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Comment: Re: Antecdotes != Evidence (Score 1) 328

by jd (#48043385) Attached to: Will Windows 10 Finally Address OS Decay?

Agreed about anecdotes. However, I can say that I have to reboot my Windows 7 PC weekly because of serious degradation in performance. I have installed a fair bit of software (the PATH can no longer be extended) but there's only about three games (Freeciv, Kerbal Space Program, Elite: Dangerous) and no apps, toolbars or junk. The rest of the software on there? MariaDB, Ingres, GRASS, QGIS (OSGEO is basically Cygwin, so I've now three incompatible Cygwin distros on Windows), HOL 4, Active Python, Active Perl, Erlang, Rust, Blender, PoVRay, BMRT - the sort of stuff you'd expect to find on any PC, nothing fancy.

And Netscape. Which is a horrible resource hog and is honestly not usable in its current form. I have abandoned all efforts to get Chrome usable. I'll probably deinstall both and switch to Amaya. Which barely does anything, but it does it tolerably.

Comment: What, wait?! (Score 2) 46

by jd (#48043267) Attached to: Leaked Docs Reveal List of 30 Countries Hacked On Orders of FBI Informant Sabu

You mean to tell me that the US doesn't even trust the other Five Eyes nations' spy agencies to be able to do this?*

*Yes, I know, to get round legal restrictions, it was very normal for the US to spy on the citizens of the other four and to exchange that data for information collected on US citizens by other members of Five Eyes. However, we now know all the agencies DO spy on their own citizens, routinely. So the US can ask GCHQ to wiretap British citizens in Britain, it doesn't need to spy on Britain itself. This behaviour suggests wheels within wheels.

You mean to tell me that the US isn't all caught up in the US-UK "Special Relationship" stuff?**

**Most Americans were unaware there even was one and get horribly confused when the British talk about it.

Comment: Re: Who cares? (Score 2) 204

by jd (#48043165) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

Linux is indeed better. Not because of Open Source (the code doesn't care) but because it has fewer bugs (about 0.1% of the bugs per kloc), non-intrusive strong security (rated EAL 5+ on conformant hardware, conforms to B2 Orange Book standards), superior multi-processor support, superior memory management and superior networking.

Graphics? Not an OS issue. That's a GUI issue. Never confuse how something gets data with what it then does with it. The GUI is not central to Windows (as demonstrated by console mode startup, but should be obvious to anyone running it as a headless server). The core OS functions are, and always have been, resource management, virtualization, security and stability. (Filesystems are virtual layers on top of physical disks, so are resource management and virtualization.)

Linux is better at the things an OS is meant to do. Windows has an adequate GUI, but the OS is abysmal. Besides sales, the only reason the game industry likes Windows is that it has useful libraries - DirectX (an alternative to the functions the GUI itself provides) and easy access to GPU functions (bypassing the OS altogether, running on bare metal).

The reason Linux doesn't have these? Look in the mirror. The face you see was quite capable of working on GGI, KGI or Linux Framebuffers, of helping in the Berlin project, of submitting patches for SDL or Avagadro, or even hacking Wine to improve support for DirectX, CUDA or other graphical features.

I'm no innocent myself, but I own up to my guilt, I don't blame the OS (which IS innocent).

Comment: This one is easy. (Score 2) 204

by jd (#48042917) Attached to: Why did Microsoft skip Windows 9?

Windows 10 IS Windows 9. Microsoft engineers are even still calling it Windows 9. The source tree is the same, there have been no major changes.

What has happened is that Windows 9 has been getting very bad press and is still riddled with bugs. Instead of releasing a version number nobody will buy and would only have to patch almost immediately anyway, OR getting slagged off for Yet Another Delayed Release, Microsoft is renaming it version 10 and delaying the release until the bugs are sorted.

You will observe Microsoft has been talking up Windows 9 for some time, but now all talk (and apparently all memory) of it has ceased. Newspapers suffering amnesia is amost acceptable. Slashdotters??? WTF??? I'm sorry, but there is no-one in or around IT that has a single, solitary excuse.

Comment: Re: Same conversation at GM a while back. (Score 2) 122

by jd (#48042777) Attached to: Boeing Told To Replace Cockpit Screens Affected By Wi-Fi

There have been cases of Boeing 777s and modernized 737s developing unexplained system faults. Do not be so sure that RFI was not to blame. These have had much worse reliability than other Boeing models in recent years and as no other faults have been offered by Boeing as explanation, it is illogical to simply dismiss the one fault we know about as unrelated to the unusual number of abnormalities and crashes specific to these two models.

Obviously, Boeing has no interest in being honest about the problems they know about, be they software or hardware. Nor are they likely to Open Source anything, so there is no possibility of scrutiny by an independent party.

Simple logic (and self-preservation) says they have an unattributed defect capable of causing catastrophic failure, and a defect that can potentially cause catastrophic failure, therefore fixing the defect is essential.

The cost? The cost is insignificant. Boeing is hardly poor and is quite capable of covering the airlines' cost as this is a manufacturing defect. The airlines? They're making enough money that they can afford riots on board when seats are tilted. Besides, this is the cost of doing business. There's a price for bad decisions, all other sectors (except, apparently, banks) are expected to take the rough with the smooth. If several go bust because they chose unwisely, that's how life in business goes. You pay your money, you take your choice. Besides, they'd still be doing better than the German in Last Crusade.

If I went into business and made bad choices, would you be telling people to ignore my expenses? No? Good. If I'm not fit for purpose as a businessman, I've no business expecting support. So why should Ryanair, a notoriously incompetent company, deserve better? Because they're too big to fail? Not a good reason.

Comment: Re:Internet of Stupidity (Score 2) 35

by Animats (#48042005) Attached to: Factory IoT Saves Intel $9 Million

This story has pretty much nothing to do with the "Internet of Things" they are trying to sell us.

Right. It's ordinary industrial automation. It's also strange that Intel would have CPU testers that weren't networked and reporting to some machine aggregating statistics and looking for process variance. It's pretty much routine in factories today to network the machines. That's been going on since the 1980s.

The Mitsubishi C Controller mentioned is just a CPU board packaged as a Mitsubishi Electric industrial automation module for convenient mounting in industrial automation cabinets. "It includes two Ethernet ports, an RS232 port, a USB port, a CompactFlash card slot and a 7-segment display for debugging and diagnostics. The (Intel Atom) CPU comes with the Wind River VXWorks real time operating system pre-installed." It's programmed in C.

Comment: Re:Where can I find the except clause? (Score 1) 438

by Kjella (#48041017) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

No matter how many times I read that, I can't seem to find the clause that says "Except when..."

<devil's advocate>
The opposite is implied, that you have no right to refuse reasonable searches and seizures or warrants issued upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. That it is possible for the police to "break into" your device is similar to how it's possible for the police to break into your home or for that matter, pull out a gun and shoot you dead. Whether or not that's legal depends on the circumstances and whether or not your device is encrypted or not won't change the legality. This is more like building a safe with built-in sensors that'll self-destruct the contents with thermite if the police wants to drill it, should "police-proof" systems be a consumer commodity? Yes, I know the government can be the bad guy but they're not the only bad guy, there are real criminals being caught through a constitutionally valid process. It doesn't say "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against all searches and seizures, shall not be violated"

The real issue here is that you don't trust the government to play by the rules, which given the NSA affair and such is probably not a bad thing. A backdoor doesn't mean it has to be a covert backdoor though, it could be that the next time you enter your PIN you get a pop-up saying "Your phone has been searched by law enforcement. Here's a scan of a signed warrant authorizing the search. For further details, contact [police department] on [number]." Granted, it's not so safe as it being impossible, but getting your chance in court is what you get if they break down your door by mistake. And if they shoot you dead by a misunderstanding, you don't even get that. Besides, last I checked he didn't actually want to outlaw it which would create a whole lot of problems for open source and everything else without a back door. He's saying it would be bad for law enforcement, which would be good for criminals and ultimately worse for the general public. Right or wrong, he's certainly got the right to make the argument.

Comment: Ok, several aspects to this. (Score 2) 480

by jd (#48038673) Attached to: The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine

First, guns don't protect, never have, never will. That is not the function of a gun. So anyone on their high horse should look to see if they're suffering altitude sickness.

Second, the design of these specific rifles is a non-issue. The gun market is inherently grey, which means regulation is minimal to non-existent. There's no white hats in weaponry of any kind. And, yes, that includes the re-enactment stuff I work with. I know that, recognize that and accept it*. No shades, just a thick, pea-soup foggy grey.

*That is why I despise "goody two shoes" arguments from both extreme camps. This isn't black, this isn't white, this is murky grey. I own it for my part, I hold nobody to a higher standard than I hold myself, but I refuse to hold them to a lower one either. Own it.

Third, the design of any regular weapon is a non-issue, but nothing stops you from designing an irregular weapon. With modern cheap hardware, a 3D printer and suitable low-cost materials, a person is quite capable of designing a 3-5 mile range sniper rifle that can be controlled via telerobotics from the home. We already know that low-cost cruise missiles with ranges in excess of 100 miles can also be built at home. With 3D printing, the costs become lower. With advances in technology (remember, the $5000 100-mile cruise missile was designed over a decade ago and it wasn't even close to what budget efforts could do), you can expect far greater ranges, far greater precision and far greater payloads today.

This, again, goes back to this being grey hat technology. If a black hat wanted to use such devices, we'd know about. Or, rather, the survivors would. America still exists, so black hats either don't have the courage of their convictions or they don't have the skill. Either way, they're not worthy of consideration. Worthy of being dumped into a deep oceanic trench, bu not worthy of consideration.

White hats? If white hats were building actively guided systems capable of that sort of range, you'd be seeing miniature computer boards running Linux, Squid and Tor relays launched into stable orbits that crossed nations with restricted network access. We don't. We see "peace corps" infiltrators attempting to install such devices directly, along with who knows what malware, causing international incidents and seriously destabilizing international relations, as part of neocon stupidity. White hats putting in a passive alternative with no hostile software and no damage to other nations -- that's an OBVIOUS way to do good for everyone and to minimize harm. But, no, they either don't have the skill or the courage of their convictions.

So it's all grey. That's all there is. Thick, pea-soup fog.

Comment: Re:Give it a few weeks (Score 1) 805

by jc42 (#48036965) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Dealing only in KPH is sufficiently hard for someone like myself raised with MPH that even if i switch my GPS / speedometer to KPH, I still have to do the mental conversion back into MPH to get a feeling for "how fast is that".

A couple of weeks of driving in a KPH based country and you'd get over it. It just takes a little experience is all.

So what's with all these people estimating weeks to learn such things? I remember years back, when I took my first trip to the UK, and people talked about the weeks it'd take to learn to drive on the left side of the road. I found that, by the time I'd got a few blocks from the airport, maybe 5 minutes, I'd already stopped consciously thinking about it, and just drove like the others around me. Similarly with the speedometer the rest of the world; all it took was matching the numbers on the highways signs to the numbers on the dial, which worked right from the start, and felt natural after a few minutes.

The only real difficulty I've found with such things is learning the words in a different language. I've found that that can actually take a few weeks, though the vocabulary on traffic signs is generally so limited that it's not all that difficult a task. But I haven't seriously tried learning the terminology on signs in China or Japan yet. That might be a bit more of a challenge than, say, Finnish or Russian road signs. ;-)

Comment: Re:And many, many more (Score 1) 805

by jc42 (#48036639) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

But in my country, we order beer as a half-pint or a pint, and everyone knows what they're getting.

So which country do you live in, where this is true? Here in the US, and across the Pond in the UK, the stated size of a beer glass is usually the capacity to the brim, but the amount in the glass is less than that. Off and on, there has been a bit of a fuss over this shorting in both countries, and there have even been laws passed outlawing the practice, to little avail. If you're living in a country where beer is measured in ounces or pints, you're almost certainly getting short measure in any bar or restaurant. It's only likely to be accurate if they're using the sort of glass with a visible "fill line", and those are not common.

So where do you live, that you get the advertised measure in glasses of beer (or other drinkables)? Curious readers want to know ...

(We might note that it is obviously silly to require that drinking glasses be full to the brim. That would mean slippery floors from the spilling as the glasses are carried to the table. But that doesn't justify lying about the amount that you're delivering to the customer. It just means that glasses should be made slightly oversized, preferably with a fill line near the top. ;-)

Comment: Re:FP? (Score 1) 805

by jc42 (#48036271) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

Also lumber. Everyone knows a 2 by 4, but say that in metric. That'll probably be easy to fix though.

Yeah, maybe, but we also know that this is an obvious case where vendors are legally permitted to defraud the customers by giving short measure. ;-) A 2x4 is nowhere near 2 or 4 inches in actual size. In general, the US measures used with lumber are wrong and useless when trying to build something with any precision. It'd be a lot more useful to switch over to the actual measure of thickness. Giving it in mm would be a good idea, so the buyer doesn't have to bring along a tape measure to make sure he's getting the size he needs.

And yes, I do routinely cut wood to within an accuracy of 1 mm. Calling a piece a "2 by 4" is OK for informal purposes, I suppose, but in addition, the store should be required to display the actual measurements in mm. If I think it's going to need some serious sanding, I can take that into account myself.

Comment: Are the world's non-religious ready? (Score 1) 488

by Kjella (#48032651) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

I mean, I don't exactly believe in the Star Trek universe which is even more fairy tale than most religions. Where are we in their world order - are we equals, enemies, slaves, pets, food, pests or just a honking big X-factor that threaten their very existence? Since their military power would be mostly unknown it'd be real easy to get paranoid. Just dealing with wacko humans is bad enough, what do you really know about an alien or how they think? Nothing. I think we'd jump right into a military arms race which might end very badly for at least one of us. Perhaps both, if MAD still applies on an interplanetary scale.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken