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+ - Is Pascal an Underrated Programming Language? 6

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the recent Slashdot discussion on the D programming language, I was surprised to see criticisms of Pascal that were based on old information and outdated implementations. While I’m sure that, for example, Brian Kernighan’s criticisms of Pascal were valid in 1981, things have moved on since then. Current Object Pascal largely addresses Kernighan’s critique and also includes language features such as anonymous methods, reflection and attributes, class helpers, generics and more (see also Marco Cantu’s recent Object Pascal presentation). Cross-platform development is fairly straightforward with Pascal. Delphi targets Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. Free Pascal targets many operating systems and architectures and Lazarus provides a Delphi-like IDE for Free Pascal. So what do you think? Is Pascal underrated?"

+ - 3D mouse for free

Submitted by Yuri Kravchik
Yuri Kravchik (3988713) writes "I've finally opensourced my 6DOF (six dimensions of freedom) manipulator (aka 3D mouse, but better). https://github.com/paperpointe...
It includes simple editor for demonstration of basic usages of paperpointer and driver which you can use for your projects, plugins, etc. For example, you can create a plugin to get 6DOF input for your Max, Maya, etc.

You don't need any specific hardware except of simple web-camera.
Sources: https://github.com/paperpointe...
Show case, info, files: http://paperpointer.com/"

+ - Tiny Fanless Mini-PC Runs Linux or Windows on Quad-core AMD SoC->

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "CompuLab has unveiled a tiny 'Fitlet' mini-PC that runs Linux or Windows on a dual- or quad-core 64-bit AMD x86 SoC (with integrated Radeon R3 or R2 GPU), clocked at up to 1.6GHz, and offering extensive I/O, along with modular internal expansion options. The rugged, reconfigurable 4.25 x 3.25 x 0.95 in. system will also form the basis of a pre-configured 'MintBox Mini' model, available in Q2 in partnership with the Linux Mint project. To put things in perspective, CompuLab says the Fitlet is three times smaller than the Celeron Intel NUC."
Link to Original Source

+ - OpenBSD's kernel gets W^X treatment on amd64-> 2

Submitted by brynet
brynet (3462983) writes "Theo de Raadt wrote:

Over the last two months Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) modified the amd64 kernel to follow the W^X principles. It started as a humble exercise to fix the .rodata segment, and kind of went crazy. As a result, no part of the kernel address space is writeable and executable simultaneously. At least that is the idea, modulo mistakes. Final attention to detail (which some of you experienced in buggy drafts in snapshots) was to make the MP and ACPI trampolines follow W^X, furthermore they are unmapped when not required. Final picture is many architectures were improved, but amd64 and sparc64 look the best due to MMU features available to service the W^X model. The entire safety model is also improved by a limited form of kernel ASLR (the code segment does not move around yet, but data and page table ASLR is fairly good.

"

Link to Original Source

+ - Entanglement Makes Quantum Particles Measurably Heavier, Says Quantum Theorist

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Physicists have long hoped to unify the two great theories of the 20th century--general relativity and quantum mechanics. And yet a workable theory of quantum gravity is as far away as ever. Now one theorist has discovered that the uniquely quantum property of entanglement does indeed influence a gravitational field and this could pave the way for the first experimental observation of a quantum gravity phenomenon. The discovery is based on the long-known quantum phenomenon in which a single particle can be in two places at the same time. These locations then become entangled--in other words they share the same quantum existence. While formulating this phenomenon within the framework of general relativity, the physicist showed that if the entanglement is tuned in a precise way, it should influence the local gravitational field. In other words, the particle should seem heavier. The effect for a single electron-sized particle is tiny--about one part in 10^37. But it may be possible to magnify the effect using heavier particles, ultrarelativistic particles or even several particles that are already entangled."

+ - The New Chess World Champion->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The 7th Thoresen Chess Engines Competition (TCEC) has ended, and a new victor has been crowned: Komodo. The article provides some background on how the different competitive chess engines have been developed, and how we can expect Moore's Law to affect computer dominance in other complex games in the future. "Although it is coming on 18 years since Deep Blue beat Kasparov, humans are still barely fending off computers at shogi, while we retain some breathing room at Go. ... Ten years ago, each doubling of speed was thought to add 50 Elo points to strength. Now the estimate is closer to 30. Under the double-in-2-years version of Moore’s Law, using an average of 50 Elo gained per doubling since Kasparov was beaten, one gets 450 Elo over 18 years, which again checks out. To be sure, the gains in computer chess have come from better algorithms not just speed, and include nonlinear jumps, so Go should not count on a cushion of (25 – 14)*9 = 99 years.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Interesting if done right (Score 2) 67

by xonen (#48569065) Attached to: BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser

As you say, the costs per visitor are extremely low. That's also why i, personally, wouldn't mind to pay a few cents to have access. However, such is not possible. Either one pays reasonable high fees, up to multiple dollars per month, either it's free and filled with ads. There is no such choice as donating 1 cent.

So, what is lacking is a proper micropayment system that works, in an unobtrusive way. That's something that a *random big player in the market* has to solve. 20 years of consumer internet. The word micropayment is about just as old. And it still does not exist.

Comment: Europe is jealous (Score 2) 237

by xonen (#48477647) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

Europe is jealous because we not have a major ICT culture. Yes, we have some `big` companies filling pockets with overpriced projects that never finish in time and always need maintenance after delivery doubling the price.

What we do not have is a (economic) culture where start-ups can flourish. Where smart entrepreneurs can easily find investors and employees. Europe looks at Silicon Valley and is very jealous. But instead of some self reflection and trying to catch up with USA - and other players like China - we turn to more legislation, more import taxes, more protection of the own markets and eventually more unemployment, more taxes and less knowledge.

The only knowledge we build is heavily institutionalized - like universities and the R&D departments of some multinationals. The only thing politics care about is how to collect tax - not how to improve economy and freedom and prosperity.

Comment: EU citisens are skeptic too (Score 3, Informative) 334

by xonen (#48437965) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

As EU citizen, i can only say this is received with a lot of skepticism here too. And the usual anti-EU sentiment.

While i'm pretty `pro-EU`, i indeed think this is bullshit. Yes, Google has some sort of monopoly, however, monopolies are only a problem when abused. I don't see that abuse part. Also, there are plenty alternatives, however, Google is the biggest simply because they are the best at what they do. For them it's core business. For MS and Yahoo it's not their core business.

Anyways. it will blow over i guess. They prefer to launch this kind of bullshit ideas instead of worrying the things they really should worry about; like unemployment rates, poverty, eastern relationships, etc etc.

Comment: Re:Desparate Microsoft pulls a "Sun Microsystems" (Score 4, Informative) 525

by xonen (#48369723) Attached to: Microsoft To Open Source<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET and Take It Cross-Platform

You are twisting his words. Ballmer was not talking about Linux, but about the GPL and it's 'viral' nature.

And to their defense, MS has released more open-source software and libraries in the past. Also they actually contribute to the Linux kernel.

There's plenty left to dislike MS for without twisting the truth.

+ - Oregon and Washington D.C. Legalize Marijuana

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Voters in Oregon and Washington, D.C., have voted to approve sweeping pro-marijuana legalization. In Oregon, the law legalizes personal possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older. The Oregon law will also create a commercial regulatory system for the production, distribution and sale of marijuana. Washington, D.C.'s proposal, while scaled back compared to the Oregon proposal, allows for a person over 21 years old to posses up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use and grow up to six cannabis plants in their home. It also allows people to transfer up to one ounce of marijuana to another person, but not sell it. A 2014 Pew Research poll found that in general 54% of Americans supported making marijuana legal."

+ - Computer Scientists Study Effect Of Programming Language On Software Quality

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "A variety of debates ensue during discussions whether a given programming language is “the right tool for the job" and while some of these debates may appear to be tinged with an almost religious fervor, most people would agree that a programming language can impact not only the coding process, but also the properties of the resulting product. Now computer scientists at the University of California — Davis have published a study of the effect of programming languages on software quality using a very large data set from GitHub that analyzed 729 projects with 80 Million SLOC by 29,000 authors and 1.5 million commits in 17 languages. The large sample size allowed them to use a mixed-methods approach, combining multiple regression modeling with visualization and text analytics, to study the effect of language features such as static vs. dynamic typing, strong vs. weak typing on software quality. By triangulating findings from different methods, and controlling for confounding effects such as team size, project size, and project history, they report that language design does have a significant, but modest effect on software quality.

Most notably, it does appear that strong typing is modestly better than weak typing, and among functional languages, static typing is also somewhat better than dynamic typing. We also find that functional languages are somewhat better than procedural languages. It is worth noting that these modest effects arising from language design are overwhelm- ingly dominated by the process factors such as project size, team size, and commit size. However, we hasten to caution the reader that even these modest effects might quite possibly be due to other, intangible process factors, e.g., the preference of certain personality types for functional, static and strongly typed languages.

