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?”
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.
Last 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”
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.
Many of you may be aware that Microsoft came under fire not too long ago for violating its own guidelines for what the little x in the top right hand corner of a dialog box or window should do, close the window and cancel any process associated with that window. Instead, they decided that in a last ditch effort to force people to upgrade to Windows 10, clicking the x on the notification that your Windows 10 update was ready (after it had downloaded itself onto your computer without your permission or by disguising itself as a different update) would essentially be you consenting to the update. I could link a bunch of articles about this, but it would probably be easier for you to just google “Is Windows 10 malware?” and you can see for yourself. After the outcry, Microsoft said they would adjust their update policy, but that’s not what this post is about. This is about Windows 10 intentionally harming peoples computers who dual boot with a Linux distribution. Continue reading “Microsoft Windows 10 is Malware”
As you are aware, we must do everything possible to defeat Donald Trump in the fall. He is a dangerous man who’s rhetoric evokes images of Nazi Germany. Independent analyses have said that his economic plan would cause another recession, undoing all the progress that has been made over the last 7 years. To put it simply (and to use a cliche), the stakes have never been higher. Continue reading “Dear Hillary: An Open Letter as the Convention Begins”
As I sit here writing this, I’m waiting on some custom software to finish running on my other computer. That custom software is still in a testing phase and the current run will tell me if I have finally figured out the source of a persistent positive bias that I am getting from the output of the code. While waiting, I began to think about adding a graphic user interface to handle the input of various parameters in the code instead of having a parameter file. This then got me thinking about how the current state of scientific software is likely a barrier to many who may otherwise enter a specific field of research. Continue reading “The Perils and Pitfalls of Scientific Programming”