Way back in the year of 2012, I made a decision that would change the way that I used a computer from that day forward. Just like many other people, I had always used a version of Microsoft Windows as the operating system on my computers, even the ones I built myself. Using Windows for doing work, however, was becoming increasingly frustrating. It was a huge pain to do development work, especially for a fledgling scientist who had only taken a single programming course and had to figure out everything for myself. The code I had written was slower than molasses on an Alaskan winter day, but the part that was the slowest could be done in parallel. I already had used OpenMP to parallelize the for loop, but it was still going to take forever to run. I learned about GPGPU, OpenCL and CUDA that day. CUDA was the most appealing as it used simple C-like syntax, and I was a C++ programmer. To use CUDA on Windows, I would have needed to purchase Visual Studio, not easy to do on a graduate student’s salary, but I learned you could use it for free on Linux. That was it. The decision was made. That day I installed Fedora 17 on my work desktop, and never looked back. Continue reading “Is it time for me to say goodbye to Fedora?”
It’s been reported recently by a number of sources that Microsoft has dropped support for a number of Intel Atom processors in the most recent Creators Update. That alone should be cause for alarm for a number of people running some older hardware that still suits their needs. It shows that at any time Microsoft can just stop supporting particular hardware meaning that users of that hardware will stop receiving critical security updates. A software company shouldn’t have that much control over people’s hardware, in my opinion, and this can lead to abuse by Microsoft to force people to buy new computers, and hence new Windows licenses. As bad as that is, the violation of Wheaton’s Law comes from the fact that the devices with said processors where likely shipped with Windows 8 or 8.1, and if the users hadn’t upgraded to Windows 10, they’d be entitled to security updates through 2023, while now they will stop receiving those updates sometime in 2018!
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?
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.