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Comment Re:The problem (Score 4, Insightful) 194

Turing was gay and he was on of the few British that actually did anything in the early computer field. That's why we hear about him, not because of his accomplishments, which were few and unimportant.

If his accomplishments were so unimportant, then why is the preeminent award in computing named for him? And why are his papers used as the foundation for much of Computer Science?

And if you think the British were little active in the early days of computing, I suggest you go and study your history better.

Comment Re:Half way there (Score 1) 119

No doubt, this is a substantial reason why the government does not do the bill.

Another big reason is that in many (most?) other countries the number of exceptions (deductions, exemptions, etc.) is much smaller, so it is much easier for the government to figure your taxes based on your income reported from the employer. I live in NZ, and I would say the average guy does not file a return. If every scrap of income he made was from a job, or bank interest, or pension payments, or dividends lodged with a broker, then the government has already taxed those things at source and there is nothing more to be said.

On the other hand, there are some items which can be claimed to reduce tax that the government may not know about. This leads to an entire industry in NZ which helps people figure out if they have a refund coming that they did not know about. Most people do not.

And I have been very satisfied every year using Turbotax to prepare my US returns from NZ. The ability to link to financial institutions and automatically download the data is a real plus. For several years Intuit did not allow one to efile with a foreign address, but now they do, and that is icing on the cake.

Comment So what is an answer? (Score 1) 129

For weight and space reasons I travel with only my wifi-only tablet. Generally that works well for me.

Every now and then I encounter a hotel with only wired access provided in rooms. (Often they have wifi in public areas.) Is there an answer to using the wifi-only device in such a circumstance. For sake of argument, let's assume I am an international traveller whose cellphone never works in the countries I visit. (True) That means the hotspot method mentioned will not work.

Comment Re:Better way? (Score 1) 289

I find this confusing.

If at 23:59:59 the clock actually changes to 23:59:60 (= 00:00:00), then a second has been taken away, not added. The second denoted 23:59:59 did not happen.

I would think that to "add" a leap second, at 00:00:00 the clock should read 23:59:59.

Can someone clarify?

Comment Real absurdity (Score 1) 437

I live in a non-US country. My family is all in the US. For years, before I left the US, it was my habit to purchase Netflix Gift Subscriptions for family members. I used to do this online, and was no trouble at all.

Now, because I connect from a foreign location, Netflix will not talk to me at all. Even though I am trying to buy a gift for someone in the US using a US$ credit card based at a US address, I have no hope. Neflix simply refuses to do any business with me because I come in from a foreign address.

I find that to be really absurd.

Comment Re:Seriously... (Score 1) 437

Exactly! Plenty of people in the world outside the US and Europe would like to be able to legally consume the content. In most situations, the content providers will not provide it to those people, not for ANY price. So some use VPNs, etc to try to get the content that others can get -- and the copyright owners want to shut them out instead of trying to find a way to accept their money. Makes no sense to me.

Comment Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 4, Informative) 437

The credit card number does encode the issuing bank, and that determines the currency that the card works in. If I was in country X with a credit card from country Y, I certainly would not use that card to make regular, recurring purchases in country X. Every such transaction would be treated as a foreign transaction, with accompanying transaction and exchange fees.

Comment Re: excellent (Score 1) 226

It was substantially better, but you really cannot expect me to remember details after 30 years! At the time, I was most struck by how many people would post results deriving from C-coded benchmark programs where the thing actually measured was different from what was purported to be measured, largely from ignorance.

Comment Re:excellent (Score 1) 226

Given how long these libraries have existed, I am surprised there are still opportunities for improvement such as that described in the TFA.

Back in the mid-80s I was involved in the design of a "mini Cray" supercomputer. We did not yet have any hardware to run on, but we did have a software simulator, and we wanted to publish some "whetstone" numbers. We got some numbers, were not too happy with them, and really dug in to analyze what we could do to improve them. The Whetstone code was in C, and used a fair number of library functions to both accomplish the numerical results and the preparation of the Whetstone answer. It turned out that most of the time was being spent in string copy and string compare functions from the library. We concentrated our efforts on redoing those library routines in assembly to take advantage of as many register-to-register operations and multiple-byte operations as we could. Although the Whetstone benchmark was supposed to measure numerical performance, our results showed that the numerical calculations took up little of the time.

Sadly, our "mini Cray" never saw the light of day. The mid-80s were a tough time to stand out in that arena as there were so many people trying to do the same thing.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A firefly is not a fly, but a beetle.