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Comment: Re:A minority view? (Score 1) 649

by homb (#47269879) Attached to: Teaching Creationism As Science Now Banned In Britain's Schools

You think that the sun, rocks, and trees give comfort to humans? After losing a loved one?

Perhaps there is more confusion than you recognize regarding what actually exists, and your belief or disbelief doesn't change that.

Clearly you don't understand the importance of sun, trees, rain et. al. to primitive humans. It literally meant life or death if the sun didn't shine enough, or the rain was missing, or the trees weren't bountiful. Hence the gods of such things.
Perhaps the confusion is yours.

Comment: Re:Original iPads Work Well ... (Score 1) 386

by homb (#46841009) Attached to: iPad Fever Is Officially Cooling

I know the parent is sarcastic, but replacing a battery in an iPhone costs $25 and 2 minutes in the store. I just did it for my iPhone 4S, and the difference was phenomenal. Basically after 3 years your battery goes to crap as soon as you hit 50% capacity as described by the OS. You blink and it's dead. Replace it and you are back to normal, and there's nothing incredibly hard about replacing an iPhone battery.

Comment: Re:Why are trades (pre-purchase) public anyway? (Score 1) 342

by homb (#46683405) Attached to: Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

Because this is basically what's happening, is that these machines are taking advantage of a security flaw that allows them to see a transaction before it's complete

No. They see the completed transaction at one exchange for X shares, and assume you're doing the same thing at the other exchanges. They just race there faster and preempt your transactions that are on the way.

And they also consistently post fake offers that they retract in order to analyze the market appetite.

Comment: Re:Banks deflecting attention from themselves (Score 1) 342

by homb (#46683359) Attached to: Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

There is nothing illegal whatsoever, since the trades are public. It's just that the HFT optimized their routes.

Sure not illegal per se, but only a finite number of people can get that sort of access, so now the playing field isn't level.

Exactly. That's one of the major complaints regarding HFT, and why the IEX exchange why created.

Comment: Re:Banks deflecting attention from themselves (Score 2) 342

by homb (#46683205) Attached to: Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

As for the front-running nonsense on 60 Minutes, that's always been illegal (contrary to what we're being told), and it is not at all how high frequency trading works. If someone was in fact doing that, then they're in a whole world of hurt with the SEC (and rightly so), but this entire exercise appears much more like a distraction: blame small outsider firms who've made the marketplace more effecient and tightened spreads for problems created by corruption within the big banks, and hope no one least until the next bank-induced crash.

This is absolutely not illegal. Here's how HFT gets one of its profit lines:
Large trades often spread across multiple exchanges. Buy 30,000 shares here, 15,000 there, etc... The regular broker submits one purchase and it gets distributed across exchanges. As soon as it hits the first exchange, say after 30ms, an HFT algo picks up on the trade and assumes that it'll happen as well on the other exchanges. So it races ahead and front-runs in the other exchanges before the regular distributed trade has a chance to arrive there.
There is nothing illegal whatsoever, since the trades are public. It's just that the HFT optimized their routes.

Comment: Better article (Score 5, Informative) 342

by homb (#46683003) Attached to: Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

There's a gripping article over at the NY Times (adapted from a just released book) that explains very well the pitfalls of HFT, where the problems are mostly due to the haves and have-nots, just like in most things. The article is at

Not having a level playing deck in an exchange is a major problem for the correct functioning of said exchange.

Comment: Re:Am I the only one.. (Score 2) 158

by homb (#46209205) Attached to: Non-Coders As the Face of the Learn-to-Code Movements

Hell, back in the 80's it was common for kids under 10 to teach themselves how to program.

Um, I was around then. It wasn't "common" - it was only "common" among those who had aptitude for it. Like, you know, today.

Back in the 80's you had maybe 30% of kids who really knew how to use computers, let alone program. I'm not talking about games, I'm talking about being able to load up the OS, muck around, launch different programs and use them properly. Kids programming were the exception, just like they are now.

Just because a loop is obvious to you doesn't mean it's obvious to others:

"Why do we need these loop things? A counter? What's a counter? How does the computer know to go back and do it again? Where is the counter in the computer? What if I want to do it more times while I'm doing it? etc..."

Comment: Re:Except... (Score 4, Informative) 233

by homb (#45089047) Attached to: Ford Showcases Self-Parking Car Technology

(i.e., you don't have to squeeze your way out of your vehicle while trying not to bang the next car's door)

That brilliant plan has two massive shortcomings:

1) You still need to squeeze back into the car when you're ready to leave (assuming there is no "unpark" feature)

2) What are the odds that the driver of the car parked NEXT to your in your overly narrow space will ding your passenger side door trying to get into HIS car?

Well if anyone RTFAs (and RTFVs) then it's clear that there is indeed an "unpark" feature. That is pretty obviously necessary.
Second, for #2 it's the chicken or egg: As more cars get the parking assists, this'll happen less and less. Also, in many cases you can get into your car from the passenger side and then switch to the driver's seat if it's that bad.

Comment: Commendable (Score 2) 260

by homb (#44946629) Attached to: President of Brazil Lashes Out At NSA Espionage Programs In Speech To UN

Commendable, but ultimately wishful thinking unfortunately.
The NSA will just tap the underwater cables or enlist the "help" of technicians at the Brazil data exchanges to split the data feeds. When the adversary has this much money and next to no scruples, the battle is difficult if not impossible.

Comment: Re:This merely allows poor code to suck less. (Score 3, Informative) 174

by homb (#44922621) Attached to: Oracle Promises 100x Faster DB Queries With New In-Memory Option

From TFA, "Maintaining those indexes is expensive and slows down transaction processing. Let's get rid of them," Ellison remarked. "Let's throw all of those analytic indexes away and replace the indexes with in-memory column sort."

This merely minimizes the penalties of poor indexing and RBAR by making complete table scans on arbitrary columns faster. Apparently Mr. Ellison has forgotten his algoithmics and combinatorics - Oh, wait, no he didn't, he dropped out as a sophmore. Pity, because had he stayed, he would have learned that even with a 1000x slower storage medium, an O(log N) algorithm (index seek) will eventually beat an O(N log N) algorithm (column sort).

I think you misunderstand the way columnar databases work. They are not doing a column sort the way you think. The column itself is an index.
Of course the inanities coming out of Ellison's mouth don't help explain things correctly. No Larry, you don't do away with indexes. You mostly store indexes on everything, automatically.

Thanks, Larry, but you want to make Oracle faster? Remove cursors from the core language, and although that alone won't "fix" it, you'll see all the hacks who can't think in set-based logic drop out overnight.

Can't argue there!

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS