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Comment Zero-days are not "back doors". (Score 3, Insightful) 58 58

Zero-days are not "back doors".

Unless the zero day flaw was put there intentionally, as back doors are put there intentionally, a zero day flaw is not a back door, it's just some incompetent who should be employed asking me "Do you want fries with that?", rather than employed writing security sensitive software. In other words: your average bad programmer.

Comment Re:Passed data with a ton of noise? (Score 1) 282 282

Yeah, if you're in an exceptionally noisy environment with a long cable run, it might make sense to buy a more expensive cable that features things like additional shielding, thicker gauge wires, etc...(or just go fiber).

Otherwise the ECC does it's job and there's no practical difference between the cheapest wire possible and the most expensive.

Hell, audiophiles can't tell when the testers are using coat hangers as speaker wires, and that's an actual analogue signal!

But the cases where a decently constructed commodity cable won't do but the 'premium' will are generally limited.

In many cases with 'premium' cables, you end up with cable and connectors so heavy that that causes the very problems than the cable was supposed to solve!

I'll admit, I've spent double the money on 'better than the cheapest I can get' cables on occasion, but that's usually because I had broken the cable through use/abuse that was there originally, so getting a 'tougher' cable made sense.

Comment Re:Convenient (Score 4, Informative) 101 101

It is interesting that when there is a limited broad commercial viability, the "drug" designers and chemists are able to whip up a cure for something in under a year.

Problem: They've been working on the Ebola vaccine for a lot longer than a year. What really happened is that they had a vaccine in the early testing stages, with something like an estimated 5 years of testing left before it could be commercially deployed. Then we have a relatively huge ebola outbreak, panic sets in and they grant a waiver for the testing. Basically, they had enough information that 'We think this will probably help you survive exposure to Ebola. We're pretty sure it won't hurt you'. So they administer the vaccine in a sort of accelerated study, because it might save lives. Turns out it probably did.

Outside of an Ebola outbreak, the risks weren't worth it. During one? Worth it.

It actually reminds me of the first vaccination methods - Variolation. Fascinating history. Various versions around, but had a top end of 1% chance of death. Yes, the vaccination itself killed 1% of those treated. But it was against smallpox - with a death rate of 30% during epidemics. As long as the chances of catching smallpox was above 4%, it was 'worth it' to variate. And in Europe, the chances were a lot higher than 4%. Even royalty variolated their children.

As for cancer - apples and oranges dude. The problem with cancer is that it's actually lots of different problems, all under the same name. Causes, effects, treatments, all different.

We've developed lots of cures for various cancers, just not all of them yet.

Comment Re:Passed data with a ton of noise? (Score 5, Informative) 282 282

Okay, digital data is supposed to be easy 1 and 0 communication. But when you get down to the physical media, said binary digits are represented by physical phenomenon. So +3.3V = 1, 0V = 0 type stuff.

Voltage, resistance, EM waves, magnetics, etc... You're actually back in the world of Analogue, and here you have to worry about noise.

When you're moving data as fast as you can, or storing it as densely as you can, interference becomes more likely. For example, you'd think that +3V =1 and 0V = 0 would be easy, but when you're flipping the signal as fast as you can, you end up with the cable possibly acting like a transformer or capacitor. So the voltage might run a bit higher, a bit lower, a bit faster, a bit slower, etc...

Radio transmissions, Solar noise, close by electrical cables, other data cables with parallel runs, etc... The world is 'noisy' even if you're using wires.

That's why you have error correction in digital communications. So the 'occasional' bit can become flipped and the system transparently recovers it, and you get your transmitted data, identical from the other side.

Comment Re:100% Success in trials... (Score 1) 101 101

Given the size of the trial, it's really unlikely that it prevents less than 90% of the cases of Ebola that would otherwise develop. So while I agree that 100% continuing is all that likely, especially if you start including immune suppressed people such as the HIV positive, those with cancer, transplants, young children, the elderly, etc... Still, if you vaccinate 100% of those eligible for it and it provides 95% immunity to Ebola, odds are the vulnerable won't be exposed at all, because you'll have something like 5% of the flare-ups from a wild source, and such flareups should mostly be individual, not thousands.

On the other hand, thinking about Ebola and vaccines reminded me that vaccines have made an even deadlier disease less problematic - Rabies. It wasn't until a relatively short time ago that we had any survivors from the symptomatic stage, and even then getting those requires putting them into a medical coma for a while.

But with the vaccine we realistically save thousands of human lives every year in the USA alone, and that's with mostly vaccinating animals, not people, and only vaccinating humans who we suspect have been exposed or work in a higher exposure risk area.

Comment Re:How long and how varied (Score 2) 101 101

Having a 100% proof vaccine for Ebola is nice, as long as it works for the majority of strains and also lasts for life.

Not necessarily. I'd say it remains 'nice' even if it only lasts for 6 months, so long as it works on 'most' strains, but said strains are identifiable.

The critical part here is that it works when given close to exposure. That makes it like the rabies vaccine. Ebola outbreak? You hit everybody in the village up with it, and it remains at 1-2 cases, not hundreds.

If it's 100% effective for life with 1 shot, it goes way beyond 'nice'. As such it would beat most vaccines today, as most vaccines are: Only about 90% effective, require multiple shots to reach that effectiveness, only last a limited period of time, etc...

Flu - annual(though that's for a wide number of varieties), Tetanus - 10 years, Hep A - 2 does, Hep B - 3 doses, Chickenpox - 2 doses, etc...

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 2) 96 96

In absolute numbers, more white people are shot by police than black people, but the former also make up a significantly larger chunk of the population (63% white vs 12% black).

But if you're going to make everyone look at it through the lens of skin pigment, then you also have to do what the producer of those statistics did: take into account the demographics surrounding high crime rates. Police shootings rarely, rarely occur outside the context of the cops interacting with someone in the middle of a violent or headed-towards-violent situation. Though the media is focused on things like that idiot campus cop who shot the guy trying to speed away from a traffic stop, that's NOT the sort of thing that makes up, in any meaningful way, the larger body of numbers. Take into account the wildly higher rates of violent domestic disputes, basic street crime, robberies, and (if nothing else) gang warfare, and the percentage of police shootings involving people of one skin tone relative to the percentage of that skin tone in the population takes a back seat to what that percentage is actually doing when it comes to the sorts of activities that bring wary cops rushing to the scene.

If one insists on comparing skin color percentages in the wider population, compare skin color percentages involved in violent crime before doing math about how often cops have violent encounters with a given group. Or, skip the whole skin color thing, and focus on geography. In places where cops have a hugely higher rate of violent criminals and behavior to deal with, they end up having to use force more often than in places where the population is much less routinely violent.

Comment Re:Percentages? (Score 1) 349 349

That isn't relevant. The named numbers are usefull in his cause, so they are presented as fact. That happens everywhere - remember the "indisputable" proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

To be entirely fair there, the U.S. and Britain knew he had them because we sold them to him in the first place.

Comment Re:Amazon Prime (Score 1) 198 198

No, actually. I'm just describing something I pay for, and which I like. I know that's not fashionable, but it actually is possible to like a company and it's products/services. On balance, I think Amazon is a remarkable operation. Not shy about it. The more people who check them out and also use their services, the better it gets for me. I generally - though not always - like what Bezos is doing outside the context of Amazon directly.

Comment Re:awkward! (Score 1) 179 179

Nonsense. It is true, however, that Windows and Linux use different (overlapping) subsets of the SATA (and SCSI) command sets and, in particular, use very different sequences of commands in common use. If you test heavily with Windows and not with Linux, then you may find that there are code paths in your firmware that Linux uses a lot but which are mostly untested.

Comment Re:Difficulty (Score 1) 260 260

The 'tray' that Raymond describes in his second article looks very much like the Shelf from OPENSTEP 4.1, which was released just after Windows 95. I wonder if some of the NeXT people were playing with early betas of Windows 95 and, as their company CEO later quipped, started their photocopiers...

Comment Re:Major change? No. (Score 1) 260 260

Win32s was released for Windows 3.1, but it just added some win32 APIs, not the UI. The UI was first introduced in the Chicago betas, which were eventually released as Windows 95. NT4 was released shortly afterwards and wasn't a bad OS, but hampered by the lack of plug-and-play support and perpetually having old versions of DirectX.

Comment Re:MenuChoice and HAM (1992) (Score 5, Informative) 260 260

There are a few differences. First, symlinks are a property of the filesystem. This means that the normal filesystem APIs just work with them and you need special APIs for things that care about whether it's a link or not. In contrast, shortcuts are just another kind of file and everything that wants to follow them needs to know what the target is. Second, shortcuts contain a lot more information than just a path: they include the path to the destination file, an icon, the set of command-line arguments to pass, and some other flags. For example, I used to have a load of different shortcuts to the WinQuake (and, later, GLQuake) executable that all had different -game flags, for launching different mods. Many of them also had different icons, if the mod came with its own icon. You can't do that with symlinks.

The closest thing to symlinks on *NIX systems is .desktop files.

It is better to never have tried anything than to have tried something and failed. - motto of jerks, weenies and losers everywhere