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Comment: Re:yes, I've used a Professional Engineer. also a (Score 1) 155

by Jeremi (#46797105) Attached to: The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

The 100-year old firm that audited Enron was worth over nine BILLION dollars at the time. It's now worth a few thousand, because nobody will ever hire them. The market executed them.

A system that makes sure a failure doesn't occur a second time is better than nothing, but it's not as good as a system that makes sure the first failure doesn't happen. (Whether it's "good enough" depends on how acceptable it is to suffer that first failure)

Comment: Re:software doesn't have bugs (Score 1) 232

by Jeremi (#46792483) Attached to: Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

But IF there are effectively infinitely many vulns that can be found for less than the black market value, then fixing one does not decrease the probability that the attacker will find another one.

Right, and IF my grandmother had testicles, she'd be my grandfather.

If there is a way for a finite amount of code to contain an infinite number of bugs, I don't see it. (Netscape Navigator excepted of course ;^))

Comment: Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (Score 1) 349

by Jeremi (#46785677) Attached to: Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

One needs to be able to charge it quickly, perhaps with an upper limit of about 10 minutes or so, sufficiently to go approximately as far as one could expect go on a tank of gas in a typical car of today. [...] this would make recharging a car at such places not significantly more time consuming than filling up a car with gas, and would make owning an electric vehicle vastly more convenient than it currently is.

It would be interesting to see how much time the average gasoline-car owner spends refueling his car (including the time spent driving to and from the gas station, waiting in line, etc) vs the time the average electric-car owner spends waiting for his car to recharge. I wouldn't be surprised if the electric cars are already ahead in this respect, if only because they can "refuel" while their owners are asleep at night.

Comment: Re:not really (Score 1) 253

by Jeremi (#46781541) Attached to: SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

well, the thing is that hdd's keep getting faster and bigger too. 100 bucks buys you 3TB. for 300 bucks you can get 9TB.

That's true; OTOH for personal use, there's often no benefit to buying more capacity since you won't be using it anyway. For example, my disk usage never reaches the 250GB mark, so for me there is little point in paying for more capacity than that.

Which means my choice is between a dirt-cheap (but slow) 500GB spinning disk, and a not-so-cheap-but-still-affordable (and FAST) 500GB SSD, and since I don't like waiting for my computer to do things, I'll choose the latter.

As both SSDs and hard drives get cheaper, my next 500GB drive of choice will be cheaper yet; the fact that I could buy a cheaper and/or larger spinning drive instead doesn't matter much since then I'd have to use it (zzzz)â¦

Other people will have higher thresholds, of course, but as the technologies mature they'll reach a point where most shoppers will find that any drive's capacity is "sufficient" and then their choice will depend solely on performance and price.

Comment: Re:It was a "joke" back then (Score 1) 275

Yep. a "computer" using levers and pulleys to steer a starship. :-)

To be fair, any autopilot mechanism is going to have to physically move something at some point, if it wants to actually affect the behavior of the ship and not just make computations about it.

Asimov's mistake was thinking that these actuators would be the same ones used for manual piloting, rather than a separate set that was hidden somewhere else in the spacecraft.

Comment: Re:selective enforcement at it's finest. (Score 3, Informative) 325

by Jeremi (#46730255) Attached to: Can You Buy a License To Speed In California?

All of which I'm sure are mostly free from traffic tickets -- just not something you can purchase on a whim. Survived Pearl Harbor? Fuck it, Mr. Have a nice day.

I know gut instinct is what the Slashdot comments section runs on, but what actual, non-anecdotal evidence to we have that police officers give preferential treatment to people with these license-plate holders?

Has any of this actually been studied in a scientific way, and if so, what were the results?

Comment: Re:Situation is a Shambles (Score 3, Insightful) 239

by Jeremi (#46711243) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

JVM's are written in C and C++, the CLR is the same. Which managed language do you suggest to use that was not built with C?

The point isn't to eliminate C code entirely, but to minimize the number of lines of C code that are executed.

If (statistically speaking) there will are likely to be N memory-error bugs per million lines of C code, then the number of memory-error bugs in a managed language will be proportional to the size of the interpreter, rather than proportional to the size of the program as a whole.

Add to that the fact that interpreters are generally written by expert programmers, and then they receive lots and lots of testing and debugging, and then (hopefully) become mature/stable shortly thereafter; whereas application code is often written by mediocre programmers and often receives only minimal testing and debugging.

Conclusion: Even if the underlying interpreter is written in C, using a managed language for security-critical applications is still a big win.

Comment: Re:Situation is a Shambles (Score 4, Insightful) 239

by Jeremi (#46711207) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation

It was Robin Seggelmann that submitted this bit of buggy openssl code. He either works for the NSA or is grossly incompetent...

Or he made a dumb mistake, as 100% of programmers have done and will do again in the future. Anyone who expects programmers (even the best programmers) to never make mistakes is guaranteed to be disappointed.

The real issue here is that the development process did not detect the mistake and correct it in a timely manner. Code that is as security-critical as OpenSSL should really be code-reviewed and tested out the wahzoo before it is released to the public, so either that didn't happen, or it did happen and the process didn't detect this fault; either way a process-failure analysis and process improvements are called for.

Comment: Re:Difficult to defend against (Score 1) 630

by Jeremi (#46709779) Attached to: Navy Debuts New Railgun That Launches Shells at Mach 7

However, how do you shoot down a hunk of metal traveling at mach 7 toward your ship?

I think I'd like to use a rail gun to shoot a hunk of metal at it at mach 7. Assuming I don't miss, the result should be a single projectile, twice as large, that drops straight down into the ocean. Right? ;^)

Comment: Re:Rreachtions (Score 2) 371

by Jeremi (#46696523) Attached to: Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco

3) Someones insurance rates are going up

Anyone know how much damage a Smart Car can be expected to suffer when tipped like this?

(I'd imagine some crush/scratch damage to whatever body panel(s) are now supporting the car's weight, plus my co-worker says that various fluids are likely to drip out into places they aren't supposed to be)

Comment: Re:There is already a Tesla home battery pack (Score 1) 151

by Jeremi (#46690921) Attached to: Tesla: A Carmaker Or Grid-Storage Company?

NOT zero outlay. you still pay just about what you'd have payed the utility anyway...

Not if your roof has good sun. My condo building's HOA (in Southern California) was previously paying the local power company about $1000/month for electricity. We had SolarCity install solar panels on the roof under a Power Purchase Agreement; now we pay about $750/month for electricity. So that's about $12,000 in savings since 2010, and the HOA never had to spend a dime.

And they get to build an indistrial plat in and about your property

Yes, they got to install their solar panels on our roof. That hasn't been a problem for anyone.

Comment: Re:it's true (Score 1) 353

I had a friend who was adding memory to his Macbook to also add a SSD. Those two additions made "amazing" speed improvements. With the prices of SSD's it is a no brainer. No computer should be without it!

I'll add that if you get a Mac with the Fusion Drive setup (or reconfigure your Mac to use that feature), things are even nicer, as you no longer have to manually shuffle your "hot" data onto or off of the SSD drive. Instead, whatever data you access often will automatically migrate to the SSD, and "cold" data that you don't access often will automatically migrate to the spinning disk (if necessary). Works great!

(Note that this does mean that if either the SSD or the spinning disk die, you've probably lost your data on both drives -- but that's what backups are for. Pay another $60 for a basic external drive for Time Machine to use, and you're golden)

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.