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Comment: Is the computer possibly overheating? (Score 1) 512 512

One issue I've seen mostly with laptops (although also with desktops in dusty environments), is that the fans get clogged with dust, grit and hairs that cause the machines to overheat and then the CPU goes into thermal slowdown mode. So from a cold start after installing the OS the machine is cool, after a couple of hours of installing updates the machine has reached a toasty temperature and the CPU throttles down. Looks like it's the OS, but it's really the hardware.

Look at the event log in admin tools and see if you are getting CPU throttle notifications.

Hard to clean the fan on most laptops, and may not be worth the time on many old desktops.

Comment: I have to disagree... (Score 1) 512 512

Our 5 year old Dell Optiplexes still give reasonable performance with the initial hardware configuration 4/8 GB RAM, 7200 RPM drives, 100/1000 ethernet. They've had all the MS patches applied over the years. Only software installed on them in Office 2010, Adobe writer & antivirus.

I'm guessing that the problem lies with some of the applications, and more likely antivirus.

Comment: How critical are the ipads in flight? (Score 1) 263 263

The iPads aren't directly controlling any of the flight or navigation systems. If an ipad "crashed" in flight, it would be an inconvenience but not a major flight safety issue. The plane would continue to fly, and the pilots could navigate safely to an airport via ground control. All of the ipads crashing at one time might overload ground control, but not likely. Also, the flight waypoints are preloaded into the navigation computers prior to takeoff, so plane will continue on its flightpath with or without the ipad.

I guess I'd be really scared when they start using the ipad for navigation, engine control or auto pilot. (Or perhaps, just for the inflight entertainment).

Comment: Reliability and longevity (Score 1) 138 138

Although I agree that some of the user-facing electronics in automobiles are overpriced, the core components use time-proven technology that is reliable. Even a low-end car (sold for less than $20,000) has engine electronics that are expected to last for ten or more years, an operating temperature range of probably 0 F to 120 F, and can withstand fairly heavy vibration over its lifetime. Your average computer or phone perhaps operates from 40 to 90 (although rated for much less) and would fall apart if put on a shaker. The electrical environment is relatively bad -- voltages range from 10 to 14 V and there are 4, 6 or 8 plugs firing off sparks. Some of the devices also are critical safety items -- for example brakes need to have redundancy and degrade gracefully if power is lost.

Contrast that to your average PC/Mac/iThing which is put into the market with buggy software and has critical patches every month.

For airplanes, cars and other transportation, I'd trade off tested and proven hardware and software for cool-looking flat icons on the touch screen.

Comment: Financial stability, trustworthy commerce... (Score 1) 40 40

A functioning economy with commerce is part of the solution. One of the functions of banks, beside a more secure place to hold your cash, is to use the deposits to make loans that allow businesses to develop. Businesses generate jobs, wages and more infrastructure. All which help develop civil and functioning societies. Although far from a complete success, take a look at how Rwanda has developed post civil war.

I not sure that this particular company will not suffer the fate of other attempts, but the concept of providing banking to otherwise unbanked is a good idea.

Comment: I don't get why you would need this in production (Score 1) 89 89

On a production engine, the specs of every unit will be identical (to machining tolerances .001 in). So once you solve the problem just encode the parameters in the controller and you can use something much less powerful (and more reliable). For solving the problem, use whatever high-power equipment you'd like. Attach a hundred sensors and throw a supercomputer at it. Even better, rather than "machine learning" (aka, we don't understand it, we will let the computer tweak it until it gets better), simulate the physics and solve the equations for a complete solution.

Comment: Re:Does the processing power need to be there? (Score 1) 202 202

The real question is what is your budget? At the very high end, you could get a custom machined box for the heat sinks and customized components. You could also actually pay someone to calculate the thermodynamics and heat flows. As others have stated, detailed specs (application, requirements, budget, timeline, quantity) are really a requirement.

I'm guessing that there are military, aircraft solutions that fit the bill (but might require you to drop $10K on the system. It seems to me that the requirements for satellites are at least as stringent -- and repair isn't an option.

Comment: Hire an electrician who has done it before... (Score 1) 279 279

Even in an old house, an electrician who is experienced with the local construction can run CAT6 cable. At the same time, the electrician can put in power outlets where you really want them and add any (electrical) switches that are inconveniently placed. Maybe you'd like a couple of outside outlets and to upgrade some of the lighting at the same time

Figure about 2 days of an electrician + a helper at most; maybe $1,500 or $2,000. Consider it part of the purchase price of the house.

Wiring is really a well-solved science, and there are professionals (or trades people) who know how to do it.

If you can afford the house, hire some.

+ - End of an era: After a 30 year run, IBM drops support for Lotus 1-2-3->

klubar writes: Although it has been fading for years, the final death knell came recently for the iconic Lotus 1-2-3. In many ways, Lotus 1-2-3 launched the PC era (and ensured the Apple II success), and once was a serious competitor for Excel (and prior to that Multiplan and VisiCalc). Although I doubt if anyone is creating new Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets, I'm sure there are spreadsheets still being used who trace their origin to Lotus 1-2-3, and even Office 2013 still has some functions and key compatibility with Lotus 1-2-3. Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.
Link to Original Source

Comment: It's probably good enough (Score 1) 185 185

Like all technology, it's really about what you are trying to protect. For most people and applications HTTPS is probably enough, if you're protecting multi-billion dollar transactions or infrastructure then you should use something stronger. Think of it like door locks -- all are flawed, but it's not worth spending $1 million on security to protect a $300,000 house.

I'm reasonably satisfied with the level of protection from HTTPS for my twitter posts and even banking.

As an aside, is the Microsoft HTTPS implementation any better? It seems like only open source and Apple have been implicated in the HTTPSgate scandal.

Comment: Mythbusters tested landing an airplane (Score 2) 437 437

Mythbusters (almost as accurate as wikipedia) tested the myth of an untrained pilot landing a plane with coaching from the ground. They concluded it was "plausable".

But their second go-round with coaching assistance from an air traffic officer was much smoother sailing. Though the coach wasn't inside the simulator with Jamie and Adam, he was able to point out the gauges and controls and how to use them to correctly maneuver the plane. After being talked through how to steer and land step-by-step, Jamie and Adam each brought their imaginary planes safely to the ground, leading the MythBusters to rule this one "plausible" for someone actually flying the friendly skies. And at the end of the show, they said had they used the automation available, it would have been much easier....

see: http://www.discovery.com/tv-sh...

Comment: BCD is used in accounting (Score 1) 100 100

Actually BCD was (is) mostly used for accounting application where rounding isn't acceptable. Scientists mostly use floating point where the rounding doesn't matter. For those who want a COBOL example PIC 9(6)V99 could well be stored and calculated as BCD arithmetic and would retain 8 digits of precision.

Comment: Seems about right for a cop on private detail (Score 2) 235 235

The $100/hour seems about right for what utilities and others pay for a cop on private detail. The officer gets some of that in overtime, the city gets the rest as "profit" and overhead. $200k/year for a trained, licensed cop seems in the ballpark once you take into effect training, equipment, benefits, hiring and other costs. Your $75K/year PHP programmer probably costs the company $150K/year once you add in benefits, recruiting, real estate and training.

"Everyone is entitled to an *informed* opinion." -- Harlan Ellison

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