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Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 1) 224

by ultranova (#49199519) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

When they start comparing reality to sci-fi apocalypse movies then there is a problem.

And yet the ability to tell stories - to take a premise and run a mental simulation to see the consequences - is what allows you to plan your actions. Even your ability to walk depends on it. There's no difference in principle between "if I cross the street without looking both ways, I might get run over by a car" and "if I build autonomous weapons, they might turn on me". Heck, the case could be made that all the fictitious stories about a nuclear apocalypse is what kept it from happening, since they made sure no one was the least bit uncertain about the results.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 375

by ultranova (#49199357) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Right, and when it comes to power generation deaths are the only metric that matters.

Well, don't keep us in suspense: what are these important metrics we should sacrifice human lives to improve?

Well, what metrics do you think make driving worth while at the expense of human lives? If deaths were the only metric cars would be banned.

...You know, it's okay to admit you didn't think your post through. You don't have to fight every debate to the bitter end if you don't have anything sensible to say. And when the subject actually has effects on the real world, perverting logic to "win" is immoral or even outright evil.

Comment: Re: Many are leaving ham radio too (Score 1) 135

You have the Part 15 and ISM services for that. You really can buy a microwave link that's metropolitan-distance and legal to use.

We lost much of our 440 capability to PAVE PAWS in California. Remember, Amateur Radio is not the primary service on many bands. The military is on 440.

Comment: Re:Many are leaving ham radio too (Score 1) 135

If you want that nearly infinite microwave spectrum, you have the Part 15 and ISM services. Absolutely nothing is stopping you. Power is not the issue with those frequencies, it's line of sight and Fresnel zones.

No, I absolutely do not have to prefix my words with anything. You do that by posting as an anonymous coward. I use my real name to indicate that I stand behind my words.

Comment: Re:sun? maybe, but who cares. (Score 1) 248

by m.dillon (#49198259) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

Well, I think it was a combination of things, and Linux was certainly a part of the reason. But not the whole reason. There are several reasons why Sun finally died:

(1) Sun hardware just couldn't keep up with Intel. The many-threads model really only worked well for parallelization of database operations and not much else. Each individual cpu thread simply became too slow. And people stopped caring about database benchmarks because they were more a function of rapidly improving storage and networking technology than anything else. CPU performance stopped mattering so much and Sun's super-optimized core hardware advantage went right out the door along with it.

(2) Sun's utility software quickly fell behind linux and the BSDs. I began noticing this long before Sun actually sold out to Oracle. Sun's kernel stayed fairly relevant, Solaris wasn't bad... very solid in fact. But competing operating systems were also becoming more solid. But, OMG, the utililties were all 80s crap. Nobody growing up in today's world (or even the world of a decade ago) would be happy with a base Solaris install.

(3) Sun basically became like IBM... corporate only sales and screw making anything that could be bought by up-and-coming students. Solaris for x86 was never taken seriously by Sun, and thus never taken seriously by people outside of Sun. With students growing up on Linux (the younger age group) and the BSDs (my age group), Sun started losing market power as these generational shifts began moving into the workplace. Also, system needs by the web began changing. Sure there are still huge backend databases, but most of the services (and the related hardware) were becoming heavily distributed and Sun's hardware just didn't fit the model.

In fact, this is similar to the problems that SGI had. They were married to their hardware (don't get me started on Solaris for x86), the hardware became non-competitive and unpurchasable by smaller businesses or individuals, and the base software was locked into an 80's snapshot of hell. The system programmers lost sight of what people wanted and got tunnel vision, super-optimizing database paths and ignoring everything else. Problem is, people were more interested in the 'everything else' part.

It might be fine for the older IT types, but all the newcomers had grown up on Linux and the middle-agers had grown up on the BSDs. Their rotation into the workplace spelled Sun's death in very loud, clear terms that Sun pretty much ignored.


Comment: Some things have improve, mostly gotten worse (Score 1) 248

by m.dillon (#49197869) Attached to: Mozilla: Following In Sun's Faltering Footsteps?

