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Comment Simple (Score 3, Interesting) 142

Microsoft supported it, Google opposed it. What more proof do we need that this act is evil? Propably none and even if some then not much. Nevertheless the articles linked in this story even if not bad in content still may be quite hard to follow for anyone who hasn't got an opinion on this matter yet. You can find much more information in the Wikipedia article: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and even more in the articles linked in the references. I strongly recommend reading it all because otherwise we risk to draw uneducated conclusions from the aspects of this story that may seem obvious but actually are not that obvious for anyone educated in the intellectual property law. Some of the implications of that act would be rather scary so we really need to take some time to fully research the subject and unlike the Redmondmag, the so called "independent voice of the Microsoft IT community", the Wikipedia is actually worth reading.

Comment Performance (Score 1) 329

The main point is performance. Ryan Dahl wanted to write fast, scalable servers easily. We all know for years that threads don't scale but event loops do (see the second chart of memory consumption of apache vs nginx). Of course in order to have a highly concurrent evented server you can't use blocking system calls (which were a big mistake in my opinion to begin with - they are the only reason why you needed threads exposed at the application level for concurrency in the past). OK, so we want a portable, high performance, event-based, async-I/O, scalable, highly concurrent server. The obvious way to write such servers in a portable, OS-independent way was to write them in C using libraries like libev or libevent for event loops and libeio for non-blocking I/O. The result is great. But the problem is that it is not easy. C doesn't have lambdas, anonymous functions, closures or higher-order functions in a real sense, which all would make writing event handlers much easier. So Ryan was looking for a higher level language and found V8, the JavaScript virtual machine written by Google for Chrome. JavaScript has anonymous functions and closures. And V8 is fast. And also when you write JavaScript in the browser then you never use blocking function calls anyway, so people are already familiar with asynchronous I/O, events, callbacks, closures, futures and promises. Hell, you can even use Y combinators in JavaScript if you know your craft. Now, if only JavaScript had lazy evaluation and proper tail call optimization - maybe some day. Watch some talks by Ryan Dahl if you're interested and after 25 years in the field you should be. Oh, and Node doesn't have anything to do with the browser besides the V8 origins. It's all server-side. See the Wikipedia article on Node for more info and code examples. I'm glad that people who have been professionally programing for so many years are still willing to broaden their horizons. As I have written in the past it is not a universal property of programmers unfortunately. Have fun with new tools.

Comment Click (Score 1) 329

Out of curiosity I looked at your link to Node. Then at the explanation about what the project is. It fits in half a line: "evented I/O for v8 javascript" and I have no idea what that means, even after 25 years of pro programming.

Actually it says:

evented I/O for v8 javascript - Read more

Surely clicking one of those links would be faster than asking for it on Slashdot and waiting for an answer? When you click the "Read more" link that is not even half an inch from what you've quoted you can find a big "Resources for Newcomers" section with links to the wiki and the home page.

JavaScript is of course the programming language. V8 is its high-performance implementation developed by Google for Chrome. I/O means input/output and evented means that it is asynchronous I/O based on event loops. I think that after 25 years of pro programming you should know that, and if you don't then you should at least know how to follow the hyperlinks to find it out.

Fairly typical of undocumented open-source projects, unfortunately.

Well if the only place where you look for documentation is the title of the project on GitHub then yes, it is fairly typical.

Comment Node (Score 2) 329

I suggest diving into Node. It is written in a very competent way, it's fast, small, efficient, nicely documented, does the IO correctly so no messy blocking function calls and threads synchronization madness, and is pretty young so the code base is not too big for one person to understand. Thanks to npm it is also very easy to write modules that are small, clean and have minimum boilerplate code so it's not like writing Java. There is a lot of code to be written so you may find writing and publishing your own useful modules pretty soon. Good luck!

Comment Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (Score -1, Flamebait) 90

Before anyone has a knee-jerk reaction and says that it is bad because it's about nuclear power and genetically modified life forms, let me summarise for you the most important result of this research in the most straightforward way possible:

nuclear energy + genetic engineering + nanoparticles = clean planet

Now, if those so called environmentalist are really fighting for cleaner planet and healthy energy then they must support this technology. If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe. Anyone who is truly concerned about our environment must admit that there is no cleaner energy source then nuclear and using genetically modified microbes to clean up the nuclear waste is the last nail to the coffin of the opposition to the use of nuclear energy. I don't care about CO2 because this is what plants are breathing, and quite frankly I'd prefer having a little bit warmer climate, but I do care about polution and using clean, not necessarily renewable, energy sources is the answer to that problem.

This is an example of great research. I am proud that it was all done by a team of female researchers.

Comment Genetics (Score 3, Interesting) 157

I suggest diving into the synthetic biology movement. Take a look at the BioBricks Foundation. Search the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Maybe there is something missing that you might contribute. Join iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. It is a worldwide synthetic biology competition aimed mostly at undergraduate university and high school students. Some people there are doing amazing eco-friendly projects. And don't be scared by the recent anti-science hysteria. Genetic engineering in general and synthetic biology in particular is not as hard as people tend to think. It doesn't even has to be too serious. For example, in 2006 the MIT team engineered E. coli to produce a wintergreen scent during exponential phase and a banana scent during stationary phase, known as the "banana-fart" bacteria. Some kids are engineering just amazing DNA to produce bacteria that help to digest pollution, or converts sunlight into energy that is easy to use. There is a lot to be done in synthetic biology and both BioBricks and iGEM are directed towards young people who want to experiment and collaborate, without the need to synthesise everything from scratch. You don't need sunlight to do that and you don't need expensive equipment any more. These days people are sending DNA by email and change it like it was just a computer program - which it is in a sense, but it is software that builds hardware. This is truly amazing stuff and I believe this the future of fixing our planet. We have to help mother nature. And this is the most optimal way to do it - from the ground up. iGEM and BioBricks is a great way for young students to dive into it.

Comment Battle? (Score 5, Insightful) 734

For at least 15 years I've been hearing that various postal services all over the world are "losing battle against e-mail age" while in fact that scary "e-mail age" (or Internet age, as I would call it) should be the best thing they should hope could possible happen. Never before in human history we were buying so many goods from remote locations all over the world to be delivered by ... postal services! And now they want an end to Saturday delivery? They should start Sunday delivery. They missed the opportunity to start the biggest online payment system in the world so they should at least focus on being the best at delivering good bought on the Internet, not being worse still.

The "proliferation of e-mail and online bill-paying services" should have been started by USPS because they already had the infrastructure to do that and the client base. If back in the nineties everyone paying bills at USPS were told that they could do the same faster, cheaper and more conveniently at then people would do that. The problem is not that the world is not friendly to postal services but that they don't want to change. They missed the train and now they want our help to survive. This has never worked in the long term before.

Comment Interesting results (Score 2) 167

I wouldn't call the results of this study so surprising as the Slashdot story describes. The biggest and most destructive patent exploitations that I remember were all done by big and formerly respectable companies, from Unisys and the Santa Cruz Operation in the old days to Apple today. Of course most of the patents were just stupid - I mean gif? Linux? Rectangle? Come on! Don't even remind me the "click" or "exclusive or" patents. But the harm to the industry is big in my opinion and the much more important conclusion that can be drawn from this research is not who is doing the harm, but to whom the harm is done, and for what reason. We have to answer one question: Do the patent system still stimulate innovation? Because if it doesn't then it is useless and should remain a relict of the past that may have been needed at some point but would never be used again, like slavery.

Comment Wow (Score 0, Flamebait) 129

Microsoft was helping to oppress innocent people by a totalitarian regime to get a chance to sabotage the Free Software movement? Wow. Just wow. This is low. Even for Microsoft. Is there anything that the richest man in the world won't do to get even richer? With all of that money he should be dating supermodels in Paris for the rest of his life but no, he prefers to help putting heroic individuals in jail for having guts to say what they think so that he could sell more of his precious licenses! How do such bastards sleep at night is completely beyond me. I won't repeat what I have already said about corporations that help to maintain dictatorships all over the world. I will only add that sabotaging the Free Software movement adds insult to the injury. We should all be outraged and never buy anything from Microsoft ever again. I call for a boycott of Microsoft until they explain themselves and repair the harm.

Comment Rumors (Score 5, Interesting) 70

Well, according to Wikipedia, HP's Office of Strategy and Technology has four main functions: (1) steering the company's $3.6 billion research and development investment, (2) fostering the development of the company's global technical community, (3) leading the company's strategy and corporate development efforts, and (4) performing worldwide corporate marketing activities. Under this office is HP Labs, the research arm of HP. Founded in 1966, HP Labs's function is to deliver new technologies and to create business opportunities that go beyond HP's current strategies. An example of recent HP Lab technology includes the Memory spot chip. HP IdeaLab further provides a web forum on early-state innovations to encourage open feedback from consumers and the development community.

It is hard to say at this point what could it mean to WebOS but I've heard rumors about some experiments with Android at HP. Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer on top of Android, just like Mac OS X did with UNIX. It may seem strange at first but after thinking about it for a while it could be the only way that HP could survive in the not so distant future after the Apple-Google war is over and still have original software advantage without the hassle to develop and maintain the entire operating system stack.

Comment In other news (Score 3, Insightful) 245

In other news, Verisign is trying to get non-stupid companies to pay to prevent their brands from being registered as sites. After all, what serious book publisher or university, for example, would want to have sites such as or floating around the Internet?

Comment Here we go again (Score 1) 152

I have written many times about it (here and here in just the last week) and usually my messages get ignored for some reason but the point is that it shouldn't be surprising at all that intelligence agencies are using false certificates just like I am not surprised that they are using false passports. This is the way such agencies work. They have been doing this since the Gutenberg and there is no reason they should stop now. If you don't like it then just use hard-coded certificates for the most important sites that you use and get over it.

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