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Comment Re:sunset mode (Score 3, Informative) 113

No, that is a serious thing. Colour temperature of the ambient light around you affects with your day-night cycle. We are made to respond to the sun's light which is colder in the morning (to wake you up) and warmer in the evening (which helps you sleep).
When the primary light source is your computer/device screen then that is what affects you the most.

This has been covered several times before here on Slashdot. Some that are easy to find.
Can Blocking Blue Light Help Bipolar Disorder As Well as Sleep Issues?
Microsoft To Add Flux Like Night Mode In Windows 10, Rendering 3rd-Party App's Existence Useless

However, I think that the change should not be abrupt but be gradual to better cohere with the sun's natural cycle. But I suspect that they chose to make it a special mode so as not to interfere with colour accuracy during work time.

Myself, I wish that I could also get LED bulbs that changed colour temperature gradually depending on the time of day, and that they wouldn't be expensive and hackable (Like Phillips ... ). I live in the North where some winter days are darker than summer nights, and thus artificial light is important all day.

Comment Paris-London is a stupid choice (Score 1) 87

There is already an electric train between Paris and London that takes between 2:16 and 3 hours + 30 min checkin time: The Eurostar through the channel tunnel.

As a rule of thumb, any train journey faster than five hours is faster from city-centre to city-centre than getting on a plane.
That is because there is so much time overhead before and after the actual plane ride - most of all, the journey to and from the airports.
The only benefit for taking this plane would be if you would change to another plane at the airport or if your actual destination is not in the city proper but closer to the airport.

Comment Re:Not the point (Score 1) 212

Not really. Audio quality peaked about twenty years ago.
A nth-generation screening copy of a film has practically the same resolution as digital 2K (about 1080p), and 2K is still the norm among projectors out there.

And during these years, theatres have been "upgraded" to show stereoscopic "3D", often with the "Real D" system.
However, with "Real D" you get less than half the light intensity of a 2D movie and worse: cross-talk between the left and right eyes. And then there are the artefacts that are inherent in stereoscopic 3D: fast action becomes a blur, gimmicky 3D effects in movies (yes, in 2017 we still have those) and also cinematography has to be simpler to work in 3D - which diminishes the art. And that is if you are one of the lucky 80% that are able to watch stereoscopic images, and watch them without getting a headache.
Therefore, You can not say that "Real D" has good image quality.

Then most showings are in 3D, so that you would have to pay more for worse image quality to see the movie. The only alternative for 2D is often a small shoebox-sized theatre some way out of town that does not have good audio.

Also, Real D is not compatible with the more brighter types of screens out there because of the need to avoid light scattering, so screens have had to be downgraded.
And this means that when 2D movies are screened, they are screened on these same duller screens that are inferior to the ones that were used twenty years ago.

Yes, in the recent years Laser-IMAX has emerged, and that one is properly bright. There is however the so-called "Lie-Max" that is labeled IMAX but is basically what I have talked about above and you should not confuse the two.
Laser-IMAX has the only 3D tech out there in real theatres that has decent image quality ... but the screen is closer to the audience than in regular threatres, so you have to make sure to get a seat right in the middle of the theatre or else you would have to watch it from a skewed angle. The screen's aspect ratio is also smaller, which means that some movies are shown zoomed in.
That is if there is a Laser-IMAX theatre in your area at all, and you think you can spend two-three times the price of a normal ticket...

Comment I could write a book (Score 1) 299

I could write a book about one boss I have had, because there are so many crazy stories about him. And yes, I have seriously considered doing that.

He was the designer of the company's product, he was micromanaging everything so that nothing significant happened unless he himself was involved, he was a compulsive liar ... and he was an alcoholic.
He spent most of his days at an outdoor table at the local bar just outside the office, where he held "meetings". He even had people hired mostly to be his entourage, so that he would have some company to drink with and tell stories to.
At lunchtime, you had to be very careful not to walk too close to the bar (which was almost just outside the office door) or you would be called over ... to spend the rest of the day there and forced to listen to his stories.

Eventually, he was fired after having crashed a meeting with a client that had led us to lose our contract with them. He had been drunk and told a lofty tale which included how he had supposedly killed a guy ...
The company had of course consisted of mostly air ... so when he left, the company was downsized from a multinational company to a handful of people and it changed focus.
Weirdly... the company survived thanks to the devotion of its programmers, it rose and fell under yet another idiot after another, but that is another story.

Comment Re:Better have security in there somewhere... (Score 1) 65

Bluetooth headphones are single-use devices, not designed to run arbitrary code. They may have a processor in them, in form of a DSP or a small microcontroller - but which has its firmware locked.

Smartwatches are supposed to run arbitrary code, and to get software updates over Bluetooth - That is what makes them smartwatches.

Comment Crippled Ryzen 7 (Score 4, Informative) 173

Unfortunately, it seem as if these 6-core and 4-core Ryzen 5 CPUs are only going to be eight-core Ryzen 7 CPUs with cores disabled in both compute-complexes.

