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Comment Re:I remember 1979 well. (Score 1) 62

Exactly. I got my first computer as a kid in 1981 (a Casio PB100). The manual was excellent, and I learned BASIC as well as some numerical analysis with it : Monte-Carlo method, systems of equations, etc. My parents were short of money at the time, had a large house, and took guests who needed a place to stay for a few months. I remember long discussions with a couple of computer specialists (as we said at the time) working for major banks. They only seemed to know VM and COBOL on big iron computers, punched cards, line editors on ttys, and files on tapes, so, "serious" computers which have practically disappeared except in legacy applications. They made fun of me with my small device and my dreams of having an Apple ][ or an IBM PC, which was worth the price of a hot hatch at the time, and that my parents could not afford, saying that a real computer was worth minimum $1M, or how I was using a TI 994/A at school to play some music. I realized they had almost no concept of a backdoor, and were hardly gasping the concept of a superuser, which I knew only from books, but had understood. Now, I am using the most powerful computers of the planet in atomic energy centers, and still think of them making fun of me trying to program 2-degree equations or 3-unknown linear equations on my 512 byte computer in BASIC. They did not seem to see the point, since they only thought about (non-relational) databases and accounting.

Comment Re:Math author dies rich... (Score 1) 170

Yes, I bought some of the Landau and Lifchitz books at the time for $3, they are now worth $150 at Springer...Younger self should have believed in himself more. Funny to see that now we can download 5000 C64 games for free, not to mention MAME roms, a good PC is $500, (at the time, $30 per game, a decent PC was $3000 of the time) but those books are 50 times more expensive...and the content still worth it.

Comment terrible pedigree (Score 1) 815

I just had a look at his wikipedia page. Midnight commander : hated it (when nc was fine) WINE : never worked properly for me. Mono : ditto Gnumeric : even worse. Don't get me started on GNOME or KDE, I hate both. I loved the Xwindows combination with any simple task manager (like mwm) but to me things are getting worse and worse in Linux and I have moved to MacOS in 2004, except for severs or computing work, done on Linux, but on the command line by ssh. So please, God, smite De Caza the same way you got Hans Reiser or McAffee out of the game. Those pricks just ruin it for everyone else with a huge ego and unusable software, schisms, and so on.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Combat Vets On CoD: Black Ops, Medal of Honor Taliban 93

An anonymous reader writes "Thom 'SSGTRAN' Tran, seen in the Call of Duty: Black Ops live action trailer and in the game as the NVA multiplayer character, gets interviewed and talks about Medal of Honor's Taliban drama. '... to me, it's a non-issue. This is Hollywood. This is entertainment. There has to be a bad guy if there's going to be a good guy. It's that simple. Regardless of whether you call them — "Taliban" or "Op For" — you're looking at the same thing. They're the bad guys.'" Gamasutra published a related story about military simulation games from the perspective of black ops veteran and awesome-name-contest winner Wolfgang Hammersmith. "In his view, all gunfights are a series of ordered and logical decisions; when he explains it to me, I can sense him performing mental math, brain exercise, the kind that appeals to gamers and game designers. Precise skill, calculated reaction. Combat operations and pistolcraft are the man's life's work."

Comment Re:Does it matter? (Score 1) 315

What you describe is exactly what de Gaulle did in France in 1944/45 and 1959-1969, allowing for unsurpassed economic growth and well being. Of course as you point out de Gaulle was not elected, or if he was, he was for other reasons than his economic program. He was wrong on individual freedoms, but he managed to make France much richer than England in 1975 starting with a destroyed country in 1944.

Comment what about cheap boobies ? (Score 1) 120

As someone who has demonstrated a FLIR in a science fair, I can tell you that far infrared is quite an interesting wavelength to explore body shapes...Too bad that even the cheapest 160X200 model is at least $2K (a drop of a factor 10 in 5 years, but still). It allows to pinpoint the location of certain points quite accurately, the more so if the person imaged starts to blush. Sweaty areas come out as black as much colder than the surroundings. So basically the question is : at which wavelength does this magic film operate ? Does it correspond to black body (Planck was a perv) radiation at ambient temperature ?

Comment it's all about money (Score 1) 307

I realized reading "Dark Ages America" that businesses understood that the best way to make a steady income was to push addictive products. In the past, until the fifties more or less, you would buy an expensive thing (suit, house..) once in a while, or even in a lifetime (such as a bicycle or a gold watch) and that was it. Addictive pleasures (sex, sugar, alcohol, even strong emotions...) were reserved for Saturday night or Sunday (say, a small bottle of Coca-Cola at the drugstore), everybody would smoke ONE cigarette at the end of a work day, would go to the movies once in a while, because it was so expensive, etc. But there is no brand loyalty in all this, and, more importantly, no addiction. Advertisement and TV encouraged us to become drugged and addicted to quick pleasure inducing hits requiring exponential use : sugar, alcohol, pornography, gambling, tobacco, soap operas 6 hours a day on TV, cars and gasoline, credit to finance all this, and now that some of those pleasures have been found bad for the health (what a surprise), we are switching to mobile phones, pay TV, and internet, which all require subscription plans which end up costing a fortune over years. And we are all addicted to it, instead of critical thinking, reading, self-improvement, and even work and family commitments. This is especially obvious in third world countries, in Africa for instance, even if our way of life is also spreading there with satellite TV : there, everybody smokes (but not much), but students are actually interested in science, see computers as tools, not toys, work and take care seriously of their friends or families, and pays cash ; actual wealth is created in farms and factories, not in web (N+1).0 startups.

Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"

Comment upper bound (Score 3, Insightful) 93

This seems to be the upper bound of predictability by computers ; in other domains of artificial intelligence, such as automatic translation or speech recognition, automated statistical analysis from corpuses seems to perform better than manual encoding of rules, but ends up at maybe 90% efficiency. The rest is too random to be predicted, and it could be the part of poetry, art or intelligence in our lives.

Comment Re:Ugh... (Score 2, Insightful) 252

8 and 16 bit computing are the only positive things from the eighties...with "Wargames" or "Back to the Future" and "Indiana Jones" movies. CD marked the end of 45RPM records and hence the beginning of the domination of marketing over artistic sense in music. 1983 marked the end of interesting pop music IMHO. Then there was AIDS. This is why we spent our time programming C64 in assembler rather than fucking hippie or disco girls like in the 60's or 70's. The end of the cold war marked the beginning of decadence in science education and funding. Reaganism brought to us infinite jealousy for others, permanent competition, and an obsession with money and consumerism. The space shuttle sucked ass in comparison to Apollo program, for instance. There were no decent cameras to speak of. Remember the german cameras from the 30's and 50's, and japanese from the early 70's..The same for Hifi. It should say something about the period.

Colliding Particles Can Make Black Holes After All 269

cremeglace writes with this excerpt from ScienceNOW: "You've heard the controversy. Particle physicists predict the world's new highest-energy atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, might create tiny black holes, which they say would be a fantastic discovery. Some doomsayers fear those black holes might gobble up the Earth — physicists say that's impossible — and have petitioned the United Nations to stop the $5.5 billion LHC. Curiously, though, nobody had ever shown that the prevailing theory of gravity, Einstein's theory of general relativity, actually predicts that a black hole can be made this way. Now a computer model shows conclusively for the first time that a particle collision really can make a black hole." That said, they estimate the required energy for creating a black hole this way to be roughly "a quintillion times higher than the LHC's maximum"; though if one of the theories requiring compact extra dimensions is true, the energy could be lower.

Comment Re:Better comparisons (Score 1) 219

Well, for noise, you need to nitrogen cool your sensor...or use a DSLR, because the sensor is not heated and permanently subjected to photons like in a point & shoot or bridge. I am however quite satisfied by digital cameras for night shooting or high ISO pictures, with film grain or lack of reciprocity can make those situations tricky. However the main selling point of film for me is dynamic range as you point out : the nonlinearity of the response makes it possible to better resolve high contrast situations than digital ; for instance, a bright face in a dark room with natural lighting seems to always give me "hot" pixels and pizza effects on the cheeks in digital, as shown on the histogram with some bunching at 255, requiring manual adjustment, bracketing, ugly HDR postprocessing, whatever, when film adapts to this situation automatically. The wedding picture with black and white clothes side to side still necessitates some manual adjustment in postprocessing, but still...

Comment Re:Better comparisons (Score 2, Interesting) 219

Precisely ! Glass makes the difference..and so, due to the preeminence of digital these days, quality optics incompatible with digital are dime a dozen on ebay. I now use a cheap bridge digital for random shooting, but for quality stuff I have bought dirt cheap professional gear in 35mm and 6x6 and make incredibly good pictures, (at least technically...); as good as a pro level DSLR at least. The prices of processing and digitizing film, and film in bulk, are also way down compared to the past, with archiving guaranteed to last a hundred years . So, thanks a lot, digital cameras !

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