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Comment Re:Pascal v/s C (Score 1) 487

Me too but I don't think the problem was Pascal so much, as how it was taught.

In my Pascal class (typical for its time), pointers were taught as an abstract concept.

When I started learning C, a pointer was just an address in RAM. THAT was way easier for me to wrap my head around. Doing pointer arithmetic nailed the idea down.

After that, pointers made sense to me in both languages.

Comment Tight Code Matters, elsewhere. (Score 1) 487

When it comes to desktops, laptops and even small sets of servers, I'm agreeing. BUT I'd posit tight code matters now MORE than it did then; it just doesn't matter so much in desktops (or laptops and even newish smart phones) much any more. There are a lot of price-sensitive micro-controller devices in this world. It can also matter, perversely, in really large server farms. If you need to update 10,000 machines, it's nice if the update is relatively small. As for efficiency: if you can get by with 9,000 machines instead of 10,00 machines...that's an optimization worth doing.

Comment This is the 2nd Color Restoration of a Doctor Who (Score 1) 171

This is at least the 2nd time the BBC restored a B&W Doctor Who episode to color [sic]. The first was by combining an early color videotape recording (by a fan in Texas for the color) and the B&W film for the image itself. They just superimposed the fuzzy chroma on the film image. The result was surprisingly sharp and colorful (but then I watch NTSC standard definition so I ain't picky). They had to adjust the picture shape just a tad because the VHS image wasn't an exact match for the film. *sic: Since the color tape was from a U.S. fan, I spelled it the U.S. way.
Security

Submission + - Error re-routes all of the Internet through China (abc.net.au)

gold928s writes: This could have been a configuration error, but more likely it was an intentional act dressed up as an error. Every "route advertisement" on the Internet is affected by every other "route advertisement" and it looks like the Chinese telecoms company accidently put out some "false" routes.

Submission + - New Imaging Method Reveals Brain Connections

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, applying a state-of-the-art imaging system to brain-tissue samples from mice, have been able to quickly and accurately locate and count the myriad connections between nerve cells in unprecedented detail, as well as to capture and catalog those connections' surprising variety. A typical healthy human brain contains about 200 billion nerve cells, or neurons, linked to one another via hundreds of trillions of tiny contacts called synapses. It is at these synapses that an electrical impulse traveling along one neuron is relayed to another, either enhancing or inhibiting the likelihood that the second nerve will fire an impulse of its own. One neuron may make as many as tens of thousands of synaptic contacts with other neurons, said Stephen Smith, PhD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of a paper describing the study, to be published Nov. 18 in Neuron.

Submission + - Bacteria Fight to the Death for Resources

An anonymous reader writes: Like all organisms, bacteria must compete for resources to survive, even if it means a fight to the death. New research led by scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and the University of California, Santa Barbara, describes new complexities in the close chemical combat waged among bacteria. And the findings from this microscopic war zone may have implications for human health and survival.

Comment Re:Yes, even if it kills me (Score 1) 561

I find it a bit depressing that this is considered insightful and so this may be a little snarky.

In most of the world, most of the time, being smart is a survival advantage for oneself and ones children. Not necessarily formal education is a survival advantage but they are nowhere near the same thing.

Smarts as a survival advantage may provide more advantage in extreme environments than Sweden but even in Sweden; someone reasonably smart in a socially acceptable way is way more likely to reproduce than someone who isn't and their children are more likely to thrive.

Comment Re:why no AM as well? Radio Interference! (Score 1) 579

I've seen some mighty tiny AM radios; sometimes using the case and that big bag of saltwater holding it as an antenna. What I haven't seen is a wide-band AM transmitter crammed into the same cubic centimeter as an AM receiver. Digital devices tend to produce a lot of RF that AM radios pick up. The way AM picks up stray signals is the reason FM was developed.

Back in the day (before computer sound hardware) the most common technique to produce "music" (more of a pitched buzzing) with a computer was to take advantage of various loops producing pitches you could hear on an AM radio. It was also used for diagnostics; I could sometimes hear the system go off the rails (Gad I am old).

Comment Google hidden and Not-so-hidden Innovation (Score 2) 378

The one that got me was "some mapping software" (Mashups are game-changing for anyone dealing with physical tracking of anything....you know, like all the commerce in the real world?

Not to mention the multiple innovations in dealing with and indexing obscene amounts of data in the back end. mSQL just isn't going to cut it, you know? That's impressed me beyond words: The back end has radically changed and it just keeps working.

The redundancy and failover are stunning and I don't think you get that without innovation.

The exact implementations may not leak out but the rough ideas do and we all benefit from that. Hadoop anyone?

Image

Southwest Adds 'Mechanical Difficulties' To Act Of God List 223

War, earthquakes, and broken washers are all unavoidable events for which a carrier should not be liable if travel is delayed according to Southwest Airlines. Southwest quietly updated their act of God list a few weeks ago to include mechanical problems with the other horrors of an angry travel god. From the article: "Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst based in Port Washington, NY, called it 'surprising' that Southwest, which has a reputation for stellar customer service, would make a change that puts passengers at a legal disadvantage if an aircraft breakdown delays their travel. Keeping a fleet mechanically sound 'is certainly within the control of any airline,' Mann said. 'Putting mechanical issues in the same category as an act of God — I don't think that's what God intended.'"
Image

Open Sarcasm Fighting Copyrighted Punctuation 155

pinkushun writes "SarcMark is a copyrighted punctuation mark, that claims 'It's time that sarcasm is treated equally!' Pretty damn cheeky while they're charging for their software, which only inserts their punctuation through a hotkey. Open Sarcasm is destroying SarcMark by advocating a new punctuation mark (not displaying here properly — alt+U0161) as the new open and free sarcasm symbol. Either way, this will be one interesting turnout. With bad unicode support across the web, displaying the characters properly might be an issue. PS Left out sarcastic end sentence as Slashdot doesn't display the U0161 character."
Security

Submission + - Google Gives Microsoft 5 Days to Fix XP Zero-Day (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: Google engineer Tavis Ormandy published attack code on Thursday that exploits a zero-day vulnerability in Windows XP. Security experts objected to the way he disclosed the bug — just five days after it was reported to Microsoft — and said the move is more evidence of the ongoing, and increasingly public, war between the two giants. Microsoft said it is investigating the vulnerability and would have more information on its next steps later on Thursday. Researchers at French security vendor Vulpen Security confirmed that Ormandy's proof-of-concept works as advertised on Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and SP3 machines running Internet Explorer 7 or IE8. Ormandy said he decided to go public because of its severity, and, 'If I had reported the ... issue without a working exploit, I would have been ignored.' He also slammed the concept of 'responsible disclosure,' a term that Microsoft and others apply to bug reports submitted privately, giving developers time to patch before the information is publicly released. Microsoft took Ormandy to task for giving it less than a week to deal with his report. And Microsoft was not the only one. Robert Hansen, CEO of SecTheory, chastised Google for claiming that the company abides by responsible disclosure when its security researchers do not. 'Their researchers are going off half-cocked,' said Hansen, who deplored Ormandy's quick publication. 'It just doesn't add up.'

Submission + - Motorola to launch 2GHz Android phone in 2010 (knowyourcell.com)

rocket97 writes: Yesterday, at the Executives Club of Chicago, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha reportedly decided to chat about the relatively near future of the mobile landscape as he sees it — which, in part, includes the ultimate demise of mobile computers in favor of highly-capable smartphones.

This being his vision, Jha discussed Motorola's plans for a smartphone with an astounding 2GHz processor — by the end of this year.

While Jha wasn't feeling frisky enough to divulge any further information, Conceivably Tech cites another anonymous MOTOEXEC who was a little more chatty, talking up a device intended to "incorporate everything that is technologically possible in a smartphone today."

Comment Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

Amendments 13-15 (no slavery, citizenship rights, race not a bar to voting) are EXTREMELY special cases and not a good example for your case.

They were passed soon after a full-out war by the single party in power with the CSA politically out of the picture. Once the former confederate rejoined the federal government fully; the 15th amendment was ignored for almost a century.

So, YES the constitution was amended (yay) but it took a full-out war to do it and there was a lot of backsliding afterward.

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