Computer hardware is the collection of physical elements that comprise a computer system.

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17answers
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Thoughts on Development using Virtual Machines [closed]

I'll be working as a development lead for a startup and I've suggested that we use VMs for development. I'm not talking about each developer having a desktop with VMs for testing/development, I mean ...
38
votes
19answers
3k views

Would you purchase hardware with your own money to use at work to do your job better?

At work, I was given a reasonably-spec'ed machine (dual quad 2GHz, 4GB RAM, 160GB 7200RPM drive, Win7), but it was lacking in a few places (HDD / RAM). The IT staff was OK with me replacing hardware ...
38
votes
15answers
10k views

How have languages influenced CPU design? [closed]

We are often told that the hardware doesn't care what language a program is written in as it only sees the compiled binary code, however this is not the whole truth. For example, consider the humble ...
36
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9answers
2k views

Looking for meaningful, strong argument in favor of antivirus software on development machines [closed]

When forming opinions, it is a good practice to follow scholastic tradition - think as hard as you can against the opinion you hold and try to find counter-arguments. However, no matter how hard I ...
31
votes
6answers
10k views

What is the history of why bytes are eight bits?

What where the historical forces at work, the tradeoffs to make, in deciding to use groups of eight bits as the fundamental unit ? There were machines, once upon a time, using other word sizes, ...
25
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6answers
2k views

Is it the job of a developer to suggest IT requirements?

I am the only developer working on a web application which is nearing to its end. Now we are looking into making it Live in maybe a couple of months time. This is a web application for a non IT ...
25
votes
4answers
1k views

How to efficiently troubleshoot or test new code when hardware setup to reproduce bugs is difficult or impossible to obtain?

I work at a mid-sized company (150ish employees, ~10 size engineering team), and most of my projects involve interfacing with lab equipment (oscilloscopes, optical spectrum analyzers, etc) for the ...
25
votes
1answer
619 views

Performance of single-assignment ADT oriented code on modern CPUs

Working in immutable data with single assignments has the obvious effect of requiring more memory, one would presume, because you're constantly creating new values (though compilers under the covers ...
23
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8answers
1k views

Is it necessary to understand what's happening at the hardware level to be a good programmer?

I'm a self-taught programmer, just in case this question is answered in CS 101. I've learned and used lots of languages, mostly for my own personal use, but occasionally for professional stuff. It ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Hardware requirements

How do people define the minimum hardware requirements for software? For example: how can a software development company tell the customer that they will need 8 GB of RAM to run the program properly?
16
votes
5answers
906 views

How to test software that burns CDs without wasting CDs?

I want to write an application that can be used to burn CDs (music). I know I should test it with real CDs anyway, but I don't want to do this every time I make a small change. But I do want to know ...
15
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18answers
2k views

What equipment do you use to avoid wrist pain? [closed]

I've recently been trying to improve the ergonomics of my workspace, and as a part of that I'm looking into how I can improve the hardware I use. Do you use a standard keyboard, a shaped one, or a ...
14
votes
2answers
7k views

Why are there separate L1 caches for data and instructions?

Just went over some slides and noticed that the L1 cache (at least on Intel CPUs) distinguishes between data and instruction cache, I would like to know why this is..
13
votes
19answers
30k views

Do computer glasses work? [closed]

There are a few different types of "computer glasses" available: Steelseries Scope Gunnar Computer Glasses They seem to be designed for long gaming sessions. Seem a little silly, but thought I'd ...
13
votes
4answers
427 views

Can increased usage of higher and higher programming languages lead to a deficit of programmers with computer architecture knowledge?

Quote from Wikipedia of the article "High-level programming language": A high-level programming language is a programming language with strong abstraction from the details of the computer. In ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

What reasons might a programmer have for wanting hyperthreading turned off?

My company just bought new computers to replace old 2GB Windows XP machines. Someone on my team noticed that they came with hyperthreading disabled, and told everyone to reboot and turn it on. Is ...
11
votes
4answers
735 views

Does hybrid hard drive improve programming experience? [closed]

I'm tired of how luggish my developments PC is. It's Core2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Seagate ST3500320AS HDD - not the top model, but quite a decent one. Typically I open several copies of Visual Studio 2008, ...
9
votes
6answers
287 views

Can lack of “bit parity” between web server and DB server impact performance?

I had a meeting with a software vendor today about their recommended infrastructure for deploying a particular application. The application needs two servers: an app server for server web pages ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Increase Performance of VS 2010 by using a SSD [closed]

After searching on the internet for performance improvements when using Visual Studio 2010 with a solid state hard drive, I heard a lot of different opinions. A lot of people said that there isn't ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Mobile Development- Obtaining development hardware - best practices?

I'm looking to get into smartphone development, but there a quite a few options out there for platforms right now. (iOS/Android/WebOS/Bada/Symbian/MeeGo/WindowsMobile/JavaME) I'd like to have ...
9
votes
4answers
452 views

Isn't functional paradigm too divergent with underlying hardware to be generally efficient?

Inspired by a question from SO: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6623391/how-to-gain-control-of-a-5gb-heap-in-haskell It can be a long debate about FP's numerous advantages and disadvantages, but ...
7
votes
11answers
2k views

How much storage space do developers really need on work systems?

Not Counting the OS And the requirements to run the Development software. The storage space required. Strictly speaking from work perspective(company setup and not freelancers).A individual ...
7
votes
3answers
540 views

What is the difference between a stock-hardware and a micro-coded machine in “A Critique of Common Lisp”?

I was reading this article: A Critique of Common Lisp and finding it hard to make out the precise definition of "stock-hardware machine" and its difference with "micro-coded" machines. I tried to ...
7
votes
1answer
183 views

What are the absolute, minimum requirement for containing SE Asian charsets for an embedded system project?

I work for a company that has begun integrating embedded computer systems into our products that we manufacture. We have a pretty wide range of products and they are distributed across the globe. ...
7
votes
3answers
830 views

Do you need Hardware skills to be a Robotic Programmer?

I want to know: Do you need hardware skills to be a robotic programmer?
7
votes
1answer
209 views

Why fewer IRQLs in 64-bit, even though an APIC has more interrupt lines?

As x86 computers shifted from 32-bit to 64-bit, they also shifted from using 8259-style Programmable Interrupt Controllers with 8 interrupt lines. (Or two multiplexed PICs for a total of 15 interrupt ...
6
votes
13answers
1k views

What hardware do newly hired programmers get at various companies? [closed]

Looking at various pictures/office tours of software companies (Facebook for instance), I see a lot of the same hardware in terms of monitors (Dell monitors). I was wondering when companies hire new ...
6
votes
3answers
702 views

Why don't computers come with specialized hardware such as sorting networks?

Instead of programming the way we do, why don't we make specifications of common tasks such as "sorting", and then let the environment compile it to make best use of it's hardware? This way, we could ...
6
votes
3answers
586 views

What is the gain from 64-bit architecture?

I played with 8-bit machines (C64), I used 16-bit machines (Win 3.1), I enjoyed flat 32-bit address space (Linux). Every time as a user (which was also means being a developer for fun or profit) I ...
6
votes
4answers
641 views

How can a programmer keep up with the hardware world?

I think that it's safe for me to assume that many, if not most, programmers are quite enthusiastic about computers, and even electronics in general. Now, I realize that a programmer should first and ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Understanding the levels of computing

Sorry, for my confused question. I'm looking for some pointers. Up to now I have been working mostly with Java and Python on the application layer and I have only a vague understanding of operating ...
6
votes
6answers
450 views

Building software frontend for hardware that does not yet exist

Our task is to build a software frontend to control a hardware device that does not yet exist. We should start development about half a year before the first prototype is available, the project is ...
6
votes
1answer
217 views

Hardware that accelerates pointer dereferencing?

Most modern languages make a heavy use of pointers / references: a typical OOP language uses VMT lookups, a typical functional language builds key data structures out of pointers, etc. Even typical C ...
5
votes
8answers
719 views

Slow developer machines - approach with vmware good?

we are using slow developer notebooks. They come equipped with vista and 2 gb rams, which slows down everything. Someone decided a good resolution would be to use vmware clients instead of faster pc ...
5
votes
6answers
546 views

Large Multi-Touch Display Monitor? [closed]

I'm sure that most shops use a standard whiteboard or a more fancier "glass-board" to discuss ideas during a meeting. After the meeting, people will usually take photos of the artifacts using a ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Hardware key removal on a test system

One of my company's applications still requires a hardware key to run, but we're currently in the process of removing that requirement and replacing it with an online check. The issue we are having ...
5
votes
2answers
373 views

Why isn't exponentiation hardware-implemented?

Why is there no exponentiation operation in hardware, even though many languages have builtin operators for it? Is it because even hardware implementations would need to use the same algorithm as ...
5
votes
1answer
500 views

Commercial product using a GPL OS

we are planning to create a commercial product. The product consists of some MCUs and a small computer (we are developing on a Raspberry Pi at the moment). The computer needs an operating system as ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Laptop like keyboard, trackpad, and monitor combo that I can hook up to my desktop so I can program while reclining on my couch?

My desktop is fine, except that I like programming while reclining on a couch. My legs hurt after sitting too long in an office chair. Is there anything like a keyboard, trackpad, and monitor combo ...
4
votes
4answers
404 views

What are the reasons for great performance differences running the same program?

I'm no computer scientist so please bear with me. Lately I wrote a python program that has to perform some expensive spatial searches while holding lot's of data in memory. I tried to improve the ...
4
votes
6answers
351 views

Are computers just means to an end, or can they contribute to the productivity and creativity of programmers? [closed]

This is not a question with a single answer, but I am fascinated by the diversity of computer set-ups in the office. Some people work on ancient machines that are absolute donkeys with CRT monitor, ...
4
votes
2answers
683 views

How long is a typical modern microprocessor pipeline?

I learnt some about pipelining but those were 4-stage and 5-stage and I think that modern pipelining typical is much longer and more complicated in practice. How long are typical pipelines and how ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

USB software protection dongle for Java with an SDK which is cross-platform “for real”. Does it exist? [closed]

What I'd like to ask is if anybody knows about an hardware USB-dongle for software protection which offers a very complete out-of-the-box API support for cross-platform Java deployments. Its SDK ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Recommendations on running Visual Studio inside a VMWare VDI environment?

Does anyone have experience running Visual Studio inside a VDI environment? Would you recommend it? Would you advise against it? Our Background Our department is one of the few in the ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

booth multiplication algorithm

Is booth algorithm for multiplication only for multiplying 2 negative numbers (-3 * -4) or one positive and one negative number (-3 * 4) ? Whenever i multiply 2 positive numbers using booth algorithm ...
4
votes
2answers
651 views

Generous budget: what's your ideal setup? [closed]

If you had a generous, but not ridiculous budget (ie no yachts!), describe your ideal setup for programming. What hardware would you have? Desktop and a laptop or just one or the other? How many ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

Why there is no ISO hardware query interface?

I'm currently reading a book, chapter about I/O, and one question came to my mind. Basically, when you program in C/C++, you have an amazing opportunity to optimize for hardware behavior. Using ...
4
votes
1answer
301 views

Generate analog signal from Windows 7 [closed]

I want to output an analog signal from my Windows 7 computer. The wave will be a combination of about 5 frequencies, with a maximum of 28 MHz. It won't be a problem to generate the wave data with C++, ...
3
votes
2answers
621 views

Will large screen increase develop productivity? [closed]

I am considering to buy a desktop computer, but could not determine which size of LCD should I buy. What's the size of your screen, will large LCD(30 inches+) will do good to develop?
3
votes
3answers
169 views

When should I decline to make a requested change?

I work on the software side of a company that provides custom hardware with software running on top of it. Often times the hardware is not engineered well. In those cases, I am often asked first to ...