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Comment I prefer to think of inventions as discoveries (Score 2) 417

I think part of the problem is that a lot of inventions are really just the next logical step from current systems, and especially when you have a lot of independent groups working in similar areas, the chance of inventing something truly unique is quite low. One of the problems with the patent system, I think, is that it affords the first "inventor" an enormous advantage over everyone else who might also come up with the same idea independently.

I'm not saying there aren't often genuine inventions and patent worthy things, but a lot of stuff that is just an iteration beyond what went before isn't really an invention...

Comment Re:Laptops are the wrong form factor for touch (Score 3, Insightful) 398

When I am demonstrating something to her I can lean over her shoulder and touch the screen, which is fantastic.

Personally, I hate it when someone touches my screen and leaving behind smeary fingerprints when they're trying to point to something. It can only get worse If they actually get to control my system by doing that...

That said, there are occasions when it'd be handy, but it's not something I'd want the majority of the time.

Comment Re:Another idiot buying into the bitcoin scam. (Score 1) 347

There's never been a form of currency that the government didn't hstorically start watering down as soon as they has a spending problem. There was a time when British shillings, depsite being silver coins in principle, were so bad they would actually rust. Actual gold might hold value, but gold-based currency has a very long track record of doing nothing to prevent a government from diluting the currency.

Maybe the US government, but historically European governments have issued bonds to raise capital, although this has the unfortunate consequence that a substantial portion of all future taxes just goes to pay the interest on previously issued bonds. It's only relatively recently that "quantative easing" has been seen as a viable option by governments over here, but even then it's reserved for emergencies because if overused it would inevitably result in massive currency devaluation and then hyperinflation.

Supercomputing

Submission + - Building the world's seventh fastest supercomputer (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "On Monday, the world's seventh fastest supercomputer went live in Texas. Stampede is a Dell PowerEdge C8220 cluster packed with Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors: it has more than 6,000 compute nodes, more than 96,000 processing cores and 205TB of memory, for close to ten petaflops of peak performance. Built by the Texas Advanced Computing Center, it took two years to develop and will serve the needs of open science research. PC Pro sat down with TACC's director Jay Boisseau to find out what goes into building a supercomputer like Stampede, how everything is paid for, what can go wrong — and what happens to supercomputers when they retire."

Comment Not a random spike (Score 1) 535

Premature celebration much?

....

Trends show that it's just a random spike in C's index, which is pretty much gone now.

It doesn't look like a "random spike to me" - quite the contrary - the trend graph appears to show that C's popularity has hardly changed in the last decade

I think it's significant that lower powered devices such as Arduinos are starting to become more popular, and C is the natural if not the only choice for a lot of these types of chips.

Submission + - End of PSTN equipment and all IP phones by 2018? (arstechnica.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica reports that " “The telephone network is obsolete”: Get ready for the all-IP telco
AT&T wants to get rid of obsolete PSTN equipment, and those pesky FCC rules."

Security

Submission + - Computer scientists find vulnerabilities in Cisco VoIP phones (scienceblog.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Columbia University researchers say they've found serious vulnerabilities in Cisco VoIPtelephones, devices used around the world by a broad range of networked organizations from governments to banks to major corporations, and beyond. Specifically, they found security breaches with Cisco’s underlying VoIP phone technology and showed how to insert malicious code into any of the 14 Cisco Unified IP Phone models to start eavesdropping on private conversations—not just on the phone but also in the phone’s surroundings—from anywhere in the world.

Comment Re:You don't (Score 1) 683

My suggestion is to change his code and comment it as much as possible. Sometimes people don't get the point and if you have to live with their mess, do yourself a favor and fix it. I do this everyday, fix other people's code, mumble to myself and then move on.

DO NOT DO THIS. Seriously, whether you like their coding style or not, there's better things you can be doing - for example your own work. But reformatting someone else's code (or even worse, restructuring it) can make it impossible for them if they're still working on the code and need to merge their code back in to what you've turned it in to, or for them to fix bugs in that code later on.

There's also the very strong likelihood that you won't actually understand all the subtleties of the code and you'll break something in the process. I remember a junior programmer doing this at a previous company who refactored and reformatted the code of a colleague who was about 20 years older, so basically the same situation. The younger guy's check-in comment: "Refactored code to look nicer". The older guy's next check-in comment: "Refactored code back to working" (he reverted the entire changeset back to his version).

So, the upshot is that at best you're just going to make the other's guy's life harder, at worst you're going to break the code in the process.

Personally, my golden rule is to change the minimum possible with each check-in, unless the task is specifically to refactor or rewrite a big chunk of code. If that means temporarily abandoning your preferred code style to work in a style that's consistent with the code area you're working in, then do so. Of course, that's what coding standards are for - to try to ensure the style is uniform is the same across a project, but that's often not possible across language boundaries or on projects that have merged.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 4, Informative) 330

The OP states he only has linux in the house. I did this exact same thing a few years back, using abcde which is an interface to cdparanoia and cddb.

I set up an automounter script that automatically ran abcde when a CD disc is inserted. It reads the TOC in a couple of seconds and asks you to confirm the CDDB entries, which in most cases is just pressing enter twice. When it's finished it can even eject the disc for you. I'd literally just pop to the computer room every 10 minutes or so and just swap the disc and let it carry on. Probably about 10 seconds per disc.

Comment Re:You shouldn't have to mandate this (Score 1) 783

Find me one piece of credible, scientific evidence for creationism. Go ahead, I'll wait.

So far, people have put forth theories to try to shore up their belief in creationism, but there's precisely zero evidence for it.

Nice troll. By definition, there can't be scientific evidence for creationism. Science is about observing natural effects, testing hypotheses and turning them into a theory if they seem to be valid, and then finding evidence to prove or disprove them. If you manage to prove them, you then have a scientific fact. If you manage to prove them, you have a useless theory and try to come up with a new theory.

By definition, the creation story in the bible can never be tested. It's a story that explains some things we see, but doesn't attempt to explain other things. That you can't disprove it by science doesn't make it fact any more than not being able to prove it makes it wrong.

Science and religion deal with different areas of human endeavour. But you can't twist science to match what your religion tells you.

Exactly. However, neither should you turn unproven scientific theory into a religion, because that implies that you no longer have an open mind and looking for ways to scientifically test your theory. Remember, real scientists like disproving theories just as much as proving them, because the goal of science is to incease ones understanding of the observable world.

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