Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Great show, but its core joke is impossible tec (Score 1) 114

Like warp drives and lightsabers, it is tech which cannot work as described because [it] conflicts with well-established theory. (Google "Shannon information" for details.)

You'd have better served your reader by directing him or her to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

That's an in-joke for the information theory cognoscenti.

Comment the doomed and the domed (Score 1) 171

When battery energy density reaches about 3-5x of current commercially deployed tech, we can finally have our VTOL flying cars, then we'll have a whole new set of problems,

Let me guess, the new "set" of problems includes really hot, well-ventilated fires in skyrise towers everywhere.

Then there will be an immediate mass return to brutalist architecture, only all that concrete and brick will function as really tall security bollards, and we'll all stop talking about gated neighbourhoods, and start talking about domed neighbourhoods.

"Shuttered", prepare thyself for gentrification.

Comment Captain Deiter Determinism reaps what he sewed (Score 1) 138

Itanium is a direct result of the hardware people and the software people refusing to rub elbows in the same room.

Itanium's designers basically declared war against their software peers. Our beautiful machine would run fast, if only your crappy software didn't expose so many execution hazards.

Thus Intel set up a grand gauntlet for the compiler writers to finally prove their ultimate hardware manhood: by writing an Itanium compiler that didn't suck.

We all know how that went.

I've always though the made the critical error on the first step after connecting with the baseball: the bundle should have been a collection of highly dependent instructions that only wrote back to the register file once fully executed. A bundle would be dispatched to one execution unit's queue, and sit there until complete.

Because the bundle has internal dependencies, this means that each bundle would have a significant internal latency, so each execution unit queue would need a fairly deep dispatch buffer. "Waste of silicon!" cry Intel's virtuous hardware engineers. "Latency is a thing in the world!" whimper Intel's pussy-whipped compiler writers.

I also think that for compact instruction packing, that not every input argument to a bundle should have been able to name any old register out of the giant register file (256 registers, IIRC). Maybe a few global references, then plenty of 4-bit register selectors, accessed out of register file shards (the base shard could be selected by any number of mechanisms, up to and including the program location from which the instruction bundle was fetched; so maybe the code only ends up relocatable modulo 64 or modulo 256? what a horrible tragedy—plus the compiler writers already had great register colouring algorithms, so we had somewhat of a proof-of-concept in hand for the compiler complexity).

Because you're bypassing the register file for many bundle internal arguments (the result ax in the expression ax + b never hits the register file), fewer register file (and memory) reads satisfy more total instructions. I would have liked to see a bundle of about the same size able to specify up to eight simple instructions, if sufficiently chained together.

To a certain degree, this opposite-George approach kicks determinism to the curb. Well I say better sooner than later. Hey Intel engineers, look at your vaunted determinism now, dead with a bottle on skid row, after a long, loosing battle.

(The other thing Intel liked about determinism was its first five letters. Sometimes stupid ideas present a broader field for patent lock-up land-grabs. Moral of the story: greed carefully.)

It's easy to come up with hundreds of good reasons why my opposite-George approach wouldn't have panned out any better, but a smart group of engineers is paid to find clever solutions to most or all superficial obstacles. Whether any counterfactual designs might have proved viable is permanently lost to history. I'm just relating my own instinct at the time, FWIW.

Another thing: I would have endorsed a big/little design for interrupt handling (of the asynchronous type), with only a small set of agile (aka bundle-free), little cores able to handle interrupts. Then you can really afford to thin out check-point writes back to the register file (which is always a hot point to begin with). The magical, invisible forwarding mesh to support this illusion seamlessly would still be extremely complex, but that's also true on every other modern design.

From my perspective, Itanium was plenty innovative, unfortunately, it was mainly innovative in pure stubbornness and greed.

Comment Anarchy, State, and Utopia on open-kimono DoD (Score 1) 75

Anything developed using tax dollars MUST be made open source and freely available to all. It absolutely should, and *must*, be available on the internet.

Your main contribution to the debate seems to be using TWO entirely different methods of bold (followed by the near synonym "absolutely" and a second helpful repetition, this time of the word "available"—but I don't see these as your main contribution; did I mention your main contribution?)

Also cute is how you managed to conceal the word "government" under the tiny word "tax". Weird assertions about the true and absolute nature of government are one of the principle diagnostic aids for Goldbug's disease (and several other, related conditions).

The definitive diagnostic for Goldbug's disease is when Anarchy, State, and Utopia laughs you out of the room (check out its prescient lack of a chapter on open-kimono DoD).

Comment everyone gets their 15 minutes of John Williams (Score 1) 75

I can't remember the last time—if ever—a Microsoft promotional video warranted a Chariots of Fire musical swell.

"Jesus Christ (speak of the devil) I can't remember the last time we introduced a product that changed the world (for the better). And it's got our name on it. ('Me too', 'me three' echoes a pair of nearby cacti.)"

You have to forgive them, it's been a long 40 years, out in the desert, trafficking in neurotoxic juniper berries.

Comment Re:Nuclear meltdown != Incriminatory emails (Score 1) 285

This troll trifecta actually warrants real attention.

I expect to have a good time. I admit it's a little unorthodox to make a giant vat of hot buttery popcorn to companion rolling up one's sleeves (chopsticks to the rescue), but ritual does have its rewards.

What the US and Israel did in Iran ...

Bill Clinton is forever marked by his distancing language "that woman". Opening a composition with the word "what" is definitely heading down 'that' road. The reader is still trying to resolve the anaphor, while you slide into the equation a joint attribution "the US and Israel". Nicely done.

From Sound Reporting by J. Kern: "You may have heard TV anchors hyping a story by holding back the subject—teasing the viewer for a few seconds to try to generate curiosity ... whatever effectiveness this device may have once had has surely been worn away by decades of overuse." Except—he should have added—on certain hyperbolic forums of talk radio, where the pre-handshake "what" is artfully stretched from minutes into hours. This construction has now become the ultimate penny dog-whistle.

was a crime

And the jurisdiction that can jointly prosecute America and Israel, your identified protagonists, is what, exactly? RMS pretty much thinks the BSD license is a crime. Humanity has been trying to cram morality into an undersized tuxedo since the invention of stone tablets. (They all suspected the chisel later recovered from the top of the mountain belonged to Moses, but he didn't fit the glove—phlogiston hadn't even been invented yet, so it's no wonder they didn't fully grasp accelerated desiccation above the timber line.) "Crime" is one of the most metaphorical words in all of human language, which you've artfully embedded in predicate logic Speedo trunks: "was a".

Our parse now looks like this:

[talk radio distancing-language tease]
[offhand perpetrator lasso]
[predicate-logic Speedo trunks]
[Howl's Moving Castle morality metaphor]

You've really packed a lot in there. Kudos.

and the targeted company

The strategic target wasn't a company, it was an operation. The micro-target wasn't a company, either. It was certain pieces of industrial control machinery. Moreover, the "company" wasn't feeling the pain of this, unless they indemnified their customer against retaliatory actions of nation states (seems unlikely, based on contracts I've read).

was a German company

And that makes this different, how exactly?

They infected German process-control equipment

Echo, echo, echo.

They who? Veiled agents of Zion? Cybersecurity Seal Team Six operating under full democratic oversight? Cybersecurity ST6 operating in thrall to veiled agents of Zion?

which could have

Charles Atlas only had to shoulder the world. "Heh," says Charles. "What?" you say. "You should have seen the other guy," says Charles, at great expense of breath he can hardly afford.

I suspect he means the poor tortoise shouldering the entire meta-physical universe of all possible counterfactual outcomes, but I'm too polite to ask.

led to a nuclear leak

Anyone else in the news using the word "leak" lately? I haven't read the uranium hexafluoride SDS (formerly MSDS). Have you?

Here's how America stores this dangerous chemical: What does a depleted uranium hexafluoride cylinder look like?

This is not even inside a secure facility designed with accident mitigation in mind.

if their code was not perfect

A high bar indeed, that applies to all high-risk endeavours. Not that the ST6 minions of Zion would have assigned above-average talent (and budget) to a project such as this one. Just getting that software installed on those machines in a covert way cleared a bar 99% higher than 99% of all software even attempts to clear. And, I suspect, the ST6 MoZ probably had a few test units in house (the American government not in any way being a major consumer of this kind of equipment in the first place).

What the Russians have done is hack and release emails.

You know, they didn't break in by quietly jimmying the back door. In the last account I read, they social-engineered their way through the front door on false pretences.

If you are not doing shady stuff

Ah, yes, the violent purification of a thousand moral suns.

you are not affected at all

There's this thing in human language called "register", where we try to say something close to what needs to be said in a way that conveys empathy and concern for the feelings and reputations of others. What we say in private is far less guarded (except for certain shit-bags whose public discourse is the same unmodulated ideology that drives away their friends and family in real life). Oh, nuts, did my inner voice just escape out into the wild? So terribly sorry about that.

by the leak of your emails

There's that hot-button word again, now served up with a fresh, hot-button bolt-on. Previously, we were leaking uranium hexafluoride gas (worst case scenario) in a secret, secure bunker. This "leak" is more properly termed a "disclosure". Unlike stray UF6, most of which can be put back in the bottle if you really try hard, information "leaks" are pretty much immune to mitigation.

Clinton was affected because she was a crook.

Also, she was a crook because she was affected. A malprogrammed high-speed centrifuge couldn't wind this narrative together any better.

Macron was not because he wasn't a crook.

I'm guessing we're in the comic book world, now. It's the underwear thing. The heroic panties of virtue grant full immunity to adverse consequence. The anti-heroic panties of shame are electro-karmic styrene Vandergrabs.

Equating the above 2

"Equating" metaphors is the crime for which you already stand charged (see above).

is like

"Is like"? You've already shot your best wad? In under 30 words? So tired, so tired, so tired ... but miles to go before you sleep.


Yes, you said that already.

"Someone who drives drunk"

Car metaphor? What did Cosby serve you? I had no idea it was that fast acting.

"with someone who peeks through a window"

You're right, turns out Dahmer did have a severe alcohol dependency.

In Russia, for a decade under Stalin, vodka was the antidote to kompromat. You staggered blind-stinking-drunk among cars, half of which were piloted by other blind-stinking drunks, and counted yourself among the lucky, and kissed the pavement, and shuddered to go home, to where all those inviting windows awaited.

Comment I had this idea back in junior high school (Score 1) 305

I had this idea back in junior high school, right around the time I was getting really excited (what passed for really excited before a late puberty) about how the 8008 would someday change the world.

Plus, I would be turning sixteen soon, and having to navigate all that legacy infrastructure in my dad's fuel-guzzling pickup truck with the sticky clutch pedal, so my mind was specially tuned to the many imminent electronic upheavals sure to enlighten all the tired brick and mortar and asphalt in the blink of an eye.

Comment Re:Splitting hairs (Score 1, Interesting) 810

Either way, classified materials should never have been there.

It seems it really should not matter how the source code with the faulty algorithm got into the software build, either by a new development error or a build system regression.

Either way, the vulnerability should not have been there.

And your point is?

Comment Wolowitz syndrome (Score 1) 452

Of course they know you use an ad blocker. That's one more data point they have about you ...

It lumps you into the bucket of people with enough initiative to change the default settings on any aspect of their daily existence. You're probably an educated technocrat.

People Who Use Firefox or Chrome Are Better Employees

Michael Housman ... said that while the company's research hasn't identified anything to suggest causality, he does have a theory as to why this correlation exists. "I think that the fact that you took the time to install Firefox on your computer shows us something about you. It shows that you're someone who is an informed consumer .... you've made an active choice to do something that wasn't default."

Okay, you're harder to neutralize with micro-disinformation.

So they suck you into pointless debates about SpaceX, colonising Mars, medical nanotechnology, life extension, the AI singularity, Hayekian economics, Objectivism, or liberal save-the-world TED porn.

Effectiveness: what you know times what you do.

Wolowitz syndrome: able to configure an ad-blocker, but not exactly picking the right fight.

I've already got a bit of file on Robert Mercer.

Yachts seen close together — March 2017

As Rene Magritte would say, "this is not a smoking gun." Not yet, anyway. Hey, that reminds me, has anyone here got a match?

Rachel Maddow Explains "The Money Man" — August 2016

Kellyanne Conway, who ran Robert Mercer's Super PAC, she's a very familiar figure in Republican politics.

What Kind of Man Spends Millions to Elect Ted Cruz? — January 2016

Working with his daughter Rebekah, he's spent tens of millions more to advance a conservative agenda, investing in think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, the media outlet Breitbart.com, and Cambridge Analytica, a data company that builds psychological profiles of voters.

Groups he funds have attacked the science of global warming, published a book critical of Hillary Clinton, and bankrolled a documentary celebrating Ayn Rand.

Comment the world according to Linda Hill, et al. (Score 2) 245

The highest work-stress job, from the Wharton–Harvard perspective, is the star performer (software developer, sales person) promoted into their first management position, often without any prior psychological preparation for the change (how hard can it be to manage people doing what I so clearly excelled at doing? larvae in ointment: without actually doing their work for them?)

In a high-pressure setting, first year is hell, usually devolves into an unrelenting fire fight, with a high ultimate attrition rate. (Who new that hardball sales tactics don't translate well to daily proximity?)

Once the junior manager recovers from Boot Camp, the job remains difficult, but the compensation is pretty good, if you "manage" to hang around long enough to get promoted off the management front line.

Year one: learning how to delegate down

Year two: paying more attention to what lies above (and not just the marching orders)

Year three: fully investing in peer relationships with other managers at the same level, elsewhere in the organization

Someone who entered the work force intending to become a manager likely accomplishes this in less time. But these people have always been a small minority in the studies I've read.

A year into the job, there is nearly a 100% response rate that the new managers had failed to appreciate the importance of investing in peer relationships (not that they would have found the time during Management Boot Camp 101 in any case). Lateral politics. It's a thing.

Back to the article, at the bottom of the heap, how does one carve a reasonable line between general life stress and work stress?

I can't even imagine.

Dunderheads. Imagine having to manage the people who wrote this study. One can only imagine.

Look on my workers, troubled sea of mighty dunderheads, and despair!

Comment Re:Not as hypocritical as it sounds... (Score 1) 109

Lots of people tried to hang on and lost their shirts on moving expenses because the housing markets happened to be going the opposite way of the moves.

Happened to be? Just as PetroCan is shifting shop?

Housing prices track the revenue base of the community around them, outside of a few exceptional gardens of geriatric Eden.

Comment Marine Le Pen's clit carpet (Score 1) 520

When you compare the person that you hate most of all to group X as an insult, what does that suggest is your opinion of group X?

When you can't even figure out that "group X" includes many women (on the giving side) and most men/almost every aspiring young man (on the receiving side), what does that say about your human categorization tree?

Really, the only significant group of people that "group X" excludes in America are post-curiosity lesbians and the Christian evangelicals, subset prudish (minus a large, crescent-shaped bite from the om nom nom nom Venn circle "hypocrite").

[*] Most lesbians these days are post-curiosity lesbians, as the social cost of an openly lesbian lifestyle has become less obnoxious.

Colbert could easily level the playing field by finding a suitably target (male or female) with a tiny tongue to tag as "Marine Le Pen's clit carpet".

Only that would probably backfire for the worst reason: your grandfather's Leave it to Beaver infested FCC is probably still mired in distinguishing "cock" from "clit" on the obscenity scale, and he'd probably receive an even bigger fine.


Slashdot Top Deals

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau