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Comment: 60bit processors (Score 1) 264

by aberglas (#49643373) Attached to: C Code On GitHub Has the Most "Ugly Hacks"

Ever wondered why Pascal had packed arrays of char? It was for the Cyber, running 60 bit words. Did a fine job.

C has the PDP 11 architecture baked into its soul, with 8 bit bytes being part of that.

Worse, C has influenced all modern architectures to live within that crude model. For example, how could we have 64 bit pointers without using the upper 16 bits as tag bits? (No, we are never going to use them in our life times, memory access for that much memory would just be too slow. 32 to 64 bit is not the same as 16 to 32 bit.)

Comment: HTTPS / Public Key is (usually the wrong algorithm (Score 1) 89

by aberglas (#49420185) Attached to: The Problem With Using End-to-End Web Crypto as a Cure-All

The problem is that it requires users to validate the URLs.

The correct algorithms are PAKEs such as SRP. They do magic that produces strong security from weak passwords (a bit like Diffie Hellman). If the users types the password to a phishing site then no connection can be established. Idiot proof.

Comment: Software for computers, as such. (Score 1) 42

The Euro patent legislation specifically bans software patents "as such". But the EPO has interpreted "as such" to means only "pure software" that does does not run on a computer is unpatentable. Once it runs on a computer, it is no longer "as such" and therefor patenable.

Does not make sense, but who cares if you are the judge, jury and executioner. Unified patent is pure evilness.

Comment: Think of the children (Score 1) 137

People have missed the key line in the post, which was ... speed up the making of international rules and jointly keep the cyber space peaceful, secure, open and cooperative.

We clearly need more rules to control the internet and everybody would have to agree that China is the international expert on internet control.

Comment: Re:Best not to let Waffen SS perpetuate myths (Score 2) 103

by aberglas (#49331969) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

> - They grossly compromised their ethics by collaborating with the Nazis to invade Russia.

Be aware that good and evil are defined by the victors from the victors viewpoint. The Nazis were evil incarnate because they were the enemy, Uncle Joe was a good guy because he was attacked by Germany.

The truth is that they were both evil with Stalin being an order of magnitude worse than Hitler. With the notable exception of the Jews, most non-political Germans were not in fear of their lives from Hitler. On the other hand the story of Stalin's purges is almost beyond belief. I think it was Soshtykovich? that said that the war brought in good times because the purges stopped. (The purges killed far more than the war.)

Anyway, in that context, "collaborating with the Nazis" is purely a western point of view. The west did not help Finland one bit during the Winter war, and so it is a bit rough to criticize them for taking the only help that was on offer.

From the Finish point of view it looked like Germany would win so make hay while the sun shines. There was a movement in Finland for "a short border and a long piece", i.e. to push the border back into Russia where its length can be minimized. The Germans wanted the Fins to take Leningrad. But the Fins wisely did neither.

With the wisdom of hindsight, it would have probably been better for the Fins to wait and see. If Stalingrad had fallen there would then be plenty of time to push the soviets out of Finland.

Comment: Re:What are they looking for.... (Score 1) 103

by aberglas (#49326309) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

They never invaded the USSR, stopped at the original border. Wikipedia is your friend. The USSR stole important territory from the Fins which they still hold.

  (Are you Russian? If so then realize that virtually all you were taught at school is a fabrication.)

That said, as things turned out, the Fins would have been much better off just giving Stalin what he demanded, even if the demand was unreasonable.

Comment: Re:What are they looking for.... (Score 2) 103

by aberglas (#49324113) Attached to: Finland To Fly "Open Skies" Surveillance Flight Over Russia

The Finns are actually responsible for the allied victory in WWII.

The fact that the huge soviet forces could not defeat tiny Finland gave Hitler confidence that the Soviet forces were rotten to the core and so could be easily defeated, despite having Britain undefeated on the western front. And Hitler was correct, although Stalin then stopped purging all his best officers and the Soviets recovered amazingly fast.

The Finns, of course, were very effective, motivated, agile fighters. And after the war we abandoned them because they fought against our ally the friendly sovients. Unlike Germany, Finland had to pay heavy reparations to the Soviets for many years after the war because they dared to prevent the Soviet attack.

(The Soviets only did well in Poland because Germany had already attacked from the east. And until the attack from both fronts the Poles were doing relatively well despite the lack of western support.)

Comment: No Static Typing (Score 3, Interesting) 182

by aberglas (#49324053) Attached to: Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices

For all of PHPs many, many horrors, the one that actually got me the most is the lack of static typing when working with a large body of PHP code (Wordpress). One can wonder at many of the details of arrays etc, but once you know all the gotchas then you can work with them. But no static typing gets you over and over.

It is also interesting that 40 years of careful research into programming language design, including very sophisticated systems such as Algol 68 and Common Lisp, had absolutely no effect on the design of what are the most commonly used hack languages today. (PHP and C.)

Comment: The future of child care is here (Score 3, Interesting) 163

by aberglas (#49271239) Attached to: "Hello Barbie" Listens To Children Via Cloud

Who really can provide all the time that that a little girl requires. Now the problem is solved. The electric Barbie will be her friend and confident, and guide her through the mysteries of life. Parents can continue to watch TV safe in the knowledge that their children are safe. I presume that interactive destructor robots are not far off so little boys will not be left behind.

The will all grow up to be good, politically correct individuals. As the software becomes more intelligent, it will appeal to older and older children. No need to deal with real friends who need to be cared for, listened to, and can be nasty. Barbie is always nice. Always listens, is always concerned about you. And all that personality data can be sold to other companies to help guide their entire life. Buttons sewn when she is 3, pressed when she is 30, how wonderful.

Computers are getting smarter. This toy may be a bit of a joke, but the next version will be better. And they will be coming cheaply from China, with software driven by Google.

When Computers Can Think


Comment: Re:What What? (Score 1) 240

by aberglas (#49264549) Attached to: Windows 10 Enables Switching Between Desktop and Tablet Modes

There will be this cool new interface. Maybe called "Viewpoints". You will be able to open several different apps at the same time and see them in different parts of the screen. Special technology will let you resize them, but without any API for programmers to know how big the "Viewpoints" are. You will be able to move them about, even close them. Who knows there might even be an "ActionBar" at the bottom so you can see what Viewpoints are open.

Progress in computer science is mainly achieved by finding new names for old ideas.

Comment: Re:The auto pilot (Score 1) 208

by aberglas (#49211831) Attached to: A Year On, What Flight Simulators Can't Prove About Flight MH370


I is not just the auto pilot that is computerized. The entire control system is. That is what "fly by wire" means. Electric wires. Get your software in at the right level and you own the plane. (I used to fly an old Tiger Moth, it flew by a different type of wire!)

Pilot suicide is a boring theory. It was a virus developed by the NSA that accidentally escaped into the wild.

Comment: Re:How many $billions for Penicillin (Score 1) 245

by aberglas (#49134327) Attached to: The Peculiar Economics of Developing New Antibiotics

Not So.

Flemming made the initial observation about the mold, which suggested that it might possibly work. But Florey followed it up, figured out how to extract the key ingredient, test it on mice and later men. "Moldy Mary" and others then refined the mold growing process.

Also there were Sulfa drugs before Penicillin. Wikipedia is your friend.

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek