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Comment Re:Talk about a subset of a subset (Score 1) 61

If VR takes off you'll have plenty of other uses besides gaming. Scientific visualizations, vertical applications and whatnot. You'll want to support Linux as an OS just like NVIDIA supports it for GPGPU, workstations and embedded applications. That it gives Linux desktops 3D gaming ability is just a small bonus.

Comment Re:Artificial language limits (Score 1) 374

Any language that could replace C and assembler would need to be statically compiled. So for Java, C#, Python and so on you'd have to define a subset that does not require a runtime parser or standard library. And you'd need extensions (or a static module system) that allows you to add assembler for direct hardware access. And a new compiler that can generate static code instead of the intermediate VM they target now. Not impossible by any means and probably a fairly interesting exercise too, but the languages would end up rather different and more restricted than the full versions people are used to.

Rather, I expect and hope that something like Rust will eventually supplant these languages in this space. Rust gives you the best of both worlds, with a statically compiled binaries and good memory safety at compile time, rather than runtime. You pay for it by having to be much more explicit about ownership than in these languages though. I've followed that project for a good while and it's clear that targeting small embedded systems is a struggle even for such a language; Java and friends would be much more difficult still.

Comment Re:Artificial language limits (Score 1) 374

FORTH is the rare language that tends to be even more memory efficient than C. The runtime interpreter is truly minimal (really just following a bunch of jump tables); you can have a small environment and application code in less than 8K.

On the other hand - and I say this as someone who likes FORTH a lot - you'd be hard pressed to find people claiming that FORTH is any higher-level (or easier to develop in) than C or assembler.

On the third hand - and off-topic here - it's quite a fun little language to use. Just like you can say that Scheme is programming directly in an AST, using FORTH is writing code directly for a stack machine. It's probably good for you to have a bit of experience even if you never do anything "real" with it.

Comment Re:They said the same about mobile (Score 3, Informative) 374

The high-level VMs and the drivers to drive the specific hardware isn't developed by magical Low-Level Elves in Happy Rainbow Fairly Land. Every IoT device is going to have their oen special hardware stuff, and somebody needs to write the low-level code to interface with it. That is done in a combination of C and assembler.

Also, at volume the price difference between a MCU that can run a VM and one that can not will be on the order of tens of cents (either currency). If you plan to make on the order of a million devices, then 20 cents per unit will more than pay for a programmer that knows to use the small MCU over a Java hack that does not.

Comment Re:Well, no shit! (Score 1) 328

I still even have a 10.6 workstation because the scanner software for my film scanner I have is PowerPC.

Vuescan works OK and is available for OSX, Windows and Linux. It supports a huge range of scanners old and new. I've been using it for many years and I can say it gives quality results, while the UI is at least no worse than other scanner software (not a high bar to clear, of course). And since it's cross-platform it's one less thing to lock you in to any specific system.

Comment Re:Maybe voice activation is overrated? (Score 2) 210

BTW, the part about knowing who's going to use the door and who isn't is probably doable with cameras and enough processing power.

It is possible, and it has been built. A couple of colleagues in Sweden did just that for one manufacturer, more than fifteen years ago. The idea was to reduce the amount of heat lost from unnecessary door openings in winter, and to a lesser extent from cooling losses in summer.

It would recognize who was aiming for the door versus those that just walked past. It wasn't fooled by dogs or kids (would open for kids, but not dogs) or things like suitcases or prams. During development they built a version that would only open if you did the Vulcan hand sign thing.

But it was too expensive. Automatic doors are not a high-margin business - there's many competitors - and the actual savings did not make up for the higher price. The actual energy losses are pretty minimal for most shops, and door openings are usually not in error. Those that have a real problem with it tend to use revolving or double doors already.

Also, it didn't help that the shops might have needed permission to mount what is effectively a camera pointing out on the street.

Today the hardware would be cheaper, and cameras are far more acceptable. But from what I heard customer interest would still be small.

Comment Re:Shudder. (Score 1) 189

That's all fine and dandy until the day comes at MSFT stops maintaining the WSL subsystem and/or lets subtle incompatibilities creep in.

Bring it up with Microsoft? What do Windows app developers do when Wine doesn't run their application correctly?

How does it compare to offering a build linked against the Cygwin library?

Zero extra work and no need for a separate box or VM, and a Windows licence, to test the build.

Comment Re:Shudder. (Score 4, Insightful) 189

Sounds horrible to me. Why bother?

Not sure what MS' motivation is, but it's good news for a lot of scientific software developers. Small teams or single researchers rarely have enough time to even keep the main development going, never mind keeping up with multiple OS targets. With this everybody can simply focus on Linux, and tell Windows users to just run it under the Linux layer and stop asking about a native port.

Comment Re:So basically (Score 1) 119

This is why when strangers photograph me, I flip them the bird, not a peace sign. Then they don't get my fingerprint, since it is not facing them.

Most parts of your skin has distinctive, unique patterns. You can get a unique print from your elbow, wrist, knuckles, knees... And you tend to leave such marks around too, if less commonly than fingers.

Comment Re:Sigh. (Score 1) 119

Finger prints are fine for identification, not verification. They're your username, not your password. If you do use them like that they are not dangerous.

But of course nobody does; US, Japan and other countries all use fingerprints to verify the password identity for instance. And as a result they catch multiple people here in Japan every year that entered the country with fake fingerprints. And since they just catch people that happen to get arrested for some other reason, it probably means there's hundreds entering the country using other peoples' ID and fingerprints each year.

Comment Re:First rule of journalism. (Score 2) 240

The only real option, baring some fundamental breakthrough [...] is massively more and simpler cores

The problem with that approach is that most problems are not infinitely paralleliseable, and some important problems fundamentally do not parallelise at all. You rapidly hit diminishing returns for more cores, and that's before you consider that you need to go beyond a shared-memory architecture beyond a dozen cores or so.

The newest generation of supercomputers already have big problems finding jobs that actually use all the hardware, and for the next generation people have more or less thrown their hands in the air already and say that except for a few very specialized workloads, the machines will be shared systems, not used for single jobs at a time.

Comment Re:Better be ready to be beat up when layed off wo (Score 1) 541

It's time to start thinking about how a society which want a social safety net can incentivize people people to not have children they can't afford.

Because we have such a problem with criminal lawlessness and uncontrolled breeding among trust-fund kids?

You already have a segment of people with, effectively, no need to ever provide for themselves. They don't seem to be causing any more trouble overall than anybody else, and most of them seem to manage to find something worthwhile to do with their lives.

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