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Comment Re:Visual Studio RT? No. (Score 1) 182

So more busted old shit is constantly created and ported to the current MS platform to become the new 'busted old shit' that people need to be able to run on new machines.

Interesting. This makes me think that Apple may have discovered the "secret sauce", albeit accidentally. With each processor transition, Apple has provided a compatibility window that slammed shut at a point in time not too far from the transition; but, far enough to satisfy the vast majority of their customers. The Intel transition featured Rosetta, for a while (until 10.6), then dropped it. This effectively flushed the 'busted old shit' straight down the pipes.

Comment Re:Amdahl's Law (Score 1) 281

Gene Amdahl and Fred Brooks were both important players at IBM, each making essential contributions to the System 360. That's an interesting connection between MMM and Amdahl's law, undoubtedly they talked.

As for TFA, misquoting Al Swearengen, "someone open a window, it smell like cat piss in here."

Comment Re:A gap not normally considered (Score 1) 92

Good idea. So good, in fact, you're getting close to how it's actually done: data is moved in parallel in bulk. For example, when your program accesses an 8-bit byte, the 256-bit (or larger) chunk (called a cache line containing it gets read from DRAM into cache. There is no address space sacrifice because once the cache line is read, additional logic selects the desired byte from the cache line using the low-order bits of the address.

Comment Re:How do people optimise their designs? (Score 1) 213

You kids make me feel really old. My first assembly language was written for the IBM 1130. It unloaded an IBM 2315 disk cartridge (512k x 16 bit word) to punched cards. It chewed up about 1/3 less cards than the IBM supplied utility, and so ran about 1/3 faster, the limiting factor being the speed of the card punch.

Comment Re:Faster..? (Score 3, Informative) 85

Absolutely. Another huge problem is skew, where dissimilar wire lengths result in signals (for example, the bits making up a word) arriving at their destination at different times. This is not a problem exclusive to integrated circuits: Seymour Cray addressed this problem in the CDC 6600 (circa 1964, discrete Si transistors) by using wires of identical lengths for interconnections. If you look for a photo of the CDC 6600 back plane, you'll readily see what I mean.

Comment Williams Tube Memory (Score 4, Informative) 85

Could this not be done the same way CRTs scan a grid of pixels, just on a micro scale with higher resolution?

This reminds me of an early computer memory, the Williams tube, that enjoyed a brief period of popularity in some first generation machines. It worked by storing bits as charged spots on the phosphor face plate of an oscilloscope tube. Although access was random and fast (12 microsecond read/write cycle as implemented by the IBM 701), its refresh requirements effectively halved its performance, and it was notoriously unreliable. Positioning the electron beam was by electrostatic deflection, requiring accurate sub-microsecond switching of high voltages. IBM's implementation used precision counter-wound resistors to achieve the required control, the counter-winding preventing the resistors from also behaving like inductors. Unfortunately, the counter-winding also led to occasional electrical arcing inside the resistors, mispositioning the beam and causing the "Navajo Blanket" effect where the resulting data corruption had a visual appearance like its namesake woven blanket. Error-free operation seldom exceeded a handful of hours, and the Williams tube was quickly supplanted by magnetic core memory.

Comment Code Audit by Regulators (Score 1) 618

My strong suspicion is that VW is not the only auto maker up these shenanigans. I'd like to see source code placed in the hands of the appropriate regulators, along with the tools necessary to build it. Then the EPA, or their European analogs, could audit the code, build it, and compare it with the object code in randomly selected test vehicles. Obviously there would be some technical glitches to overcome to get a system like this working, but it's definitely doable and most certainly worth the effort.

Comment Very, very sad, Coca-Cola (Score 2, Informative) 133

Keep in mind that the Coca-Cola company had a gross profit of $28,010,000,000.00 for fiscal year 2015 with a profit margin of 66%. $120,000,000.00 in grants amounts to .042% of their gross. For them, this is cheap window dressing. Do no mistake this for good corporate citizenship.

Comment All Advertising is Evil (Score 2) 351

I find it very sad that anyone would take the side of advertisers. Advertising is now, and always has been a gangrenous cultural wound; a filthy puss filled carbuncle on the ass of capitalism. Advertisements not only manipulate the ignorant and the weak minded, they actively seek to produce ignorance and weak mindedness. Whether or not it moves, plays sound, or just sits there, advertisements are an evil that should be expunged by any means necessary.

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga