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Comment: Re:Expert. (Score 1) 203

I think you have Dr. Dre confused with Rick Rubin.

Dre does create the music you hear while a vocalist raps. He's known as a perfectionist in the industry and has refused to release material that was not up to his ideals even though contracts were signed, etc.

As for Bono and Apple working together to prevent piracy, I think U2's newest album is an example of the technology-- create an uninspired, unnecessary product that a major corporation gives away to consumers for free. Seems like the Fort Knox of piracy protection.

Comment: Re:"Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (Score 1) 134

by swb (#47945573) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

There was one club around here kind of like that, a truly world-class golf course that has hosted 3-4 majors in the last 30 years. Their clubhouse was a dump and it allowed them to get serious golf members who didn't care about embroidered hand towels.

The irony with a lot of the old-money exclusive clubs is that their courses may be challenging for amateurs, they're not capable of hosting major men's tournaments. Not enough yardage. A big name professional came in for a one day, high dollar "seminar" and the story was he was driving balls off the tees past the greens.

Frankly, the "opulence" is way less than you think. The facilities are more like a shop-worn high-end hotel, 5 years overdue for a remodeling. There's no models as waitresses, the clubs have to compete for waitstaff against real restaurants that turn a lot of tables. If you're a hot waitress you'll make a ton more money at a trendy new place that's booked three weeks out or some corporate expense steak place where a tab for four runs $500+.

I'm often at a loss why someone would join -- they're nice, but not THAT nice. Most decent cities have more good restaurants than you can visit fast enough before the celebrity chef moves on to some other new, high-end place. The facilities aren't that great and for the kind of money it costs you could certainly get into a lot of other luxury experiences.

Comment: Re:DRM should not be in HTML5 (Score 1) 86

by jedidiah (#47945569) Attached to: Native Netflix Support Is Coming To Linux

These DRM laden video formats aren't any less crapulent on Windows. Unfortunately they aren't just used for video but also for basic site navigation. So you get a pervasive level of crapulence even with Windows.

It's not just a Linux problem.

Windows users perhaps just suffer from a certain level of "muggle numbness".

Comment: Re:Arment said it all (Score 1) 203

by jedidiah (#47945493) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

You only have to rip something once. You don't even have to do the ripping yourself. Someone else can do it for you.

DRM on a BluRay is only slightly more of a nuissance than the DRM on a DVD. Both are well cracked formats with lots of suitable tools that are readily available.

That particular battle was lost a long time ago.

Now this new format will remain intact only so long as no one cares about it. As soon as it becomes relevant, it will get cracked. Admittedly, obscurity is one thing Apple may have going for them here.

Comment: Apple's post-peak celebrity embraces (Score 3, Interesting) 203

by swb (#47945403) Attached to: U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

Why does Apple keep investing themselves in post-peak celebrities?

Dre, Iovine and U2 may be influential but how much currency do they have among future music fans? Is it because the decision makers at Apple are all in their late 40s-to-50s and are merely caught up in the fandom of their youth?

Shouldn't they be forming partnerships with artists with a ton of pull with 20-somethings? Do kids in their 20s even listen to U2, or is it something that 40-something moms crank up in their minivans along with an illicit Marlboro Light on their way to pick up the kids at soccer practice?

If U2 had any hip credibility, it was 30 years ago. Can you imagine Apple rolling out the Macintosh in 1984 with a celebrity lineup of the Everly Brothers and Bill Haley & the Comets?

Comment: Re: "Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (Score 2) 134

by swb (#47945159) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

The grounds crew is usually made up of 2-3 well paid full-timers who manage the entire grounds operation along with another half-dozen full-timers who are better (but not well) paid people who do stuff like maintain a fleet of equipment, oversee the massive irrigation systems, the extensive chemicals used to keep the grass up and then oversee the dozen or so seasonal low-wage hourly employees who do the grunt work.

There's a lot of irony in the club business. I've heard a lot of stories -- pictures kept screwed down so the members won't steal them, floral arrangements strategically timed so that the bridge ladies don't take them home hours after they get put out, members blackballed for getting caught loading their trunk with snack items like bottled soda/beer/chips and the never ending calls from members nitpicking their monthly bills over things like "I didn't have desert that night" or "we only ordered one drink". Not to mention the few whose accounts get sent to *collections* over unpaid dues/bills.

While they are really wealthy people there (I've seen new members come in and just write checks from a blue vinyl checkbook for $80-100k initiation fees), I think there's an awful lot of "keeping up appearances" that goes on -- people whose money ran out yet try to maintain an illusion of wealth, or climbers with short-term leases on Mercedes, rented luxury houses and the hope that they can snag some money from the truly wealthy for whatever shell game they're running.

Comment: Very much so (Score 1) 241

by Sycraft-fu (#47944575) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

I always thought it was an awesome idea to have a bigass set of computers at home... Ya well now I get paid to manage a bigass set of computers professionally and I'd rather just leave them there, thanks. Also there's no compelling reason to want my own servers for the sort of things I do, VMs work so well. I'll just lease one from somewhere, or spin one up at work.

At home, all my gear is related to, well, home use. More than a non-geek would have for sure but no data center.

Comment: "Keeping the grass short" is hugely expensive (Score 4, Informative) 134

by swb (#47944099) Attached to: Netropolitan Is a Facebook For the Affluent, and It's Only $9000 To Join

I've done work for country clubs and "keeping the grass short" is very expensive. The equipment and grounds crews for a 18 hole golf course are both extensive.

Most operate at least one full-service restaurant and bar area, sometimes more than one in certain seasons (ie, fine dining room and a more low-key grill type food service) and they staff them like they were going to be 3/4 full despite being empty or only 1/3 full much of the time. Food waste is huge, plus they usually feed their employees a separate meal.

A lot of clubs have big, old clubhouses that are maintenance nightmares. They don't get replaced because its a multi-million dollar expense that has to be paid for through assessments on members and there's a romantic attachment to the clubhouse because someone famous played there 100 years ago.

And your $10k initiation fee? That's a joke, $10k is for some low-rent club with a bowling-alley class snack bar. Try $100k, which usually buys stock which is refunded to members when they resign the club. It's usually $2k/month with dues, food and beverage and golf fees. And this is for a better Midwestern club, I'd double those figures on the coast, or more in certain places.

The fees aren't to keep people out, either, even if they have that effect, they're just to keep the place running. The members openly practice discrimination on who gets to join, you don't just apply for membership, you have to be asked and sponsored by a current member. But despite the veil of exclusivity, most really make ends meet by renting the place via their banquets office and low-cost "social" memberships that enable use of the foodservice areas. They need them to keep the place running.

Comment: Re:So much power waste (Score 1) 241

by FireFury03 (#47943311) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

If you look closely at those pictures, in pretty much every rack there are redundant switches with absolutely nothing connected to them, yet they are powered on.

Really? Do you like the blinking lights? I measured my 24 port 3com superstack switch and it was 50 watts. I switched to a 8 port low power gigabit (i have 6 devices these days) and it runs at 8watts.

Calculating the cost savings of the switch, at .07 cents a kwh, 42w = cost per year savings of 25 dollars. Roughly the cost of the gigabit switch i replaced it with!

Yep, managed switches seem to be outrageously power hungry. In my cabinet I've got:
  - Satellite patch panel (wired to the dish)
  - 24 port 8p8c patch panel (wired to sockets in the rest of the house/office)
  - 24 port managed gigabit switch
  - Test machine which is completely underpowered and never turned on (at some point I'll get around to removing it from the cabinet)
  - Sheevaplug
  - USB hard drive for Sheevaplug
  - VDSL modem
  - VoIP/POTS gateway
  - USB DVB-S2 receiver
  - RIPE Atlas probe
  - PoE injectors for 2 wireless APs that are dotted around the house
  - Far too many PSUs for all of the above! (Although I have consolidated all the 12v supplies into a single PSU with multiple connectors. I've still got stuff that needs 9v and 5v supplies though)

The total draw is about 90 watts, probably about 50% of it going to the managed switch! About 25% goes to the hard drive I guess.

If anyone has any recommendations for 24 port managed switches that don't draw silly amounts of power when idle, I'd be interested (bonus points if they have some PoE ports).

The other problem I have is that no devices seem to be able to roam between APs sensibly - if I move from the house to the office my phone and laptop try to hold onto the incredibly weak signal from the house AP even though there's an AP in the office for them to use. I have to toggle the wifi off and on again to get them to reassociate. (And vice-versa when I move back into the house).

Comment: Re:Not a problem... (Score 1) 286

by swb (#47940805) Attached to: New Study Projects World Population of 11B by 2100

I thought the one with the population density of Houston was more interesting as it implies a more livable density than Manhattan. A slight reduction in density might allow for grow-local kind of agriculture, too.

There might be actual incentives to encouraging the development of a megacity. The energy savings in transportation would be huge and there's probably a lot of other economies of scale to be gained. If other populated areas became equally less dense the environment might improve.

The downside is that all big cities have a gross aspect to them, especially poorer ones.

Comment: Re: So everything is protected by a 4 digit passco (Score 1) 462

by Vellmont (#47940627) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

Not without huge advances in theoretical mathematics, no.

Cryptography relies not only on the math being correct, but the implementation as well. How sure are you that Apple implemented the random number generator properly, for instance? Maybe that 128 bit key only has 64 bits of entropy because someone screwed up. 64 bits of entropy is feasible to brute-force.

Also, only RSA relies on factoring large numbers. RSA, and other public-cryptography is only used to encrypt the key. The underlying algorithm is still generally block ciphers like AES, which aren't dependent on prime numbers.

Comment: Easy fix for the government. (Score 1) 462

by Vellmont (#47940475) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

So instead of requesting access to the data, they'll request access to installing a special update to your phone that simply transmits the encryption key.

If you trust Apple to update your software, and Apple has to do whatever the government says, there's always going to be a way for the government to get your data.

Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?