"

Comment: Re:interesting material? (Score 3, Interesting) 152

by xonen (#48299903) Attached to: YouTube Opens Up 60fps To Everyone

Indeed.

So i opened in firefox, watch a little, then opened up in chrome. Initially i didnt' really notice. So i watch a few minutes (nice vid indeed).. then switched back to firefox. Amazing..

It's not only the resolution, it's also that the increased fps visually increases resolution too, and overall smoothness, even color perception (why that latter, i'm not sure).

I admit. I turned from an unbeliever ('my eyes can't see better than 25fps anyways') to a believer. 60fps footage really improves video quality.

+ - Tao3D: a new open-source programming language for real-time 3D animations->

Submitted by descubes
descubes (35093) writes "Tao3D is a new open-source programming language designed for real-time 3D animations. With it, you can quickly create interactive, data-rich presentations, small applications, proofs of concept, user interface prototypes, and more. The interactivity of the language, combined with its simplicity and graphical aspects, make it ideal to teach programming.

Tao3D also demonstrates a lot of innovation in programming language design. It makes it very easy to create new control structures. Defining if-then-else is literally a couple of lines of code. The syntax to pass pass blocks of code to functions is completely transparent. And it is fully reactive, meaning that it automatically reacts as necessary to external events such as mouse movements or the passage of time.

The source code was just made available under the GNU General Public License v3 on SourceForge, GitHub and Gitorious."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Tip of the iceberg (Score 3, Interesting) 669

by xonen (#48259345) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

There's actually a lot of potentional scientific correct stuff in the Bible. Yet, discussing them usually gets frowned upon by either team - it seems (for atheist scientists) a lot easier to discard the bible as 'rubbish' instead of an historical document - where the religious camp tends to take this same history book too literal, despite all translation issues.

Genesis conforming our current Big Bang theory is already a nice start. But, it also hints of more scientific knowledge already known back in the days we call 'stone age'.

A good example of this are Mozes' hygienic laws - about washing hands, seperating raw from cooked food, refraining from eating animals which carry nasty parasites (pigs) etc.

To stretch the imagination more, more stories possibly have some scientific origin. Let me mention a few (without claiming this is correct, but hopefully also without hilarious laugther):

* The arch of Noah - might well have been a spaceship from another planet or solar system, colonializing earth with humans and various animal species.

* Adam and Eve may tell us about genetic engineering - and hence being banned from paradise (animals have no worries apart the current moment) by the knowledge gained (our brains improved by genetic engineering).

* Jesus might have been a space traveller with a good first-aid kit - hence the miracle curings.

* Ascension tells us how he (Jesus) left with his spaceship.

* Even our fossile records supports theories of an alien origin of mankind - there is the famous 'missing link' between apes and humans, especially recent fossiles. Admittingly there are plenty other explanations for that.

* The reasonable recent human races (homo sapiens, neanderthalers, denisovan) might hint to a humanlike race already spreading accross the universe, and colonizing earth with astronauts from various planets.

* The bible distinguishes between 'The Lord' and 'God' - where the Lord is an actual impersonification of a man. Such Lord may well be some space traveller, or otherwise well-educated person, and is mistaken for God only by misinterpretation.

Etc etc. It's easy reply to this with a 'what the f* did you smoke'. However, keeping all options open is what a scientist ought to do. We may have well been interpreting the Bible the wrong way all along. The better reader already noticed that some of the theories mentioned above conflict eachother. However, seeking a scientific explanantion makes more sence than believing in miracles and an almighty God.

There is so much in history that we don't know, and can only guess. Thinking that we are the first intelligent species and culture that lives on this 4-billion year old earth may be very naive.

To put that in perspective: We will probably be able this, or next century latest, to colonize other planets. We will also be able to send robotic vehicles to other star systems. Chances are, that in the next 500-1000 years, we will be able to geo-engineer another planet (Mars). We may be able to send deepfrozen life and DNA in a robotic space ship to another star. We may be able to send bacterial life to other planets. We even may be able to send animal embryo's to other planets. This is all only limited to our imagination, technically this all seems possible in theory.

Now, if you accept this is possible, by us. Then it is reasonable to assume it happened before. It may be reasonable to speculate that earth is actively colonized, possible after being geo-engineered first for millions of years to make it suitable for human life forms.

Surely the Pope won't like this last speculative thoughts. Yet, it's just a scientific-plausible theory. And we may actually have a record of exactly such in our very own Bible.

GREAT MOMENTS IN HISTORY (#7): April 2, 1751 Issac Newton becomes discouraged when he falls up a flight of stairs.

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