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Comment Re:meh (Score 1) 103 103

What do you mean "locked to a single platform". I admit that I haven't tried it, but they give away the source code to VS 2015.

I don't think having access to the source code to VS 2015 is going to allow anyone to compile VS for any non-Windows platform. Not unless you have a few million man-hours available for porting and redesign (since much of the functionality present in VS wouldn't even make sense outside of Windows)

Comment Re:Suburban thinking (Score 2) 554 554

The technical problems you mention have obvious solutions.

Not enough roof space on a high-rise to supply power to all of its residents? No problem, just put the solar panels somewhere else instead. Wires make it easy to move electricity from one place to another.

Need more power when the sun isn't shining? That's a bit more expensive to solve, but the solution is obvious -- generate excess power in advance and store it in batteries, so that it is available when you need it. The cell phone, laptop, tablet, and electric car markets are all driving the costs of battery storage down to the point where this will soon be economical to do at scale.

Comment Re:How big is a "solar panel"? (Score 5, Informative) 554 554

I'm kind of wondering where they would all go.
If each panel was a square meter, that's 193 square miles of solar panels.

193 square miles is 0.006% of the surface area of the United States.

Or, if we wanted to only put the solar panels on existing residential roofs -- there are currently about 6184 square miles of residential roof space in the USA. (ref)

Comment Re:Can email service providers do more? (Score 1) 58 58

For it to work in a corporate environment, it must be mandated by the company so that everyone does it, everyone must have a client that supports it, keys must exist and be distributed

Of course in a non-corporate/general-email environment, all of those things won't happen (or at least, not all at the same time), so there is a big chicken-and-egg problem if we require all of that. Fortunately, I don't think we need to require all of that.

then can everyone rely on an unsigned message being invalid

I don't think it is necessary to rely on an unauthenticated message being invalid. An unauthenticated message is just that -- unauthenticated. It might be valid or invalid. If it's something important, the "unauthenticated" flag is an indication to the user that he should verify the message's authenticity using other means (e.g. by calling the boss and asking him about it).

If your boss forgets to sign a message telling you to do something and you ignore it, you better have a company policy backing you up.

You wouldn't ignore it, you'd call the boss (or email him) and ask him if he really send the message you received.

And hopefully the boss would almost never "forget" to sign an email, because all of his emails would be automatically signed simply as part of the act of sending them from his regular email account.

That puts it in the realm of a social problem, not a technical one. And it does not solve the problem of external sources of email that don't sign anything being the alleged source of the email asking you to "click here" because your train reservation has changed and you need to pay a bit extra.

True, you can't fix stupid. But you can at least make it easier for people to see a difference between a known-authentic email and an email of unproven origin.

Comment Can email service providers do more? (Score 2) 58 58

It seems like relying solely on peoples' good judgement to figure out which emails are legitimate vs which ones are phishing spam (or worse, spear-phishing spam) is asking for trouble.

I can imagine email service providers using cryptographic signing techniques to assist the email client in reliably identifying which emails are definitely coming from their boss (or at least, from their boss's legitimate email account) vs which ones are unauthenticated and could have been written by anyone.

With that implemented, after a few weeks people would grow used to seeing the happy green "sender authenticated" sign at the top of each email from their boss, and if an email came in purporting to be from the boss, but with a big angry red "WARNING -- UNAUTHENTICATED MESSAGE -- MAY BE FRAUDULENT" (or whatever) sign at the top, they'd be less likely to hand over the company jewels without first confirming the email's validity.

Does something like this exist? If so, it seems like it's not widely used. If GMail/hotmail/yahoo could agree on a method and then start implementing it by default, I think that would go a long way towards reducing the effectiveness of email phishing attacks.

Comment Re:Eternal backward compatibility (Score 1) 617 617

Why, just this morning I turned on a computer that initialized itself to be compatible with an Intel 8086 from 1978.

Which leads me to a question... if Intel were to one day do away with its old-timey segmented memory modes and what not, would anybody notice?

I'm a little surprised they haven't done so already. Even if the extra transistors required to support that aren't significant, there is still the matter of having to test, verify, and support all 27 different layers of compatibility for every CPU model they come out with. It seems like it would be a pain to do all that if nobody is using that functionality anyway.

Comment Re:While possible, this would be a worthless stunt (Score 1) 246 246

I propose sending robots first. Once the robots are done constructing a nice moon base and spaceport, we can send some astronauts up to move in to it. (then they can start supervising the Helium-3 mining, the tourists, and of course the low-gravity professional sports)

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 4, Insightful) 549 549

Of course there will be a time where manual driving will be outlawed

Why "of course"? If automatic-crash-avoidance technology can make it so that even (semi)manually-driven cars can't get into accidents, then there would be no safety benefit to outlawing (semi)manually-driven cars.

I can imagine a law requiring manually-driven cars to have crash-avoidance technology installed, though.

Comment Re:11 rear enders (Score 4, Insightful) 549 549

As far as I'm concerned, we should make it a goal to work to get safe self driving cars on the road ASAP, and then get really strict on issuing drivers licenses so that almost nobody is allowed to do it.

That goal might be a technically sound one, but I don't think it's politically viable. Telling people they are not allowed to drive their car anymore is likely to be even less popular than telling Americans they can't own a gun anymore.

A more attainable way to improve safety would be to allow people to continue to drive if they want to, but to add intelligent accident-avoidance software to the automobile so that when the person is driving, if the car notices he is about to cause a crash, it can step in and take the necessary actions to avoid or minimize the crash. In this case, if the car noticed that the driver wasn't braking sufficiently to avoid rear-ending the car in front, it could start applying the brakes for him. This approach is not only possible, but is already implemented in some cars.

Comment Re: Emscripten (Score 1) 175 175

I have never really heard a GOOD reason for Java to be in the browser to being with. Ever... Enlighten me if you wish. I am truly curious - legitimate question.

Originally Java was intended to fill all of the custom-client-side-logic use cases that JavaScript (and to a steadily shrinking extent) Flash do now. But it didn't do a very good job of that, and instead found its calling on the server side.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau