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Comment Re:does it run Linux - yea but it is "boring" (Score 1) 326

``As Seymour Cray said: fast CPUs are easy, it's making fast /systems/ that's hard. You need good I/O to keep the CPUs fed.''

Absolutely. In almost everything I do that is slow, either I/O is the bottleneck, or the software is inefficient (i.e. the same operations could be implemented with much faster algorithms). This is why I rarely buy the fastest CPU I can get: the CPU isn't the bottleneck, so it's better to save there and spend where it's needed.

Comment Re:does it run Linux - yea but it is "boring" (Score 4, Interesting) 326

Running Linux on a 48-core system is boring, because it has already been run on a 64-core system in 2007 (at the time, Tilera said they would be up to 1000 cores in 2014; they're up to 100 cores per CPU now).

As far as I know, Linux currently supports up to 256 CPUs. I assume that means logical CPUs, so that, for example, this would support one CPU with 256 cores, or one CPU with 128 cores with two CPU threads per core, etc.

Comment Evolution of JavaScript Implementation Speed (Score 1) 98

This story makes me curious: how has JavaScript implementation speed improved over time? I see a lot of benchmarks comparing recent versions of browsers, but does anyone have a comparison against, say, Firefox 1.0? Also, how do current JavaScript implementations stack up against current implementations of other languages, such as C, Lua, or Python?

Comment Re:2000 packages? 85% more code? (Score 1) 228

``The number might seem small at first, especially compared to other distros. The main difference, though, is that those packages aren't just nice addons to the base system but rather supported 24/7 and kept updated for quite a few years from now.''

Which also goes for Debian. Of course, RHEL is tailored for enterprise environments, whereas Debian is general-purpose. And none of those things say anything about which one is better. I have better experiences with Debian, but I think they are both fine operating systems.

Comment Alternative Games (Score 1) 261

While I feel for those whose otherwise great games get broken by having parts of or close to the main storyline cut out and charged extra for, there is also an upside to this. The more the main publishing houses go this route, the more attractive alternative games become by comparison.

There are several games out there that have interesting ideas in them, but can't compete with the mainstream titles' multimedia splendor. If the DLC SNAFU brings more success to these alternative games, I'll count that as a plus. Heck, we may even get more good open source games.

Comment Re:The answer (Score 1) 233

``Well, there are a few alternatives. If you store your passwords in an insecure manner (postit under the keyboard, your secretary etc...) then you have allready lost.''

Actually, no. If it's a strong password, it still protects against anyone who can't access the password (e.g. can't get to the post-it, doesn't get given it by the secretary, etc). That protects against the untargetted dictionary attacks that float around the 'net, which is actually the kind of attack I see most.

``If you send your passwords in clear text over the network and worry about sniffing you don't care about the security.''

Sniffing is, at the same time, more of a risk and less of a risk than people realize. A lot of people don't realize there is any risk at all, or would know there is a risk if you asked them, but otherwise don't stop to think about it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who think that any cleartext transmission can easily be sniffed by any interested party. The truth is that transmissions over wired networks are mostly unicast these days, so any intercepting party would have to be on the transmission path to be able to sniff. WLAN is a wholly different matter, as it is often possible for anyone on the network to intercept all traffic within radio range. But even in that case, you are usually talking about tens of nodes, rather than the whole Internet. Of course, encryption is still a good idea and should be used, unless there is a good reason not to do so.

``In the end, passwords are simple security mechanisms for discuraging causual abuse of systems.''

I agree, and that's why I'm for the use of strong passwords. If you have too many to remember, memorize just one and put the rest in a password file that you protect using the password you memorized. It's easy and secure. If even that doesn't work (for example, you move around a lot and can't always access your password file), find a different solution for the problematic cases. If you have to compromise, writing down a hint, part of the password, or even the full password isn't that bad: you still keep out people who don't have physical access to the note. Weak passwords are the greater problem: they can be guessed by attackers, or easily remembered by lots of people who can't necessarily all be trusted all the time.

Comment There is that, and then there is the rest (Score 1) 394

``The more I write code and design systems, the more I understand that many times, you can achieve the desired functionality simply with clever reconfigurations of the basic Unix tool set.''

I am glad he figured that out. Unix contains a lot of useful commands and functions. Every programmer would do well to learn them, so they can use them when needed.

What also helps a lot is knowing your programming language well. By that, I mean not just the standard library, but also the fundamentals of the language. Know how things fit together, which things are efficient and which things are costly, and how to design good APIs in that language. Better yet: know this for multiple languages - different languages for different tasks. It's easy to learn a new programming language when you already know how to program, and doing so will provide you with new insights, so go ahead and learn another language.

It is also useful to know tools and libraries that aren't a standard part of the operating system. Of course, there are very many of those and learning them all might be a bit much. Still, knowing a handful and having heard of others can help a lot. No need to write, debug, and maintain your own code for parsing CSV, XML, YAML, or whatever the file format of the season is. Beware of bugs and misfeatures, though. Many libraries, even commonly used ones, contain bugs. Many libraries also contain choices that may or may not be a good idea for what you want to do.

All in all, you can get a long way by just knowing what other people have already done for you. Thanks to free software, you can often use this work in your projects. The world wide web has made it fairly easy to find things that you may use. A lot of software can be made by taking a bunch of libraries and writing some code to stitch it together and make it do stuff. Or, as Mr. Dziuba found out, by mixing together some command-line tools. I am glad he is discovering the strengths of Unix and getting excited enough about them to tell the world about it.

Stitching things together from existing components is not all there is to programming, however. You can go a long way doing just that, and many people make a living that way, but there are some things which are best solved or can only be solved by thinking hard and coming up with some clever code to do exactly the right thing. And somebody needs to write those tools and libraries, too. Compared to putting some existing components together, it's hard work for small results, but I find this to be the most rewarding part of programming. You're really coming up with something new here, making something clever and useful that wasn't available before.

Comment Re:Just a bit of stuff (Score 1) 576

One interesting characteristic of Diesel engines, especially older ones, is that they aren't very picky as to what fuel they run on. Almost all of them will happily run on biodiesel, and many will run on straight vegetable oil after modification (for which kits are available, ranging in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars). Both of these have short CO_2 cycles (you emit the CO_2 that was recently absorbed by the plants used to make the fuel) and reduced emissions of many pollutants, except for NO_x.

Some Diesel engines, as you mentioned, can run on peanut oil, coal dust, and a variety of other things you wouldn't necessarily think to put in your engine. However, recent Diesel engines are generally a lot more picky and may suffer serious damage when the wrong fuel is put in (which may include, for example, the Diesel fuel we had before we got low-sulphur Diesel). My understanding is that this is particularly due to the injection system and the particulate filter.

Comment Re:its called war (Score 1) 676

``Thank you. It is simple as that. So many people after 9/11 beat the war drum, and now almost a decade later are horrified that bad things happen in war.''

This is why I think it's good that people are being shown what actually happens. I watched the video where civilians were shot from a helicopter, and it looks like a honest mistake to me. The message here isn't "OMG the US army is evil! They're killing innocent people!" The message here is "This is what war is like. Innocent people get killed."

People get upset about the horrors of war (and rightly so) while sitting at home in their comfy chairs. Now imagine yourself being in the middle of that. Your enemy's strategy is to stay hidden until you are close, then kill or maim you before you have had the chance to do it to them. When you see something that looks like a threat, are you going to pull that trigger? One moment of hesitation could cost you your life or limbs, or those of your mates. Pulling the trigger will cost life or limbs of whomever you're shooting at, enemy or innocent. Welcome to the "theater".

The fact that what WikiLeaks does is a big deal is telling. If we knew what was really happening out there, there would be nothing that WikiLeaks could do that would be a big deal. It would just be fluff: over the top commentary on something we already knew about. The reason people get so excited about WikiLeaks is that they are actually bringing news. Innocent people are getting killed. Many innocent people are getting killed. By us.

We know what the government said. War on terror. Weapons of mass destruction. We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. We have to help our NATO allies. We are making the world a safer place.

WikiLeaks is showing what is really happening out there. Apparently, it's shocking. Apparently, this was meant to be kept hidden from us. Personally, I am not surprised. I am no military expert at all, but the wars are going pretty much as I had imagined they would. If anything, I am surprised we have been holding on to Afghanistan for so long.

Now that WikiLeaks has shown us what war is really like, I think it's time to answer some questions. All things considered, have these wars been worth it? We know they have cost a lot, and continue to do so, both in terms of money and in terms of suffering, but what have we gained from them? Has the world become a better place because of these wars? Knowing what we know now, if a similar situation presented itself, would we go to war again? And the one I still can't wrap my head around: Why _did_ we invade Iraq? I don't believe for a second it was about weapons of mass destruction, but what was it about?

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