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Comment I'd like to take a moment to express appreciation (Score 4, Interesting) 47

for the maintainers. The bootloader is a not particularly glamorous problem to work on, but it's critical to everyone and because it involves differing interpretations of standards by manufacturers and various OS developers it had to have been a headache.

Of course later projects had the luxury of a clean sheet, hindsight, and more hardware resources, but without a solid bootloader in the early says of Linux, history would have been very different.

Comment Or ... (Score 4, Insightful) 45

they could just give their environmental regulators the authority to enforce their existing environmental laws.

In the film Under the Dome, Chinese journalist Chai Jing astonishes a Chinese audience with a film clip from California where Cal DoT stops a truck and actually checks that it has all the mandatory safety and emissions equipment. That never happens in China. China has tough emissions standards on paper, but the law is written so that the regulators don't have any enforcement powers. So Chinese manufacturers simply slap stickers on vehicles claiming they have all the mandatory emissions equipment without installing any of it. Technically this is a crime, but the law's written so there's literally nothing anyone can do about it.

And if you don't think environmental regulations make a difference, this is what New York looked like in 1970. Note that that isn't a sepia tinted black and white photo, it's true color. Granted it shows an exceptionally bad day, but before the Clean Air Act got strengthened in the mid 70s bad smog was pretty common. If you look at pictures of American cities from the 70s you'd think that photo technology of the day put a blue or yellow haze on stuff in the distance (like this). It wasn't the film, cities actually looked that way a lot of the time.

Predicting bad pollution days isn't "fighting" pollution, it's living with it. If you want to fight pollution you've got to stop people from polluting. You've got to catch them at it, fine them, and in some cases throw them in jail. Pollution like they have in China is nothing short of manslaughter on a national scale. 1.6 million people die every year from it.

Comment My bucket (of money) list (Score 1) 715

1. I'd pay the folks at the Genode project whatever it took to produce a live CD bootable image, and keep them doing it with every new release. (genode.org if you care)
2. I'd see if the silly idea I had in college for an FPGA replacement on steroids would actually work by designing the chip and having it fabbed... then fixing the bugs until it worked right. (bitgrid.blogspot.com if you care)
3. I'd redo the house, install enough solar to power everything, and build a laboratory with a machine shop.
4. I'd build my own locomotive to run out at the Heston Steam Museum (either diesel electric, or just electric)
4. I'd dig to the bottom of the cold fusion thing, and see if it really works.

Comment Skydiving More (Score 1) 715

Mostly just more skydiving and less working for douschebags. Having to work 40 hours a week to support my hobby, I've got several more years flying a wingsuit and jumping from a plane before I feel comfortable getting into BASE. And most of the good BASE jumping is Europe. Barring accidents, I think I could easily spend a couple of decades at this hobby, even if that was all I was doing.

Comment Assembly (Score 2) 380

As languages further abstract away the underlying hardware, it's helpful to understand how it all works. Especially if you've never had to step into an assembly language debugger. The most likely (and probably relevant) architecture would be x86/x86-64, followed closely by some variation of ARM. IA64 isn't relevant, but if you read up on a little bit of it (there was a series of articles on Raymond Chen's blog a few weeks back), you'll learn about an interesting take on a processor architecture (which offloaded much of the optimization work to the compiler; it was also heavily slanted towards parallel processing unlike x86).

Comment Re:Jets are much slower than A-10 bullets (Score 1) 427

Actually, even fighters from 1950's can fly at mach 2, BUT:

Actually, the fastest jet aircraft ever built were (at least designed) in the 1950s - all current planes (that we know about for sure) are sluggards by comparison: YF-12A/SR-71, B-70 Valkyrie, B-58 Hustler, the entire Century series of fighters, especially the F-104 Starfighter. That's not even counting the amazing stuff that was on the drawing board but never produced due to the advent of high-altitude missiles - the B-70 is arguably right on that cusp, but I'm talking about Mach 3+ planes like the XF-108 Rapier (intended to intercept a Soviet analog of the B-70), which did influence the later A-5 Vigilante.)

Even as a *bomber* the B-58 was a fair fraction as fast as the SR-71 - my Dad and a buddy were in marginally supersonic jet fighters when they snuck up on one near FortWorth (home of the Convair plant that built the B-58) and pulled up alongside, giving him a "bang-bang, you're dead" hand signal. The B-58 pilot turned first to one of them, then the other, waving "bye-bye", and all three planes went to full throttle. Dad said the fireballs from the B-58's four afterburning engines collapsed into one and then disappeared from sight nearly as fast as the image collapsed to a dot on an old CRT television, and he and his wingman were left looking at each other across the empty space where the aptly named Hustler had been only moments before.

BTW, some of these planes suffered from the runaway systems complexity and cost that will doom the F-35, but at least they were good at their one job, unlike the F-35 which excels at nothing...

Comment Electric Motorcycles (Score 2) 121

I'm eagerly anticipating affordable electric motorcycles.

I think Brammo and Zeros are rated at ~ 200-500 MPG equivalent?

That's way better mileage than even a fully loaded (everybody standing) bus gets in peak hours.

The problem with the electric motorcycles today is the price tag. The prices have dropped recently (from, say, $19,000 to $14,000, with ~$12,000 for very low end bikes that can't go very far,) but they need to go down further and increase in range.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 159

I don't mind if the download process is gated to user authentication, but I'm troubled at using online authentication for rights management for single player, offline games. GoG.com will let me redownload my media over if I ever lose the file and doesn't force me to use some weirdo client wrapper/launcher/DRM thing just to make games go, but IMO the over-reliance PC gaming has placed on Steam is a serious miscalculation on the part of gamers and developers everywhere.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 159

I was on a 19.2 dialup connection when Half-Life 2 was released. The "special edition DVD" version of Half-Life 2 that I paid $70 for also didn't have anything on it but a Steam installer and a bunch of artwork. As I recall the total install size was five or six GB, but that would have required weeks of connections and reconnections to obtain on the link I had available.

I've still never played Half-Life 2.

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