User talk:Kdakin

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Hello, Kdakin, and welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are some pages that you might find helpful:

I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wikipedian! Please sign your name on talk pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically produce your name and the date. If you need help, check out Wikipedia:Questions, ask me on my talk page, or place {{helpme}} on your talk page and someone will show up shortly to answer your questions. Again, welcome!  DS 19:18, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Incorrectly formatted data[edit]

I noticed that you had created this article. I think the real question I have is "Does this belong on Wikipedia?".

Is there a larger purpose behind this article?

Fiddle Faddle 17:20, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I tried to get a message to you re: your comment. I don't know if this will get to you but I thought I'd try anyway. What is problem with "invalid data format".

Each time I try to put in an account of what something is, it suggests it doesnt know the terminology.

Therefore, I try to give a general description of the terms I am using.

Please advise, also how to respond to you generally ken dakin

--ken 17:48, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

  • This method works well, Ken. I simply looked at the article and could not yet see its place in an encyclopaedia. Now that's ok, because I don't decide what stays and what goes :) I was just thinking that it could do with several things, the most important of which is an assertion that it is important enough to be here (by the topic asserting its importance - kind of catch 22). Again not my opinion, because the community looks at pages (that is people just like you and me) and determines keep vs delete. Other things required tend to be external validation. We may "know something" but that tends to be insufficient, so we need references in the external world. And we also need articles which are not orphans - ie those that are linked to by (ideally) several other articles. I understand totally when you search for something, can't find it, and thus write an article. That's what all of us do. We just have to use care sometimes to make sure the article is worthy of our efforts. I don't mean to stop you, nor to curb your enthusiasm. And you have every right to ignore me. Fiddle Faddle 18:05, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

There is no obvious way to respond to your comment (on Wikpedia), clicking the "+" key was in desperation. It seems to have the desired effect however. What's wrong with a "reply" tab ?

Maybe I am missing something - but there is so much verbiage regarding what's OK and what's not that frankly, life's too short to read it all before wanting to add something required to the Wikpedia, even though it may be imperfect.

I have tried to be impartial as far as possible.

I am an "original" source , not because everything I am saying is my opinion, but much moreso because it seems that no-one has bothered to present this historical information before, even though it has a history going back to the late 60's with loads of documented stuff stuck in IBM libraries and elsewhere.

I think the reason is that an incredible amount of IT knowledge is unknown because it is having to be re-learnt by the current generation of PC developers who won't know that much has been done before in previous incarnations or architecture.

I started by looking at "debugging" as a term. Every reference to debuggers seemed to be referencing recent debuggers for Personal Computers with no reference whatsoever to "legacy" systems. As just one of the relatively few authors of earlier debugging systems, I feel I can testify directly about at least a few debugging systems that existed long before the current crop.

Time will tell whether I have added anything that is controversial, as I am sure it will be edited out. I think not however.

Tell me what you think

Ken Dakin --ken 19:58, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

  • You'll get used to talk pages. They can be easily misunderstood. For me they are the hardest part of this thing. Help:Talk_page#How_to_keep_a_two-way_conversation_readable may help. What you need to to with articles is to make them authoritative by referring to external items. An example is an early page I created, Tide Mills. It took me a while to learn what to do. Have a look at the way the references are made. Then consider using that type of approach to use external references to give credence to the items you are describing. I was around in mainframes in the 70s, so I know where you're coming from, BTW. I'll scratch my head and see if I can come up with something as an example in your own article. No promises Fiddle Faddle 20:27, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
    • OK, have a look at it now. I was scraping my own personal barrel somewhat. But it is more the type of article that will not be proposed for deletion now. Not that I guarantee that, you understand! It needs a little more work to become secure against that. It could also do with some other authoritative pages to link to it, but only in valid context. Does that help you? Fiddle Faddle 20:38, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Buffer Overflow[edit]

Hey, if you contribute to an article and your edit is removed, explain on the talk page why you think the removal was unjustified. Arbitration is for more serious disputes which cannot be solved via the source page. The reason I removed your paragraph (in July), was that it was not in itself related to buffer overflows, but lent itself to the topic of black box testing or debugger, however it was unsuitable for moving to those particular articles as is. Cheers, -- ~~

Re: superceded→superseded, todays→today's[edit]

You "corrected" my article on shared public spreadsheet by adding two new spelling / puntuation mistakes. "superceded" and "todays" were (and still are) correct.ken 04:59, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi Ken,
I did a little research on this one, and it turns out I was correct on both counts. "supersede" is generally regarded as the preferred spelling of the word. See here and here.
Also, "today's commercial spreadsheets" is definitely the correct usage. "todays" means the plural of the noun "today", which doesn't make sense as there's only ever one thing called "today". "today's", on the other hand, indicates the possessive, i.e. "spreadsheets of today".
Unless you have any objections, I'll reapply my changes at some point soon. Cheers, CmdrObot 19:31, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I think you are wrong on both counts still - spelling is English and I looked up correct spelling too ; "todays" should perhaps be "todays'" but not "today's" which means "today is" as in "he's".ken 20:20, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

As a side note, "today's commercial spreadsheets" is absolutely correct. Also, there would never be an instance of todays' -- that is totally incorrect english. It would be supersede and today's. Hope this helps (mom was an English professor). /Blaxthos 20:22, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

OS/2 Warp -- irrelevant to article[edit]

Several probelms I see (each of which, individually, would prohibit inclusion):

  1. Unsourced - No source of this information.
  2. Original research - makes assumptions and draws conclusions.
  3. Speculative - Speculates about what IBM "most certainly" knew, etc.
  4. Irrelevant - That some company approached IBM with an entirely different product they called Warp and later sued IBM over does not have any signifcance to this article. The product they sold had nothing to do with OS/2 Warp -- it's simply a dispute over ownership of the name.

Removed per norm. /Blaxthos 18:50, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Follow up - from comment left on my talk page:

I also have original copies of letters from IBM regarding our offer to them regarding our product WARP.If you want an image of the letter I will show it with the article. Theft is not trivial and it is certainly relevant to the origin of the name. IBM reputedly spent $300,000,000 marketing a product using our trademarked name.

The letters constitute original research and does not qualify as an appropriate source for inclusion in Wikipedia. However, your comment belies your non-neutral point of view -- you refer to the name "Warp" as our trademark name. Clearly you represent the company involved in the lawsuit, and it seems that your point of view is skewed by your association with them (notice your accusation of "theft" -- keep in mind we're talking about the trademark name of totally unrelated products; so you assert that you own the name "Warp"?)! It's hard to assume good faith that you are simply trying to improve the article while having a non-neutral point of view and being involved in a lawsuit regarding the subject of the article. This is not the place. /Blaxthos 20:11, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It appears that you think that history can be changed by removing an account of what actually happened. The version that currently exists is not the truth and it is only fair that the another and publicly documented point of view is offered for consideration. The evidence is not only public domain but highly relevant to the original article which already discusses the origin of the name. The fact that I personally was involved is only relevant from the standpoint of my being a witness to the facts stated in the article. There are many others also involved who can state the truth of this matter including an independent "expert witness" who was called to the French Court to testify against IBM's claim that ("Our") product WARP did not even exist or did not do what was claimed.

Denying alternative accounts of events will not make them disappear - the way the alternative account was explained by me was hardly heavily biased. It was left to the reader to explore further - if need be - to decide which was the truthful account.I am quite prepared to scan in and publish the relevant letters to from IBM which will prove IBM's involvement with APT. To claim that the argument is irrelevant is itself biased considering the original uncited claim by IBM.

The question of whether or not IBM knew that "warping" plastic was not relevant to the tradename "Warp" is in fact self evident and hardly contraversial. The product they claimed was the original "trademark" was also cited and is an IBM product with a recognized product number and description which testifies to the description I gave.

In fact, anyone with sufficient interest could easily verify what I said from the information provided in my narrative. It is an open secret, not original research as claimed.

As to whether "Warp" and "OS/2 Warp" are totally unrelated products, this would be true if there were no historical facts linking these products. Both names were used to suggest an increase in speed over existing operating systems. Both products alluded to the "Warp speed" implied by association with Star Trek, the main difference being that APT's Warp was registered in advance of IBM's and after IBM had been given the idea by a presentation given by me and other colleagues at IBM's Hursley offices in the UK. This is documented.

I see no point in continuing this discussion, as you blatantly ignore the things I write. You do not have a clear understanding of Wikipedia policies; please read the following:
  1. WP:SIGN -- Please sign your posts. This is not optional.
  2. WP:OR -- Self-published sources are, by definition, original research. Please read the policy.
  3. WP:CITE -- You must site your sources.
  4. WP:VERIFY -- Information must be verifiable
  5. WP:NPOV -- Your involvement with the issue (especially litigation) necessarily means you do not have a neutral point of view. Your purpose is obviously not to improve the article.
  6. IRRELEVANT -- A trademark dispute has nothing to do with the history of OS/2. As I've said countless times, it would be appropriate for an article about IBM Lawsuits or Trademark Disputes; it has no bearing on the history of OS/2.
Any additional changes will result in an RfC on the issue. Thanks. /Blaxthos 22:15, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It seems that history will not record the fact that there was a dispute over the name Warp lasting severn years! I see no reason why the section about "why Warp was named Warp" and the Star Trek comments should also be removed using the same arguments you have used against my additions. How about some arbitration on this point!

Encyclopedia should present facts that are in dispute as much as established facts as long as they are presented in a dispassionate way as I believe my contribution was. Is history to be only written by the critics or people with first hand experience? How about if I put it all as a quote? Did I say it or not if I was the original source? Will it ever be recorded?

Was Einstein biased when he modified Newtons laws of Gravity? was it original research? did people need to know? perhaps if Einstein had posted an alternative theory on Wikipedia it may have been removed by you as speculative, biased, irrelevant original research without any citations from people who believed him?

The greatest theory of mankind would have qualified by your criteria as "removed per norm"ken 10:03, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Dude, I hate to be rude here, but you need to read the policies I quoted to you, specifically the Wikipedia policies regarding primary vs. secondary sources. Let me try to clarify this for you using your own analogy. Wikipedia is not a place to publish original thought. Einstein could not post his theory on Wikipedia -- it would immediately be removed as origianl research. Einstein would publish his theory in a peer-reviewed professional journal; the journal would then be a valid source. Wikipedia allows for secondary sources (generally peer-reviewed, reliable, and verifiable), not for self-published works. If someone wrote a book about the trademark and cited your letters as the primary source, then you could incorporate THAT BOOK into wikipedia as a secondary source (assuming it's reliable). In short, instead of wasing time arguing why you think it should be included, go read the relevant policies. How many times do I need to point this out?
Also, as a side note, I remember IBM using Star Trek based codenames for OS/2 builds ("Klingon", "Ferangi", etc.) since long before OS/2 Warp name was released. You're just flat out wrong, and although I can't insert this because I was an IBM'er who worked on the OS/2 project, there have been several independant secondary sources that have written about the naming schema. In short, it looks like your company just saw a way to try and bleed a little cash out of a big company using trademark lawsuits, but then again that's just my opinion. To summarize, you're wrong on two points:
  1. Your contributions constitute original research and you do not have reliable, verifiable or appropriate sources (per Wikipedia policies and norms).
  2. Your account of "why" it's called OS/2 Warp is wrong -- I know this from working on the project myself. However, it should be noted that it's number one (listed above) that's keeping your claim out of Wikipedia.
Good luck. /Blaxthos 21:39, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

So it seems I was correct that - at least one of you worked for IBM - nothing changes! It seems that IBM will win in the end despite the evidence presented in the public domain and testified to by an expert witness. The fact that Star Trek names were used internally is totally irrelevant to the external name - are you not aware of the very significant difference? How is your IBM pension holding up these days? As for your slanderous suggestion that the story is effectively invented to extract cash from IBM - as a longstanding software designer and producer of recognized high quality software - I find this remark highly insulting.

As for posting secondary sources, who is going to document "in a book" (as if that was the be all and end all of truth! - do you believe everything you/Wikipedia see published in all books then?) something they didn't know about that I can then subsequently quote - does that mean, as you are suggesting, that this piece of history is confined to the dustbin for all time?

As for "verifiable", you are at liberty to examine original documents and check out the public records in the High Court in Paris from 1994-2001.You can also see the ludicrous claims by IBM that APT International "wasn't an international company" (as if that had anything to do with it!) or claims that APT's Warp didn't actually do what was claimed (as if that had anything to do with it either!). I had, earlier, come to the conclusion that Wikipedia offered a rare opportunity to correct some of the predominately one-sided versions of history. I was wrong - it seems that, as in past millenia, only the victors will write the history, even if they are on the pension roll.ken 19:35, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Re:Galton Darwin connection[edit]

I removed the information about the Galton/Darwin connection because it wasn't relevant to the Keynes article. I did copy the information to Talk:Darwin — Wedgwood family so that people could add it to that article if they wanted. I am sure that the Keynes's are connected in some way to many leading British familes and people, but in my view only the most direct connections should be mentioned in the article. I included the Darwin connection only because some of the Kenyes's are mentioned in the Darwin — Wedgwood family article. Eluchil404 02:13, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Keynes and Keynes family redirects[edit]

I don't quite follow your comments on my talk page about Keynes family now pointing to John Maynard Keynes. The family page still exits at its old title, though it has been trimmed down a little. Keynes has always redirected to John Maynard Keynes (which is why I created the Keynes (disambiguation) and Keynes family pages in the first place). De keynes currently redirects to Keynes which makes it a non-functional double redirect. The target should perhaps be changed to Keynes family, but I'm not 100% sure. Eluchil404 07:35, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

  • perhaps I made a mistake, but I think that "Keynes" (and also "de Keynes" ) should logically point to the Keynes disambiguation page , not John Maynard Keynes as currently.ken 08:42, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


Hi, thanks for the great improvements you have made to Spreadsheet. John Vandenberg 13:26, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Value Rule in Spreadsheets[edit]

Ken, this is in response to your observation on my user page discussion regarding the value rule and the implication of real time input to spreadsheets.

First, let me observe that the current time of day function was probably available in spreadsheet when Kay made his observation, though that doesn't refute your point.

Rather, I think that automatically changing things like random number sequences, time/date, and external inputs like real time stock prices fall in the category of "I/O" phenomena, which are traditionally considered a separate sort of thing when talking about the semantics of computer software.

For example, a "Harvard architecture" machine is still considered a Harvard machine even if its program can modify the external media upon which its programs reside, thus rewriting its programs. The fact that it can use I/O to modify its program doesn't change it to a von Neumann machine. Cryptosmith (Rick Smith) 16:17, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Rick, After pondering what you have said concerning Harvard machines, I think you may be wrong!

I think it depends on the length of the tape, how large the blank gaps are and what the resultant program is capable of. I am assuming that when you say "it can use I/O to modify its [own] program", that new blank sections of tape are punched which is then part of the "loop" that gets fed back into the same punched tape "instruction reader" (assuming it only has one for the moment).

For the moment let us ignore most of the practicalities of this - except the speed of instruction processing - which we assume is faster than the I/O. At some point, the processor is having to wait for its next instruction coming in from the reader (or wait for its next instruction to be punched!). The tape writer/reader has now become the bottleneck and in effect the tape takes on the function of the slower data memory. The exact same problem scenario as Von Neumann architecture in fact.

Assuming it is the same loop of tape (i.e. only one tape reader, the program has to anticipate the newly punched gaps and respond accordingly on each iteration. To allow for continual modification, the gaps have to be large (infinitely large if the program is to run for an indefinite amount of time). Thus to take the extreme case, the reader has to wait almost an infinite amount of time for its next instruction from (tape) "memory".

To try to overcome this little problem, lets now introduce a 2nd reader/punch (it has to be both otherwise the output from the punch would not be able to feed back in to make any changes to the running program). So new modified instructions are punched out onto a completely separate tape. Let us ignore the practical speed of this device and its associated reader and assume they both punch and reader run "at the speed of light". The instruction processor now has the original program which punches out modifications onto the 2nd punch tape loop which modify its behaviour each time. The 2nd tape cannot be infinitely long otherwise the processor would have to wait forever to get its modifications! - lets assume it is therefore quite "short" - say 186,000 miles. It therefore has to wait a maximum of just one second to retrieve the latest modification to its own code.

Each modification requires a sequenced section of this loop and in the case of paper tape is non-reusable so eventually all 186,000 miles of tape get used up and no further modifications are possible.

What does this tell us? - I think the following:-

1. A Harvard Architecture does produce Von Neumann style limitations - with this form of "external" input at least.

2. Such a hypothetical self-modifying machine cannot run indefinitely without running out of non-erasable "memory".

3. A random or event driven "input" to a cell breaks the "value rule"?

Furthermore, if a spreadsheet has "I/O" (i.e. value not keyed into a cell but inputted via an external I/O device), its processing is no different to any other conventional computer program. Thus to categorize such a spreadsheet as "a limited form of first-order functional programming" is I believe meaningless unless of course this description also applies to all computer programs which it clearly cannot! The I/O in a spreadsheet is normally all "internal" (i.e. "input" comes from within some cells and "output" ends up in some other cells via formulae - which have to be processed in a particular order and processing takes a finite amount of time.

The "apparent" differences between a spreadsheet and a conventional programs processing are the only things that sets it apart in any way from other programs:-

All the input is "visible" at start of processing (within the sheet and "already read in").

All the processing is (apparently) "at once" (clearly not the case in reality).

All the output is "visible" at end of processing (laid out flat in its entirety. i.e not in an O/P file).

Formulae are repeated (instead of re-applied with an index) to accomplish the end result (this could be done in a conventional program by not using a "loop" and repeating the instructions for each individual input "instance".

These facts would be more apparent if modern day processors were slower and the output values appeared one-by-one as the calculations proceeded.

[The works records system did not need this replication of formulae since date/time factors were "built-in" to the processing from the start].

Perhaps you might like to re-consider the section of the article you added and put a "caveat" on it concerning cells updated by 1) random numbers 2) date/time 3) input from other workbooks which might have input from 1st two or last one ;4) analogue to digital converters (eg thermometers/Gauge/geiger counters)

(By the way, I have been making further small changes to Works records system history to observe that it was not just first interactive online spreadsheet , but first 3-D spreadsheet as well as first shared public spreadsheet. I have not monitored spreadsheet development closely enough in the past it seems to have noticed the level of re-invention that has occured! I left the world of spreadsheets after 1974 to enter the wonderful world of automatic bug solving (still a black art!).

ken 06:36, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Your comment to Rwwww[edit]

I've been away, back now only infrequently. Left a response for you, but not specific as you didn't identify the particular change that you were questioning. tooold 04:05, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

AfD nomination of Ken Dakin[edit]

I've nominated Ken Dakin, an article you created, for deletion. We appreciate your contributions, but in this particular case I do not feel that Ken Dakin satisfies Wikipedia's criteria for inclusion; I have explained why in the nomination space (see also "What Wikipedia is not" and the Wikipedia deletion policy). Your opinions on the matter are welcome; please participate in the discussion by adding your comments at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ken Dakin and please be sure to sign your comments with four tildes (~~~~). You are free to edit the content of Ken Dakin during the discussion but should not remove the articles for deletion template from the top of the article; such removal will not end the deletion discussion. Thank you. John Vandenberg 04:50, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Redirect of Extinct Shared Public Spreadsheet[edit]

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To contest the tagging and request that administrators wait before possibly deleting Extinct Shared Public Spreadsheet, please affix the template {{hangon}} to the page, and put a note on its talk page. If the article has already been deleted, see the advice and instructions at WP:WMD. Please note, this bot is only informing you of the nomination for speedy deletion, it did not nominate Extinct Shared Public Spreadsheet itself. Feel free to leave a message on the bot operator's talk page if you have any questions about this or any problems with this bot. --Android Mouse Bot 2 10:22, 24 June 2007 (UTC)


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Just stopping by with wikicookies for those editors who started new articles today. --Rosiestep (talk) 16:08, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Speedy deletion of Hugh I de Audley[edit]

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A tag has been placed on Hugh I de Audley requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done under section A7 of the criteria for speedy deletion, because the article appears to be about a person or group of people, but it does not indicate how or why the subject is notable: that is, why an article about that subject should be included in an encyclopedia. Under the criteria for speedy deletion, articles that do not indicate the subject's importance or significance may be deleted at any time. Please see the guidelines for what is generally accepted as notable, as well as our subject-specific notability guideline for biographies.

If you think that this notice was placed here in error, you may contest the deletion by adding {{hangon}} to the top of the page that has been nominated for deletion (just below the existing speedy deletion or "db" tag), coupled with adding a note on the talk page explaining your position, but be aware that once tagged for speedy deletion, if the article meets the criterion it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag yourself, but don't hesitate to add information to the article that would would render it more in conformance with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. Lastly, please note that if the article does get deleted, you can contact one of these admins to request that a copy be emailed to you. Ironholds (talk) 13:30, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

As reviewing administrator, I think the article is just above the speedy level, but i am fairly sure it will be nominated for deletion , and probably will get deleted, unless you can find any additional information. Try some histories of the period, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, not just genealogical sites. Such sites are not considered reliable sources here, except perhaps for the basic facts of someones dates and the like--and even so they are not considered very accurate-- but certainly not to prove notability. DGG (talk) 16:26, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
I've nominated it for afd: Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Hugh_I_de_Audley. Ken, your comments would be welcome! ErikHaugen (talk) 16:38, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Virtual method table[edit]

I've removed the previous talkback notices, and added a new one. I've tried to respond as clearly as I can - hopefully we'll understand soon where the other person is at (from your edits, I think that we are not in agreement - but I'm not sure!).BananaFiend (talk) 09:18, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

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Hello, Kdakin. You have new messages at BananaFiend's talk page.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Your edit in Performance analysis - Simple manual technique[edit]

Hi Ken, You inserted (I think) some questions into this paragraph, and I don't understand them. Maybe you'd like to clarify? I was explaining a technique for locating the cause of infinite loops, and using that as a starting point for explaining how to find performance problems. Thanks, User:MikeDunlavey MikeDunlavey (talk) 12:23, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Mike, yes, I did add some questions in that section.

Having spent 40 years investigating and developing my own commercial fully automatic and program assisted software methods for detecting bugs of all kinds including loops, I think I am more than qualified to comment! First, I am not certain that there is a difference between a "pause" and a "breakpoint" - certainly my own commercial test/debugging systems always used the term "pause" to mean what others describe as a breakpoint (I never did like the term!).

The tone of the section is somewhat colloquial (eg "one gets the sense that..." ) and I think needs to be more 'third person'.

I personally have never heard of the term "slug" but am prepared to believe that some people use this term and therefore should be stated as such (eg. -xxxx sometimes known as a 'slug'). I think you should take a look at the article algorithmic efficiency as you are actually covering points that I believe are either already covered in that article or are better described in more general terms (many by me because they were simply absent!). Your description of various types of search "...might slow things down..." is more adequately covered in descriptions of 'general techniques' (with links) to binary search etc and 'hot spots' are covered too. Perhaps you should just link to the efficiency article instead of trying to describe these things again. Cheers! ken (talk) 12:31, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply, Ken

Let me go point-by-point, 'cause there's a lot here. Please bear with me.

  • I also have over 40 years experience in software development, a Ph.D. in A.I., college teaching, several startups, a number of popular and scholarly publications, none of which makes me any more qualified to comment than you or anybody else. I tried to make my section stand on its own merits, not mine.
  • On the difference between "pause" and "breakpoint", they are as different as night and day. You can probably suggest a better word than "pause". What I meant was stopping the program at a random time by striking a key, like Ctl-C, or Alt-Break, or Escape, or whatever causes the debugger (or instruction simulator) to stop now, not waiting until it hits a breakpoint. If you could set a breakpoint that would halt at a truly random clock time, that would do the same thing.
  • On the tone being colloquial, I plead guilty. I always struggle with that, because I perceive that most programmers will skip over something unless it talks to them in their vernacular. I can always use help in phrasing.
  • On the term "slug", I admit I coined it in an article in Dr. Dobbs' (11/93). It is a concept that, I felt, needed a name, because it was unrecognized. It is like a bug in the sense that it is a specific problem in the program that can be fixed with a localized change. It is unlike a bug in that it does not make the program wrong, but only slow, often extremely slow.
  • I had not seen your efficiency article before. It is nicely written and pretty comprehensive, so thanks for pointing it out. I have comments, but the main thing is that what I posted is really different from what you and others have said. I am pointing out that subroutine calls at intermediate levels of the call stack represent a boundless risk of inefficiency (or a great opportunity for optimizing). These are not "hot spots". They are not pinpointed by program counter samples. They are not pinpointed by profilers that collect function call-graph statistics or call-count statistics or basic-block or line execution counts. They are easily pinpointed by taking random-time samples of the entire call stack, not just the program counter. We don't look for what functions are on the call stack, but what instructions are on the call stack. That's a huge difference because it pinpoints the guilty code, no guesswork, where maybe we can do something about it. People raise the objection that you need large numbers of samples, and that's not so. You only need enough samples to see the problem. If you take 20 samples of the call stack, any call instruction that shows up on 10 of them, for example, could save 50% of execution time (more or less) if you could get rid of it. Then you repeat the process until you can't anymore, often resulting in large speedup factors (e.g. 40x), not just percents. This isn't "rocket science". For me the enduring mystery is why everybody doesn't know this. Often the response I get is "Well, if the programmer wrote that function call it must have been necessary." Well, maybe, but if the call stack is 20 calls deep and say 15 of the calls cannot be removed, that leaves 5 that can be, with big opportunity for speedup. I've had people say "Oh, that's obvious. Been there, done that." Well I think it's obvious, but they haven't been there or done that. In my programming life I've made something of a specialty out of finding large speedups with almost no effort, and getting something of a "wizard" reputation, when it's only a simple technique that they could have used. Notice that this has to do with software design. There is no tool or optimizer in the world that can fix it automatically, short of an A.I. automatic programmer that's as smart as we are. I have written a profiler-like tool that automates the sampling and summarizing I'm talking about, but it's not much more useful than the manual method, mainly because in the manual method you can look at the code and data and see the rationale for the calls taking place. By the way, this is not "original research" - my papers are referenced.

Forgive me for being so long-winded. This subject gets me going. MikeDunlavey (talk) 14:24, 4 October 2008 (UTC)


I am glad the subject gets you going - its also been getting me going for 40 years plus!

By the way, FYI, I believe I may have produced the worlds first JIT compiler as well as one of the first spreadsheet programs around 1974 [1] and have been passionate about program efficiency since I started programming in 1968.

I know exactly what you mean when you say other people "don't get it". To me it's blindingly obvious what the benefits of truly optimized code is and, as you say, using even quite simple techniques, you can improve the efficiency of many algorithms/programs by truly massive factors (i.e. not percentages!, that would be considered extraordinary in say the car industry or the aviation industry for instance.

(My first ever speed-up reduced run-time by a factor of 1,000 using a few bytes of patch code in an assembly program for the UK electoral role).

I reduced the time for marking coupons for 'Littlewoods Pools' football from many hours to just 20 minutes and simplified the code at the same time. It s a total myth (as you almost certainly know) that optimizing per se causes complicated code, often the reverse is true, yet many Wikipedia articles state the opposite.

I will have to think of a more appropriate word/phrase for you than "pause" because I think it's very misleading indeed ("random breakpoint event" off the top of my head seems reasonably descriptive and is not confused with, for instance, a deliberate "pause" at statement nn).

