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Comment: Re:We Choose Framentation Over Consolidation. (Score 1) 391

by gnu-sucks (#46607691) Attached to: Toward Better Programming

This is a great post, mod parent up.

With regards to QT, I love it too. Great IDE, and excellent tools and libraries. First-class debugger and UI designer. But it makes you wish, doesn't it, that there was a successor to C++ that implemented some QT things a little better? Especially the signals and slots, I feel that could be a awesome thing to have without needing qmake to re-write my functions... Still love it though!

Comment: Re:This is why I started using MATLAB (Score 1) 391

by gnu-sucks (#46607659) Attached to: Toward Better Programming

I have not found this to be the case.

MATLAB is just fine for simple algorithms that analyze data in a sort of "use once" case. It's great for throwing something together, such as plotting data from a sensor, simulating a design, making nice figures for a publication, that sort of thing.

But MATLAB is not, and should not be thought of, as a general-purpose programming language, like C. Because of some early decisions made by the matlab folks, there are many limitations. Obviously, matlab is not an ideal language for a device driver. And not ideal for any type of network service. So let's ignore those cases. For a GUI app, matlab makes what would be a few lines in QT a nightmare of get_this() and handles_that() calls. It's infuriating. It's also slow and uses a ton of memory. For analyzing any data set over 100 MB, forget it, you'll be using several gigs just to load the set in.

There is a place for matlab, and there are many places for not matlab.

While I'm at it, here are some other things that I despise about matlab:
1) matlab is loosely typed. Ever get this error: "Cannot determine if foo is a variable or a file"
2) function interface operators are the same as matrix operators. You would think that a language that supposedly caters to linear (matrix) math wouldn't have screwed this up. If I do foo(1), this could be a function call or asking for matrix element 1 of matrix foo.
3) no pointers. Enough said.
4) matrix elements start at n=1 rather than n=0. EVEN BASIC doesn't do that. For a mathematical language, this is heresy. They are denying the value of zero. Something as simple as a Maclaurin or Fibonacci series becomes a constant battle of "if n=0 then..." exceptions. Or you offset everything. It's just pure annoyance.
5) doesn't have a good debugger
6) parallel-loop programming takes longer to "spool" the job than it does to just run the darn thing on a single CPU. Oh, and their standard multiprocessor license only covers 8 cores. I have machines with over 40 cores that will never see a matlab parfor statement.... which, I'm obviously ok with...
7) Stupid capital variables in documentation,
8) 1990s-erra save dialog boxes on unix platforms that don't even allow for "favorites". Every time I save or open, I start in the current directory and have to navigate folder-by-folder to where I want to go. I feel like this is something from my CDE days.
9) unix print and pdf export is horribly broken. These functions NEVER format anything correctly. Every time I am presented with cropped cut-off plots. The EPS export works fine, why not PDF and printing?
10) default pathdef depends on what directory you launch matlab from. Just another annoyance.

Anyway, rest in peace matlab, I have moved on.

Comment: Re:Pico (Score 1) 248

by gnu-sucks (#46555727) Attached to: Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

There is another aspect to this that many here are forgetting.

pico/nano have more stringent terminal support required for their fancy controls. Specifically, arrow keys. If you have ever had to jump down to the world of serial terminals, you know that such keys are not always mapped out properly the first time. I have been in this situation (recovering an SGI box on a serial line using an IBM dumb terminal), and it is indeed what prompted me to learn vi in the first place. All I need is an escape key. Navigation is handled with the standard alpha keys. So for an embedded device where there is likely not a traditional screen, and perhaps not always network support, having a good simple editor that doesn't require arrow keys has an advantage.

Yes, I know termcap files can be fixed to correct these things, but that's not always the quickest option.

Comment: Re:There's a reason people argue about vim and ema (Score 1) 248

by gnu-sucks (#46555713) Attached to: Neovim: Rebuilding Vim For the 21st Century

I appreciate vim for the same reasons. It's easy to delete entire lines, and I can assign quick keys to short-cut common text (ie, typing class names over and over again).

However, don't forget that many other more-GUI-like editors support drag and drop text and simple clipboard action. You can work pretty fast if you take full advantage of those tools. One of my favorite editors (besides vim/gvim) is part of qt creator. In addition to processing my .vimrc and having a vim mode, it almost always auto-completes code as I am typing it. It has a nice class/member navigation tool, intelligent find and replace, and code refactoring. Yes, vim can do all this too, but this is about as good as it gets for a GUI tool, and it is often faster. Also works different muscles, so it's good for variety on your hands.

Comment: Pointless (Score 1) 250

by gnu-sucks (#46450035) Attached to: Sony & Panasonic Next-Gen Optical Discs Moving Forward

With the exception of some "write-once, read-only" backup schemes, this will fail at the $300/disk level.

Meanwhile, go google "1TB USB Flash" and see the $1200 USB flash drives. These will cost a lot less ($100 each in two years I bet) in a few years, just in time for the first of these already-failed optical disks. Plus you don't need anything special to use a USB flash drive...

Comment: BS (Score 1) 84

I call BS. All they are doing is generating noise from a laser. Anyone can do this with a laser and a detector diode. Splitting the beam and subtracting is nothing novel. I did this back in junor high in science class. (Back then a laser was a much bigger deal, but still.)

His discussion of the ADC is nice, but again, that's standard stuff. Same goes for his TLS talking points.

These guys are pumping out buzz words faster than their FPGA.

Comment: Re:Paralysis by Analysis (Score 2) 247

by gnu-sucks (#46353355) Attached to: The Rescue Plan That Could Have Saved Space Shuttle <em>Columbia</em>

I think you have to go with both. As others have pointed out, humans can be awfully wrong too.

Having said this, there is no way, at all, that, if we had understood the gravity of the situation we would have done nothing. That's not the American or NASA spirit. Take John Glenn's first flight, where there was an indication that the heat shield and landing bag had been released in-orbit. Can you imagine being in that small capsule knowing that you might be about to burn up on re-entry? The incredible engineers, technicians, and flight directors considered every option and decided not to ignore the instrumentation reading (which was later proven to be false). They came up with a plan, and although it was untested and of course not analyzed by a computer, they put it into action, and sure enough, John Glenn made it back safely.

You're absolutely right that this level of complexity (and creativity) cannot be programmed into a computer model. It comes from ingenuity. Creativity. Outside-the-box thinking. We'll never know if the crew of Columbia could have repaired the damage, mitigated the risk, or been rescued because NOBODY TRIED. And they did deserve that fighting chance.

I'm not saying they would have made it, but they did deserve a chance.

Comment: Re:/etc/password or /etc/shadow? (Score 2) 111

by gnu-sucks (#46050905) Attached to: Facebook's Biggest Bounty Yet To Hacker Who Found "Keys To the Kingdom"

A good list of usernames is sometimes all you need.

I purchased a server from Goodwill once, and it just so happened that it had an intact hard disk. The server was running some version of Solaris, and was part of a database for a large fortune 500 company that you have probably heard of. As an interesting "exercise", I decided to put it on my network and hack into it.

The box had a very bad telnet daemon, and using the simplest of exploits imaginable, I was able to return the contents of arbitrary files and run commands on the box. This is pretty good, but of course, you gotta always try for more. I returned /etc/passwd and tried all the accounts with the standard top-500 lists you can find online. I got into the system admin's account. He had dumped the contents of his personal windows computer as well as his palm pilot (google that on your iPhone, kids, and then get off my lawn). These included him and his wife's passports (scanned for some reason), blueprints for their house, and of course, his resume where he lists all sorts of bogus security certifications.

Word of advice to admins: protect the entire computer. Don't accept that certain files are not that big of a deal, they ALL matter. Every file should be considered a potential threat and permissions and updates applied accordingly. Never enable remote root anything. Always use alternative accounts. Audit user passwords for weaknesses. Deactivate old accounts ASAP. Be aware of repeated invalid login attempts. This isn't even scratching the surface...

Comment: RAID fails most (Score 1) 277

by gnu-sucks (#45405755) Attached to: 25,000-Drive Study Gives Insight On How Long Hard Drives Actually Last

You may find this to be ridiculous....

I have seen more drives in RAID arrays fail than any other type/configuration of drives. I don't know why, but when you put disks into a raid array they seem to be so much more likely to fail. Maybe RAID controllers tend to overwork drives? We always buy the "enterprise" (expensive) drives too...

You want more? I've also seen more power supplies in servers that support redundant power supplies (especially Dell) fail than anything else.

I've got 286 computers with good drives and power supplies that will probably keep working until there's an EMP, but the "enterprise" stuff from today is just awful.

Comment: Re:world ramifications... (Score 1) 388

by gnu-sucks (#45373447) Attached to: The NSA Is Looking For a Few Good Geeks

Yeah, he did say terrorism once. And then there were all these other "it was the video" incidents. If he felt it was terrorism, he should have shown it with his actions rather than doing whatever he could to place the blame on a video (the guy went to JAIL after all).

If you can take a cartoon of it:


Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other 336

Posted by timothy
from the this-one-is-about-your-rights-offline dept.
theshowmecanuck writes "A school in British Columbia (the province that now even California can call flakey) has just banned elementary school students from touching each other during recess. You know, one of those times for play and more importantly learning how to socialize (which itself includes touching). CTV News reports: 'A ban on touching during recess at a B.C. elementary school has shocked parents, who call the new no-touch policy "ridiculous." For most kids, recess is a chance to run around and goof-off with their friends, but a new ban on touching at a school in Aldergrove could put a damper on playtime. School administrators at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in B.C. have banned kindergarten students from touching each other during recess.'"

Comment: Simple (Score 1) 381

by gnu-sucks (#45214043) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

Black and white laser: Brother 5250DN, includes ethernet interface. Works just fine with mac, windows, and linux. I have printed over 20,000 pages on mine, and I have only needed three toner cartridges. This printer is as simple and plug-and-play as it gets and it works great. You can feed in envelops and such if you need to. And if you cover the optical window on the toner (where it checks the toner level), you can print a lot more on each one. Since this printer accepts generic post script, you can print out of the box with any computer build since 1995 using a generic postscript driver and get most of the functionality if not all. If you want to read the printer status then install the brother drivers, which are very good and work on all modern platforms.

Scanner (and color inkjet): Canon MX870. The scanner is worth the price alone, as it can do bulk scanning, BOTH SIDES ("full duplex"), of a stack of paper. I used this in school all the time to archive my notes and old tests. If you have a nice photo or something, you can use the normal flatbed and get very high resolution -- probably overkill at the highest setting for most cases as the files can be enormous. You can also put in a USB drive or memory card and print off it. To be honest, I think our older Epson was a better photo printer, but this one is not bad at all. The scanner though, it's just as good as it gets for the price. The full duplex scanning is very very useful, I think for a business it would be invaluable to be able to just put in a stack of bills or sheet music or what have you and hit "scan" and get a PDF out of it. Lastly, this printer has wifi and ethernet built-in, and yes, you can use the scanner over the network, although I think most people will find this isn't as useful as it sounds.

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