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Comment: Study limited to sugar cane and maize for ethanol (Score 1) 211

by Lonewolf666 (#48939147) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

Following the link to the study leads to this summary (excerpt):

Bioenergy is an inefficient use of land to generate energy.

        Fast-growing sugarcane on highly fertile land in the tropics converts only around 0.5 percent of solar radiation into sugar, and only around 0.2 percent ultimately into ethanol. For maize ethanol grown in Iowa, the figures are around 0.3 percent into biomass and 0.15 percent into ethanol. Such low conversion efficiencies explain why it takes a large amount of productive land to yield a small amount of bioenergy, and why bioenergy can so greatly increase global competition for land.

It seems the study did not even consider any new approaches to making biofuels.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second-generation_biofuels promise the ability to use material that would otherwise be waste, such as straw, thus lessening the competition between food and fuel. Any study that claims to make forecasts for the year 2050 (also in TFA) should take a serious look at these too.

The study in TFA only gives a cursory overview over second generation biofuels with an either-crop-or-cellulose point of view. It almost seems that the option of using crop residue was intentionally neglected...

Comment: Re:grandmother reference (Score 1) 465

Depending on where the buyer got the "unauthorized" key, exploiting differences in market prices may actually be legal. Compare http://www.olswang.com/articles/2012/09/2013/04/exhaustion-of-rights-in-the-download-to-own-market/. And I doubt that many people buy their keys outside the EU.

Of course, that does not apply to outright stolen keys. But I consider it absolutely plausible that Ubisoft is making bogus claims about the "unauthorized" part and relies on people not suing over 50 pounds.

My personal solution is not buying games from publishers who require digital keys or other forms of DRM. Which means I have mostly older titles where the publisher has given up on DRM (bargain bin games often come "unlocked" so there is no more cost in maintaining the DRM). Tough luck for Ubisoft, EA and Valve ;-)

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 1) 488

by Lonewolf666 (#48903339) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

To me, the critical part is noticing the difference in (for instance) a code review, not so much the understanding.

I'm assuming a moderately skilled programmer here, with enough brains to see that something is different and look it up in the online help. That guy would likely see the difference between 22 div 3 and 22/3, look it up and ultimately get it right.

While reliably seeing the difference between 22/3 and 22/3.0 almost requires someone who got burned before and has learned to look specifically for these differences. IMHO a higher level of experience...

Comment: Re:Discussion is outdated (Score 1) 488

by Lonewolf666 (#48900203) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

What subset of "modern Pascal" do you have to restrict yourself to avoid those "problems"?

In practice, I guess you'd have to choose between Embarcadero's Delphi and Free Pascal.

AFAIK Delphi is the only platform that still has significant commercial usage, but too expensive for hobbyists.
Free Pascal is probably the most popular open source Pascal variety, and the one I know of that seems to be actively maintained.

I think the rest of Pascal is thoroughly irrelevant these days ;-)

Comment: Re:Modula-3 FTW! (Score 3, Interesting) 488

by Lonewolf666 (#48900117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is Pascal Underrated?

IMHO it takes a very experienced programmer to avoid pitfalls like the fine difference between integer and floating point division. As in 22/3 vs. 22/3.0 where the difference is easily overlooked.
Pascal uses entirely different operators which makes the difference stand out more. The above example would be 22 div 3 vs. 22/3 (optionally you could write 22/3.0 but it would be the same as 22/3).

Comment: Re:Nvidia is the way to go. (Score 1) 160

by Lonewolf666 (#48845863) Attached to: AMD Catalyst Is the Broken Wheel For Linux Gaming

Now that is optimistic. Last time I checked, Nvidia was giving little to no hardware documentation to open source developers. Which really does not help projects like Noveau, as they have to rely on reverse engineering and it really slows them down.

Last time Phoronix tested the Noveau drivers, they were seriously outclassed by the Radeon drivers. Both in performance and features.

Comment: Re:ATI/AMD has had shitty drivers for 20 years (Score 2) 160

by Lonewolf666 (#48844405) Attached to: AMD Catalyst Is the Broken Wheel For Linux Gaming

Well, AMD certainly has their own less than stellar moves too. Ever since AMD bought ATI in 2006 they've been talking about synergies but to be honest, I'm not seeing it. An "APU" performs very, very similar to the same CPU+GPU if you compare cores on the CPU side and shaders on the GPU side.

Depends on which kind of system we're talking about.

On low-end APUs, the concept works fine and not needing a discrete GPU is a nice cost advantage. But Intel's HD graphics is already becoming a serious competitor in that product range.

At the top end of the (desktop) APU spectrum, the APUs tend to become bottlenecked by memory and a similar combination of cores on the CPU side and shaders on the GPU side tends to win the benchmarks. The cost advantage of the APUs still makes them interesting, but check out offers with discrete GPUs too and read some reviews.

What could help AMD here is HBM as VRAM in future APUs, that would remove the memory bottleneck...

Comment: Re:Is Mad River Hospital A Death Trap? (Score 1) 574

by Lonewolf666 (#48321031) Attached to: The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

The fact that they referred to the position as an 'IT tech' said something about the hospital.

'IT' is short for 'information technology', and 'tech' is slang for 'technician' ... ... so, basically, they were looking for an information technology technician.

So, they don't have much of a clue. If you actually get hired, expect to end up as the IT guy for everything. Because they don't really know what they need or want. Also, expect conflicting requirements...

The job application form is a PDF - but it's not the kind of PDF that can be filled out, like an 1040EZ tax form, and doesn't even need to be printed ...no, it's the old kind, that needs to be printed out, filled in, and then scanned - or mailed.

The application is four pages - scanned in, that's four separate images, one for each page of the job application - and yet the Mad River Hospital submission process only allows one file to be attached ... requiring one to submit one's application four times - once for each page.

Here you failed the test. Fill out all four pages, scan them in, insert them into a word processor document, then export said document into one PDF. Result: one PDF with all four pages, attach that to the application.

I know for a fact that the above is possible with LibreOffice. I suspect that Microsoft Office can do it too, or you could "print" the document via some PDF "printing" software.

Comment: Re: Orbital (Score 1) 443

by Lonewolf666 (#48259343) Attached to: Antares Rocket Explodes On Launch

Depends on who swallows the cost.

From the customer's POV, the logical thing would be to put a liability clause into the contract that says "you have to pay us $ XXX million if you lose the payload, and you have to show insurance for it". Then the launch company can hash it out with the insurance company, and the customer has less worries.

Under this scenario, Orbital would either pay the higher premium from its profits or lose future launch contracts to the competition. Someone like SpaceX for instance.

Comment: Re:Maybe we should actually penalize companies (Score 1) 286

by Lonewolf666 (#48219041) Attached to: Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

I agree with the overall sentiment, but your numbers are not quite correct.

The article in the San Jose Mercury News says that the company had to pay the difference to the California minimum wage, $40,156 in total, plus a fine of $3,500.

So this time, they had in effect to pay the minimum wage, plus $3,500, plus some bureaucratic hassle to deal with the affair. Lets call it a loss of $4000 compared to doing things the lawful way. Had they not been caught, they would have saved $40,156 compared to doing things the lawful way.

That makes it mighty attractive to do it the illegal way at least until the first fine, even if there is an escalating penalty for repeat offenders. I think the penalties need to be much bigger for first offenders, and escalate from that.

Comment: Re:On the other hand... (Score 1) 700

by Lonewolf666 (#48210959) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

AFAIK Sony has not been doing so well in the last 10 years (too lazy to dig out their financial results now). That may be partly due to the bad reputation from the rootkit affair and other things (OtherOS...).

Also, passing costs on to customers has its limits as long as there is meaningful competition.

Comment: Re:The good news (Score 1) 700

by Lonewolf666 (#48210933) Attached to: FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

The fact that this is an automatic Windows Update that can potentially brick a system without warning (thinking of the non-tech-savvy here), this can make for a very bad nightmare on FTDI's end. I wouldn't be surprised to hear something coming out of the FTC about this before long.

Good point, and I wonder about what Microsoft will do when they realize what is going on. Perhaps retract the update in question and blacklist future FTDI updates, so they don't get into Windows Update anymore?

If a thing's worth doing, it is worth doing badly. -- G.K. Chesterton

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