As for your point about getting the actual 'instruction rather than the function, this is commonplace standard for me as designer/writer of an instruction set simulator of some 30 plus years actual commercial use.

The thing that REALLY surprises me is that instruction set simulators are not commonplace - since they have been around for probably 40 plus years. Reading the earlier Wikipedia articles, it was almost like they didn't exist (i.e. people didn't know they could be written or were not capable of giving such truly fantastic benefits. Modern day 'profilers' do not usually give/analyze hot-spots at instruction level but the one I produced in late 1960's did! and used randomized sampling thousands of times on a short timer interrupt to trap PSWs and later analyze them and produce symbolic mapping/counts to the source with actual percentages by statement. (I know that instruction counts from a simulator are not the same metric as provided by timer interrupts but actually give a pretty good measure generally and, in my experience, reduced instruction counts is proportional with reduced CPU usage to a very high degree ignoring most other factors)

My commercial debugging products optionally produced instruction counts for HLL statements and could provide full or partial assembly (machine code) trace of all register/storage changes. There were, believe it or not, sites that didn't use such products!

By the way, the algorithmic efficiency article was not mine, but I augmented it considerably as it was not so comprehensive originally, missing several important factors.

I recently have had deletions by one 'nutter' who thought that choice of database/ data type was not relevant to algorithm performance - "...because most algorithms don't use databases". He probably also thinks optimizing compilers produce better code than humans are capable of too! Look forward to an intelligent discussion re:other points Cheersken (talk) 15:08, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, Ken,

I looked over your further edits to the performance analysis page, and I approve.

In terms of instruction counts vs. timer interrupts, some of my first work in performance tuning was on an RDS-500 mini, where there was a single-step button on the panel. If you single-step your way through a hunk of software, you get a really good idea of where the time goes. Then I found you could just hit the "run" button followed by the "halt" button, and if it was spending 90% of its time doing something dumb, you'd catch it in the act almost every time.

The key for me was, if I found it in a routine, I wanted to know how it got there, and why. I could find out by looking up the call stack. (Not easy when all you have is a hex dump.) Totally obvious thing to do. Maybe the reason why is not a good one. Maybe you're spending time doing stuff you don't really have to. How the rest of the world could have missed this concept is stupifying.

Not to be a horn-tooter, but the big insight of my C.S. career was to realize that C.S. needed a quantitative theory, not just the usual big-O stuff, and that information theory could have a lot to say about it. In information theory you talk about coding, bandwidth, minimal codes, the role of redundancy for error correction, etc. It also talks about multiple definitions of information, from Shannon to Kolmogorov, and those yield a lot of insights. I realized that if an algorithm is looked at as an information channel (from input to output), there is a new way to talk about it's efficiency. Since I was steeped in A.I., I came to think of programming itself as an algorithm whose efficiency you could talk about. In that case the input is requirements, no matter how stated, and the output is correct code. If you talk about efficiency of that, it sheds a new light on the whole programming process, and suggests new measures to try to minimize. All that became my book, that didn't sell many copies, but is now a bit of a collector's item, judging by what you have to pay for it on Amazon. Anyway, I'm still a bit of a voice in the wilderness, though the skills keep me employed.

Take care. MikeDunlavey (talk) 23:04, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

Mike, You talk about stupifying! You ain't hear nothin' yet

My product(s) detected buffer overflows ('storage violations') entirely automatically and showed the precise instruction, statement, module (function) and program name as well as every instruction leading up to the problem as well as explaining the problem, but some customers complained that my debugger prevented their program from continuing ! (That's stupifying !!!). - It's almost exactly analogous to a car owner complaining to the manufacturer that the orange oil pressure warning light has come on and please can they take the bulb out so it doesn't happen anymore. I once flew to Helsinki - to Ericsson's the largest worldwide electronic manufacturer around at the time and they had enormous problems with their own massive teleprocessing system which kept crashing inexplicably. I used my product on their first random application and it immediately detected use of single static storage (sited in a program) as a register save area for the whole middleware system consisting of thousands of active threads at any one time. Did they buy the product (- it was on free 30 day trial -) did they heck! - that's also stupifying I'd say. I also used the 'single cycle' physical button on the IBM 360/20 , 30 and so on while it was practical to do so. Immediately teleprocessing was born (BTAM / FASTER / and much later CICS, I translated that physical action to a multi-threaded software implementation to produce a real-time, interactive, animator, complete with dynamic dis-assembler so that a programmer could step through code at his/her terminal - seeing all the storage and register changes take place in front of his eyes. I later added storage protection and, later still, produced a version that monitored 'batch' programs too (from the terminal in exactly the same way). Fortunately for me , there were more than a few organizations who employed clever administrators/programmers from the 'old school' (i.e. knew what a byte was and that it could hold 8 truth bits) who recognized its value. Most of these were in Scandinavia and Germany, but a fair scattering around other European countries and in USA(Enough to buy me a helicopter any way!).

One of the factors that influenced my programming was working as an operator for about 6 months as part of my initial training. It allowed me to know intimately about such arcane things as 'head thrashing' , hard loops, slow tape movement (usually good guide to excessive cpu!) etc etc. This was a good grounding for optimization which follows me around even to this day. I just wish all the inexperienced people who resist acknowledging that 'efficiency is quite simple to attain' would just listen for once and stop believing the 'new school', 'cycle junkies' who think that using up cpu cycles doesn't cost anything because machines are so fast anyway and that pre-emptive branching is somehow better than knowing where you are going for certain and using less cpu. What they don't appreciate is just how much faster they could be if they only just listened!

