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Comment Re:Library of Congress (Score 1) 202

The Library of Congress used to have a goal of including complete hard copies, at least for items of US origin and 'good grade' (that is, they aimed to have copies of things such as hardback books that were intended to last, more than, say, ephemera such as the pulp magazines). However, that goal has become an obvious impossibility due to sheer volume. After about 1960, the library began being more selective.

And the situation is infinitely worse for other medias. Not only aren't people trying to preserve them, in many case they have been actively destroyed, in particular television broadcasts.

Two examples of the casualties:

The relevant wikipedia category is It's hard to believe so much television history has been lost forever.

Comment Re:More EU stupidity. More AU cowtowing. (Score 3, Insightful) 302

If I buy a Chablis or a Burgundy I want a particular type of wine. So what that these wines originated in certain regions in France?

They didn't "originate". If it's a burgundy, then it hast to come from the region of Burgundy. It's that simple. Also, for the record: if you buy a Chablis, you also buy a Burgundy. Chablis is a sub-region of Burgundy.

I don't give a damn where it was made. I would say most people who drink them don't know or care either.

Some of us haven't ruined their taste buds with bad beers and ketchup sauce, so we do care. Where the wine was produced makes a lot of difference to the taste. If you can't tell the difference, please go back to drinking Budweiser.

I'm told by a French friend who is a wine buff that the Aussie wines he can buy are superior to French wines (seriously), so this makes the whole thing sound like a ploy to recapture an ailing market.

There is no such thing as "superior", either way. There is such as thing as "different". Then it's a matter of taste. Australia, California, Chile, Algeria all make very good wines. They just aren't Burgundy, or Champagne. Would you expect a "Scotch Whisky" to come from Polland? Obviously no. It doesn't preclude Japanese to make great Single Malt Whiskies. They just don't make Scotch Whiskies. Think of it as a trademark, shared by all the producers from one geographic region. You can't buy a Macintosh from Hewlett-Packard, can you? So why should you be able to buy a Burgundy from someone that isn't located in the region of Burgundy, and therefore doesn't share in the trademark?

Open Source

Submission + - New GPGPU Standard Takes On "Crappy" CUDA (

An anonymous reader writes: Compiler developer PathScale has just unveiled a new GPGPU (general purpose GPU) programming model, which it reckons will do a much more efficient job than Nvidia's own CUDA technology. Teaming up with CAPS, a developer of software tools for many-core architectures, PathScale has now introduced a compiler suite called ENZO that uses CAPS' Hybrid Multicore Parallel Programming (HMPP) model. PathScale's CTO Christopher Bergstrom explained that "Nvidia are still pushing their antiquated — dare I say crappy — CUDA programming model, which is highly explicit and very expensive for people who write large bodies of code." However, he says that PathScale and CAPS will "make a new evolution possible in the GPGPU programming model that has been long overdue." Although the system is designed specifically for Nvidia GPUs, Bergstrom says that Nvidia was not involved in the development process. "It's just a situation where we think we can build something better than them," he says, "and basically kick their ass and push open source.”

Avatars To Have Business Dress Codes By 2013 221

nk497 writes "With businesses increasingly using digital tech like virtual worlds and Twitter, their staff will have to be given guidelines on how they 'dress' their avatars, according to analysts. 'As the use of virtual environments for business purposes grows, enterprises need to understand how employees are using avatars in ways that might affect the enterprise or the enterprise's reputation,' said James Lundy, managing vice president at Gartner, in a statement. 'We advise establishing codes of behavior that apply in any circumstance when an employee is acting as a company representative, whether in a real or virtual environment.'"

Comment Re:1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes (Score 1) 711

And how many MB can you address with a 32-bit pointer under the IEEE recommendations?

1) I don't know...

2) It doesn't [censored] matter!

3) It's exactly 4 GiB, or 4096 MiB, how hard is that?

4) I don't use 32 bits pointer anymore anyway.

See, it's very easy: just add a little 'i' in there, and it works exactly like before, just unambiguously.

Over 300 posts and counting, and all because people can't type 'i' to make sure there's no possible mistake... The world is doomed, I tell you, doomed! :-)

Comment Re:Tilting at windmills (Score 1) 711

(sigh) No. The maximum available memory was measured in Megabytes, then Gigabytes. It was always base 2.

Well, not at first, 'cause a megabyte (of whatever size) of memory didn't exist yet.

Second, it was wrong but easy. It's still wrong and for memory, it's still easy. That's what it's still in use for memory, and is being ditched from everywhere else.

The main problem was that the binary prefix came too late. Old habits die hard. But as AA proves, it's possible to ditch a bad habit if you really want to. It's a matter of willpower. Yes we can, if I may so bold as to say so.

(for the record, I have been involve in computing since before Bill Gates informed us that 640 Kilobytes should be more than anyone will ever need, so I actually was there as all this unfolded)

And the fact that you're the new kid on the block is important because...?

Comment Re:Computers(base-2) are not People(base-10) (Score 1) 711

Because our computers, almost since their earliest inception, work in base-2 arithmetic.

And this matters because...? The SI prefix are used to denotes quantity. Except for the total size of semi-conductor memory (and sub-elements thereof), those quantities are usually completely unrelated to power of 2.

Disk sizes are not a power of 2. Files stored on them are even more arbitrary in size. Same for memory requirements of various codes. Heck, once upon a time, HPC programs would overallocate arrays to avoid power of 2 allocation (multiple of the page size wrecked havoc on direct-mapped caches)!

Frequency are not power of 2. Your 3 GHz processors runs at 3*1000^3 Hz (well, probably not very precisely :-), not 3.22*1000^3 HZ. Same goes for the (directly related) bandwidth. Latency doesn't even come close.

Heck, these days, even memory buses are moving away from strict power of 2: GTX 275 have a 448 bits-wide memory bus, Core i7's can be described as 192 bits.

And for the few cases where it matters (usually not end-user visible) that's what the freaking/frelling/rutting/smegging/[pick you favorite SciFi show euphemism] binary units are for !

(I'm not going to try to make sense from the rest of your post, because I can't see how the number of bits in a bytes is related to the discussion in any way).

Comment Re:customer enlightenment and its drawbacks (Score 4, Informative) 711

Uh.. the inch is technically an SI unit. It is defined as exactly 2.54 cm.

No, it's not. SI uses the metre for length measurement, and nothing else. You can alter it with the various prefixes, and there's is only one thousand meters in a kilometre, not twenty-four more.

The "inch" from the United States customary units is defined as 2.54 centimetres, but it doesn't make it part of the SI..

Comment Re:Tilting at windmills (Score 1) 711

That's just plain wrong. If my laptop has 3 Gigabytes of RAM in it, there had sure as hell better be 2^30 individually addressable locations. If there are only 10^9 addresses, they ripped me of by ((2^30) - (10^9))


Your laptop doesn't have 3 Gigabytes. It has 3 Gibibytes. That's 3221225472 bytes, or a bit more than 3.22 Gigabytes. Think of it that way: you got 7.37% more memory than you paid for. You ripped them off! Happy now?

The fact that both the salesdrones and the buyers are ignorant doesn't change the definition of "Giga" and "Gibi".

So far, only the hard drive manufacturers have catched up. When will the "3.22 gigabytes of memory!" advertisements show up?

Comment Re:customer enlightenment and its drawbacks (Score 0) 711

The lasting ambiguity for hard drives has perhaps been less a matter of computer science than one of marketing. (The pervasiveness of inch measurements is a heavy hint at uninterest in SI.)

Actually, people who use the metric system outweigh people using imperial by a wide margin. In my entourage, nobody except for geeks knows how long an inch is. As you can guess, I don't live in the US. As for the marketing: yes, marketdroids will do anything to sell. We all know that. But when "anything" becomes "make use of an established international standard", how can we protest?

And C.S. is at fault there. Why did it hijack prefixes to make them mean something else? It was stupid from the beginning. For Kilo I can understand, the error is small ; but from Mega onward, it was just plain laziness. That's why I try to use binary prefixes these days. Atonement :-)

Obligatory old timer anecdote: remember those "1.2MB" and "1.44MB" floppy disk? Worst of them all: the megabytes here were neither 1024^2 nor 10^6, but 1024*10^3, as in 1200 KiB and 1440 KiB.

Comment Tilting at windmills (Score 5, Informative) 711

The SI prefixes have been around for nearly 5 decades, and have a specific meaning used by everybody. Every scientist uses them in one way or another, and for every last one of of them, they have the same meaning.

Why can't we, the C.S. people, accept that?

Giga is 10^9. It has been 10^9 since it was created. It was never, ever meant to be anything but 10^9.

If you want to talk about 1024^3, then it's Gibi. Gibi is 2^30 since it was created. It was never, ever meant to be anything but 2^30.

Get over it.

(and yes, I try to always use GiB whenever it's appropriate).

Comment Re:Legal? (Score 1) 310

> I originally thought this was breaking 18 U.S.C. Chapter 119, 2510 to 2522 (?), but no.

Sorry, completely irrelevant: I didn't notice it's Bell Canada, so U.S. laws don't matter.

I have no doubt there's some US ISP doing the same thing :-(

Comment Re:Legal? (Score 1) 310


I originally thought this was breaking 18 U.S.C. Chapter 119, 2510 to 2522 (?), but no.

*IF* they only alter the answer of their own DNS servers to their clients, when the client has made a request to said DNS servers, then they're probably in the clear. There is two communications: one from the client (C) to the Bell server (B), then one from B to the authoritative server (S). S then answer NXDOMAIN to B, which then returns a completely different information to C. So they're not intercepting anything.

OTOH, *IF* they hijack all the port 53 requests to the outside world (which I doubt), then it's very likely 2511(1)(a) and (d) applies. They still could argue under 2511(2)(a)(i) that it's "necessary"...

Then again, IANAL.

OTOH, even if it's legal, it's still absolutely wrong.

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