* Posts by Ian Bush

130 posts • joined 26 Jun 2007

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Brit comms providers told: You must tell people when their cheap contract's about to end

Ian Bush
Flame

Just like ISAs

"We want people to be able to take advantage of the wide choice of communication services available and shop around with confidence, so that they can get the best deals for their needs."

On the other hand we could have a situation where companies don't have the right to rip the customer off the moment they put a foot wrong. We could have a situation where the default is that companies can not rip off consumers at will. Maybe governments could understand that while representing me one very important responsibility is to spare me working through a plethora of compare the market type sites and rather let me HAVE A LIFE. But no. As long as their hedge fund managers maximise their profit that is all that matters. I am just a working droid to maximise somebody else's profits. Fuck 'em.

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Europe's scheme to build exascale capability on homegrown hardware is ludicrous fantasy

Ian Bush

What about the software?

Great, we can build these machines on some kind of timescale. But without the applications that can exploit them what is the point? Where's the funding for the software development, especially if novel architectures require a large overhaul of existing million line codes?

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RIP: Sinclair ZX Spectrum designer Rick Dickinson reaches STOP

Ian Bush
Unhappy

Sad day. Started with a ZX81, progressed to a ZX Spectrum, and now program HPC machines. Wouldn't be doing that if it weren't for Mr Dickinson, and the lessons that you HAD to learn about memory usage are still with me today - you can't always just plug in another DIMM.

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Facebook can’t count, says Cambridge Analytica

Ian Bush

Re: Refuted?

They probably mean "repudiated", it seems increasingly common to confuse the two

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Ian Bush
Black Helicopters

Still 30 million too many ...

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BOOM! Cambridge Analytica explodes following extraordinary TV expose

Ian Bush

Re: Should be interesting to hear their excuses

"You're forgetting one important detail: Only little people like us get to taste porridge. Rich **** get a slap on the wrists and told not to do it again."

I think you've misspelt "****", there should be an extra * at the end

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UK Home Sec Amber Rudd unveils extremism blocking tool

Ian Bush
Coat

You can see it happening already - it's blocked some of your vowels, replacing them with stars

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MPs: Lack of technical skills for Brexit could create 'damaging, unmanageable muddle'

Ian Bush

When Rees-Mogg takes over the tax system will be greatly simplified - we'll all have to pay scutage along with the forelock-tug, and be glad of it.

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Borked bog forces flight carrying 83 plumbers to bug out back to base

Ian Bush
Coat

"The airline's comms handler confirmed the U-turn in a statement sent to The Register."

Shouldn't that read U-bend?

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Trans-Pacific Partnership returns, without Trump but more 'comprehensive'

Ian Bush

Re: Ask Liam Fox

Actually most current practice is not to write it in the first place - See David Davis

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Ian Bush

Ask Liam Fox

That wonderful gentleman Liam Fox must know the details as he seems keen that the UK should join the TPP

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/04/liam-fox-brexit-trade-policy-trans-pacific-partnership

Maybe we could ask him for details. It might protect our chicken.

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The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

Ian Bush

Re: Cool, but why?

"So, the answer is... no... there is no why. They simply justify it as being cool."

Getting kids excited by science, bringing on the next generation of technologists, finding the engineers of the future is "no why"?

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Ian Bush
Megaphone

Re: Cool, but why?

From http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/project

"The BLOODHOUND Project is a global Engineering Adventure, using a 1,000mph World Land Speed Record attempt to inspire the next generation to enjoy, explore and get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

Go and see one of their presentations. They are bloody brilliant.

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Shock: Brit capital strips Uber of its taxi licence

Ian Bush

"What is disappointing is that Uber's immediate response is throw rattles out of the pram and publicly state that they will go to the courts"

Disappointing maybe, but surprising, no. This seems to be their basic corporate policy - if crossed threaten litigation. One wonders if they learnt from a certain well known cult.

10
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Unable to give up on life on Mars, bio-boffins now thrilled to find boron

Ian Bush
Boffin

Re: The chances of anything coming from Mars...

Obscure!? Sigh ... kids these days

That said I'm mildly confused by this. There's no reason boron won't be found in Mar's surface, and it's no big surprise that any boron on Mars will be in the form of borates given the highly oxidised state of the surface - on Earth (almost?) all boron containing minerals are borates. So given that why the big fuss about life? For me the most amazing thing is that the truly amazing Curiosity rover can detect a rare element like boron - I wonder what the concentration is?

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Ian Bush

Re: The chances of anything coming from Mars...

Pterry said that one

10
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Good news: Samsung's Tizen no longer worst code ever. Bad news: It's still pretty awful

Ian Bush
Boffin

There have been legitimate uses for comparing a variable to itself - in particular under IEEE754 all comparisons that have a NaN as one of the operands return false, so checking for equality of a variable with itself was a way of detecting whether the variable held a NaN. Unfortunately optimising compilers used to think "what is this idiocy" and throw it away, hence many languages contain a isNaN function or similar.

