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Comment: They've forgotten the Microsoft Diode (Score 1) 426

Microsoft long ago took over areas dominated by others with the Microsoft "diode".

Step one was the run the leader's stuff - for example their document format.

Step two was to "enhance" the support in a way that made new work incompatible with the former leader.

If they ever want people to buy their smartphones, they will have to start by running Android apps until they get to the point where Windows phone is a necessary app target, just as Apple and Android are today.

Comment: Net metering is unstustainable (Score 5, Insightful) 372

by MarcAuslander (#49129273) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

The current system lets the home owner use the power grid as a battery, storing excess energy for later use. And this battery is free. But it's not free - someone has to pay for the power lines, meters, and generation or storage capacity that makes it work.

Electric bills have two components, the supply cost and the delivery cost. The supply cost is what the electric company should be paying for electricity it buys from the home owner. But the electricity the home owner buys back should include the delivery cost.

In effect, the utilities are subsidizing home generation, which may make sense for now, but is not a plausible end game.

Comment: Ignores how disks often fail (Score 2) 258

My understanding is that disks often fail when a head touches the surface, or a piece of dirt gets between the head and the surface. Once that happens, more dirt is produced, increasing the probability of more head crashes, leading to a failure cascade. As a consequence, once one of my drives starts to show unrecoverable errors, corresponding to damaged surface areas, I replace it while it can still be read.

The spare platter strategy does nothing to reduce this failure mode. In fact, all modern disks already have spare space for bad block relocation.

Comment: How do you know? (Score 1) 275

by MarcAuslander (#43611207) Attached to: Condensation On Your Beer != Good

People always claim that bad beer tastes like piss. And I always wonder how they know! Which reminds me of a childhood memory. We were in the Catskills in what was then called a bungalow colony. One day, for some reasons, the owner had to siphon some gas, which he started by sucking on the hose. My dad asked what it tasted like - it tastes like manure he said. Once we were away, my dad wondered aloud how he knew.

Comment: Marketing to cover weakness (Score 1) 153

by MarcAuslander (#42279387) Attached to: Google Loses Santa To Bing

The story prompted me to look at bing maps. Very first direction request produced a poor route. When dragging the route to change it gives less time and distance, you know it's not the source to use! There is no way to reset a drag! etc. etc. I'll stick with google.

But one wonders how this government agency was co-opted.

Comment: Security Questions deemed dangerous (Score 1) 87

by MarcAuslander (#40079515) Attached to: WHMCS Data Compromised By Good Old Social Engineering

It has been pointed out many times that the security question system is dangerous if the user does what he's told. It is in general easier to find out what someone's high school mascot was than to guess his password! My approach it to provide nonsense answers I can retrieve for all such question. No one's going to guess that my mother's maiden name was bottleofbitsofstuff for example. You can use the same answer for all questions if they let you, or use obvious variants otherwise.

+ - When backups and redundancy fail->

Submitted by MarcAuslander
MarcAuslander (517215) writes "dslreports, a forum site covering ISP's and Cable, has lost its web site. A summary of how this happened is at http://www.dslreports.com/shutdown.html. All the backups and raid in the world don't help if you are not set up to recover from failures. And after a failure happens it's too late to start practicing."
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