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Comment: And on the minus side... (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49501301) Attached to: The Upsides of a Surveillance Society
While this sometimes pays off, when circumstances line up correctly, it is vital to keep the limitations in mind:

Lower cost has made it much more likely that random bystanders have some level of video recording, rather than none; but entities with ample resources also take advantage of reduced costs, which is why, say, nontrivial areas of the developed world are effectively saturated with automated LPR systems. There is a win for those cases where it previously would have been the word of someone who counts vs. the word of some nobody; but elsewhere reduced costs and improve capabilities make having a big budget and legal power even more useful.

Improved surveillance only changes the game at the 'evidence' stage. If legal, public, or both, standards aren't sufficiently in your favor, improved evidence is anywhere from irrelevant to actively harmful. You can have all the evidence you want; but if the DA refuses to indict, or the 'viral' pile-on targets the victim rather than the aggressor, it doesn't help you much. Had McHenry's tirade been a bit cleverer, or her target a shade more unsympathetic, odds are good that the attendant in question would be being hounded as we speak.

Comment: Puulease... Kingston? Really? (Score 2) 44

Author must not know the difference between the real the rebrand. I would never buy Kingston anything. They just slap random components into those boards. There are hundreds of rebranders in the SSD space but only a handful of real companies. Kingston isn't one of them.


Comment: Re:Wow... (Score 1) 44

Well, except that it isn't a mere month. Unpowered data retention is around 10 years for relatively unworn flash and around 1 year for worn flash. Powered data retention is almost indefinite (doesn't matter if the data is static or not). The modern SSD controller will rewrite blocks as the bits leave the sweet zone.

The main benefit, though, is that SSD wear is essentially based on how much data you've written, which is a very controllable parameter and means, among other things, that even a SSD which has been sitting on a shelf for a long time and lost its data can still be used for fresh data (TRIM wipe + newfs). I have tons of SSDs sitting on a shelf ready to be reused when I need them next. I can't really do that with HDDs and still expect them to be reliable.

Hard drives have a relatively fixed life whether powered or not. If you have a modestly used hard drive and take it out and put it on a shelf for a year, chances are it either won't be able to spin up after that year or it will die relatively quickly (within a few weeks, possibly even faster) once you have spun it up. So get your data off it fast if you can.

So SSDs already win in the data retention and reliability-on-reuse department.


Comment: The important question... (Score 3, Interesting) 136

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49498339) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt
The article does not mention where the cost of this error is going to fall. This seems like an important detail. On a sufficently complex project, one of the bevy of subcontractors fucking something up isn't a huge surprise; but I would be very, very, disappointed if NASA wasn't able to contract sufficiently vigorously to make the vendor eat the cost of delivering the goods as specified, rather than paying them for their effort no matter how well or badly they do.

Comment: Re:Yeah, why not looking for ant-tools? (Score 1) 88

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495677) Attached to: World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya
Alas, the only known emergent sentience is the one that exists in the neuron colony inside each of our skulls; but there are some pretty damn cool sub-sentient emergent behaviors even in quite limited organisms. Bacteria in biofilms do some very impressive things, as do slime molds when they form masses.

It's too bad that (to the best of my knowledge, and I've hunted a bit), no organisms have evolved to exploit RF signalling. It's not inconceivable, loads of organisms use electrical signalling internally, a fair number have magnetic sensory structures, and a variety of common metals are amenable to biological chemistry if you need a better antenna; but that's the sort of thing that would make linking multiple nervous systems with reasonable speed and without direct contact possible.

Comment: Re:Buyer's remorse (Score 1) 319

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495603) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
I would hope that, should any impropriety be found in the contracting process, that the superintendent and any collaborators are dealt with as harshly as possible.

As for Apple, I'd be curious to know how much terminating the deal would involve for them. Obviously they'd rather have the sales than not; but there is a big difference between 'not making sales we had previously expected to make' and 'large piles of used inventory being returned and/or inventory prepared for this specific contract now without a destination.'

Particularly if it is only the former, Apple might well cave(not for honor's sake; but because an 'iPads in Education Program a Giant Clusterfuck; Lawsuits Fly!' is not a headline that Apple PR wants running any longer than necessary); if it's the latter they might be harder to convince.

Comment: Re:Sign off. (Score 1) 319

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495547) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
In fairness to Apple, they have been working to improve the situation, and things are better now; but the state of the possible when this program started(~2 years ago) was rather less pleasant. They started tightly wedded to the 'device basically has one user, who has an account directly with Apple and a CC number on file' model; and it has been a rather slow path to getting support for a model where things like 'applications owned by the institution' actually works smoothly.

Apple's first-party support for remote management is still better than Android's; but their grip is tight enough that it is them or nothing, while Android is all over the map; but 3rd parties can actually offer options without the keys to the OS.

Comment: Re:Sign off. (Score 1) 319

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49495447) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan
Wow, asking you to do the work so that they can deliver a sales pitch is really, really, nervy.

Are you running something in-house(or off the shelf but fairly heavily specialized) enough that they couldn't just put together an equivalent test environment on their end and use that for the sales pitch, or are they actually that lazy and entitled?

We certainly deal with doing the various things required to make what our users choose work; that's sort of what they pay us for; but I wouldn't have imagined a salesweasel demanding that I set up their tech demo for them.

Comment: Re:Understatement of the year... (Score 1) 110

Not clear whether or not you realize this, so to give you the benefit of a doubt:

A) In orbital launch booster rocketry terms, that's a pretty damn small fireball.
B) At the time he sent that tweet, nobody (Musk included) had seen the video from the barge. I doubt he even had the video from the airplane, probably just the telemetry data that showed touchdown followed by a loss of telemetry.

Comment: Re:Video from the barge (Score 1) 110

Explode when it crashes, there's a difference. SpaceX has demonstrated powered vertical landings on their test vehicles, there were no explosions.

Hydrazine is nasty stuff, but you don't need very much of it (a few second's worth, maybe) and the *entire point* is to avoid the crash, so what happens in the event of a crash is much less important.

Comment: Re:Video from the barge (Score 4, Interesting) 110

by cbhacking (#49490061) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

Nitpick: The first attempt ran out of hydraulic fluid (for the guidance fins), not out of propellant for the RCS thrusters.

The rest of what you say is generally true, although a larger target *would* help. The advantage of a larger target is that, while you still have to zero your horizontal velocity, you don't have to zero it anywhere terribly precise. You can pick an optimal set of thrusts that results in the correct orientation and velocities (horizontal and vertical) without worrying overmuch *where* that series of thrusts has you touching down. Both attempts so far clearly demonstrate the ability to do an excellent good job of targeting a (relatively) tiny barge, but currently, if the rocket would come down even 100' (30m) to one side of its target spot, it needs to induce a horizontal momentum (which requires leaving a vertical attitude as well, it can't just translate sideways) and then null that momentum at the right moment (and fix its attitude). That's hard.

To clarify for the person who keeps misunderstanding my posts: they should, of course, plan for the barge-level of landing precision. They should aim for a precision of inches, and within a year, they may get it... 90% of the time. Stuff goes wrong, though, and (especially early in the testing of such a system) it behooves them to use a larger landing area so that there's some margin for error. I'd say their land attempt (possibly next CRS launch, in a couple months) has a very good chance of being their first success.

Comment: Re:Doesn't look close (Score 1) 110

by cbhacking (#49489831) Attached to: An Engineering Analysis of the Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Failure

The thrusters aren't even supposed to be needed there, actually. They're only supposed to fire in very short bursts, not a continuous stream like in the video. As for the legs holding up, just one of them supported the whole rocket for a few seconds; all four should have had no trouble. We know a hell of a lot more than just that it crashed. To claim otherwise is to embrace ignorance.

There is literally no point at all to living in a world where you are only concerned with the things that you absolutely know. You don't absolutely know *ANYTHING*, you could be a simulation in some advanced being's AI-run world, along with everything the program running you has ever simulated observing. The only way to achieve anything difficult is to analyze the differences between failures and successes, and a part of that analysis is to determine how close you came to success.

But then, you probably already knew that and are just a naysayer...

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain