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Comment: Bias (Score 1) 608

by DarthVain (#48186067) Attached to: Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

Uh, if you look at who actually wrote the report, you might want to think about what sort of bias it might contain...

Here is the consultant group that wrote the report:


Hey I am not saying the report it wrong, hell I didn't read it... however really? This just seems like something politically motivated, like say justification for the billions spend on Wind Power, saying "see it's the cheapest, honest!"...

Comment: Re:Cost of government-provided services (Score 1) 346


I can't speak for the US, but that is the same model in Canada. It doesn't really work without competent regulation. In Canada this is done though the CRTC, who are all pretty much former executives of either Bell or Rogers (The two telecommunication companies with monopolies, one on Cable and the other on Phone infrastructure).

Part of this comes down to what is a "reasonable fee" and how that is determined. The other part is the actual control they exert over the infrastructure. For example a few years ago when throttling was front and center, an independent ISP complained to the CRTC that it wasn't fair competition because even though the leased the lines from the above companies, the speeds to which they could offer their clients were being throttled. At the hearing I believe it was Bell's argument that it was fair because they throttled everyone equally...

So while there are independent ISP in Canada, they are beholden to their landlords so to speak, and the rules are set forth by former landlords.

The whole Netflix VS CRTC is another example. It is basically an extension of Bell and Rogers Telecommunications (who are set to release their own competing video streaming service... nice timing that).

Comment: Re:I can believe it... (Score 2) 69

by DarthVain (#48076017) Attached to: Hackers Compromised Yahoo Servers Using Shellshock Bug

No didn't bother, very well could be that. I use that as my throw away account. However that said, spoofing would be random. One would have to access my Yahoo address list to get my Gmail account. So unless spoofers used my Yahoo account and sent it around the world, it would be pretty coincidental that using my Yahoo address would hit my Gmail address several times in the last couple of weeks, and as I said, within hours of me changing passwords. Otherwise how would they know to use one against the other. Unless they were specifically targeting me, and I don't think I am that special! :)

I think it is more likely that Yahoo is compromised (or was) and in that time they were scripting spam using personal address books (sending from my account to everyone in my address book) over and over again. If they have access to the passwords, then logging in and repeating would be trivial, even when changes are made... until of course Yahoo patches their damn servers so that they cannot anymore.

Comment: I can believe it... (Score 2) 69

by DarthVain (#48075439) Attached to: Hackers Compromised Yahoo Servers Using Shellshock Bug

I have gotten spam mail from myself several times the last few weeks (From Yahoo to Gmail), and have gone into the stupid yahoo site to change passwords several times. They were obviously compromised as hours after changing passwords, I would get more spam. Little point to changing passwords if they have total access to them. Might be time to finally drop them.

They were all a fictional job offer, that I guess I was going to give to myself for big bucks... Sounds like something I would do! :)

Comment: Meh. Patents. (Score 1) 161

by DarthVain (#48055487) Attached to: Will Apple Lose Siri's Core Tech To Samsung?

This is not a big deal. Even if it does happen, there is likely a preexisting licence, or they will just licence the tech from Samsung. Both devices licence each other Apple/Samsung, along with a host of other companies that have various patents on technology. Or what will happen is the Apple will just continue to use it, refuse to pay the licencing fees as Samsung has set them too high per device, then they will eventually go to court over the whole thing 5 years later, and a army of lawyers will get rich trying to figure it out. The later has already happened on one occasion.

Comment: Evolution and Happiness (Score 1) 554

I was rolled out with an "Enhanced" desktop a few years back. It wasn't really all that enhanced than the normal desktop that all office types got. I (and a subgroup of others), do a lot more technical work, and use specialized software. However the folks in charge of the specs (and bean counters probably) didn't either know that the enhance spec was barely better then the base, or figured it was good enough. A bunch of us rebelled, and worked with the vendor to create a new more appropriate spec.

That said. Much of the work that used to be highly impacted by graphics cards, such as GIS, CAD, and a host of others, aren't so much anymore. It is mostly CPU dependent now. Most modern CPU of middling power are sufficient for most tasks. From my own experience the two biggest improvements are multiple monitor (also used to be video card dependent, now pretty much anything can), and RAM for large tasks which is dirt cheap anyway. The monitor allows someone that say needs to see tables on one screen, and graphics on another, or application on one, and DB on other much easier to get things done. I recall trying to use 4 really small windows on a tiny screen rather than flipping through them all the time. RAM simply allows someone who is processing a lot of data to use maybe one process rather than have to create 5 processes out of fear of running out of memory and having to repeat it all.

So while the base is good for most, there are a semi-large subset that do need something a bit better. However that bit that needs to be better has evolved over the years, and is frankly not as different as it used to be (at least in things I am exposed to). The few changes that make the most impact, are so cheap that not to do them borders on insane, as you won't pay the difference of say a 75$ annual lease payment for an employee you pay 70,000$ to simply make them happier as their job might be a little less irritating? You can still technically do stuff on a base spec, it just takes longer, might be more work, and be more frustrating. Though sometimes it does have its perks.... When I first started as an entry level, they gave me a a base box (IBM PL300 or something if my memory serves)... There was a time where I was pretty much just doing large data processing of GIS data. I would put it into smaller more manageable chunks, and automate them together in a batch. Occasionally I would miscalculate and run out of memory and have a fail, and would have to redo a few but it worked pretty well more less. However, while it was processing the computer was using everything it had, and wouldn't respond to anything else... I got into the habit of bringing a book to work. There were many days where I would do nothing but processing, and I would have the feet on the desk reading a book for the entire day(s). I had my manager come in and question me, where I would point to the spinney hourglass (or whatever it was) and say "processing". So in that way it made me happy. Though from a business standpoint, they were not really utilizing me nearly as much as they could. Of course as entry level they weren't exactly paying me all that much anyway so they probably didn't care all that much anyway. :)

Comment: Re: Here's the solution (Score 1) 577

by DarthVain (#48050155) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

I manage a bunch of legacy apps that all use INI files, and it is one of the things I like. Your DB move locations? Update the local INI file to reflect the new location. It takes notepad, a cut and a past, or about 5 seconds. Recently had to update a new .NET application for the same purpose... oh that will be actual development and support costs, etc... Poor design didn't help either.

Also makes testing easy, being able to switch between dev/test/prod DB instances simply by using a ";".

As an added bonus, because it doesn't use registry you also get around the privileges BS, when in a corporate environment can be a pain as usually no one has them. Of course security probably likes it.

Comment: BS. Easy Encryption. (Score 1) 575

by DarthVain (#48050013) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

Anyone can encrypt anything really. The fact that it is built into a phone by default only makes it easier. There is absolutely nothing preventing me from encrypting anything I want, storing it on my phone, and transmitting it any number of ways.

I am pretty sure if I were a criminal, that might be the first thing I would do when using any sort of device on a network of any kind. The fact that most people are not criminals, and thus wouldn't bother pretty much means:

1) This won't help catching real criminals, as they would presumably be smart enough not to get caught.
2) This will help invading normal peoples privacy 99% of the time.
3) The only criminals you will catch are the stupid ones, and if that is the case there are likely a number of different tools to catch them that do not include the wholesale spying on the greater public.

Comment: Contrarian (Score 1) 151

by DarthVain (#48048349) Attached to: Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry

Always two sides to every story. The opposite, yet similar situation is when rivers are dammed up for hydro power, this usually "destroys" the land behind it with flooding to form a reservoir. In extreme examples like the diversion above which are monumental engineering feats you have the huge dam in China that swallowed up huge tracts of land including whole villages. Again, measured negative VS positive...

Even in smaller situations you have issues with wildlife ecology destruction, and native issues... There will never be projects like this without impact.

The pertinent question is more, was it done well, and were their unforeseen outcomes (like toxic dust from the salt flats).

Comment: Bypass Towers (Score 1) 153

by DarthVain (#48046407) Attached to: LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers

Presumably given enough coverage of 500m phones, no towers would be necessary at all with the right software... That is so long as you can communicate with the nearest 500m LTE phone, it could potentially pass it on to the rest of the network... Of course there would be issues with the organization of such a network in a distributed fashion and performance issues when you have someone important being the only link between many users and a single phone trying to handle more transmission than it can handle.

It would be an interesting thing to try, particularly in a dense city. It could also work forming small networks anywhere really, given the phones, people, and proximity..

Comment: A lot of assumptions and hype (Score 1) 488

by DarthVain (#48037913) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

I suspect this is more about justifying additional energy costs.

In order for any of what they describe to happen an awful lot of ducks would have to fall in a row, many of them at least historically unlikely.

1) Cost of solar equipment and install needs to go WAY down. Sure someone can go out an install a 20,000$ system, that will eventually pay for itself in 20 years, however only a nut is going to do it. This isn't even considering maintenance or the fact the panel efficiency decreases over time requiring replacement, or the fact that not all installs are viable, from direction, cover, weather, structure, etc...
2) Solar efficiency. I have been reading several stories a year on Slashdot about the next BIG technology that will dramatically increase solar panel efficiency, over say the last 10 years. Actual occurrences of such can be measured in the ZERO range. There has been some slight improvements to both that and cost, but that is largely about larger and better manufacturing techniques than any sort of scientific revelation of design.
3) Economy needs to improve, interest rates need to not go up, loans need to be easily accessible, housing prices need to not go through the roof (no pun intended!). None of these things are a sure thing, and many of them are likely to go in the other direction entirely.
4) Really the only thing this has to do with energy companies at all, are A) the hook up to the grid (which they set the cost of and install), and B) the amount they pay for solar generation (which they also set likely, though may have some policy implications). So really in the end they can simply recoup lost profits that way. Actually if you think about it, they can use it to make even more profits, so they should be all for it! Most power generation requires large up front capitol costs, which usually requires a secured load, along with dealing with policy makers for contracts and subsidies, etc... along with a lot of risk. In this situation, the home owner is taking all the risk, capitol costs, loan interest, etc... all the power company has to do is buy the power for 10 cents and sell it for 20 cents, and maintain the system with whatever they make in between. It is pretty much the "Money for nothing and the chicks for free" scenario!

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern