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Comment: Re:We're so far from that now! (Score 4, Interesting) 114

by mikael (#48606345) Attached to: The Personal Computer Revolution Behind the Iron Curtain

Back in those days, start of the art technology in CPU's were "restricted exports". The USA wanted to show that Communism didn't lead to as many advancements in technology as Capitalism, so they restricted exports on technology such as chip design software, CPU's and other chip logic (remember the A-team trying to block smugglers exporting flip-flop chips? It was that serious). This led to the Eastern European countries doing various work-arounds. They could get gray imports through third-party countries that weren't part of the Western trade block, and weren't part of the USSR either. Or they could set up fake companies in the host country that would export the technology.

Another strategy was to make their own logic chips. However, yields for complex logic such as CPU's, wasn't that good, so they ended up with CPU's with missing instructions. But that wasn't a problem, mathematician/software engineers figured out ways of emulating broken instructions using other instructions. If JMP was broken, then use CLR; BCC. Arithmetic operations like ADD could be replaced by NEG and SUB, and so on... So they ended up with an abstraction layer using assembler macros that provided a set of functioning instructions.

Comment: Re:Unless it has support for Bitcoin... (Score 1) 154

by mikael (#48602717) Attached to: Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

In Norway, you can just go online to the bank website, use an authentication system based on a username, password and your mobile phone.
Then you just use the IBAN/SWIFT system to transfer the money to the account anywhere else in the world, and you can download your transaction history as a spreadsheet file.

Other banks in the UK require you to go into a branch, and have a clerk use a quill pen to fill out an entry in a giant leatherbound ledger book.

Comment: Re:Just let them test out! (Score 1) 307

by mikael (#48595583) Attached to: Google Suggests Separating Students With 'Some CS Knowledge' From Novices

It was the dot-com boom era. Established companies (bricks and mortar) were slow to catch onto the the internet presence, so there were thousands of startups which tried to fill that niche (Peapod who did online groceries, companies who get your bills redirected, so they could be opened and scanned in, so all you had to do was write the cheque to the utility company, and Amazon). The people that jumped into the CompSci courses at this time, were referred to as gold-diggers who were only interested in the money from knowing some HTML and scripting,

Comment: Re:Fucking Hell, Harper needs to go! (Score 2) 122

by mikael (#48591379) Attached to: Canada Waives Own Rules, Helps Microsoft Avoid US Visa Problems

From the job descriptions available now, a software developer, software engineer or senior software engineer will consult with clients and other engineers, write design specifications, write, design and implement unit tests using Microsoft or Google Test frameworks, do task breakdowns, provide accurate time estimates, implement software modules, provide code reviews, keep bug lists up to date, mentor software engineers through techniques such as pair or extreme programming, participate in Agile and Scrum meetings. Depending on the field of work, it's either going to be "Big Data" with R, Scala, Hadoop, Java, "Embedded Systems" with C, embedded C, assembler, IOS or Android; or "Desktop Systems" with C#, Java. In every case, they wil five years or more experience.

Comment: Didn't this help the demise of music DRM? (Score 1) 246

by Mr_Silver (#48501925) Attached to: 10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

The lawsuit accuses Apple of violating U.S. and California antitrust law by restricting music purchased on iTunes from being played on devices other than iPods and by not allowing iPods to play music purchased on other digital music services.

Unless I'm mistaken, wasn't this also the cause of the eventual death of DRM?

The music industry didn't like Apple's desire to sell every track at the same price (instead preferring to charge higher for more in demand music) - yet found themselves in the uncomfortable position of not actually being able to do that on competing stores thanks to the very DRM (they insisted on all content having) not being compatible with iTunes.

I can't help wondering what would have happened if the same situation had also been played out with video and eBooks...

Comment: Windows Media Center support? (Score 1) 313

by Mr_Silver (#48473953) Attached to: Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC

What I'd like to know is whether or not this means we don't have a install a codec park (like Shark007) just so we can get support for all the common video formats in Windows Media Center.

Talking of Windows Media Center, does Windows 10 actually improve on this awesome (but sadly neglected) piece of software - or are they going to squander the opportunity again like they did with Windows 8?

Comment: Re:The answer is...virtual credit cards (Score 1) 307

by Mr_Silver (#48416417) Attached to: UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

"this will be only used if the guests do not show up"...well, I created a virtual VISA with 5 EUROS. First thing my parents heard from the idiots "Your VISA card is not working".

Hotels typically do a pre-authorisation on your card which essentially checks to see if the card is active and that you have enough balance to cover the amount they are pre-authing. It does this by placing a hold on that amount until the transaction is settled or the authorisation falls off (usually a couple of days, but could be longer)

Since you only loaded on 5 euros, it'll naturally fail if they attempt a pre-auth above that. People who hand over a card to a hotel with not enough money on it are commonly trying to rip the hotel off.

TLDR; version: The hotel weren't "idiots", you just didn't understand how card payments work. Next time, create a virtual card with enough funds to actually cover the bill.

Comment: Re:Ehhh Meh (Score 1) 127

by mikael (#48407613) Attached to: US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

t I was trying to explain that there was a vast number of applications using classic supercomputer type technology, ranging from academic research down to multiplayer games. A modern game console now uses multiple cores, vector processors, vector chaining, kernels (if you consider vertex, fragment, geometry shaders as kernels), client-server communication to update players moves. Even geometry data is streamed across the network as some game MMORG worlds are so vast, all the data couldn't be stored on one disk drive. Then there are techniques of "sharding" games world so that the same geometry can be used, but with different groups of players.

Comment: Re:Ehhh Meh (Score 1) 127

by mikael (#48406547) Attached to: US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

Those numeric and simulation libraries were optimized in conjunnction with the Fortran compiler to take advantage of the hardware. The most obvious example; having fixed sized multi-dimensional arrays as global variables. For regular grids, the compiler can then decide which way to slice that data block up so that every processing node gets assigned a chunk of data. Since each function is not more than a few loop counters reading previous and current state for each grid cell, those get optimized into parallelised for-each calls. Once the scientists and engineers started writing and sharing numeric and simulation libraries and building on top of them, there isn't any need to change.

Comment: Re:Ehhh Meh (Score 1) 127

by mikael (#48394635) Attached to: US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

The number of floating point operations (FLOPS) performed by a next-generation game console outranks early days supercomputers like the Cray.

Cray-2 = 1.9 GFLOPS
Dreamcast | CPU: 1.4 GFLOPS | GPU: 0.1 GFLOPS | Combined: 1.5 GFLOPS
PS2 | CPU: 6 GFLOPS | GPU: 0 GFLOPS | Combined: 6 GFLOPS
Xbox | CPU: 1.5 GFLOPS | GPU: 5.8 GFLOPS | Combined: 7.3 GFLOPS
Wii | CPU: 60 GFLOPS | GPU: 1 GFLOPS | Combined: 61 GFLOPS
Xbox360 | CPU: 115 GFLOPS | GPU: 240 GFLOPS | Combined: 355 GFLOPS
PS3 | CPU: 218 GFLOPS | GPU: 1800 GFLOPS | Combined: 2018 GFLOPS
PS4 | CPU: 102.4 GFLOPS | GPU: 1843 GFLOPS | Combined: 1965 GFLOPS

Console games are getting to the point of having 2 TeraFLOPS of 32 floating-point performance

Comment: Re:Ehhh Meh (Score 1) 127

by mikael (#48394597) Attached to: US DOE Sets Sights On 300 Petaflop Supercomputer

Supercomputers are designed to be unlimited in scalability (super-scalar). Everything is duplicated from the cores on a single chip die to the boards, racks, rack-frames, aisles of rack-frames and interconnect fabric. The only limits to the size of a super-computer are financial; component cost, office space lease and electricity bills. Usually, it's the last one that's the problem. The slowest proocessing nodes can be pulled out and replaced with more powerful ones as time goes by.

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.