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Data Storage

Write Bits Directly Onto a Hard Drive Platter? 578

kidcharles writes "I'm working on a project that requires writing bits to a magnetic hard drive platter in a completely controlled fashion. I need to be able to control exactly where 1s and 0s will appear physically on the platter. Normally when data is written to a drive the actual bits that get written are determined by the file system being used, as modified by whatever kind of error handling the drive itself is using (e.g. Reed-Solomon). All of the modern innovations in file systems and error handling are great for reliable and efficient data storage, but they are making my particular task quite daunting. My question for Slashdot: is there a way to get down to the 'bare metal' and write these bits? Any good utilities out there to do this? Obviously a free and open source solution would be preferable, but I'm open to anything at this point."

Pluto — a Complex and Changing World 191

astroengine writes "After 4 years of processing the highest resolution photographs the Hubble Space Telescope could muster, we now have the highest resolution view of Pluto's surface ever produced. Most excitingly, these new observations show an active world with seasonal changes altering the dwarf planet's surface. It turns out that this far-flung world has more in common with Earth than we would have ever imagined."

Comment M$ shortsighted (Score 0) 159

M$ is a child of IBM and slew them in true Oedipal fashion. But like many of these comedy/tragedies, there are unintended side effects to their behavior. Just think of the posture M$ could be in now, if they had concentrated on having a worthwhile product instead of screwing everybody with market manipulation an licensing games. Hoist by their own petard, down they go. It is interesting to compare the decline with the ascent.

Comment What's wrong with this picture? (Score 1) 306

SE has little to do with software. It has become mainly software project management. Software projects are disaster areas because inexperienced people look for gimmicks instead of putting in the 10,000 to 20,000 hours to become proficient. Just look at the job ads looking for "Senior developer with 3 years experience." Software used to be built by some brilliant people before CS and IT degrees existed. Most had degrees in physics and math or sometimes oddly enough - music. A few had no degrees st all. As computing has become more of a mainstream industry, most recent programmers have little knowledge of CS issues relating to simplicity, languages, algorithms, race conditions, etc. they get "certifications" from vendors! They just chase fads, throw everything in a pot and hope OO will organize it. They also seem to have little knowledge of basic engineering such as minimizing part and technology counts, orthogonal structures, neatness in design, etc. Now, I often do projects where I beat teams of 20 or more by myself. What's wrong with this picture?

Comment If it ain't broke - don't fix it. (Score 1) 607

If it ain't broke - don't fix it. -- That's because most system failures occur after PM [preventive maintenance].

FYI, The Internet is the successor to arpanet, beginning with Honeywell IMPs, etc. over 30 years ago, NOT with Tim Berners-Lee and his www app that ran over the net, which he did at CERN in the 80's. There are also many other protocols besides http using the foundation of the Internet. Most people did not have access to the Internet until it was opened up to the public for domains in addition to university and military in the 90s.

If you don't know what you are talking about, be quiet and listen. You may learn something.

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