Forgot your password?

Comment: Old Shite (Score 2) 564

by fyngyrz (#47791649) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

I really, *really* liked my late 1970's-era 6809 system. 64k of RAM, custom graphics and sound cards of my design, timers, serial port, multiple floppies. I thought it was getting old in the tooth (it wasn't, it still works, should have had more faith I suppose), so I wrote an emulator for it -- the entire system, hardware, software, a front panel (which the original didn't even have) everything. Still works great, but due to the increase in CPU power over the years, the emulator is one heck of a lot faster than the original hardware. You can use it too, if you're so inclined and you're running some version of Windows, XP or later (might still work under Windows 95 and/or 98 for that matter.) Includes various compilers (Dugger's c compiler, for instance), forth, assembler, cross-assemblers, linkers, basics, some arcade video games that used the graphics hardware, and probably the vast majority of the commands that were available for the DOS, which was FLEX09. Percom PSYMON monitor. If you ever wanted to play in a nice, safe assembler sandbox, it doesn't get any better than the 6809. It just gets faster and wider.

For linux, the answer is Midnight Commander. Between the very nice editor and the dual-pane do-lots-of-things text mode interface, it's still my go-to under linux, I even use it on the Mac. Thankfully, they've kept it reasonably up to date, although making a native mac version without inflicting a much broader *nix ports package on the system is a real pain in the butt.

For the Mac, I use both of the above, MC natively and my emulator under a VM running a network-isolated XP, and I still run a PPC version of my HP-48G, which, I'm afraid, has made any other calculator use not only pointless, but nearly impossible. I also have two of these calculators in hardware, both of which still work fine. Because Apple dropped PPC support at OSX 10.7, my daily driver machine still runs OSX 10.6 and is likely to continue to do so unless I can find a native version of the HP emulator for Mavericks. When I decided to move past OSX 10.6 (Mavericks is actually quite nice, finally), I bought a new machine and plopped it down in my ham shack.

Ham radio: Easy. My Palomar loop antenna. This tiny (about a cubic foot) antenna system has pluggable loops for 150-500 khz, 500-1700 khz, 1700-4000 khz, and 4000-15000 khz. I like to drag it out into the unimproved areas a few tens of miles from here where there are zero power lines, telephone cables carrying data, neon and other signage, plasma TVs, buildings and so on, and enjoy amazingly good, noise-free SW and amateur radio reception on the radio in my truck without having to set up a physically large and cumbersome antenna. I also have a Panasonic RF-2200 portable analog radio that I take on trips. Both of these are pretty old, tech-wise, but both remain in regular use and have stood the test of time very well indeed.

Music: A Marantz 2325 stereo receiver and a pair of Marantz HD-880 speakers. Not only does this setup sound nothing less than awesome, it eliminates the tedious menu surfing that more modern gear forces upon us. Everything's on a front panel knob. Everything. I have (very) modern gear in the home theater, but in my office, the old Marantz blue face remains king.

Lastly, I still have, and continue to play, a 1950's Fender Stratocaster guitar. I have a fair collection of more modern guitars, but the strat's neck is still the best of all of them. Luckily, for most of my life I've been a casual enough musician, and have spent enough time on other guitars, that I've not had to have the thing re-fretted. I don't look forward to that. I can't imagine it'll be the same. Of all the old stuff I have, this is the thing that has not only kept its value, but appreciated far beyond any dollar figure I could ever have anticipated. Not selling it, though. Ever. :)

Comment: Image processing (Score 3, Interesting) 157

by fyngyrz (#47787737) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

I use -- and write -- image processing software. Correct use of multiple cores results in *significant* increases in performance, far more than single digits. I have a dual 4-core, 3 GHz mac pro, and I can control the threading of my algorithms on a per-core basis, and every core adds more speed when the algorithms are designed such that a region stays with one core and so remains in-cache for the duration of the hard work.

The key there is to keep main memory from becoming the bottleneck, which it immediately will do if you just sweep along through your data top to bottom (presuming your data is bigger than the cache, which is typoically the case with DSLRs today.) Now, if they ever get main memory to us that runs as fast as the actual CPU, that'll be a different matter, but we're not even close at this point in time.

So it really depends on what you're doing, and how *well* you're doing it. Understanding the limitations of memory and cache is critical to effective use of multicore resources. You're not going to find a lot of code that does that sort of thing outside of very large data processing, and many individuals don't do that kind of data processing at all, or only do it so rarely that speed is not the key issue, only results matter. But there are certainly common use cases where keeping a machine for ten years would use up valuable time in an unacceptable manner. As a user, I am constantly editing my own images with global effects, and so multiple fast cores make a real difference for me. A single core machine is crippled by comparison.

Comment: Sources of water (Score 1) 513

by fyngyrz (#47787677) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

The moisture source for lakes and rivers is -- inevitably -- precipitation over lands upstream. Either as direct runoff, or as recurring eruptions from underground aquifers. If the prevailing winds don't bring the more humid air over the cooler, higher landscape, sure, you'll see drought. But you'd see it anyway, more heat or not. When the prevailing winds are bringing more moisture over those same types of terrain, you're going to see more precipitation, not less.

The historical record bears this out. When the earth is warmer, we get (a lot) more plant growth. That's simply not going to happen if the precipitation is reduced for any reason. And, at least as far as I am aware at this time, there is no mechanism that would cause reduction in precipitation. Warmer air holds more moisture, yes, and that effect is in full view in the tropics -- with deluge level rainfall when that moist air hits colder atmosphere and the moisture inevitably precipitates as rain. 400 inches / year as opposed to about 100 inches / year in otherwise similar temperate regions.

I would certainly agree that if the wind patterns change, then the rainfall will too. In both directions. But it seems a little farfetched to say that such changes will result in a consistent decrease in winds traveling onshore. What would such a claim be based upon?

Comment: Re: Impacts (Score 1) 513

by fyngyrz (#47787631) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is this year actually a warmer year? Didn't I just read that we're in a 20-year hiatus in the warming trend?

Yes, warmer air holds more moisture -- anyone who has worked the steam tables to convert between relative and absolute humidity knows that (and I have done so for my auroral photo opportunity prediction freeware), but it's also susceptible to precipitating more moisture when convection brings that moist air up into the colder altitudes. That's why tropical rainfall tends to be in deluges as compared to, for instance, the typical rain shower in Pennsylvania. We know for a fact that the tropics are warmer and wetter in terms of rainfall amounts per year -- and that since they are warmer, their air can hold more moisture. But that's not stopped them from having much more rainfall than anywhere else. While there certainly may be outlier statistics, the general case seems clearly to be: warmer = wetter = more rainfall.

Temperate rainforests get as much 100 inches / year. Tropical rainforests get up to 400 inches / year. If it's not the heat that's doing it, what do you propose is the mechanism?

If it *is* the heat that's doing it, then what is the mechanism where more heat, heat that corresponds with previous tropical climates in the earth's past, won't repeat the same effect here? Looking at the past CO2 level graphs as correlated with plant growth and temperature, there's a very strong correlation with CO2 and plant growth, and with temperature. Plants love CO2, but they still need moisture to survive, and where there's more plant growth, it's pretty much a certainty that there's a significant water supply.

So far, anyway, the idea of warming in the tropics -- or anywhere there's basically unlimited water and related prevailing winds -- leading to drought seems to be a non-starter.

It's not that I can't accept it, it's just that to accept it, I need a sound scientific reason to do so. Just saying that one expects drought in the tropics seems like hand-waving at this point. There are plenty of legitimate concerns - a slight, very, very slow rise in sea level, movement of crop-appropriate bands in cultivated areas, that sort of thing, but tropical drought doesn't appear to be one of them.

Also, recent news shows increased plant growth worldwide... something to think about in a situation where CO2 is known to be increasing at an accelerated rate.

Comment: Re:Impacts (Score 3, Informative) 513

by fyngyrz (#47766853) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

You *do* realize that the equatorial zone is generally tropical, wet as heck, and quite a bit warmer than everywhere else, yes? And that plants thrive on CO2?

Doesn't follow that making it warmer will make it drier. That doesn't seem to be how it works. Drier happens when water sources go away. There's no reasonable postulate for that which would apply to most equatorial regions.

Comment: Cats (Score 1) 513

by fyngyrz (#47766717) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Nah, it's almost certain to be big cats. Perfect apex predators. They can deal with heat, cold, wind; they can kill anything, climb like crazy, swim, they're fast as hell, stronger than just about anything, they instinctively use available terrain features for cover and shelter, they come equipped with deadly weapons, and they're very smart and wily. Common mutations already include thumbs and other extra digits, and they have a short enough breeding and maturation cycle that populations can recover in a very short time span, given only that mankind isn't around to defeat them using already developed technology.

