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Comment Re:Performance? (Score 1) 49

Your information is highly dated and perhaps your sources are also a bit biased. At any rate, 100x performance hit is stupid wrong.

Static translation was achieving 50-70% native performance rates (measured against clock cycles) with FX!32 on Windows NT for Alpha in the mid 90's. The problem of course has been very well studied since then particularly with the advent of virtualization and the x64 instruction set and the need to enhance the performance of x86 code running on even Intel's own platforms. Furthermore for any particularly glaring issues that are the fault of the hardware -- well it is much more easily tuned today than it once was. A bespoke opcode or extra register to assist in a specific task is no longer a monumental engineering undertaking today -- it is a matter mostly of dev/test/validate.

The approach taken with x64 to support x86 native execution is quite different than attacking the problem with emulation. Is there a performance hit? Certainly, but a hit of 10-20% simply doesnt make up for the fact that you might be able to have an 8 core ARM for the same price and power budget as a 2 core x86 mobile cpu. The applications that lose in this scenario are the ones the rely on raw single thread performance. Certainly some games are in this camp, but many games which make efficient use of threads are not.

Comment Hopeless battle (Score 1) 310

In-car systems such as this are a hopeless battle. There is absurd vendor lock-in because there are a whole of 2-3 companies who have built a technology base big enough to be able to offer a system that can be custom assembled for a particular year and model of car. This will then be deployed in about 100,000 cars at best and will never ever be updated or serviced after about 6 months unless there is a vehicle safety issue.

I'm not sure what the exact solution is, but in one way or another there needs to be a mandatory open standard to allow a 3rd party device to show information on vehicle displays, receive input from vehicle control interfaces (steering wheel buttons, touchscreens, etc) and interact with other auxillary systems. We have things like CarPlay and Android Auto, but despite manufactures pledging broad support, very few cars are actually being sold with such capability.

Submission + - How Wikipedia manages mental illness and suicide threats among its volunteers (

mirandakatz writes: Wikipedia has some 68,000 active editors, and as with any given population, some of those people experience mental illnesses or disorders. The online encyclopedia is adamant that "Wikipedia is not therapy!", a statement that some find alienating, and despite that disclaimer, the site has had to come up with ways to respond when a volunteer is in crisis. In this longform narrative, we hear the stories of volunteers who've undergone crises either directly or tangentially related to Wikipedia, and we learn how the website handles—or attempts to handle—those situations.

Comment NOBODY WILL EVEN READ THIS (Score 4, Informative) 99

I read the letter. Here's a Cliff's Notes for all you guys who don't read because why evenbother:

Some anonymous devs who are so addicted to github that they probably maintain their grocery list there wrote a letter with a bunch of feature requests. These users re mainly bitching about the fact that users of their own projects don't seem to be able to read or follow instructions. Naturally these people are smart enough and forward thinking enough that they have proposed a perfect solution which requires GitHub to do a shitload of work for free despite the fact that the problems will remain because the users still won't read. A surprising number of other developers clearly can't read or think either and as such signed off on this silliness. Naturally, these well meaning individuals posted all of this to yet another github repo despite the fact that there are many better places and formats to use.

Journalists have picked up the story and have jumped so some pretty wild conclusions, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that they really can't read either.

Comment Re: It's not the Earth's fault (Score 1) 291

This is actually how we do it now, except the chalk line is measured by looking at the angular positions of various celestial bodies. This measurement determines the length of a sidereal year. We have been able to make it fairly accurately for the last 50 years or so, and extremely accurately for the last ~60, enough to know that our planet's rotation has slightly slowed during that time. But what we don't know is exactly how long a sidereal year was, say 100 million years ago. Perhaps the earth used to spin around 366 times during its trip around the sun instead of the current 365.25? It's mass and orbital period also change enough on a geologic timescale to affect this. These are problems we know about, but are difficult to solve because we just don't have the data.

Comment Re: It's not the Earth's fault (Score 1) 291

This is not necessarily true. It largely depends on how the rotation of the Earth might change over the next hundreds of thousands of years. We have only been running with leap seconds for a bit over 30 years. And we have only had the ability to measure the orbital period accurately enough to worry about seconds for about 100-150 years. Just because we have always "lept forward" in the current system, we can also leap backward. There is simply not enough collected data to know how far "off" our definition of the second is with respect to the history of the earth nor how much "jitter" we are likely to experience with an unadjusted clock. It's entirely possible that the error would never accumulate enough to be a big societal issue. If we are able to determine the average length of a year over a large time span more accurately, it's quite probable that the easiest fix might actually be simply to redefine the second.

Submission + - Congressional Black Caucus Begs Apple for its 'Trade Secret' Racial Data

theodp writes: In Silicon Valley this week with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus to turn up the heat on the tech industry to hire more African Americans, Rep. Barbara Lee called on Apple and other holdouts among the nation's tech companies to release federal data on the diversity of their work forces. "If they believe in inclusion," said Lee, "they have to release the data so the public knows that they are being transparent and that they are committed to doing the right thing." Apple has refused to make public the EEO-1 data that it routinely supplies to the U.S. Dept. of Labor on the demographics of their workers. In the absence of the race and gender data, which Apple and others historically argued were 'trade secrets' that were not subject to release Freedom of Information requests, tech companies were free to make unchecked claims about their Black employee ranks (Google's 2007 Congressional testimony) until recent disclosures revealed otherwise, and the National Science Foundation was even convinced to redirect NSF grant money specifically earmarked for getting African American boys into the computer science pipeline to a PR campaign for high school girls of all colors and economic backgrounds.

Comment Re:Slashdot you are no better (Score 1) 474

Oh just you wait, it will eventually be subjected to the slow burial. I guess I should not have said 'censored' since .. well the editors weren't actually removing content right? They were instead being extremely selective in which articles got through and how that would affect the context of the story. What SF does is not right; it's contrary to the entire purpose of the site. The chinese blocked it ages ago. Maybe their great firewall deserves more credit than we give it /sarcasm

Comment Slashdot you are no better (Score 3, Informative) 474

I have been around here a long time.

I can honestly say that I am dissapointed to see /. post gloating over a row brewing on another community site while at the same time censoring discussion and posts related to the recent and ongoing Sourceforge controversy. Choosing which subs stay and which go is going to upset a small but vocal set of users. They would be stupid not to know this.

In the case of Sourceforge, I think it's much worse to sell out and betry the trust of an entire community. But let's not talk about it!

Comment JBIG2 (Score 1) 290

I haven't even read this article and I know the culprit exactly: JBIG2.

The compression algorithm operates on binary (2 color) images and has two modes, a lossless mode which is sort of like the love child of RLE and JPEG and a higher compression mode which operates by running the lossless blocks through a comparison routine and discarding and replacing any blocks that are sufficiently similar with references to the first copy. It's actually a good algorithm, but you have to understand how it works to implement it properly. When you have a perfect storm of certain fonts (especially small ones where a glyph can fit perfectly inside a block), have some noise in the bitonal images and have the compression threshold too high you can get some real zingers.. 9, 6, 0, 3, and 8 can all easily get muddled up, not to mention what happens to letters like e o c etc. The key to the whole thing is having good algorithms that can produce quality bitonal images from poor originals and scanning at sufficient resolution (or lowering the compression threshold enough) that blocks cannot hold an entire glyph.

As to why the copier is using the lossy mode of JBIG2 internally is mystery, especially in the "copy" pipeline. I can think of no good reason that it should use anything other than the lossless mode or uncompressed data.

Comment Re:Interesting (Score 2) 239

I'm curious why you like that interview so much; reading that is when I realized that that dude is nothing more than a talking head. Why do you think he needed the Internet to do commentary for Iron Chef America? IIRC he not only got a question about cooking with lava completely wrong, but he insulted the person asking as a way to avoid answering it. When Google failed him, he just bailed.

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