The Microsoft Surface Keyboard: Initial Impressions

So, it’s not much of a secret that I dislike Microsoft. Their Anniversary Update of Windows 10 completely screwed over my Linux boot partition on my laptop. However, several months ago I saw a picture of their Surface Keyboard. Not the one that goes with the Surface and serves as its cover, but the one for use with the Surface desktop. This beauty right here

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The Microsoft Surface Keyboard. Please ignore the tissue box in the background.

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Scientific Linux: A distribution you use because you have to.

Screenshot from 2017-06-08 11-18-11
The default desktop on Scientific Linux 7.3

I’ve sat down to write this post several times, and started over each time. Initially, it was going to be to express my frustrations with Scientific Linux and generally just put it down. I stopped, because I continued to play with it, and fixed some of those frustrations, but was still going to make the overall point that the distribution is pointless. Today, after having stepped away for a few days, I’ve softened my position a bit more after thinking about the reasons someone may use the distribution. So, I’m going to start with the punch line, and then present my case below: While there are possible reasons to use Scientific Linux, I would firmly recommend not using it on a personal computer, or for day-to-day use.

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How Rust Can be A Good Thing

20160820_135602_richtonehdrLast September I saw this article about a programming language I hadn’t heard about before. That language was Rust. At the time, I played around with it a tiny bit but saw no real compelling reason for me to invest the time into learning another language. Then, earlier this week I saw this article on arXiv, and decided to give Rust another look. Continue reading “How Rust Can be A Good Thing”

Installing Nvidia’s CUDA 8.0 on Fedora 25

UPDATE (March 28, 2017): I have found a way to use at least some of the C++11 features. See the end of the post for the changes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. Since my last post I had to update the operating system on my work desktop as Fedora 23 went end-of-life. While it is possible to simply use dnf to upgrade your system, I have the proprietary Nvidia driver installed on my system for two reason. First, with my graphics cards (GeForce GTX 650’s), the Nouveau driver doesn’t seem to really work. Without fail, after about 30 minutes the screen no longer refreshes, making it seem as though the system is locked up. Second, I do some GPU programming with CUDA which requires the proprietary driver. With the proprietary driver installed, it’s a bit more difficult to upgrade, so I tend to just back everything up and do a clean install.

Having done that recently, I find myself this morning needing to re-install CUDA as I have a computational problem which could benefit from some massive parallelism. I figured I’d go ahead and post the procedure here for my future reference and in case anyone else might benefit from it. Continue reading “Installing Nvidia’s CUDA 8.0 on Fedora 25”

Why doesn’t everyone use LaTeX?

Being a scientist in a highly mathematical field, virtually all of my document preparation is done using LaTeX which makes typesetting mathematical expression quite simple, as well as effortless inclusion of tables and figures (graphs) with captions. These tasks can take herculean efforts in a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) word processor, e.g. the universally loathed Microsoft Word. Sure, you can insert pictures and tables, but slightly change the wording in one place and suddenly the objects that you had painstakingly placed in particular locations jump to different pages and like Sisyphus, you find yourself at the bottom of the hill having to push that boulder up again. So, why doesn’t everyone use LaTeX?

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Why is negativity so popular?

When I started this blog, to which I make very irregularly scheduled posts, I never really expected to get much if any traffic. In fact, I was surprised when someone read one of my posts and liked it. Since then, I occasionally look at the site stats out of curiosity, and I’ve noticed something. The posts that tend to get views all have a bit of a negative connotation to them, while posts that are meant to be informational or just positive go unread.

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It’s Wonderful When Things are Going Right

Today, I’m in the process of starting a new research project, and so far things are going very well. I’m hopeful that this trend will continue, and that the project can be completed, written up and submitted to a journal in just a few weeks. Now, the point of this post is not to simply boast about how well things are going (though I don’t think it’s important to celebrate life’s little victories). The point I would like to make is about why things are going well, kind of building on yesterday’s post about things I’ve learned about programming.

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