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Comment Re:It is obvious that support most be provided... (Score 4) 125

If MS put real effort into providing good security [...]

You're bitching about an OS with mandatory access controls, DEP, ASLR, virtualized filesystem access, application whitelists, secure boot, and that runs its own authentication daemon in a VM so that not even the kernel itself can directly manage password hashes. You're doing this bitching in an article about a tool they maintain so you can harden and sandbox third-party programs, even when those programs weren't built with stack smashing or ASLR or all those neat Visual Studio canaries in mind.

[...]it would destroy the lucrative market for anti-malware software.

They bundle anti-malware software with the OS. They're, clearly, very concerned about not destroying all that filthy McAfee lucre.

Comment Re:illogical summary (Score 2) 360

There's no proof, and the "Global Competitiveness" crap in TFA is irrelevant to the millions of Japanese SMEs, because they are not competing globally.

Japan is on the edge of a demographics crisis. 25% of their population is over 65, compared with 59% that work. Having only ~2.36 people paying into public healthcare and social insurance for each person drawing out is not a good ratio, and with their notoriously low birth rates, is only going to worsen as time goes on.

In the meanwhile, Japan's racking up shittons of debt, and has to import nearly all of their energy.

So, what does this mean? It means productivity is really fucking important. If your aging population has fewer than 2 workers to cover each retiree, those workers better be really fucking productive or those healthcare costs are going to be an incredible burden. If you need to import 94% of your energy at great expense, you better put that energy to really fucking good use--i.e., be productive--or otherwise you're spending everything on coal and petrodollars instead of your own people. If your government debt is skyrocketing, but has fewer and fewer taxpayers to pay it down, those people better be really fucking productive or you're not going to have a government.

That latter point is especially important. Japan can get away with its debt load because of Japan's famously high savings rate--lots of people (or banks using people's savings) buying savings bonds means you can issue those bonds really cheaply. But, when people retire, they by necessity stop saving and start drawing on their savings instead. The government has double their yearly income in what's essentially an adjustable-rate mortgage, and the interest rates are going to skyrocket right as fewer people are there to pay it down.

Comment Re:How embarrassing (Score 1) 157

He's right though. We spend much more per person on healthcare than even the yuuros do, and we die sooner despite that (fig 1). That's not to say that our hospitals are bad (though some states really fail at not killing people), or that we aren't awesomely good at treating specific diseases, but none of that means you'll live any longer than the slackers across the pond.

Even worse, despite being a nominally private healthcare system, our government still spends more per person than even the UK (fig 3). As in, we'd have less government in medicine if we went full-retard universal care.

That's not to say I'm a fan of single payor systems--our nanny state is already trying to micromanage how many ounces are in a soda even when they're not paying for your fat ass. But, it's simply wrong to say that the single-payor systems don't provide better care for less money.

That said, I'd much rather we emulate Singapore. They make you pay for everything out of pocket from a savings account drawn off your paycheck. Paying cash for everything keeps prices in check, the mandatory contributions mean no one's "uninsured," and no insurer or HMO limits what you can buy. Subsidies help the truly indigent, and you can draw on it like a 401(k) in your dotage should you prove unusually resilient.

The Little Red Dot lets you be as much of a fat-ass as you care to pay for, and ain't that the American way. Japan, in the meanwhile, has an honest-to-God fat tax.

Comment Re:Do it yourself, here is why... (Score 1) 193

You raise a good point, but constantly fixing someone else's computer problems is draining, especially if the help is one-way and never reciprocated. It does nobody's relationship any good if you dread every call for the hour it's going to take to fix whatever broke.

Imagine instead if their computers actually worked, and you could therefore instead talk about whatever you wanted instead of why the printer isn't working. "Spending time with your child" is one thing, but I'm welcome to visit even when the Internet isn't broken; and, when visiting, I'd rather spend the time with them instead of their computer. Likewise, my folks are welcome to visit me even when I don't have a busted clutch slave cylinder or leaking fuel tank; and, likewise, the time is better spent on discretionary projects we want to tackle for the purposes of fun and/or bonding as opposed to helping with an emergency.