The R5 1600X and 1600 are going to have one core disabled per compute-complex (CCX): 3+3. This was expected.
However, surprisingly, AMD has told Anandtech and Ars Technica that the R5 1500X and likely also the R5 1400 are going to have two cores disabled per CCX: giving it a 2+2 config.

When clock and IPC have been taken into account, Ryzen's biggest performance bottleneck compared to Intel has been shown to be when threads on different CCX'es are accessing the same memory. Each CCX has its own L3 cache and there is an interconnect between the CCX'es L3 caches which while being slower than a single shared L3 cache is somewhat faster than going to main memory ... but the L3 caches are only victim caches to each core's L2 cache - and therefore not necessarily caching the entire working set.

This means that the 1500X and 1400 are going to be slower on many workloads than on a hypothetical Zen CPU with one single four-core CCX.

It is believed that this bottleneck is the reason behind relatively low Ryzen 1800X/1700X/1700 scores in many games - compared to Intel (even when clock speed and IPC have been taken into account).
(Curious enough, this is also a known issue among programmers for the XBox One and PS4 - both having AMD CPUs with a similar setup, but apparently it didn't really occur to game programmers that AMD would have a go at retaking the desktop?)


Ask Slashdot: How Do You Make Novice Programmers More Professional? 347

Slashdot reader peetm describes himself as a software engineer, programmer, lecturer, and old man. But how can he teach the next generation how to code more professionally? I have to put together a three-hour (maximum) workshop for novice programmers -- people with mostly no formal training and who are probably flying by the seat of their pants (and quite possibly dangerous in doing so). I want to encourage them to think more as a professional developer would. Ideally, I want to give them some sort of practicals to do to articulate and demonstrate this, rather than just "present" stuff on best practices... If you were putting this together, what would you say and include?
This raises the question of not only what you'd teach -- whether it's variable naming, modular programming, test-driven development, or the importance of commenting -- but also how you'd teach it. So leave your best answers in the comments. How do you make novice programmers more professional?

Comment Mill Computing and Wintel (Score 3, Interesting) 474

For a long time, Intel and Microsoft Windows have rules the computing world. The platform has been at the bottom, Intel's instruction set architecture.
Intel leaped from 16-bit to 32-bit architecture and then from 32-bit to 64-bit but the basic execution model remains the same. Most of the advances that Intel have done from the Pentium onwards in the early '90s have been stopgaps to get as much out of the execution model, but still being limited by it.

There are other processors out there, DSPs, that are much faster than x86 at specialized tasks by making them pipelined and parallel. GPUs could be seen as massively parallel DSPs.
But raw computing power is not the problem. The problem is to run general-purpose code well - and general-purpose code has many branches between code paths and that can't be parallelized.

A company called Mill Computing is working on a general-purpose CPU architecture inspired by DSPs and from what they think that the Intel IA-64 (Itanium) should have been.
By being vastly different in several significant ways from x86, they claim to be able to achieve a significantly higher performance per watt and performance per clock overall than Intel and AMD's x86.

Comment Re:Natl. Cancer Institute's Explanation (Score 1) 237

There are some newer finds than what are referenced (directly or indirectly) in that Fact Sheet.

The most interesting is this one:
Tumor promotion by exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields below exposure limits for humans.
Alexander Lerchl et al. April 2015. Jacob's University, Bremen, Germany.

The thing that most people don't understand about cancer is that cells are turned into cancer cells quite often but that the human immune system usually is very good at identifying and killing microtumours before they start posing any threat.
You are more likely to have a few microtumours in your body right now than not.

What is shows in this paper is that while EMF is not ionizing radiation that would directly cause cells to become cancer cells, EMF at cell phone frequencies can promotes tumour growth - thus increasing the risk of microtumours growing past the threshold at which the immune system can kill them on its own.

The man leading this research - Alexander Lerchl - isn't a crackpot on the fringe somewhere. He has been a relatively public figure in the debate about EMF in Germany and has previous to these finds been quite adamant that cell phones would be completely harmless.

Comment Re:Why Are There No Huge Leaps Forward In CPU powe (Score 4, Informative) 474

Architecture-wise, Pascal was mostly an incremental upgrade to Maxwell.
The big difference from Maxwell to Pascal was a process upgrade from 28 nm to 16/14 nm which allowed the clock speed to bump 50% from around 1 GHz to around 1.5 GHz.
Couple that improved memory and a good balance of different types of units for the best performance in typical games of its time.

Comment Re:No surprise... (Score 1) 224

Indeed. I have been following the prices of the four-core Skylake i5 and i7.
In my local currency the price has risen by as much as 20% since last summer.
That is still 10% if currency fluctuations are taken into account.
No price drop when Kaby Lake was introduced, the prices have still risen.

Comment The real issue is ... (Score 1) 301

The real issue is that you are storing sensitive information on a device on which you don't have root.
If you don't have root then how could you trust your phone to keep that data safe in the first place?

Also, the sensitive info that authorities are after are your phone book, your call history and your photos.
The phone should be configured to not store those on the phone itself, either not store them at all to have them on a secure server somewhere.

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