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Comment Re:No programmers' typeface (Score 1) 175

Where I find the problem is in randomly generated passwords.

Yes. KeePassXs "exclude lookalike characters" when generating is really useful. I doesn't drop that many bits, and for most situations I can just make the PW a bit longer if it's a concern.

Trying to type a "random" generated password with lookalikes is an exercise in futility.

Comment Re:He is right though (Score 1) 150

Word! I remember working (way back when) with a crypto co-processor that was fast. However, the bus(es) were so slow that we outperformed it by doing the crypto in SW on the main CPU instead... :)

Granted, the co-processor wasn't helped by not having enough storage/state to amortise the cost of key setup over multiple packets, we had to re-schedule the key with every bit of data sent to it. But hey in marketing I changed that to "Perfect key agility! Our competitors don't have that!" No, but that's because we were always "slow", i.e. we didn't reap any benefits from encrypting several packets with the same key... :)

Even so. It drove home the old truth that general programmable hardware is often faster than specialised. Even though that's slowly changing, there are still pitfalls in "GPU everything".

Comment Re: Proof her perf evaluations weren't fair (Score 1) 566

...vaccines for things like chicken pox...

And that's actually a good example. Here in Sweden were we don't really have "anti vaxers" (well there are a few imports from the US) and vaccination rates are very high, we don't actually have the chicken pox vaccine on the general schedule. Its right at the edge of what's considered medically beneficial.

In fact the argument for its inclusion is economical, it would save society money from parents not having to be home with sick kids. But since we don't recommend vaccination on those grounds, it stays off the "mandatory" list.

Instead the recommendation is that you should try and "infect" your kids the natural way, when they're young, and if that doesn't happen (or in the case of risk groups) then there's vaccination later in life.

So while there are clear benefits for most of the other childhood diseases, reasonable people can disagree on chicken pox.

But of course, if you have a lobbying supplier and regulatory capture, then the story changes...We, by and large, don't. At least not yet...

Comment Re:What the Idiotic Hell./ (Score 1) 401

Perhaps. The thing is, there are people who have been programming in C since they were 11, and they are 30 now. Basically no one has that depth of experience in a rare language like Erlang.

Erlang has been in use at Ericsson since 1987... So I'd say that there's some experience with it.

But that doesn't matter much. Its experience with the application domain that's critical. Erlang helps there as it was built to support building large, fault tolerant, soft realtime systems the way they should be built according to the experiences from having done just that. (On a huge scale, and with decades of experience.) Not that it matters much. Converting a good programmer to Erlang only takes a couple of days/weeks. That's our experience at least.

Now, we're in violent agreement that "C is simple and fast but lacks many of the abstractions needed to build a complex system efficiently", but then you talk GUIs. That's not a "complex system". That may be a small part of one, but that's about it. (We typically did ours in Java, as it was only a hundred thousand lines or so, and pretty straight forward with no special requirements).

The point being that 'C' lacking higher abstractions is a feature, not a bug. That leads you to do the right thing, which is to relegate 'C' to small well defined tasks, and use a proper tool for programming-in-the-large.

Now, when it comes to games, C++ has so much support so that's probably the only realistic tool for that. But games aren't exactly very complex either.

Comment Re:What the Idiotic Hell./ (Score 1) 401

1. More popular languages you can find less expensive developers for...(or more total developer talent for a given amount of money)

Which isn't necessarily a good thing. There's a huge difference between good and bad programmers, and the more popular 'x' is, the greater opportunity for the signal to drown in the noise. Relatively fewer good applicants.

I've for instance heard that one reason Standard Chartered Bank is happy with their Haskell usage is that the quality of the applicants is so high. There's not a lot of weed to sift through. And I'm not surprised given who learns and uses Haskell.

