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Comment If you can't afford two computers... (Score 5, Insightful) 168

... then you can't afford a "high end" gaming rig.

Dual-boot is NOT where you want to go with a gaming machine, you'll be fighting drivers on the Linux side every time you get a fresh-off-the-shelf expensive hardware component. If you care enough about gaming performance to even consider building a machine from scratch, then commit to that - rather than trying to make it a jack of all trades.

I've been using Linux since 1992, Windows a few years longer. In that time, I've built up dozens of machines. My suggestion: build a Linux box with components that you know will work with Linux - for example, I stay clear of nVidia because many of those cards are a nightmare on Linux. On my gaming machine I run a $300 nVidia card, etc etc.

Hardware is cheap. What's your time worth?

Comment Re:The dark matter between their ears (Score 1) 164

You said "Dark matter is just one of two reasonable hypotheses"

I pointed out that non-luminous regular matter is also a valid hypothesis, so you are incorrect that there are only two reasonable hypotheses.

My point being - you are creating a false dichotomy. You are picking two possibilities, and saying dark matter is the more likely of those particular two. That is faulty logic.

Comment Re:The dark matter between their ears (Score 1) 164

I am not a physicist, but why does it have to be mysterious "dark" matter that's causing the discrepancy in the bullet cluster? If it's non-luminous regular matter, we wouldn't be able to detect it either. For that matter, there might be entire classes of elementary particles that exist in those regions of space that don't exist in ours. Homogeneity of the universe is taken as canon by physicists. But this is the same logic as saying "Mercury is a planet like all other planets, and its orbit is being affected by something unknown, therefore Vulcan must exist".

Comment Re:Don't take yours in. (Score 3, Insightful) 411

If the car drove well while complying with emissions requirements, it's doubtful that Volkswagen would have risked an obvious legal violation for some marginal performance gains.

And since they're not going to give you a new engine when you take your car in for recall, it's safe to say that the performance will be reduced when you get it back. For the majority of people, a slight difference in emissions would be preferable to a noticeable drop in performance.

Comment Re:like GnuChess (Score 1) 95

Grandmasters can play chess at a high level because they can understand the position. Understanding the position is what allows them to efficiently prune the tree. For example, if all my opponents pieces are aimed at my king-side, I'm not going to consider king-side castling, or any combination that involves king-side castling. Also, if I know that in the Yugoslav attack of the Sicilian Dragon, exchange sacrifice on c3 is normal, I don't need to think 10 moves ahead to sacrifice a rook for a knight.

Computers are unable to understand positions. Take the final setup mentioned here -

Even a strong engine will analyze for millions of nodes, and believe that black has a definite win. Without identifying the underlying theme of the position - that if White leaves his pieces where they are, Black can never capture, there is no way to understand that this is a draw.

Comment There are actual teachers in India, you know... (Score 3, Insightful) 218

Your friend might not grasp this fully, but there are quite a few qualified teachers in India, who actually know how to use computers. A good first step might be to contact them, and see what they think, rather than asking a bunch of people on the Internet who haven't actually been to rural India. It's entirely possible that the teachers think kids should focus on basic subjects rather than learn Excel.

Barring that, ask your friend to get a copy of a book called "The Ugly American" by Burdick and Lederer. I'm about 95% sure that he hasn't read it.

Comment Re:If you ride a bike... (Score 4, Insightful) 696

That is horrendously bad advice. If I were actually invisible, I would ride on the sidewalk. For riding on the road, you want to stay far enough towards the middle that you don't blend into the surroundings. And when you stop at intersections, you generally need to assert enough room that cars don't squeeze past you. Both those things would be impossible if you were invisible.

Comment Re: Programming (Score 1) 616

You seem to be conflating the subject material being programmed, with the programming per se. As an analogy, it's possible to be an excellent writer without knowing anything about relativity, but you would obviously have to understand relativity thoroughly to write a book about it.

If you're programming wavelet analysis, of course you need to have advanced math skills. But for the overwhelming majority of programmers, math beyond 9th grade or so is simply not necessary. Those programming 3D graphics or physical simulations are exceptions.

Comment Re:Sounds like an ad (Score 1) 316

Yes, sure, let's compare those two ideas:

(1) I write up a RFP, we contract the appropriate programmers, license a development API for the helpdesk system, develop formal requirements, and spend around $100,000 for a feature that we will use maybe three times in the next year.

(2) I write a SQL query in 5 minutes that pulls the appropriate data, then spend another 15 minutes making the Excel spreadsheet work with it. I give it to my boss and leave for the day at 5pm.

Without knowing anything about our business environment, take a wild guess which method my COO prefers. I'll even give you a clue - he doesn't like spending huge sums of money.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.