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Comment Re:We already had this sales pitch... (Score 1) 137

There are a few things wrong with your analysis. The first is that disk writes tend to be bursty for desktop users. You write a few hundred MBs (or a few GBs) and then drop down to an average of a few tens or hundreds of KBs per second. Spinning rust can easily keep up with the average write throughput of a typical user, it's the bursts that it has problems with. If you can buffer a few hundred MBs of writes, reorder them to reduce head movement, and then write them out behind the user, then you'll get much better performance. Obviously, this won't help for server workloads where you're I/O limited all of the time, but it will help a lot with desktop / laptop use.

The second is that one of the big bottlenecks for modern filesystems is the wait until data is safely in persistent storage. System RAM doesn't help here, because it goes away with power failure. To ensure consistency, you have to pause writing parts of an update until you've received confirmation that the previous part is written. In a conventional journaled FS, for example, you don't start writing the updates until you've confirmed that the journal has been committed to disk. With NV cache, you can get this confirmation practically instantly. If there's a power failure, then the drive just has to replay the transactions from NVRAM.

Comment Re:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 2) 232

I thought Waitrose delivered everywhere where they had a large store. Don't they deliver in your area?

For what it's worth, I've had under a dozen substitutions in five years of using Ocado (fewer than I got in any six month period with Tesco before that) and things always come with long shelf lives. They also have excellent customer support and will quickly fix anything that they get wrong.

Comment Re:Online ? Authors never shopped in real life (Score 4, Interesting) 232

Unfortunately groceries kind of suck online in the UK.

Seriously? Between the major supermarket chains and Ocado all providing online order / home delivery, none of them works for you? I'll admit, I gave up on Tesco repeatedly sending me things that were one day away from their use-by date, but there's a reasonable amount of competition.

Comment Re:It's not just shocking, it's stupid (Score 1) 232

You actually see this on Amazon, where a number of third-party sellers automatically set their prices by querying the Amazon price or the cheapest third-party price and undercutting it slightly. This sometimes leads to amusing effects where two third-party sellers are offering something for 10% less than the cheapest other seller and forget to set a minimum price.

Comment Re:CEO's fear (Score 1) 280

I seem to recall a study a few years back that showed that most highly paid CEOs' decisions were not better than random and, in a number of cases, were significantly worse. They shouldn't be worried that they can be replaced by AI, they should be worried that they can be replaced by a magic 8 ball.

Comment Re:Robots are good (Score 3, Insightful) 280

The problem isn't robots taking all our jobs, it's robots taking half of our jobs. How do you manage a society in which 50% of the working-age population are contributing essential work for the functioning of civilisation and the other 50% are not able to do anything that a machine can't do better? Unemployment rates of 10-20% are currently seriously problematic for western societies and cause huge economic problems. For some jobs, you can solve it by dividing the work among more people, so you have four people working a 10 hour week instead of one working a 40 hour week, but that doesn't help you to deal with the people who aren't able to do any available jobs.

Comment Re:It's not that I want to brag I'm old... (Score 1) 405

Add to that, the defining feature of a functional language is the set of things that it disallows, not the set of things that it permits. A multi-paradigm language, by definition, has to permit anything that the various paradigms permit and so doesn't gain the benefits that you get from being able to reason about your code in a language that doesn't permit unconstrained mutability or side effects.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 3, Interesting) 405

This needs moderating up. Talk to an Ocaml programmer and a Haskell programmer about what makes a functional language and you'll see very different opinions and these two are languages that were actually designed as functional languages: the bits that end up in other languages are a tiny subset.

Coming from the Haskell side, I see functional programming as programming without side effects and with monads. You can implement monadic constructs in other languages, but it rarely makes code cleaner. Just having higher-order functions doesn't make a language a functional language any more than having structs makes C an object-oriented language.

If the question is 'do you think using higher-order functions simplifies the expression of some algorithms' then the answer is obviously 'yes': programmers have a lot of tools to choose from and most of them are useful at least some of the time.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 4, Informative) 405

In C++14 in particular, lambdas with auto parameters dramatically reduce copy-and-paste coding. If you have a couple of lines of code that's repeated, it isn't worth factoring it out into a separate templated function (in particular, you'll often need to pass so many arguments that you'll end up with more code at the end), but pulling it into a lambda that binds everything by reference and has auto-typed parameters can reduce the amount of source code, while generating the same object code (the lambda will be inlined at all call sites).

Comment Re: Time to switch (Score 3, Insightful) 216

Volume licensing for Office 365 is a lot cheaper per seat than simply multiplying the list price by number of employees. It also has a much simpler licensing model than previous Microsoft volume licensing, which makes compliance easier (you get all of the desktop apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android included). The latter point alone is worth it to a lot of big companies.

Comment Re:Economics is hard (Score 1) 168

I'm well aware of the overheads, and see this from both sides. For us, procurement rules make it trivial to spend £3000 on a laptop that we'll replace after 2-3 years, but almost impossible to spend £1000 on a chair that comes with a 15 year warranty and is likely to reduce absences due to back pain by a month over its lifetime.

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