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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

3578 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

♫ The Core i9 clock cycles go up. Who cares where they come down?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: The song the headline refers to...

Tom Lehrer is brilliant. I occasionally confuse the hell out of people when I sing "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" on my way to work (that or "I hold Your Hand in Mine", or "the Masochism Tango")

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Alien sun has smashing time sucking up planets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Could be worse

I read somewhere about an entire planet that got used as a ball in a game of intergalactic bar billiards. It got potted straight into a black hole. It only scored thirty points.

Sorry, I'll get me coat

Doffs hat (grey Tilley once more) to the late great Douglas Adams

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Boffins mix AI and chemicals to create super-fast lab assistant

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Bad idea

That is a real risk. As has been said before: Scientific discoveries usually start with "hey, that's odd" rather than "eureka!"

More importantly, will we be able to stand the intolerable air of smugness these AI lab assistants generate whenever they have performed an experiment well?

(Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams)

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Elon Musk, his arch nemesis DeepMind swear off AI weapons

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pugwash 2.0?

Noble idea, won't stop the odd evil genius in his volcano lair, or any government bent on causing trouble, or just some run-of-the-mill idiot who wondered what would happen if you pressed this button (and not the one that causes a little sign saying "please do not press this button again" to light up).

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AR upstart Magic Leap reveals majorly late tech specs' tech specs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The phrase "leap of faith" somehow springs to mind, whenever I read any article on Magic Leap. I wonder why?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: I've already got mine

Aren't you a bit late? I gather IKEA does a FlåtCåt, although some parts might be missing, and the instructions aren't always clear

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Your phone may be able to clean up snaps – but our AI is much better at touching up, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The authors don't use the term AI

which is reassuring. It might well be useful. I have given the paper a very quick read, and the idea of using statistical reasoning seems and learning seems reasonable. I would like to see how it performs on seriously big astronomical images compared to other advanced denoising methods (and goodness knows there are many of them). If it does the job efficiently, I will be happy, if others outperform it, so be it.

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GitHub given Windows 9x's awesome and so very modern look

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Clearly this new effort is worthy of even greater praise."

You were thinking of an Ig Nobel prize?

Possible, but perhaps not quite weird enough (like the Ig Nobel Peace Prize awarded for a car security system, in which the anti-theft device involved a flame thrower)

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Boffins build neural networks fashioned out of DNA molecules

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I foresee a new entry on the excuse calendar

"The dog ate the neural network"

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Universe slipped Milky Way a sausage galaxy to grow a big belly bulge

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: But was it

Tell you what, I'll throw in some extra globular clusters for free, and that's cuttin' me own throat!

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Who fancies a six-core, 32GB RAM, 4TB NVME ... convertible tablet?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting times

There are some interesting machines coming out these days, which would allow me to have a mobile workstation that can do some serious heavy lifting image-processing-wise (gigapixel images and 100s of GB of video and the like), without me needing to do some serious heavy lifting. I could do this stuff remotely, but that would generally require a seriously quick internet connection. I routinely gather 250-300 GB of uncompressed 6Mpixel resolution video data, which I then reduce to a single 100+ Mpixel lunar image. It is doable on my current laptop, but it does take all night. Sending the data to another machine is not really an option, so having a much faster machine chew up the data would be great.

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India tells WhatsApp to add filters, ASAP

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Reminiscent of the problems caused by the Babel fish

"Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation."

Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams

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Bill Clinton's cyber-attack novel: The airport haxploit-blockbuster you knew it would be

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: The President is missing?

That or behind the sofa

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High Tech Concern: Struggling HTC to slash a quarter of workforce

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Real pity

My first smartphone was an HTC Desire, and my HTC One M8 was my first higher end phone. Really nice phone, loved it, in particular its sound. After that, they seemed to lose the plot, and I turned elsewhere.

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Micro Focus offloads Linux-wrangler SUSE for a cool $2.5bn

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Cut-and-shut

Reminds me of HMS Zubian, built from damaged halves of HMS Zulu and HMS Nubian in WW-I.

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Foot lose: Idiot perv's shoe-mounted upskirt vid camera explodes

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

The Farce is very strong in this one

He should have used a bigger battery and he might have been eligible for a Darwin Award

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Couldn't they have charged him with wasting police time? Then again, they may have chosen not to, given the entertainment value of said sad case.

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Drug cops stopped techie's upgrade to question him for hours. About everything

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Made it here first!

"Whatever did happen to Mary Jane?"

Brilliant!! Would like to raise a glass of Mary Jane to that, but the pubs here don't have it. I'll make do with a Westmalle Tripel (or two, it's been that kind of week)

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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Missing a few...

Microsoft Git Millennium Edition?

Please accept my heartfelt apologies for bringing back repressed memories still lurking in the depths of many of us commentards

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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That is genius! I'll raise a glass to that once I have cleared all the tea from my keyboard

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Potato, potato. Toma6to, I'm going to kill you... How a typo can turn an AI translator against us

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Time to do things the easier way

Well, as the saying goes: The other Shaltanac's joopleberry shrub is always a more mauvy shade of pinky-russet

I'll get me coat. Doff's hat (grey Tilley once more) to the late, great Douglas Adams

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SUSE Linux Enterprise turns 15: Look, Ma! A common code base

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Enough of these numerical gimmicks, I am off to lecture in Room 3B

Doffs hat to the late, great Sir Terry Pratchet

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On Kaspersky’s 'transparency tour' the truth was clear as mud

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"Please do not let me detain you"

The problem with the word "transparency" is that it immediately reminds me Lord Vetinari, who often claims his motives are completely transparent, which in his case most likely means you cannot see them at all.

I'll get me coat. The one with "Going Postal" in the pocket

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Meet TLBleed: A crypto-key-leaking CPU attack that Intel reckons we shouldn't worry about

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Much depends on the exact workload. If multiple threads work on the same data, so they can share the cache more effectively, it works a lot better than (as in my mous common use case) each thread works on different chunks of some (very large) image (several Gpixel). I haven't found hyperthreading to contribute anything in the latter case. On some other code, where we can process data from a single image row in multiple threads, you can get reasonable gains (30-40% as I recall).

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BOFH: Is everybody ready for the meeting? Grab a crayon – let's get technical

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Technical, English and Idiot.

"I know only 3 languages, Technical, Plain English and Idiot."

Neat, very neat phrase indeed. Must use this one on more annoying students and/or management (annoying is the default mode for management).

Might have to extend that as I also can do "Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands" (==Plain Dutch) and "Idioot" (take a wild guess)

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How a tax form kludge gifted the world 25 joyous years of PDF

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

I find PDF highly useful

PDF generated using pdflatex works a treat for me. I can send my pdf slides, or poster design, or article anywhere and they look (and print) just fine. Try running a powerpoint presentation with equations in it on some PC at a conference. All too often some font is missing and the equations are completely messed up. Presenting a pdf file instead using any PDF reader works fine every time. I can add basic animations using the pdfanim package in slide if I want to. LaTeX may not be the tool of choice for many, but for me it is ideal, and allowing export to PDF rather than DVI files means I can share my work with others easily.

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Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Eviscerated!

Remember professional trolls count "one, two, many, lots!"

Looks like Atari has LOTS of egg on its face

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How to stealthily poison neural network chips in the supply chain

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Sorry, Dave. I cannot do that for you

and my name isn't even "Dave"

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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So have they ported Edge to this EDGE architecture?

Sorry, just couldn't resist

I'll get me coat. The one with "Get thee to a punnery" in the pocket please

More seriously, this might well be an interesting development in CPU design. I will wait and see.

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Boffins offer to make speculative execution great again with Spectre-Meltdown CPU fix

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Oh woe is me!

Could be some newbies

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The hits keep coming for Facebook: Web giant made 14m people's private posts public

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

A phrase springs to mind

"Don't be sorry, be careful!"

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Mailshot meltdown as Wessex Water gets sweary about a poor chap called Tom

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Do they have a sysadmin named Simon?

Just curious

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'Moore's Revenge' is upon us and will make the world weird

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Mob-mentality

Remember Pratchett's Law for Mobs: "The IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters." Extending this well-known fact to the swarm of IoT widgets with limited intelligence to begin with does not bode well. They could make Sirius Cybernetics' GPP feature look like a pretty neat idea (like digital watches).

I'll get me coat.

Doffs hat (grey Tilley once more) to the late great Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

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Boffins quietly cheering possible discovery of new fundamental particle: Sterile neutrino

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: This is not making physics any easier

Quantum physics has always been batshit crazy. Even general relativity is seriously weird, for that matter (both still make more sense than current politics, or most of what goes on on FaceBook and Twitter, and the like). Doesn't mean quantum physics and relativity are wrong, however. We just happen to live in a batshit crazy and seriously weird universe. Once you realize that, it makes life a lot easier

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RIP to two 'naut legends: A moonwalker and a spacewalker

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Two more childhood heroes gone

I followed all the Apollo flights, and the first Space Shuttle launches as well. Exciting times. Almost all my classmates in primary school wanted to become astronauts back then. Fingers crossed new heroes step up to get kids looking up from their smartphones and out into space again.

I'll raise a glass in their memory, thanking them for all the good memories they gave me, and all they did for mankind

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Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

And anyway, the correct way of looking at homeopathy is using quantummechanics, as I showed in my paper in Annals of Improbable Research years ago: It might work, as long as you don't look (pdf pre-print here)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: Deuterium-free Parafresh or Orthofresh

Whichever is preferred by brewer's yeast.

I'll drink to that

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Cyber-stability wonks add election-ware to ‘civilised nations won’t hack this’ standard

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

Sounds like a useful declaration

just like that one from Munich, way back when

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Softbank's 'Pepper' robot is a security joke

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Facepalm

Password == root???!!!

My gob is thoroughly smacked!

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BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Absolute classic!

Superb episode!!

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You know that silly fear about Alexa recording everything and leaking it online? It just happened

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: And that....

You don't need to have friends called Alexa. You might just like the Billy Joel song "The Downeaster Alexa" (one of hist best, in my personal opinion). I don't have any such device, but I am very curious to see what would happen if you repeatedly played that song to 'Alexa'. They should have chosen a rarer name, like Hig Hurtenflurst, or a nice word like "ekki-ekki-ekki-ekki-ptang-zoom-boing-mrow"

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Microsoft gives users options for Office data slurpage – Basic or Full

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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GDPR compliance?

Methinks the EU may well cry foul over this one. I'll stick with LibreOffice and LaTeX, thanks all the same

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Astroboffins, get in here and explain Saturn's odd-shaped balls

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Only spheroid moon?

Apart from Iapetus, the moons Titan, Mimas ("Death Star"), Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, and Rhea are close to spherical. All are further away, and out of reach of (too) severe tidal disruption (i.e. outside the Roche limit).

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Intel CEO Brian is a man living on the edge

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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He's NOT the messiah!

Sorry, couldn't resist. However, his message is not a universal truth. We still need to throw stuff away, even without GDPR. Many instruments generate such a massive load of data you cannot possibly store all of it, even with cheap storage. I work both on data from astronomical instruments and nuclear accelerators, and the data rates of the new generation of instruments, like SKA (but even for existing LOFAR) means we must reduce the data at the source, and throw most of the raw data away. This is on the one hand anathema to scientists, but it has to be done. Most collisions in accelerators yield nothing of interest, and can be discarded. It is just the rare events that need to be stored. So he is right that we want more data, but we don't want to store indiscriminately, or we will drown in a see of uninteresting stuff.

He is of course right that we need more processing grunt (and storage), but that is pointing out the bleeding obvious

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LESTER looks up, spins its wheels: The Register’s beer-butler can see ...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Collision waver

And a BOFH-modded cattle prod should be in there somewhere (along with a recording of a metallic voice screaming "EXTERMINATE")

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Or even Talisker Skye thinking.

I'll raise a glass of Talisker (Port Ruighe, in fact) to Lester's memory, and the success of LESTER once the latter has served its first beer

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New Monty Python movie to turn old jokes into new royalties

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

The jokes may be old, but many are immortal

just like the Black Knight really (OK, let's call it a draw)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Don't forget the other two holy words

Eki eki eki patang zoo poing zzraazrroohhhh...

Nice word isn't it?

I'll get me coat (and the helmet with the stag antlers on, please)

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MacBook Pro petition begs Apple for total recall of krap keyboards

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "We also asked a brick wall"

If the Reg had listened carefully, they may have heard a slight echo from the brick wall. Not very helpful, but better than nothing

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if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: If dev == woman then...

Why use a conditional statement in this case anyway? Just call the appropriate dontbe(asshole) method directly.

Having worked as a developer for many years before going into academia, I know that a combative way of debating pervades the entire field (IT devs and CS academics alike). As a group, we are not very tolerant of our own errors, knowing what problems a few misplaced characters can cause, and maybe therefore react harshly to mistakes of others. There is also the issue of "tact-filter theory". The idea is that every person is born with just one. For most people, the tact filter is on the output, filtering out inappropriate or socially unacceptable language, and transforming it into something more tactful. Nerds develop a different strategy (due to receiving much abuse from non-nerds), and have their tact filters on the input, filtering out any abusive content their ears may receive. This does however mean that they blurt out anything, without much thought about how it will be received. A non-nerd will find many nerds breathtakingly rude, whereas a nerd listening to a non-nerd will probably wonder why the other doesn't come to the bloody point.

Now this theory is of course a bit of a caricature, but there is an element of truth in it, and it does pay to check whether you are not being too harsh. It is better to help people towards a solution than only to point out where they went wrong, and even the latter can be done politely (although some people can't stand even the politest criticism). Whenever giving feedback to students who clearly have made an effort, I will moderate my tone considerably (although sometimes hoots of laughter do escape me at funnier mistakes). Of course, those who haven't even tried, or have just cut and paste stuff from Stack Overflow (and they are always stunned we have found them out), might get treated more bluntly.

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