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Comment: Re:Uh ... it's still carbon neutral, isn't it? (Score 5, Informative) 158

by caseih (#46802189) Attached to: Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

No it's not that simple. Plants require nutrients from the soil, which have to be replenished each year[1] partly by natural in-soil processes that break down residue from previous crops, but mostly from the application of synthetic fertilizer, which is synthesized using a process that burn natural gas. See the wikipedia article on the Haber Process.

Also there are fossil fuels used in the planting, cultivation, harvest, and irrigation of the crop.

If corn could fix its own nitrogen like legumes do, it might be a lot closer to carbon neutral.

[1] In many parts of the world, including the Brazillian rainforest, farmers are actively "mining" nutrients from the soil. The soil left from burning the rainforest is extremely rich in nutrients, allowing intensive farming for a few years. After a while, though, the soil is depleted of nutrients and organic matter and yields drop. Sadly many farms just burn down more forest. Some methods of farming, including zero-till, try to foster natural soil processes to produce more nitrogen in natural ways, reducing synthetic inputs.

Comment: Re:Application and driver compatibility (Score 4, Insightful) 245

by caseih (#46679919) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: Will You Need the Windows XP Black Market?

Do you actually have experience or are you just making things up? Are are you willing to both write a driver and port the software for me that controls a chemistry instrument that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, uses some proprietary PCI card (or worse yet, ISA)? The instrument runs absolutely fine now, and will for years (I managed one instrument controlled by a Mac from the mid 80s), but would either cost a lot to upgrade to Windows 7, or require a new instrument. Instrumentation companies are like this. They do operate stupidly, are stuck in the 80s, and I'd love to smack them, but like it or not, in vertical industries, the choices are few and far between, and *very* expensive.

So what do you do? The hard part is some of these instruments generate a lot of data and require access to network servers. Dedicated, firewalled LANs will suffice here. Windows XP is going to be running for another ten years or more.

The whole problem revolves around the fact that in many industries computers are treated as "hardware" not "software." I mean you only replace a pump's pressure switch when it fails. We in the computer industry have been successful in pushing our technology into all kinds of places where it's invisible and just seen as a "controller" or a "switch" and treated as such. And it's not entirely the fault of the users of these devices either. The thought of securing and updating the firmware on these devices has really only been something anyone worried about recently. When was the last time you did a firmware update to your lawn sprinkler controller? Add internet capabilities to it, and suddenly it's a security hole requiring weekly software updates. How does this relate to XP? Well for a lot of people and industries, their instruments and devices are in their mind much like the sprinkler controller in your garage. They are just tools and they don't think about the software security, updates, EOL, etc. They've never had to before. It's a brave new world we've started, and this Windows XP EOL issue is just the beginning of our problems with this new "internet of things" idea. Which is brilliant, but fraught with all kinds of danger.

Comment: Poster asking about GUI frontend software (Score 3, Interesting) 187

by caseih (#46671259) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: User-Friendly Firewall For a Brand-New Linux User?

Many of the posts so far direct the original poster to dedicated firewall appliances or distributions. If I read the summary correctly, the OP is simply looking for a good GUI to manipulate the firewall rules built into the kernel of all modern Linux distributions.

I can't vouch for any of them, but GUI frontends include guardog, lokkit, firestarter, and probably others. They are all in various states of development and maintenance.

Part of what the user wants to do (firewall per app) wasn't possible in the past with iptables (per-gid blocking was easy), but I believe it's now possible. A primitive daemon, called Leopard Flower, seems to offer this functionality: http://leopardflower.sourcefor...

From what I can see, the most promising, integrated, easy-to-use firewalling GUI software going forward is Fedora's firewalld and it's accompanying GUI. I know firewalld is available on Ubuntu (and its command-line interface). I'm not sure about the GUI part. Perhaps someone familiar wit Ubuntu can comment. Here's an article on installing it in Mint, so I assume it's similar in Ubuntu:

From what I can see, firewalld and firewall-config hit the sweet spot for most desktop users. I'd never use it on my router, but for a desktop, it works pretty well and is under active development. I imagine it will sport per-application feature soon, if it doesn't already.

Comment: Re:Where are the farmers? (Score 1) 987

by caseih (#46627509) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

Farmers tend to be quite politically conservative for a number of reasons. I suppose part of it is because things like property rights and gun rights are a lot closer to home. When all you own is a home in a lot in suburbia, neither issue is really that meaningful to you. Also, as with most people, farmers' own experiences tend to be given more credence than just about any other force, including science. So a farmer who sees his entire year wiped out by a hail storm has a hard time understanding how man has any influence at all over nature; he seems too puny. This kind of puts farmers in a tough spot, when it comes to public opinion. On the one hand they want the public to learn about the science behind herbicides (IE many herbicides are quite safe), but when they deny climate science it doesn't look good. Also some farmers might think they'll even benefit from a warmer, wetter climate. But in many parts of the world, the very poorest of all (including farmers) are going to suffer with flood and famine.

The way to get farmers on board is explain climate change in terms they can understand. Increased likelihood of droughts, increased likelihood of storms, increased chances of weather extremes (hot and cold). Farmers in my area look outside at the spring snow and say, haha told you so, while nervously hoping warm weather comes soon so crops can be planted. They don't understand that climate change is going to make things like spring more and more unpredictable.

Comment: Watch "how it's made" first (Score 4, Insightful) 400

Seriously before we go off in a discussion of how 3d printing will change everything, it'd be helpful to first understand how modern things are actually made, currently. When people talk about printing car tires, I just laugh. They don't have a clue what's inside a tired. I highly recommend watching "how it's made." then we can talk about what 3d printing is good for. I think 3d printing will revolutionize things but maybe not in the way most people think.

Creating moulds, tooling, prototypes, one offs, that's where 3d printing is hitting its stride. Or maybe structural plastic manufacturing. But complicated items like tires always will be complicated involving many materials and many construction techniques and steps.

Comment: Re:Shh... (Score 1) 202

by caseih (#46597889) Attached to: KDE and Canonical Developers Disagree Over Display Server

You're misreading what I said. Wayland absolutely is going to have to have to have remoting capabilities to gain traction. And note I said, "per-window" remoting. In other words the forwarding you talk about will be coming in Wayland. It's not just desktop in a window we're talking about.

And you should do a few benchmarks. X11 over SSH is horrible slow. A lot of round-trips to the server, etc. And really, under the hood, it's just a sucky version of VNC (got that spelt right finally) behind each window you pull across via ssh. Almost all of what you see is simply bitmaps being passed over the wire. But it's worse than that. Because of the nature of the X server and it's IPC, there are a lot of round trips to the server before the bitmap is even pushed across, and a lot of dupicated redrawing, etc. This makes any modern X11 app virtually useless over ssh on anything slower than a LAN.

There's nothing in RDP that restricts you to a desktop in a window. It can and does do individual windows and apps, if the server part supports it. And guess what, it's way faster than X11 tunneled. And it can pass files and printers too.

Of course Wayland doesn't define the remoting method. Something even better could be created.

Seriously watch that video of Daniel Stone.

Comment: Re:Is it really that costly? (Score 0) 423

by caseih (#46597273) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

I think you kind of gave away you age there with your comments (20 years wasn't that long ago). But rather than mod you as troll for completely missing the point of the OP, I'll answer your questions:

No we don't drive on a surface un-fathomable just 20 years ago. What do you think roads were made out of back in the ancient times of the 1990s.

No cars haven't increased in power/efficiency by "orders of magnitude" in the last 20 years (you didn't say 20 years here, granted). Not even close. Do you understand what "orders of magnitude" means? Since the dawn of the automobile age, average car HP has increased by about one order of magnitude, and has pretty much plateaued, mainly because it doesn't make much sense for most cars to have much more horsepower than they currently have. In terms of raw horsepower, IC engines were developing hundreds even thousands of horsepower in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, though not in everyday cars. Efficiency has probably doubled, tripled, or quadrupled, but I'm hard pressed to find a single order of magnitude there.

Your paper cup analogy sort of works, though. Software is hard to get right, and we're really bad at writing it, so the best we can do is make paper cups. That's not likely to change either.

Comment: Re:Shh... (Score 1) 202

by caseih (#46570941) Attached to: KDE and Canonical Developers Disagree Over Display Server

Think you need to watch Daniel Stone's presentation on why X11, well, sucks:

Long story, X11 has been hacked to add things like GLX and composite, and these things go around the X protocol essentially. X is pretty much a complicated and poorly-working IPC nowadays. Yet even if you removed all the cruft, you'd be left with the fact that X makes a very poor IPC mechanism. Also with GLX and compositing, X is no longer network transparent. It's network-capable, but it's not transparent in the same way it used to be with X primitives crossing the wire. In most cases, especially with compositing, the X is network-transparent in the same way VLC is. It's simply sending graphics over the wire. And there are better ways to do it than how X does it. Heck, VLC is better (don't believe me? try Xvncserver... it's quite fast since it knows what to redraw over VLC). RDP is a whole lot better also. And X's asynchronous nature means we still have tearing and stuttering after all these years.

Really, once window remoting is in Wayland, X will be completely unnecessary.

Comment: Re:beyond funny (Score 1) 117

by caseih (#46449081) Attached to: Interviews: ESR Answers Your Questions

Maybe I'm misreading your tone here, and you really are trying to be funny. If you're not, then what are you talking about? Climate change denial? Doesn't appear to me to be the case:

Pretty clear explanations on his site of why human factors are contributing to global climate change.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?