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Comment: Re: Do not (Score 4, Informative) 46

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49551953) Attached to: Liquid Mercury Found Under Mexican Pyramid
In addition to being cool stuff, mercury also has a very long history of use in gold extraction. I don't know about the people who built this particular structure; but mercury-amalgamation gold extraction is known to have been in use in South America well before the Spanish showed up. Given the human enthusiasm for gold, that's another point in mercury's favor as a funerary good, along with being weird and cool looking.

(Large scale extraction is now usually done by cyanide leaching, since that's somewhat less nasty than mercury amalgamation; but small scale miners often still use mercury. As one might imagine, the 'now heat the amalgam with a blowtorch to drive off the mercury and recover the gold' step is about as good for you as it sounds, possibly worse.)

Comment: Re:So, where's IBM in all of this? (Score 2) 76

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546641) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
They've been trying(in part by developing, in part by buying, they ate Softlayer and Cloudant fairly recently); but they've been finding it a bit tricky.

IBM wants to sell you some sort of unique, value-added, hardware and/or software feature that makes going with them worth it over going with the commodity product(presumably, this is why they sold of PCs and low-end servers). Some customers do want this; but it's a very, very, different offering from the more commodified cloud providers(Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all differ a bit in where they are on the spectrum from 'what you do with them is your problem; but our VMs are cheaper than you can believe' to 'we can provide automagic email accounts and SQL server instances abstracted from the host OS'; but all of them are very much on the 'we aren't going to hold your hand; but look at how cheap this stuff is' side, an area where IBM has no obvious advantages.)

Comment: Re:It is a cycle. (Score 4, Insightful) 76

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546567) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
The one other element in the cycle you identify is arguably 'management/administration'.

This can work both for and against both local and remote/cloud options: Back when anything that touched the mainframe needed 6 signatures and a blessing; but you could classify an IBM-compatible as an 'office supply' and just have it on your desk and doing stuff, part of the virtue was in cutting through red tape, not in enjoying DOS on a slow machine with virtually no RAM. These days, especially for individuals or small outfits, without technical expertise available, 'the cloud' wins not so much because local computers are expensive(since they aren't, they've never been cheaper, either absolutely or per unit power); but because 'the cloud' is something you can use just by plugging in a URL and following directions. IT geeks are correct to point out that 'the cloud' is neither impregnable nor as well-backed-up as it likes to pretend to be; but for a non-techie user who will lose all their data as soon as their HDD dies or they lose their phone, it's still a step up.

For larger outfits, who have technical expertise available(and whose needs are complex enough that they will need IT and/or developers whether they go 'cloud', local, or some combination of the two), it is much more a straight battle on cost, security, and reliability; but ease of use and ease(or nonexistence) of management is huge for the consumer side.

Comment: Re:Amazon has really been a stealth company (Score 3, Insightful) 76

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546481) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
Amazon is a bit tepid when they try anything too novel(their phone went from flagship pricing to free-after-contract how fast?); but they have three basic virtues that make them a terrifying force to be reckoned with:

1. Cultural disinhibition: They started selling books; but never seemed to have fossilized into the 'We are a bookstore. I can see maybe expanding into selling some bookmarks, or paperweights; but hand tools? How absurd!' model. 'Books' was merely a special case of more or less rectangular objects that are legal to send through the mail. They've since expanded into an ever larger collection of more or less rectangular objects that are legal to send through the mail, without much concern about what they are.

2. Adequately competent implementation: Remember 'Microsoft PlaysForSure', the killer ecosystem of hardware, software, and a competitive marketplace of music sellers(almost always cheaper than iTunes)? No? That's not very surprising, they don't really deserve to be remembered. How about 'Ultraviolet', the 'cloud-based digital rights library' that is somehow associated with blu-ray, some media players and streamers, and various retailers; but is so dysfunctional that I can't actually summarize exactly what the hell it is? No? I can't imagine why.

Amazon, though, while they don't lead the pack, knows how to get the job done well enough (their Kindle e-readers and 'FireOS' tablets all have at least adequate industrial design and build quality, and 'FireOS' is arguably nicer than some Google-blessed-but-vendor-skinned versions of Android, despite being a hostile fork; and their media-streamer hardware and software are both more or less painless). You don't necessarily go to them for the premium gear; but they are definitely good enough that they don't actively sabotage the appeal of the low prices.

3. Logistics. I don't know how they do it(if I did, I'd probably be a whole hell of a lot wealthier); but when they decide to sell something, they know how to make it impressively cheap compared to the competition, whether it be books or VM time.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 189

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49528619) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
I can only comment on SRPs as they currently exist; but as of now the only real pain is vendors who don't sign anything. Self-signed or untrusted roots throw up scary warning by default; but you can add those to the trusted list if you wish. Legacy software is a giant pain in the ass, since most of it predates the custom of signing much of anything by default; but newer stuff generally isn't so bad. If necessary, you bless the vendor's cert and that takes care of it. You can also (again, with the present implementation of SRPs) bless binaries by hash, rather than by signature, which is frequently easier if you need to do once-offs.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 189

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49528543) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
TFA is a little vague; but if it is implemented the way that Software Restriction Policies currently are; I'd be all for it(and I say that as a smirking, linux using, tinfoil-hatted paranoiac.)

Cryptographic verification and whitelisting are enormously powerful techniques, and (aside from being able to take advantage of them), they are simply too useful to forbid successfully. What matters, and makes the difference between a fortress and a prison, is who gets to put something on the whitelist.

If you can whitelist something(either by signing it yourself, adding the cert of the person who signed it to the trusted list or both), it's a fortress. If the whitelist is what the vendor says it is, it's a prison. Same deal with 'secure boot'. If I can re-key it, it's a valuable tool. If I can't, it's a device that I'll never be more than a peon on.

Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 1) 278

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49526997) Attached to: German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal
Unfortunately, the general lack of DRM(wouldn't even have to be effective DRM, just going through the motions) is pretty much the only thing that keeps a DVD-like arrangment from enjoying force of law anywhere with a DMCA-style law on the books.

Copyright tends to be a little awkward around computers; because there is so much copying that has to occur internally just to display something; but the analogy between running adblock and taking scissors to a magazine is a pretty easy one, and the right of the end user to mangle up an article, even a copyrighted one, however it amuses them is pretty well established.

If, though, even the most pitiful DRM were on the table, you'd be right were DVDs are: you need an illegal circumvention device to watch them without an authorized CSS decryptor; but you can only get an authorized one by agreeing to certain conditions, which include enforcing the unskippable flags, region codes, etc.

Comment: Re: Instead... (Score 2) 355

Doesn't google maps do stuff when you zoom in close enough to trigger 'street view' that was only ever implemented in Flash on the desktop, and would need either Flash or some fairly aggressive WebGL to do without fairly brutal strain on the limited resources of a mobile device(sure, in theory, a canvas element and javascript can manage any graphical task; but Not Very Fast, for 3d type tasks).

Comment: Re:Instead... (Score 1) 355


I'd be the first to agree that using javascript and canvas as the world's least efficient framebuffer is dumb as hell; and that there are viable use cases for 'apps'; but the pox of 'apps' that are little more than skins around websites must be put to the flame. Mobile browsers don't exactly clutter up the edges of the screen with a lot of cruft, so you have the same amount of screen space either way. You'd better have a very good reason for having a separate app for the purpose...

Comment: Re:Instead... (Score 4, Informative) 355

'Mobile' as in 'WAP' or whatever is as dead as dead can be; but there are definitely styles that look better on teeny little(but frequently high resolution) screens, and other styles that are effectively unreadable.

Oddly, wikipedia is dinged in TFS as not having a mobile-friendly version; but I've found theirs to be among the more tasteful entries in the genre....

Comment: Re:ISTR hearing something about that... (Score 1) 159

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49515461) Attached to: New PCIe SSDs Load Games, Apps As Fast As Old SATA Drives
It's also probable(though not assured) that a fair chunk of games are carefully designed to avoid IOPS-heavy demands because they are supposed to run from an optical disk in a console, a situation that makes an unremarkable HDD look positively random access. The PC version will still have more trouble with other processes butting in, but anyone whose game or game engine imposes load that craters an HDD is not going to have a pleasant time in the console market.

Any given program will expand to fill available memory.