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Comment: Re:Comparable? Not really. (Score 2, Insightful) 77

by Animats (#47957187) Attached to: Is Alibaba Comparable To a US Company?

When someone buys a share in Apple, they actually get an ownership share in Apple.

Apple, yes. Google or Facebook, no. Google and Facebook have two classes of stock. The class with all the voting rights is in both cases controlled by the founders. The publicly traded shares cannot outvote them, even if someone bought all of them.

Until recently, multiple classes of stock were prohibited for NYSE-listed companies, which tended to discourage doing this. (The classic exception was Ford, which has two classes of stock, the voting shares controlled by the Ford family. This predates that NYSE rule.)

This matters when the insiders make a big mistake and the stock starts going down. There's no way to kick them out.

Comment: Crash not computer-related (Score 5, Informative) 113

by Animats (#47955905) Attached to: Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

The Red Line crash was not computer-related. The signalling system for the Washington Metro is a classic electromechanical relay-based system. Just like the New York subways. The Red Line crash was caused by a failure of a track circuit for detecting trains, trackside equipment using an audio-frequency signal sent through the rails and shorted to the other rail by the train's wheels. All those components are pre-computer technology.

As with most railway systems, manual driving isn't enough to prevent collisions, because stopping distances are often longer than visual distances. That was the case here.

The Washington Metro had been sloppy about maintenance of trackside equipment. They do have a central computer system, and it logs what the relay-based signal systems are doing, although it can't override them. They had logs of previous failures, and should have fixed the problem.

Comment: Re:White House (Score 2) 111

by Animats (#47955101) Attached to: Star Wars Producers Want a 'DroneShield' To Prevent Leaks On Set

the US Government use UCAVs to keep the airspace around DC clear.

Actually, the current response to airspace incursions in the DC area is an F-16 and a Coast Guard helicopter. The F-16 is in case it turns out to be hostile, and the Coast Guard helicopter is for the usual case, which is a clueless VFR pilot who needs directions. This happens several times a week. The FAA now insists that all pilots operating within 60 miles of DC (actually 60NM of the DCA VOR) take this online course. Amazingly, there are still clueless pilots wandering into this airspace, although fewer than a few years ago.

Comment: Some info seems bogus (Score 1) 311

by Animats (#47954977) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

Some of that info seems bogus. 10,000 CNC mills? Unlikely. 10,000 CNC machines of all types across all of Apple manufacturing, maybe.

There's a nice video about how Apple machines a round can for their round desktop computer. They're going through a lot of steps to make a can, yet they're doing it in a low-volume way. Here's how soft drink cans are made. Same shape, but much higher production volume.

Apple is doing this to justify charging $2700 for an x86-64 machine with midrange specs.

Comment: Re:Google's storage (Score 4, Interesting) 311

by Animats (#47954875) Attached to: Why You Can't Manufacture Like Apple

There are amusing efforts to sell disk drives to Google. Near Google HQ there is a movie theater complex. I once saw an ad run before a movie. Two minutes of sales pitch for bulk purchases of enterprise hard drives, with lots of technical detail. Clearly this was addressed to a very specific audience.

Comment: Re:Looking for info on running 4k screens (Score 3, Informative) 109

by Kjella (#47954297) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs

As I understand it 30p is okay for photo work, but a pretty big compromise for general desktop use so I wouldn't do it. I have a 3840x2160@60p 28" monitor hooked up over DisplayPort 1.2 using SST (single stream transport). It works very well, I can also hook it up to my 1080p TV at the same time on my GTX 670. Just bought dual GTX 970s to replace it though.

There are three ways to support 4K content:
HDMI 2.0
DisplayPort 1.2+ over SST
DisplayPort 1.2+ over MST

Avoid MST (multiple stream transport), it's not worth the issues. DisplayPort 1.2 has been around for a while, the screen is usually the blocker on whether you can use SST. My screen (Samsung UD590) can so I do and that works great. HDMI 2.0 is brand new, the GTX 970/980 are the first graphics cards to support them but I suppose they're the only means to hook up 4K to an UHDTV as I understand most of these don't have a DisplayPort. That's what it's designed to do anyway, but if you jump on HDMI 2.0 now you'll be the first to test it really. For me that's not even an option, I hook it through the sound system and that doesn't support HDMI 2.0 pass-through. I find it's not that essential at couch distance anyway, it's sitting up real close you notice it most.

Comment: Re:Tips? (Score 3, Informative) 109

by Kjella (#47954165) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs

The R9 280 certainly doesn't count as low power (250W), the R9 285 is considerably better in that department (190W) and got some newer features to boot, with a $249 MSRP it should just barely squeeze inside your budget. To stay in your budget limit the nVidia alternative is GTX 760, but I wouldn't buy a Kepler card today, too hot and too noisy. Unfortunately there's not a Maxwell to match your specs, there's a gap between the GTX 750 Ti (which wouldn't be a performance upgrade) and GTX 970 (which blows your budget at $329).

Personally I was very surprised by the GTX 970 launch price though, the GTX 980 @ $549 was as expected but the 970 delivers 13/16ths of the processing power with the same memory size and bandwidth for over $200 less. I bought two to use in a SLI setup, in the games that scale nicely it's a kickass value. I suspect that by December this will have had some market effect at the $250 price point too, so I'd say check again then. Asking for advice 2-3 months out in a market that changes so quickly doesn't really make much sense.

Comment: Re:Simplification, n. (Score 4, Insightful) 146

by Kjella (#47953393) Attached to: KDE's UI To Bend Toward Simplicity

While you do have a point, I'd counter that there's no way to do anything with a computer unless there's an interface for it. For example if you go to Burger King 90%+ order as-is from the menu. But there's all sorts of simple instructions like "no onions" you can tell a clerk that you can't tell a computer. If you go to Whopper Lab you can see all the options of buns, patties, dressings and toppings available in none, light, normal and extra quantities and so on that would totally overwhelm the average customer. If the interface didn't exist, the option wouldn't exist but any given option will be the default something like 99.9% of the time.

I like being able to manage my computer, I don't like having to micromanage my computer unless there's a specific reason to. I consider having obvious buttons to find more advanced controls to be discoverable, not that you need to throw every option in my face to say hey, you could change this behavior if you wanted to. If it's possible to set a sensible default and I haven't seen a reason to go looking for it then I don't need to know. Non-discoverable features I consider things like touching corners that don't have any hint they have actions, buttons with no obvious function/that don't look like buttons, shortcuts you can't find except looking them up, type to search with no hints and so on.

That said, I generally prefer an expanding/alternate dialog over a multi-step dialog. If I know I need to go into the advanced settings every time because I'm the 1% using that function I'd rather have the ability to pin it to expand/use the advanced dialog by default, meaning it should be a superset of the basic dialog not just the extras. Since we're already in an advanced dialog having a checkbox "Use advanced display by default" at a standard location wouldn't hurt. Go into the advanced dialog once, check that box and next time you go straight to where you want to be. It is usually far more user-dependent than situation-dependent, so I think that'd work well for most everybody.

Comment: Archiving vs backups (Score 1) 110

by Kjella (#47953059) Attached to: Data Archiving Standards Need To Be Future-Proofed

One of the big differences between archiving and backup is that in archiving I want to keep this exact version intact, if it changes on me it's an error while a backup takes a copy of whatever is now - maybe I wanted to edit that file. Unlike backups I think it's not about versioning, it's about maintaining one logical instance of the archive across different physical copies. Here's what I'm thinking, you create a system with three folders:

archived
to_archive
to_trash

The archive acts like a CD/DVD/BluRay and is read-only. So far, nothing but a really awkward way to create a WORM(-ish) drive, but the real point comes next in distribution and synchronization.

When you put a file in "to_archive" a job will pick it up and wrap it in AES (with AES-NI the cost of on-the-fly encryption/decryption is very slim) and create a torrent-like file for it and move it to archived. If you want to delete it from the archive, you drag the file to the "to_trash" folder or maybe you put some kind of lock/freeze/undo timer on that function. Files that are in "archived" are sync'ed to other computers - still encrypted - which means you can shop around for storage/bandwidth, maybe you got multiple locations yourself (home/cabin), maybe swap backup with friends or family or you can buy it on the open market and they'll all mingle and share data because it's based on basic torrents.

They can all do basic limits on size/bandwidth so you can have pricing plans and caps, you can have one-way "leeches" that download and archive it on tape that can physically deliver it to you. If you build it fairly smart you can also have local, offline backups and if you restore them it'll pick up that 95% is the same as last week and sync up the rest. Basically a "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Archive Locations." It will leak a little bit of metadata as to size and number of files, but not file or directory names and you can probably muddle that metadata up with padding and dummy files if you want.

Of course you can choose to have the AES key on several computers so you can access your media from any of them. And as a free bonus a device that has the AES key like say your cell phone can use this as an online library, it doesn't have to auto-sync everything. With many locations = many peers it won't matter if one is down and you aggregate up the bandwidth, just like in any other torrent swarm. Through the seed/peer numbers you can at any time watch the state of your backup in progress as you add files. If your computer goes to shit, tell it the archive key and it'll hook up and start syncing. Just like a torrent client you can set priorities on what to download first.

It's not for all your data, but I think a lot of common user data is that way. Those RAW photos or video or audio you took? Archive them, "single" everlasting master copy. It doesn't replace backup of say documents you're working on or source code you're developing but it complements it.

Comment: Re:I've never shorted a stock (Score 2) 97

by Kjella (#47951781) Attached to: Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

I want MIcrosoft to stop making awful Operating systems. We know they can do it, because XP was excellent, W7 almost as good. (...) I want Microsoft to change their "We know what's best for you dammit!" attitude, and ignore feedback. Both Vista and W8 had people begging them not to go there.

Maybe there's a hint there? Conservative, experimental, conservative, experimental... As long as people keep arguing if the old or new version of Windows is better, I don't think Microsoft worries. You are free to skip a version you know.

If you've read enough of Slashdot, you'll have noticed that every complaint about MSFT is attacked by "energetic fans" shouting that the complaint is invalid, that the person complaining is an idiot. How long is that supposed to work?

Do a s/MSFT/Linux/g and there's plenty OSS apologists too. Particularly because you got one team saying "Linux is so free and great, it's totally ready for the desktop and you should try it out" but when you have a problem the other team says "Yeah well you got it for free, so STFU and be grateful". I'm on Windows 7 now and I'm guessing sometime soon Microsoft needs to release another "classic" desktop for conservative enterprises so they can plan their migration before the 2020 EoL. Having Linux around as a plan B is nice but for gaming Windows rules supreme, regardless of whether Linux has a Steam client or not.

Comment: Re:A glorious victory for all (Score 1) 443

by Kjella (#47949905) Attached to: Scotland Votes No To Independence

I think Norway is fairly unique in that we actually voted to have a king (12-13th of November 1905) after the end of the union with Sweden. Also our king's power has been reduced to a democratic emergency brake where he can only delay a law being passed until there's been an election. If it is passed again, it becomes law regardless. Formally he's the sovereign though, the one signing all the laws, head of all military branches, the one formally leading the king's council with the prime minister as his first advisor. And his person has a total blanket immunity in Norwegian law, though it was settled that he could be sued in a property dispute.

What I find quite appealing at times is that he's not a politician, not looking for a reelection or to further his own career nor is he trying to represent just the 51% who voted him in. In the US I have the impression that if a Republican is in office all the Democrats hate him and if a Democrat is in office all the Republicans hate him. He represents the nation of Norway and not whatever political party happens to hold the reins at the moment. There are other nations that have a form of ceremonial leader like for example Germany with the Bundespräsident as opposed to the Bundeskanzler, but it's a retirement home for politicians. You have to campaign to win it. It's not forever, so there's self-interest to it.

Our king is pretty relaxed about his right to rule, or rather I feel he thinks it's more of privilege. No blue blood, no divine right to rule and I think he like pretty much all western monarchies knows he sits at the parliament's mercy. Like the US, we do have a constitution and a process to amend it and like I said he couldn't block it. If he was losing the people's support I think he'd resign gracefully though long before it came to that. And apart from at the coronation I don't think I've ever seen him with a crown and all that, it's more a ceremonial rite when you take the job.

You can of course say he's not needed, that the US is a nation independent from the President in office and I suppose that's true, but it's a very abstract and silent existence. For example during WW2 the radio broadcasts from the king in excile in London was gathering the nation. When people use archaic expressions like "for king and country" we're not talking about saving one man's divine ass anymore, but that the king serves the country and we follow him as our leader. It's not a perfect system but honestly speaking I feel it works well. It's good for tourism. Sure they live in a castle with a solid upkeep, but I know we'd keep it for historical reasons anyway. We'd no more tear it down than old churches.

Comment: Re:"CipherShed" (Score 5, Funny) 242

by Kjella (#47948215) Attached to: TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

They're obviously using my HorribleNameGenerator library. I'm proud to have contributed to so many FOSS projects.

Clearly you didn't use it for your own project, I suppose you had to write it first or it would have suggested HorribleUniqueNameGenerator. Because like the developers of the GNU Image Manipulator Program knows, a catchy acronym never hurt anyone.

Comment: Re:They've already screwed the pooch. (Score 1) 242

by Kjella (#47948099) Attached to: TrueCrypt Gets a New Life, New Name

First of all, there's very little in a rebranding effort that will be of any significance if they're looking to relicense. The tricky part is that they must replicate the functionality from scratch, without getting derivative - typing it up again or changing the function or variable names won't be enough. That's a job they have to do in parallel, in the background until they're ready to ditch CipherShed 1.x (based on TrueCrypt) and release CipherShed 2.0 based entirely on non-TrueCrypt source code under the new license.

Yes, you might argue that they should do it in bits and pieces to the current source tree with dual licensed code, but that will make it harder to make non-derivative code. If you keep making things that fit into the current project, the internal structure will be very similar which is a bad thing from a legal point of view. I guess if you're interested in making new code for the new version they'll tell you what license they plan to use. Or you could dual license it TrueCrypt/BSD yourself, since that'll work no matter what they pick.

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