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Comment: Re:Anything... (Score 2) 385

by tloh (#49286877) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Laptop To Support Physics Research?

Mod parent up. Perhaps it is taken for granted at a place like slashdot, but I've seen no mention of the fact that a huge fraction of the high end pc market - even laptop/mobiles - target gamers rather than scientists and other who do technical computing. Depending on what programs you will be running, such hardware may perform very poorly when compared to workstation class machines. Workstation class laptops with a good GPU and software to use it properly will run circles around an equivalently priced machine designed for gaming.

Even if the heavy duty stuff is to be done on a supercomputer or HP cluster, selecting the right hardware to interface with can spare you a lot of headache during setup/configuration. I'm taking a parallel computing class right now where a remote system has the hardware features we need to learn the necessary programming concepts. My cheap commodity laptop has been experiencing a lot of hardware compatibility related issues as I'm trying to set up the GPU-driver-dependent Eclipse-based local development stack necessary for my projects. Maybe I'm just venting because I'm new and does't know my way around yet. But I can certainly attest to the fact that in my case at least, "Anything" is NOT the right answer.

Comment: We are here for both of you (Score 1) 698

by tloh (#49132571) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

I hope for your experience over the years, we've done right by you as a supportive community, true to the geek spirit. Tell your daughter we welcome her inquisitive mind as much as we've always done so for all geeks everywhere. Let her know the guys and gals here would like nothing more than to nurture and guide her as she grows and develops into a person of consequence. We are a poor substitute for the love and devotion of a living father. But we can do nothing less.

Comment: seems a bit shy... (Score 2) 91

by tloh (#49009619) Attached to: DARPA's ALASA Could Pave Way For Cheaper, Faster Satellite Launches

I don't understand why the idea is being implemented in such a modest manner. The animation has the rocket stage carried aloft for ignition at high altitude by what looks like an F-18. While I don't doubt the performance of the Hornet's engines, wouldn't it make more sense to extend the payload capacity with a larger carrier craft? Say something on the order of the 747-based shuttle carriers? You would be able lift a proportionally larger rocket stage that is able to deliver a more massive payload into LEO or a proportional payload (planetary probe?) even further. It has always felt to me that an airborne launch of a space vehicle has so many more benefits. You are not restricted for being tied down to any one physical terrestrial location. Launches are additionally more versatile due to the more numerous varieties of orbits available at lower costs. Is there a good engineering reason why concepts such as the Soviet-era MAKS was not pursued?

Comment: tip of the iceberg (Score 2) 247

by tloh (#48882069) Attached to: Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

It likely isn't just DISH. I registered years ago with the national do-not-call list years ago and things have always been rather quiet. However, since last year, the number of nuisance calls to my home has increased dramatically. I'd first chalked it up the the elections. But even after the elections were over, the calls kept coming. Sometimes the numbers are spoofed, sometimes its "dead air", sometimes its a recorded message, but they all qualify as the type of unwanted calls the DNC list was supposed to protect us from. A few have confirmed their own similar experience when I complained about my problem on reddit. Does anyone know what the hell is going on with this thing? I'm sure where there is smoke there is fire.

Comment: Re:Satellite not needed (Score 1) 115

by tloh (#48649049) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

Thank You for an interesting point. I am not as informed about the particular situation in Cuba, but it seems people are ignoring some important realities about the nature of access. In any location lacking infrastructure to support the wide spread deployment of the Internet, the lack of legacy hardware is an advantage. Forget DSL and other ancient technology based on our grandfather's telephone-based communication needs. The technical problems here are best addressed using modern hardware. Freedom and human rights may ultimately be a problem vis-à-vis the continuing issues faced by Chinese citizens. But if Cuba plays its cards right, the power of a central authority to make decisions and act swiftly to build from scratch what is needed from the ground up to solve the "last mile" solution may ultimately see the island country becoming the envy of all network geeks and bandwidth junkies around these parts.

+ - Are Gamma Ray Bursts Keeping Life From Developing In The Universe? 2

Submitted by rossgneumann
rossgneumann (3901661) writes "The universe might be a radiation-scorched, lifeless place after all. Just as soon as a planet, save for a relative handful of well-sheltered rocks, becomes life-harboring and friendly, it gets nuked back to a barren wasteland. This is one conclusion of a new paper examining the likely prevalence of gamma-ray burst (GRB) events throughout the Milky Way and universe at-large, particularly of the sort—long gamma-ray bursts or LGRBs—that could strip away a planet's protective ozone layer and blast its inhabitants with very high-energy photons."

+ - Should Disney Credit the Late Randy Pausch for its Hour of Code Tutorial?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Tens of millions of kids across the nation will take to school computers this week to participate in the 2014 Hour of Code. In this year's signature tutorial, kids will be introduced to coding concepts through exercises like using Google's Blockly to make Disney Frozen Princess Anna ice skate in a square. If this strikes you as familiar, it could be that you've seen this Disney movie before. In The Last Lecture, the late CMU CS professor Randy Pausch displays a programmable cartoon ice skater from an Alice Project tutorial as he explains how the project's novel approach to programming could stealthily teach tens of millions of kids to code (YouTube) [by making characters skate in a square, for example]. "To the extent that you can live on in something," said Pausch, "I will live on in Alice." He added, "I, like Moses, get to see the promised land, but I won’t get to set foot in it. And that’s OK, because I can see it. And the vision is clear. Millions of kids having fun while learning something hard. That’s pretty cool. I can deal with that as a legacy." So considering the similarities, and that Pausch spent sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering (Disney even sells The Last Lecture ), isn't it kind of surprising that neither Disney nor mentioned Pausch or Alice in their announcements of the flagship Hour of Code tutorial? Is this a case of the left Disney hand not knowing what the right is doing?"

+ - Pluto-Bound spacecraft ends hibernation to start mission

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NASA's New Horizons spacecraft awoke from hibernation on Saturday and sent a radio confirmation that it had successfully turned itself back on one and a half hours later. The spacecraft has been travelling for nine years across the solar system towards its destination, Pluto. From the article: "In 2006, with New Horizons already on its way, Pluto was stripped of its title as the ninth planet in the solar system and became a dwarf planet, of which more than 1,000 have since been discovered in the Kuiper Belt. With New Horizons approaching Pluto's doorstep, scientists are eager for their first close-up look at this unexplored domain.""

+ - Long time Debian developer Tollef Fog Heen resigns from Systemd maintainer team->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Debian developer Tollef Fog Heen submitted his resignation to the Debian Systemd package maintainters team mailing list today (Sun. Nov. 16th, 2014). In his brief post, he praises the team, but claims that he cannot continue to contribute due to the "load of continued attacks...becoming just too much." Presumably, he is referring to the heated and, at times, even vitriolic criticism of Debian's adoption of Systemd as the default init system for its upcoming Jessie release from commenters inside and outside of the Debian community. Currently, it is not known if Tollef will cease contributing to Debian altogether. A message from his twitter feed,, indicates that he may blog about his departure in the near future."
Link to Original Source

+ - Why Net Neutrality is a Big Deal for Small Business->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Why is everybody yelling about net neutrality, and why now Actually, it’s a very big deal for small businesses with an online presence, and the Federal Communications Commission may have added fuel to the fire by sending confusing messages about its regulatory intentions."
Link to Original Source

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.