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Comment: Re:but, back to root cause (Score 4, Informative) 423

by QuantumFlux (#44226735) Attached to: Malcolm Gladwell On Culture and Airplane Crashes

It's actually the other way around: autoland is typically only used in extremely low visibility (typically bad weather) situations. In most cases, a pilot can land a plane more accurately and smoothly as the human, visually, can account for far more external variables than the autopilot computer.

Just not in this case, apparently...

Comment: Copper limited bandwidth (Score 1) 359

by QuantumFlux (#37377216) Attached to: Why We Don't Need Gigabit Networks (Yet)

When I was working on large farms of big iron (SGI, Sun, IBM systems) we regularly found that GigE over copper couldn't do much better than 400-500 Mbit/s. These were enterprise-class NICs, not cheap-o home gear. Switching to fiber got us much much closer to theoretical max.

When is fiber going to finally be available/affordable for the home market? I think that will make the biggest difference...

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 241

by QuantumFlux (#36974392) Attached to: .NET Gadgeteer — Microsoft's Arduino Killer?

I think this could potentially do well in schools, where Microsoft may offer good deals on large purchases. Kids don't care about the whole MS vs FOSS debate -- well, maybe then nerdy kids but they're probably doing their own Arduino development anyway. For the rest, it's a good intro to programming/developing beyond the standard web/Flash-based crap that kids learn these days.

Comment: Re:Apple proves the proposition false ... (Score 1) 357

by QuantumFlux (#36974332) Attached to: Are Bad Economic Times Good for Free Software?

That popularity may be due to Apple's higher (perceived) build quality. If you're going to sink money into a computer or any other large purchase, would you rather buy something you think will last a few years or something cheap, built with cheap parts, that will probably break quickly and cause other headaches?

I think if/when the economy gets REALLY bad, the balance will tilt toward the cheaper end, but for now, people want the most bang for their decreasingly available buck...

Comment: Re:Support (Score 1) 510

by QuantumFlux (#31105726) Attached to: Why Apple Doesn't Market Squarely To Businesses

Things like releasing a $3000 workstation then 3 years later releasing an OS update that doesn't support it don't fly well in enterprise environments.

Almost every business I've worked for keeps workstations around only as long as their warranties before they're surplussed. Given that AppleCare is 3 years, it might not make such a difference.

Comment: GCD also replaces most synchronization / locking (Score 1) 205

by QuantumFlux (#29773991) Attached to: Apple's Grand Central Dispatch Ported To FreeBSD

The other often-overlooked advantage of GCD is that submitting work to a queue is thread-safe, queues themselves are lightweight, and queues can be made internally-serial but parallel to all other queues. Apple's documentation has a lot of good examples of how to use this structure to eliminate almost all locking code (which is usually pretty heavyweight). If you need to serialize access to a resource, just create a serial queue and any other queue can send tasks to it without worrying about any synchronization.

As someone who's struggled with performance from trying to determine how fine-grained to make locks, this seems like an awesome approach.

Comment: Slashdot Hypocrisy (Score 1, Interesting) 92

by QuantumFlux (#27677439) Attached to: CSIRO Settles With Tech Giants Over WiFi Patent Spat

If this were a private, for-profit company that was fighting for IP rights, Slashdotters would be up in arms defending those wanting to use the tech with arguments of Free-as-in-Speech, good-of-humanity, etc. But when it's a non-profit research organization doing exactly the same thing, Slashdotters rush to defend them.

Are the ideals here really about freedom and liberty or just thinly-veiled anti-corporatism?

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS