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Comment: Re:Cars from the 80s sucked (Score 1) 189

by Pentium100 (#49488435) Attached to: The Car That Knows When You'll Get In an Accident Before You Do

My car is German (Mercedes W123). It has much more than 160000km (the exact number is unknown as the speedometer was replaced a couple of times and nobody bothered to set the new odometer to the same number). While the car has problems with rust now (33 years after manufacture), you also have to know that it spent 19 years in my country where road salt is used in winter. A mechanic told me that he has seen 10 year old cars that more rusty than mine. Engine overhaul has not been done (yet) but the engine runs fine and does not burn oil. Even if it has been used for the past 10 years primarily with LPG (a fuel that burns a bit differently than gasoline).

I wonder if a 2015 car will be in as good shape in year 2048. It looks to me that modern cars are much more complex and less robust that they won't last as long.

For somewhat higher fuel consumption and body rust I get the ability to repair most things on my car myself, no need to call a mechanic and wait a few days until he can service my car (for most stuff anyway). Also, since the car is less complex than modern cars, there are less parts to fail.

Comment: Re:Varies. (Score 1) 142

by Pentium100 (#49481147) Attached to: How do your actual ISP speeds compare to the advertised speed?

The average speed for my connection is somewhat lower than the advertized. I reach the 500Mbps upload usually, except weekday evenings and weekend days where it is limited to about 80Mbps if the traffic goes to other countries. If I send data to some host in Lithuania I get the full 500Mbps.

Really not a bad deal for 23EUR/month (and no caps, I upload about 60TB/month).

Comment: Re:Electric Cars (Score 1) 362

by Pentium100 (#49480405) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

None of which was available before (and even now it's not that good). On the other hand, you do not need any special equipment to fill a gas tank - a bucket and a funnel is enough. Also, if I run out of gas a few km away from a station, I can go there, buy a small can of gas, bring it back to my car, pour it into the tank and then drive to the station to fill the rest of the tank. Good luck doing that with electricity.

Comment: Re:Electric Cars (Score 1) 362

by Pentium100 (#49476311) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Yes, however, only now electric cars can compete with internal combustion ones on range and power because of battery technology. Take a Tesla car and replace its batteries with lead-acid ones - you will either get less capacity (for the same waight) or more weight (for the same capacity). Now replace the modern motor controller with a rheostat and you will get much lower efficiency.

That car would not be able to compete with internal combustion cars because of the gasoline's much giher energy density. Even if a gasline engine is inefficient, you can have a bigger gas tank. The batteries in a Tesla weigh 540kg and provide 85kWh of energy. Or about the energy that is contained in about 6.6kg of gasoline (about 9.5L). So, for the same weight gasoline has 80 times more energy (even more if you compare it to lead acid batteries). Modern electric cars compensate for that by having much higher efficiency, but that was not the case 150 years ago.

Comment: Re:Lifespan (Score 1) 228

by Pentium100 (#49456329) Attached to: 220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future

As a last ditch effort audio engineers have been heating up tape in an oven, to backup the audio to disk. This destroys the tape.

That is necessary only for some tapes. Other tapes, even older (I have one from 1951, the tape itself is paper, not acetate or polyester) work fine. The problem is that some companies used an unstable binder to glue the oxide (and the back coating) to the tape. That binder over time absorbs moisture and becomes sticky goo. It takes about 10 years for this to happen, that's why the problem was not noticed earlier. Still, after the problem was notices, the manufacturers changed the binder to another chemical that remains stable.

Baking dries out the binder so the tape works properly for some time, then becomes sticky again.

Comment: Re:Never consumer ready (Score 1) 228

by Pentium100 (#49456313) Attached to: 220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future

3: Tapes can be WORM. This way, stuff that needs to be tamper resistant is protected.

I wonder how really tamper resistant are those WORM tapes. I mean, unlike a CD-R or PROM chip where recording of data irreversibly changes the medium, WORM tape is still magnetic tape, right? Is it only the drive firmware that protects it from being overwritten or something more? If someone has access to a modified tape drive, can they change the data on the WORM tape and leave no evidence?

Comment: Re:Never consumer ready (Score 1) 228

by Pentium100 (#49456307) Attached to: 220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future

I use ZFS on debian at home and the company I work for uses ZFS on Linux for backups and storage arrays (like for video surveillance). It works nice.

My home storage server array is smaller, however, a tape autochanger is on my wish list (I have a couple of tape drives and I used tapes more in the past, but I want automatic backups and that means I won't be there to swap tapes).

I like the fact that tapes can sit on a shelf for years with no problems and buying another server for backups would be more expensive and less convenient (unless I started swapping drives like tapes). Also, if a hacker wants to destroy the data that is on my tapes, he will have to come to my home to do that.

Comment: Re:Never consumer ready (Score 1) 228

by Pentium100 (#49456167) Attached to: 220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future

Its a failure to read a single bit, which durring a parity rebuild makes a drive as good as useless.

No, it doesn't for two reasons:
1) Nobody should use RAID5 (or equivalent) with drives over 2TB, RAID6 has two drives for parity. Greatly reducing the risk of failure.
2) A single read error during a RAID5 rebuild results in a single bad stripe in the array (if the controller works properly). Sure, you lost some data, but no all of it and you can pull the damaged files from backups (or maybe you get lucky and the bad stripe is in empty space).

Comment: Re:Well, this just screwed the legal pooch... (Score 1) 225

by Pentium100 (#49424775) Attached to: How Ubiquiti Networks Is Creatively Violating the GPL

Isn't it possible to comply with GPL and still have the restriction on what can run on the hardware?

For example: sign the binaries and put a pre-bootloader (something small you wrote yourself (no need to open the source) put on protected memory of the CPU (no way to read or modify it)) that check the signature and either starts the bootloader (open source) or not.

Or how about a modified version of gcc (not distributed, so no need to provide the source) that inserts the key when compiling, so the source just says "{_PUT_KEY_HERE_}"?

Comment: Re:and would your answer to drunk dirvers be (Score 1) 292

by Pentium100 (#49406803) Attached to: EFF Fighting Automakers Over Whether You Own Your Car

Actually, no. The reason being that anybody drives bad when they are drunk and there are no drunk-licenses that would allow you to drive drunk. So, everybody is equal.

However, repairing a car is not rocket science. A lot of people can do it and in the USSR it was expected the owner of the car to do some work himself (unlike now when there are drivers who do not know how to change a wheel or even check the oil level). While at this moment I do not know how to repair the brakes of my car, I believe I could learn if I needed to, just like I learned how to take a carburetor apart, clean it, lube it (where needed) and put it back together.

Requiring a license to work on brakes (any other parts of the car you want to add to the list?) means that all mechanics would have to get the license, paying the government money (resulting in higher prices), but the license would not automatically mean that the mechanic is any good (he could have bribed somebody). It would also prevent people who know from fixing their own brakes without breaking the law and yet, people who wanted to do it would be able to do it (it's not like it would be possible to easily find out if an unlicensed person worked on the brakes).

So, requiring a brake license would be useless and would serve only to increase the prices. Also, reinforcing the back of my car would help in the cases where the car with bad brakes was not repaired by the owner (or anyone at all, the brakes failed and the owner didn't care).

Comment: Re:Don't buy cars with computers (Score 1) 292

by Pentium100 (#49400749) Attached to: EFF Fighting Automakers Over Whether You Own Your Car

And I have a 1982 W123. It has power steering and power brakes, but no computers (well, the tape deck has a MCU). It is worth the additional cost in fuel to me (though since it is modified to run on LPG, the cost isn't that much higher than that of a newer gasoline car).

Features for the sake of features add to the list of stuff that can fail. I have seen an ad for a Tesla with the door handles that come out after you unlock the car. I wonder how that mechanism is going to work after 10 or more years...

I will not buy a car with computers unless the government makes old cars illegal to own.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam