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Comment: Re: Hafnium in short supply? (Score 1) 108

by TheRaven64 (#48478191) Attached to: Scientists Develop "Paint" To Help Cool the Planet

So, as the price goes up economically viable reserves go up.

Yes. Of course, at some point you'll start getting the material from asteroid mines, because at a few million dollars per kg it's actually worth doing that. Generally, the demand slows as the price increases too though. A roof paint that costs a few thousand times the value of the house probably isn't going to be that popular...

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 169

by TheRaven64 (#48478095) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

By the time Gmail was no longer an invite-only beta service, everyone had been talking about it for months. The buzz was enormous

Among geeks, sure. Among normal people? Not so much. A year after GMail launched, I still had non-geeks asking me 'what's your hotmail address?' meaning 'what's your personal email address' (as opposed to the work-run one).

Microsoft bought a well reputed linux based webmail service (whose name I can no longer recall) that they painfully migrated Linux>Windows to attempt to jumpstart their entry into webmail.

The service that they bought was called Hotmail and was running FreeBSD, not Linux. They bought it long before Google was a major player in the online space. When they bought it, it was (by quite a large margin) the dominant player in the webmail space (it was also the first mover). They tried once and failed to migrate to Windows. Windows Services for UNIX exists solely because of that PR disaster: they eventually migrated everything to Windows via a POSIX compatibility layer.

Comment: Re:Why is competition not a good criterion? (Score 1) 169

by TheRaven64 (#48477741) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

So why isn't anyone making a big deal about Microsoft any more? The big issue at their trial was bundling the browser with the OS. They are still doing that.

The big issue was using a monopoly in the OS market to gain a monopoly in the browser market. Bundling the browser with the OS was one aspect of that. Giving away the browser for 'free' (actually for free for the Mac and UNIX editions, while they lasted) was another. Tying ActiveX to IE and pushing server products that only worked with their browser was another. Forcing OEMs to pay more for Windows if they included Netscape or other browsers was yet another. The shipping of a browser with the OS was a relatively small part of the complaint, just the part that got the most press coverage.

And this was addressed in Europe, by requiring Microsoft to allow OEMs to bundle other browsers and to provide a box on first boot that would allow the user to select their browser of choice. ActiveX is basically dead and it's been a while since Microsoft launched any IE-only services, so this seems to have worked.

Comment: Re:EUgle? (Score 1) 169

by TheRaven64 (#48477725) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

When did Google ever start forcing users to sign up just to search?

If you visit the Google search engine, it will set a tracking cookie that is used to serve ads to you, so they are forcing you to sign up to their targeted ad service to use their search. If you want to be able to configure the search settings, then they do this via the tracking cookie. This is not a technical decision: DuckDuckGo, for example, sets a cookie that just has a set of preference flags in it, so any two people with the same preferences will have the same cookie, not a unique identifier, and the web server can handle these preferences without needing any kind of database lookup.

I'm not sure if the EU is aware, but Google is absurdly popular. I'd be shocked if Gmail didn't come up #1 in a search for email

That's certainly true now. But when gmail launched, it wasn't absurdly popular, it was a new contender in an established market, yet it still showed up at the top of the search results.

Comment: Re:Poe's law (Score 1) 169

by TheRaven64 (#48477707) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs
When I started using Google, its results were not better than AltaVista. The thing that caused me to switch was the fact that AltaVista took 30 seconds to load the search page and another 30 seconds to load each results page on my modem (with calls charged per minute), whereas Google loaded almost instantly. That meant that I'd find the result faster with Google, even if it happened to be lower down.

Comment: Re:How about transfer rate and reliability? (Score 1) 182

by TheRaven64 (#48473409) Attached to: Consortium Roadmap Shows 100TB Hard Drives Possible By 2025
And how does the size of a photographs compare to a 1500 page book? Modern mobile phones come with cameras that can take pictures that are 30MB each. That 1TB is enough for 35,000 photos at that size, but it doesn't take too many doublings for it to start to feel cramped. HD video can get through it very quickly and most modern phones can record at at least 1080p now.

Comment: Re:Ok, so what's the new flavor of the moment? (Score 2) 278

by TheRaven64 (#48469161) Attached to: Is Ruby On Rails Losing Steam?
As with C before it, the fast languages are the ones where people have invested a lot of time and effort in the compilers. JavaScript is pretty horrible to compile, but there's no reason why languages like Java or Ruby would be slow, other than effort. The Ruby implementation is pretty slow, but it's also pretty simple. Go and C had the advantage of being able to get fairly good performance from a simple compiler, but if you compare a modern GCC or Clang to an early C compiler you'll see a massive performance improvement. A modern JavaScript implementation employs all of the techniques from Self and Smalltalk, as well as some new tricks (in particular, loading time is far more important for JavaScript in a web browser than any other language). If you look at the WebKit JavaScript implementation, it has four different implementations (a bytecode interpreter, a simple fast JIT, an optimising JIT and a more complex optimising JIT) and promotes code to the later ones as it appears on hot paths.

Comment: Re: Everyone hates Ruby (Score 2) 278

by TheRaven64 (#48469077) Attached to: Is Ruby On Rails Losing Steam?
Indeed. I always found it entertaining to see what was going on in Ruby-land: concepts from 20-30 years ago that other languages had explored (and often discarded having discovered major issues with them) being touted as new and shiny and one of the reasons why Ruby is great. Rails itself is something of an example of this: NeXT's WebObjects (of which there's been an open source reimplementation in the form of GNUstepWeb since the mid '90s) had a very similar model and was the first (or possibly second, depending on exactly how you count, but within a couple of months either way) ever web-app development framework. 20 years later, Rails is a new and exciting way of developing data-driven web applications that is completely different from anything that's come before!

Comment: Re:Constant writes such as backups, security camer (Score 1) 428

by TheRaven64 (#48465433) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

The consumer-grade SSD in my laptop can happily handle 2-300MB/s of sustained writes (and, simultaneously, 200MB/s of sustained reads). If you're doing linear writes, then you're the optimal workload for wear levelling. You'll be hard pressed to find a drive that isn't guaranteed for 5 years of writes at the maximum throughput the drive can handle.

Although, as other posters have pointed out, you'll get better sequential write speed and reliability from a RAID array of slower disks.

Comment: Re:What about long-term data integrity? (Score 1) 428

by TheRaven64 (#48465355) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

Now what about storage durability? With 3 bits per cell, how long before the data fades?

I was under the impression that the controller would handle this. Cells are typically marked as dead once their thresholds are such that you can't guarantee that they'll hold their contents for a year (there was an interesting paper at EuroSys this year about extending the lifespan by using these cells for short-lived data and exposing that functionality to the OS). If a cell is getting close to the time when the data has been unmodified for long enough that its integrity is in danger, then the controller will use the same mechanism as wear levelling to read it and write it back (either in the same place or somewhere else). Most of the time, this will happen as part of normal wear levelling, as unmodified data are moved around to sit on cells that have been rewritten a few times and spread the wear onto some of the cells that were only written once.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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