Comment Make Things Easier (Score 1) 193

I have no idea what you can expect from big box phone support, or if "good" phone support even exists. There are a bunch of things you can do to make tech support easier, however, if you haven't done them already.

  1. The best thing you can do (again, if you haven't already) is take away the Administrator account. I used to get weekly calls about my grandparents' PC, which saw a lot of use by relatives and grandchildren, until I did that. Suddenly, all the toolbars, viruses, Bonzi Buddies, random driver issues, and how-does-that-even-break issues just stopped. The occasional call to go type in the password and install something was much quicker than the frequent calls to uninstall something added by a well-meaning uncle or a young cousin.

    Yes, some people were angry that they couldn't install things any more. But, they didn't want to take the support phone calls, so they didn't get the admin password. Everyone else was happy that the communal PC was suddenly much more likely to work when they wanted to check e-mail or play Facebook games.

  2. Install Team Viewer. It's free for non-commercial use. When they call you with a problem, you tell them to click the big Team Viewer icon on the desktop and give you the code. Then you remote in and fix whatever broke--and the set of breakable things is much smaller on a limited account than on an admin.
  3. If you still have issues, purchase a copy of Faronics Deep Freeze--absent a password, it prevents any changes to the file system outside of certain allowed areas, like My Documents and the rest of the user profile. When I was an IT monkey, we used this in our computer labs, and it worked great--people could install whatever they wanted, delete whatever they wanted, vandalize the Windows install in whatever way they could think of, and it'd all be gone with a reboot.
  4. If you have more hardware issues ("the printer stopped working"), think about getting new hardware. I have a Phaser 6125N, for example, which is overkill for most anything, really, but toner lasts forever and the drivers are completely free of crapware--you just plug in an Ethernet cable and forget about it. If their printer frequently causes issues, weigh the cost of a newer, more enterprise-y printer with the time saved by not having to fuck with it every week.

    Ditto for modems, routers, whatever. If you have to walk them through rebooting their router every week, weigh the cost of a more reliable router over the time saved helping them turn it off and back on again.

  5. Finally, work on your phone support. If you ask someone if the network cable is plugged in, they'll always say "yes," especially if they're a professor too proud to crawl underneath his desk and check for a lowly IT monkey.

    Instead, ask them if it's plugged in the right way, because Ethernet cables are directional, you see. Make them flip it around (which, coincidentally, verifies a solid connection at both the wall and the PC). If that fixed the issue, they'll forever believe that Ethernet cables actually are directional, but it'll save you the trip to push a cable that last 1/8" into the jack.

    This is necessary because most people--even family--are loathe to actually check e.g. what color some lights are, especially if checking involves some modicum of effort. While most people won't outright lie, they'll give you whatever they think is correct, or whatever answer sounds good off the top of their head, which is especially easy to do for yes/no questions.

    So, never ask "is it plugged in"--the answer's always "yes," because of COURSE they plugged it in they're not an idiot and checking is effort. Ask them to switch the cable around. Don't ask if the lights are on--ask what color they are. Don't ask them to reboot their computer--ask them if their computer makes a noise when they hold the power switch for ten seconds.

...But, yanking admin accounts by itself solved nearly all of my tech support issues, and the few that remained were easily and gladly fixed with a few minutes on Team Viewer. If you can reduce your support burden to a combined total of an hour per year, I don't think you'd mind in-sourcing it again.

Comment Interesting (Score 5, Interesting) 72

Kernel bypass plus zero copy are, of course, old-hat. Worked on such stuff at Lightfleet, back when it did this stuff called work. Infiniband and the RDMA Consortium had been working on it for longer yet.

What sort of performance increase can you achieve?

Well, Ethernet latencies tend to run into milliseconds for just the stack. Tens, if not hundreds, of milliseconds for anything real. Infiniband can achieve eight microsecond latencies. SPI can get down to two milliseconds.

So you can certainly achieve the sorts of latency improvements quoted. It's hard work, especially when operating purely in software, but it can actually be done. It's about bloody time, too. This stuff should have been standard in 2005, not 2015! Bloody slowpokes. Back in my day, we had to shovel our own packets! In the snow! Uphill! Both ways!

Comment Re:About damn time (Score 5, Interesting) 130

It's harder than you're probably giving it credit for, especially for miles-long freight trains, where a hill can mean one segment of the train is accelerating while another is decelerating. We're just about there, though, insofar as we have software that automatically drives throttle, brakes, and other controls. Link:

Norfolk Southern, an American rail operator, now pulls roughly one-sixth of its freight using locomotives equipped with "route optimisation" software. By crunching numbers on a train's weight distribution and a route's curves, grades and speed limits, the software, called Leader, can instruct operators on optimum accelerating and braking to minimise fuel costs. Installing the software and linking it wirelessly to back-office computers is expensive, says Coleman Lawrence, head of the company's 4,000-strong locomotive fleet. But the software cuts costs dramatically, reducing fuel consumption by about 5%. That is a big deal for a firm that spent $1.6 billion on diesel in 2012. Mr Lawrence reckons that by 2016 Norfolk Southern may be pulling half its freight with Leader-upgraded locomotives. A competing system sold by GE, Trip Optimizer, goes further and operates the throttle and brakes automatically.

Comment About damn time (Score 5, Insightful) 130

The article's a bit short on details, but this is where I expect autonomous driving to take off first--long-haul trucking. Controlled-access highways present fewer complications like pedestrians, four-way stops, and the like, and I imagine automating that would take care of 80% of the driving. Even if you still needed a human driver to reel 'er in at the warehouse gates or even the city limits, it still strikes me as a huge improvement.

Laws and liability are going to be the biggest limiting factor to commercial deployment, especially if they boil down to "a human must be ready to intervene at any time," but I think there are fudges around that. You could have one human operator in a remote control center "driving" multiple trucks, kind of like a cross between drone pilot and remote ICU monitoring.

Not that even a human sitting in the seat with hands on the wheel would be likely to intervene effectively should something go wrong after eight hours of idle monotony. But, having a human somewhere supervising in some capacity would soothe the more irrational fears that also serve as part of the reason we still keep human pilots flying planes, while still yielding the benefits that come with automation--self-driving trucks are much less compelling if each one still needs a full-time human driver to comply with laws.

Comment Two thoughts on this. (Score 2) 307

First, they could always use blipverts.

Second, 400+ new shows is somewhere between half to a third of a new show per channel per season, on average. That suggests that if there's too much new material, there are far, far too many channels. In fact, that might be the best solution. Shut down nine in every ten channels. Then you can have exactly the same amount of new material with less channel surfing. People will stay on channel because they'll like the next program as well.

The British did perfectly well on four channels. In fact, they mostly did perfectly well on three channels. America is, of course, bigger. They might need fifteen to cater to all the various needs. You don't need several thousand (including local). All it does is dilute the good stuff with a lot of crap.

Comment Re: Even if practical technology was 10-20 years o (Score 1) 399

Maybe. My thought has always been that if fusion is close enough to get ballpark figures, we can build the necessary infrastructure and much of the housing in parallel with fusion development. Because the energy distribution will impose novel demands on the grid, it's going to require a major rethink on communications protocols, over-generation procedures, action plans on what to do if lines are taken out.

With fusion, especially, it's expensive at best to learn after the fact. Much better to get all the learning done in the decade until working fusion.

With all that in place, the ramp time until fusion is fully online at a sensible price will be greatly reduced.

Parallelize, don't serialize. Only shredded wheat should be cerealized.

Without life, Biology itself would be impossible.