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Comment Thanks for that. Still true, though (Score 1) 201

Thanks for that interesting bit of information.

I tried to include a few words in my post to hint I wasn't saying that Fortran was the FIRST high-level language, or necessarily the first practical one, or the maybe the first widely used high level language. It was an example of an early high-level language that was part of a revolution in the field. C compilers weren't the first to do any optimization, and SQL wasn't the first declarative language. As you said, modern C compilers rewrite the code in ways that would have been unimaginable in Fortran's heyday.

> > With C, we got optimizing compilers that totally rewrite the specification

> We didn't.

Technically, we did. With this paycheck, I got gas. I got gas. With my last paycheck, I also got gas. With my paycheck a year ago, I got gas. Still it's true that "with this paycheck, I got gas" ;)

Am I being pedantic? Of course. That's my job. I'm a programmer. Ccompiler->provides_optimizer == true.

Comment That's called a compiler. Fortran 1957 (Score 5, Insightful) 201

> the humans are no longer coders, they will instead be writing specifications for the code

Humans wrote computer code until 1957. In 1957, it became possible to instead write a specification for what the code should DO, writing that specification in a language called Fortran. Then the Fortran compiler wrote the actual machine code.

In 1972 or thereabouts, another high-level specification language came out, called C. With C, we got optimizing compilers that totally rewrite the specification, doing things in a different order, entirely skipping steps that don't end up affecting the result, etc. The optimizing C compiler (ex gcc) writes machine code that ends up with the same result as the specification, but may get there in a totally different way.

In the late 1970s, a new kind of specification language came out. Instead of the programmer saying "generate code to do this, then that, then this", with declarative programming the programming simply specifies the end result:. "All the values must be changed to their inverse", or "output the mean, median, and maximum salary". These are specifications you can declare using the SQL language. We also use declarative specifications to say "all level one headings should end up centered on the page" or "end up with however many thumbnails in each row as will fit". We use CSS to declare these specifications. The systems then figure out the intermediate code and machine code to make that happen.

The future you suggest has been here for 60 years. Most programmers don't write executable machine code and haven't for many years. We write specifications for the compilers, interpreters, and query optimizers that then generate code that's used to generate code which is interpreted by microcode which is run by the CPU.

Heck, since the mid-1970s it hasn't even been NECESSARY for humans to write the compilers. Specify a language and yacc will generate a compiler for it.

Comment Let me know when computers worry about being repla (Score 2) 221

A lot of people worry about being replaced by machines. That's been a concern for a significant portion of the population, since at least the 1600s. What actually gets tossed aside and replaced by a new machine, every few years, is old machines. Yet machines never worry about being replaced. Indeed they don't worry about anything, or have any concept of self at all. Let me know when machines start worrying about being replaced by Machine 2.0 and that's when I'll be worried.

Comment Re:All energy use ends up 100% heat (Score 1) 130

> Not sure what this has to do with the environmental cost in heat of Google's activities.

Well if you're concerned about the environmental impact of generating heat (a reasonable concern), would it not be useful to be able to measure and compare the amount of heat generated? Rather than the obvious approach of measuring heat by temperature rise email etc, is it not simpler to remember that heat out = energy in?

Comment Of you want to avoid Android. More Linux (Debian) (Score 1) 182

The only reasons I can think of, based on the older version I've used, is if you have your own reasons to avoid Android, or you want to run Ubuntu or Debian userland on your phone.

Android seems to do fine on phones - it works well enough that most devices sold in the last few years are Android phones. Obviously some people would prefer an alternative, other than Apple iOS.

Comment It's Linux. Terminal plus a web browser (Score 1) 182

> Is there a viable pocket-sized, battery-powered server that one could carry in order to use "a terminal and a web browser" with a Chromebook?

It's Linux. A terminal is the native interface. What makes it a Chromebook is that rather than a standard server-side install of Linux (no GUI) or standard desktop install (lots of GUI shit I don't use anyway), it has a web browser a couple other things in a small, very efficient GUI. No GUI for partitioning hard drives, no pre-installed solitaire game. Which is fine for me, I don't partition drives in a GUI anyway.

Then you asked if browsing the web works without an internet connection? Huh? No, I don't do a lot of web browsing work without WiFi.

If you want to, you can install as much as you want of the Ubuntu or Debian userland on top of the ChromeOS-provided kernel. I've not seen any need. My work as a programmer / hacker basically uses a text editor in the terminal, ssh, and a browser.

People who have never tried a Chromebook like to say things like "they are for dummies who don't know anything about computers. A power user would never use one.". One guy I've spoken to, whom I consider to be a power user, had this to say about his new Chromebook:

"suspect I'll make this my primary laptop. I tend to like my laptops slightly smaller, but I think I can lug around this 1.5kg monster"

Maybe someone thinks that guy, Linus Torvalds, is a newbie, and doesn't understand the needs of power users like themselves. Okay, fine, lug around something that weighs three times as much and takes six times longer to boot if you want. Linus and I can look at kernel patches on our Chromebooks.

Comment Comfortable to use a keyboard without a desk (Score 4, Informative) 182

The Chromebook works far better for me if there is any appreciable amount of typing involved. Sure, you CAN put a tablet in a case with a little keyboard, but it's not made for that, and it shows. It doesn't sit comfortably in your lap as you type away like the laptop / Chromebook form factor does.

Chromebooks also tend to have much longer battery life.

I mostly use a large Android phone if I'm not working. I couldn't very well do much work on my phone. On a Chromebook I can (mostly I work in a terminal and a web browser). There is definitely a place for a Chromebook. Most of what I do, for work and play, I can do just fine on a Chromebook. The one thing that comes to mind it doesn't work well for is using Microsoft SQL Server Studio.

Comment They kept at modern computer for 21 years (Score 1) 223

> So they tried something, and it didn't work out for them.

They tried mobile and failed and tried again and failed again and tried again and failed again for 21 years before giving up.

Why have they kept trying to get into mobile? Because most computing devices sold today are mobile, the market for corded computers has been falling for several years, and is expected to continue to fall.

> The vast overwhelming majority of all PCs sold at retail come with Windows on them.

In 2011, 365 million PCs were sold. In 2015, 288 million. In 2016, 269 million. When your market is dropping 8% per year, that's not good. It's also not good for Microsoft that the percentage of PCs sold with Linux pre-installed increases every year. They are doing okay today - 269 million is a lot less than 365 million, but it's still a lot of computers. Have a look at what that curve looks like 10 years from now, though, as sales keep dropping 10% each year. There's a reason Microsoft is trying to sell Linux on the cloud - it's because they see the curve, they know they won't keep selling Windows on PCs.

Heck, they've stopped even TRYING to sell new versions of Windows, upgrades. In the 1990s people lined up around the block to pay $200 for the latest Windows upgrade. Now nobody buys a new Windows version, literally nobody at all.

Comment Disables the ability to install and unknown things (Score 1) 161

> "Running Windows 7 disables or restricts these features:"

They don't know what all features in various updates may not work, and they don't want to figure that out for an officially obselete operating system. One thing that often may not work is booting. Installing from a OEM disk probably won't work because it won't have the drivers for a USB3 keyboard and mouse. Power management will often not work - once the machine goes to sleep, it may not wake up again.

APPLICATION code generally is tied to a specific instruction set and OS. Application code doesn't generally care about the hardware, because the operating system takes care of the hardware. On the other hand, the operating system DOES care about the hardware, and Skylake hardware is different. Skylake is NOT "Ivy Bridge, faster" - it's a different microarchitecture.

> USB3 worked before, it will work after (the USB2 specification has not changed, for example).

Windows 7 does not support USB3 out of the box. USB2 is not USB3. They have one thing in common - similar names. USB2 is a synchronous, half duplex protocol over
one pair of wires. USB3 is an asynchronous, full duplex protocol with three pairs.

Comment Answer precedes the question (Score 3, Insightful) 304

> Microsoft tried, people preferred to choose between the OSes that are more popular. Mozilla tried Firefox OS, but that didn't work out either. BlackBerry's BBOS also couldn't find enough takers

> Do you think some company, or individual, should attempt to create their own mobile operating system?

Lots of people and companies DID try. Big companies and small.

> Ideally, the market is more consumer friendly when there are more than one or two dominant forces.

Apparently not in this instance, in which consumers are served by having a wide range of apps to choose from, on a wide range of hardware. Android offers hardware from $50 to $1,500, with millions of apps. Apparently that's what consumers want. They could have chosen Windows Mobile, or Firefox OS, or Blackberry, or several others. They prefer the well-known platforms with millions of apps and a wide choice of hardware.

There IS a third player - Samsung. Samsung's phones are "Android based" in the same way that Android is "Linux based".

Comment 17 to ~23 isn't double. Compare Lenovo, HP, Dell (Score 1) 240

> "Microsoft shares have doubled since he took the top job in early 2014"
> And so has almost every other share.

Not by a long shot.

The Dow was at about 17,000 in early 2014. It's now a bit below 23. Nasdaq went from 4,300 to 6,600. Microsoft went from $38 to $76.
So Microsoft has significantly outperformed other companies generally.

  Compare Microsoft to the other leaders of the PC industry from 2014. The top three PC makers in 2014 were Lenovo, Dell, and HP. Lenovo has last half it's value. Dell went private to deal with "significant issues", and HP Inc dropped from $29 to $20.

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