How many people will be having their fingers crossed for 7 months? Let's hope for the best.
3349 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007
How many people will be having their fingers crossed for 7 months? Let's hope for the best.
Incidentally, I am reminded of a coding problem a student of mine encountered, when trying to implement a method found in a scientific article. The first part dealt with image representation using particular polynomials, the second with image or object recognition with the same type of polynomials.
This was a good student who first coded the first part, and when that worked well, coded the second bit using the same code for the polynomials as before. Result: Crashing code. He worked on this for several days, trying to find the bug. When I came to look, I suddenly noted an odd thing: In the pseudo-code in the paper, the first part indexed the arrays containing the polynomials from 0 to N-1, and the second part used a different convention: 1..N. Accessing element N caused the crashes. Ouch! Easy to sort, but really frustrating!
An array index of -1 can certainly be used, in languages like Pascal, or even Fortan, or, with care and documentation in languages like C(++). For some arrays it is natural to have an index range of e.g. -N to N. In Pascal-like language you just declare the array that way. It is not that difficult to get it right in C(++).
It seems to me that the key problem is the silent coercion of a signed int to an unsigned int. Strong typing would have trapped this error, I feel. If I already have element numbers 0, 1, and 2, and add element number -1 to a dynamically allocated array, I can do that by allocating a 4 element array, incrementing the pointer, and copying the data to the right elements. Of course, when freeing the array, you must first decrement the pointer accordingly. Writing a class to do this safely is not that hard, although there is every chance people get it wrong.
"I thought showing a naked woman's anything to a child now resulted in a mandatory 5 year prison sentence and life on the sex-offenders register?"
Bit hard to avoid when breastfeeding a baby
I run several machines on different OSs, and just use whatever runs the tools I need. Linux for most of the work stuff, but Win 7 or 8.1 for some data acquisition and processing programs for which I haven't (yet) found a solution under Linux. The kids and missus also work with the Win 7 or 8.1 boxes.
My only gripes with Win 10 have been the nagware and the spyware. The nagware (probably?) ceases when you install it, but the spyware then becomes an issue. If there is an easy solution to block that I might well install win 10. If I cannot find a solution, I will not upgrade. I know alternatives for the few Windows programs I need are currently being developed, so this is a viable option in a few years time. If a subscription-only revenue model for an OS is introduced, that OS is out.
MS is free to choose its revenue model. I am free to choose an alternative
Brightened up a dull Friday afternoon as we approach beer o'clock. The book titles mentioned do remind me of some classic papers found in Annals of Improbable Research, such as:
Feline Reactions to Bearded Men
The Influence of Peanut Butter on the Earth's Rotation
or my own humble offering
A Quantum-mechanical Interpretation of Homeopathy
A preprint of the latter can be found here
Love that word. Sheer brilliance. I will include it in my mandatory reading material for the course "Introduction to Computing Science" I teach immediately
Absolutely. I was considering purchasing Photoshop, just as it moved from the last CS version to the CC subscription model. Much as I like free software, I am quite willing to pay for a good package (which Photoshop undoubtedly is). However, by the time I wanted to press the purchase button, the only option available was the CC subscription model. I do not like the idea of a subscription, and I like the idea of my stuff being in the cloud even less. I am frequently in places where I do not have a good (or even any) internet connection. I do not want my photo editing suite tell me "Sorry Dave, I can't do that for you" (and I am not even called Dave). Yes, you can work off-line, but if I am out of internet contact for a longer period, things will go pear shaped at some point.
Adobe is of course free to choose their revenue model, and there are millions of users for which this apparently works well. Likewise, I am free to look elsewhere for a product that suits my needs better.
Never ceases to impress, these spacecraft. I was at a Space Museum in Samara in 2013, where they have a full scale Soyuz outside the entrance (you walk in under the engines). Very, very impressive indeed.
Where's that glass of vodka to raise?
<voice of Droopy>
You know what?
I am feeling very happy
</voice of Droopy>
I was trying out the AMD C compiler on some parallel code on our 64-core Opteron server to see if it would optimize more than gcc. Indeed, on some of our smaller images (1 Gpixel or so) it worked well, optaining some 10% more speed, which is nice. However, on a 3.6 Gpixel it crashed. Compiling the same code in gcc worked fine. I checked the code (designed to work up to 4Gpixel which is the maximum for GeoTIFF images anyway) and found we were correctly using a type "Pixel" defined as a 32 bit unsigned integer. A counter of type Pixel was used to traverse the (1D) array of pixels in each for loop. On a hunch I created a 2Gpixel image, and ran the AMD compiled code. It worked. Create an image 1 pixel larger and it crashed. Somehow the optimizer turned the 32 bit unsigned integer into a signed counterpart, causing havoc. AARGH. I then changed the definition of Pixel to 64 bit signed integer, and it still crashed at the 2Gpixel + 1 barrier. Turning off various optimizations might have solved the problem but would defeat the very purpose of using the AMD compiler. We decided to stick with gcc.
Note that this was quite an old AMD compiler, and new versions might have solved the issue.
And anyway, wishing on a star is astronomically stupid,
as I always say
which may or may not stem of the late, great Terry Pratchett's " A Hat Full of Sky"
<doffs hat (black fedora at the moment) to the memory of TP>
if it invents slood before we do
Just wait: Deimos is moving slowly outwards, and Phobos is slowly spiralling inwards. It may take a while to clear the Areostationary orbit, but what's a few million years in astronomy
And before it zooms off you hear: "Yan, tan, tethera!"
I'll raise a glass to the mission, and of course to celebrate the succesful launch
Better still: any migratory bird.
An Arctic tern would maximise bafflement, but it might not be able to carry it.
No doubt an African swallow could carry it, but then it doesn't migrate
And don't forget Simon. NOTHING is safe from Simon. Simon is watching you. Even when he is at the pub
I feel there is an icon missing
I will remind the kids ONCE MORE, that if they get odd documents sent to them, they should NEVER open them unless they have consulted me, and I will add that MACROS ARE BAD, and anyone enabling them without my consent shall be ousted from all computers in the house, and will have to hand in their smart phones for at least a week (now that REALLY hurts them).
They have been very good so far, but a reminder is in order.
a pain in all the diodes down its left side?
At least the robot was allowed to open doors, imagine its chagrin if the doors all had a sunny disposition, and opened automatically just after generating an intolerable air of smugness.
a couple of spare identities, just in case the original one gets stolen.
Albert Spangler sounds good
As Niklaus Wirth said:
"Software is getting slower faster than hardware is getting faster."
We now need the equivalent of a Cray Y-MP to run an office application. I used to have MS-Office running happily on a 80386 at 25MHz with 4 (later 8) MB of RAM.
I do not think this will change my many decades long habit of ignoring the event
"The design: to me looks like the child of a VW beetle and a Citroën 2CV"
with a helping of early Saabs thrown in for good measure
All operating systems I have worked on (including RSX-11, CDC NOS, CP/M in various flavours, VMS, Xenix, IRIX, AIX, MS-DOS, Windows in various flavours, Linux, MacOSX) have had their share of SERIOUS errors, growing more hazardous over the years as they become more complex, and machines become more interconnected. An OS for me is a tool, and I will pick such tools as work best for me given the application. I will also realize all have their hidden flaws because they were made by a bunch of ape-descended life forms who are so amazing primitive they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea (just like me ;-)). Our eyes evolved to pick out juicy fruit and crunchy beetles from foliage, not to find bugs in code.
Thus I do not worship an OS, just as I do not worship a hammer. I will say "OUCH" when any OS I use goes wrong in this manner, just as I say "OUCH" when I hit my thumb with my hammer.
