Archive for September 16, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Entering Fractions in PCalc

Dr. Drang:

PCalc’s decimal point key changes to Frac when the 2nd key is active. This allows you to enter fractions and mixed numbers directly. The calculations aren’t done as fractions—PCalc converts them immediately to decimal—but you can enter them that way. More important, you don’t have to use the 2nd key to do it.


Dave Winer:

I’ve long felt that every operating system, web server and web browser should have a great outliner baked-in. If you were going to try to do that today, you’d release it under the GPL written in JavaScript. That’s exactly what Concord is.

Update (2013-09-17): See also the Hacker News discussion.

Are Compilers Getting More or Less Reliable?

John Regehr:

Has the reliability of open source compilers decreased since GCC 2.7? This does not appear to be the case. In fact, this experiment indicates that the opposite might be true. Of course we need to be careful in interpreting these results, since randomly generated C programs are not necessarily representative: they could trigger bugs that no real C program triggers, while also missing all of the bugs that Miod is complaining about. On the other hand, take a look at the C programs above that trigger the new wrong-code bugs and try to convince yourself that these patterns will never occur during compilation of real code. A different source of bias in these results is that GCC 2.7 was never tested with Csmith, but the current versions of GCC and Clang have been subjected to extensive random testing.

Design at the Hospital

Pierre Igot:

The stupidest aspect, as far as I am concerned, is that, at least in my case, the simple fact of falling asleep apparently causes enough of a change in my heart rate to trigger the alarm. As you can imagine, falling asleep is not the easiest thing to do in a busy ward at the best of time. When you’ve been put to sleep for six hours and have a bit of a headache, it’s even harder. But really, it does not help at all that, right at the time when you finally fall asleep, the idiotic heart rate monitor emits a beep that is, of course, close enough to wake you from your not-quite-asleep-yet state.