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Time to rethink machine learning: The big data gobble is OFF the menu

Ian Bush

I mentally replaced ML with HPC throughout and the articles was still close to coherent and relevant. OMO the ultimate issue here is valuing programmers (both in industry and academia) with relevant specialist skills and rewarding them - that would encourage others to follow down their path.

5
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The cloud is great for HPC: Discuss

Ian Bush

"You may want to try throwing a set of GPUs at a particular computational fluid dynamics problem to see if that architecture can handle the workload in a more effective way. If it doesn’t deliver the gains you expected, then you haven’t sunk capital into a hardware investment"

Yada, yada, yada. I take the point, effectively renting unusual hardware, but GPUs are a poor example, in academia (if not Industry) they have moved into the mainstream and any self respecting central University service will offer nodes including them. So how about FPGAs or Xeon Phi's? You offer them, great ... how much ?!?

The cloud being of use to academic HPC currently is a myth. High throughput computing, yes there is a place. But at the moment not HPC.

1
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Russian raids sweep up 20 malware scum

Ian Bush

Re: Big mistake..

I just assumed they didn't pay the local "taxes"

2
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Fortran greybeards: Get your walking frames and shuffle over to NASA

Ian Bush

Re: One small catch...

Modern Fortran refers to Fortran 90 or later - usually at least Fortran 95 nowadays

2
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Ian Bush

Re: re: CODGER

10x? 100x more likely! And that's not a joke.

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Ian Bush

Don't quite get why this is particularly a Fortran problem - it's simply a result of floating point maths. In fact to expect bit wise identical results for every compiler/library/etc. combination in complex codes like those discussed here displays some ignorance about the nature of the beast, and that's before we even think about talking about parallelism. And in practice for the performance these guys need your choice of language is Fortran, C or C++, nothing else will cut it however much quiche you eat, and for all 3 the floating point issues are similar.

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Teen in the dock on terror apologist charge for naming Wi-Fi network 'Daesh 21'

Ian Bush
Black Helicopters

Re: Weird

Never knew where Mike Corley was, live and learn ...

1
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Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

Ian Bush
Boffin

Re: in which electrons as “heavier” and therefore able to be controlled ion shorter gates

They're not talking about the actual mass, they're talking about the "effective mass". Wikipedia has an article on it

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_mass_(solid-state_physics)

but I admit I haven't read it to see how good it is

3
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Ian Bush

Moly

Chemists tend to call Molybdenum "Moly". So though inaccurate "Moly's valley" would be a possibility.

2
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Command line coffee machine: Hacker shuns app so he can stay at the keyboard for longer

Ian Bush
Pint

Make coffee

Give the explosion of caffeine options since I were a lad I'm surprised he didn't do this via the standard Unix build automation tool. Then he could do things like

make coffee

or

make cappuccino

or

make Venti-Iced-Skinny-Hazelnut-Macchiato-Sugar-Free-Syrup-Extra-Shot-Light-Ice-No-Whip

if he so wanted

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Zilog reveals very, very distant heir to the Z80 empire

Ian Bush

Re: http://www.pofo.de/S8000/S8000_scaled.jpg.

"404 Not found"

Sigh, I read this first as "4004 Not found"

I'll get me zimmerframe ...

Ian

10
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BOFH: Free as in free beer or... Oh. 'Free Upgrade'

Ian Bush

I sort of assumed

"I push the ladder.

I pull the ladder.

The PFY closes the window."

was some BoFH poetry form related to the haiku.

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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

Ian Bush
Coat

Re: Regression to the really mean

> JC? You mean the messiah?

No, he's a very naughty boy

6
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Ian Bush
Flame

Re: Regression to the really mean

Yes there is a difference. But either will be a disaster. May wants to cement the surveillance state. Leadsom has no interest in the "common man", she merely wants to legalise the (in my opinion) tax scams she has run throughout her career - see Private Eye passim.

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The best way to find oxygen on Mars? Friggin LASERS, of course

Ian Bush

Re: More importantly...

But million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten

(crossing the memes)

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Nice cluster, kid. But can these supercomputing students actually predict the weather?

Ian Bush
Meh

And the software comes from ...?

"There’s a twist in the competition on this task: for the first time ever, students have to write their own algorithm to solve the graph problem. They aren’t allowed to use the reference implementation – they have to provide their own approach. Teams will be judged on the quality of their code as well as their solution to the problem. It’ll be interesting to see what happens on this application."

Good. Call me a grumpy old sod (you're a grumpy old sod Ian), but while good fun and a demonstration of problem solving ability I struggle to see the real relevance of these competitions; you simply don't cobble together your own clusters any more, or at least you shouldn't be doing. But often the software is a different matter - where's the recognition of the people who write the stuff that can actually exploit this hardware? While I've seen the names of the teams competing and we're promised videos introducing them there's not even a link to the applications web pages, let alone naming the teams or institutions that develop them.

I must get out more ...

0
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Lester Haines: RIP

Ian Bush
Pint

Apparently just beer is not enough ...

3
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If The Register made reality music TV, this is what it would look like

Ian Bush
Paris Hilton

Re: Aw I missed the original thread, however:

So did I, and given it's El Reg I was amazed that nobody was straight in with Kate's Bush - a horticultural masterpiece in the waiting, surely. (My own name has nothing to so with this observation...)

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US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

Ian Bush

Re: US nuke arsenal run by 1970s IBM 'puter using 8-inch floppies

Personally I've now got visions of the Windows10 upgrade interrupting the whole procedure

1
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Ian Bush

Re: Programming skills .NE. programming languages

"There aren't that many COBOL and Fortran programmers left, and no one is learning those languages these days."

There are plenty of Fortran programmers left, and new people learning the language regularly, just not in computer science departments.

9
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Ian Bush

Re: Some Department of Commerce weather alert systems use Fortran

"HPC is still C, Fortran, Assembler, then C++"

Rather at the top end it's Fortran (~70%), C(~7%), C++(~6%) and other, at least in the UK. See

http://www.archer.ac.uk/documentation/white-papers/app-usage/UKParallelApplications.pdf

http://www.archer.ac.uk/documentation/white-papers/

and

http://www.archer.ac.uk/documentation/white-papers/app-usage/ARCHER_report.txt

for details. The numbers haven't changed much over the last few years.

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Want a Brexit? Promise you'll sort out UK universities' £1bn research cash loss

Ian Bush

Re: The answer is...

"..that the UK is not a net beneficiary of EU funds. Ergo it could afford to replace all EU funding with direct funding by the UK government on leaving, out of the money saved by not propping up Eurocrats and Eastern European failed states",

assuming the pie stays at least the same size post-BRExit as it is currently

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Dwarf planet intumesces before astronomers' gaze

Ian Bush

Re: "I think we're coming to a point where we can give 2007 OR10 its rightful name."

Rimmer seems appropriate given it's out on the edge of solar system

4
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Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline

Ian Bush

Perhaps the mistake is that believing once you've had the initial idea the implementation is the easy part

6
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NAO slates UK.gov's 'haphazard' sci-tech money-chuck plan

Ian Bush

Re: Toys for the minister to stand in front of

For that money sharks with frickin' lasers surely?

But seriously BIS does. That resource is called "The Research Councils." But because advice is given it doesn't mean it has to be listened to, for instance if it inconveniently doesn't recommend funding the ministers latest favourite new toy. In fact it might be better to reorganise things so that such advice isn't received in the first place.

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Ian Bush

Where's the recurrent spending?

And if you are buying the toys for the minister to stand in front of where, as the article mentions in passing, where is the money to keep it going when the minister returns to his club in London? in my own area, supercomputing, the real issue is not a lack of toys to play with, it's a lack of skilled individuals to help people use those toys well and the money to fund the day to day running costs. Such people require a unique set of experience and skills, yet the wages available for them are often low for such a skill set (so recruitment is hard), there is often little chance of career progression, and funding such people through grant money is often difficult. Yet without them the capital investment is simple a pile of silicon, metal and plastic sat in the corner ...

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State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog

Ian Bush

Oh for crying out loud

'The UK’s competition regulator wants to see a new database of utility customers set up so they can be bombarded with “targeted marketing”.'

In a time of stupid ideas this is one that truly stands out. I don't want this targeted marketing. I don't want to spend my spare time trawling through the different offers. I couldn't even give a flying one about so called "competition". I just want the right not to be ripped off. Is this so difficult?

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Sir Clive Sinclair in tech tin-rattle triumph

Ian Bush

Re: 30% chance of failure?

I found that, at least with my hi-fi, if you whacked the volume up to 11 until everything was clipped into nice square waves it very rarely failed to load. The speccy speaker didn't like it very much though

3
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Intel talks concurrency and Knights Landing

Ian Bush
Headmaster

Re: I'm excited...

Sigh ... It's Fortran, not FORTRAN. has been officially for over 25 years. I must get out more.

0
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At least 10 major loyalty card schemes compromised in industry-wide scam

Ian Bush

Re: But why

Why does a sandwich company need any of this at all?

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France's 3-month state of emergency lets govt censor the web

Ian Bush

Liberté, égalité, fraternité ...

Well at best they're down to 2/3 now.

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BOFH: We're miracle workers. But you want us to fix THAT in 10 minutes?

Ian Bush

Re: There's a difference

"no-changes-on-a-Friday"

That's close to what we call it, but not quite ...

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Think Fortran, assembly language programming is boring and useless? Tell that to the NASA Voyager team

Ian Bush
Coat

Simply

END

As in Fortran GOD is implicitly real

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