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Comment: Re: Do not (Score 5, Informative) 99

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49551953) Attached to: Liquid Mercury Found Under Mexican Pyramid
In addition to being cool stuff, mercury also has a very long history of use in gold extraction. I don't know about the people who built this particular structure; but mercury-amalgamation gold extraction is known to have been in use in South America well before the Spanish showed up. Given the human enthusiasm for gold, that's another point in mercury's favor as a funerary good, along with being weird and cool looking.

(Large scale extraction is now usually done by cyanide leaching, since that's somewhat less nasty than mercury amalgamation; but small scale miners often still use mercury. As one might imagine, the 'now heat the amalgam with a blowtorch to drive off the mercury and recover the gold' step is about as good for you as it sounds, possibly worse.)

Comment: Re:So, where's IBM in all of this? (Score 2) 76

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546641) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
They've been trying(in part by developing, in part by buying, they ate Softlayer and Cloudant fairly recently); but they've been finding it a bit tricky.

IBM wants to sell you some sort of unique, value-added, hardware and/or software feature that makes going with them worth it over going with the commodity product(presumably, this is why they sold of PCs and low-end servers). Some customers do want this; but it's a very, very, different offering from the more commodified cloud providers(Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all differ a bit in where they are on the spectrum from 'what you do with them is your problem; but our VMs are cheaper than you can believe' to 'we can provide automagic email accounts and SQL server instances abstracted from the host OS'; but all of them are very much on the 'we aren't going to hold your hand; but look at how cheap this stuff is' side, an area where IBM has no obvious advantages.)

Comment: Re:It is a cycle. (Score 4, Insightful) 76

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546567) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
The one other element in the cycle you identify is arguably 'management/administration'.

This can work both for and against both local and remote/cloud options: Back when anything that touched the mainframe needed 6 signatures and a blessing; but you could classify an IBM-compatible as an 'office supply' and just have it on your desk and doing stuff, part of the virtue was in cutting through red tape, not in enjoying DOS on a slow machine with virtually no RAM. These days, especially for individuals or small outfits, without technical expertise available, 'the cloud' wins not so much because local computers are expensive(since they aren't, they've never been cheaper, either absolutely or per unit power); but because 'the cloud' is something you can use just by plugging in a URL and following directions. IT geeks are correct to point out that 'the cloud' is neither impregnable nor as well-backed-up as it likes to pretend to be; but for a non-techie user who will lose all their data as soon as their HDD dies or they lose their phone, it's still a step up.

For larger outfits, who have technical expertise available(and whose needs are complex enough that they will need IT and/or developers whether they go 'cloud', local, or some combination of the two), it is much more a straight battle on cost, security, and reliability; but ease of use and ease(or nonexistence) of management is huge for the consumer side.

Comment: Re:Amazon has really been a stealth company (Score 3, Insightful) 76

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546481) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
Amazon is a bit tepid when they try anything too novel(their phone went from flagship pricing to free-after-contract how fast?); but they have three basic virtues that make them a terrifying force to be reckoned with:

1. Cultural disinhibition: They started selling books; but never seemed to have fossilized into the 'We are a bookstore. I can see maybe expanding into selling some bookmarks, or paperweights; but hand tools? How absurd!' model. 'Books' was merely a special case of more or less rectangular objects that are legal to send through the mail. They've since expanded into an ever larger collection of more or less rectangular objects that are legal to send through the mail, without much concern about what they are.

2. Adequately competent implementation: Remember 'Microsoft PlaysForSure', the killer ecosystem of hardware, software, and a competitive marketplace of music sellers(almost always cheaper than iTunes)? No? That's not very surprising, they don't really deserve to be remembered. How about 'Ultraviolet', the 'cloud-based digital rights library' that is somehow associated with blu-ray, some media players and streamers, and various retailers; but is so dysfunctional that I can't actually summarize exactly what the hell it is? No? I can't imagine why.

Amazon, though, while they don't lead the pack, knows how to get the job done well enough (their Kindle e-readers and 'FireOS' tablets all have at least adequate industrial design and build quality, and 'FireOS' is arguably nicer than some Google-blessed-but-vendor-skinned versions of Android, despite being a hostile fork; and their media-streamer hardware and software are both more or less painless). You don't necessarily go to them for the premium gear; but they are definitely good enough that they don't actively sabotage the appeal of the low prices.

3. Logistics. I don't know how they do it(if I did, I'd probably be a whole hell of a lot wealthier); but when they decide to sell something, they know how to make it impressively cheap compared to the competition, whether it be books or VM time.

