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Comment: Re:price? (Score 1) 328

Whilst CFLs worked as a stop-gap until LED lights could become feasible, I do wonder if they have done long term harm to people's acceptance of efficient lighting - for a long time, "energy efficient lighting" is going to be associated with "takes 5 minutes to get bright enough to see" thanks to CFLs...

That said, I might miss CFLs in my bedside lights if I ever have to replace them with LEDs - that's the one place where a slow start-up is quite nice!

Comment: Re:well (Score 1) 418

Yeah I never understood that, why try and recover the clock signal from the data stream? If I where designing it I would have my DAC monitor the stream to calculate what the clock signal is supposed to be then generate my own dam clock signal.

My guess is:

If you recover the clock from the stream, you just need to roughly control the motor (CD) RPM and stream what you read. If you run your own clock you need a buffer and you then either need to dynamically tweak the motor speed based on how fast the buffer is filling/draining, or you need to read the CD a bit too fast and stop/resume every so often. Clock recovery sounds much simpler to me.

Comment: Line of sight? (Score 3, Interesting) 123

Will it have the same line of site limitations as current satellite Internet? I'm in Seattle, and with providers like HughsNet you need a very good line of sight to the south to get service. IIRC, where I used to work we had the dish pointed only 24 degrees above the horizon.

These sats are going into LEO, not GEO, so their position in the sky won't be fixed. I imagine you'll used a phased array antenna to track them. The good points being: lower latency, no requirement to see the southern horizon specifically. The bad point being that you'll need a view of a bigger chunk of the sky to avoid signal dropouts as the satellites move - how big a chunk depends on how many satellites they have up there (and therefore how many are above the horizon at the same time). If they have enough satellites, it may work out better for you.

Comment: Re:Malware (Score 1) 181

by FireFury03 (#48755437) Attached to: Inside Cryptowall 2.0 Ransomware

If a program needs to look at stuff in other file structures then give it read access

Great! $malware got read access to your bank details.

You want it to be able to write to files in those other directories, fine, it reads in a file it isn't allowed to overwrite or change, and then saves it's own copy that it can molest in whatever way it wants.

So now instead of having a single copy of the file, you have a separate copy saved by each application that has been used to process it - creating a mountain of almost-identical files that the user has to keep track of is not a user friendly way of doing things.

Better is to have a versioned filesystem - each time a file is changed (by any application!) the delta is saved and the filesystem keeps the old data hidden away. Most of the time everything behaves as normal - you have one copy of a file, no matter how many times it is edited. If you need to roll back some changes then you just ask to see previous versions of that file, much like a source control system. And indeed, there are a number of file systems that do exactly this - if you care about such things there's nothing stopping you doing it.

It doesn't stop malware reading your files or modifying them, but it does mean you can recover the unmodified versions... but then doing backups (which everyone should be doing anyway) gives you similar protection.

Comment: Re:Malware (Score 1) 181

by FireFury03 (#48753745) Attached to: Inside Cryptowall 2.0 Ransomware

And, hell, why do applications get the run of every file I use under my account? Should they not have to request such things first? Even on Unix-likes, if you get on as my user, you can trash all my data - why?

Because anything else would require popping up numerous "would you like to allow this application to do $foo" boxes, and then you end up training the user to just hit "yes" on everything because it's too damned annoying to make a decision every time when the vast vast majority of access requests really are legitimate.

Sandboxing based on applications making their own decisions and being relatively trustworthy might not be a bad plan though - i.e. if your web browser has an immutable list of files it needs access to, and you trust your web browser, that provides some level of protection when some malware compromises the browser, so long as the immutable list really is immutable and the malware can't modify it.

I'm sorry, but the very concept of a virus scan happening "at scheduled intervals" or after you've already double-clicked on the file just tells you that it's too late before you start.

Well no, if you can roll back everything that happened between the "all clear" scan and the "you've been cracked" scan then that's certainly much better than nothing.

Fact is, I didn't install it and I have no idea what it ACTUALLY does.

You don't know what most software ACTUALLY does, even if you did install it - most software people use is closed source, but even the open source is a black box unless you actually audit it.

Comment: Re:As a former scientist: (Score 1) 287

by FireFury03 (#48744681) Attached to: Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

True to a point, but the knowledge gained from the ISS is nothing to sneeze at either. I do agree that a manned mars mission is a bit silly at this point though, we don't really have the technology yet to make it feasible. More research into alternate energy sources should be where most of the money should be going.

I suspect a manned Mars mission will always be "a bit silly" at any point until people start actually doing it. And whilst I can't really point to much tangible return on the investment, "blue skies" project do have a habit of producing some quite unexpected returns.

To my mind, governments seem to be mostly concerned with themselves at the moment, with nothing to unify those in power towards some common (non-selfish) goal. With the few top-richest people being as rich as they are now I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them banded together to put together a manned Mars mission long before any government (so long as they do so before a revolution comes and redistributes the wealth a bit more fairly).

Comment: Re:ROI (Score 4, Insightful) 287

by FireFury03 (#48744635) Attached to: Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

That's not really true. You can look at a research lab and measure the ROI retrospectively quite easily and use this to make forward looking decisions, and that's what a lot of companies do. They'll close research labs that haven't produced anything useful in the last 5-10 years, but they'll increase funding to ones that have.

And what about research that takes longer than 5-10 years to come to fruition (which actually isn't very long)?

Lets take fusion research as an example - that has spent decades sucking money out of governments and has produced very little return on that investment. It may never produce much return. But if we ever do crack fusion for commercial power generation, that would be a serious game changer - probably a big enough return to justify a couple of hundred years of otherwise fruitless investment.

Comment: Re:No we shouldnt (Score -1, Troll) 287

by FireFury03 (#48744591) Attached to: Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

But that doesn't mean that the government should be paying for it, because not all of us agree we should be paying for it. Using Tax to pay for something should only happen for things we can only collectively purchase, like National Defense. We should be able to pay for it ourselves, and reap the rewards individually

Umm, I don't agree with my taxes being spent on "National Defence" (when I can sum up the current "defence" ideas as "go into foreign countries and blow up some brown people").

Guess what - you don't get to choose what your tax gets spent on. In theory, it should be apportioned democratically, but even that doesn't happen - a significant number of people objected to the Iraq war and were ignored.

Comment: Re:No we shouldnt (Score 5, Informative) 287

by FireFury03 (#48744539) Attached to: Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

Compare NASA to, for example, Xerox PARC (Ethernet, the GUI, laser printers, etc.) or Bell Labs (the transistor, access control lists, UNIX, etc.) and see which produced more inventions that benefitted the economy as a whole per dollar spent.

Each shuttle launch cost, on average, $1.5bn. The cost of one launch would fund over ten thousand PhDs, or several hundred DARPA programs. Do you really think that NASA is the best ROI for taxpayers?

The problem with NASA is largely the senators dictating how the money will be spent, which leads to a huge amount of wastage. The shuttle is a good example - NASA could only get the funding if they made a space craft that fitted some fairly mutually exclusive specifications - the result was a space craft that could do none of those things especially well and almost certainly more expensively than building several separate craft tailored to specific jobs.

Look at the A-3 test stand as another example: it was designed for the Constallation programme, and when Obama cancelled the programme the partially constructed test stand was of no use. Congress demanded that NASA keep constructing this useless piece of hardware and they spent about $200M on it _after_ it was known that there was no use for it. How can you expect NASA to be value for money when it is treated as a jobs creation programme and forced to waste money like that?

SLS is probably another good example - insanely expensive, not least because congress are actually dictating the engineering requirements, and no doubt the government will order NASA to scrap it before completion, completely wasting all the money that was invested in it. Despite its huge cost, I kinda hope that SLS doesn't get scrapped, because then at least the money has gone into something that can be used instead of yet another useless cancelled project.

Far better would be to just give NASA a lump of money and tell them to do with it as they please - the money would still end up invested in paying people to do jobs (the jobs might not be in the various senator's chosen locations, but they would still happen), and we'd probably have a lot more science at the end of it instead of a huge pile of half-completed scrapped projects.

Comment: Re:Sly (Score 1) 396

by FireFury03 (#48634825) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

And whilst I use StartSSL, it's a pain that you can't get free wildcard certs for your domain...

And it fucking pisses me off that the grocery store won't just give me free food, too.

StartSSL is a business, and its business model is to give out free Class 1 certs with the hope of converting you into a paying customer.


The conversation was about it being so very cheap to roll out SSL because its trivial to get free SSL certificates. I'm not criticising StartSSL, I'm simply stating that it *isn't* trivial to get wildcard certificates. So the whole "you should use SSL everywhere coz it's free" premise kinda falls down there, since it isn't in fact free.

Comment: Re:Self-signed certificate (Score 1) 396

by FireFury03 (#48625715) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Firefox blocked self signed certs. It used to warn and allow an exception but no longer.

I don't need to spend time or money to tell me who I am. What is the problem of me signing my own certificate?

Not true. Firefox blocked _short_ self signed certs (and yes, it's a stupid move - stick up a big warning by all means, but blocking them completely is insane. Lots of people now can't use FireFox to access legitimate networking hardware that uses short self signed certs). However, make a sensibly long self signed cert and it works fine as it always did.

Comment: Re:Stupid (Score 1) 396

by FireFury03 (#48625605) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Answer: So that when someone browses to your URL they don't get malware injected into their browser by a MITM.

If your browser is vulnerable to injected malware then you're pretty much screwed already - an attacker just needs to trick you into visiting their site (which can have a perfectly legitimate SSL cert), no MITM injection required.

Comment: Re:503 (Score 2) 396

by FireFury03 (#48624861) Attached to: Google Proposes To Warn People About Non-SSL Web Sites

Google should do whatever it wants. After all, if I get annoyed enough by Google Chrome, I'll just switch back to Firefox or Opera. Only the ChromeOS/ChromeBook/ChromeBox users may be screwed (because they've made the mistake of locking their hardware to a specific vendor browser).

IE taught us that this kind of thing doesn't happen quickly - web developers _still_ have to deal with IE's buggy rendering, despite good alternatives having been available for 15 years. Ok, IE has got better but it's still not great. Users don't see this stuff as a browser problem - if your website doesn't work right then the users see it as a problem with your website.