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Comment: Re:What? (Score 2) 142

by darkonc (#49406509) Attached to: Microsoft Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Apple definitely succeeded. By 1990, Mac was the de-facto standard for desktop publishing. Even many of the the biggest Window/DOS newsletters were being created on the Mac. When Windows95 came out, the mantra was "Almost as good as a Mac". Microsoft won the desktop war with anticompetitive practices, not quality.

I remember around 1989, a print shop in Edmonton was broken into one night. The thieves stole all of the shop's Macintosh computers -- even the ones in the back room, but didn't touch the many PCs.

If it wasn't for stiff competition from Apple, it's probable that Microsoft wouldn't have introduced a Graphical desktop until well into the '90s. Apple, The Amiga, Sun, SGI and many other companies led Microsoft in the graphical desktop field. Microsoft was very much a follower, not a leader.

Comment: Re:Good. +1 for Google. (Score 1) 176

by darkonc (#49391737) Attached to: Chinese Certificate Authority CNNIC Is Dropped From Google Products
The warning about self-signed certs is just that. If you know that you're talking to the right site, you can add the cert to your trusted list.

"trusted" root certs are organizations that you are supposed to be able to trust to be proper with the certs that they give out. CNNIC is (properly) being removed from that list. The point isn't to 'punish' their customers. It's to protect the rest of us. If CNNIC manages to convince Google (and others) that they've fixed the problem anf won't let it happen again, they'll be admitted to the trusted group, again.

Comment: Only if they were taking their time. (Score 1) 576

It took NASA about 20 years to find 90% of NEO asteroids bigger than 1KM in diameter. and most of those more than 100M... so if The Aliens have been stalking earth for the last decade trying to match orbit, and have a ship more than 1KM in diameter, then there's a 50% chance that we've mistaken them for an asteroid.

Comment: Re:WTF - What they WANT us to think.. (Score 5, Insightful) 319

They're taking those rights away from all of us. Islamists are the excuse for that. If the general public realized that these restrictions are ultimately gonna bite all of us on the ass, they'd never be allowed to pass these laws.

You always need an identifiable "other" to justify laws that remove rights from all of us. In th McCarthy era it was 'the communist threat'. In Nazi Germany it was "The jewish threat". (then communists, gays, Gypsies, dissidents, and by the end of the war tanks were roaming the streets shooting at any window that was flying a flag of surrender).

The Patriot Act was supposedly to catch "Those damned (Muslim) terrorists", but then the NSA and the FBI used those laws to justify listening in on everybody . Do you really think that it's going to be any different with this new law? Do you really think that wasn't the intent of the old one? I'm almost disgusted enough to say "Yeah, go ahead -- give up your freedoms, and see what happens!" -- but the problem is that when you give up your freedoms, you give up mine too.

Comment: Global warming is NOT a single incident. (Score 1) 222

by darkonc (#48609209) Attached to: Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do
Global warming is like suspecting that you have a pair of 'loaded' dice.-- loaded for 6es and against 1's. You can't just roll once and accurately say "I rolled 2. They must not be loaded. or "I rolled 12 they ARE loaded". both 2 and 12 will still occur, but you'll have MORE 12s and LESS 2's. and your rolls will be generally higher. You can only say something by examining dozens, or even hundreds of rolls and examining the the trends .

Asking if this single event is attributable to global warming is the wrong question. The best answer to (misguided) journalists who insist on asking this question (usually because they've been forced to talk to too many global warming deniers) is:

  • "Global warming is a trend , not an incident, and this incident is something that we'll see {more/less} of as time goes on.".

Comment: ..and Bart Simpson is a Movie Producer (Score 1) 100

by darkonc (#48570739) Attached to: A Paper By Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel Was Accepted By Two Journals
es, I'm serious. He's a freind of mine, and he's had the name since long before the show went on air. My point is that having the name 'Maggie Simpson' means nothing -- unlike the bogus content. I don't know if they did this, butit seems that a properly juried work should have the name removed from it during the review process.

Comment: Can't I just post a message on Facebook? (Score 1) 130

by darkonc (#48175375) Attached to: Facebook 'Safety Check' Lets Friends Know You're OK After a Major Disaster
Isn't that what status messages and timeline posts are for??

Status message: "I'm in Liberia and I don't have a fever (yet)..."
On Sarah's timeline: I just got a text from Sarah... Her hotel in Bermuda is OK, but power is out.

What does Facebook's great addition do that this doesn't (other than give them an excuse to track where I am)?

Comment: Big LFTR Problems: To safe, and too cheap. (Score 1) 218

by darkonc (#48175307) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

By safe, I mean it can't be used to blow things up -- either by accident or on purpose. This makes it bad for nuclear Proliferation -- Including making bombs for the US military. That's why it never got as much funding as Uranium-based reactors ... they couldn't figure out how to use Thorium reactors to make bombs. Remember that this was in the 60's and 70's and at the height of the cold war // arms race.
As a side point of not being useful for making bombs, it's also harder to have a (semi) critical accident -- i.e. a Chernobyl / 3-mile-island / China-syndrome type accident.

That's a big problem when you're trying to get the civilian population to accept bomb-making, but (and) much more dangerous Uranium - based reactors... Which would you rather have in your back yard? A Thorium reactor that pretty much can't have a meltdown, or a Uranium one that is one (albeit unlikely) step from being a bomb.

The other problem is that it's too cheap.... from a commercial vantage point, Uranium-based fuels are incredibly hard to make properly -- and their exact format varies from reactor to reactor... That means that reactors that aren't sufficiently profitable to make (even with military^w government subsidies) can make (more) profits because the plant manufacturer has an effective monopoly on making fuel pellets. ... kinda like the way that printer manufacturers sell you the printer for cheap, then ding you on ink refils. LFTR plants, on the other hand, just need an occasional addition of Thorium, and a little bit of the salts (to make up for any evaporation).

That means that there's less likely to be a commercial proponent for LFTR Thorium reactors. Why spend billions researching a reactor that will never get Military/Government subsidies ... and then -- once built -- won't be a lucrative source of fuel sales? It's really good for the utility using the reactor (and their customers), but it sucks for the plant manufacturer.

So there you have it.. LFTR is unlikely to be created because it's.

  1. Too safe (can't be used to make bombs), and
  2. to cheap (nobody can corner the market on fuel refills

That's why LFTR may never find a good backer -- unless we can find a billionaire willing to fund the development on a lark (and to save mankind from our own greed/hatred).

Comment: self defence (Score 1) 134

by darkonc (#47832477) Attached to: After Celebrity Photo Leaks, 4chan Introduces DMCA Policy
You have a bunch of pictures that are KNOWN to have been taken by and stolen from people with enough money to launch some (for anybody else) seriously espensive lawsuits. With a functioning (if often moot) DMCA policy, 4chan is arguably immune from most of those lawsuits.

If the people posting the offending images are willing to defend those lawsuits, it's got nothing to do with 4chan any more.

Comment: It's a Closed-source prodect. (Score 1) 191

by darkonc (#47668679) Attached to: Larry Rosen: A Case Study In Understanding (and Enforcing) the GPL
Versata claiming GPL protection for a Closed-Source product is as obscene as them claiming to be protected by the commercial license, even though they refused to ever write a cheque. The principle is quite simple: If you refuse to abide by the central theme of a license (be it code relicensing or cheque writing), then that license won't protect you.


Comment: Re:What if it were Microsoft code (Score 1) 191

by darkonc (#47668633) Attached to: Larry Rosen: A Case Study In Understanding (and Enforcing) the GPL
You misunderstand: The plaintif's argument is that you are only protected from the patent if the software is distributed via the GPL. Since Versata's customers did NOT get the software under the terms of the GPL, they are not protected by the GPL license that Versata refused to abide by The alternative was to pay for a commercial patent license, but nobody bothered to do that, either.

Thus, both Versata and their customers are in the legal dog house. Technically, Ximpleware doesn't even have to raise the GPL. All that they have to do is sue Versata and their customers for copyright and patent violations. If either tries to claim the GPL as a defense, then the response to that claim is that the GPL doesn't apply to this case because Versata didn't even try to abide by the terms of the GPL.

The code wasn't distributed for free. It was distributed under a choice of two separate licenses: One was the GPL, one was commercial. Clearly, the commercial license route wasn't taken, and the GPL license wasn't adhered to.

Irrelevant if the patent owners argument is accepted that the GPL license did not include a license to use the software because you also needed to obtain a license for the patent that the GPL'd source uses. It's like cops putting out a plate of free 'special' (unmarked as such) brownies next to a plate of $5-per regular brownies at back-to-school night and promptly arresting everybody who eats one of the 'free' brownies.

If Oracle pulled such a BS claim out in their Java lawsuits, everybody but the corporate lawyers would be puking in disgust at such a bold admission of intent to entrap users.

Comment: Re:So criminals should always buy used hard drives (Score 1) 116

by darkonc (#47621251) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Datacenter HDD Wipe Policy?
They can only say that about data that was clearly deleted.

If I was a criminal, I'd buy used drives in bulk, and see if there was any data on them worth using (or ransom). Using a drive in a way that allowed plausible deniability would take some effort and technical knowledge ... Not the kine of thing that most thieves depend on.

Comment: Re: Physical destruction (Score 1) 116

by darkonc (#47621201) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Datacenter HDD Wipe Policy?
physical destruction is only 'foolproof' if you're the fool doing it... Otherwise you're depending on the protocols of the people doing the destruction for you.

If you've got a number of drives to go through, wiping drives is a pretty simple process. Get a USB drive enclosure (or 5)... then plug in a drive, turn it on. Run the wipe and wait for the drive to finish wiping. switch off, switch drives and repeat. physical destruction is only called for if the writes fail.

Going beyond wiping a drive is only necessary if someone like the NSA is interested in your data.

The best way to accelerate a Macintoy is at 9.8 meters per second per second.