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Comment Re:Good Idea (Score 1) 43

Bug-Fixing before release/update of any software is always a good idea, be it open source or in properitery software. So I am glad that Linus decided to wait to fix the update before pushing it out.

I think the NVMe issue is a showstopper, which is why they're taking time to fix it. If anyone isn't familiar, NVMe is an SSD attached to the PCIe bus - given we've already maxed out SATA3. NVMe bests that with the newest SSDs pushing 2GB/sec+ in reads and 1GB/sec+ in writes (SATA3 was limited to 540MB/sec, which is why all SSDs pretty much tested at that level).

It sounds like it could be a catastrophic bug and the last thing anyone wants is a kernel release that kills user data

Comment Re:-facepalm- (Score 1) 105

map the bottom ocean currents in the area.

This point probably need some amplification. For example, how finely do you need to know the currents - on a 10km-grid or 100 times as much work on a 1km grid. Acquiring submarine data like that is not as simple as you seem to think. Just as a starter, how does your mapping device in the water know it's location? Does it assume (incorrectly) that it is directly below some surface device?

Nudge one slightly to create an upwelling(s) of colder water.

This point certainly need some considerable amplification. A good start would be, has anyone ever successfully "nudged" a submarine current in any direction, let alone in a direction against the influence of gravity?

I'm not surprised you ticked the "Anonymous" box.

Comment Re:Baddly worded summary (Score 1) 101

Intel makes a motherboard, and they will probably again make RAM- that's the closest to the full package, but they didn't have a motherboard that would do what I wanted.

What is that profoundly intrusive network management framework that Intel have been building into their ROMs and motherboards for a number of years? You really wanted to play that game?

Comment Re:Common issue: Finding the most negative respons (Score 1) 216

1) One possible solution: All countries could support ReactOS [reactos.org] so that the Windows OS can be eliminated.
2) No company should be allowed to have a virtual monopoly!

Replace one monopolist with another. Sounds great.

File formats and interfaces are what need to be demonopolised, not particular commodity applications.

Comment Re:If he gets busted... (Score 1) 88

Self-defense is not retribution. Third-party defense is always considered valid when a threat is imminent.

All the data we have shows that devices that are vulnerable to Mirai, et. al. will become Mirai bots in a short amount of time, and will begin attacking third-party Internet infrastructure.

If somebody can show the above claim to be false, please do so, showing reason and evidence.

But in many jurisdictions there can be limits to what you can claim as self-defense. For example, shooting a burglar running away will actually land you with manslaughter or attempted manslaughter charges in quite a few places. The response has to be measured and not excessive.

So depending on where you are, a vulnerable IoT device that getws bricked without being a part of a botnet might be seen as an excessive response, especially if you can do a more measured one instead (e.g., disable routing so it cannot get on the internet, or simply disabling it with a warning). Destroying it or bricking it may be seen as excessive. Now, if it was participating in the botnet, then maybe bricking it can be seen as an appropriate response.

Comment Re: They simply remember your UDID (Score 2) 113

They're adding functionality that Apple refuses to do. If you cheat in a Steam game, your device and account gets banned. On iOS, apparently, you just uninstall and reinstall and then you can fraudlently order cars all over again.

Actually Apple had that ability. The removed it in iOS7 because developers were abusing it for... tracking purposes. They were sending the device unique IDs to advertisers and giving advertisers a per-device view into everything - location information (if allowed), system information, etc.

Apple removed the ability to get that information because it was abused - they now present different forms of unique IDs to apps for various purposes. They have an advertising ID, resettable on user's command and a few others. It is no longer possible to track an individual device because users privacy was being compromised.

So it's not likely it's coming back - developers have shown they cannot be trusted with it.

And if Steam can ban an email and user from their network, so can Uber. Of course, I'm presuming you need an Uber account in order to hail a taxi from them, because they need to charge your credit card for the trip, then there are plenty of ways to track that. Unless a freshly installed Uber only needs a credit card, but I'm sure Uber can track those as well.

And if Uber is using iTunes account balances, then they easy way is to just stop doing that.

Comment Re:It depends on the use (Score 4, Interesting) 404

I don't disagree with your assessment. However, if your assessment is valid, then a functional language is still going to be quite foreign to someone who has only been taught object-oriented programming. I agree that we can go deep down the rabbit hole with OOP as well. The minimal interface that has been extracted from the science behind OOP and introduced to programmers in general is a mere shadow of the works of folks like Barbara Liskov.

FP has yet to have this generational winnowing. It is still fresh and academic. We can build people up to understand this, or we can pull these concepts down to their most basic versions that are still useful. I suspect that both will have to happen before the industry can meet in the middle with FP. We are seeing this happen already as mainstream languages are adopting bits and pieces of functional concepts. I think it's more likely that we will see functional applications of OOP, such as in languages like Scala, than OOP superseded by FP. That's okay. There are already plenty of examples of non-mutable objects with copy-on-write semantics. We are seeing functions treated more and more like first-class objects. There are examples of the FP-as-style movement taking off.

I believe that we should teach higher math in high school and even as a requirement for engineering or information systems disciplines. Currently, most universities top out bachelor degree seeking students specializing in these disciplines to calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra if they are lucky. It would be nice to see abstract algebra and some category theory taught as well. When I advise people genuinely interested in pursuing software development as a career, I strongly recommend that they minor in mathematics so they can have the opportunity to take these more advanced classes.

That being said, there's nothing that prevents people from studying this for self-improvement. Learning either or both OOP and FP will fundamentally change the way that one organizes software. I'd love to see high school kids exposed to these concepts and the mathematics behind them. Then again, I'd also love to see high school kids taught how to build their own CPUs from 74-series logic ICs. Understanding the theory of computation at an intuitive level will do incalculable good for most of these kids through the rest of their careers. If I were to teach a class to high school level students, it would be along this line. I can guarantee that they will never look at a computer, embedded device, or "smart" device the same way again.

Comment It depends on the use (Score 5, Insightful) 404

Functional programming languages like Haskell, ML, and Gallina can be very beautiful. The problem is that they have a steep learning curve that has less to do with the syntax of the language and more to do with the semantics. If one is well versed in category theory or has spent a significant amount of time working with functor spaces, monoids, and monads, then it's much easier to understand a non-trivial application written in Haskell than the equivalent object hierarchy in an object-oriented language. The up-front cost is greater in terms of study and learning the semantics, but the end result is significantly more powerful.

I love functional programming. I went from C++ to Haskell and C as my go-to languages for personal projects. However, in my professional work, I tend to factor long-term language popularity into my decisions. So, I'm more inclined to use languages like Java, C#, Go, Python, and Ruby when I'm paid to write software. I have to consider the total cost of ownership in my professional work, and part of that cost is finding people to maintain it years from now.

I think that FP has an elegance that makes it a worthy model, and I hope that some day, FP becomes more popular than OOP. But, I'm old enough to understand that technical superiority rarely wins out to popularity. Popularity matters. This sort of calculus is one of the reasons why FP has not gained much traction despite all of the buzz.

Comment Re:Thought Experiment (Score 1) 170

I was out walking today through a forest that was originally planted

Was it used for that purpose? The fact that it's still there suggests not.

I carefully used the word "originally" when I originally wrote that. Not because I expected your response, but it suffices.

You seem to be thinking that the trees I was walking amongst were the ones that were planted in the 1300s? No - they had been harvested one at a time, according to their individual shape and size and the lumber needed for a particular ship, from around 200 to 450 years after planting. In each gap left by each harvested tree, others were planted according to the needs of that century while continuing to serve the needs of centuries past. That century's trees were local use as the re-forestation efforts of the 14th century had relieved the military's shortages, and changed ship building techniques reduced the need for particular shapes of lumber. Without the drive of legislation, the new plantings were changed from oak to the more useful (locally) ash and elm. At least, that's what the owner's tax and payment records tell the historians. Those smaller trees were managed by "coppicing" (check your local forester's dialect for their word) with the trees in a continuous state of replenishment from then until the woodland fell out of use in the early 1900s. (There are a few dozen larger uncoppiced trees ; no one knows why they were treated differently. But they change the ecology of the forest considerably.)

Most (not all, "most") coppiced broadleaved forests in the country were grubbed out and replaced with imported conifer species for clear-felling on a 1-2 century cycle during the last century, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the great pit-prop crisis of Word War 1. Which is precisely why this particular piece of woodland was saved from being grubbed out in the early 1970s (for arable, not forestry ; meh), to be used instead as a nature reserve. Then we had the nightmare of Dutch Elm Disease, which I grew up fighting to control in that wood, and which has now been replaced as a bogey-man by Ash Dieback. Fortunately, since we have a range of tree species in the wood, we can lose any one species without losing the woodland as a whole. That's judgement, not luck.

Forest management is a lot more complex than "see it, fell it, move on to the next mountain". Particularly if you don't have a next mountain to move on to.

Comment Re: Lots of children have the wrong DNA. (Score 1) 266

It seemes very reasonable to suggest that

any concept supported by claims as strong as "It seemes very reasonable to suggest that ..." is screaming out to be tested, because if there's one thing we know about people, it's that people are very good at fooling other people. That is why the professions of "confidence trickster" and "politician" exist.

Where I'd look for data would be cases where the volition of the (putative) parents isn't involved in selecting the children to be tested - when checking siblings (cousins, IIRC going further out isn't much better than random chance) as organ or particularly bone marrow donors for a victim.

Good luck getting your proposal to access such data past the ethics committee.

Comment Showing my age (Score 1) 624

Earliest language (high school): BASIC, operating on a time-shared (Honeywell?) minicomputer using punch-tape program storage and a teletype for input / output.

Earliest college language: FORTRAN on a time-shared CDC Cyber. Initially wrote software using a teletype on IBM punchcards, then stood in line to pick up my output from a high-speed line printer. It was quite the thrill the first time I was able to sit down at a VDT and type / run / save my software using a video interface.

Earliest application programming as an engineer: REXX and APL. Three guesses who I was working for. I still look back fondly at APL; it put you in a very different mindset while programming, as opposed to standard structured languages.

Comment Re:Credit nuclear plus fake carbon accounting (Score 1) 206

The small home wood heating systems are toxic to everyone near by so that won't be lasting long. Studies are showing that moderate levels of PM2.5 smog is a major health problem and excessively deadly

Wood isn't 100% renewable in most cases. If you remove a bunch of trees, there is a very good chance that the total mass of trees that grow back will be smaller. In places with heavy deforestation, the amount of trees that can grow back may only be 50% of what was logged in the 1st round.

Trees are delicately balanced bags of water. Their height and mass is related to how much wind other trees can protect them from along with hundreds of millions of years of evolution optimizing their density. It is an example of applied use of fractals.

Comment Re:Sail Problems (Score 1) 170

In either case, the solar wind and the sun's gravity can alter the trajectory of the sails.

The influence of other star's gravity is calculable. (Unless there's something gravitating and dark out there.) The influence of interstellar winds ... is a fair question. So you send your first few probes off to see how they behave. It's not as if they'll contain anything you're more emotionaly attached to than some bits of wiring and (maybe) an AI.

The Oort cloud also requires consideration. If the sails are not punctured by the particles in the Oort cloud, impacts of those particles on the sails will decelerate them.

In the days before the first probes to Jupiter, exactly the same concerns were raised about going through the Asteroid Belt. We've not had a probe damaged out of - is it about a dozen that have gone through? We have every reason to expect the Oort Cloud to be more diffuse. In either case, suck it and see. Send probes out. Once you've built the lunching lasers (or while you're building them), the incremental cost of each launch is going to be pretty small.

If the sails are punctured, they will become useless in decelerating the sensors when the target star is approached.

They don't work like wind sails. Yes, you'd lose some efficiency. The triangle bounded by the three nearest shroud anchor points would limit the damage. A factor to include in your sail design, certainly. But not a show-stopper.

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