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Comment: Re:How fast is just too fast? (Score 1) 110

by MarkRose (#48671031) Attached to: US Internet Offers 10Gbps Fiber In Minneapolis

I have 175 Mbps symmetric at home, and it's good enough for my purposes at the moment. Having reasonable upload bandwidth like that with 3 ms ping to the office is useful for exporting X apps to my work desktop (yes, I do that). It's nearly as fast as a local app to the point where I could forget it's remote.

The decent upload is also really handy for doing remote backups. I have ISCSI targets in distant locations that I simply mount and use like a local file system. ISCSI without reasonable upload capacity or low latency is a frustrating experience.

I used to have 50 Mbps symmetric, and it was okay, but I did find myself waiting on things. I wait less now with 175 Mbps, but I'm also still throttling backup speed.

Most websites I visit don't fully utilize the bandwidth because of the TCP ramp up time, and generally downloads will finish before maximum speed is reached. Well designed services like Mega will easily saturate my connection though.

With a 1 Gbps connection at the office I've seen download speeds up to 80 MB/s from a local free software mirror. It's handy to download a new distro ISO in 15 seconds. It really changes your perspective on what data is worth keeping locally.

If I were regularly downloading and uploading multi-gigabyte files, such as backing up video, 10 Gbps would be very useful! If online storage prices keep dropping it will be very tempting to keep everything in the cloud. Right now the cheapest storage VPS providers are around $20 per TB per month.

But the key point is not so much increasing download bandwidth beyond 1 Gbps, but increasing upload bandwidth to match.

Comment: Re:What's the Motivation? (Score 1) 179

by MarkRose (#48583303) Attached to: LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

A 50" 1080p TV has a dot pitch of approximately 0.58 mm. That's huge.

My 27" 1440p monitor has a dot pitch of 0.23 mm. I can clearly see pixels jaggies 2' away. It's not capable of producing fonts smaller than 8 px without collapsing the whitespace in and between letters. I can clearly read an 8 px font on that display from 7' away.

The pixels in the 50" TV would be discernible at 5'. I would have to be 18' away from that TV before I couldn't read an 8 px font on it. I would discern detail three times farther away than that, so 4k would be an improvement over 1080p for a 50" TV any closer than 50' away. People who disagree might have less than 20/10 vision (20/10 is actually common).

For desktop work, where I'm usually about 24-30" away, 8k in a 30" format (~294 ppi) would be really nice. I have a feeling I'll be waiting a while for that though.

Comment: Re:"It took significant resources" (Score 1) 265

by MarkRose (#48361431) Attached to: Worrying Aspects of Linux Gaming

That's me. I'm a casual gamer. I use Linux because it simply works better for me. It's not worth booting into Windows to play a game, because I'd be locked out of everything else. I don't watch or own a TV, so I've never bought a console. So I simply didn't play games for years.

But Humble Bundle started making me aware of the Linux games available out there. Then Steam came out. A little over a year ago I spent several hundred dollars on decent graphics card to drive my 1440p display. I've spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours playing games.

I'm not too cheap to buy a Windows license. Money is not the issue. Booting into Windows is simply not worth the hassle.

Comment: Re:Everybody skips the interesting bits (Score 2) 299

by MarkRose (#47377745) Attached to: Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

At the surface of a reactor pool, the biggest dose of radiation is actually from the tritium created by neutron absorption by the hydrogen in the water molecules. The heat given off by the fuel will create a convective current, so the tritium will be evenly dispersed throughout the pool. Swimming in or drinking the water would obviously not be the best thing due to the tritium contamination (while skin will block the very weak beta radiation, tritium ingested or absorbed through the skin can cause DNA damage). A small amount will also be present in the air around the pool due to evaporation. Would I drink or swim in the water? No. But I have stood over a reactor pool for several minutes without concern.

Comment: Re:Wear leveling (Score 1) 68

It was 128 KB for smaller, older drives. For instance, the Samsung 840 EVO series use an erase block size of 2 MB. Some devices even have an 8 MB erase block size. 8 KB page sizes are common now, too, much like how spinning rust moved to 4 KB pages. Using larger pages and blocks allows for denser, cheaper manufacturing.

Comment: Depends on the position (Score 1) 466

What is the position? Is it to fill a chair? Is it to produce one-off work? Or is it to produce a larger project that's maintainable for the long term?

It's not simply enough to have some skill: for every bit of skill a person brings to the team, there is the additional overhead of communication with that person. After a point, adding more people to a project is simply not productive and even a hindrance, regardless of the calibre of those people. A small number of great programmers can often outperform a large team, and cost a lot less in salary and benefits.

If someone is 5/10 skilled, that person should spend time to get better at something. Read more books. Watch more talks. Study algorithms, design patterns, anti-patterns, etc. Write more code. Get good at something. I'm not a good C programmer. I like C, but I've never done enough to get good at it (maybe someday). But I built a distributed, fault-tolerant auto-scaling LNMP stack that services thousands of API requests per second, without a rearchitecture, because I studied how to scale and wrote scaling into the system from day one.

Embedded software experience is an in-demand skill. Many programmers can create bloated, slow code, but few can write lean, efficient, and fast code. That's highly valued in the embedded space, of course, as it's needed, but it's also very in demand at scale, because being inefficient costs a lot of money. If I were hiring, I'd look very fondly at someone with this skill, much more than someone who is focused on simply the language de jour. It's easy to find people who can produce code. It's hard to find people who can solve problems well.

I can't speak for every area, but in my locale there are plenty of hardware-oriented startups that have a tough time finding qualified people. The jobs are out there, but I agree the market is smaller than for pure software. One place hardware companies struggle is writing good drivers and application software. Someone who got good at that, along with having the embedded knowledge, would be very in demand.

Comment: Re:Rail+ ferry (Score 2) 348

by MarkRose (#46968505) Attached to: China May Build an Undersea Train To America

If building rail line from western Alaska to connect to the continental system, no significant mountain ranges need to be crossed. Assuming the rail lands at the closest point across the Bering Straight, there is an almost flat route following the Koyukuk and Yukon Rivers over to the Mackenzie River. The North American rail network reaches as far as Hay River, near the south end of the Mackenzie River.

For a shorter route, the Tanana River could be followed past Fairbanks, and the route could continue paralleling the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse. At Whitehorse it could travel next to Teslin Lake and over land to Dease Lake. While Dease Lake is not currently connected to the continental rail network, but the track bed had been fully prepared in the 1970's, and it would be easy to install the necessary bridges and rail.

Still, ships would be more efficient.

If you have a procedure with 10 parameters, you probably missed some.