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Comment: Armchair engineering at its finest (Score 5, Insightful) 241

by mcrbids (#48920923) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

I'm probably going to lose some karma for this...

I, too, could come with a half-dozen answers that would be "far superior" to what 100+ years of the finest minds in the industry could come up with. But in reality, I really, seriously doubt that my designs would hold up because there's a *reason* that things are done the way they are.

Mechanical engineering is a *very old* industry, and any radical, new design would have significant hurdles to pass before it could be accepted and used in a real scenario. The cost of failure is very high and there are real lives on the line.

My first thought was to use something like a caterpillar drive along the sides of the shaft, each of which would operate like a mini elevator for perhaps 10 floors. But, very quickly, I can see that this type of system would have many, many more moving parts and consequently many more points of failure.

So, I think it *might* be best to trust that 100+ years of experience are, in fact, at work, and that we should first understand that there is *real knowledge* at work before assuming that our half-baked and thoroughly unproven ideas hold any merit in reality.... ?

Comment: Re:Wirthian syntax ... (Score 1) 647

by Dadoo (#48860291) Attached to: Justified: Visual Basic Over Python For an Intro To Programming

There's a reason why Pascal and Java made good teaching languages for so long.

I'm going to have to disagree with you, there, as far as Pascal is concerned. Pascal has always been a terrible teaching language: it's too complicated for beginners and not nearly powerful enough for experts.

Comment: Re:It doesn't have to get it right (Score 1) 489

by mcrbids (#48850871) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

I bought a Dell laptop (Precision M3800) last week from the Dell business laptop dept. The sales guys assumed I'd want Win7 and the laptop (by default) comes with Win7 installed. When I asked about that, they said that it "technically included Windows 8 media" but that everybody wants one running Win7.

I find this quit interesting as Win7 has officially gone EOL. Personally, I plan on running Fedora Linux, but still....

Comment: Re:pfsense (Score 1) 403

by Dadoo (#48824697) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Migrating a Router From Linux To *BSD?

It is a complex and fairly large chunk of code that "fixes" a nonexistent problem

I have to disagree with you, there. Unix-type systems have needed a new, dependency-based init system for at least 20 years, now. I'm amazed it took as long as it did to replace. I won't argue that systemd breaks the Unix philosophy of doing one thing well, and suffers from some overreach, but at least someone took some initiative.

Comment: Irony (Score 1) 496

by Dadoo (#48807945) Attached to: Ted Cruz To Oversee NASA and US Science Programs

A few months ago, I was having lunch with two of my coworkers. Let's say their names are "Sean" and "Nate". Nate is a seriously hard core conservative; I'm guessing he's a Tea Partier, but he may be just your typical Republican.

At one point, Sean notices Nate is wearing a jacket in the style of a uniform from the original Star Trek - a blue one. Sean asks, "Why blue?". Nate replies, "Science officer."

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 4, Informative) 93

by mcrbids (#48798525) Attached to: The Next Decade In Storage

Get off my lawn, blah blah...

Meanwhile, flash has revolutionized storage. We saw at least a 95% reduction in query times on our DB servers when we switched from RAID5 15K SAS drives to RAID1 flash SSDs. Floppies are history, and 32 GB thumb drives cost $5. SSDs have been catching up to their HDD brethren, now just 2-4 years behind the cost/capacity curve, and spinning rust has just about reached EOL, with Shingled Hard drives that make you choose between write speeds and write capacity being a necessary compromise for increased capacity.

I have no idea why you'd be so dismissive.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by mcrbids (#48797407) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

You can't have an auditable trail and a secret ballot.

I don't see why these are mutually exclusive. The trick is to set aside the math for the ballots themselves with the math for verifying the ballots.

Let's say you take 100 ballots, and randomize their order. You make hashes of the ballots and hash the sum of hashes. Keep the hash of hashes and you can easily verify that the numbers add up, while simultaneously anonymizing the ballots on a per-voter basis, making it instead 1% likely that any vote can be attributed to one person.

Comment: Re:Seems obvious but... (Score 1) 325

by Dadoo (#48767907) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: High-Performance Laptop That Doesn't Overheat?

By definition, a laptop has to compromise, for space and for weight.

That may be true, but some companies are better at compromise than others. I have an Asus GX-something-or-other. It's almost five years old, but it runs almost everything I've tried, and the fan hardly ever turns on, as long as I keep it clean. The laptop ran Minecraft perfectly well, with an HD texture pack, until the 1.8 update (but I think that's a Java garbage collection problem). It chokes on Kerbal Space Program, but then, it's five years old.

Comment: Re:Vector Graphics (Score 1) 71

by Dadoo (#48693327) Attached to: Quake On an Oscilloscope

The irony is that it's only taken 40+ years to get to display resolutions for raster graphics to approximate vector graphics.

I'm not sure why that's ironic. When you're only displaying the outlines of objects, you don't need nearly as much memory (or memory bandwidth) as you do with a raster display. On top of that, vector displays only get that resolution in monochrome; you lose it when you try to do color. (A color display can't exceed the resolution of its shadow mask.) I can tell you from experience: Quake looks better on a 640x480x8 raster display than it could ever look on a vector display.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania