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Comment WTF? (Score 5, Informative) 148

What is all this doom and gloom about debian spiralling into oblivion and the end is coming? Did anybody read TFA before posting? The only thing that I can see from the LSB that has actually had a positive effect on me is the FHS, to which Debian is still adhering.

The LSB in its entirety actually contains a list of required libraries and standardized symlinks which may or may not be used on a system, but which must be there for "LSB compliance". IRL Debian package maintainers spend a lot of time and effort building dependancy lists into their packages so you DON'T have to have all those libraries on your system if you are not going to use them.

If you use dpkg or a wrapper (apt-get, aptitude, etc) to manage your system the LSB requirements are redundant at best and bloatware at worst.

The only situation where something like the LSB really makes sense is proprietary copy and run programs that depend on proprietary pieces. Even closed source proprietary software can utilize the apt database to resolve dependencies if it only has open source dependancies, or if the company hosts their own repository.

A large company running large numbers of Linux machines that wanted to standardize will probably (hopefully) do so to meet their requirements, rather than a generalized LSB desktop spec which attempts to be all things to all people.

If people went to their local computer store and bought software packages on CDs, and installed them on computers that did not have internet connectivity, the yes, up with the LSB. Do you do that? I don't even use a full installer package to install an OS anymore, just a network capable installer that then pulls all the dependancies in the appropriate versions from a repository on the net.

Yes, it was a noble concept, to try to define a standard set of always available libraries, and where they were, but in reality you rapidly run into the same problem software has on Windows, where software is written to depend on shared DLLs, but because people don't update their OS, or because people do update before the developer tests against a new version of the shared DLL, so software starts shipping with it's own copy of the relevant DLLs, and you end up with multiple versions of standard DLLs on your system.

When I started playing with slackware years ago, I really wished for something like the LSB, because I was sneakernetting everything home or taking days to download things on dialup. Those days are now distant memories.

Both rpm and apt solve the same problems, but do so without requiring a pile of unused libraries that just sit around cluttering up your system.

And just as a last point, how in the world does the LSB/NO LSB discussion compare in any way to the systemd/sysvinit discussion? One of them fundamentally changes the way a system operates, the other one just installs a bunch of packages that you can install just fine on your own. That's not an apples and oranges comparison, that is an apple and cinderblock comparison.

Comment Solar powered electric fence charger (Score 1) 403

A solar powered electric fence charger is designed for neglect. The fence itself will be useless, weeds will ground it fairly quickly, and anybody who maintains them knows a fence won't last a year unmaintained, but the solar powered charger will keep ticking as long as the battery lasts, and will probably keep trying even after the battery fails. The cheap little solar powered yard lights also should keep working for quite a while, at least the ones that aren't DOA when they are purchased.

But all devices that rely on a battery will be outlasted by devices using RTGs for power, or direct solar devices that don't use a battery, like those car ventilation fans you put in your car window.

The type of devices built with RTGs (Satellites and Mars rovers) are the absolute highest quality components assembled and tested with the best quality control, while the solar powered car ventilation fan is built by an 11 year old Chinese kid working an 18 hour shift, so I am betting on the satellites.

Comment (Score 1) 295


They are reasonably priced. Definitely not the cheapest, but reasonable.

They are outside the US (Canada).

They actively resist pressure from people like the City of London police, unlike some other fairly well known registrars.

The guy that founded it, Mark Jeftovic, blogs frequently and aggressively about what he considers good service, and I find myself most of the time agreeing with him.

They do do web hosting as well, haven't used it myself.

Their real claim to fame is their DNS service, which I have used for several years, primarily because it is "real" DNS, as in I control all the records in the zone file, and supports dynamic DNS well.

There are not the cheapest, but they are a compan that cares, and it has shown in my dealings with them.

Comment Re:TFA seems to have been written by a non-player (Score 1) 208

Actually, no, apparently not. It seems that there was inside information going in both directions between Bukkit and Mojang, and in fact individual coders were working both sides of the fence. Bukkit was the most successful modding framework for a reason.

I don't want to drag up the entire war again, but there were some coders who were absolutely committed to the game, and who had back channel connections to Mojang.

It really was an important part of the Minecraft server explosion, because Vanilla Minecraft has absolutely no in game sense of ownership or permission structure, and without the various modding frameworks (of which bukkit was the most popular) a public server is literally (in the literal sense) impossible to keep playable.

Yes there are mods that directly patch the Minecraft libraries, but they are a nightmare for server admins, because they break each other and are seemingly broken by every Minecraft upgrade. It is much less work for devs, and less headaches for admins when mods are written against a common framework.

This is why modders were excited when Mojang announced the upcoming API, and some very good mods actually were abandoned, since the API was coming "soon" and the modders didn't want to keep rewriting for every version and decided to wait for the API. And wait.... and wait....

My honest opinion is that Notch got bored. If you look at his coding habits before Minecraft he has churned out a lot of code, much of it quickly. He loves the hack fest and coding competition environment, I think doing one thing for more than a year, and being responsible for a suddenly large business operation got tiresome. If I was in his shoes, and had the money he has, I probably would have responded similarly, except for the Microsoft part.

But I am afraid Minecraft without Notch is like Apple without Jobs. A large part of the success is dependent on the vision of one individual. I expect Minecraft will start to lose focus in the same way I think Apple already has started, not because of lack of good people, but because an autocratic dictator is always the most efficient leadership toward a specific goal.

Comment TFA seems to have been written by a non-player (Score 4, Interesting) 208

A couple specific comments really stood out and indicated to me that the author is not a crafter.

Bigger worlds?? I have yet to see a world that was even 10 percent mapped, let alone actually explored. Size of the world really truly is more than sufficient for any reason I can conceive.

Pooling water? Again, nice if you looked at a world but didn't play it. If water pooled then basically all mines and caverns would simply be under water. Water really is an evil in Minecraft, and learning to deal with it is one of the elementary skills required to mine in the game.

I think the potential tie ins to other titles and universes would only alienate a lot of the most creative crafters, just look at the creations on YouTube, they love to create tie ins, from Star Wars to real world museums, but the joy is in creating the content, not in having "official" connections.

That said, I am sure there is a market among the me-toos, the ones that respond to every cool Minecraft video on YoTube with "can I get a copy of your world" for all kinds of branded content, but I don't know if Microsoft is looking to own a disloyal crowd of sycophant 13 year olds.

I am also curious about the future of Minecraft even without the Microsoft factor, because the mod coders have been waiting now for a few years for the modding API, which has been coming "soon" for a long time. Bukkit, the largest server modding framework is dead, killed by a "take my ball and go home" playground argument amped up with a DMCA takedown, and I think the window to reclaim that group of coders has just about closed, so whatever happens in the future is likely to be a different community of coders.

Combine that with losing the singular vision when Notch was making all the decisions and Minecraft 2.0 is going to be very different. Not necessarily worse or better, but different. I would have loved it if Notch had actually kept his promise to open the source, but he chose not to, and so the First Minecraft era passes.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.

Comment Re:I for one welcome Microsoft on IoT/Pi (Score 2) 307

Remember WinCE? Microsoft's embedded products are not the same as their desktop products. And, no, WinIoT on a Pi will not run the same executables, it is an ARM platform which Microsoft just emphatically orphaned with their last go around. Remember the surface RT? That did not run any standard Windows executables, at the very least the executable would have to be compiled against the ARM build chain, and that isn't an option for end users of proprietary software.

Thinking about this I understand the point a couple (at least one) person has made that MS getting involved will help mainstream the non-x86 low power stuff, or at least the ARM branch, but then I remembered what happened to the exploding world of netbooks when companies started growing them to run Windows.

The netbook market disappeared, seemingly over night, and now we are left with ultrabooks, or whatever they are calling the MacBook Air class of machines now. Sure they are light and small, but they are a whole lot more than the $100 price point netbooks were approaching.

On the Pi there is a lot of similarity to the Android stuff, we have Java as an app platform. Is this new Pi really powerful enough to mix Java and at the same time? Just the overhead of a Java VM plus a .net framework resident at the same time sounds a little bit much for any current ARM SoC with just a gig of RAM

Now if you are targeting actual IoT devices, just developing on the Pi, sure a single purpose embedded device will probably run on a Windows stack just as well as it will on Linux. I am a little concerned about MS attempting to be responsive to exploits, but then I think we will find that most people never update their thermostat or refrigerator regardless of what OS it runs, so I think the exploitability will probably be a wash.

I am more concerned that some inexperienced whiz kid, whether he be of the .net or Java persuasion, will manage to make an actually universally useful device, but not know enough about the actual requirements of embedded programming so it just works well enough for everyone to buy one, then all the non-techy people who buy it get their home netork pwned or it crashes in an untested but relatively common use case and has significant socio-economic impact on our tech dependent society.

So all in all I really don't think MS jumping into the fray is a bad thing. I don't plan on running it on anything I build, but think about it, according to the rumors Apple thought hard about buying Nest. Would you want your house controlled by software coming from 1 Infinite Loop?

Are you actually confident about running it on software coming out of the Googleplex?

The truth is everybody that doesn't read /. is gonna buy these connected devices just like they do blenders and dishwashers, and if they act up they will return them to Walmart or Home Depot or Best Buy and get their money back just like they do now with toasters, TVs, and computers.

Do you care who wrote the code embedded in that 386 running your microwave? Do you even know if it is a 386 running your microwave? Me either. I do know that at least at one point the embedded 386 family was often used for things like that, but I never bothered looking.

OK, I am down meandering and ranting.

Comment Re:Buy two... (Score 1) 190

I am amazed after all the flame wars ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h discussions about raid VS backup that people still don't get the difference. A backup is not a daily synced drive. How do you recover last Tuesdays file if you already synced the deletion??

  A backup is a snapshot in time, which is preserved _as_is_ for a period of time, determined by space/data retention compromises, but under no circumstances would I consider a single drive which lags the live drive by a maximum of 24 hours a backup strategy.

If you had 10 drives, backed up to a different drive every night of the week, with a longer cycle for the Friday drives, that is a backup strategy.

Raid is for data availability, backup is for data retention. Neither works for the other.

Comment Yes, I only have 8 tools in my toolbox (Score 1) 82

OK, I know that is only a prototype, but really guys, he specifically said it wasn't worth doing tool ID. When I work on something my toolbox tends to accumulate nuts and bolts and odds and ends, and isn't always deployed in a well lighted place. In fact it has been deployed in the rain at night. A simple light sensor is just not gonna cut it, at least in my real world.

A tool box that actually identified and inventoried my tools without carefully placing them in space wasting foam cutouts would indeed be useful, and would probably even be worth $1 per tool to me, but I have not seen any system that could tag tools with a tag that wouldn't just get smashed off when using the tool in a tight space.

This could be useful for a specific tool kit, say a fusion splicer kit or network analyzer kit, where it does make sense to have neat foam cutout for all your pricey little cleavers and media converters and whatnot, but those are definitely pricey enough, and used carefully enough, to justify RFID tagging.

All in all, yes, I think this is a problem that could use a solution, I just don't think this is a valid solution for a general purpose toolbox, and for the special purpose toolkits the problem is largely solved by a simple visual check for empty foam cutouts before you close it up.

The truth of the matter is that probably most of that $35,000 of "lost" tools just went home with someone, either accidentally, or to beef up their own tool collection.

Comment Thse tests are all the same car (Score 5, Insightful) 314

Did anyone else notice those seem to be successive tests on the same car? In the alternator test you see a fastener toward the back of the belly plate gets loosened, in the trailer hitch test you see the fastener actually come out, then in the concrete block test you see the belly plate actually flap under impact, and you can see what appears to be the hole that fastener came from.

I am fairly impressed that, not only did they do real world tests (which do fall short of shearing off wheels and battering through concrete walls) but they apparently did not put the car on a lift and return it to perfect condition between successive tests.

That makes the test a bit more real world like, cars get driven and accumulate wear and tear, so they are not necessarily going to be in factory mint condition when they hit something.

You get the feeling, regardless of what you think of Musk or the car, that he is very proud of that car, and it appears justifiably so. Yes, he is defensive when the press screams disaster and trumpets doom and gloom about the car, but he doesn't ever try to hide from the press or try to spin the reports, instead he makes a change to improve the car, then does his spin on his own terms.

Obviously titanium might be a bit pricey for the "cheap" Tesla when it arrives, but I bet the anti-penetration armor design will be there, even if it ends up being constructed of less expensive materials.

In this way the response to the overhyped Tesla accidents and fires will help us all in the long run, just like the German automakers pioneered crash simulation in the 80s and 90s, and now all cars have crumple zones.

Comment Re:many moons ago (Score 1) 151

Yup, this, I think. I definitely remember in my much younger years a Popular Science review of a system that used dead reckoning, basically you told it where you were to start, and it used distance measuring, nothing as sophisticated as accelerometers, but whenever you turned a corner it would realign itself to the map.

It did not work well if you drove many miles in a straight line, but worked well in city driving, which of course was all that was needed when people could still use a map to find the right city.

It is a wonderfully elegant solution, since it predated public availability of GPS systems and had no external dependancies. It was also delightful in that it was an exact computer analog of nautical navigation since the discovery of the compass and knots on a rope.

Comment Who is the customer here?? (Score 1) 250

I guess I may have misunderstood, but I thought this was an office. Don't architects and designers design to a functional spec? If I hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design a garage for me, it darn well better hold cars. I don't care what your designer thinks, if he is designing an office, it has to be a functional office first, and a showcase for his skills second. If he has to jump through hoops to make it both, those are his hoops, not yours. Anytime a designer expects a functional change to make his design easier it demonstrates two things:
1- He misunderstands his position in the scheme of things
2- He is not a good imaginative designer, who would make a way to either hide the cabling or make the cabling aesthetically pleasing and harmonize with the rest of his design.

If the Bobs at your place of employment actually weigh design and function equally they are equally wrong. You can have functioning ugliness or your can have functioning attractiveness, or you have dysfunction, one of those does damage to the future outlook of your company.

Bah! I feel scrooginess coming on.

Comment Is this a possible tack? (Score 1) 199

In fighting these overreaches in the courts, would it be possible for a party whose legally owned video was "accidentally" taken down by someone like Warner Bros. to bring a suit for libel? Warner Bros. or some computer they have empowered to act for them has made a false claim that they (the legal video poster) committed a crime.

If I were to tell the grocery store down the street in writing that my neighbor Joe stole bubblegum, and the store took action against Joe, based on my known false statement; Joe could sue me for libel with a good prospect of success.

Is this case much different? Even if the DMCA says that someone can claim works they don't own, it doesn't it definitely does not say they can testify in a legal document that someone broke the law without the accused having recourse in the courts.

I would love to see them held in contempt and found guilt of perjury, but it appears that isn't going to happen. However when actual damages have occurred such as loss of YoutTube accounts or damage to reputation it seems to me that someone should at least talk to a lawyer about the possibility of a libel suit.

It would really be fun to see a class action libel suit brought by a group of victims of false take downs.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal