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Comment Absolutely True (Score 4, Interesting) 465

When I was young, eager and naive I worked at a place that was doing some pretty heavyweight simulations which took a good three-four days on a (I think) quad-processor Sun box.

It was quite a big site and had a relatively high turnover of decent hardware. Next to the IT support team's area was a room about 6 yards by 10 yards almost full to the ceiling with older monitors, printers and a shitload of commodity PC's. And I'd just stated reading about mainstream acceptance of linux clustering for paralellizable apps.

Cue the lightbulb winking into life above my head!

I approached my boss, with the idea to get those old boxes working again as a cluster and speed things up for the modelling team. He was quite interested and said he'd look into it. He fired up Excel and started plugging in some estimates...

Later that day I saw him and asked him what he thought. He shook his head. "It's a non-starter" he said. Basically, if the effort involved in getting a cluster up and working - including porting of apps - was more than about four man-weeks, it's cheaper and a lot safer just to dial up the Sun rep, invoke our massive account (and commensurate discount) with them and buy a beefier model from the range. And the existing code would run just fine with no modifications.

A useful lesson for me in innovation risk and cost.

Comment Kevin Warwick (Score 2, Insightful) 170

Kevin Warwick may be a "well-known figure in nerd subculture", but among nerds in the know, he's widely regarded as a shameless self-promoter, all-round media-tart and frankly, a bit of a joke.

His claims and ideas put him more into the realms of science fiction author / futurologist, rather than serious scientist / engineer.

Here's a gem, courtesy of The Reg: Captain Cyborg pushes kid chipping via Maddy abduction case

Submission + - The Artist formerly known as and his copyright fre

titzandkunt writes: The Artist formerly known as Prince has started getting mediaeval with websites which he feels infringe his coprighted images of himself. His legal team been threatening sites with closure unless they remove images of him. Anonymous webmasters responded that many images, such as those of him in concert are ok , as the copyright resides with the photographer who took the pictures.

Popular messageboard and hangout for playful photoshoppers B3TA has entered the fray with gusto: The B3TA webmasters posed an image challenge to see how the board members could best parody, mock and otherwise illustrate the foolishness fo Prince's actions, via composite and photoshopped imagery.

Unfortunately for B3TA, the whole mess has now become a little bit "meta", as their competition brought them into the diminutive purple one's sights:

"Under threat of legal action from Princes legal team of "potential closure of your web site" — We have removed the Prince image challenge and B3ta apologises unreservedly to AEG / NPG and Prince for any offence caused. We also ask our members to avoid photoshopping Prince and posting them on our boards.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.