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Comment: Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (Score 2) 272

by bwcbwc (#48249361) Attached to: A Library For Survival Knowledge

A lot of assumptions in both of these models. And climate change is only one failure mode of civilization that could be applicable here.
1) Global Thermonuclear War
2) Global Pandemic
3) extinction event (meteor/volcanic eruption)
4) mass civil uprisings from the 99%

This type of device _would_ be viable for specific locations where survival becomes an issue - say refugee camps or other civilian groups in war zones/famine zones, etc.

Comment: Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (Score 2) 272

by bwcbwc (#48249325) Attached to: A Library For Survival Knowledge

You're assuming that an apocalyptic event would take hundreds (or at least dozens) of years before people were able to figure out how to turn these things on. There are plenty of plausible situations where the infrastructure of civilization is gone, but the relics could still work - given enough power (massive global "super-Ebola" outbreak, for example).

OTOH, you don't want to have to spend a lot of time post-apocalypse maintaining one of these. The necessity of scrounging for acid-free paper or building and maintaining a lead-acid battery and generating infrastructure make this more of a tool for groups who already have power and/or paper available for other needs.

Comment: Re:Time for a revolution (Score 1) 424

by bwcbwc (#48234821) Attached to: Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required

Trusting in Bitcoin to avoid civil forfeiture is like trusting in TOR to avoid NSA or FBI surveillance. It's necessary but not sufficient by itself. The same kind of network analysis that the NSA does from telecom and ISP metadata can be done with transfers between Bitcoin wallets and location-based data between the computers handling the transfer.

Comment: Re:Please Microsoft... (Score 1) 347

by bwcbwc (#48211433) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone


IT isn't "overhead", it's what keeps modern businesses running. If an IT dept. is being treated as overhead or janitors, that means that business is just treading water on existing tech and is failing to take advantage of new capabilities. If you're in IT and being treated like a janitor, you probably don't want to invest in the company stock plan.

OTOH, I've also run into some IT departments where the development teams think they are gods and treat the test teams and operations teams with the same condescension that comes from PHBs. "Teamwork" is such an inane term, but if you don't treat your co-workers with respect (at least outside of your inner thoughts) it has an erosive effect on your company's success. This applies both to the IT user who f-s up their computer AND to the guy who has to deal with that user both to fix the immediate issue and (with luck) educate the user just enough to prevent future disasters.

Comment: Re:Please Microsoft... (Score 3, Insightful) 347

by bwcbwc (#48211397) Attached to: The Classic Control Panel In Windows May Be Gone

Yeah, if they reorganize the "PC Settings" into categories where we have to read the minds of the MS development team to figure out what category the applet runs under,it'll be another C-F. How many IT folks here _don't_ switch the current control panel to "Classic" view on Win Server 2003/2008 or Win7? Don't force folks into an extra layer of memorization to figure out how to get to the WIndows Services dialog, etc.

Comment: Re:Conflict of interest is just what they do (Score 2) 83

by bwcbwc (#48178129) Attached to: NSA CTO Patrick Dowd Moonlighting For Private Security Firm

Actually, if this is truly a private company, he's in clear violation of Federal anti-corruption laws. At least that's what they keep hammering at us in the corporate "pin the liability on the employee" training.

From my POV the more likely explanation is that "private" security firm is an NSA front. I doubt this company would get much business outside the US, with so many NSA ties already known. So my guess is that they use it to funnel NSA technologies and data to other government agencies that can't obtain them (legally) by other means..

Comment: Re:Are you patenting software? (Score 1) 224

by bwcbwc (#48162495) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Handling Patented IP In a Job Interview?

A "Process" is slightly more concrete than an algorithm. An algorithm is pure computer science without the context of a use case. Software patents on a general purpose computer are too close to algorithms because a general purpose computer is a tool designed to convert any algorithm into a process for use in a particular domain. So once an algorithm is described, putting it on a computer is too "obvious" under patent law.

A patentable process was originally a physical process, frequently an industrial process.This was then expanded to include business processes ( 1997?). Software patents snuck in under the business process domain as more and more business processes were computerized.

Comment: Parking lots (Score 1) 237

by bwcbwc (#48148133) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

Regardless of the power output, covering parking lots with solar panels at about a 70-80% coverage rate is a win-win. Provide weather coverage and shade for the parking lot patrons, harvests energy that would otherwise heat the asphalt. and the incomplete coverage allows enough light through to avoid the need for artificial lighting during daylight.

Comment: Re:Hoax (Score 1) 986

Yeah, this is the biggest fly in the ointment for me. He obviously has some investors to produce the devices that are being tested. If the investors were legit and not in on the scam, the best way for them to recoup their investment would be to fund building around 100 of the devices and actually put them to commercial use at a rate that undercuts electricity costs in Italy by a significant amount (say 20%).

There's a small possibility that he doesn't have enough investors/funding to pull this off, but I'm an engineer. If the device can't be produced and sold at a reasonable price, it isn't commercially feasible -- even if it turns out his device can make energy.

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for someone else.