Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment BLAS and LAPACK are libraries. (Score 1) 345

BLAS and LAPACK are libraries.

You need to differentiate between the dynamics of a language (ie: FORTRAN vs. C/C++) and the libraries available.

FORTRAN 77 vs. FORTRAN 90/95 and up are completely different species.

So we start talking about eigen systems programming in one language vs. another. Well, when was that library written? In what version of what language? Just because it is a widely available library, does that mean it is any good internally?

Theoretically, if there were a fully C++ written linear algebra (or any other library) that isn't linked with some gawd aweful old FORTRAN code or (asm{ ... }) down in the bowels of the machine, then you could make an honest comparison. But since everyone seems to start off with poor examples from free programming cook books and someones opinion from the web, without seriously (re)designing or understanding the patterns used to accomplish the task, you then get what you get (ie: crap).

After long time programming in FORTRAN 77/90/95/etc. and C, and C++, and many other languages I would have to say that most programming comes down to energy expenditure. If a grad student comes out of school after programming mainly in Matlab the first thing that person is going to suggest for a programming project is going to be Matlab. This same phemomenon is what has kept FORTRAN alive. In the case of FORTRAN , the legacy dependency code of many scientific applications ultimately led to the refactoring of FORTRAN as a language rather than discarding all that code. It amounts to loss aversion and an unwillingness to learn new languages in entrenched users.

Why not create an open scientific co-processor card spec that has hardware advanced functions instead of farting around with GPU discretes that were originally designed for video games. Then we could just have linear algebra calls in the standard math library that are driven by math hardware instead of 50 years of accumulated CPU work-arounds for 8088 code (that was sarcasm).

Progamming always seems be 'VHS instead of BETA' because most programmers doing applied programming for science arrive in industry with only single language skills and programming was only a sideline from whatever thier degree was in.

I also continue run into 'C' programmers who refuse to learn C++ . it's some kind of religion thing. Deities will apparently smite them if they crack a manual.

Comment Statistics and Damnable Lies (Score 1) 255

Has anyone noticed that there are now astronomically more OSS users now? The number of OSS users is also growing at an exponential pace.

What we should expect with those stats is that there should be more cracks and bugs in OSS due to the higher percentage of people programming/using it.

Also, as the value of OSS increases to the market and more information are handled by OSS there is more incentive for old vested interests to search for the downside as a form of marketing. We never heard about all those MS Windows security deficits until years after the fact. Well after they had been exploited by te NSA.

It's interesting that SO FEW bugs have caused issues in OSS considering the sale of that ecosystem.

There is also more incentive for companies protecting turf to pay OSS project insiders to plant exploits as a way to undermine that.

It's better to rely on 'Repairable By Design' than 'Defective by Design' .

Comment Re:PCs Don't Have Decades for Games (Score 1) 296


But aren't they selling an aweful lot of video cards pretty much for bitcoin mining and not gaming?
Bitcoin is about to go flop because the designer of it percieved that the computing world
would stay static, which it logically couldn't. The perception that desktop computers will
always be PC boxes, required by the world, is pretty much the same kind of situational bias.

I am guessing the 65 million number for Steam are a count of people who have logged on to try it
out of curiosity. The daily user numbers indicate actual customers and that count is orders of magnitude smaller.

I am skeptical that the desktop PC market is sustainable for more than 5 more years. Most of the common things
people have historically done with PCs can now be carried around in ones pocket with the cellphone. That leaves
the home gaming, desktop PC, to become a single use device in most households.
Why would anyone bother with that kind of cash outlay for something that sits idle 90% of the time? Nostalgia?

I'm guessing that the consoles will become less expensive as competing Indian and Chinese technologies arrive
on the market. I can't actually believe that Japan and USA will have any corner on the electronics design market
in a short period of time. The US is not training enough new people, has a miniscule proportion of the global population
to draw ideas from and has lost the ability to do anything other than rewrap old tech (ie: the xbox is really just a crippled PC),
and Japan has social demographic issues that will create a shrinking pool of technically skilled people capable of making new
product (hence the new 'Walkman'). An indication of this is that Sony would rather serve games to a gaming thin client.
The Playstation4 is probably the last of that series of devices from Sony.

We also need to remember that handheld devices will keep improving. Nvidia know this, that is why they are now targeting
graphics device designs, specifically to support that platform.

All things told, as nostalgic as I am for the 1970's and 1980's computer era, the desktop PC is so over it's not even funny.
No amount of wishing will make the PC come back because the public now know what the PC will (and will not) do
and are moving on to more generally useful tools.

Comment PCs Don't Have Decades for Games (Score 1) 296

Isn't the desktop PC market actually declining?
The reality is that most people never needed a desktop PC and can get by without one just fine.

Home PCs are now only for old people who are used to that sort of thing.

The desktop workstation wil become a specialty item used for science,
and engineering. The rest of the population will be using thin clients on
remote apps, or smaller, more ergonomically suitable, portable devices.

It's difficult to believe that desktoip PC gaming actually has 'decades' to survive.
I'm questiong the business plan here....

Comment They really are tasty compared to the alternative (Score 1) 325


I'm no monster. The last ice age had most of the worlds water up on land.
The majority of northern atlantic humans survived by hanging around the intertidal zones eating
seals and sea-veggies.

A super volcano would cause another ice age.
The resulting die-off would reduce the human population to levels
where eating seals would no longer be a hardship on the environment.

Living in a cave underground is a near certain path to starvation.
Seals are a good, practical, food with a strong ice-age-nutrition track record.

Comment Statement Indicates Lack of Contrition by All (Score 4, Insightful) 572

" It will take years, if not decades, for us to return to the position that we had prior to his disclosures."

First, if someone (NSA) breaks the laws of the country and gets caught, wouldn't the expectation be that they stop doing that?
This statement indicates that the NSA doesn't get it. The expectation is that they will continue with the surveillance
state as planned.

Second to that, no one from the government has actually taken this statement to task. This indicates
that it will be business as usual for the NSA and CIA no matter what the laws of the land are.

Finally, the lack of actual caring from all quarters about this would indicate that all the elected representatives
in government are on board, no matter what their bobbing heads say on T.V. . Apparently the law doesn't apply to employees
of the state since no one fom the NSA has been arrested or fired.

Comment Volvo 240-DL Battery Dies Due to Dashboard Clock (Score 1) 239

Sad but true.
I contacted Volvo but they didn't send a repair person out.

I can't believe it. I trusted Sweden and this is how I am repaid....
Damn you Sweden!!!!

I just replaced it with a, standard domestic brand, Ford Pinto.
Sounded like a great deal. We'll see how it goes.
Frick'n Sweden.....

Comment It Takes A ot of Energy to Make Solar Cells (Score 1) 1030

There are hidden energy costs in foundering solar cells.

The boules of silicon used to make solar wafers , common to most panels,
are grown in a blast furnace that uses huge amounts of natural gas
or other fuel or electricity to make the melt.

The metals used to make mounts use huge amounts of energy to
mine, founder and mill.

The plastics used for covers almost completely come from oil.

The electronics processes used to dope and assemble
cells and panels are poisonous and cause huge amounts of pollution.

When we talk about costs and environmental impacts solar panels
look good if you close your eyes to how they are manufactured.

I think one commenter hit the nail bang-on when they wrote that
products imported to countries should be required to be manufactured per
the internal environmental laws of the destination country (us).

Solar electric is no a panacea. It is certianly no environmental saint either.

Wind has a far lower carbon footprint and much faster return scaled
against production energy consumption. But people don't want the noise
and dead birds.

They all have a down side. Pick one, and let's get on with it.

Comment There is a Fix for This (Score 4, Interesting) 237

1.) Go to the Nvidia site and search for 'Linux' and then surf all the linux related
pages on thier site.

2.) Send an email to technical support and ask why you can no longer use all the monitors on your desktop.

3.) Buy an AMD/ATI card , send them an email to let them know why. Let AMD know you are using Linux and why.

4.) Send your old Nvidia card to Nvidia head office for RMA in protest by mail. (Write it off)

Comment New Programming Paradigm...? (Score 1) 509

"How do you deal with programmers who have not stayed current with new technologies?"

The hiring of anyone is based on applicable skills. The applicable skill for programming is the ability to learn.

It seems odd that companies would not assess skills required for the actual job at hand rather than demand 'The New Skill-Set'.

Our company has gone through a couple fiascos due to programmers due to this myth.
To be clear, just because a programmer 'knows' a language does not necessarily make that programmer any good at programming in that
language or any other.

Also, Just because a programmer doesn't know 'Current Technologies', does not mean they are poor programmers. In fact, it's often
better to hire someone who is willing and able to READ THE MANUAL and get up to speed, which is what most good programmers do

Give a new prospect a test to see if they can, and are willing to, learn.


Read and perform the following tasks and questions.
If you cannot complete a task for some reason, write why you cannot, and how you would go about getting enough information to complete the task.

Question/Task #1: Write a small program in C/C++ that opens a file, writes a string to that file, closes the file, opens the file again and reads the data to the screen.

Question/Task #2: Look at the following code. What do you think it does?

Question/Task #3: How would you learn to write a small program in a language like ? How long do you think that would take? Would you require access to the language reference manual after a week of programming in ?

Question/Task #4: Document the following code.
        LVAR X #
        LVAR Y #
      X = ChuckaBlocka(A) #
      Y = HumBucket(X B) #
      BegaBoards = YodelMax(Y) #

--End Test--

The point of the test questions may seem obvious at first, but each question has a alterior motives other than the task.
The idea is to get some insight into HOW the programmer thinks and attempts to resolve the problems.

I would rather hire an older programmer who is able to learn and identify patterns, than any programmer with
'the new technology' who has none of those pattern comprehension skills.

Comment Out-Thinking Ourselves (Score 1) 315

People make morality and ethics far more complex than they really are.

The complexities of modern morality have been built specifically to be so.
If something is very complex it needs 'management'.
Who better to manage such complex subjects than authorized moral guides?
Who better to decide on moral guides than moral organizations?
etc., etc..

The basics of morality, as we know them, were originally to maximize the social benefits
of the 'tribe' from the activities of the individual. In ancient times the larger the
size of the tribe the more stable the society contained in it. Thus the strict rules around
such things as 'non-reproductive relationship behaviours', and who gets to get some
and who doesn't, and with whom they get some.
(or who gets to have who as a familial/reproductive resource)

To have these types of (stupid assed) rules, they need to be enforced by someone,
by some means. To keep strong arm enforcers focused at the bidding of
the 'moral guides' it is necessary to have a hierarchy. Hierarchy ensures
that the valued contributions of the individual are *unevenly* distributed
up the hierarchy. The moral guides at the top need to have the most to maintain
a false sense of value. The enforcers need the next highest valuation to keep
them from turning on the top eschellon.

To have valuation that is different for various social levels, morals need to be manipulated
to make this seem fair. After all, it isn't really fair distribution of resources. But, als long as
the general population are beaten up enough to believe it's fair all is well.

Ethics are designed starting from social morals. They are practicable rules that are used
to maintain the status quo of the hierarchy.

Most of or social morals are either misguided, outdated, unjust, and nonproductive
relics of societies barely out of the cave.

It would be difficult for most of us to imagine a truely just society since, to some extent,
we all benefit from the currently unjust moral structure. Many are so tied to the
social delusion of hierarchal moral systems for benefit they can never overcome that bias,
or they would lose thier livelyhood. We are a part of the existing hierarchies that govern
the various parts of our societies.
(ie: social governance, education, symbolic economics, family)

True morality distils down to the facts of our organism. We are organisms that require food, water,
air, shelter from the elements, and a sense of community. We live, reproduce, and die.
The things that maintain those cyclic factors as equally, effectively as possible, with stability,
and sustainablity are moral.
Those that do not maintain them are immoral because they fail the organism.

At best we should try to cause as few of our fellow organisms to fail as possible.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."