Unless they evolved from slime moulds in the recent past
or they could simply look at the hairy feet to see if they were hobbits. Any round windows or doors in the cave would also be good hints
All right, I should be going. The one with a ring in the pocketses
I enjoy language, literature, history and art, which enhances my understanding of fellow humans. I admire the poet's skill in going to the heart of the matter in very few words.
I enjoy mathematics, science, technology, and coding. These expand my skills in logical reasoning and thinking in more than a mere 3 dimensions. They also teach me more about how the physical world may work. I admire the coder's skill to go to the heart of the problem in a few statements.
I am not a good enough writer to make a living that way, but I am a good enough coder to teach others its joys.
I still need both coding and literature to feel remotely complete.
well, you can get the feeling you are slowly drowning, so aquarium may be appropriate
Because it's a vampire?
And definitely not a black ribbonner
That's not limited to cartoons any more. Many an action movie suggests a nine stone woman can kick a 20 stone gorilla of a man through a wall without any recoil.
The sound-in-vacuum technology present in most SF films is much more puzzling than the faster-than-light stuff
Given this further evidence, "Senate Intelligence Committee" seems like a contradiction in terms.
In a desert-like piece of Pascal code, devoid of any real oases of comments, with single-letter variable names throughout, and naturally lacking any proper documentation, I came across a lonely comment
(* Wulf *)
And no, that wasn't the culprit's name. If he is reading this column, he will know I am talking about him. Having said all this, I could by dint of quite some effort make sense of his code (which algorithm-wise and structurally was fine), but I can still recognize those bits of code I contributed to that system after decoding his work: My variable names grew longer, my comments more detailed, my documentation actually existed!
both with the creativity of their research, and their creativity in cooking up acronyms
BRains Invent Lasting Legacy In Artistic Names for Technology (BRILLIANT)
Raises pint and doffs hat (the black Mayser Trekking today)
might be a better word than rant, as it is indeed rather too coherent and even well-crafted for a true, foaming at the mouth rant.
I persnally tink it is discrimnation against us Trolls!
Still remember that, and Mosaic (which still supported gopher)
There were of course so few websites in the days of Mosaic that you could conceivably test your browser on all of them
Now I tend to use Firefox under Linux and Windows, and Chrome on Android. Works for me.
Reminds me of a single coding error (or horror) that caused trouble when switching from 32 to 64 bit machines on code initially written by two students. The interpretation of "long" and "int" was the same on the 32 bit machines, but differed on 64 bit machines. Storing an array of longs in an int array gave, let's say, "interesting" results. Not underhand, of course, just stupid (and easily fixed once found).
I for one do not relish the idea of a future with a load of chatty doors, self-satisfied fridges, and a nutrimatic machine making me a cup filled with a liquid which is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
Alternatively, we end up with a computer that tells me:
"I am sorry, Dave, I can't do that for you"
And my name isn't even Dave
And now it's beer o'clock!
Must look up more about these men
because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Sorry, I think I should be going. The red monastic robes and matching hat please
Oh wait, no numbers
So far, they haven't
does it taste like a duck?
Hmm, hungry now
Sorry, couldn't resist. The one with the cookery book in the pocket please!
Raising awareness of the appalling conditions kids have to work in is never a bad thing. Solving the problem is rather harder, however. Rather than bluntly stopping "artisanal mining" at gunpoint (which isn't going to work) there may be ways of improving the conditions by educating the people so they employ safer methods or providing safer alternative income. Even simple measures such as providing some protection for the lungs (simple face masks even?) might do more to actually improve the life of the people involved than an outright ban (which will be circumvented).
Still, it all starts with being aware of the problem
The media language of propaganda these days is utterly ridiculous.
"Pacifying Falujah" - Bombing large Eastern town back to the stone age.
"Civilian casualties" - Innocent people killed
"Liquidation" - People killed.
"Expedited removal" - People killed faster.
You could add:
"Revoked", you know, k-i-l-l-e-d: revoked
Alternatively "inhume" is popular with the guild, or "inhume with extreme prejudice" if you want to make a clear statement
Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett
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