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Comment In early 1970s, there was no VLSI, not even LSI; (Score 3, Insightful) 60

Back in the early 1970s, there was no electrical CAD software, design-rule checkers were people, and VLSI lithographic masks were hand-crafted on giant light tables by unsung "rubylith cutters." In early 1970s, there was no VLSI, not even LSI; It was MSI.

Comment ALGOL (Score 1) 429

Because it showed that Programming Languages are possible. Programming in High Level languages was called, at the time, as "Automatic Programming". Just plain programming meant in Machine/Assembly/Macro languages. APL is another important language - helped define IBM 360 architecture formally (before there was Verilog or VHDL). PL/1 is important since quite a bit of Multics (parent of Unix) was written in it.

Submission + - Cops Need Warrant to Search Cellphones, Court Rules (

bsharma writes: In a sweeping decision in favor of digital privacy, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police need a warrant to search a person's cellphone, even in the case of someone placed under arrest.

In an 8-1 decision, the court ruled against the Obama administration.

The usual law is that police can search anything on a person when they make an arrest. Opponents argued that smartphones were different because they hold such massive and personal stores of information.

Submission + - Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo's Streaming TV Service (

bsharma writes: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday dealt a potentially fatal blow to Aereo, an Internet service that allows customers to watch broadcast TV programs on mobile devices.

Launched a year ago in New York and then extended to 10 other U.S. cities, it allows customers to watch over-the-air TV programs on a smartphone, tablet, or computer for as little as $8 a month. Selections can be viewed live or recorded for later viewing.

Submission + - US's nuclear launch code was 00000000 for 15 years (

bsharma writes: For nearly 20 years, the secret code to authorize launching U.S. nuclear missiles, and starting World War III, was terrifyingly simple and even noted down on a checklist.

From 1962, when John F Kennedy instituted PAL encoding on nuclear weapons, until 1977, the combination to fire the devastating missiles at the height of the Cold War was just 00000000.

This was chosen by Strategic Air Command in an effort to make the weapons as quick and as easy to launch as possible.

Submission + - Chinese Supercomputer Wrests Title From U.S. (

bsharma writes: A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower.

The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings.

Comment With an expected voter turnout of 37% (Score 1) 617

With an expected voter turnout of 37% ( ) , isn't all this analysis too much bellyaching over nothing? The reality is, most "Citizens" don't seem to care. Core partisans, who are generally loyal to their party or philosophy won't be persuaded by any kind of ads. I don't think the Citizen's decision, bad though it might be, is not all that harmful. In fact, from a Libertarian viewpoint, what is the harm in ads that don't reveal donors? An intelligent voter should be able to recognize the third party sponsor and filter the ad appropriately. I think the citizens who do vote are generally capable of keeping their skepticism & cynicism threshold high. (At least I am, I generally ignore all 3rd party ads, unless it points me to something I can independently verify)

Comment Re:why not just use the fucking stove (Score 1) 188

That is what I feel every time someone talks about climbing Everest. Why not develop a high altitude Everest class helicopter. Then someone can even setup a penthouse on Everest and arrange tourists to visit ( like the Russians are doing with that "Most Expensive Motel" AKA International Space Station)

Comment True: I have not used my DVD player in a year (Score 1) 547

I have to agree: I have not used my standalone DVD player more than may be a couple of times in the last year. Will probably never buy a Blu Ray player. Got rid of premium cable (for over the air) due to compression. We get most of our entertainment, recreation, knowledge, information and telecommunication over internet. Have land line phone and basic cable more out of irrational fear of cutting "connections".

Comment Not a big deal where one wants to locate origin (Score 1) 1027

Not a big deal where one wants to locate the origin of a co-ordinate system. In fact, who knows IF there is a center (as in centroid) for the universe. What is more worrisome is (the much larger population that believes in) the 6000 year old earth or that modern humans descended, not from apes but from "Adam & Eve" That 20% consider Obama is a Muslim is less worrisome than the fact that they probably think that should disqualify him.

Comment Has IPOD Killed the radio? (Score 1) 200

Could it be IPOD + ITUNES + Podcasting have made radio the cassette tape player? Satellite (Digital) Radio isn't doing too well either, though cars are throwing in receivers for free. Sirius (recently merged with XM due to financial weakness) extends me $5 per month inducement subscriptions which I ignore. So, cost is not a factor; lack of usefulness is. At home, I use shoutcast etc., for "digital radio".

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.