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Comment What constitutes a "real" name? (Score 2) 283

What constitutes a "real" name? Take a look at Sun Yat-Sen, for example. Which one do you think is THE real name? The original name? Baby name? Genealogy name? Courtesy name? School name? Eventually, Sun Yat-Sen was famed in China because of the pseudoname he used in Japan. And Yat-Sen itself is a school name.

Comment GUIMiner is most likely optimized for AMD cards (Score 1) 403

The performance of GPU-based codes is highly dependent on the video cards. I highly doubt the dismal performance of NVIDIA cards. I think the authors most likely optimized the kernel code to AMD cards. This is evident when you look at the CL kernel code and you see that there are so many hardwired constants and fixed arrays (aligned to 128 ints or longs). Moreover, the authors GUIMiner don't seem to take advantage of NVIDIA's more local workthreads (compared to AMD's).

I'd say that declaring AMD a victor is premature.


Submission + - Best Buy geeked off by NewEGG's "GEEK ON" (

GuruBuckaroo writes: Best Buy apparently didn't take well to's new TV commercial with its dead-on depiction of what it decided was a "slovenly and uninformed" Geek Squad employee, prompting a cease-and-desist letter targeting both the ad and NewEgg's new "GEEK ON" branding. Predictably, NewEgg does not concur.

Comment Re:Not going to happen (Score 1) 104

Does "agile" software development allow scrapping 100% of the code and radically change the spec (and thereby everything else) every about 6 months just because of new scientific publication? It may sound extreme, but this often happen in research. If we take time to "structure" our code, before we know it, we have to redo it all over again. We do use libraries like GSL, BLAS, ATLAS, etc. to make our lives easier. These won't change, but whatever we build on top of these often get scrapped at regular basis. So, we really don't have incentives to "beautify" the code.

Comment Not going to happen (Score 5, Insightful) 104

Not only that most researchers are not proficient in programming language, they shape their codes more like prototypes so that they can modify the codes easily as the science progress. Conventional programmers will be frustrated with this approach since they want every single spec set in stone, which will never happen in research setting since research progresses very rapidly and specs can change dramatically in most cases. If you can set the spec in stone, it is usually a sign that the field has matured and is getting transitioned to engineering-type problems. Once the transition happens, it's no longer research, it's engineering. Then you can "make the code better".

The Internet

Submission + - FTP is 40 years old (

An anonymous reader writes: FTP celebrates its 40th birthday tomorrow. Originally launched as the RFC 114 specification, which was published on 16 April 1971, FTP is arguably even more important today than when it was born. Frank Kenney, vice president of global strategy for US managed file transfer company Ipswitch, said that the protocol we know as FTP today is ‘a far cry from when Abhay Bushan, a student at MIT, wrote the original specifications for FTP.’

According to Kenney, the standard has grown from ‘a simple protocol to copy files over a TCP-based network [to] a sophisticated, integrated model that provides control, visibility, compliance and security in a variety of environments, including the cloud.’


Submission + - National Broadband Map Shows Digital Divide

Hugh Pickens writes writes: PC Magazine reports that the Commerce Department has unveiled a national broadband inventory map, which will allow the public to see where high-speed Internet is available throughout the country. Users can search by address, view data on a map, or use other interactive tools to compare broadband across various geographies, such as states, counties or congressional districts. Commerce officials say the information can help businesses decide if they want to move to a certain location, based on broadband availability. The map costing about $200 million and financed through the 2009 Recovery Act shows that 5-10 percent of Americans lack broadband access at speeds that support a basic set of applications. Another 36 percent lack access to wireless service. Community anchor institutions like schools and libraries are also "largely underserved," the data finds and two-thirds of surveyed schools subscribe to speeds lower than 25 Mbps and only 4 percent of libraries subsribe to speeds greater than 25 Mbps. "The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy," says Larry Strickling, assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). "We are pleased to see the increase in broadband adoption last year, particularly in light of the difficult economic environment, but a digital divide remains."

Submission + - Survey: IT pros cheating more, tattling more ( 1

Julie188 writes: Incidents of cheating on IT certifications are on the rise, a trend that experts say is an outward sign of the desperation felt by out-of-work and under-employed IT professionals. In a survey of 200 IT professionals on IT Ethics conducted by Network World, 58% said they felt that using "braindump" training materials was unethical yet 72% of respondents think that IT professionals use braindump materials on a regular-to-frequent basis. And 12% have directly witnessed someone cheating on a certification exam. Also interestingly: the survey reports that cheating on software licenses is equally rampant. But whistleblowing by IT pros on their company's license abuses is also on the rise. IT pros are getting fed up with being forced to violate licenses (and their own ethics) by business managers.

Comment Re:Exams in other cultures (Score 2) 210

In Ancient China, imperial exam was literally game-changing. The stake is high; it was virtually the only way peasants could become noblemen. Therefore, people did whatever it took to be successful. This system was copied and adapted to some degree in ancient Japan, Korea, or Vietnam. Hence similar attitude also pervades in these countries.

Comment Re:Not necessarily popular with the Chinese, eithe (Score 1) 535

I think you should learn a bit into Chinese language and characters to understand how indispensable the characters really is. Consider English example of "bat", "bet", "bad", "bed", which are voiced very similarly. If spoken by non-native speakers with heavy accent, these words may be confused with "pat", "pet", or "pad". (Even in English, some accent-heavy people pronounce "pen" and "pin" identically!) A Chinese analog would disambiguate with "baseball bat" instead of just "bat" and so on. The problem is that such situation is much worse in Chinese than in English and it occurs even in daily use. This is why that most words are represented by two characters. Note that the pairing does not introduce new characters and thereby not adding to the "grinding". It's just adding new complexity to the language. Reading newspapers would require only about 4,000 characters (out of about 100K total) with about 300 tone-syllable combinations, giving about 13 of each left for disambiguation. Knowing about 2K is enough for daily conversation. Mind you these are still common use, including in formal signs or speeches. This is NOT uncommon as you've claimed.

Also, in Chinese, using more refined characters would show your erudition, politeness, or even social status. Politeness can mean everything for Chinese. So, you see, language isn't restricted for informational purposes only. It can also convey mood, politeness, formality, etc.

Note that new words are formed by juxtaposing two or more characters in an unusual way. With each character giving its individual meaning, the people could guess the meaning of the new word. If the people are deprived of the character and, say, have to read the pinyin, the meaning wouldn't be as obvious. Example: Xi3 yi1 = laundry becomes xi3 yi1 ji1 = washing machine. If the people don't know the characters, the meaning of xiyiji isn't immediately obvious. This fact makes Chinese language very intuitive and even facilitates learning. Children in China cope with this complexity pretty well. Their literacy rate is 97% in 2010.

The barrier of entry is as much as East Asian people learning English. Chinese and English are two completely different languages. For East Asian people, such barrier isn't as much, akin to the barrier of entry for learning French for English-speaking people.

Therefore, Chinese characters are indispensable.

Comment Re:Is C++ ever the right tool for the job? (Score 1) 509

Yes. C++ (and Java) are indispensable for scientific software. In scientific software, the spec is ever changing as the science progresses and hence the flexibility to morph the programs as needed and maintainability are of paramount importance. On the other hand, we need the speed.

Some of these can be resolved by invoking ready-made C libraries and then called in higher level languages such as Python or R or Matlab. However, in many occasions, this luxury isn't available (e.g., Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations or custom EM algorithm).

Comment Re:Not necessarily popular with the Chinese, eithe (Score 1) 535

If you look at the wiki URL I cited, you'll immediately notice the problem. Chinese language IS a very terse and highly economical language with many symbols, sounds, and tones. In speech, people *disambiguate* words by pairing the words with "word-complements" (I don't know what they're called) to achieve the intended meaning. HOWEVER, the pairings are limited to daily use. Even then, there are still ambiguities. Take, for example, the word "shishi" in Pinyin. You get 23 matches. Even if you add tones, you STILL have ambiguities. If you look at the word list, they're not rare, right? If I say (in Pinyin) "shi4shi4 nan2 liao4", what does it mean? Is it "affairs of the world are hard to guess"? Or "everything is hard to guess"? Or "the state of the affair is hard to guess"? Or "affair of this world is hard to abandon"? In this situation, people disambiguate even further by putting in more "word-complements". Note that the phrase is a common complaint! It is so context specific.

Also, languages are NOT limited to spoken language. How about poems? Stories? Formalities? Jokes? Puns? If the words are written, especially in poems or terse narrative, they can be paired in almost every way and can create a very very powerful poem or narrative. Or puns! Oh man! There are so many puns based on this very fact.

Now, can you say that Chinese character is dispensable again?

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