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Comment: Re:Just noise (Score 3, Insightful) 167

by Holmwood (#48618953) Attached to: Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

Well, if your sample N is 40,000 drives as theirs has been in the past, and you're operating with reasonably rigorous methodology to track problems, then you've got a good case. Write up your experience, and note N. (For 6TB drives, their N is very pretty small, and even moving forward they're only adding 230 WD drives).

I don't think you've got a good case to argue that a sample of 40,000 drives is "noise", but you could well be right about the much tinier smaller samples for 6TB drives. Assuming you've got tens of thousands of Seagates being heavily used, if your results differ from their past ones, that would be very interesting. Publish.

About the only takeaway there is that WD loads faster (about a TB/day, an unexpected result) and uses slightly less electricity.

Comment: Re:Motivated rejection of science (Score 4, Informative) 661

Starting to depart a bit from the topic, but 'useful idiot' is not an invention of America's Glenn Beck. It dates at least back to Russia in the 1940's, and then developed generally as a term to generally characterize 'fellow traveler' socialists who were not themselves communists but were willing dupes of communists.

Not everything in this universe is an invention of American left or right wingers.

That said, I find the GP's attitude of "no such thing as catastrophic man-made global warming" coupled with his sarcasm to be as unhelpful as your ahistorical claim. He may well be right that there is no such thing; if climate sensitivity is on the low end of current IPCC estimates, then a reasonable person could argue that means the results will not be catastrophic in a global sense, and attribution will make any specific weather disaster tough to pin on anthropogenic climate change. But to blithely assert that it therefore doesn't exist? I'll definitely pass on that assertion.

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 2) 348

by Holmwood (#46790351) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

This is slightly inaccurate: the case is not directly connected with Steyn. True, Steyn's case might be helped (or hurt) by some of the undisclosed data and documents, but this is an earlier FOIA case that has been dragging on for a long time.

I do find it troubling that publicly funded research now seems to have giant carve-outs rendering it substantially not subject to FOIA. Increasing the power and secrecy around already-powerful politicians and bureaucrats, even those in a state-funded university, is troubling.

This will likely go to the Supreme Court. Were I a betting man, I'd bet that four of the conservative wing would overrule, the liberal wing would vote to uphold, and the deciding vote would be the Chief Justice who might surprise everyone and side with the liberals, as he did in the Affordable Care Act decision. But who knows.

Comment: Re:Certainly an increasing danger. (Score 1) 100

by Holmwood (#45241547) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Developer Responsibility When Apps Might Risk Lives?

This is a very good point. In the past I have developed in the avionics and old-school telecoms area. (Half an hour unscheduled downtime permitted in 40 years, in the latter case). The former tends to be life-critical, the latter not far off.

I am very aware of the kind of requirements that medical software and devices require though have very deliberately steered well clear of that market.

It is my belief that developers should be educated, ethical, but that there is also a place for apps, even devices that are not medically certifiable as long as they are carefully and ethically marketed. (The OP's example seems to indicate examples that are possibly none of the above).

An example from today; I use, to great help, a device from Fitbit to monitor my sleep. It's less accurate than the $1m sleep lab a colleague (internal medicine, specializing in sleep apnea) runs, but it's good enough to tell me that I got a bad night's sleep even when I am not consciously aware of having done so.

I argue that inexpensive, reasonably accurate apps are considerably better than nothing, provided that the user is well-informed. We need an area that isn't done to death by the FDA, provided claims are appropriate.

In the current wild-west of app-stores, especially on Android, this does not appear to be the case.

Comment: Re:Certainly an increasing danger. (Score 1) 100

by Holmwood (#45241465) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Developer Responsibility When Apps Might Risk Lives?

I do not favour an outright ban, since I could see that as having unpleasant consequences.

Such as? These apps literally enable the ignorant to get themselves killed, as you point out>

Did you actually read the rest of my post? Blanket regulations and bans tend to have unintended consequences and can be quite sweeping in effect. I gave a specific example of a situation (future cardiac monitor app) that might be quite beneficial for a certain segment of the population to have access to, even if it was less reliable than a dedicated device.

Such an item, if one were to blanket-ban apps based on medical and safety claims, would be unavailable in highly regulated countries, likely to the detriment of many people.

I further noted the tradeoff of skiing in an area with negligible avalanche possibilities and implicitly argued ("pressure Google and Apple and Blackberry to come up with a common standard for fine grid device location") that that might well be better than nothing.

As for well-informed, again, I explicitly noted that informed choice is key. Marketing in a misleading fashion, in this safety-critical sense, is not acceptable. As I wrote (if you had read it): "I lean towards crystal clear disclosure, and, in Canada, and restrictions on marketing."

That said, I will again repeat myself: I lean towards more informed choice for consumers and citizens rather than less. The OP makes excellent points suggesting to me that regulation and restriction on marketing as well as a strong push for standards are appropriate. He or she does not persuade me that a blanket ban is appropriate, and certainly you do not given that you do not even appear to have read let alone attempted to understand my position.

Best,
-Holmwood

Comment: Certainly an increasing danger. (Score 5, Insightful) 100

by Holmwood (#45241307) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Developer Responsibility When Apps Might Risk Lives?

On the one hand, we can crack down hard on anyone who tries to even hint at some medical or safety purpose for a particular app. On the other we can be wild and free-booting and allow people into precisely the sort of trap that the poster outlines.

These apps may well be better than nothing (though they are not tested in any meaningful sense, nor are they compliant in any meaningful sense), but to the extent that they give a false sense of security, they are dangerous.

Personally, I lean towards crystal clear disclosure, and, in Canada, and restrictions on marketing. I do not favour an outright ban, since I could see that as having unpleasant consequences.

Look forward ten years. Suppose my smartphone has a ~90% reliable software and sensor package to tell me if I'm suffering from a heart attack. Suppose also that I'm part of a demographic group that by gender, age, fitness, weight, diet is highly unlikely to be suffering one. (There have been cases before where software has successfully diagnosed heart attacks in situations where physicians didn't believe it -- consider the case of psychologist Helen Smith a fit 37 year old woman who came close to dying since humans didn't believe she could be having a heart attack).

It would not make rational sense in that case for me to purchase a $1000 bespoke medical device to monitor me, but a $5 app might make sense even if it wasn't as reliable.

Similarly if I ski only occasionally and in areas highly unlikely to suffer an avalanche, it might make sense for me to not purchase a transceiver. (For those who say they'd spend anything to protect their lives, even on extraordinary low probability, I suspect you may have some irrational optimizations in your life.)

Offering consumers informed choice seems key; if they are marketing their apps as the equivalent of Avalanche transceivers, that clearly is not informed choice.

Similarly, I'd pressure Google and Apple and Blackberry to come up with a common standard for fine grid device location that these apps could use.

The OP raises some interesting points; I still come down somewhat on the libertarian side of things.

Comment: Re:Like a Nokia Android wouldn't have bombed? (Score 4, Informative) 189

by Holmwood (#44847843) Attached to: Nokia Had an Android Phone In Development

Very true. I used a Nokia N770 tablet starting in 2006. It was fantastic for the time. Maemo (later Meego) was still a little rough around the edges, but very good. I thought at the time that surely it was only a year or so of polishing from mass release, and Nokia ARM-based tablets and smartphones starting at resolutions of 800x480 would sweep the market. And time ticked by. Even 2 and a half years later, Apple was still playing around at well under half the resolution, but time kept moving.

I still have my patched N800 somewhere with a (ridiculous for 2007) 65GB of storage.

Nokia could have dominated that market, or, at worst, been highly competitive with Apple.

Comment: Re:Fight it if you want to. (Score 1) 555

Happens in Canada as well, including both requiring both email access and even your bank account to prove you've sufficient funds to support a stay in Canada.

See the thrilling series (mild sarcasm) Canada's Front Line on National Geographic Channel. Series 1 showed a British subject being required to provide access to his banking account; another episode showed another Brit being required to provide email access.

I suspect it happens in the US as well.

Comment: Re:Missing option (Score 1) 290

by Holmwood (#44667579) Attached to: My ISP...

You're lucky not to live in Canada! My ISP (Rogers) was charging me $50/mo for internet service, but there'd be an added $100/mo fee if I went over the cap. (yes, the fee scaled up to $100, but typically hit $100 pretty fast). This was ludicrous.

I've switched to a competitive ISP (Thank goodness they exist) that Rogers techs try to continuously dislodge by disconnecting customers locally, but though the data rate is 1/3 that Rogers provided for the same price, there is no cap. Good.

Comment: Re:Canada soon invades the US (Score 1) 187

by Holmwood (#44613985) Attached to: Canadian Military Developing Stealth Snowmobile

That's silly stuff. I am a firm Canadian nationalist, but the idea that we hold the US to ransom when it comes to oil is ludicrous (and thankfully so). True, their SPR is a mere 100 days or so at peak capacity, but that's more than your two weeks, and that's completely ignoring their ability to bring new domestic and international resources on line and use pricing if they were blockaded.

The idea that Canadians' cutting off supply could cripple the US in 2 weeks is beyond silliness. True, cutting the US off would cause the US to pay great attention to us, though not necessarily in a good way. But keep in mind Canada would suddenly be deprived of 80%+ of her exports, since the US would surely retaliate. If we said 'F U USA' during a cold winter (which a great many Canadians would disagree with, for we tend to regard the US as close relatives, albeit annoying ones) do you serious believe the USA would not retaliate?

Comment: Re:"The chips will provide for..." (Score 2) 77

and "based on 10nm class NAND flash technology" is at best highly misleading. It's 19nm technology.

Parity News might better be tagged Parity Spin, as might this summary.

What Samsung is doing with NAND is actually reasonably impressive -- 19nm is very good, and their TLC stuff in the 840 looked pretty good, and the performance/reliability/value of the 840 EVO looks to be extremely good for a non-enthusiast consumer drive. Sad they feel they need ridiculous spin on top of some very respectable achievements.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity... (Score 1) 89

by Holmwood (#44176463) Attached to: Launch of India's First Navigation Satellite Successful

Wish I had mod points. This is a very cogent question. Too much of what seems to be being done in space so far by prestige-oriented countries seems to simply be "follow-the-leader". Replicate the US space program (with most of its defects) as closely as possible. The Soviets even were working away on a space shuttle, though thankfully the Chinese don't seem headed down that precise dead end.

I think the US (making a virtue out of the necessity of low budgets for space) private sector approach looks very promising, particularly SpaceX. And Canada's doing some inexpensive clever stuff that's somewhat orthogonal like its small asteroid observatory satellite(s). So too, are other countries. But a GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/Beidou clone? Yeah, I get it, the military needs it for anyone who wishes to be a Great Power independent of the US.

Comment: Re: Not News to Fox (Score 1) 330

Ever hear of the Pentagon Papers? The NY Times and WaPo published those back in 1971, the Nixon administration tried to prosecute them. The Supreme Court held 6-3 (with nine different opinions) that the newspaper(s) had a compelling interest in publishing. Largely since then, First Amendment rights have trumped governments interests in secrecy.

You can suddenly try and change the legal standards that have evolved over decades, but I do find it amusing to suddenly see soi-disant liberals arguing that Richard Nixon was right after all, and that journalists should routinely be accused of crimes when they commit acts of journalism.

If your standards hold, pretty much any future administration should be able to jail most journalists in the US that have ever reported on government, foreign affairs, or the military. Be careful what you advocate for.

Comment: Re:800,000 Applications (Score 5, Insightful) 305

by Holmwood (#43457179) Attached to: Ouya Performance Not Particularly Exciting

This could well be very true. I backed it on Kickstarter precisely because I wanted a low power ARM-based 1080p media device that was more flexible than offerings from Sony, MS, Nintendo. Had no real interest in it personally as a gaming console.

That said... I read TFA. It completely misses the point. Sure, because brand new bleeding edge phones have higher performance, Ouya (at #70) is a loser. Good grief. It is a certainty that there will be between 100 and 1000 PCs (and Macs) of varying configurations from reasonable manufacturers that will exceed the PS4 and Xbox 720 when they are released (at #101-#1001). (at octo-core 1.6 GHz Jag and roughly half the performance of a 670 video card it won't be difficult). Does that mean that these consoles are failures and Sony and MS should give up?

Of course not. They will have defined a stable platform that is "good enough" for some years of gaming, along with interfaces to enable that.

Ditto, potentially, Ouya.

Will Ouya succeed? I've no idea, but the raw power of the console is unlikely to be a material issue at this point.

Comment: Re:Windows CE forever !!! (Score 2) 104

by Holmwood (#43062617) Attached to: Embedded Developers Prefer Linux, Love Android

Oh come on, that AC deserves +5 for funny for his topic, leaving aside the dorky "first!". I was on the board of a company that was competing in that space (licensing embedded OS's) back in the 90's. We concluded we weren't viable because we were in the ~$7-10m a year range of licensing fees. We found out Windows CE, globally, was in the neighbourhood of $3.5m/y. Boggle.

We still concluded we weren't viable, and transitioned to a POSIX-compliant variant of Linux and other activities. Given this survey, I don't feel sad about that choice.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard

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