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Ten Dropbox Engineers Build BSD-licensed, Lossless 'Pied Piper' Compression Algorithm 174

An anonymous reader writes: In Dropbox's "Hack Week" this year, a team of ten engineers built the fantasy Pied Piper algorithm from HBO's Silicon Valley, achieving 13% lossless compression on Mobile-recorded H.264 videos and 22% on arbitrary JPEG files. Their algorithm can return the compressed files to their bit-exact values. According to FastCompany, "Its ability to compress file sizes could actually have tangible, real-world benefits for Dropbox, whose core business is storing files in the cloud."The code is available on GitHub under a BSD license for people interested in advancing the compression or archiving their movie files.

Comment Hellcat wins rematch (Score 1) 171

In the initial run, it was rather obvious the Hellcat driver was, shall we at this sort of thing.

If you do a quick search (I'm too lazy to do your work for you) it is the top Google result.

The Hellcat was also under rated by Fiat and in reality, the detuned version for sale now is around 750hp, crank.

Rumor has it that the engine was making closer to 800+ before the Engineers came to thier the bequest of the marketing droids of course, since you cant have anything as pedestrian as a Challenger usurping the spotlight from the flagship model (Viper).

Comment Re:UPS (Score 1) 236

You are correct. Combined, in both my racks are 12 3U battery backups. Roughly $1200.00 each. Worth every penny.
All my servers have redundant power supplies, so each P/S on an individual server uses two separate devices.

We also have an 8cyl Detroit diesel generator that kicks in when the mains drop, probably takes less than half a second, BUT I remember one time the fuel guys forgot to fill it, it ran for an hour and quit. Shit happens. My batteries are good for 20 to 40 minutes depending on load and by that time a yard guy had filled it up and restarted it. Has a 100 gallon tank btw.

All the desktops (except a few) survived as well.

Comment Cribbage (Score 1) 274

Why would /. editors leave out crib? Great game and if youre stuck without a board and pegs, just use a piece of paper. Although personally I only like 2 handed, up to 4 can play as well.

Both my sons have gotten very good at it and when we get bored with movies or video games, crib it is!

Comment Mouth Closed plus Education (Score 1) 246

This would be a good time to subtly remind your users, or at least the higher up ones that they should never put something in an email they would be afraid to see in court, or directly read to the recipient, face to face. In the same conversation, you would mention that due to your job, you have access to everyone's email account (as you must) because SOMEONE has to administer it.

You cannot evade office politics, ever. Just don't do stupid things like buy a new hire a 27" Dell Ultrasharp while your bosses son in accounting is using a 19" Chinese knockoff. Common sense.

Don't take sides, remain neutral when Sally tells you what an asshole Bill is. DO NOT run over to Bill and tell him. That is what Sally wants.Eventually the peons will stop and perhaps your boss will realize he can share something with you, without the entire company knowing 5 minutes later. Common sense.

Dont play favorites. If the biggest dick head in the company needs a new workstation, get it for him. If you dont, you are only hurting your company, not the dick head.

I could continue, but you probably get the drift by now.

Comment Wheres my walker? (Score 3, Insightful) 370

Full disclosure: I am 56 years old.

I've found over the years that a lot of smaller, family owned or privately run businesses will hire older personnel for the experience factor alone. Granted, I'm a Sysadmin, not a programmer.

The larger companies are shackled by company policy (written or unwritten) HR, fixed pay scales and so on. I do believe money comes in to play as younger can mean considerably cheaper, but if that person takes 3X longer to accomplish the task, how much are you really saving in the long run?

The company I've worked for the last 8 years has 50 employees, 11 servers, 65 workstations, laptops, phones, tablets, and so on. I'm also involved in special projects which I have time for because all our systems run smoothly. I can take time off without fear of something bad happening, barring hardware failure or user stupidity.

I tried hiring an assistant, but didn't have much luck. Anyone who could actually help me, and was knowledgeable were few and far between. I got lots of kids who "played with computers" but had no clue on AD, Domains, and so on. I was willing to pay 50k to start by the way.

Anyway, of course age discrimination exists, as does other forms of discrimination. It has simply moved below the surface whereas previously it was overt. I know many companies I have dealt with would hire me in an instant because they know my skill level, however I would have one Hell of a time on the open market at my age. I doubt I would make it past the HR drone.


Comment Whatever happened to common sense? (Score 1) 490

If we ignore the "law" for a moment, I'm having a hard time understanding why ANY sane person would blow through a stop sign. There could very well be a hidden drive way or road on one side of it. By the time you look left, then right, another vehicle could have easily pulled out that you may not have seen.

I find the "right of way" advocates even sillier.
We can put this on your tombstone " Here lies John Doe, tragically taken from us in an intersection by a large SUV, BUT HE HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY"

Comment THIS is fantastic news! From the article... (Score 5, Informative) 255

That’s not the best news, the best part of this story is that Google will do it using it’s own open sourced VP9 technology. Google acquired the technology from O2 and open sourced it. Google started offering the codec on royalty free basis to vendors to boost adoption.

Google has also learned the hardware partnership game and has already roped in hardware partners to use and showcase VP9 at CES. According to reports LG (the latest Nexus maker), Panasonic and Sony will be demonstrating 4K YouTube using VP9 at the event.

VP9 keeps FSF happy, users happy, content providers happy, carriers/ISPs happy and hardware vendors happy.

Google today announced that most leading hardware vendors will start supporting the royalty-free VP9 codecs. These hardware vendors include major names like ARM, Broadcom, Intel, LG, Marvell, MediaTek, Nvidia, Panasonic, Philips, Qualcomm, RealTek, Samsung, Sigma, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba.

VP9 is beneficial for everyone as it makes the codec available to vendors for free of cost – thus boosting its adoption compared to the non-free H.264/265. At the same time being Open Standard and Open Source it also ensures that users won’t require proprietary (and insecure) technologies like Flash to view content. The third benefit of VP9 is that it can deliver high-resolutions at low bit-rates thus using less bandwidth to watch content. It means that those on slower connections will not have to wait for buffering and be satisfied with low-resolution videos. It will benefit those on faster connections as they won’t have to waste their expensive bandwidth on videos.

Comment Re:Shouldn't have to run oil by rail (Score 5, Interesting) 199

Back in the late 70's I used to work for the only company in Canada that manufactured very large ball valves for pipelines. We are talking in excess of 10 ton's with 42" flanges. We supplied Trans Canada Pipelines, Foothills, etc. I designed the pressure testing rig and tank for these very large units.

Know what the biggest problem was/is with pipelines? Materials used in manufacturing.

"Sour" gas vs "Sweet" gas valves (and the pipeline itself) are made of completely different materials. An "O" ring housing for example may be made from Titanium for a corrosive sour gas and Stainless Steel for sweet non corrosive gas.

More than once, on smaller valves (gate or ball, I forget now) we had to investigate why a valve failed and it was always the incorrect material. Some worker swapped a part behind QC's back thinking "no big deal, they look the same".

Perhaps traceability and manufacturing has improved (I would hope so) by now though.

On an interesting side note, the big guy's were tested at 20,000kpa, or about 2900psi. The rumor went that if there were ever a pinhole leak in one of the 3" deep welds, or porosity in the casting and you walked through it without seeing it, it would cut you in half.

Nothing is perfectly safe, but I do think a pipeline is "safer" than rail transport.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder