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Comment Re:Short FPC history and goals overview (Score 1) 71

Twenty-three years ago, development started on the first version of the Turbo Pascal and later also Delphi-compatible Free Pascal Compiler

No, Turbo Pascal is not 23 years old ... the grammar suggests that, but reality doesn't.

I know this, becaise 23 years ago I had a second hand 286 PC with Turbo Pascal on it. And it wasn't exactly new even then.

Turbo Pascal has been around since 1984 .. that would be 31 years ago.

So, you can argue the sentence should have read as "Twenty-three years ago, development started on the first version of the Turbo Pascal (and later also Delphi)-compatible Free Pascal Compiler".

But what you can't do is argue that Turbo Pascal is 23 years old. Because that's utterly incorrect.

Comment Re:Smearing? (Score 2, Insightful) 164

Traitor in the sense that he betrayed the various agencies involved in espionage, sure.

Traitor to the American people, and to a large extent citizens of the free nations of the world, that is an open question.

Unfortunately, it will remain an open question because there is virtually no possibility of him receiving a fair and open trial. Even if we ignore all of the cries for his execution, the laws that he allegedly broke ensure that he is tried by parties associated with the prosecution.

Comment A field full of two layers of firefighters. (Score 1) 102

As mentioned previously, my mental model of semiconductors and the like is a fireman's water brigade, were either the majority of the line has buckets or empty hands.

It helps if, instead of a line, you think of a LOT them standing in a two-D array (like in the yard of the burning building, or a section of a parade that's stopped to do a little demo). It's really three-D, but we'll want to use up/down for something else in a bit...

For metallic electron conduction everybody has TWO buckets, one for each hand, and when a guy by the fire throws a buck of water on it (bucket and all) on the fire, a guy farther back immediately tosses him a bucket, the guy behind him essentially instantly throws HIM a bucket, andso on. Hands are effectively never empty.

For semiconductors, imagine two layers of these guys, the second standing on the firsts' shoulders or on a scaffold right above them, and about enough buckets for each of the guys on the ground to have two and the guys on the scaffold to have none. (There's actually many layers of scaffold, but the rest are so far up that it's hard to get a bucket to them, so they mostly just stand around.)

Usually nothing useful is happening. Everybody on the bottom layer has both hands full of buckets, and it's hard to hand a bucket up to the guys on the top.
  - Electron-hole pair creation: Somebody comes up with the energy to heave a bucket up to the guys on the upper layer, leaving a guy with one hand empty in the lower layer. (Maybe somebody (a photon, for instance) comes along with a lacrosse stick and whacks a bucket up to a guy in the top row - dying or becoming exhausted and much weaker from the effort.) Now you've got one guy with a free hand in the lower layer (a hole) and one bucket on the top layer (a free electron).
  - Electron conduction in a semiconductor is that bucket on the upper layer. The guys there can hand it around easily, or toss it along a diagonal until it would hit a guy - who catches it. They're all standing on accurately-spaced platforms so the bucket can go quite a way before somebody has to catch it. Suppose there's a slope to the yard, with the fire at the bottom. Then, if tossed too far, the bucket might pick up substantial speed and knock the guy who catches it out of place (electromigration), or fall down to the lower layer and knock another bucket out of somebody's hand and bounce, ending up with TWO buckets on the upper layer and an empty hand below (avalanche electron-hole creation).
  - Hole conduction is when you've got an empty hand on the bottom layer: Now it's easy for a guy with two buckets to hand a bucket to a guy with only one, exchanging a bucket for an empty hand. But now the guy whose hand had been empty has two buckets and nobody in the downhill/toward-fire direction to hand a bucket to, while the guy who handed it off has an empty hand and can grab a bucket from somebody farther uphill / closer to the water source - or beside him, or diagonally. So "empty-handedness" (a hole) can move around as a persistent entity while the individual buckets gradually work their way in the general direction of the fire, only making a bit of progress "when a hole comes by". Though the water makes progress toward the fire, the action is all where the holes are making progress away from the fire.
  - Electron-hole annihilation: Somebody has a bucket on the upper layer when a guy below him has an empty hand. So he drops the bucket. CLANG! Ouch! Now there's no "free bucket" on the upper layer, no free hand on the lower layer, and the energy of their separation went somewhere else (knocking the guy sideways so he bumps into his neighbor and generally making the guys vibrate, "creating a guy with a lacrosse stick who runs off to whack at buckets", etc.)
  - P-type doping: A guy in the bottom layer had a sore hand and only brought one bucket to the fire, thus having a free hand from the start. He can take a bucket when a neighbor pushes it at him (the hole moves away). But he'd like to hand it off and have his sore hand free again (so holes tend to stick around at his site). It's lots easier to "make a free hole" by convincing him to hold a bucket in his sore hand than by tossing a bucket up to the guys on the scaffold, but does take a little effort.
  - N-type doping: One of the guys on the upper level really likes to hold a bucket, so he brought one with him. The guy next to him can grab it from him, but if another comes along he'll try to hold on to it a bit until somebody shames him into letting go again or wrestles it from him. It's lots easier to get him to let you use his bucket for a while than to pull one up from the guys on the ground, but it does take a little effort.
  - Tunneling through a potential barrier: There's a ridge across the field. It's hard to hand buckets up to the guys on the ridge, so they don't flow across it very well (unless someone at the side of the field is pushing the buckets really hard...) Occasionally the guys on one side of the ridge hand a bucket through the legs of the guys standing on the ridge to the guys on the other side.
And so on. B-)

I'm keenly interested in finding more material to read up on the observed Hall effect measurements. Thanks again for your contribution to the discussion.

The wikipedia article on the hall effect has a section on the hall effect in semiconductors, but both it and the reference it uses start from treating the hole as a charge carrier with a fixed charge and a mobility different from a free electron, and just computes formulai from there.

If the hall effect on hole currents were fallout from the hall effect on the individual electron bucket-transfers, rather than the hole acting like a positive charge carrier in its own right, you'd think it would go the other way

Comment What's that? (Score 4, Insightful) 40

What's that? The companies who make consumer electronics do a terrible job of security and routinely deliver products with little or no security?

Well, golly gee, I'm totally shocked.

No, wait, the other one ... where I think it should be self evident that probably 95% or more of all devices which want to connect to the internet should be presumed to be utterly insecure and not used.

It's pretty clear that without some penalties and liability, the companies who are trying to bring us the connected world are either incompetent at, or indifferent to, any form of security.

If it isn't a computer, I pretty much don't trust it with any form of network connection.

Comment Re:The real Bill Gates of India (Score 1) 77

Waaaah businessmen are mean poopyheads!!! Are you nerds really so naive that you think that almost all successful CEOs aren't equally as ruthless? You don't succeed in business by being a wimp.

What I meant was one wouldn't brag about being like Gates if more knew his tactics. Perhaps ruthlessness is a necessary evil of a modern society, but people should at least be aware that it's being used.

Note I admire Steve Jobs far more than Gates because Jobs had a nose for what FUTURE consumers and movie goers would want (even though he was a still a jerk). Microsoft merely purchased or copied good existing products made by other co's and bundled them together.

Comment Re:Report back in several releases ... (Score 1) 86

I use Linux on my desktop. It has an AMD card and uses AMD drivers. So I do have a vested interest in better performance and stability in their products.

That being said, I am also a realist. AMD is a business, and they're there to make money. If they have to invest too much money into making Linux drivers, it hurts their profitability. If they have to divert too many resources away from Windows and towards Linux, hurts their profitability. I am not arguing that these are excuses for poor support, or for giving lip service to Linux, but Windows is clearly their priority.

Suggesting that Linux graphics is a priority though, that's kinda absurd. The Linux desktop is a small fraction of the market.

Comment Re:Uh? How does the DMCA apply to an ISP? (Score 3, Interesting) 100

Assertions of violation should come with a cost when they are wrong.

Ahhh, but the DMCA has been carefully crafted to prevent that.

See, as much as they are supposed to be making a sworn statement subject to perjury, all they have to do is "ooops, we though this but we were wrong".

The DMCA was bought and paid for by the copyright cartel to ensure they can bully and bluster all they want, everyone else has to jump and say "yes sir", and they bear absolutely NO penalty or cost with being wrong, and the ISPs have to do this shit at their own expense.

What the copyright cartel did when they bought the DMCA was to ensure it was such a lop-sided law that they can misuse it all they want and nothing will ever happen to them.

The entire DMCA is defective by design. Because that's what the people who paid for it wanted it to be.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 86

You laugh ... but years ago at a different job, the marketing people decided to rename/re-brand a product.

We literally had to stop everything, and build an entire release which had the name changed; which ended up having to finalize other things or roll them back to add later.

Never underestimate how much marketing can screw up a dev schedule.

Comment Re:Well thats odd (Score 1) 104

I'm not sure how uber gets around the disabled access regulations

The exact same way they get around regulations everywhere they operate: by pretending the regulations don't apply to them.

My city has mandatory cameras in cabs -- because cab drivers have committed sexual assaults, and because cab drivers get robbed. The fought it tooth and nail until one of their own was violently robbed and the camera would have helped with the conviction.

Uber, like with insurance and proper licensing, doesn't adhere to this. Uber's entire business model is being an bootleg cab dispatch company which ignores the rules and regulations. That's kind of that they do.

When you ride with Uber, you're just getting into a stranger's car. And that doesn't always work so well.

Everyone whinges about Uber undermining the taxi monopoly ... the reality is, Uber is pretty much ignoring laws around proper licensing, insurance, background checks, and anything else.

So you really have no idea of what the hell you'll get.

"For the love of phlegm...a stupid wall of death rays. How tacky can ya get?" - Post Brothers comics