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Comment: Why is it necessary to reverse engineer this? (Score 1) 165

by elgatozorbas (#48010439) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

I think all first year computer science / programming / engineering students should be introduced to this and learn how to write programs for this environment first before moving on to modern systems. True power is being able to write useful stuff with only 64kb of ram and 1mhz of processor, and have it run in an acceptable time frame, and taking those skills and scaling up today's multi-core/ multi-gigahertz/multi-gigabyte address spaces.

While I agree, I wonder if this is actually true. To what extend does knowledge about efficient coding on an 8 bit machine with limited memory teach us anything about programming these heftier CPUs? Maybe the only people that should really have chewed the bits are the writers of compilers. For all others it might not matter so much how the compiler and the OS handle memory allocations and the like, and it may be more useful to focus on the program structure instead of the implementation on the CPU.

Comment: Re:HAL 9000 (Score 1) 120

by elgatozorbas (#47902713) Attached to: The Challenges and Threats of Automated Lip Reading
Why not? Apart from the idea that lip reading may complement speech recognition and make it more reliable. Also it may be more useful in a loud environment, which is frequently the case when machines are around, btw. Or in cases where speaking up loud to a computer is not appreciated, such as in office environments. And if all of this would not be enough, note the title of this website: news for nerds. You want a machine to lipread because it CAN (maybe).

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 448

Could sophisticated military tanks and anti-aircraft missiles given or sold to countries like Iraq be equipped with a way to disable them if they're compromised, without opening them up to hacking by an enemy?

A tank with a kill switch?

On topic: who would buy such a device that can be disabled by others? And even if it is made for the "domestic" market: why be at risk that someone else hacks into your own stuff and disables it? The solution to this problem wasn't technical, but political.

Comment: Re: What's wrong with Windows Server? (Score 5, Insightful) 613

by elgatozorbas (#47812683) Attached to: You Got Your Windows In My Linux

Even if I were to never even look at a single line of the source, the fact that it's availble to others adds value for me. I can go download a patch someone else wrote that fixes a bug MS hasn't bothered to fix. [...]

I am also in favour of Open source myself and get your point. However, after the OpenSSL bug, my belief in this "someone else" has significantly lowered. If too many people rely on "someone else" fixing a problem in his/her spare time you are worse off than when people are paid to fix closed source software. If the problem is important ($$$) enough, it wil be fixed.

Comment: Only a part of production (Score 1) 43

by elgatozorbas (#47567919) Attached to: A Look At the Firepick Delta Circuit Board Assembler (Video)
While this looks like an interesting and cheap device to populate empty PCBs, it is only a small part of the total sulution. The PCB has to be made, solder paste added (maybe this device could be extended to do so), and most importantly: heated. Of all these steps, the pick-and-place may be the least enjoyable, but also the one that _could_ be done manualy, if needed. Still, if this device saves two days of manual labor, it already pays itself.

Comment: Apparently not a keyboard lover (Score 1) 544

All of what you say is true, except for your assumption that "there actually ISN'T that much demand" (citation?) and your condescendence on the people in want of a keyboard. I used to be very happy with my Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro which was actually smaller be it a but thicker than most phones of its day. It could be small exactly because it had a separate keyboard and none of the screen had to be sacrificed for a virtual keyboard. This "more expensive" phone was sold for €200 at a time when iPhones were in the +€500 region. If the Applefolks are prepared to shell out such amounts for some fancy looks, why wouldnt keyboard lovers do so for a real feature? There need not be hundreds of models, just one Samsung, one LG would do. But apparently not.

No discussion on one point, though: the slide keyboard made it more vulnerable and eventually it broke down on me, after intensive use. On the other hand: its 512 MB internal memory was also becoming a hurdle, so one year later I would have needed to replace it anyway.

Comment: Programming CAN be judged (Score 2) 89

by elgatozorbas (#47511419) Attached to: Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

They can understand how a toilet is cleaned, how a sale is made, how a 1099 is filled out, how a fire drill works, how a sandwich is put together, how oil is changed, etc... but Coding might as well be a dark art.

Disclaimer: I am in hardware myself and may completely miss the point here. However, our software/firmware folks do agile programming involving dividing programming problems into pieces which are assigned to programmers, followed-up on large whiteboards and being daily discussed in "scrum meetings" etc. (I may be confusing some concepts here but that is of less importance). The point being that your statement, that programming is some sort of unique dark-art-which-cannot-be-measured-by-managers, appears untrue to me and, honestly, rather pedantic. What these guys are doing is quite measurable. Maybe not by a silly measure like "lines of code", but by the measure of number of problems being solved, having a complexity that apparently everyone of them agrees on.

Indeed, the CEO doesn't know the exact details of how this works, but neither does he personally count the number of cleaned toilets.

Comment: Not a large improvement (Score 1) 238

According to wikipedia , normal black paint reflects 2.5%, making it 97.5% efficient, according to this metric. Going to 99.99xx is an insignificant improvement compared to the cost of ordinary black paint and this new stuff. I doubt highly that the bottleneck is in the reflectivity of the coating.

Comment: Cool but better do something else. (Score 2) 176

by elgatozorbas (#47327197) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is It Feasible To Revive an Old Linux PC Setup?
This is the type of stuff I used to find cool and tinker with 10 years ago. Nowadays, I value my time (a bit) more and prefer to dedicate it to other, more useful projects. Why waste time trying to run an old version of an OS that has been improved over the years? Processing power and RAM are dirt cheap. Even the small systems, like the raspberry pi support modern distros. It was cool to struggle with a slackware installation 10 years ago and succeed. Given enough effort and time, it can also be done on recent hardware but what does it prove? I would prefer to start a more useful and challenging project.

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 1) 431

by elgatozorbas (#46745363) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

That has nothing to do with sloppyness. If you know how to teach writing, publish a book and harvest a noble price. (Strictly speaking, that should be spelled Nobel, as that was his name).

Then why don't you write Nobel prize in the first place? Your comment, on how bad writing should not be contributed to sloppiness is the first time I ever encounter this "noble prize". Also, "Strictly speaking" is completely out of place here. "Strictly speaking" we should also refer to "Murphy's law" and "Newton's law" instead of "muphries law" and "netwon's law", which no-one ever does anyway.

Comment: Re:Can the writings be read? (Score 1) 431

by elgatozorbas (#46745343) Attached to: Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Classic: "My dog has no nose. How does he smell? Aweful." That joke relies on "smell" working as a verb and a adjective

This may be a detail in your explanation, but you are wrong. That joke relies on "to smell" meaning both to observe odors and to spread them. Apart from that, I agree completely with you. There is no good reason to "wrongify" languages, except laziness. Okay, go ahead and stop using correct grammar, but don't attribute this to some higher bullshit principle. The only reason for all this crappy writing is that people are to lazy to put in any effort. As a correct grammar contributes some redundancy, it eases the reading. (non-native English myself).

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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