Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Comment Bought On Faith, Left Holding the Bag (Score 1) 392

I bought the 2009 Jetta Sportwagon TDI on good faith, thinking I was doing my little part for the environment and to help the US be more independent w.r.t. oil producing nations that hate us. I paid a premium for the car and extra highway taxes for the diesel. Now I have a pretty decent vehicle with a very low trade-in value. I feel that VW misrepresented what they sold me, and that if they are as awash with cash that they can give tens of millions to their former chief then 1) their priorities are in the wrong place and 2) they can afford to buy back my car at the original price or give me a new vehicle priced at what I bought mine for. I feel they've been chuckling under their collective breath for the last 6 years and they deserve what fines come their way. (I'll take a Golf-R in blue, thanks)

Comment Re:All kudos to Uwe Koch-Gromus (Score 2) 134

This is a very touching story. I don't think it was symbolic, given the lengths to which both the examiners and Dr. Syllm-Rapoport went to legitimately defend her research. Kudos all around and a great wrong was righted. (Yes, there are and have been many atrocities committed and their number doesn't diminish the greatness of any individual act of restoration.)

Comment Traded my income for inventory (Score 5, Interesting) 209

I have a modest inventory of around $170,000 retail. I own a toy store. I don't make anywhere near as much as when I was in software. $16K a year now compared to a peak of $103K about 12 years ago. But I don't work for managers who got all their smarts from Googling and have no real-world large-system architecture experience. And my stress is virtually non-existent.

There is a downside, however. Today's parents tend to be more selfish and mom will spend her money on a Brazilian and yoga pants before she buys anything for the kids. If Junior does have something it is an iphone to chew on or an ipad to play games or watch movies. Toys and toy stores are going the way of dinosaurs and mainframes, IMO. But I'm not abandoning ship just yet.

Comment How have we survived without this? (Score 0) 199

Really, I'm n years old and it is a miracle I am still alive. I may always forget to bring my bicycle helmet with me but now I feel safer than ever. Will the President soon remind me to brush my teeth before I go to bed (or with the help of the NSA and IRS jack up my dental insurance rates if I don't)? Surely I'll deserve it. Maybe my WiFi enabled light bulbs will be turned off from Washington when they figure if there are three of us in the house but lights are on in four rooms one has to go. (One of us or one of the lights? Cost/benefit ananlysis leans in favor of one of us getting disappeared the next time we get a flu shot at the government overseen dispensary. Just sayin'.

Comment Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (Score 1) 737

She probably did more for bringing computing from assembler and machine language into the then-modern world of COBOL and beyond. Not too long ago there was a distinction between "Computer Science" and "IT", and a lot of the people listed here have very little to do with IT and more with computation and computer science. Either way, Grace Hopper rocked.

The 10 Most Absurd Scientific Papers 127

Lanxon writes "It's true: 'Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior,' 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time,' and 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?' are all genuine scientific research papers, and all were genuinely published in journals or similar publications. Wired's presentation of a collection of the most bizarrely-named research papers contains seven other gems, including one about naval fluff and another published in The Journal of Sex Research."

Comment Re:Headlines are superfluous (Score 2) 578

I think the original question is valid and shouldn't be dismissed, as well. During the 1980's in the peak of mainframe development, a few of us were writing channel programs, small but really cool pieces of "machine code" that would be executed on a disk controller. We did this to add a big performance gain to our software. Remember, back then memory was expensive and a resource shared by possibly hundred of concurrent jobs (programs).

With a channel program one could directly control the reading and writing of consecutive blocks, cylinders, and tracks. If you could get cylinder allocations to meet your needs, then all the read/write heads are aligned and you could write to (read from) as many platters the disk had simultaneously. If a disk had 11 platters, you would chain up the commands to point to the data and do a DMA 'blast" of data out to 11 tracks in parallel. Then, you would step out to the next consecutive track and blast another string of data, and so on.

The neat thing of channel programming is that these systems would also allow you to query the drives capabilities and you could write them dynamically. So no matter what, your software could adapt to the connected hardware. And, since the disk controllers were small computers themselves, once the channel program was set up (and they were just sets of descriptors - commands and addresses, not unlike any other machine code) the work was done asynchronously with your application code. Or you could wait if you couldn't figure out how to do that.

I think the inability to control disk I/O programatically is a serious deficiency in modern PC's, whether they are desktop or rack-mounted. Remember, the operating systems of today are not meant for people who read IBM's Principle of Operations and Supervisor Services and Macros. They are designed for the least common denominator.

Comment Right or Not, slashdot wouldn't be here sans Marty (Score 1) 392

Right or wrong (and by a matter of degree and your point of view), we all owe a lot to Marty for making it possible for us to code. Marty broke software free from the monastery and the monks of IBM. He created the entire software industry as we know it. (Of course he is human, and indirectly helped destroy mainframe software by selling ADR to Ameritech, which then sold it to Charlie "The Craw" "Not Wang, Wang!" Wang and CA.)

Marty is one cool cat, and let us play ping-pong in his luxurious office. Even if he was there working! As far as I am concerned, what Marty wants, Marty Goetz!

Comment Which of our former classmates and colleagues ...? (Score 2, Insightful) 243

Which of our former classmates and colleagues (and/or professors) work on these kinds of systems? Thirty-something years ago I never would have imagined my peers working to undermine our freedoms by writing such code. I just don't get it. We were taught in classes such as "Computers in Society" things like ethics. This was before the year 1984, and most of us had read (or were aware of the premise of) Orwell's "1984." This would never happen, we thought.

Unfortunately this, and other data mining crap has been created and 1984 is alive and well and it can't be undone. All because some people - some programmers - thought that getting paid was better than doing what is moral and ethical in a free state. We are no longer free, ladies and gentlemen.

Comment The Biggest Marketing Campaign, ever (Score 5, Insightful) 788

Between the promise to not hire lobbyists, the parade of appointees who have had problems paying their taxes, the proposal floated to have soldiers provide their own insurance for battle injuries (since rescinded), and now this, I hope people start to realize they voted for Obama for the wrong reason. It was more of a vote against Bush and his party than anything. and it was also a fantastically executed marketing campaign. More money was spent on the Obama campaign than any other election. They tapped into what their target audience wanted, hired the best speech writers, and pulled it off.

Submission + - Google may face legal action over Chinese IME tool

Turtlewind writes: "Google's Chinese subsidiary ran into more trouble this week as the company's new pinyin input method editor (IME) (link in Chinese), which helps users to enter Chinese characters, was accused of "sharing striking similarities" with a similar service launched by rival Sogou last June. Soon after the software was made available Chinese bloggers discovered that a number of errors in Sogou's tool were replicated in Google's program, and Sogou is considering legal action."

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.