(I hoped you liked my simple blood type & age 'nested if' example by the way)

Cheers Kenken (talk) 07:25, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I guess I missed your 'nested if' example. My boss is breathing down my neck. This job would be a whole lot easier if my team-mates weren't trained in the OOP-at-all-costs, make-mountains-out-of-molehills school. This blankety-blank project is 11,000 files of C# and still climbing.

So you have a helicopter? I'm really jealous. I've tried to get a pilot's license over the last few years. I've gotten up to about 100 hours and 300 landings, but I've kinda gone into a hiatus. There's nothing like being in the air, and I love aviation compared to "computer science" with all it's craziness and "schools of thought".

'Nuff said. MikeDunlavey (talk) 22:51, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Sadly, the helicopter had to go (2 ex wives, 2nd crazier than the first!) but flying, particularly in helicopters, gives a whole new perspective on the world and I miss it. I wrote my first OOP a few weeks ago and quite frankly I'm not impressed - I think my own intensely table driven designs were a better (& leaner) methodology (A mixture of assembler tables/JIT/'bytecode'/'snippets' and a few other bits of magic!). The assembler tables were my 'home grown', 'hard coded' '4GL' that had indexed links to dynamic sub-routines that were either (my) 'library' routines [/functions] or new creations (which then of course became 'library' routines!). Programming got easier and easier and retained near 100% reliability over 40 years - something todays programmers would die for! The tables were theoretically portable between operating systems and even platforms (as with bytecode today). Every line of code was commented, every table explained. Changing a program usually meant adding a new table entry, the original code (essentially a super-fast 'interpreter' of assembler tables that made extensive use of branch tables) remaining precisely the same.

(The concept was partly inspired by IBM RPG, a vastly underrated and exceedingly powerful language from the 60's, probably the first 4GL in an era of 3GL)

Good luck with the flying, hope you get back to it! Cheersken (talk) 05:16, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

That's great. The older I get the more convinced I am that old does not equal dumb :-) The way you talk about assembly, RPG, table-driven code, and so on harkens me back to the A.I. lab at MIT, where there were hard-core programmers/engineers like Richard Greenblatt and Tom Knight. To those guys, coding was engineering, not religion. They had good hard reasons for their designs. I tried to capture some of that spirit in my book. They talked about their designs (like the first chess and lisp machines) in terms of information theoretic concepts like coding efficiency as if it were only natural. MikeDunlavey (talk) 22:33, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
It's interesting to hear your reaction to your first OOP. I think basic OOP is one of those things that, if you happened to need it along the way, you probably invented it yourself. Basically, if you've ever stored the address of a procedure inside a data block, you've done OOP. It's taken me a while, but I actually kind of like C++. What I don't like is all the "methodology" that gets taught in very moralizing terms along with OOP. It's practioners seem to think if OOP is good, then it's impossible to do too much of it. What I really really don't like is how this moralizing has turned into actual hard restrictions in the languages that follow on the heels of C++, namely Java and C#. My biggest whine is they left out the preprocessor, which I long ago discovered was the poor man's automatic programmer. If you're big into assembler, I'm sure you're quite skilled with assembler macros, and you get the thing to write a lot of your code for you. MikeDunlavey (talk) 14:54, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Copyright problems with Brits Who Made the Modern World[edit]

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Hello. Concerning your contribution, Brits Who Made the Modern World, please note that Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images obtained from other web sites or printed material, without the permission of the author(s). This article or image appears to be a direct copy from As a copyright violation, Brits Who Made the Modern World appears to qualify for deletion under the speedy deletion criteria. Brits Who Made the Modern World has been tagged for deletion, and may have been deleted by the time you see this message.

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No, it definitely wasn't a direct copy of the article. Your auto checking is defective !
If I remember correctly, you took out the word "incredibly" from a sentence you copied. Not really enough. Citius Altius (talk) 18:15, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Speedy deletion nomination of Software event horizon[edit]

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A tag has been placed on Software event horizon requesting that it be speedily deleted from Wikipedia. This has been done because the article, which appears to be about a real person, individual animal(s), an organization (band, club, company, etc.), or web content, does not indicate how or why the subject is notable: that is, why an article about that subject should be included in an encyclopedia. Under the criteria for speedy deletion, articles that do not indicate the subject's importance or significance may be deleted at any time. Please see the guidelines for what is generally accepted as notable. If this is the first page that you have created, then you should read the guide to writing your first article.

If you think that you can assert the notability of the subject, you may contest the deletion by adding {{hangon}} to the top of the article (just below the existing speedy deletion or "db" tag), coupled with adding a note on the article's talk page explaining your position, but be aware that once tagged for speedy deletion, if the article meets the criterion it may be deleted without delay. Please do not remove the speedy deletion tag yourself, but don't hesitate to add information to the article that would confirm the subject's notability under Wikipedia guidelines.

For guidelines on specific types of articles, you may want to check out our criteria for biographies, for web sites, for bands, or for companies. Feel free to leave a note on my talk page if you have any questions about this. Malcolma (talk) 20:06, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

FYI - I've nominated this article for deletion, see here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Software event horizon ErikHaugen (talk) 09:19, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

File copyright problem with File:Pointers example.png[edit]

File Copyright problem

Thank you for uploading File:Pointers example.png. However, it currently is missing information on its copyright status. Wikipedia takes copyright very seriously. It may be deleted soon, unless we can determine the license and the source of the file. If you know this information, then you can add a copyright tag to the image description page.

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I produced this new image myself and grant free use. However, I cannot find a link to express this information. Please provide a description of how to find the appropriate page that I can complete to state this.ken (talk) 11:09, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Pointer (computing)[edit]

The change to this article was intended to 'simplify' pointers. I do not believe this was achieved - in fact I believe it made the subject significantly harder to grasp so I reverted it! Perhaps the new description could be added back in a separate section entitled 'Formal description' or similar as I am sure it contains some relevant material. Done 22 Oct.


Thanks for your note, I also put the code in <code> tags. This can help in a number of ways. Rich Farmbrough, 03:22, 6 December 2009 (UTC).

Proposed deletion of John Lloyd Dickin[edit]

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The article John Lloyd Dickin has been proposed for deletion because of the following concern:

no real claims of notability here, unless I am missing something

While all contributions to Wikipedia are appreciated, content or articles may be deleted for any of several reasons.

You may prevent the proposed deletion by removing the {{dated prod}} notice, but please explain why in your edit summary or on the article's talk page.

Please consider improving the article to address the issues raised. Removing {{dated prod}} will stop the proposed deletion process, but other deletion processes exist. The speedy deletion process can result in deletion without discussion, and articles for deletion allows discussion to reach consensus for deletion. Brianyoumans (talk) 04:15, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Discussion regarding OR content[edit]

Moved from Talk:Spreadsheet#Confusing Image Description: Ken, please don't think that I'm trying to systematically remove your contributions to Wikipedia, most of which seem to be constructive and valuable. However, you are aware of Wikipedia's OR policy (and I assume that you understand it): if you want to publish your point of view, you'll have to do it in a medium that qualifies as a verifiable source (blogs, videos on youtube, etc. usually don't fall into this category), and you'll have to get someone else than you to add it to an article (if you do it yourself, it will get reverted). Remember that Wikipedia is not the right place to "uncover the truth". – Adrianwn (talk) 11:54, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I couldn't have put it better myself - "Wikipedia ...not a place to uncover the truth". Even if I published in a "verifiable source" my additions would, no doubt, be deleted under the other Wikipedia rule of "no self published material". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:14, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
This is not a problem in practice. If you feel that your content should be included or linked, say so on the talk page of the corresponding article (and state your reasons, if necessary). Then, if someone thinks that it is worthy of inclusion, they will add it. If nobody replies after a while, you can add it yourself (but prepared to defend your edits in a discussion).
The reason that you should not simply link your self published material is that you will always be biased when it comes to determining its relevance and verifiability. For a more thorough discussion of this topic, see Wikipedia:Truth and Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth. – Adrianwn (talk) 16:19, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
Concerning my edits, you say "please don't think that I'm trying to systematically remove your contributions to Wikipedia, most of which seem to be constructive and valuable" and yet you have in actual fact systematically deleted perfectly valid links in many of the articles I have contributed information to (that you also describe patronizingly as "SPAM" in the edit summary - e.g. just-in-time compilation, interpreted languages, ADABAS etc etc).
Those links you are talking about were one and the same link, posted to several articles. And no, this link is not "perfectly valid" – it is original research and self-published material. – Adrianwn (talk) 12:36, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I recently Googled "stopped contributing to wikipedia" and found 5,200 matches - and it seems that many of the original contributors have stopped for the same reason - overzealous deletions. In about twenty years time (if there are any viewers of wikipedia left), they will ascertain from its content that computers were invented by Apple in the late 1970's and software was first invented in the form of object oriented Smalltalk (because it was clearly the most intuitive method). Assembly languages will then be Swedish IKEA construction manuals (apparently making no sense whatsoever), and the ministry of truth will be relegated to just the name of some old pop band. It will also give an extra dimension to the abbreviation "PC". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:12, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
If you don't agree with two of the most fundamental policies of Wikipedia, namely verifiability and no original research, then I'm not willing to discuss this with you. – Adrianwn (talk) 12:36, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

OOP Discussion[edit]

Hey, just wanted to let you know I posted a follow up to your OOP talk page discussion. The short version is I think you were getting caught up on the difference between a paradigm and an implementation. OOP is a way of designing code organization and doesn't have a specific implementation. There are so called Object Oriented languages, but these are just languages that try to ease implementing an OOP design by providing shortcuts that can be used for quicker implementations (and yes, there are very much situations where this results in taking a performance hit and is a trade off of loss of control for ease of implementation). That said, I could implement an OOP design in assembly if I really wanted and it would have very minimal overhead. Now to a point it could become harder to represent some situations with maximum efficiency under OOP where it would be more straight forward to do it procedurally or even functionally, but in many other cases, having the association readily available gives you a more clear scope of what you are operating with and on. The best reading might be a OOP design patterns book to help clarify what OOP is really about.Ajh16 (talk) 16:45, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

File:WRS image01.jpg listed for deletion[edit]

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File:WRS image02.jpg listed for deletion[edit]

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A common problem[edit]

Dear Wikipedist editor, I want to submit to your attention an our common problem: disruptive contributions and edit warring operated by user Derek farn (talk). This latter shows systematically a provoking behaviour and lacking of respect for other people’s work, typical of vandalism. I’ve sent this communication to many people having the same problem in order to organize a collective protest/action request directed to e.g. the Arbitration Committee or Requests for comment/User conduct (this latter procedure requires the participation of at least two users) or to the Wikipedia Community. If you agree with this initiative please contact me at this dedicated email address: clipeaster-1971 AT yahoo DOT com. In order to avoid creating of a forum section dedicated to Derek farn I suggest you to delete this communication once you’ve read it and, then, be in contact via email. Any suggestion are welcomed. I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, Structuralgeol (talk) 17:43, 15 July 2011 (UTC).

As another user pointed out to me that suggesting to be in contact outside wikipedia is not a correct way, for transparency reasons, so I conclude that we need to correspond via talk page. Best regards, Structuralgeol (talk) 02:29, 16 July 2011 (UTC).

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Proposed deletion of LIKE verb[edit]

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