4. More popular languages tend to be faster. Usually a shit ton faster. Java has gone from a bloated mess to a bloated mess that is often within spitting distance of C on performance shootouts. That's from the popularity spurring further development. C is almost always king of the hill and nothing is faster. Python? Rust? Whatever n00bs. Those languages may be nice to write complex code that only gets run occasionally but if you need high end performance they aren't going to cut it.

Micro benchmarks usually doesn't tell you that much about what the efficiency of a large application is going to be. Case in point, at Ericsson we routinely beat the performance of C/C++ on large scale projects with our own Erlang, even though Erlang didn't even have a compiler and was left in the dust on micro benchmarks. But as it fit the problem so much better it in practice became an issue of "doing the right thing somewhat slower" rather than "doing the wrong thing blazingly fast".

However, for the limited tasks where languages like 'C' shine, i.e. device drivers and similar low level task, i.e. limited in scope, well defined, and making the most out of specialised hardware (specialised hardware beats 'C' on a general purpose CPU every day of the week), there's no need to go to another language than 'C', as it's already there, the most mature, and well known. So, we'd use a combination of Erlang and C. It's not an either-or proposition. Trying to write the whole thing i Java, because it's "almost as fast as C" would be a complete exercise in futility...

Comment Re: I wouldn't have (Score 1) 125

96 bytes was a lot of data in the mid-80s. On a 1200 bps connection, that's almost an entire second per packet. When I was a college student in the early 90s, we had 2400 bps modems in the dialup pool, and the entire university (~3000 students) lived on a 56k leased line. Nowadays, that's trivial. In 1984, not so much.

OTOH we didn't run SLIP (PPP wasn't invented yet) over our 1200BPS/2400BPS modems, at least I don't know of anyone who did, except as a test. We ran terminal software to login to the university computers remotely. So address space wouldn't have impacted that much. In fact, where I was, TCP/IP didn't become a thing until we were connected to the internet proper. (1988), but of course YMMV.

That said, 16 bytes for an address would probably not have flown. But 6 I can sort of see.

Comment Re:Well, that's a start. (Score 1) 117

I am no authoritarian bootlicking servant. In 99% of police interactions if you comply with their instructions, you will not be injured or worse... Are the majority of police officers reasonable human beings? Yes.

99% is far too weak a standard here (and don't even get me started on "majority"). One in a thousand is also too much (due to the base rate fallacy, look it up). One in a hundred thousand is a safe conservative estimate.

So, you're about three orders of magnitude off...

Comment Re:Commercial "education" generally fails (Score 1) 334

Well, here in Sweden that has changed as well. Since the government wants more graduates in certain areas (engineering), for example, the number of seats have "exploded" in the last ten-twenty years. When I was an undergrad you had to be as near as dammit an A-student (well, 4.7-5.0 on a 1-5 scale normally distributed with a 3.0 average) to get in. Today you'll get in with a 'C' average (but you probably won't graduate!).

And if you didn't do too well in high school there are remedial classes available. If you chose the wrong "track" in high school and hence haven't studied prerequisites, then there's an extra year at university that lets you study that as a preparation.

But of course, it's in general, sort-of-kind-of a meritocracy. For the subjects with strong professional organisations, I'm looking at you in medicin, there hasn't been an increase in the number of spots, so you still need a perfect 'A' average to be admitted. (And with the increased focus on theory at the lower levels, girls now make up a majority overall, and are at 60% in medicin. Not engineering though...)

Comment Re:Why is Windows 10 the benchmark? (Score 1) 205

Yupp. Soft realtime is where it is. Even in telecoms we don't do any hard realtime if it can be avoided. It's specialised hardware (including co-processors) where that's required, but controlling it can be left to soft realtime systems. (I.e. Linux on a board).

The main thing in that case is instead reliability, but hard real time isn't required. As you say, that's for control systems, but even those tend to isolate into specific co-processors rather than rely on much in the way of an RTOS capabilities anyway. You're not going to run the weather radar software on spare cycles from your aileron control computer anyway. It's too important a task to be meddled with.

Comment Re:Totally. (Score 1) 122

In short it's a trade off between your resources and the supposed resources of the attacker. Even though SO14 escorts "heads of state" they don't escort the US first lady, etc. they bring their own apparatus.

So, since SO14/Britain couldn't do what the US does, because it would be too disruptive and cost too much given the level of threat and resources, the US secret service can. They have both a higher threat to deal with, and the resource to do so.

It's the same as in the military. If you just want to know what's going on, sneaking a four man recon patrol in, using maximum stealth is the way to go. However, if you expect the enemy to be too thick on the ground for that (problem with small patrols is that they go missing all the time, and then what?), an armoured reconnaissance battalion is the way to go. So either go very small, or sufficiently large. If you can't cordon off the area and man the whole route, then go small and stealthy, trying not to give away anything. If you can, then you go whole hog, complete with barriers and "x" number of officers per yard of road travelled.

This of course also depends on your objective. If you check the SO14 film, it's a couple of cars. The presidential motorcade OTOH isn't that far off in size from an armoured reconnaissance battalion (well, company at least), so they have to behave like one. You couldn't bring that kind of mass of vehicles and people through on a contingency basis anyway, all traffic would grind to a halt, and the smallest fender bender ahead of you would make you a static target. So, you're basically forced to go the whole nine yards anyway, and hence you have to do it properly.

Comment Re:What about Slashdot? (Score 1) 382

I guess once you get to certain levels of government the "CYA" is deleting all of your e-mails.

Of course it is. At lower levels you need to preserve the evidence that you were actually told to do something by the higher-ups. This to ensure that you have their support when the shit hits the fan, rather than being an expedient way of getting the problem to go away, by being lead out in front of the bus.

Said higher-ups OTOH are the ones that actually give said orders. It's not in their interests to leave traces of them left, right and center as possible ammunition for your peers, i.e. the ones at the same level as you, that are out to weaken you, so they can be strengthened.

Hence, to be able to attack the those above you, you have to ally yourself with their enemies. There's really no other way. No-one else has the power to have your back. (Which of course explains why Snowden is in Russia. Where else on earth could he be?) Which is why such organisations value loyalty above all else. They couldn't function if they didn't.

Comment Re:Oh dear, poor SpaceX. (Score 1) 55

I seriously doubt that. Lauching might become cheaper but thats all.

And that's basically everything that has ever happened that took something from esoteric parlour trick to technology we can't live without.

E.g. it wasn't Gutenberg that ushered in the era of the printed word, it was the steam printing press. That enabled a whole new medium where words could be printed cheaply enough to be thrown away after just one reading. Whole new ball game.

Space launch is pretty much the same. What's holding us back today is cost. With lower cost many interesting things will happen. Whether cost can ever be brought down to levels that will enable a paradigm shift, that's of course still undecided, but 50% here and 50% there, before you know it, launch could become cheap.

But if you're not willing to settle for anything less than Star Trek (reactionless drive is pretty much that), then of course Musk won't be able to hold a candle to that.

Comment Re:Single payer system would avoid this problem (Score 1) 327

Untrue. In most countries the government is in charge of health care and they have a VERY easy way to regulate price gouging such as this. In any single payer system the national health service basically sets the price they are willing to pay and that's what it costs. End of story.

Yes, since I have several laying about I just looked up how much EpiPens cost here in Sweden. They're $100 for two (you can't buy them in singles). But medication for children is free (i.e. paid through the single payer health insurance system), and if you're an adult your maximum cost is capped at $250/year, with a 100% co-pay for your first purchases, which then gradually decreases until they reach zero at $250. (Cost of living is generally higher in Sweden than the US).

This is for the exact same drug, from the exact same manufacturer. And they seem to make money here as well. But since there's only one buyer that is free to import from the country where they can get the best price (and buy generics if they feel like it), they of course have some clout.

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