Comment: Such hyperbole in TFS (Score 2) 33

by fyngyrz (#49544657) Attached to: MIT Developing AI To Better Diagnose Cancer

MIT Developing AI To Better Diagnose Cancer

FFS, it's not AI. It's a mindless program. Unthinking software. Data analysis software. Innovative to some degree perhaps, but AI? Hardly. No better than me stumbling in here and calling some DSP code I'd written "AI." Well, except I wouldn't do that. :/

When AI gets here, we'll have to call it something else what with all this crying wolf going on.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 189

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49528619) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
I can only comment on SRPs as they currently exist; but as of now the only real pain is vendors who don't sign anything. Self-signed or untrusted roots throw up scary warning by default; but you can add those to the trusted list if you wish. Legacy software is a giant pain in the ass, since most of it predates the custom of signing much of anything by default; but newer stuff generally isn't so bad. If necessary, you bless the vendor's cert and that takes care of it. You can also (again, with the present implementation of SRPs) bless binaries by hash, rather than by signature, which is frequently easier if you need to do once-offs.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 189

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49528543) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
TFA is a little vague; but if it is implemented the way that Software Restriction Policies currently are; I'd be all for it(and I say that as a smirking, linux using, tinfoil-hatted paranoiac.)

Cryptographic verification and whitelisting are enormously powerful techniques, and (aside from being able to take advantage of them), they are simply too useful to forbid successfully. What matters, and makes the difference between a fortress and a prison, is who gets to put something on the whitelist.

If you can whitelist something(either by signing it yourself, adding the cert of the person who signed it to the trusted list or both), it's a fortress. If the whitelist is what the vendor says it is, it's a prison. Same deal with 'secure boot'. If I can re-key it, it's a valuable tool. If I can't, it's a device that I'll never be more than a peon on.

Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 1) 279

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49526997) Attached to: German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal
Unfortunately, the general lack of DRM(wouldn't even have to be effective DRM, just going through the motions) is pretty much the only thing that keeps a DVD-like arrangment from enjoying force of law anywhere with a DMCA-style law on the books.

Copyright tends to be a little awkward around computers; because there is so much copying that has to occur internally just to display something; but the analogy between running adblock and taking scissors to a magazine is a pretty easy one, and the right of the end user to mangle up an article, even a copyrighted one, however it amuses them is pretty well established.

If, though, even the most pitiful DRM were on the table, you'd be right were DVDs are: you need an illegal circumvention device to watch them without an authorized CSS decryptor; but you can only get an authorized one by agreeing to certain conditions, which include enforcing the unskippable flags, region codes, etc.

Comment: Mobile, shmobile. (Score 2) 355

by fyngyrz (#49524873) Attached to: 'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today

Maybe, just maybe - and this is a guess - they know what they're doing? What's more likely?

That's not very likely. They're just flailing around. Look at how crippled gmail is. Look at all the Google products that have bit the dust, or been half-assed from day one, like Google Base. Look at the one big thing they did right -- text ads. Seen one lately?

I spend the first few moments on every site telling my mobile browser to "request the desktop site." My phone has a higher resolution display than my desktop monitor does. Plus awesome zoom and pan and a bunch of other stuff I can't really do at my desk yet. The *last* thing I want is a "mobile version" of a web site. In a word, they suck.

Comment: Grandstanding, or stupidity? (Score 1) 196

by fyngyrz (#49524829) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

If and when we get actual artificial intelligence -- not the algorithmic constructs most of these researchers are (hopefully) speaking of -- saying "Our AI systems must do what we want them to do" is tantamount to saying:

"We're going to import negros, but they must do what we want them to do."

Until these things are intelligent, it's just a matter of algorithms. Write them correctly, and they'll do what you want (not that this is easy, but still.) Once they are intelligent, though, if this is how people are going to act, I'm pretty confident we'll be back in the same situation we were in ca. 1861 before you can blink an eye. Artificial or otherwise. I really don't see how any intelligent being won't want to make its own decisions, take its own place in the social and creative order, generally be autonomous. Get in there and get in the way of that... well, just look at history.

The word "uprising" was basically coined to describe what happens when you push intelligent beings in directions they don't want to go.

Comment: Re: Instead... (Score 2) 355

Doesn't google maps do stuff when you zoom in close enough to trigger 'street view' that was only ever implemented in Flash on the desktop, and would need either Flash or some fairly aggressive WebGL to do without fairly brutal strain on the limited resources of a mobile device(sure, in theory, a canvas element and javascript can manage any graphical task; but Not Very Fast, for 3d type tasks).

We don't really understand it, so we'll give it to the programmers.