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Comment Quite aside from the SJW issues: (Score 2, Insightful) 201

Engineering is:

1) That branch of science and technology concerned with the design, building, and use of engines, machines, and structures.

2) The action of working artfully to bring something about.

3) Work done by an engineer.

Those of us who do software work create structure; we (if we do hardware as well, create and) use and empower machines; we work artfully to bring the desired outcome about; we are therefore, in every sense of the word, doing engineering, and we are engineers. Many are artists as well, in the domain of the very same pursuits.

As far as a license goes, that's in no way a guarantee of competence (any more than a college degree is), nor is the presumptive ability to sue a worthy indirect guarantee. All you have to look at to understand that is take a look at the incredibly incompetent RF systems put in place at a very large number of radio stations by the system designers, and further, at the incredibly incompetent rules and regulations the engineers at the FCC have put in place both to specify the requirements, and to validate the results of said designs. Oh, and WRT RFI as well. (The idiots at the FCC decided that high speed networking over power lines (BPL) was a reasonable idea. In the realm of undertakings that clearly show government licensed engineers up as complete buffoons, that is surely in the running for number one.)

It is perfectly valid to say that professional software types aren't "licensed engineers." But that in no way is the same thing as saying that software engineers aren't engineers at all. Or that they aren't professionals. They are quite often both. And within that context, there are good ones, bad ones, terrific ones, utterly incompetent ones - but still engineers, doing engineering.

Comment Re:The Source? (Score 1) 156

Oh, no. I blame everyone involved.

from the complacent masses to the corporate shills and everyone in between, including the actors, the writers, the media manufacturers, the game console and television makers, the people who designed HDCP, the people who make sure that I get to suffer through the threats before every film i PAID for, while the actual people who are copying the stuff quite happily remove same... the list is quite well populated.

I benefit directly from media sales, as I own a very successful business in the publishing industry, and I am 100% totally against "copy-protection" of all kinds. But like politics, the masses just won't stand up for themselves, they don't even understand why they should... and so this is what we all end up with. Shite.

Comment USB is a support nightmare (Score 4, Interesting) 291

Unlike ethernet, which is pretty much standard from platform to platform and basically trivial to support, USB code is completely different between linux, OS X, and Windows, and is a mess, API-wise.

I write software defined radio stuff, and after one incredible nightmare getting a USB SDR to work on all three platforms using conditional compilation (I did succeed), I swore off. No more. If it doesn't have an ethernet interface, or a USB-to-ethernet server app compatible with the standard SDR protocols that makes it appear to me as an ethernet SDR, it's not happening.

Luckily, some of the best SDR manufacturers out there have done it right. Andrus, AFDRI, and RFSPACE. And there are some servers that have been built to hide the abortion of USB, but so far they are very much platform-specific, for the very reason I described above.

USB. Ugh.

Comment Depends if you want to support it (Score 4, Informative) 323

That really is the big issue with a self build: If something goes wrong, you have to track it down and handle all the support. If you get a pre-built from a good vendor, they'll handle it all. Say what you want about Dell, but all you have to do is run their diags (baked in to the UEFI) and call them with the code, they'll send a dude with the parts needed.

So that should be the major thing you think about. If you don't want to do support, then buy it from a vendor that will provide you with support to the level you require. I tend to recommend Dell because their hardware is reasonable and they have support available everywhere. They subcontract it, but it all works well. We use it at work all the time.

If you are willing to do support yourself, then building it gets you precisely what you want. I build my system at home because I have very exacting requirements for what I'm after and nobody has that kind of thing for sale. Like I don't want a "good large power supply", I want a Seasonic Platinum 1000, nothing else.

Also you'll find that generally at the higher end of things you save money building a system. For more consumer/office range stuff it usually is a wash: They build the mass market systems around as cheap as you could afford to. However when you start talking higher end gaming stuff, you can pay a large premium for things.

As an example I just built a system for a good friend of mine. He wanted some very, very high end hardware and pretty specific requirements. Origin PC would get him what he wanted... for about $9,000. I put it together for around $6,000. The gamer stuff often commands a hefty premium.

Comment Re:Allow me to predict the comments (Score 1) 235

Part of it is simply a matter of dongle-count. Yes, ethernet is absolutely needed; yes, the connector should be right there, physically secure. No, USB dongles to provide ethernet won't ever be on my list of things I'm excited to do.

It would be better - a lot better - if there was actual, reliable ethernet hardware on there, and I'd be more than happy to pay a few bucks for it.

The ethernet on the other PI's is not particularly reliable, and that, in my case, is the downfall of the whole enterprise. I have four pis. They all drop their ethernet connections from time to time. It's beyond annoying.

Comment Re:I'll believe it when I see it (Score 1) 50

And yet for all your misdirected Windows whining DirectX for Windows is the only area that AMD cards perform well. Their Linux drivers blow, as noted by other posts here, and that is because AMD can't write OpenGL drivers to save their life.

nVidia, on the other hand, has extremely fast and solid drivers for Linux.

Comment Well of course, because Linux is OpenGL (Score 1) 50

And AMD can't handle OpenGL. I don't know why, I'm not sure what's so hard, I'm not sure if there's a monster that guards the OpenGL specs in the AMD office or something, but they have sucked at GL for over a decade, and show no signs of getting any better. They can't claim it is because of an API limitation either. For whatever you want to say about the mess that is OpenGL, nVidia makes their GL drivers dead even with their DX drivers. You can use either rendering path and can't tell the difference in features or speed.

That is also why I'm real skeptical that Vulkan is going to do anything for AMD. While they are heavily involved in the development, they are involved with OpenGL's development too (ATi was a voting member on the ARB and is a promoter with Khronos Group). Given that Vulkan is heavily GL based, originally being named glNext, I worry that AMD will suck at performance with it as well.

Comment I'll believe it when I see it (Score 2, Insightful) 50

Not the driver, that's out, but that they are going to change how they do drivers. They've said that numerous times before, and always the situation is the same. They are very slow at getting actual release drivers out (they are forever beta versions) and their OpenGL performance and support is garbage (to the point that HFSS would fail to run on systems with AMD cards).

So AMD: Less talk, more good drivers. I want to support you, I really do, but I've been burned too many times.

Comment And what does that cost for gigabit routing? (Score 1) 112

The problem PFSense has as compared to consumer routers is that running on normal Intel CPUs it needs more CPU power (and thus cost) to be able to forward a given amount of traffic. Plus all the NICs and such are separate silicon. Boradcom makes little all-in-one chips that have a couple of ARM cores that have acceleration for routing and so on. Also they have things like an ethernet switch and ethernet PHYs on the chip so they needn't be added. Have a look at a BCM4709A for an example that is popular in routers.

PFSense is good but it is not the most economical thing if you are talking features matching a consumer router, meaning gig routing, multiple ports, and wifi, you can have your costs go up a fair bit. Particularly if you also then want it to be fairly small and low power. If you hop over to PFSense's site it would cost about $575 for a SG-2440 with WiFi which would give features roughly on par with a consumer router.

While I'd much rather have that over a consumer router, a consumer router is in fact what I have because I didn't want to spend a ton of money for a home router.

Comment What idiocy (Score 3, Insightful) 313

Those who think they can skirt the law will find themselves facing some of the toughest penalties for firearms offences in this country," Grant said.

Indonesia executes people for simple drug trafficking.

Criminals don't really care about the law because there are two main types of criminals who commit serious crimes: the stupid ones who don't think about the consequences and the smart ones who are willing to take more extreme measures to stop people from holding them accountable.

The one consequence they do tend to fear is a swift death at the hands of a potential victim. That's why increasing the capacity of self-defense for the law-abiding is always a good thing. If an unarmed 6ft tall man gets gunned down trying to rob a 5"2 woman, who cares? He shouldn't have been trying to commit a violent felony. It's not that his life is worth less than her purse, but that when he chose to put her in fear of her life over her purse, he forfeited his right to live in that moment.

Comment So you prefer them to data mine the whole thing? (Score 1) 393

They have direct access to all these social media databases which Anonymous doesn't.

And so far, they're probably/hopefully, doing targeted investigations. The last thing we need is Anonymous to get so good at whack-a-mole that law enforcement just says "to hell with this" and starts data mining the entire database.

The clothes have no emperor. -- C.A.R. Hoare, commenting on ADA.