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Comment Mine wasn't listed (Score 1) 232

As soon as I saw this, I knew my answer: thousands of monkeys wearing space suits while pedaling small bicycles attached to generators! Bonus cred if the bicycles are instead used to pump water from a reservoir far below and drop it through hydro turbines to provide the power, while squirrels run from monkey to monkey, feeding them fresh bananas.

Comment We should boycott (Score 1) 636

Seriously, we should all start boycotting companies which do this. There are enough of us now to make an impact. If we can convince our friends and families to boycott, too, it will make it more expensive to hire H1Bs than it is to hire Americans. We need to stop idly watching from the sidelines and do something about this. If we don't, they're free to use, abuse, and discard us with impunity.

Comment Kids love graphics (Score 1) 315

I was 7 when I learned to program. I was taught how to draw graphics in BASIC on an Apple ][. Not having to draw every point manually was a great motivation to learn loops. The rest is history. Kids love graphics and quick results. These days, I would teach a kid programming in Swift, if you have a Mac, because the instantaneous results in the other pane and the graphics and animation capabilities will make it fun. If it, I'd use Python, because I've been calling it the new Basic for years. All the beginner programmers immediately get defensive when I say that, while the more experienced ones chuckle. Proof enough that it's the new Basic? Remember, it doesn't need to be writing a game to make it fun. That's a little too tough at age 7; not because the programming for a simple game is tough, but because kids that age usually can't yet wrap their heads around what makes games fun. Because of this, they have a really hard time coming up with something fun, and they can end up disillusioned from the experience of doing a lot of hard work just to make something boring. Also, remember that what makes programming fun is the reward from figuring out how to make something work, so at this age, resist teaching data structures and algorithms. Instead, just give some trivial examples and let them play.

Comment Embedded with DSP (Score 1) 202

It sounds like you're using the GPU as a DSP. Why not just get an embedded processor with a built in DSP? An example of an older generation one is the Atmel at9g45m. This is an older ARM core processor which has more power than you would expect. You can probably get away with using a fanless ARM system for your application. You may even find one that has enough processing power which doesn't even need a heatsink.

Comment Re:Start by... (Score 4, Insightful) 467

What can you do in Slackware that is impossible in Ubuntu?

In Slackware, you learn how to do things on any Linux distro. In Ubuntu, you only learn how to do things in Ubuntu, Debian, and Debian derivatives. I owe to Slackware the fact that I can sit down and work with any Linux distro out there. It doesn't include its own special tools for anything, so you are forced to do everything the "standard Linux way," which is the way that works on every distro (with some special exceptions, like DSL).

Comment Give them insight into the underpinnings (Score 1) 467

I would teach them basic bash scripting, and about /proc and /sys. Then I would have them write scripts to automate extracting information from /proc and /sys in bash using grep, sed and maybe awk. Teaching them how to work with Linux from the shell and how to pull information out of the kernel like this should give them some good insights into the operating system and its tools. Additionally, I would teach them how to write init scripts and how to do "fun" things to get them excited about Linux.

Comment There's always the option of no framework (Score 1) 331

I had the same dilemma, except I also knew I would eventually add 3D graphics as well. I wanted it to be portable to anything, and I needed it to render accurately and with proper anti-aliasing (anti-aliased while drawing, not via a filter after the fact). After mulling over all the options, I came to a difficult conclusion: write it myself. This is more work than I'd like, but it allows me to ensure it will run on anything, anywhere. If something new comes out that I want it to run on, I just port to it; I don't have to beg a vendor for it to be ported for me. Performance isn't paramount to my application, so I can put enough abstraction layers in to make the porting process relatively easy. All frameworks seem to put performance as the highest priority, which gets rid of the ease of portability. If your application will render graphics that sit still most of the time, this may be your best option (assuming you know linear algebra if you want vector graphics, and know graphics programming regardless).

This option worked for me.

Comment Switch to embedded (Score 2, Informative) 565

You'll find getting back into the field, to program in high level languages with all of your previous experience outdated, to be very difficult. Companies will not want to pay you the salary your years of experience would warrant, and it would be like starting over.

Instead, the method back in that I've found for those of us who started in the "old days" is to go for embedded systems development. The embedded world uses 10+ year old technologies, so your experience with assembly language programming and writing software for systems with limited amounts of RAM and storage space is a big plus for embedded systems development. There are plenty of companies still creating software for processors that run at between 4 and 20 MHz with anywhere from 256 bytes of RAM on up to a handful of kilobytes of RAM. I've found this sort of development work is much more interesting, anyway, and people with old school knowledge are considered more valuable, rather than a dinosaur, for such work.

Black Hole Emits a 1,000-Light-Year-Wide Gas Bubble 145

PhrostyMcByte writes "12 million light-years away, in the outer spiral of galaxy NGC 7793, a bubble of hot gas approximately 1,000 light-years in diameter can be found shooting out of a black hole — one of the most powerful jets of energy ever seen. (Abstract available at Nature.) The bubble has been growing for approximately 200,000 years, and is expanding at around 1,000,000 kilometers per hour."

Three Ground-Breaking Miniature Biosensors 18

kkleiner writes "Over the past few years, several research teams have developed increasingly smaller and cheaper biosensors with improved detection capabilities and faster turnaround times. Whether you are a doctor diagnosing patients in the rural areas of Africa or a Homeland Security agent working to thwart an act of bioterrorism, one of these little devices should be your sidekick."

Empathy Is For the Birds 201

grrlscientist writes "Common Ravens have been shown to express empathy towards a 'friend' or relative when they are distressed after an aggressive conflict — just like humans and chimpanzees do. But birds are very distant evolutionary relatives of Great Apes, so what does this similarity imply about the evolution of behavior?"

Doubled Yield For Bio-Fuel From Waste 97

hankwang writes "Dutch chemical company DSM announced a new process for production of ethanol from agricultural waste. Most bio-fuel ethanol now is produced from food crops such as corn and sugar cane. Ethanol produced from cellulose would use waste products such as wood chips, citrus peel, and straw. The new process is claimed to increase the yield by a factor of two compared to existing processes, thanks to new enzymes and special yeast strains."

Comment Nice pictures (Score 2, Interesting) 190

For such an expensive rocket launch, you'd think they'd at least have a professional photographer with professional lenses. Those pictures are terrible. Look at the flames; there's no detail. They obviously used cheap lenses. I'm an amateur photographer, but I have professional equipment because I'm too picky to have my pictures look as bad as their launch pictures do. I'm glad the launch succeeded, but you'd think they'd want better pictures for examining the launch and for PR.

Comment Take a step back? (Score 1) 222

He apparently wants us to take a step backwards to the days when crashes were frequent, such as with Windows 98. Software quality has a long way to go already. Does he not realize that making programmers deal with such an issue would bring software quality back into the Dark Ages?

As it is, programmers aren't given enough time to write software that works bug-free. Schedules are always rushed. This would dramatically increase: the burden on developers, the quantity of bugs, the number of developers being fired because they didn't get a project accomplished nearly as quickly as someone who pulled off a similar project 5 years earlier, the frustration of the users and developers (and transitively, the number of heart attacks around the world due to elevated blood pressure), the number of security vulnerabilities in software, and the migration rate to processor vendors who didn't make this mistake.

In short: this guy is on crack!

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