. It's a total abstraction, and in mid-range to high-end processors, its translation overhead (logic and latency) is minimal. Only in the lowest-end devices (Atom) is it any kind of burden, and ARM dominates in that space.

Yes, CISC is computersciencely evil, not orthogonal, crufty, and whatever else you want to call it. But these days, x86 is just an intermediate language between the compiler and the REAL execution engine.

Comment Inflexible religious beliefs (Score 1) 586

It's one thing to have a general sense that there might be a higher being that has influenced traditions through history. Some may think that's a silly idea, but it's general enough that you don't lose your sense of reality if someone disproves some factual aspects of your beliefs that you rely on heavily. Even within Christianity, I think that a lot of what we're taught to believe was made up long after Jesus' death. There are a lot of Christian concepts that I just don't think are all that critical, like original sin and the virgin birth. I can even imagine believing in Jesus having divinity without the need for his sinlessness or a resurrection. Sound crazy? It's hard to separate the core of Christianity from all the cruft that came later. The core of the religion is one of forgiveness. People do bad things. If you recognize that you did wrong, admit it, and resolve to change your ways (repent), then you will be forgiven. None of that changes if you dismiss any of these traditions I mentioned. I also admire the Christian Jesus (who may be an amalgam of real historical people) as a great philosopher and counter-cultural rebel.

Comment I love LISP, but it's too much of a pain (Score 1) 426

I love the IDEA of LISP. I also slightly prefer Scheme, which to me is a bit more of a pure functional language. But in practice, I find it too much of a pain to use. I'm not accustomed to rethinking things recursively, and I totally get lost in all of the parentheses.

What many people don't realize about Common Lisp is that it's not really a functional language. It's functional-like. But there are side-effects and lots and lots of procedural constructs that seem out of place in a functional language. Consider the loop macro. It can loop over damn here anything efficiently, but it's not functional style. It's a domain-specific procedural language that you stick between parentheses within some Lisp code. Lisp has some features that make it supremely powerful. The code syntax and the data structure syntax are the SAME; that unification multiplies the power of the language in ways that are hard to describe. The macro facility is not equalled in any other language, because the macros are arbitrary Lisp code that is run at compile time that generates arbitrary Lisp code that then gets compiled. Lisp has also been around long enough that it's collected a huge number of libraries for just about anything, and the compilers are smart enough to produce some extremely efficient machine code.

So I really really want to use Lisp. It's just too much of a headache to deal with actually writing the code.

I've learned more languages than I can remember. C, Fortran, various BASICs, Ruby, Bash, C++, Java, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, SQL, Pascal, Ada, and so on. You know what my favorite language is? Verilog. What I enjoy most of all is designing chips. So I totally grok the theoretical value of languages like Lisp and Haskell, but I have the most fun designing circuits. That probably has a major influence on why I don't enjoy programming Lisp.

Comment Re:99% of comments are garbage (Score 1) 226

You can say what you want without necessarily being an asshole about it. Ok, I'm sure there are situations where being an asshole is warranted, but the idea is to not be *unnecessarily* rude or insulting when trying to make a point. Generally speaking, if you feel that you have to be rude or insulting, you probably just don't have a good point to make in the first place.

Anonymity is important so that people can make important points without fear or reprisal from one censoring government or another. However, that none of that requires one to act in an non-constructive way.

I'm not telling you what to do. If you want to be an asshole, go ahead. However, if you want intelligent people to LISTEN TO YOU, then being not an asshole is kindof an important component of your communication patterns.

This is related to the whole idea of being responsible with your freedoms. Just because you CAN (and should be allowed to) do something stupid doesn't mean that you SHOULD.

Comment 99% of comments are garbage (Score 4, Insightful) 226

This is the problem. It seems like most Internet users act like morons. I'm not saying they ARE morons, but we all know how a degree of anonymity can cause people to lose control of their inhibitions about what they say. I've seen comment threads that were extremely informative, but that's rare, and mostly on the more obscure websites. Any website that attracts a broader spectrum of users is going to get a lot more moronic posts. People misunderstand the content, flame the content, flame each other, post SPAM, and just generally cause havoc. It's hard to find a signal in the noise. Even when people are well-meaning (which a lot of them are not), discussions can completely devolve.

Sites like slashdot and reddit, which are built on comments, have to have elaborate systems of moderation in order to keep the crap in check. Imagine a completely unmoderated system. It would be completely useless. Oh wait. We had usenet, and from the moment the AOLers got access, it went into decline, and now it's basically dead.

99% of everything on the Internet is crap. Statistically, that includes my comment as well.

Comment Re:Compressed swap isn't all it's cracked up to be (Score 1) 231

What I can tell you is that I'll be using Safari, for instance, and it'll suddenly go into a fugue where it uses 100% of one CPU core (or sometimes more cores) for on the order of 5 minutes. During that time, other apps are also more sluggish (probably competing for access to disk I/O and the compressed swap, neither of which is multithreaded in MacOS).

