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Comment Booting computers with switches (Score 2) 605

Early mainframes and minicomputers all had binary switches on their control consoles. The number of switches was typically the length of a hardware word. Each switch also had a light (incandescent, not LED) to show if the switch was on or off, i.e. one or zero. Some minicomputers in industrial applications didn't have any user interface except the switches and lights.

Loading the initial software on these kinds of systems often required setting the console switches to a specific pattern. On some of the early minicomputers the operator had to use the toggle switches to load a short binary program that would be the first stage of the boot sequence. Sometimes the next stage was loading a more complex boot code that was input from paper tape. Even with a disk attached the load sequence was power up the machine into a non-running state, toggle the low level boot into memory, load the paper tape, then press a button to start the machine. If it all went well the result was a prompt on the console TTY or VDT accompanied by a bell (TTY) or a beep (VDT).

The console switches could be read and the lights set in software. Sitting at the machine console an experienced operator could tell how busy the computer was by looking at the light pattern. In some desperate circumstances code could only be debugged by having test code that read the switches and set the lights as it ran.

In George Lukas's first full length move THX 1138 there is an IBM 7094 mainframe. It had lights that formed a grid that could hold a few letters. At one key point in the film just before the end, these lights spell the word "TILT".

Comment Re:Because it's a totalitarian government (Score 0) 87

Trump lies on a daily basis. Your "rebuttal" is completely meaningless because you are equating out and out falsehood with criticism. Even if the criticism is unfounded or nasty, the right to free speech is in the constitution. When Trump and his toadies in the Senate ban an elected official they are directly attacking the constitution.

Why don't you get off Slashdot and go over to Brightbart or Stormfront and hang out with the rest of your Nazi buddies?

Comment Re:Why link your name to Armenian genocide anyhow? (Score 0, Troll) 341

::Sarcasm ON:: And one guy in Montreal shot up a mosque and killed some people, therefor all right wingers are violent terrorists. Someone said that in a blog I read and I don't have a link to it., but it must be true. ::Sarcasm OFF::

What kind of asshat are you? Your assertion is at the two year old level: no facts, no logic, just babbling. But Trumpholes like you live in a fact and logic free world, so this kind of stupid is normal for you.

Get your head out of your ass. You, Trump, and the other infantile right wingers are messing with some really nasty crap, and there could be hell to pay. If it was only you morons who had to pay the bill I think it would be just fine, but you are going to screw up everyone, including me. That gets my attention.

I and a lot of other people are really pissed. At least one pole says that 40% of the voting public thinks Trump should be impeached. He's been in less then a month and he has alienated a significant percentage of the voting public. This goes way beyond the kind of disapproval that happens during any president's term.

Trump is a danger to himself and others. At some point, and it could be really soon, he is going to completely defy the constitution, and our entire political system will be imperiled. You and the other degenerate shitheads who put him into office will have to decide if you support the constitution or are out and out fascists. I expect the latter, and that could lead the country into the pit of hell. It that happens I know who to blame.

Comment Re:Doing it wrong? (Score 1) 600

Claiming "It's possible to write any traversal algorithm using loops, without any recursion." is incorrect for both trees and graphs. The closest you can come is to maintain a stack structure and manually push and pop data and control flow information on the stack. It's ugly, and recursion is much easier to code and debug. Having done it both ways, I can say that coding your own stacks and using loops is not easy.

Your reply has answered the final question I asked: it is possible to be a "coder" and not understand recursion or recursive data structures. If you had ever studied data structures in computer science you would know that just looping is not enough.

To be even more pedantic, there are some recursive data structures, such as the threaded binary tree that allow tree traversal without recursion. This works by replacing null links in the tree structure with pointers to the next node for a specific traversal order. This is more expensive to build or modify then a general binary tree, and making it in the first place uses recursion. If you want to know what other similar tricks like this you can pull, look at The Art of Computer Programming volume 1 chapter 2.3.

Comment Re:Doing it wrong? (Score 2) 600

Without recursion, data structures like trees or graphs are useless. Kind of a problem if you have a directory tree structure, or you want to follows URL links for web scraping. Just on that alone, I would assume the rest of the article is crap.

Does this horrible misrepresentation mean there are coders who don't realize that they are using a recursive algorithm? This lack of understanding could be a result of how some languages hide all the details of data structure implementation. Specifically, I'm thinking about Java. I saw a code example recently that was building a tree, but there were no obvious recursive calls anywhere. All the details were hidden in the data structure access interface. The way I knew what was going on was because "tree" was part of the object name.

Given how "high-level" a lot of programming has become, I have a bad feeling that someone could be a working programmer and still have no idea what their data structures do. So if they do see recursive algorithms, they would call it a "forgotten code construct". Is this possible?

Comment Re:You don't know what a free market is, do you? (Score 4, Interesting) 372

You are too young to for this to be part of your personal experience, but there once was a drug called Thalidomide. It was sold for morning sickness and caused severe birth defects. Thousands of infants died and tens of thousands were born with deformed limbs. This was in the mid 1950's and caused a massive change in how drugs were tested. Thalidomide is still used, but not by pregnant women.

More recently there are significant problems with metal on metal joint replacements. For some designs the failure rate is 75% to 100%. And this was after FDA approval was granted.

So is the requirement for government approval the "bureaucracy" you are talking about? If so, I'm sure you can find somewhere in the world where you can get a completely unregulated major medical procedure, say involving surgery. Before you go, just leave a contact address so we know where to send the condolences for your funeral. I, at least, would consider your demise to be suicide.

Comment Re:Impressive, but (Score 0) 149

Just how stupid are you? Do you actually know anyone doing research? Have you ever been in a research environment, either in the private sector or in academia? I doubt it, because if you had any direct experience you would know that researchers care a hell of a lot about "having to pay the bill."

In today's competitive environment there are two ways that academic researchers can advance their careers: producing research results that advance the state of the art AND doing research that leads to commercially viable results. In point of fact, it is very hard to get funding if there is no clear relationship between the research goals and practical applications.

So take you anti-intellectual bias back to where you live in your parents basement and stow it next to your resentment for people who do things that are meaningful. If you ever get that chip off your shoulder you might actually be able to make a contribution to society some day.

Submission + - A Case of Legalized Software Vulerability Exploitation? (cio.com)

Required Snark writes: CIO Magazine reports that a venture capital firm teamed up with a medical software security company to monetize a flaw they found in a medical device. The security company is MedSec, and the device is a pacemaker manufactured by St. Jude Medical. The venture capital firm is unnamed.

For better or worse, a security firm’s attempt to cash in on software bugs — by shorting a company’s stock and then publicizing the flaws — might have pioneered a new approach to vulnerability disclosure.

Last August, security company MedSec revealed it had found flaws in pacemakers and other healthcare products from St. Jude Medical, potentially putting patients at risk.

However, the controversy came over how MedSec sought to cash in on those bugs: it did so, by partnering with an investment firm to bet against St. Jude’s stock.

Is this a good development or another litigation nightmare that will consume resources and deter innovation? Given that companies find critical flaws and never disclose (or even fix) them, is the legal system and effecting stock values a reasonable remedy?

This is the first instance of clearly explosive trend. One security researcher said “Every single hedge fund has reached out to me.”

Comment Why listen to financial analysts at all? (Score 2) 232

Everyone here is acting like financial analysts are useful and/or accurate. Are you all stupid? Do you remember back to 2008?

Wake up: The job of financial analysts is to pump up the market by getting people to invest in it. It's not to give useful advice, or to be right, or to report the truth or anything related to the truth. They are part of the infotainment media segment and their target market is the greedy, fearful, foolish, and ignorant individual investor.

Analysts always say that the future is great.They may occasionally say that one company is less then stellar. They mostly do this to give the false impression that they know something. Of course there is the small contingent that says that everything is just a heartbeat away from going to hell, but they are just the mirror image of the "it's all swell" crowd. Neither group has any proven capacity to predict what will happen. Just look at the disclaimers they all attach to the swill they all spew out.

Anyone who has a handle on how the market, or a specific stock, will perform will never tell the likes of you. They will keep it to themselves and make a killing or advise the people with real wealth and also make a killing.

Remember, you are the sucker in this game. To assume anything else is egomania. The deck is stacked and the house makes a guaranteed profit. And when they screw up the taxpayers (i.e. not the wealthy) pick up the tab.

If you want to see how things really work watch The Big Short. It's a really good movie with some great performances. It will make you laugh until you realize that nothing has changed since 2008. They same greedy assholes are still running the game for their own profit, but now it is going to be much, much worse. The asshats that Trump puts in place will make Greenspan and Paulson seem like financial Einsteins, rather then the architects of the biggest crash since the Great Depression.

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If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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