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Comment Re:X11 vs the world (Score 1) 160

I have no idea what you mean by "poorly optimized drivers". The only things that an X server is expected to do and do well today as far as screen drivers go is to composite pixmaps generated by the painting backends in Chromium, Qt, GTK, etc. An X driver is not meant to do any drawing anymore - yes, the X servers still leave the old code paths around so that some obsolete app might use the X server to actually draw other primitives on screen. Nothing of note uses an X server that way anymore.

Given this, there's really no sense to X. Wayland with a VNC backend is all you need for remote work.

Comment Re:X11 vs the world (Score 1) 160

X is largely irrelevant. Today, X is used to do three things:

1. Push pixmaps from the application to the screen. Notice that nowhere does X get involved in doing any rendering of those pixmaps.

2. Push UI events from the user to the application, and poorly participate in window management.

3. Allow applications to open a windowed OpenGl context.

It's a lot of cruft that does nothing much, only so that some obsolete pure X11 application will still keep on working. Architecturally speaking, it's nonsense. For modern apps you'll get much better performance if you attach a VNC backend to your application and access it that way (Qt allows it, I'd presume GTK should too somehow).

Comment Re:You do need a *lot*. 1/3rd of all the land (Score 1) 238

we'd need to flood 1/3rd of the continental United States

Of course, but that's just stupid. You'd need to flood that much because there's so little head available in most places. 700m head when you go underwater is nothing to scoff at. 10MWh per sphere is quite decent.

Comment Re:Interviews need training, too (Score 1) 1001

In absence of specialized instructions, a lookup table might work best on an 8/16-bit microcontroller with no cache. On anything more advanced than that, not doing memory accesses might save you enough time to do more computations and less look-ups. Another thing people routinely forget is that basic big-O notation by design only tackles computations, not memory access. A multi-layered memory system you'll find in any modern CPU that can easily give you lots of computations at a low cost if you can only feed the compute units with data, and be able to stream out their output. When these I/O paths are blocking, the computational efficiency of the platform can drop by multiple orders of magnitude - if you've only got a thousand elements, an O(n^2) algorithm that has a slowly evolving working set may perform better than O(n log n) where you're reliably forced to do log n page fetches from disk each time.

Comment Re:I could not agree more (Score 1) 1001

It all depends. I know that if you call any of the GDI's filled polygon/filled shape APIs, it's all at the very least tessellated in software, and then perhaps if the hardware is quick enough to render a bunch of triangles as an instantaneous sort of a thing, it will pass it on, but I doubt that this has been done for any recent hardware. It requires very low overhead in starting a "job" on the hardware and is mostly suited for old style of graphics hardware that can fill a list of triangles without invoking the entire 3D pipeline (if it has any). It used to be a thing in the late 90s and early 00s. For 99%+ of common display architectures out there now, GDI is not really accelerated outside of blitting stuff.

If you use any graphics library that doesn't depend on GDI, you can probably do better even in software rasterization since you have enough knowledge to split the job and parallelize it. Or you simply pass it as a draw list to DirectX and let that do it orders of magnitude faster - but again, GDI doesn't do it since its stateful architecture is really a poor fit to modern asynchronous rendering pipelines.

Comment Re:Perhaps a better method... (Score 1) 1001

Yeah: Is it really so much to ask an experienced developer to prove that they can do code reviews? And if someone can't review code without an IDE, they're handicapped. The question remains whether their other qualities make such a handicap worthwhile. Perhaps, as a means of self-development, everyone should spend some time on StackOverflow and Code Review and learn to spot mistakes in what others do - iff they don't do code reviews in their current job.

Comment Re:Perhaps a better method... (Score 1) 1001

Yep - there must be some screening, you can't pretend to be a software developer who can't write some trivial code correctly in any of the languages they purport to know. Hello World is a good first step - if you can't do that, you have no place pretending to be a developer.

Comment Re:Perhaps a better method... (Score 1) 1001

Write a complete, working program in any language of your choice that prints 'Hello World' ten times." That was also illuminating, in a horrifying sort of way. You wouldn't believe how many people struggled with that. We usually ended those interviews pretty quickly.

Would you hire a pianist that can't point to a middle C on a standard piano keyboard? Because that's the equivalent of what's asked in the interview you speak of. At that point you don't really care if perhaps they can play all the scales very well - you can't trust the completeness of the internal framework of knowledge they use. People who don't truly understand what they're doing tend to divide and compartmentalize various areas of their knowledge instead of synthesizing a unified and interconnected body of knowledge. They learn all sorts of recipes to do various things, but have no idea how all of those things are interconnected, and what sort of mental framework unify them. It's as if a baker didn't realize that the yeast flatbread dough they deal with shares some common properties with the yeast-raised sheet fruitcake.

Comment Re:Perhaps a better method... (Score 1) 1001

I think it's a particular state of mind where you expect to be able to forget the basics. I personally don't find this state of mind to be all that appealing. It's like if a concert pianist forgot all of their music theory, because for performance you don't really care about it. But then it kinda sucks if you're a great concert pianist who superbly plays very technically demanding music, yet is unable to harmonize a simple melody during a show-and-tell with some kids. Yes, it's great that you can put design and implement a scalable architecture for a big system of some sort, but it kinda sucks if you can't do the basics. It's as if an electrical engineer forgot an inductor's constitutive equation, having an excuse that they deal with fancy control systems all the time and haven't used any inductors in ages. It smells of functional illiteracy to me. Or at least I try to keep my basics refreshed to some extent, as a conscious effort where I spend an hour or two every week re-reading the fundamentals just to keep them fresh.

Comment Re:Money! (Score 1) 232

Joel Spolsky had this to say about the chairs, and I agree with him:

Let me, for a moment, talk about the famous Aeron chair, made by Herman Miller. They cost about $900. This is about $800 more than a cheap office chair from OfficeDepot or Staples.

They are much more comfortable than cheap chairs. If you get the right size and adjust it properly, most people can sit in them all day long without feeling uncomfortable. The back and seat are made out of a kind of mesh that lets air flow so you don’t get sweaty. The ergonomics, especially of the newer models with lumbar support, are excellent.

They last longer than cheap chairs. We’ve been in business for six years and every Aeron is literally in mint condition: I challenge anyone to see the difference between the chairs we bought in 2000 and the chairs we bought three months ago. They easily last for ten years. The cheap chairs literally start falling apart after a matter of months. You’ll need at least four $100 chairs to last as long as an Aeron.

So the bottom line is that an Aeron only really costs $500 more over ten years, or $50 a year. One dollar per week per programmer.

A nice roll of toilet paper runs about a buck. Your programmers are probably using about one roll a week, each.

So upgrading them to an Aeron chair literally costs the same amount as you’re spending on their toilet paper, and I assure you that if you tried to bring up toilet paper in the budget committee you would be sternly told not to mess around, there were important things to discuss.

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