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Comment Re:I can see the historians now (Score 4, Insightful) 470

You're not supposed to feel sympathy for the Japanese of the 30s and 40s; they were guilty of terrible atrocities, but that war is over now. You're supposed to feel sympathy for the Japanese of 2010, who weren't in charge almost universally weren't even alive for World War II and are not acting particularly imperialist or aggressive.

The point is that most white westerners have similarly barbaric atrocities of imperialism somewhere in their not-too-distant past. Go back far enough and everyone can find an ancestor that murdered a rival warlord's entire tribe; if you believe that what your grandparents' neighbours did should condemn you, we are all guilty!

Eventually we have to forgive, or at least forget, if we're going to live together.

Comment Re:Here we go again (Score 3, Interesting) 187

You people are not thinking nearly creative enough. The article doesn't make it clear why you'd want to move your memory farther away -- it would increase latency, yeah, but moreover, what are you going to put that close to the CPU? There isn't anything else competing for the space.

Here's a more interesting idea than just "outboard RAM": what if you replaced the RAM on a blade with a smaller but faster bank of cache memory, and for bulk memory had a giant federated memory bank that was shared by all the blades in an enclosure?

Think multi-hundred-CPU, modular, commodity servers instead of clusters.

Think taking two commodity servers, plugging their optical buses together, and getting something that behaves like a single machine with twice the resources. Seamless clustering handled at the hardware level, like SLI for computing instead of video if you want to make that analogy.

Minor complaint, the summary is a little misleading with units: they're advertising not 50 gigabits/s, but 50 gigabytes/s. Current i7 architectures already have substantially more memory bandwidth than this to local RAM, so the advantage is definitely communication distance here, not speed.

Comment Re:Hmm... (Score 1) 148

Interesting speculation but unlikely. The Java-specific mode (Jazelle) is deprecated; ARM's for a few years already been moving instead to a mode that supports CLR and JVM managed runtimes equally well, called ThumbEE, which is already in the newer Cortex A8-based smartphone chipsets:

ThumbEE in Jazelle article on Wikipedia
Information on ThumbEE from the ARM tech docs

It's a much more elegant approach -- do all the easy transformations via JIT compilation to the existing native ARM instructions, and add a handful of extra instructions to speed up the expensive things you do all the time, like null pointer checks and array bounds tests.

Comment Re:Lies. (Score 1) 414

I don't. I bet it's low. When you run a team of 200 for 2 years it adds up to half that just for salary and facilities, never mind marketing, operations cost of running betas and building out server infrastructure, QA... and that's if they're actually doing a reasonably efficient job, which Blizzard is not exactly famous for.

This wasn't a 2-year sprint either, it's been what, 7 years of probably false starts and rewriting tech and toolchains? And Blizzard is known for high production values in their cutscenes. The figure is totally believable.

Hollywood has a really good (well, actually really terrible but understandable) reason to do Hollywood accounting: the producers are trying to screw the people who might be paid royalties. Nobody does game development for royalties, so there's really no reason for Activision to fudge the numbers like that.

Comment Re:Not much of a change (Score 4, Interesting) 64

Because it's apt. As much as people like to paint the Chinese government as a cartoon evil, for the most part they're more of a fumbling, incomprehensible bureaucracy, just like every other government. I've watched people at my company deal with the same kind of stuff, trying to meet government requirements for online software, and the distinct impression I got was of jumping through arbitrary hoops.

The Chinese government is still doing some scary things, but it's not like 30 years ago, that's for sure.

Comment Re:i don't know about radio, but i find (Score 1) 298

But if the light were being converted to food energy that efficiently, wouldn't the plant necessarily grow faster? If it didn't end up bigger, it would have to be burning the sugar and turning the energy back into heat...? <head explode>

(I suspect the real reason is the "600W" LED lights are actually "equivalent in brightness to 600W incandescent grow lights" that draw 100W.)

Comment Re:I've always really liked that idea (Score 1) 584

If I don't replace my sparking electrical wiring, the insurance co will buy me a new house when it burns down.

Right, of course they'll try to prove you negligent so they can not pay out.

The problem is you can't use the same procedure in health care because (a) you need to use every incentive to get people to go to the doctor because they just plain don't like going and (b) it's inhumane; you shouldn't refuse to pay for a lifesaving amputation just because they might have been okay if they'd got that skin infection checked a week sooner. And really, (c) it's a cost-benefit people can't really be trusted to make correctly anyway.

Comment Re:Big fucking deal. (Score 1) 402

It doesn't matter what the personal motivations of the PhD are, what matters is that they're going to publish data and we'll all indirectly benefit. The yahoos aren't going to publish; therefore, the greater good is served by giving the PhDs priority access.

It's simple fucking common sense! And letting someone who has a job to do do it is common courtesy. Would you be happy if people were driving the delivery routes of UPS trucks and slowing them down? What if it was your package in the back of the truck, and you knew it was going to come a day late and $5 more expensive because a bunch of dicks thought tracing that route was a grand time?

I'm not saying we should outlaw getting in the way of a data collection truck, but the people doing it are still kinda dicks.

Comment Re:248 mile range? Big deal. (Score 1) 192

Yes, until you actually apply the brakes, or use engine braking, at which point you're wasting the energy you accumulated as potential energy and turning it into heat. So, of course the spread will depend a lot on how steep the hills are, how many of them there are, how much energy you can recover from regenerative braking, and how the efficiencies of your gas and electric motors change under heavy load vs. light load.

I've never driven to Alaska, if the roads up and down this pass are relatively flat it may make no difference. If they're quite steep, they might not be able to recover enough energy with their regenerative braking and they might not make it to the next town anyway, even though they're doing better than the gas car. If you're going to look at the problem holistically, you have to care about road conditions and temperature, too.

I just think it's cool they're trying. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Comment Re:248 mile range? Big deal. (Score 3, Informative) 192

248 miles is measured using the EPA test, which includes a lot of braking. On open highway alone, they'll do better. Besides, they might not get wonderful mileage in a pass, but with regenerative braking on the downhills, they won't be as affected by it as a gas powered car.

I just drove through the rockies in a second-gen Prius, and the regenerative braking seemed to do a pretty good job of smoothing out the consumption: I'd get worse consumption on the uphill and better on the downhill, and it seemed to average out to just the same as what I got on the flat; within 10% if you believe the meter in the car.

Comment Legal questions should be answered by a lawyer (Score 4, Informative) 504

This is a question that can only really be answered by a lawyer familiar with your circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction. For example, by default, in Canada, if you're hired as a contractor to produce a work, you retain the copyright on that work (or so I was taught in my 100-level Business Law class). However, I don't believe this is true in the US. It's also not true in either country if you're hired as a salaried employee.

But really, plenty of other people will be offering legal advice, and the reality is that this matter won't go to court because it's not worth the time or money for you or the university. You can get a lawyer's opinion that you're in the clear to release your work, but even that's only so helpful to you -- if you threaten or bully your employer, that may just set them against you. (On the other hand, it may be just the thing! Maybe they need to see that you won't be pushed around. Different people respond to different tactics.)

The most elegant solution to your problem is politics. Convince your boss's boss and your boss's respected colleagues that your work would be better off shared -- people's opinions are ultimately derived from the opinions of the people they respect. You've made good use of an open-source base, right? Make sure they understand that there's value in tapping into that community. Allay their fears. Show them the positive side. Get people on your side.

If you can swing this right, it won't matter what the legalities are because the one of the university's officers will sign a waiver disclaiming interest in the code and you'll be in the clear for sure -- and your boss will be pleased at having done something good.

Sure, you should have got the signature before you started working; then you wouldn't have to spend cycles on this problem. Still, it may be fixable.

And if that doesn't work, just remember: the implementation is twice as good and ten times as quick to write when you've done it once before!

Comment Re:Not counterintutive for anybody who is, well... (Score 1) 149

This is actually still the way it works for many higher-value items. It's not always the manufacturer that offers the information, but sites like PowerBook Medic give disassembly instructions and sell part so you can do simple repairs yourself. Some laptop keyboards can be replaced with just a pen knife!

The components are still modular, it's just the idea of what makes a component that's changed. Now it's an entire mainboard assembly with a transistor count in the billions, rather than a single tube.

Also, I don't know if you've looked inside your large appliances recently, but my washing machine had a wiring diagram tucked inside when I opened it to get at a bad bearing. My motorcycle came with a simplified one in the owner's manual and a detailed schematic in the shop manual. For machines that are simple enough where a schematic is useful for troubleshooting and repair, schematics are actually still the norm.

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