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Comment Re:Yes and? (Score 1) 75

C is, essentially, a good portable assembler. It's barely a compiler at all, which is why it could fit on really small 8-bit systems.

For that matter, Byte once ran an article where they implemented most of C in M68000 assembler macros, so that it ACUTALLY was assembler. It wasn't all of C, just most of it, and it was too clumsy to actually use (M68000 assembler code was as readable and much more efficient), but it worked.

For that matter, LifeboatC, an i8080 compiler, really was a translator from C to assembler (a translator, not exactly a compiler) to the point that if you knew what you were doing you could drop assembler instructions in the middle of your C code and have them work properly. It emitted assembler code or (I believe, it's been awhile) could directly build an executable. But C is much more similar to M68000 assembler than i8080 assembler, so LifeboatC was rather of a tour de force. It wasn't a full K&R C, but it was quite close.

So I consider C a portable assembler, and as such quite good. I don't think of it as a good compiler language. At this point in time a good computer language needs to handle unicode characters quite well. Vala has potentials, if it ever matures. Similarly D (Digital Mars D) has potentials. If you don't need speed, Python is a good choice. Soon a good computer language will also need to handle parallel processing gracefully...but so far I haven't seen any contenders for this. Even C will do it if you don't demand grace and elegance.

P.S.: I no longer consider assembler a reasonable thing to require...either of myself or of anyone who isn't implementing things at the hardware level. C is as close to that as I consider reasonable, and even C is limiting. The complexity of code anyone can write is limited, so any complexity you can push off onto your tools should be so pushed...unless you are a tool designer or builder, or, to a much lesser extent, evaluator.

Comment Re:Lies, damned lies, and statistics (Score 1) 195

Yes, but while the physicists admit that the "dark" things are error factors, they handwave about gravitons not being found when and how they were predicted. (OTOH, the orbital loss of energy fits the graviton equations just fine, so something really odd is going on. But I have my doubts as to whether it's gravitons as normally calculated. Perhaps the graviton is an unstable particle, but what could it break up into? For that matter, could that have any connection to "dark energy" and "dark matter").

I think the graviton is just as much a placeholder as is "dark matter" or "dark energy". All describe places where equations that normally work don't match what we see.


University of Cape Town Team Breaks World Water Rocketry Record ( 11

New submitter Cycliclogic writes: A team of engineers based at the University of Cape Town recently had their record breaking flights of their water powered rocket Ascension III ratified by the Water Rocket Achievement World Record Association. This record is for a single stage rocket power purely on pressurized water. Two launches must be completed within two hours, the record being set at the mean above-ground altitude of the two flights. The record now stands at a whopping 2723 Feet (830m). You can watch videos of the launches here. (Warning: they're loud.)

Submission + - Mars once hosted lakes, flowing water (

sciencehabit writes: Last week, NASA announced they’d spotted occasional signs of flowing water on Mars. These briny flows, discerned from orbit, originated on the steep slopes of valleys or craters at four widely scattered sites in the planet’s southern hemisphere. Now, a comprehensive analysis of images gathered by NASA’s Curiosity rover provides the strongest evidence yet that Mars once was warm and wet enough to have lakes and flowing water year-round and for extended periods of time—possibly for millions of years. The findings hint that the Red Planet once had a climate hospitable enough for microbial life to develop and evolve.

Comment He is right. Mods are wrong. (Score 1) 24

Yes, if you really did something bad, it needs to be addressed.

No, the system cannot be counted on to address it proportionally or responsibly.

No, you should not ever, and I mean ever, freely converse about anything within the context of our (note USA-centric presumption) current legal system. A lawyer should do that. You can make your situation much, much worse in very short order with as little as one "yes" or "no." Worse in a context where "worse" can be far more severe than anything that was actually appropriate.

Confine your responses to politely agreeable responses to specific commands for compliance WRT your custody from the officers. Anything else: "That will have to be addressed to my lawyer, sir." First thing -- and the only thing -- you really need to say, politely, contextually, WRT to any accusations or charges, is "Lawyer."

When they say, as they almost certainly will, that your compliance with them may ease your penalties, you say "Thank you, I understand that, and will convey that to my lawyer as soon as possible." Nothing else. Nothing. Until you do, in fact, discuss it with your lawyer.

Comment Re:Uh huh. (Score 1, Insightful) 140

And this is what sociopath does; concocts elaborate, vile and usually illegal schemes, convinces a bunch of underlings to execute them, and then, when caught, tries to throw them under the bus.

It's why sociopaths should be outlawed from all management positions of any kind, right down to crew shift chief at McDonald's.

Submission + - Mozilla to end NPAPI support in Firefox in 2016 (

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla announced today that it is planning to end support for NPAPI in all versions of Firefox at the end of 2016.

The only exception to that will be Adobe Flash which Mozilla will continue to support in the future due to it still being commonly used by Firefox users.


Former Reuters Media Editor Found Guilty of Helping Anonymous Hack Into LA Times ( 24

An anonymous reader writes: Prolific tweeter and former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys, charged with computer hacking under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, was found guilty today on all counts and faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced in January. Wired reports: "According to authorities, during a recorded FBI interview with Keys in October 2012 at his home, prior to his indictment, he admitted to his involvement in the hacking of the L.A. Times, and to sending a series of disparaging, sometimes threatening e-mails to a former employer. Keys waived his Miranda rights at the time of the interview and was concerned that the case not be publicized, apparently believing he might get off as a cooperating witness."

Comment Re:try me (Score 1) 145

No, it isn't 4.91% of their OS market share. It's 4.91% of all the machines on the net, of which Windows and OS X are both going to be pretty much mostly there. Read again. "Desktop Operating System Market Share" -- OS X has 4.91% of the desktop market against other operating systems and the billion computers is a likely very conservative number for "desktop market."

Your fail, fails, I think.

Comment Math error, apparently (Score 1) 145

Lemme see. Sigh.

2nd link says OS X 10.10 has 4.91% of overall market share, which they figured from browsing stats, which seems to me to be a sane proxy for the vast majority of computers running Windows and OS X both.

This link says there were over a billion computers out there (in 2008, no doubt more now, but I used the 1,000,000,000 figure anyway.)

So. 1,000,000,000 * 0.0491 = 49,100,000 computers running OS X 10.10.

Maybe I'm just being (repeatedly) dense but I don't see the problem with the math. You (or anyone who cares to correct me) can be snarky if you like and I won't complain, but would you please point out where I went wrong?

Submission + - In Midst of a Tech Boom, Seattle Tries to Keep Its Soul writes: Nick Wingfield has an interesting article in the NYT about how Seattle, Austin, Boulder, Portland, and other tech hubs around the country are seeking not to emulate San Francisco where wealth has created a widely envied economy, but housing costs have skyrocketed, and the region’s economic divisions have deepened with rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco at more than $3,500 a month, the highest in the country. “Seattle has wanted to be San Francisco for so long,” says Knute Berger. “Now it’s figuring out maybe that it isn’t what we want to be.” The core of the debate is over affordable housing and the worry that San Francisco is losing artists, teachers and its once-vibrant counterculture. “It’s not that we don’t want to be a thriving tech center — we do,” says Alan Durning. “It’s that the San Francisco and Silicon Valley communities have gotten themselves into a trap where preservationists and local politics have basically guaranteed buying a house will cost at least $1 million. Already in Seattle, it costs half-a-million, so we’re well on our way.”

Seattle mayor Ed Murray says he wants to keep the working-class roots of Seattle, a city with a major port, fishing fleet and even a steel mill. After taking office last year, Murray made the minimum-wage increase a priority, reassured representatives of the city’s manufacturing and maritime industries that Seattle needed them., and has set a goal of creating 50,000 homes — 40 percent of them affordable for low-income residents — over the next decade. “We can hopefully create enough affordable housing so we don’t find ourselves as skewed by who lives in the city as San Francisco is,” says Murray. “We’re at a crossroads,” says Roger Valdez. “One path leads to San Francisco, where you have an incredibly regulated and stagnant housing economy that can’t keep up with demand. The other path is something different, the Seattle way.”

Comment Re:what does that even mean? (Score 1) 111

There's no such thing as a WIFI amplifier. At least not for commonly used WIFI modes (i.e. everything that is doing MIMO).

Sure there is. It's called a "cantenna." :)

Or more broadly, any sufficiently broadband / multiband antenna with more gain (and probably more directivity) than those nasty little probes sticking up on the back of most people's hardware.

Cheap, effective, etc. For some use cases.

Also, has the benefit of adding gain in BOTH directions, whereas a transmit amplifier would get the signal to the device better, but will not help (and may hinder) on the receive side.

Comment Re:Isn't it widely accepted... (Score 1) 111

It's not that simple. Mercury also has a magnetic field. Which is a real head-scratcher, as it's even smaller than Mars.

Internal planetary dynamics are complicated. To get a dynamo you need fluid flow. But whether something is liquid or solid depends on both temperature and pressure - temperature increasing melt, pressure decreasing it. So there's a very complicated interplay.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.