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Comment Re:Math is hard (Score 1) 136

Was MB ever 1024K? (except for memory)

I didn't ever see/use a 8 inch floppy.

Early 5 1/4 floppy was 40 tracks, 18 sectors/track - 360K. That was 1024 bytes/K

Early 3 1/2 floppy was 80 tracks - 720K.

Double sided - 1.44M (we'd already started confusing multipliers)

At some point the remaining factor of 1024 got dropped - probably when we stopped thinking about heads, tracks, sectors/track. Prior to that the first 1024 was baked into the disk geometry. I don't remember enough detail of the early hard disks to recall whether a 30MB disk was 30000000 bytes or 30720000 bytes.

Comment Re:Well, (Score 2) 643

Be confident in yourself and be confident in your future.

Just try not to be arrogant or entitled.

All of the above are hard to do all the time (unless you're so insecure you're incapable of being arrogant or so arrogant that you're incapable of harbouring doubts about yourself) so forgive others who get it wrong some of the time - and hope that they forgive you.

And if you want to get laid, find something cheap to do that you enjoy doing and that has people of the right sex there that you can talk to and don't hurry things.

I would guess that volunteer groups tend to have a reasonably equal gender balance and if you're doing something that you believe in then you're likely to meet people you can connect with.

Most of my time is already committed (not volunteer work) but if it weren't I'd probably start somewhere like here:

Probably something similar in your area of the world.

Comment Re:Good thing you have a choice (Score 3, Insightful) 537

How the *fuck* did we function during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s without mobile phones

We used to plan.

There would be an agreed meeting point if we got separated (or common sense - go back to the place where we last saw each other)

People would arrive on time. If people hadn't turned up, five minute after the agreed time we'd be off and the latecomers were on their own.

Nowadays, people text five minutes before the agreed time to say they're going to be an hour late[1]. People also assume the most optimistic times for a journey instead of a realistic time.

Late entry into theatres and concerts has, IME, become much more common. 20 years ago there might one one or two couples who were let in in the first break - and you felt sorry for them because obviously there'd been an accident or something else completely unexpected that had delayed them excessively. Now it's dozens of people - often so many that it's not actually possible to seat them all in the few minutes before the second piece starts.

[1] This is the one that really pisses me off. It's taken me an hour to get to our agreed meeting point. I've arrived a good ten minutes early out of courtesy, and then I'm kept waiting around for another hour.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 315

I wrote:

I've changed the signature to take an unsigned char* to avoid excessive casting in the function.

You then wrote

C requires you cast objects of type void* before dereferencing such as "*src".....

But if you're going to ignore my code and what I said, criticize something I didn't write and then write your own, it perhaps would be better not to try to do pointer arithmetic on void pointers.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 315

I was responding with this in mind:

For reference, a naÃve (acceptable in an interview) implementation of memmove can be achieved in 4 lines of code.

In an interview situation, without any additional instruction, I would tend to assume "a line of code" is a semicolon delimited statement. Comma operator may, or may not, be allowed. I'd ask.

However, I'm really struggling to get this down to four "reasonable" lines in C.

Here's the best I've got (I've changed the signature to take an unsigned char* to avoid excessive casting in the function.

void* mm(unsigned char* dest, const unsigned char* src, size_t n)
        if(dest < src) *dest = *src;
        mm(dest+1, src+1, n-1);
        if(dest > src) *dest = *src;
    return dest;

I think I'd be willing to argue in an interview that this does a memmove in 4 lines of C.

I rather like this solution as it's fairly easy to see that it copies forwards if dest < src and it copies backwards if dest > src.

Comment Re:Getty threatened her is how she found out (Score 5, Informative) 216

Even more fun, in their original letter to her they said:

                97. The Letter went on to state as follows: "Although this infringement might have
been unintentional, use of an image without a valid license is considered copyright infringement
in violation of the Copyright Act, Title 17, United States Code. This copyright law
entitles Alamy to seek compensation for any license infringement."

              104. In the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the Letter, the answer to the
question "What if I didn't know?" includes the following language: "You may have employed a
third party, former worker or intern to design and develop your company's site. However, the
liability of any infringement ultimately falls on the company (the end user) who hired that party,
employee or intern." The answer to the question "What if I simply remove the image?"Â
includes the following language: "While we appreciate the effort of removing the material in
question from your site, we still need compensation. Your company has benefited by using our
imagery without our permission. As the unauthorized use has already occurred, payment for that
benefit is necessary."

Hoist by their own petard.

Comment Re:A billion in damages?! (Score 4, Informative) 216

151. GettyÃââs violations of 17 U.S.C. ÃÂ 1202 entitle Ms. Highsmith to recover, among
other things, and if she so elects as provided in 17 U.S.C. à1203(c)(3)(B), ÃâÅ"an award of
statutory damages for each violation of section 1202 in the sum of not less than $2,500 or more
than $25,000.ÃâÂ
                152. When Getty is found to have committed one violation of 17 U.S.C. ÃÂ 1202 for
each of the 18,755 results of a search for ÃâÅ"Carol M. HighsmithÃâ on GettyÃââs website, Ms.
Highsmith would be entitled to recover, among other things, and if she so elects, aggregate
statutory damages against Getty of not less than forty-six million, eight hundred eighty-seven
thousand five hundred dollars ($46,887,500) and not more than four hundred sixty-eight
million, eight hundred seventy-five thousand dollars ($468,875,000).
                153. Additionally, because Getty has already had a final judgment entered against it in
the past three years in the Morel v. Getty case, the Court may treble the statutory damages in
this case.

Comment Re:As a C programmer (Score 1) 315

It's not that hard, although to write a strictly conforming version requires you to be allowed to write the if statement on one line.

Simple four line version (not strictly conforming as it depends on pointer lessthan comparison) (with C99 you can put the definition of i into the for() and then #include <stdint.h> and cast to intptr_t)

size_t i;
for(i=0; i<n; i++)
    (unsigned char*)dest>(const unsigned char*)src?(*((unsigned char*)dest+n-1-i) = *((const unsigned char*)src+n-1-i)):(*((unsigned char*)dest+i) = *((const unsigned char*)src+i));
return dest;

Somewhat more contrived (and inefficient) version that only depends on pointer equality comparison.

size_t i, rev=0;
for(i=0; i<n; i++) rev = rev || ((const unsigned char*)src+i) == (const unsigned char*)dest;
for(i=0; i<n; i++) rev ? (*((unsigned char*)dest+n-1-i) = *((const unsigned char*)src+n-1-i)):(*((unsigned char*)dest+i) = *((const unsigned char*)src+i));
return dest;

Of course, this is a very contrived problem and I generally disapprove of this sort of use of ?:.

Comment Re:The wording (Score 4, Interesting) 238

It's a shit question.

"Remain a member of the European Union" is ok, you know what is being voting for - and, equally importantly - the people who voted for the other option also know what its proponents were voting for.

"Leave the European Union" is utterly stupid. Nobody knows what it means. For some leave voters it means stop immigration at all costs. For other leave voters it meant "continue the free movement of people and goods within Europe".

Compare this question with the 2011 alternative vote question:

At present, the UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the "alternative vote" system be used instead?

"alternative vote" was defined

Imagine instead if this question had been:

At present, the UK uses the "first past the post" system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should a proportional voting system be used instead?'

I would expect that this would have carried. Much like the EU question, the alternative to the status quo is a shifting target that can be defined to whatever the proponent wants. Of course, had that question been asked then we'd then have had a mess to sort out when everybody wanted a different PR system.

What should have happened is that DC should have negotiated with Europe on, say, Britain adopting the Norwegian model and leaving the EU. Once he'd got approval then gone to the country with

"Remain a member of the European Union"
"Adopt the Norwegian model of membership in the EEA"

(Or he could have gone for a no-free movement of people or goods WTO rules model alternative)

Now the question is clearer - and even if it had gone against DC, at least everybody would have known what was going to happen.

Britain is utterly crap at negotiating. We have an adversarial system, both in parliament and in the judiciary. Most European nations have had much more experience with having to establish coalitions. It's going to be interesting to see how the next two years go and whether the press is reporting how those "evil Europeans are ganging up on us" when almost certainly none of them are arguing for what they really want but instead for what they understand they can really get.

At least for some things in Europe we used to have a veto. That gave us a lot of clout - however awkward we were we couldn't be completely ignored (and the 10-12% control of the vote helped too). We also tended to hold the balance of power in Franco-German differences - so neither country to afford to upset us too much. We're giving all that up. That might mean Europe now tears itself to pieces or it might mean that Europe can now rebuild itself stronger in a more cooperative model.

We've now got idiots saying that any deal with Europe should now go to another referendum. I predict that there is NO deal that can be made that will attract a majority of the votes. The single largest minority is probably "remain in the EU" which has already been rejected. I suppose we could put two deals on the referendum and force people to chose one or the other - just make sure that the other option is so bad that it cannot win.

Comment Re:Feasibility of a rerun? (Score 1) 693

so the approach now should be to pull together and try to make the best of what the majority wanted

But what does the majority want?

One obvious way out of this crisis - go to Europe and say we want to adopt the Norwegian model.

Except that that will mean agreeing to enact all EU laws. We've probably got exemptions that we'll lose as a result and basically become even more under the EU's thumb than we were (at least as far as the majority are concerned). So I cannot believe that is what the majority want even if it's what I hope happens (quickly). (And I think this would be an easy sell in Europe - they get the current benefits of the UK in the EU without the "valuable but difficult friend" issues we cause at the moment)

I've seen some claims that just discussing brexit with the EU ministers could now trigger Article 50. So maybe the above is what will have to happen while we find out what the majority really want and then try to negotiate it. That at least would settle the markets and give as much time as necessary to move forwards. Unfortunately I don't see how to move forwards from that so *everybody* will be unhappy because while a majority were in favour of being "out of Europe" I think the single largest minority are in favour of being in Europe and the "out of Europe" are such a disparity of views that each have a different no compromise issue that we'll never be able to decide on anything better than we've given up.

The mayor of Calais is (again) calling for the border to be moved to the UK (and the refugee camps - thousands of extra immigrants that this vote was supposedly supposed to stop. The UK no longer has a veto on Turkey joining the EU and IIUC, should the other 27 members decide to accept it and us adopting the Norwegian model then I don't think we'll be able to negotiate a temporary exemption to the free movement of Turkish citizens.

Comment Re:Is it a binding referendum (Score 1) 1592

Is this a binding referendum?
In other words; is the government forced to do as voted or do they have wiggle room to weasel out of it?

Technically, no. This is an advisory referendum - hence why in the event of a dead heat there was no way to break the deadlock.

However, I don't see how any government could possibly go against the will of the people and ignore this decision (and survive) unless there was something truly catastrophic that happened (such as WWIII) where the conditions changed so much that they could reasonably justify postponing activating article 50 and then another vote (after the war was finished)

It's somewhat bizarre that around 70% of sitting MPs support remain. And the Brexiteers wanted to "reclaim parliamentary sovereignty." So we're going to have the team negotiating new trade deals with Europe being the team that didn't want to do that - and it's hard to see how that proportion could change much even with another general election.

I'm not sure if the Prime Minister (who will not be David Cameron) needs Parliamentary or Royal authority to activate Article 50. So it's possible that Parliament or the Queen could theoretically block this from moving forwards up until a general election elected enough pro brexit MPs. But I think pro remain MPs will respect the will of the people and either support any request for authority or, possibly, abstain. Even if the Queen had come out as an ardent pro-remain supporter (which she hasn't), I can't imagine any way she'd reject the will of the people. And if she did there would be a quick referendum on removing the Monarchy and we'd be back to the same position.

Comment Re: US disagrees (Score 5, Informative) 170

The censorship practice that is commonly called "right to be forgotten" is not mandated by data protection laws.

I am not a lawyer and I don't understand all the nuances around this but actually, in Europe, this is (apparently) mandated.

*Any* collection of personal information into a database is covered by data protection laws. *Any* european citizen can request a report of all the information held on them (subject to some exclusions that probably wouldn't apply to google) for a capped fee. *Any* citizen can request that incorrect information is corrected (again there are some exceptions where it's only necessary to note that the citizen disputes the item) and *any* citizen can request that any information held on them should be deleted unless it's continuing holding is necessary (for example, billing information for a continuing subscription, necessary regulatory regulations regarding data retention etc)

This is complicated by the fact that the highest European court did give a ruling that some of these regulations don't apply to search engines (a ruling that I approve of). Prior to that ruling it could have been argued that google was breaking the law just by building its search database as it should have obtained explicit permission from each person to collect any information on them at all.

Eventually this will get pushed up to the highest courts in Europe and they will clarify what the current law actually means with regards to search engines.

After that there will probably still be arguments about what is right and wrong but pretty much the only way it will change is if the EU states can get together and agree a European wide change to the law (For this particular type of treaty I don't know if it would be majority or unanimity that would be required.)

It should also be noted that many of the requirements of data protection laws in Europe come from treaty but the individual laws are set at a national level - i.e. the treaty says what must be allowed or prohibited but the individual nations are responsible for writing laws into their books that enforce the treaty. So sometimes a national law might gold plate a european treaty - so the EU courts might find that the French law is legal in EU land but not required or they might find that the French law is illegally overbroad and will have to change or, indeed, they might find that French law is deficient in failing to protect some right.

The British government (of all persuasions) is a great fan of gold plating EU regulations, either in rhetoric when they want to beat on Europe or in law when they want an excuse to pass some new draconian legislation. "Europe made us do it" when what they mean is "Europe required us to change the law but didn't require this law which is a superset of what Europe required"

Comment Re:Christian Huygens... (Score 1) 132

One of the problems of using oxygen from the air at high speed is preventing the air blowing out the flame.

AFAIAA all non experimental aircraft slow down the air to subsonic speeds in the engine which limits their theoretical maximum speed to the point where the thrust is just enough to overcome the drag of slowing down the air in the engine.

Rockets supply both oxidizer and fuel so don't have this problem.

Eventually I guess scramjets will become commonplace but getting them working reliably and efficiently at all is still a major research effort.

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