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Comment Re:They tried it before with Cablecards (Score 2) 167

This year for the holidays I bought myself an HDHomeRun Prime by SiliconDust. Comcast gave me an M-card with no questions, and the tech support number in the documents (a call center that does only Cablecard activations) handled the activation fine. It would have been somewhat easier if there were a decent online description of exactly what numbers the call center needed. Three independent tuners, DLNA compliant, and delivers the HD streams over our household LAN (some wired, some wireless). Works fine to my Mac and my Android phone. There are issues with my old Android tablet, but those involve the limited hardware there, not the delivery.

Comment APL... (Score 2) 414

...back in the fairly early days. Branch (of various forms) as the only flow control. Odd scoping rules. Often faster to rewrite a line of code from scratch than to figure out what you had written the previous time. OTOH, having a full symbolic debugger really spoiled me.

Comment Writers v. aggregators (Score 1) 311

I'm perfectly happy to pay writers for well-researched well-written content. I'm not happy paying an aggregator for access to what they think is good writing. Good writers are rare; the internet has made aggregation cheap and easy, with the expected outcome that there are lots of terrible aggregation sites out there.

Comment Re:Dynamic range compression (Score 1) 135

I'm not sure what their reasons are. Mine used to be that I had to deal with various non-trivial levels of background noise -- turn the volume up loud enough to hear the quiet parts over that noise and the loud parts were enough to knock you over. These days, it's more that aging ears have greatly narrowed the spread between loud enough to understand and loud enough to hurt.

Comment Re:Forbes blocks browsers... and... this is absurd (Score 1) 330

I wonder what's wrong/right with my setup? Opening this link in a new private window gets me the stock Forbes opening page, which includes a "proceed to site" link (sometimes after a few second countdown). Some dumb quote but no ads. My blocker stops 10-15 elements on each Forbes page, but I get the article. No mention that I'm running an ad blocker.

Mac OSX 10.11.2, Firefox 43.0.3, uBlock Origin 1.5.1.

Comment Western US anti-nuclear feelings (Score 1) 366

In the western US, the anti-nuclear sentiment has more to do with historically bad experiences with non-commercial activities. Open-air nuclear tests. A few years ago the DOE declared the Rocky Flats site in Colorado to be clean; there's a growing body of evidence that they did the job on the cheap and the remaining plutonium will get loose. Last year the WIPP in New Mexico had a leak, and DOE agreed to pay a $74M fine. This month, DOE asked the court for a further 17 year delay to 2039 to finish the vitrification plant that is key to cleaning up the disaster that is the Hanford Site in Washington. Given Republican attacks on the DOE budget, Washington has asked the reasonable question, "What are the chances Congress will continue to fund construction for another 24 years?" On the commercial side, Yucca Flats will probably open eventually, and be substantially expanded, against the wishes of the people of Nevada.

It's not all that hard to understand why western politicians are not given to believing the nuclear scientists and engineers who say, "Yes, but this time will be different."

Comment Re:Idiot (Score 2) 366

At least in the US Western Interconnect, it's feasible to solve this problem. The West has diverse renewable sources -- hydro, wind, solar, even geothermal. The West has these over geographic diversity -- eg, the wind is unlikely to stop blowing in both the Columbia Gorge and Wyoming's South Pass at the same time. There is plenty of opportunity for pumped hydro storage. It's not inexpensive because you do have to overbuild capacity, but there are a lot of detailed studies that show it's feasible.

The Eastern Interconnect, on the other hand, is a completely different problem, both in scale and in complexity.

Comment Re:I wrote one (Score 1) 227

Some years back I ended up writing my own as well. I was looking for a handful of special features. The most important one is that while I could go back and annotate earlier text, I couldn't modify it (an overstatement, but I can't modify it from within the tool). That was important to me for a "lab" notebook: what was I thinking when I wrote this two months ago, and what do I think is different now. I also needed to be able to paste in pictures, and wanted to be able to draw circles and arrows and text over and around them. Perl and Tkx for implementing it -- at one point at least I had versions for all of Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Comment Re:Not just MS Office (Score 1) 138

Since El Capitan offers basically no user visible changes (just backend ones like locking down your own computer from you), there's literally no reason to "upgrade."

It at least "feels" like they've done something good with the scheduler and/or memory management. Switching between windows and tasks when the processors are all saturated is much smoother.

Comment Vote by Mail (Score 4, Interesting) 263

Related is the voting revolution happening in the western US -- vote by mail, with scanned paper ballots. Colorado, Oregon, and Washington already send a mail-in ballot to every registered voter. Arizona and California are clearly heading in that direction. Once those "big five" western states have adopted, the smaller ones -- some of which already have permanent no-excuse absentee ballots -- are likely to follow along. I admit to being biased; I love that my polling place is my kitchen table.

One of the interesting things I've noticed is when I raise the subject with friends, the ones who are opposed almost always grew up east of the Mississippi, and are terrified that large-scale fraud will occur. There's a PhD dissertation for a sociologist or political scientist in there somewhere.

Comment Re:A step forward, but... (Score 2) 399

If L-M had a compelling case that they could deliver what they say, on the budget they claim, they wouldn't be begging for money -- the big utilities that have spun off their generating components would be lining up to provide the funding. Hell, the states of California and New York would provide funding. That L-M is begging says a lot about the quality of the information they can actually show.

Comment Re:That must be a joke. (Score 1) 1067

NaN is a reasonable "Default" value for 1/0, and has the advantage that it propagates without you checking for it.

Or disadvantage that it propagates. Many years ago I spent weeks banging my head against a pile of 10,000 lines of badly structured Fortran on CDC equipment that I had inherited responsibility for. That hardware cheerfully allowed division by zero, storing the equivalent of NaN as the result. At a relatively enormous distance away in both source code and execution, the NaN was used in an addition operation and at that point the machine generated a fault. Ultimately the problem was an off-by-one upper limit in a DO loop, but finding it made me crazy. It would have been far easier to find if the divide-by-zero had generated a fault.

Ever since, I have been rabidly of the opinion that divide-by-zero is an error condition, and that execution can proceed only if the programmer has provided some sort of try/catch structure that catches the fault.

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Just about every computer on the market today runs Unix, except the Mac (and nobody cares about it). -- Bill Joy 6/21/85