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Comment: The problem isn't the format of the data... (Score 4, Informative) 23

by GrpA (#48088601) Attached to: Brown Dog: a Search Engine For the Other 99 Percent (of Data)

The problem is that 99%* of data is actually trapped behind paywalls...

Which is more of a problem than the format. If the data was available without the paywall, then the format probably wouldn't matter as much.


*99% is a made-up statistic - just like the original article. I assume it means "lots..."

Comment: Another possible reason... (Score 1) 167

by GrpA (#48017793) Attached to: Why the Z-80's Data Pins Are Scrambled

Anyone who ever designed circuitry regularly enough with the Z-80 ( I would have designed over 40 boards using the z-80 during my career ) always used to think they did it that way so you could put the ROM chip next to the processor, while only using a few through-board connections. A 16k ROM could easily be connected to the Z-80 on a single-sided PCB with just 6 jumpers that fit neatly beneath the Z-80 chip itself.

Maybe that's not the reason it was built that way, but working with other designers at the time, that's what we all though -


Comment: Re:use SMS (Score 1) 113

by GrpA (#47563267) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Hardware/Software-Based Security Token?

Ugh, you people are so stupid... neither of you work in the wireless industry.

1) SMS can be intercepted, hacked, etc : false. White it's certainly possible for someone working at the wireless company to send fake SMS messages directly from the MSC, they can't see them, and if they can't see them, neither can a malicious entity. The only way you see a SMS message in transit is if you are participating in a MITM attack against the device, in which you would be emulating the wireless carrier at the time of the message's transmission.

Ever heard of "Malicious Number Porting"? Who needs to intercept SMS when your telco will do it for you?

SMS provides poor security...


Comment: Nothing to see here, move along. (Score 4, Funny) 112

This is ridiculous. The Australian government has already sent the software to Russia for peer review, and they determined that it worked perfectly during the Crimean referendum.

I see no reason why the code should be further made public.It could only lead to compromise.


Comment: Fraught with danger... (Score 2) 180

by GrpA (#46978485) Attached to: UN to Debate Use of Fully Autonomous Weapons, New Report Released

Taking such action really is a bad idea. An autonomous killing machine could be as complicated as as a military drone with hellfire missiles or as simple as a car loaded with autonomous weapons designed to engage any anything that move, with a GPS pre-determined route and self-driving capability, sitting like a mobile minefield in an abandoned house long after the occupants have left, waiting to be activated.

I think the appropriate course of action would be to feed international condemnation of such tactics until they are treated with ruthlessness by the international community against any involved in use of such weapons, for any infraction. Just like the use of chemical weapons should have been...

Autonomous weapons are far more frightening that WMDs... And nowhere is safe.

Then again, I wrote a book on the creation of a universal standard for determining if an autonomous weapon could be trusted with the decision to kill, so perhaps I am somewhat hypocritical there.


Comment: Just my guess. (Score 1) 533

by GrpA (#46001627) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Often-Run Piece of Code -- Ever?

Based on the number of graphics cards out there, the high repetitive nature of their application and the fact that that's all they do, it's probably something related to them. I thought of supercomputers running very small recursive routines, but they usually have a limited lifetime and older computers aren't fast enough and haven't continued to run in any event.

Graphics though? I'd guess something in a very common graphics card would probably be in the scale to achieve the title of most-run code.

Though if you had allowed assembler, I'd have gone with nop, nop, jump -2.... In all of it's forms. It's not uncommon in older systems that run entirely off of interrupts to use this as an "idle loop" that just waits for the next interrupt so that the interrupt handler can get on with the job of code execution. Many embedded systems use this.


Comment: Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 1) 579

by GrpA (#45791757) Attached to: Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

It's not quite that simple. What has happened ( and is happening ) here in Australia is that those who can afford the considerable up-front costs of solar are doing so, and are getting close to not paying for power. In some cases, they are actually making money from exporting back into the grid. This is somewhat due to a stupid government rule that means they get overpaid, but that aside, it's only the wealthy and middle-to-upper class users who can take advantage of it.

Because utilities are trying to maintain profits, it's not as simple as saying "well, they get more power and just resell it" - They are still paying for infrastructure and stuff to the people who have lots of solar, but who don't consume electricity enough to cover the costs of that infrastructure.

So as a result, their biggest customer base becomes low-income earners, who can't afford to pay for solar and who can't afford to carry the infrastructure costs for wealthy people either. The result is that the ability of the power utility to increase charges is suddenly curtailed because the less wealthier customers can no longer afford to support them.

This is known as the "Solar Power Death Spiral" - because the more that the costs go up for the remaining market, the larger the adoption rate of solar and, again, it's the wealthier part of the remaining market that makes the move first.


And yes, it is very real and the utilities are terrified of it... It's not a threat to electricity generation or other things - it's a threat to profits and to the utilities ability to incrementally charge for their costs with a customer base no longer able to pay for it. Sure, greed is a huge factor, perhaps the only real factor, but the utilities will defend their market vigorously. The likely solution is that they will change their charging model, where you end up paying an "infrastructure cost charge" regardless of whether you use power or not, and a usage tariff on top of that. This will redistribute the cost again and make solar uncompetitive. And they will quite likely make "opting out" illegal too... So expect to pay an "infrastructure cost charge" even if you don't have a connection to the grid, so long as it's possible to connect where you are.

That's how they did it in Australia with water, except they also made water tanks illegal in parts of Australia before drought and dwindling infrastructure became such a constant problem.


Comment: Re:Mediatek - the new dominating chipset... (Score 1) 133

LoL! I did say bleeding edge with emphasis on the bleeding. And the older models supported multi-band 3G as well. This is the result of moving to a modem chipset for that model that only supports 2100 and it's generally considered a poor move. ( Same circuit board as the cheaper F2 model but a different modem chip ). It also has problems in 3G, but for those who can use it, we're hopeful that moving to Cyanogenmod will get the problems out of it. In the mean time, check out their forum if you want details of the problems their users are getting.

But overall, it's still a pretty positive move and will be the first Mediatek 6589T chipset with native Cyanogenmod. Only a fool would rush in at the moment, but there's no shortage of us fools on their support forum. :)


Comment: Mediatek - the new dominating chipset... (Score 1) 133

by GrpA (#45742721) Attached to: Cyanogen Mod Raises $23 Million Funding All Set To Become Major Android Player

This is why a lot of us are buying the Faea F2S already - it's going native Cyanogenmod and fully open-source with factory assistance, now that Cyanogenmod and Faea have teamed up and released the F2S source code.

Given that something like the F2S only costs around $250 and has pretty much every feature that the current bleeding-edge phones have, it's going to be interesting to see how this affects the other phones on the market.

Mind you, emphasis on the bleeding there. It really is at the edge of technological development - and isn't the sort of phone you buy if you don't enjoy tinkering, frequent reboots and weekly flashing the firmware :)


Comment: Re:Maybe his novel wasn't so novel (Score 1) 208

by GrpA (#45667807) Attached to: Sci-fi Author Charles Stross Cancels Trilogy: the NSA Is Already Doing It

This is true, but it's unfair to generalize all Science Fiction in this way. It doesn't really matter if what you write about is plausible or even possible. It doesn't even matter if it's already happened. A good story doesn't need to be completely fictional to work, because the strength is in the story you tell, not the technology in the world you've created.

As a writer of science fiction myself, having originally set most of the developments in my story to occur and mature over the next century, I was surprised when told that my book was being used as a technology primer for the military to explain the level of technology development of existing applications with respect to virtual world military testing and AI development.

I don't see this as "Well, there's no point writing this anymore, because I got it right" - I see this as more "I'm glad I got it right and now I can concentrate more on plot development in subsequent stories and less on the technology".

And just because what I write is based on factual technology, it doesn't mean it isn't science fiction. The exact genre is "Technothriller" but it's still science fiction. :)


Comment: Somewhat lacking in logic. (Score 4, Funny) 361

by GrpA (#45141155) Attached to: Is Choice a Problem For Android?

The problem that the PC faces is giving consumers too much choice....

Clearly that hasn't worked for the PC, or it would be the 100% dominant platform, rather than just the 99% dominant platform...

And for PCs the be able to run OS-X, Microsoft or Linux operating systems? Clearly wayyyy to much choice...


Comment: There is only one way to effectively micromanage. (Score 2) 136

by GrpA (#45031885) Attached to: In Praise of Micromanagement

You can tell me what to do, or how to do it, but not both... This is a lesson most micromanagers forget. The truth is that there is no such think as effective micromanagement. By it's very nature, the project that micromanagers run can never grow bigger than what can be achieved by a single person. They are limited entirely by that person's ability and intelligence, and people with either of those two attributes usually realize it well enough to leave micromanagement alone.

Micromanagement, while sometimes necessary, is anything but effective. Any good manager will always realize this and will usually step out of the micromanagement role very shortly after taking it on.

The exceptions to the rule are always companies where the intended outcome *is* for the company or project to never grow further than one person can manage it. Sometimes ( eg Apple ) - this is the desired outcome - to remain small and very narrow in focus. Generally, though, that goes counter to modern business principles.


Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.