While some things have improved in Firefox, much of the browser has gotten worse over time. Simple illustration... it leaks huge amounts of memory. After only 3 days of sitting around:

    101 164892 1738 128 230 0 1.45G 1.02G - R2L ?? 3d09:44 firefox -geometry +2820+80

After around 2 weeks the machine starts to swap. I've seen the image grow to over 6GB (with 4GB *active*) before I've had to kill it and start a fresh copy. WTF is firefox using all that memory for? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Other problems include severe instability, particularly with the file requestor (when uploading files), which results in seg-faults. And even with all the threading there seem to be severe interdependencies between tabs running javascript, so if one tab is javascript-heavy, it messes up the performance of other tabs.

The menu system is in a complete shambles, and I was really unhappy when the last upgrade changed my default search preferences to Yahoo without so much as a by-your-leave.


Comment: Oh Come On, it's a Press Release (Score 4, Insightful) 85

OK, no real technical data and some absurd claims here.

First all-digital transceiver? No. There have been others. Especially if you allow them to have a DAC and an ADC and no other components in the analog domain, but even without that, there are lots of IoT-class radios with direct-to-digital detectors and digital outputs directly to the antenna. You might have one in your car remote (mine is two-way).

And they have to use patented algorithms? Everybody else can get along with well-known technology old enough that any applicable patents are long expired.

It would be nicer if there was some information about what they are actually doing. If they really have patented it, there's no reason to hold back.

Comment: Re:Yes. What do you lose? But talk to lawyer first (Score 4, Insightful) 669

by hey! (#49193289) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Should I Let My Kids Become American Citizens?

Personally, I don't see that any of these things as compelling practical advantages, given that the kids already have dual Swedish and Belgian (and therefore EU) citizenship. If they were Moldovan and South Sudanese, that'd be a different story. Or if they were citizens of a country from which getting a visa to enter the US might be difficult in the future.

But most importantly I think this is one of those decisions that you just don't make primarily on a cost-benefit basis. It's not like deciding to join Costco or subscribe to Hulu. Citizenship entails responsibilities. If you want your kids to shoulder those responsibilities and feel allegiance to the US then it makes sense to get them that citizenship come hell or high water. But given that they already have two perfectly good citizenships from two advanced western democracies with generally positive international relations worldwide, I don't see much practical advantage in adding a third.

Still, I wouldn't presume to give advice, other than this. The poster needs to examine, very carefully, that feeling he has that maybe his kids should be Americans. The way he expresses it, "sentimental reasons", makes those feelings seem pretty trivial, in which case it hardly matters if they don't become Americans. After all, most other Belgians seem to get along perfectly well without being Americans too. But if this is at all something he suspects he might seriously regret not doing, or if it nags him in ways he can't quite put his finger on, he needs to get to the bottom of that in a way random people on the Internet can't help him with.

Comment: Your friendly neighborhood word pedant here (Score 0) 149

by hey! (#49191827) Attached to: Developers Race To Develop VR Headsets That Won't Make Users Nauseous

... with some food for thought.

The ending '-eous' or '-ious' is added to a noun to produce an adjective that means producing whatever that noun is. Something that is 'advantageous' produces advantage for example. Something which is ignominious produce ignominy (shame, embarrassment). Something that is piteous arouses pity in the onlooker.

I think you see where I'm going with this. The word the headline writer should have used is 'nauseated', although making users nauseous in the pedantic sense would certainly be a concern for the developers of any product.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 375

by ultranova (#49190735) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

The engineers should have put the brakes to any construction efforts taking place in those locations, based on that fact alone.

They can't. The spirit of the organization employing them does not let them. Their role is to implement the decisions of the leadership and rationalize them. Conforming to their role earns them social capital, and going against costs it. And they can't possibly earn that capital fast enough to pay for keeping a plant blocked for long.

Comment: Re:I have said it before (Score 1) 375

by ultranova (#49189779) Attached to: French Nuclear Industry In Turmoil As Manufacturer Buckles

Coal with CCS is about the same price.

CCS - Carbon Capture and Sequestration? I wonder if you could drive the price down by keeping the carbon dioxide gaseous and feeding it to nearby greenhouses - possibly through a simple pipe. Heck, if you used the greenhouse products as biofuel in the plant you could create a completely closed loop :).

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?