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Comment: World War Z (Score 0) 170

by jdwoods (#47521335) Attached to: Ebola Outbreak Continues To Expand

Virii mutate, and do so rapidly (which is why every year there is a new crop of flu virii to fight). If Ebola mutates to add something like an uncontrollable murderous rage in a non-trivial percentage of the infected then we have the potential for World War Z. This is a scenario that rivals the old cold war for scary.

Comment: Re:Roku Box (Score 2) 479

by jdwoods (#40461839) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?

Ditto. I cut the cord in late 1999 and don't see any reason to go back. I mainly like movies (all kinds: old/new, blockbuster/indie, etc.) and NetFlix (discs) fill that void better and cheaper than cable can.

NetFlix instant (streaming) is also nice, but the selection is much, much less interesting. Very few titles on NetFlix streaming aren't available on disc, but most of those on disc are not available streaming. Streaming is great, however, for watching a TV series (when available) because you don't have to wait for discs in the mail. It's also nice to get HD on some content that's only available on DVD (not Blu-ray), but NetFlix streaming (at least these days) is a single audio track and non-optional subsititles only if the audio is not English. DVDs and Blu-ray often provide options for audio and subtitles that are very nice to have, especially for foreign films.

I don't want or need a game console (Isn't that what a PC is for? ;) and the Roku box seems perfect for a "set-top" box. I have 2 (living room & bedroom) and am thinking about getting a 3rd for the TV in another bedroom. The Roku box works great with NetFlix streaming (which makes sense because Roku was spun off from NetFlix when they decided they weren't interested in selling hardware) but it's also great for Amazon Video-On-Demand (including free titles for Amazon Prime members), Pandora (free with no ads!) and various other channels. The high end (still less than $100!) Roku boxes even have USB ports to connect external storage for viewing local content (home movies, downloaded stuff, MP3s, etc.) but they aren't what I would call highly compatible with lots of media formats.

For all my home theater needs, a nice 1080P TV plus quality surround/amplifier/speakers plus Blu-ray player (backward compatible with DVD and CD, of course) plus a Roku connected to the Internet via WiFi meets my needs very, very well. Oh... and we occasionally watch OTA (over the air) broadcast TV for local news, NFL games or the rare sitcom that's interesting and not available via NetFlix.

Comment: Tcl (Score 2) 52

by jdwoods (#36174072) Attached to: Designing a Programming Language For Embeddability says: "Tool Command Language (Tcl) is an interpreted language and very portable interpreter for that language. Tcl is embeddable and extensible, and has been widely used since its creation in 1988 by John Ousterhout. See for more info." Another good source of information on Tcl is

Tcl functions well as glue between applications. Some folks know Tcl but call it "Expect" and may not realize Expect is simply Tcl plus an extension. Another extension, Tk, provides GUI features and is so powerful and popular that it's commonly used from other languages. Bindings exist for several other languages, including Ada (called TASH), Perl, Python (called Tkinter), Ruby, and Common Lisp.

Tcl is used by many people and companies (large and small). Cisco network gear uses embedded Tcl for automating tasks. Oracle uses Tcl for automating testing. The Fortune100 company where I work (but I am not a spokesman, so I won't name them) pays me to write and maintain an application written in Tcl to process payments for many thousands of customers totaling millions of dollars every day for payment through banks and the Federal Reserve.

Tcl is FOSS, but a very popular build is ActiveTcl from ActiveState.

Comment: Re:Bandwidth (Score 1) 207

The current state of the art in maximum bandwidth might be an ultra large container vessle (ULCV) filled with containers all filled with 32GB micro-SDHC (uSDHC) cards. For example, the Emma Maersk could carry ~15,000 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) containers each containing 39 cubic meters (M3) of storage for a total of 585,000 M3 or 585,000,000,000 cubic cm (CM3). I haven't seen any hard statistics on maximum storage density of uSDHC cards per unit of volume, but a rough estimate of 10-15 uSDHC per CM3 seems likely. Picking 12 uSDHC/CM3 as a rough guess would allow something on the order of 200 zettabytes. But the latency would be rather high. :) And of course, one might want to provide some redundancy for bit-rot and other forms of data loss.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer