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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.

Comment: Re:This is why we need the government regulation (Score 2) 211

by MarkRose (#46952567) Attached to: Feds Issue Emergency Order On Crude Oil Trains

You're blaming railroads for a lot of things they have no control over:

  • Railroads don't classify the goods being shipped, shippers do.
  • Railroads can't refuse to take dangerous goods. They're classified as common carries and have to carry anything that's allowed by regulation, including hazardous materials.
  • Railroads do own older, less safe equipment, such as older DOT-111 tank cars and can reasonably be blamed for spotting the cars they own to industries shipping volatile chemicals. However, they cannot refuse to move cars delivered from other railroads, or leased by the industries. Furthermore, the factories making replacement vehicles are backed up for two years. Even so, railroads are replacing the cars they own. They are being responsible.
  • Most rail lines were built in rural areas, and the cities grew up around them. Don't blame the railroad when a city builds up next to a transportation corridor that transports dangerous goods. In the cases where railroads have rebuilt outside of cities, the cities have again crowded around the lines. What do you expect railroads to do? They were there first.

The solution is to put hydrocarbons (and other dangerous liquid goods) in pipelines that are statistically far safer. Pipelines, carrying one a single product, can be routed far away from urban areas. But those in power refuse to allow it, in cases stalling for over half a decade.

Or blame the shippers, who purposely make their shipments more volatile and mislabel the contents.

Railroads can be blamed for runaway trains, like the one that got away in Lac-Megantic (a train that had safely passed through Toronto earlier). Derailments happen, despite the best efforts to prevent them (they cost a lot of money, so no railroad wants them). But most of the blame for the explosive situations that have resulted cannot be placed on the railroads: their hands are tied.

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.

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