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Comment Optimization -- only if necessary (Score 1) 218

I just finished writing a group of ETL scripts in Perl. The longest-running script took eight hours to run, and had been optimized a great deal, with caching and other tricks. At the other end of the scale was a more recent script that ran in six seconds -- so I didn't waste any time trying to speed that one up.

In any case, these are throw-away scripts, since our product was the documentation about how the transformations were achieved, and once our output files matched the standard files, no further work was necessary -- the production transformations are being written in Informatica, based on our documentation.

I've never worked at a scale where I had to stop and look at the efficiency of the algorithm was necessary -- but when that happens, I'll certainly pay attention to it.

Comment Re:Fords are great cars (Score 1) 292

Oh .. Ford Taurus transmissions!

You've reminded me of the hilarious fleet of Ford Taurus wagons that my employer had when I was there years ago (mid-90's). Out of ten vehicles, I believe eight had to go in for transmission replacement. They were leased vehicles, so the company didn't care, but it sure was inconvenient.

Submission + - Physicist Simulate Sending Particles of Light Into the Past (earthmysterynews.com) 1

retroworks writes: While it doesn't demonstrate time travel to be possible, per se, University of Queensland, Australia, physicists have shown how the concept can work via photons. Actual time travel would require a very fast revolution of a black hole, or "wormhole", according to the review. The abstract for the paper "Experimental simulation of closed timelike curves" http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2... states:

"Closed timelike curves are among the most controversial features of modern physics. As legitimate solutions to Einstein’s field equations, they allow for time travel, which instinctively seems paradoxical. However, in the quantum regime these paradoxes can be resolved, leaving closed timelike curves consistent with relativity. The study of these systems therefore provides valuable insight into nonlinearities and the emergence of causal structures in quantum mechanics—essential for any formulation of a quantum theory of gravity. Here we experimentally simulate the nonlinear behaviour of a qubit interacting unitarily with an older version of itself, addressing some of the fascinating effects that arise in systems traversing a closed timelike curve. These include perfect discrimination of non-orthogonal states and, most intriguingly, the ability to distinguish nominally equivalent ways of preparing pure quantum states. Finally, we examine the dependence of these effects on the initial qubit state, the form of the unitary interaction and the influence of decoherence."

Comment At work, oblivious (Score 1) 320

This was a few years after I'd graduated with my engineering degree. I was working on a robotics project, and I would often bring my lunch and eat it in the lab/office that we had. So I was at my desk when the tragedy occurred.

My co-worker came in from the mall where he'd gone to get lunch, and said something like, "The shuttle blew up, eh?", and I was stunned. (Yes, I'm Canadian.) When I got home, I watched the explosion on the news, but after the first few times couldn't watch it any more. And for probably twenty years afterwards, that piece of tape was a trigger -- I would see the image of the flame leaking out from underneath the craft, and have to look away, with tears in my eyes.

I was most saddened by the excellent Time magazine article that detailed the arguments between the engineers "It was too cold overnight -- we're not sure the vehicle is safe to fly." and the managers "NASA going to lose a lot of face if we don't launch and postpone again." So NASA launched, over the objections of the engineers. And we know the rest.

Comment Re:Call me old-fashioned .. but you took out the l (Score 1) 1032

And now I have a mortgage that's having it's 25th anniversary, and is almost twice the size it was when I started. Why? Raising a family.

I'm not bitter -- just continuing to pay it down. It might be paid off by the time I'm in my mid-70's, but the odds are I'll sell the house (a small bungalow in Toronto) before then. For now (touch wood) the real estate market is healthy, so right now I have some equity .. but not as much as you'd think after making payments for 25 years.

The last time I was debt-free was Fall, 1990. That was a long time ago.

Comment Call me old-fashioned .. but you took out the loan (Score 4, Insightful) 1032

I was very fortunate -- I went to university in Canada, where university tuition is lower. The tuition for my last semester (four months, Winter '82) broke $1,000 for the first time. My parents had also taken out a Registered Education Savings Plan for me, which kicked in, I think, $800 for the last three years of my four year degree. And I had my Co-op work terms. With all that, I still needed a loan (it was around $2,500) to get me through the last year (OK, some of that may have paid for the month's vacation I took after finishing school).

I paid $500 of the loan off in my first six months after school, then a few months after that, received a notice that they'd start charging interest if the loan wasn't paid off in full by the first anniversary. I was earning $22,000 annually, but my expenses were low, so I managed to make four monthly payments of $550 per month to get it all paid off.

It didn't occur to my to skip out on the loan, although it was a relatively small amount. The only other loan I'd taken out was for a motorcycle -- four $400 payments -- and dodging those payments didn't occur to me either. I'd borrowed money, I had to pay it back.

I think the writer of TFA is in denial. They need to mend fences and start paying off the loan. You borrowed some money and promised to pay it back. Yes, it's inconvenient, but it's the responsible thing to do. Grow up.

Comment Can't wait to get this installed in my house (Score 5, Informative) 514

Great idea. My power supplier currently has rates based on TOU (Time Of Use - http://www.torontohydro.com/si...), and I'd love to be able to charge up the battery supply for my house overnight at cheap rates, then run off the battery the rest of the time.

I just hope it's not going to be one of those "Only available in the United States" deals.

Comment Re:Here's the key... (Score 1) 185

Disagree. I was pursued by Google in 2007 and in 2013 (both times they contacted me out of the blue). I turned thirty in 1988.

My understanding is that they want bright people who can think on their feet. I can still do that, even at my (heh) advanced age. :)

Submission + - Time to migrate to GitHub as Google Code closes (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: After nine years, Google Code is closing down. Starting today, it is no longer possible to create new projects, and over the course of the coming ten months, the service will be mothballed. Google Code was Google's attempt to help the open source community by offering somewhere to host projects, but the growth of the likes of GitHub and Bitbucket has taken its toll and Google Code has filled up with spam and abuse.

Competition in the world of project hosting has become fierce, and Google feels it's time to pass on the baton rather than fighting for attention. Google has itself moved many of its own open source projects to GitHub. Don't panic if you’re not quite ready to jump ship — there's still a little time to play with.

Submission + - OpenSSL To Undergo Massive Security Audit

rjmarvin writes: Now that its codebase is finally viewed as stable, OpenSSL is getting a good top-to-bottom once-over in the form of a sweeping audit http://sdtimes.com/openssl-und.... As part of the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative, the foundation and the Open Crypto Audit Project are sponsoring and organizing what may arguably be the highest-profile audit of a piece of open-source software in history. The audit itself will be conducted by the information assurance organization NCC Group, and its security research arm, Cryptography Services, will carry out the code review https://cryptoservices.github.... of OpenSSL's 447,247 line codebase over the next several months.

Submission + - US Wind Power Is Expected to Double in the Next 5 Years

merbs writes: The US Department of Energy anticipates that the amount of electricity generated by wind power to more than double over the next five years. Right now, wind provides the nation with about 4.5 percent of its power. But an in-depth DOE report released today forecasts that number will rise to 10 percent by 2020—then 20 percent by 2030, and 35 percent by 2050.

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