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Comment: Re:TFS just has marketing (Score 2, Interesting) 71 71

Yeah I'd like some more meat to the story as well. Amazon Glacier achieves its pricing by using low-RPM consumer drives plugged into some sort of high-density backplanes; supposedly they are so densely packed that you can only spin up a few drives at once due to power and heat issues. Hence the delay.

I assume Google is doing something similar, maybe with somewhat better power or cooling since they're offering faster retrieval times which implies that perhaps they can spin up a higher percentage of drives at a time.

Comment: Re:Orbital (Score 1) 443 443

It's not a terribly serious setback in the history of space flight, but it could be a serious blow to Orbital.

Their whole program is built around the idea of using old surplus Soviet-era rocket engines, originally designed for the ill-fated N1 program. (The N1 program, as a sidenote, is responsible for one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in human history when one of its launch vehicles had a failure shortly after takeoff. On top of a zero-for-four launch record, it's not the program I'd pick to emulate.)

My understanding of the Soviet engines is that they have some design features that make them lightweight for their output, but represent tradeoffs not typically taken on Western engines, due to the risk of "burn through". But some people--perhaps including Orbital--thought that the designers had solved the problem and the risks were overstated.

Too early to tell right now, but if the engines turn out to have a fatal flaw, that would be bad for Orbital. It'd probably be good for SpaceX, since they're the obvious alternative, but it'd leave NASA down one contractor for the commercial launch program.

Comment: Re:Interesting... (Score 1) 133 133

In the US, trademarks only extend as far as someone might be confused by their use. It's not a hard black and white line, but you can use "Word" if you wanted to, in an unrelated industry from Microsoft's, provided that nobody thought that customers might be confused and think that your product was, or was in some way related to, Microsoft's. (Obviously since Microsoft is such a big company and does so much stuff, this might be harder than if they were purely in the word processing business.)

A good example is Apple Records vs Apple Computer Corp. There was a lot of argument that went back and forth as to whether Apple Computers might be confused with Apple Records -- which seemed ridiculous at the time, because why would Apple Computer ever get into the music business? So they worked it out and came to a settlement to stay out of each other's turf. That happens very frequently. (It got interesting when Apple-the-computer-company decided to get into the music business; my understanding is that they made Apple Records an offer they couldn't refuse.)

And given how ubiquitous Microsoft's products are -- love them or hate them -- the breadth of their trademarks are probably not unreasonable. A no-name company ought not be able to assert a trademark with any similar breadth, because there's so little chance of confusion.

Comment: Re:Use it or lose it (Score 1) 133 133

Well they are registered in the .com TLD, which is basically United States namespace, so it would make sense that US trademark law would apply at least in terms of the domain name. I doubt some European company would be able to convince a US court to order Verisign to turn over the domain to them.

So at worst, I would think that Pinterest could continue to operate under the "" domain name; the challenge would be whether they want to advertise in the European market, which might be prohibited without changing their name.

Comment: Re:Fucking idiots (Score 1) 1532 1532

Shutting down the government IS good for the country. I mean, other than all the theater in the press where the bureaucrats close high profile touristy stuff to get on TV to show how bad this is supposed to be, how are you being affected? The government drones actually try to make it hurt as much as possible, just to show how important they are, and yet, for 99% of the country, it's not even a speedbump in their daily lives. Ultimately, it won't last, because the politicians and bureaucrats are terrified that people will realize that most of what they do is unnecessary fluff. This has happened dozens of times in the last 50 years, and it hasn't actually caused but tiny disruptions.

Comment: Re:What is Bruce Schneier's game? (Score 1) 397 397

If the NSA were to require them to install a secret backdoor then the NSA would be compromising the security of all of their government customers because they don't sell two different versions of their software, it is the same for all customers.

Unless the product has been certified for use with classified information, that's not much of an assurance. The government has its own internally-developed tools -- which presumably it has confidence in (SIPRNet, etc.) -- for protecting information that it deems sensitive. The NSA might well decide that subverting a commercial tool is worth the risk of compromising something that's used by the government, but only in relatively trivial ways.

I don't know enough to impugn Zimmerman et al, but I don't think "it's used by the government!" is necessarily a great seal of approval, unless it's a formal certification (e.g. NSA Type 1 listing) saying that it can be used to protect classified information. And I'm not aware of any COTS software products that are on the Type 1 list; the NSA only approves particular hardware implementations (at least that I've seen, though I'm happy to be corrected although I'd be surprised).

Comment: Re:I can tell from the pixels (Score 1) 138 138

Thanks for telling me the brand. Honestly, I've been talking about the hideous stuff for over twenty years now. My one encounter with it made such an impression I've never been able to forget it. As much for it's government branding every half inch, as it's unsuitability for it's intended purpose. It didn't help that it was an emergency situation the morning after a night of heavy drinking.

Comment: Re:I can tell from the pixels (Score 1, Offtopic) 138 138

I was on a British Royal Navy base back in the 90s, and they had by far, the worst toilet paper I've ever seen in my life. It was sort of like the paper used to wrap meat in the US, but thinner, and it something along the lines of "property of the UK government" stamped all over it. To this day I've never experience toilet paper that bad. But all in all, it wouldn't surprise me that it regularly caused bleeding.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 4, Insightful) 333 333

Especially California's high speed plan, which, at this point, is just a pay off to special interests and unions. It's neither going to be "high speed" nor actually in the cities that it is supposedly to linking. Basically, we're going to pay 68 billion dollars for a regular train system that is going to be slower and less convenient than just about anything else available now.

Comment: Re:Icebreakers work from above (Score 5, Interesting) 62 62

You've never been for a ride on a "conventional" icebreaker, have you? The things are basically footballs(american) in the water. As a younger man, I was a deckhand on an ocean going icebreaker and did an arctic deployment. In rough seas we could take up to 90 degree rolls, though the biggest I saw was 67 degrees (fall in the north sea). Breaking pack ice in the arctic was like spending time on a randomly shifting roller coaster that occasionally slammed on the breaks and had to back up for another go. If you think this piddly little 30 degree lateral crabbing while breaking thin sea ice is going to be very bad, you just have no idea.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson