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Comment: Re:Encrypt client side (Score 1) 121

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49355707) Attached to: Amazon Announces Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans
I'm sure that they've given considerable thought to subtly discouraging very heavy use, and looked at how different users actually tend to use online storage space, along with how much opportunity for additional profit there might be(eg. a 'photo storage' user might be a good candidate for being sold prints or something, while a 'generic files' user might not); and I imagine that lack of block level control helps. It would be interesting to know what the number-crunching looked like to arrive at those price points; though I'm sure that those data are not going to be public anytime soon.

However, I suspect that it's also there, at least in part, because this service is a relatively thin skin of consumer-friendly abstraction layer on top of S3, which is also object based. Amazon does have a block storage offering; but they only seem particularly interested in people using block storage 'devices' as disks on EC2 instances, rather than on farming them out over the web.

There is nothing stopping you from configuring the OS on an EC2 instance to function as a file server and getting remote access to block storage that way; but it doesn't seem to be the encouraged use case.

I don't know nearly enough about large-scale storage to say why they prefer object based storage over block based storage; but my understanding is that, even in the paid seats, object based storage is very much what they are offering, for anything externally accessed, with their block-based offering more or less there to allow you to configure the 'disks' in your EC2 'server' with a bit more granularity.

Comment: Trade offs, no? (Score 1) 365

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49355477) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up
While this air crash was undeniably tragic, the focus on the lockability of cockpit doors seems to be ignoring a fairly basic consideration: Who do you trust more: the people you hired to fly the plane or everybody who purchased a ticket to ride it?

That doesn't rule out the possibility of problematic pilots; but it seems very, very, likely indeed that you are better off with a system where you can robustly lock the door, rather than one where blocking access is difficult. There may be room for other improvements, in hiring, training, navigation system safety overrides, etc. but this one just doesn't seem very hard.

Comment: Re:In a departure from tradition... (Score 1) 97

Not that I know of, just my feeble attempt at a joke. It seems like absolutely every other outfit that doesn't own a fab and wants to build an ARM hires TMSC to do it; so when I read about an Asteroid Redirect Mission, I was immediately struck by the image of NASA licensing some IP blocks and having TSMC slap out some wafers.

Comment: Re:Encrypt client side (Score 2) 121

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49352751) Attached to: Amazon Announces Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans
Based on their API reference 3rd-party apps that do whatever you want on the client side certainly look doable enough.

Obviously, the various stuff about "Access your files on all your devices!" and "Build into all your Amazon devices!" and whatnot is going to be less useful, so they are clearly expecting most customers to not do that(and implicitly encouraging them not to); but the service itself doesn't appear to have any objections to you dropping encrypted blobs into it.

(Now, what Amazon would do if you were to use something like PNGdrive, to get the advantages of the rather more expensive 'unlimited files' tier using only the 'unlimited photos' tier, I don't know; but I suspect that they would be less happy...)

Comment: Re:World War III (Score 1) 54

Depends on how broad the question is: given that not every potentially violent extremist will react in the same way, the answer to 'are potentially violent extremists better defused by coddling or by needling?' is likely to be something statistical, rather than "yes" or "no"; but that would be the right answer.

I don't mean to pretend that the right answer will necessarily fit neatly on a bumper sticker(indeed, it'd be quite a shock if it did); but a potentially complex answer is by no means the same as some sort of intersubjective mush of multiple valid viewpoints.

Comment: Re:Some things you can automate, some things won't (Score 1) 56

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49340505) Attached to: Amazon Robot Contest May Accelerate Warehouse Automation

High paid? With millions of unemployed waiting in line for this or another job?

Even if you can get the pesky feds away, and pay them less than minimum wage, lazy, entitled, human workers still tend to waste 4-8 hours/day 'sleeping' and engaging in rudimentary grooming behaviors; and their lack of work ethic means that if you try to pay them starvation wages they may just decide to go starve somewhere else, and at least work fewer hours while doing so.

The effect is most obvious in places where automation is ridiculously efficient(it's pretty tricky for even your most downtrodden human to be cheap enough to stuff PCBs more efficiently than a pick-and-place, for instance); but it's true across the board that no matter how hard you beat them down, humans still have a price floor. Even slaves aren't necessarily cheaper than robots.

Comment: And now, things get Ugly. (Score 5, Insightful) 120

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49334203) Attached to: Uber To Turn Into a Big Data Company By Selling Location Data
Remember back when Uber's big privacy problem was 'God View?

Well, they promised to cut back their sleazebag executives' personal access to that. They might even have been not-lying. Unfortunately, that just meant that they were growing up, and moving into the big-kid leagues of privacy violation. As I said then:

"So, in a predictable (honestly, surprising they made it to this market cap without doing it already) part of the maturation process; Uber is claiming that they'll rein in discretionary access to personal information by their frat-bro-asshole management, and instead put full database access to all the data ever in the hands of their advertising and customer analytics weasels.

That's the unpleasant flip side to a story like this. Yes, as it happens, Uber has some of the most punchable management shitweasels one could ask for. The very idea of one of them using 'god view' on you makes you want to take a hot shower and scrub yourself until the uncleanness is gone. However, while opportunistic assholerly is repulsive, it is also unsystematic. Once they grow up a bit, and put those data into the hands of solid, value-rational, systematic, people who aim to squeeze every drop of value out of it, then you are really screwed."

Well, there we are: 'turning into a big data company' is pretty much the thermonuclear option when it comes to customer privacy; more or less the most invasive thing we yet have the technology to make cost effective. It'll take some real innovating for them to dig deeper.

Comment: What makes it so expensive? (Score 2) 56

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49333799) Attached to: Stanford Breakthrough Could Make Better Chips Cheaper
I apologize if this was explained in TFA and I missed it; but I was left wondering why gallium arsenide would be so dramatically expensive. A quick look shows that even the scammers selling 'gallium bullion' in small quantities are charging under a dollar a gram for the stuff(at allegedly very high purity); and arsenic certainly isn't terribly pricey. Silicon, of course, is really abundant, and still fairly cheap once you've coaxed the oxygen out of the quartz-form you typically find it in; but not lower cost enough to explain a wafer-level difference as large as the one that exists.

Are gallium, arsenic, or both markedly more difficult to purify enough to serve as reliable semiconductors? Is growing sufficiently flawless crystals large enough to be cut into wafers too error prone to get good yields? Some other unpleasant aspect of processing or handling the material?

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