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Comment: Floppy discs and the programmers who use them! (Score 5, Funny) 232

Many members are up in arms over the large new utility: "Programmers these days with their fancy new computers and their gigantic 'five and a quarter' new-age magnetic spinning discs are constantly looking down on us 'old-fashioned' punch-card programmers. Why can't they write a new utility that supports six rows of 8-bit EBCDIC? Laziness. This just proves that OpenBSD don't care about small, home-built systems. Sixty four bytes is big enough for anybody."

Comment: Sci-fi, non-fiction, and a classic (Score 4, Interesting) 796

by danpbrowning (#45840249) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

"The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky. Characters and conflict that will really come alive in your mind.

"Foundation" by Asimov. Start of a really good sci-fi series. I read the entire book as if computers were described in the story all along, only to realize after I was done that he wrote the book before computers were even invented. Whoa!

"Israel" by Martin Gilbert. A fact-based history starting in late 19th century using Arabic sources that will make you shudder to realize how many lies are believed about the history of the Arab/Israeli conflict as well as the sheer magnitude of the current level of anti-Israeli propaganda (i.e. "news").

"Band of Brothers" by Stephen Ambrose. A great portrait of American heroes from The Greatest Generation. Better than the TV miniseries.

Comment: Re:GO UNIONS! (Score 4, Insightful) 674

by danpbrowning (#42004945) Attached to: Hostess To Close; No More Twinkies

I'm still not convinced this was a smart move on the part of the Union, but I can certainly understand what they were thinking!

Management and their crony lawyers could have given up their entire salary and worked pro-bono all year, and it *still* wouldn't have been enough to bring the company out of the red. Employee salaries and pensions, however, are probably at *least* a billion dollars per year (if it's only a third of revenue, which I would guess is on the low end). So making cuts to salaries/pensions would actually do something.

Your article doesn't have total amounts, but let's be generous and say that management gave themselves and their crony lawyers an extra $10 million per year. Sure, it's an insult and a slap in the face, but it's not enough to really impact the bottom line significantly.

If $10 million in management excess is the reason the union employees voted the way they did, then they cut off their nose to spite their face.

Comment: Hardware standards design and engineering? (Score 1) 460

by danpbrowning (#41591565) Attached to: Linus Torvalds Will Answer Your Questions

You often criticize poor hardware designs (e.g. that ACPI is "a complete design disaster in every way") and complement good ones (AHCI). If you were given the opportunity to directly influence the design of important hardware standards in the future (let's say, if Intel gave you veto power), would you do it?

Comment: Do it for taxes, not liability (Score 1) 293

by danpbrowning (#41325117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is It a Good Idea To Incorporate?

I recommend incorporation for the tax advantages, not for the lawsuit liability protection. From what I've read, and what my CPA has told me, a lawsuit can make your personal assets just as vulnerable in a single person corporation as they are in a sole prop. The difference is that it's *possible* to make contracts between your corporation and others, rather than you personally. But just because it's possible doesn't mean it's likely -- until you build up some significant business credit rating (e.g. a good D&B report) you're going to have to personally guarantee everything (e.g. lines of credit, business visa, etc.) anyway.

Comment: Re:Your first server, in 2012 (Score 2) 152

by danpbrowning (#41320087) Attached to: Intel Confirms Decline of Server Giants

But mdadm *does* beat at least some of the enterprise $700-$1500 ones as well. My LSI MegaRAID SAS 9261-8i cost me about $900 (the battery alone was around $300) and it's slower than snot.

I was raking in 800 MB/s seq with mdadm on an empty 8-disk RAID-50 using a bunch of $30 "cheapy" SATA HBA, but when I switched the exact same drives to hardware raid, the most I could get was 250 MB/s (seq) on an empty array and 160 MB/s at 85% full. Not to mention the random read I/O of 1 MB/s (yes, one MB per second -- not a typo). This is after spending a few weeks optimizing things: stripe-aligned partitions, block-aligned stripe sizes, and both controller and disk cache enabled. The latter of which I'd prefer to have turned off (even with a battery).

I certainly wont make that mistake again. Of course, it's partly my fault for buying something without waiting for reviews (several other newegg buyers found it to be ludicrously slow as well), but I thought that after all these years it was a sure bet that *anyone* could turn out a decent hardware raid card if you give them over a grand. Apparently not. And I should have really researched the raid-5 write hole more before blowing $1200 on a supposed fix for the problem when a much better solution is to just use RAID-6 and the write intent bitmap (or ZFS).

Of course, I'm not trying to say *all* hardware raid cards are bad. I'm sure that most of them are just fine. But I just don't see any benefit to them any more. Linux has mdadm, *BSD/Solaris have ZFS. The only reason for hardware raid is if your operating system's software raid implementation is completely braindamaged. In other words, it's for Windows.

Comment: Vendors should be paying *me* to block their ads (Score 2) 716

by danpbrowning (#41091323) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: To AdBlock Or Not To AdBlock?

Many of the ads that I see make me *hate* the vendor. Before seeing the ad, I would have been fine buying from them. After, I avoid them like the plague, tell my social circle about why their ad made me dislike them, start a boycott, or maybe just leave flaming bags of doggy doo on their front steps. So by blocking ads, I'm actually boosting the vendor's sales. They should be paying *me* to block their ads.

In reality, the above is a bit silly. In most situations, the ads that drive me nuts are for products/services that I (and most in my social circle) would have never bought anyway, and the advertisers know that. The very things that make the ad so annoying to me are precisely what makes it effective on the actual target demographic.

For example, I was watching TV with some extended family when one of those supremely annoying used car dealership commercials came on, with the "M-M-M-Monster Sale! Friday! FRIDAY! Fri-day! We're going craaazy!" and some family members said something to the effect of "Sounds like a great sale! We should seriously get down there!" I was shocked.

Comment: Re:Mixed feelings (Score 1) 694

by danpbrowning (#40462335) Attached to: ADA May Force Netflix To Provide Closed Captioning On Content

I've tried the computer-translated captions on several youtube vidoes, and they are even more hilarious than normal computer translations. They don't even bear a *slight* resemblance to what is spoken in the video. But I'm sure that the videos with clear audio (i.e. approximately the same audio quality that Dragon Naturally Speaking requires) work a lot better.

You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than about 10^12 to 1. -- Ernest Rutherford