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Comment Re:Many classes of non-human (Score 1) 115

It isn't useful on such a trivial example, but add in pointers...

int * func(char* a, char* b);
int *
func (char *a,
      char *b);

(or better elaborate examples I can't be assed to come up with for a /. comment) ... and the milliseconds and frustration saved in parsing function declarations starts to add up

Comment defected to Awesome (Score 1) 818

I've long been a KDE user, switched to it in the KDE 4.1 days and never understood why people were so unhappy about it. I found it to be slick and useful, despite the regular problems with the NetworkManager applet in Debian Unstable. I just used the Gnome applet instead, which fit without a hitch.

Last year, finally frustrated enough with juggling between the windows of my various terminals and editors, I chose to give a tiling window manager a good try, and spent some effort on the ill-named Awesome (seriously, how do you SEO that?).

Though it's certainly not aimed at Joe Six-Pack in that you actually have to edit the Lua-based config file to configure it yourself, I found it extremely powerful and perfectly suited to my needs. The "tag" system to organize your window is supreme in allowing me precise control over which windows to display.

I discovered that I didn't have a use for all the frills of Gnome and KDE, except for USB-key and Wifi network management which are both accessible from the CLI anyhow (see udisks and nmcli). ... does this mean I've turned into a greybeard?

Comment Re:Good Idea (Score 1) 127

I've been using CScope in Emacs for about a year (in fact, I added the entry to ascope.el on that wiki page you linked to), and I've recently switched to Semantic from CEDET and GNU Global.

Sadly, the Emacs Code Browser (ECB) linked to from the CEDET page seems to be broken for recent versions of Emacs and CEDET and unmaintained.

While I dislike Eclipse for bloat and difficult extensibility, I have yet to decide whether Emacs has caught up with it for code browsing.

Comment Strong Magnets! (but only transient) (Score 1) 166

I used to work next to the french Laboratoire National des Champs Magnétiques Intenses (Powerful Magnetic Field National Laboratory) and was lucky enough to visit it once during the yearly Science Day (why don't we have this in the US?).

They claimed they had the second most powerful magnets in the world, IIRC behind the Fermilab, at about 32T (again, IIRC). Note that this is a sustained magnetic field, not transient as the OP's record. (still, hitting 100T without destroying the magnet is one hell of a feat! Now if only we could find a source of power to sustain such a field...).

32T is extremely high, more powerful than any natural magnetic field on Earth (according to WP, the Earth's field is about 25uT at the equator to 65uT at the poles). The most powerful permanent magnets (rare-earth) can achieve a little under 1T, and good luck getting that magnet off a piece of steel. 32T is achieved only in a space about the size of 2 coke-cans at the center of a large cylindrical apparatus that is the concentric electromagnets. But even at such a strength, the fields we make are dwarfed by stellar and interstellar magnetic fields, that have been calculated to reach hundreds or thousands of Teslas.

Fun facts: they run the magnets at night, when power is significantly cheaper. They have big banks of capacitors and batteries for spare surge power. The (classical) electromagnets aren't built by spooling wire on a tube, because wire isn't thick enough the sustain the kind of current that goes through. Instead they take a thick copper tube that they slice in a spiral and insert an isolator in the spacing.

Their most powerful magnets were formed of a core superconducting electromagnet surrounded by standard electromagnets. The cost of superconducting materials is what prevent them from making more powerful stuff.

But despite all that, I'm still not sure what kind of experiments require such powerful magnetic fields. Such awesome engineering, so few applications...

Comment News isn't the soldering, but the OSS libraries (Score 4, Interesting) 240

The fact that they won't deliver in kit isn't news*, it's more interesting to know that they have HW-accelerated versions of MPEG4 and H.264 (and only those), and that all these libraries are closed source.

Furthermore, claims that they have the fastest mobile GPU are fluff: we only have the subjective word of someone who worked on it, not a neutral 3rd party, and it'll be caught up by someone else soon anyhow.

Finally, I'm going to advance that any complaints about the nvidia binary driver are going to be small fry compared to Broadcom's drivers.

*it's just not possible to hand-solder BGA packages. At best you'd need a reflow oven, and *that's* still tricky with the sizes involved here.

Comment Simtec "Entropy Key" also does quantum RNG (Score 4, Interesting) 326

A while back, the Simtec Entropy Key was making the rounds among Debian Devs, and claims to be exploiting quantum effects in the P-N junctions to be a true RNG.

They seem serious and I tend to trust paranoid Debian developers' opinions, but ultimately I don't have enough knowledge myself to make a confident judgment call. I'd be curious about more opinions.

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Math is like love -- a simple idea but it can get complicated. -- R. Drabek