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Comment: Remember, the B in BASIC is for Beginners (Score 1) 146

by xanthos (#46707301) Attached to: Born To RUN: Dartmouth Throwing BASIC a 50th B-Day Party

Surprised at the number of hateful comments regarding BASIC. Even when it was created it was aimed at novices not experts, hence the name: Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. The true value was that the simple syntax made learning programming concepts much simpler. I used to teach a beginning programming class in the 80's that used BASIC. I always felt that I was able to instill a better understanding of what was going on with the simple Line # VERB parameter syntax of the early language. Breaking things down only four Verb types ( Definition, Assignment, I/O, Control) , the operators, and the two type of variables/constants (string/numeric). That's all there is folks. Would I want to try and write a compiler in it, no, but that is not what the language was written for.

Dinosaur trivia points: why do loops commonly use the variable i. (Hint: int does not stand for index.)

Comment: False Conclusion (Score 1) 299

by xanthos (#45576993) Attached to: Why People Are So Bad At Picking Passwords

I hate studies like this. Do people pick common passwords, of course they do. Does everyone pick an easy to guess password, of course not. Can it be blindly determined, for any given user, if their password is "simple" or "complex"? No.

The article puts the blame on the end user, when the truth is the problem is with the websites storing the passwords in plain text or as un-salted hashes and not locking out brute force attacks. What the researchers are really arguing is that
    1) your account may be compromised if hackers break into the website and steal all the passwords.
    2) your password might be easier to guess if it is related to you, hackers are targeting you personally (not likely), and the website doesn't lock the account out.

Don't blame the user, blame the developers and administrators for being lazy and/or inept and failing to protect people from themselves.

Comment: Ollevetti! (Score 2) 623

by xanthos (#43852217) Attached to: How Did You Learn How To Program?

I started about the same time on a Ollevetti 401 I believe. A glorified numeric key pad for input and a red light, a green light and a cash register style tape for output.

I believe you will never really understand how a computer works until you have done two things:
built a compiler/parser and have done machine language programming (which was what you did with the 401).

Comment: Go check out (Score 2) 116

by xanthos (#43282603) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Do-It-Yourself Security Auditing Tools? has a comprehensive list of tools with explanations of what each one does. Look at the web tools and the vulnerability scanners and you will find something you feel comfortable using. Most of the other tools mentioned so far can be found there. Also, the Open Web Applicaiton Security project ( has some good information on secure app development.

good luck.

Comment: Lead or Follow? Gnome chooses Follow. (Score 1) 387

by xanthos (#42787615) Attached to: Gnome Goes JavaScript

From the article: "Gnome, the graphical desktop environment for Linux, may not be as influential as it once was."
Add to it, "use of JavaScript in WinRT, Chrome Apps, and FirefoxOS apps" and you probably get a lot of the reason for the decision.

Pity they didn't use the Hackfest to design something innovative to energize their base and make working with Gnome cutting edge. Instead it appears that they settling into comfortable middle age.

Comment: Re:Why perl? Because .... (Score 2) 263

by xanthos (#42330367) Attached to: Perl Turns 25

There is more than one way to do it.

Perl can pretty much integrate anything with anything. Hardware or Software.

It is the Duct tape of the interwebs.

It is a swiss army chainsaw.

And yes,it can be nearly impossible to decipher what the code is doing, Oh, but the moment of enlightenment you have when you do figure out an obscure but elegant piece of code.

That, my friend, is "Why Perl?".


Comment: Old Farts and Model M's (Score 3, Insightful) 201

by xanthos (#41855141) Attached to: The Evolution of the Computer Keyboard

When ever a keyboard article come along you get a bunch of old farts pining away about their venerable old Model M keyboards.

I know. I am an old fart and I have one. I love it but unfortunately it ruined me. I am totally unable to use a laptop keyboard.

They all suck. suck suck suck. The keys are in the wrong place, they don't feel right, and I keep hitting the effing touchpad with my thumbs and suddenly I am typing a porn url in the browser bar.

Now get off my lawn!

Comment: APU better than CPU+GPU for HPC (Score 1) 223

by xanthos (#41480051) Attached to: AMD Trinity APUs Stack Up Well To Intel's Core 3

from the 2011 Symposium on Application Accelerators in High-Performance Computing (

"Depending on the benchmark, our results show that Fusion produces a 1.7 to 6.0-fold improvement in the data-transfer time, when compared to a discrete GPU. In turn, this improvement in data-transfer performance can significantly enhance application performance. For example, running a reduction benchmark on AMD Fusion with its mere 80 GPU cores improves performance by 3.5-fold over the discrete AMD Radeon HD 5870 GPU with its 1600 more powerful GPU cores."

So if your interest is in crunching lots of data, you can do it a lot more efficiently with an APU since you don't have to shuttle across the bus.

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan