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Comment Re:Late-80s Development Process Failures (Score 1) 234

As with telephone switches, you end up needing a large fraction of your code to be monitoring the state of the system to make sure everything's working. But also, you don't get that kind of reliability by having systems that flake out for a few milliseconds - you end up with multiple systems in parallel, and you know failure probabilities of the individual systems and build the thing to try to eliminate common-mode failures. So Box A, Box B, and Box C are in parallel, and each one has alarms that detect whether the other ones are down and the backup needs to take over for the primary, so if Box A is down, Box B takes over while you fix Box A, and Box C is there to take over if Box B also fails (or was already down when Box A failed.) Or alternatively, you've got an A/B pair, and a C/D pair, and if A fails, the C/D pair takes over while you fix A, reducing the risk that B will fail before you've done that.

We were part of the project because we're good at systems integration and government projects, but also because we had processor chips that did trig functions really really fast (for late-80s definitions of fast.) Turns out that the data was all coming from sensors with 12-bit A/D converters, and the fastest way to do trig functions on them isn't a floating-point chip - it's a lookup table :-)

Comment Obviously the fault of Gay Marriage (Score 1) 286

All those gay folks getting married were clearly the reason 20% of the straight adults in the US were on that site, plus some number of gay people (not identified how many of them were married to people of the opposite sex, vs. single or "it's complicated".) (Though some non-trivial fraction of the customers claimed to be single, and just looking to hook up.)

As an old straight married guy, who was not one of AM's customers, I'd like to remind the Republicans that lots of their folks were, and maybe they were talking to the wrong people about the sanctity of marriage.

Comment Yup. Bush is Mr. Military-Industrial Complex (Score 1) 494

He's in bed with pretty much all the same advisors his brother was, and many of the same as his father was. He's the smarter brother, but Dubya's the older brother and may have spoiled it for him. The other likely candidates are Walker and Rubio, and just maybe Kasich will make it into the Final Four.

Comment Jeb ENTIRELY gets that (Score 1) 494

Jeb gets it, Walker gets it, Rubio gets it but has to deal with it a bit more, but the major candidates all know that they have to let the loudmouth right-wingers say all the nasty things that they'll pretend not to have been encouraging, because this is the part of the race for bashing Democrats and raising money and manpower from the angry people (as well as quietly raising money from the rich people.)

This is the part of the game they WANT Trump for, and Huckabee, and Cruz, and let them play off against Carson and Fiorina and Chris Christie and Rand Paul. He's playing to the GOP audience, and only secondarily to the National audience.

Comment GOP Party Machine's MVP (Score 1) 494

The GOP needs to keep all the right-wingers busy and angry and giving money and bashing Democrats at their state and local levels and in Congress so they can play the long game, in terms of sustained majorities and control or gridlock of Congress and state-level gerrymandering, and they don't want to lose them in the long time between now and when they pick their real candidate. Trump's job is to keep the troops entertained and get them engaged, insult the Democrats in ways the Party Machine Candidates can pretend were somebody else's fault, and kick off a year-long circus. It might end up like last election, with the Official Candidate getting far in the lead too early in the process and opening his mouth too often, or it might go down to the wire with the convention actually deciding between Bush, Rubio, and Walker, but for now they've got Trump to get everybody back bashing Hillary for as long as possible.

Comment Re:Trump will not be president (Score 1) 494

Definitely not Trump. It's either Jeb! or Walker or maybe Rubio. (We don't need an other Bush Presidency, and we certainly don't need another "Walker/Bush" either :-)

Sure, Hillary's no nicer than most of the Republicans, and we don't really need another Clinton Presidency either, but I'm hoping the country's dislike of the very dislikeable Republican choices will get her in, plus she really is an effective politician, and would have been President in 2008 if Obama hadn't shown up.

I'm a Libertarian, so I get to pretend to be neutral here, but the Republicans would be even worse than Hillary, and there were lots of reasons for preferring Candidate Obama to her, even though the President Obama who showed up to do the job was nowhere as good on policy as Candidate Obama. I'll vote for a Republican for some office higher than dog-catcher after they've cleaned up all the corruption of the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Norquist/Koch years, and that's not going to be any time soon. If my party can't get its act together enough to run a candidate, California's solidly enough Democratic that I'll vote for the Greens or Peace&Freedom or write in Joe Biden before voting for Hillary, but otherwise I'd hold my nose and vote for her the way I did for Walter Mondale (:-)

Comment Deez Nutz is just as likely as Trump (Score 1) 494

Trump's not the candidate; he's the opening clown act for the circus.

Jeb! not only is showing his support for the spook establishment by coming out against encryption, but he's also lined up with just about all of Dubya's policy cronies, many of whom were his dad's cronies. But he's unfortunately as realistic as anybody. Walker's a stooge for the Koch Boys, and also has a good chance (aargh!) Rubio might be sellable as well. Kasich is currently second-tier, but might have a chance later in the process. Cruz pisses off too many people in the party by being very much his own guy, and not in a sellable "maverick" way. (My perspective on Fiorina is a Silicon Valley local "we saw how she botched things at HP" plus "boy was she an annoying candidate for Senator against Boxer", though while I'm not taking her seriously, the other choices are all pretty sad too; if she's on the ticket it's as VP, probably with Rubio.)

Comment Trump: Opening Clown Act in Primary Circus (Score 1) 494

Trump's job this election is about the same as last Presidential election - he's the opening clown act who's there to kick off a really long circus show, and he's getting the crowd riled up to be excited when the next clown car rolls in before the lion tamers and elephants do their act. He's not the guy on the trapeze, he's not the ringmaster, but he's the opening act. He's a good clown, sold them on the job last time, and they invited him back.

Last election's circus was about telling the Tea Party that they weren't going to get one of their favorites or even anybody from their wing of the party, because none of them were electable, and they were going to have to vote for somebody from the Corporate Party Machine Wing, but their participation was appreciated and the party wanted them to spend a year bashing Democrats before the real candidates had to behave themselves in public. (Unfortunately for them, Romney never quite got the "behaving himself" part down, because he didn't always realize he was in public rather than among friends who'd appreciate remarks about the 47%.) There was really only one other electable candidate, Jon Huntsman, but Romney already had the "Billionaire Mormon Ex-Governor" slot lined up, and he'd shown the party machine that he was happy to play their games, while Huntsman was too independent.

Comment Wristwatches! (Score 1) 29

Flat screens are fine; reading on curved surfaces is tricky. I've got one that tells me the time and date, and runs for YEARS on a single charge!

Back when such things were new and would have been shiny if they weren't black, my wife gave me a Casio GPS wrist-watch. It was amazingly cool to have (not that it worked that well as a GPS), but it was really about as big and clunky a thing as I'd want to wear on my wrist. Most of that was about thickness, but anything bigger than about 1x3 is annoying if I'm wearing short sleeves, and even wristwatches can't get much bigger if I'm wearing long sleeves. I've got a couple of other semi-fancy watches that can tell me the phase of the moon or the tides in addition to time and date, but realistically don't wear them that often. (The tides one is useful for planning surfing, but unfortunately isn't actually waterproof enough to wear while doing so. :-)

But these days, I'm not only old enough to have worn wristwatches for some years (though I seldom bother now), but I also need reading glasses. I'm thinking of getting a (gasp!) analog watch, that tells time with a dial! (Ok, it might be a digital emulation of an analog display, and I'm not going to be retro enough to get one that actually needs winding, but I probably wore digital watches for 30 years, since the LCD ones came out.)

Comment Filesystems with Smaller USB Flash Cache? (Score 1) 131

Sure, I can understand why, if you're building a ZFS server with tens of terabytes of disk and tens of GB of RAM, you can dedicate an SSD to accelerating it. But more commonly, I'm using a laptop or older desktop that doesn't really have enough horsepower to do that, and may not have room for both an SSD and a spinning disk, and I'd like to just throw a random USB stick on their to use for caching. Windows had something like that for a while (never really helped much, and now that my work laptop has an SSD it doesn't use it at all), but is there some way to accelerate my boring desk-side lab box at work by plugging in a 4-8GB flash stick? Or to accelerate the wimpy server we're using for OpenStack?

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll