Specialist

Specialist

  • Commented on The internet of decay
    I've worked in FORTRAN (both FORTRAN IV and FORTRAN 77), various assembly languages, LISP (relatively briefly), Ada, C, C++. I've had to read JOVIAL and PASCAL. A long time ago I did a #include processor in EMACS macros (!). I've...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Actually: C assumes that a programmer should be able to do anything he wants to do, and makes it easy. Ada observes that, 99% of the time, when a programmer attempts to do certain things, he is making a very...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    As I remember it, the Atari ST machines came in two flavors: 520ST and 1040ST. They shipped with 512 KB and 1024 KB, respectively. They also shipped with MIDI ports standard, which is why I bought the 1040ST. I was...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Uh, not quite. PASCAL was originally developed on the CDC 6400 at ETH-Zurich, long before the Cyber 170s came along....
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    PASCAL had pointers from the beginning. I have seen it reported that, in 1982, Wirth stated explicitly that PASCAL had been designed for general-purpose programming. It is true that it was used heavily for teaching in the 1970s, it being...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Wirth's original definition of PASCAL (ca. 1970) contained a CLASS declaration, that essentially declared an array of objects of a particular type that could be accessed with pointers. Each class so declared created a pool of objects that could be...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    C, C++, and assembly language (all flavors) are the only programming languages I know of that permit the perversion known as "pointer arithmetic". Ada provides "access types", which have semantics essentially identical to pointers in every language except C and...
  • Commented on The internet of decay
    Correction. ATM frames contain 48 payload bytes, not 64. It was a political choice. One group wanted 32, one group wanted 64. They compromised on 48....
  • Commented on Placeholder? Placeholder!
    I've run CONSIDERABLY more than 20 pages through my cheap desktop inkjet printers, with no issues other than ink refills. The previous one lasted several years and I have no idea how many pages before developing a problem that, while...
  • Commented on Placeholder? Placeholder!
    One of Fred Saberhagen's "Berserker" short stories had that particular mnemonic as a critical plot device....
  • Commented on Placeholder? Placeholder!
    I have two artificial hips and a hardware store in my left ankle. I set off every airport security screening metal detector on the planet. Everywhere I've been but the US, it is not a problem. They wand me, confirm...
  • Commented on Placeholder? Placeholder!
    You understand correctly. Further, you don't WANT to use graphite as your moderator and water for your cooling. If you lose your cooling, you still have your moderation, and the nuclear reaction continues. This is the runaway mode that resulted...
  • Commented on Some notes on the worst-case scenario
    You said "Interestingly humans are most comfortable at 28-30 degrees Celcius." You might want to ask your source for clarification on that claim. (That's my polite way of saying "You're out of your mind!") 28-30 Celsius is 82-86 Fahrenheit. Maximum...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    It is known to me that the US Consumer Price Index was modified during the Reagan Administration to remove the cost of housing from the index. Ostensibly, this was because nobody could afford to buy houses, so nobody was buying...
  • Commented on Facts of Life and Death
    "Most major economies are currently at or close to zero inflation, or even deflation." How would you tell the difference between zero inflation and zero REPORTED inflation, if the economic indicators that are supposed to measure inflation have been very...
  • Commented on Writer, Interrupted
    Well, maybe management needs to learn about Cohn's Law. "The more time you spend reporting on progress, the less time you have to make progress. Stability is reached when you spend 100% of your time reporting on the zero progress...
  • Commented on Writer, Interrupted
    Tom Demarco, in "Peopleware" (1987), points out that programmer productivity has been repeatedly shown to be best when programmers are in offices with doors that can be closed, and worst in open plan "sea of desks" spaces. I would be...
  • Commented on What are you reading this summer?
    "The Origin of Concurrent Programming", Per Brinch Hansen. This is a collection of classic papers, mostly from the 1970s, mostly by Brinch Hansen, with a few from Edsger Dijkstra and C.A.R. Hoare. Together, they laid down the foundations for concurrency...
  • Commented on FAQ: The Laundry Files--series timeline
    Yes and no. You typically have more latitude and better effectiveness with explicit consent and overt technique. That is not to say that the various covert and nonconsent techniques don't work. How else would you explain Bill Clinton and Barack...
  • Commented on FAQ: The Laundry Files--series timeline
    Which is why one would expect the Laundry to study such techniques, IN DETAIL. The CIA spent a lot of money on some pretty far-out stuff, as did the KGB. There is a certain amount of background chatter that suggests...
  • Commented on FAQ: The Laundry Files--series timeline
    Given that "If you fuck up an invocation of some sort of magic, the worst you get is something that makes a painful death look pleasant", one would expect the Laundry to be interested in techniques that DON'T involve magic...
  • Commented on FAQ: The Laundry Files--series timeline
    (a) Nope. I've been doing this for about ten years, plus or minus, hopping the Pacific. I've taught it to a few other people. (Full Disclosure: I'm a trained hypnotist, and so were they, so all I had to do...
  • Commented on FAQ: The Laundry Files--series timeline
    OGH said "... we meet (Bob) in "The Delirium Brief" suffering from epic jet lag as he gets off a flight from Tokyo." This is surprising to me. Jet lag is easily preventable, using hypnosis. I would expect the Laundry...
  • Commented on Follow the money: Apple vs. the FBI
    NSA funded a good bit of the research on provably secure architectures and operating systems and program-proving technology. I was there at the time, on Don Good's project at UT Austin. We were using a box that used the original...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    OOPS! You're right. My bad. I was in a hurry. That makes the numbers a LOT worse....
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    "That's not a great wattage" looks to be a severe understatement. 2.2 MJ/m^2/day = 611 W-hours/m^2/day. (Google is your FRIEND!) That's not good. At 16% efficiency, that's ONE (1) 100 W light bulb all day all night per square meter...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    I played briefly with Oberon several years ago, and every now and again I get the urge to play some more. I would dearly love to see Oberon running as the native operating system on a Raspberry Pi 2, or,...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    OK, that raises a question. Of that 400+ ppm, how much of that is anthropogenic, and how much of that is Mother Nature (respiration, photosynthesis, volcanic activity, forest fires (recall that forest fires are part of the normal lifecycle ofa...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    I remember 0.5 ata (atmospheres absolute) ppO2 as the limit for pulmonary (whole body) oxygen toxicity. My cross-check is the Project Tektite habitat, which ran on compressed air and was at 45 feet. As I heard it, they chose that...
  • Commented on Science-fictional shibboleths
    Sometime in the 1970s, as I recall, Stephen Hawking gave a talk, entitled something like "On the Breakdown of Physics in the Vicinity of a Spacetime Discontinuity", in which he showed that a black hole could spontaneously emit ANYTHING AT...
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