Comment: Future Schlock (Score 1) 513

by fyngyrz (#47766549) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Is it sane, given foreknowledge of your own demise and the power to avert it, to charge full-steam-ahead toward that demise

It's not my demise; it is the demise of others, sometime in the future. I fully expect to live out the rest of my life comfortably. I rather suspect that's the same set of conditions you face when you describe these worst case scenarios to others. Some of us are sensitive to the woes of future persons, some of us are not. But it's always at least one step removed from today's reality.

In the USA, just look at the number of people who would let the financially low performing suffer the slings and arrows of disease and injury without any particular concern or guilt; you can measure that directly by the resistance to the ACA, which remains substantial, even though it's working out pretty well if you actually take the time to look at the numbers. When people don't concern themselves with the other people in town, who are there and suffering right now, isn't it a bit optimistic to expect them to concern themselves with some abstract, unknown set of people who will exist after most of them have died anyway?

You're better off looking to technology to solve this than compassionate outlooks among the citizenry.

I'm going to go back to watching the news now, where I can learn more about us shooting up Afghanistan for no particular reason other than to prop up our MI complex, as we've kind of worn out Iraq now. You know, because we care. We'd be in Africa "helping" them too, you know, if we needed more income. I'm sure their day will come, though. Both Africa and South America are deep future market resources for our weapons manufacturers. Caring. It's what we do!

Comment: Re:Impacts (Score 2) 513

by fyngyrz (#47766371) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

I'd expect massive droughts in the equatorial zones

Why? Equatorial zones have a great deal of ocean water, which certainly isn't going to change. That water will evaporate faster, the atmosphere will contain more humidity, and therefore there will be more precipitation, if the average temperature is up a few degrees C. How does that constitute the precursors for anticipating equatorial droughts?

I can see marginal areas (US midwest, for instance) baking off the little bit of moisture they have and not reaching any threshold of precipitation, followed by dustbowls and so on, but at the equator? Why would droughts happen there?

Comment: Not sliding, just jostling at the cliff (Score 1) 519

by fyngyrz (#47766163) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Proposed by those the people of OHIO voted for.

Which may be sufficient to see them ousted next time around, Ohio not being a particularly ignorant state as our states go. Here in the US, politicians think that they have to be religious to be elected (and they may still be right about that) but generally speaking, they aren't controlled by this when in office (look to corporations and the money stream for that.)

In the interim, it's worth keeping in mind the degree of scientific and technological progress that's come out of the USA.

We're not all superstitious wankers, though I can see why it might seem that way sometimes.

Comment: Re:And how long does it take... (Score 1) 190

by fyngyrz (#47725499) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

Now of course gas stations don't always have fully occupied pumps and that's the point, so that almost whenever you arrive, there's a free pump available.

Well, there's likely a pump available. It isn't generally going to be free. Tesla charging stations, however, at least for the time being...

Comment: Recursive Presumptions (Score 4, Funny) 190

by fyngyrz (#47725425) Attached to: How Does Tesla Build a Supercharger Charging Site?

If you thought it was a quick process to build a Supercharger station, you were clearly wrong.

If you thought I thought it was a quick process to build a Supercharger station, you were just as wrong. If you thought I cared about how long it tool them to build such as station, you were wrong about that, too. And if you thought I liked java over c, you were still wrong. I could go on -- likely longer than even I, in the name oif pushing a point until it is completely blunt, am willing to do so, but I will refrain in the interest of keeping the peace.

Anyway, as it turns out, TFS serves as a veritable smorgasbord of potential if-then-huhs that can only be explained by somewhat bemused turtles all the way down.

At this time, I'd like to take a moment to thank my dear friend Yurtle.

Comment: Re:Still... (Score 1) 192

by fyngyrz (#47714217) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone

I think he was just pinging me for the ideas, which do predate my efforts and is certainly fair -- I started my whole "object" approach to c in 1985.

Of course, the whole point was to avoid using compiler tech that generated code I didn't intend it to generate, and in that sense, I got what I was after.

I wish I could still write my code in assembler, though. I was never more at home than when churning out 6809 or 68000 code.

The best laid plans of mice and men are held up in the legal department.