Comment Re: Compressed swap isn't all it's cracked up to b (Score 1) 231

It's unlikely to be the extensions. When I report this bug to Apple, they too are satisfied (as far as I can tell) that it's not the extensions. I have the following enabled:

ClickToFlash (this should actually be GOOD for the memory footprint)
Sessions (because Safari natively sucks at saving and restoring its state)
Google Scholar Button (which was only recently installed and has not affected anything)

Comment Compressed swap isn't all it's cracked up to be (Score 5, Informative) 231

I have a Mac and have therefore had compressed swap for some time now. Theoretically, it's much faster than swap, even if you have an SSD. But there's a tradeoff. When swapping, the disk is busy, but the CPU is free to do other work, although things bog down a lot when thrashing happens. When doing compressed swap, the memory management hogs the CPU, which means it's not free to run other programs, and the system slows down. And thrashing still happens. It's just that your laptop heats up more when it's happening, and things don't get any less sluggish.

Of course, the biggest problem is Safari. I'll get Safari Web Content processes taking up 10GB or more. There's obviously some kind of run-away memory leak going on. Always when my system bogs down, it's Safari that's taking up too much RAM. Quit Safari, and the system becomes responsive again.

Comment This will be the death of mechanical hard drives (Score 4, Insightful) 80

If you look at Newegg and Amazon reviews, you'll find that perhaps the most reliable drives are 1TB in capacity and somewhat behind the cutting edge. Sure, you can get 6TB drives, but they're ticking timebombs. They have unacceptably high failure rates. As such, we're already on course for flash SSDs to overtake mechanical drives, because a 1TB SSD is approaching the price of an enterprise mechanical drive. The instant an even cheaper alternative comes out, mechanical drives are dead. They won't be cheaper by the megabyte anymore, and you can't trust them. Manufacturers COULD try to make them more reliable, but that would require more testing of individual units before shipping, which would increases costs even further. Indeed, the only reason mechanical drives are as cheap as they are is because MANUFACTURERS DO NOT TEST THEIR DRIVES. They are specifically designed so that they don't NEED to be tested. They have all kinds of failsafe mechanisms, vibration management, power management, temperature management, sector remapping, and they're over-engineered. A drive can be half broken, but you won't know because it's likely to keep working just fine. The ones that are DOA or die right away are really the worst of the lot and far more broken than you realize. The designers put all their efforts in at design time so as to cut manufacturing costs. But the end is very very near.

Comment Re:World culture of being clueless about what you (Score 1) 373

Heh. You're right. Airline food is evil. And imagine having celiac disease and being able to eat anything they serve on the plane. Hell, you'd have trouble finding gluten-free food at an airport!

I did not by any means imply that the airlines give any thought to nutrition AT ALL. They just want to save money, and they have noticed some diversity in passenger weight. Like any psychopatic entity hell-bent on optimizing profit margins, they're going to latch onto that.

Comment iPhone 6+ (Score 2) 208

I'm sure I'll get modded down for this. But the iPhone 6+ has enormous battery life. The 6 is kindof anemic, but the 6+ will last 2 or 3 days of normal usage before needing a recharge, including plenty of Angry Birds. As others have said here, the operating system is part of the equation, and iOS does a pretty good job.

Comment World culture of being clueless about what you eat (Score 1) 373

The US is pretty bad, but it's not exactly awesome elsewhere. People are just not educated about nutrition. They know nothing about protein, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, vitamins, minerals, food sensitivies/allergies, intestinal flora, pollutants and contaminants, or any of those things. People just eat whatever the hell they want, which is primarily junk food, they get fat, slow down their brains, and get even dumber. The biggest offenders are actually the MDs who have all knowledge of nutrition ripped out of their brains upon entering med school. They're dangerously ignorant and, as representatives to most people of how they should take care of themselves, the MDs pass on their ignorance to the rest of the population. The FDA isn't a lot of help either with so much bullshit in their recommendations. Contrary to what most doctors will tell you, mineral and vitamin deficiencies abound among Americans, because they eat such as shitty diet. Trust me, the trace amounts of iodine you get in your salt just aren't enough, and people have magnesium deficiencies left and right, just to mention two.

Some fat people will tell you that they have a "glandular problem." Maybe some don't, but this is actually fairly common. However, if you eat right, you can compensate for a lot of these problems, and there are ways of treating it. But people don't even TRY. They don't listen to what little nutritional advice they do get, so they just keep getting fatter and sicker. They don't take resposibility for their bodies.

So, you know, I don't think it's a problem that airlines micro-optimize their operations to account for passenger weight. People should take responsibility for their own personal health and learn to eat right. If they don't, the rest of shouldn't have to suffer. The thing is, this airline is from Uzbekistan, a part of the world where discrimination is accepted as part of their culture, so they'll actually have an easier time getting away with this sort of thing. If an airline in the US did this, they'd get all sorts of flak over it, although I still think they should be within their rights to do it.

It's shitty nutrition that I think is part of the increase in autism we observe (assuming it's not *just* an increase in diagnosis). But idiots want to blame vaccines instead, because it's easy to not get a vaccine, but it takes proper discipline to change your diet.

And discipline is just not something that's encouraged in most parts of the world.

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark