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Comment: Just Apple? (Score 0, Troll) 201

by ledow (#47903301) Attached to: Sapphire Glass Didn't Pass iPhone Drop Test According to Reports

Anecdotal or not, almost everyone I come into contact with who has an iPhone is either living with a smashed screen or had to take it back to Apple to get the screen replaced after smashing it.

I do not see as many, if any, of non-Apple phones that are smashed as easily.

Personally, maybe I'm just not as clumsy, but I've dropped my phone any number of times and even kicked it accidentally as I dropped it and smashed it into a wall... and it wasn't even scratched. I don't think I've ever managed to break a phone like that, and I've had some spectacular drops in the past (plastic covers and batteries flying all over the room, but just put it back together and it worked).

Comment: Sigh. (Score 5, Informative) 229

by ledow (#47902869) Attached to: School Installs Biometric Fingerprint System For Cafeteria

I work in IT in English schools.

Welcome to a decade ago.

I've worked in several schools that have biometric library systems and the move to cashless canteens has been underway for years (I've never happened to work with one, but that's not because they aren't around).

It is sold as preventing bullying, stopping you having to pay for the cards, etc. The privacy implications came up 10-15 years ago. Nobody, especially parents, really cared.

Hell, five years ago, my daughter's creche had fingerprint entry (I refused to take part, mainly because I saw it as insecure given I could gummi-bear the reader and enter as whoever came in last, but I was apparently the first to complain).

Old news people. It's already in schools all over the UK. There was minimal protest.

Comment: Re:ZFS - faster IO on larger pools (Score 1) 366

by ledow (#47891259) Attached to: The State of ZFS On Linux

1) Yes, it's a general features of RAID's. Multiple devices are reading the data, the "fastest finger first" wins.

2) File server only dependent on your disk format, you mean? I happen to agree here but, if you're doing it at the FS level, then just a standardised RAID layout (such as Linux md / LVM) is the same thing. The non-standard formats that tie you into hardware do so for a reason - the hardware RAID provides things that no software RAID can, sheer speed. (Though, please note, I've happily run Linux software RAID on server-end hardware in production systems without any performance problems).

3) 3 disks dying out of 11? RAID6+1 will actually do better (I think... I can't do the maths just now).

ZFS is cool, don't get me wrong, but it's basically just a RAID fs. The Merkel tree journalling trick just saves having to have battery backup, but whether it works like that in real life failures is another matter entirely.

Comment: Re:hmmmm (Score 5, Insightful) 275

by ledow (#47875821) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

I don't care how many 1-star reviews a place get. You know what matters? How they respond to them.

I'd rather go to a place that replies politely to every negative review than one that ignores them entirely. And if they are genuinely fake, things such as "We have no record of your stay, but we're sorry that you had trouble" speak a thousand times more to what's actually happening then any amount of ignorance.

Everywhere gets bad reviews. You cannot have perfection. What matters is how you deal with when you fuck up.

Comment: Re:My emails are not on it (Score 1) 203

by ledow (#47874135) Attached to: 5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

Same for me, same for my brother.

Someone's just collected 5m GMail addresses from somewhere.

To be honest, it's more likely that my address has been sold by a Google employee - there's no way I should be getting as much spam as I do to an address that's completely unadvertised and which is only the end-point of various domain forwarding.

Password compromise too? Just sounds like someone's collated all the compromised data from other websites etc. they could find, rather than hacked into GMail somehow.

Comment: Re:Thank you for finding the flaw (Score 1) 142

by ledow (#47854031) Attached to: Feds Say NSA "Bogeyman" Did Not Find Silk Road's Servers

Security software cannot fix stupidity.

In this case, one of the scripts on a Tor service pulled data from and thus advertised it's globally-addressable IP address.

Sure, they can improve their processes and pull that script and replace it with a Tor-compatible version - but Tor can't detect this kind of stupidity and fix it for you. If you're stupid enough to put your home address on a Tor service, there's nothing Tor can do about that either.

The most interesting thing about this story is that all the "Tor was somehow broken by a omnipotent government agency" nonsense actually boiled down to "Idiots were giving out their own IP over a Tor service providing illegal content" (which is more often than not the case - I'm not at all convinced that most countries actually have the talent and resources to do what people claim they can, let alone that they routinely do them).

This either proves, when used properly, how effective Tor is, or ineffective the relevant agency is against Tor.

Honestly, I don't care too much about the detail. I don't support the illegal activity that this service was built upon. But I find it worrying that they were that stupid, and that it was that easy to "find" them, and also that the relevant agencies don't seem to have made much progress at all since the days of GCHQ.

All I see in the modern day is unbreakable maths stopping (or severely hindering) anyone but the most stupid people from being caught. I see that as both a good thing (encryption, etc. doing what it was designed to do, and implemented strongly) and a bad thing (our governments are still unable to stop such services because they don't have the talent to infiltrate them).

Comment: Re:Does the original magnetic tape have those prop (Score 1) 130

by ledow (#47851631) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Service To Digitize VHS Home Movies?

The analogue signal on a VHS tape corresponds to an exact (enough) representation of a PAL or NTSC signal, which you can capture in as much detail as you like but it will hardly vary.

The storage mechanism may be able to cope with more, but the actual useful data that could ever come out down a cable is limited to a quite precise specification. As such, higher resolution samples aren't going to help.

Also, VHS isn't entirely analogue. It has a magnetic representation on tape that is - again - highly specified to enable readback.

As such, it's not akin to, say, photographic slides or negatives (but even they have a useful resolution beyond which we won't see any advantage in delving), but more akin to storing computer data on audio cassette - something which formats like TZX encompass entirely even if they do not store every single magnetic charge that may be on the tape.

Your magnetic tape is 0's and 1's, by the way. Stored using a helical layout to stripe them around the tape.

Comment: Does the original magnetic tape have those propert (Score 5, Informative) 130

by ledow (#47846415) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Service To Digitize VHS Home Movies?

Does the original magnetic tape have those properties?

Unlikely unless it's S-VHS and even then, I don't think so if it was recorded on any normal household camera (quote from the Wiki: "In VHS, the chroma carrier is both severely bandlimited and rather noisy, a limitation that S-VHS does not address" - and they mention that S-VHS tapes were used to record 20-bit audio, but only if you were prepared to use several minutes of videotape for one minute of audio, so the chances that it recorded colour with even 8-bit accuracy is unlikely).

You have to think mathematically - significant digits. If the original only have 3 significant digits, there's absolutely NO POINT in worrying about anything with 3 or more significant digits handling it. All you're preserving is error anyway.

You know what? Digitise it yourself if you're that worried. Get a capture card (good luck finding one that captures RAW), plug it into a high-end VHS player, stick it all in 32-bit PNG channels if you want. The end result will be so insignificantly different to your original but will cost ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE more.

I'm with you on quality, I get that, and you want to get that stuff off tape sooner rather than later if it holds any kind of emotional significance to you (chances are, your holiday tapes from the 80's will never be played again once you're dead, and only a handful of times until then). But you're really trying to go too far because you've heard some things on audiophile/videophile websites and the like and think you have to do that.

You know what? The extra time spent with your family, and the extra money to follow the kid's hobbies, will more than make up for any theoretical loss in the MPEG encoding of some home movies. And, at the end of the day, so long as you can see who the people in the movie are and what's happening, who cares about the fine detail? You can't Bladerunner it back to 4K, so what you do now will not degrade in the future. And, chances are, what you do now is higher quality than anything on the original tapes anyway (unless you intend to capture the missing parts of the TV interlace somehow?).

Give it up. Buy a GBP20 adaptor from your local store. Buy a slide-and-film scanner while you're there. Have a night in with the family where you're all doing one job - scanning, sorting, cleaning, labelling, filing, archiving - and get everything you have in your archives digitised. Copy it to friends and family (who, honestly, really won't care but will be polite). Then forget about it until little Johnny is 18 and you want to embarrass him in front of his girlfriend.

Comment: Re:bringing in more H1Bs will solve this problem (Score 5, Insightful) 249

by ledow (#47840345) Attached to: IT Job Hiring Slumps

The age-old fallacy that what specifics you teach people has any correlation to their future careers.

If you're a programmer, the language does not matter. It's literally that simple. You could WRITE your own language if it came to it.

If you're not, learning some language that's a passing fad is hardly worth worrying about compared to one that went out with the Ark.

In the same way that all my science classes taught me that Pluto was a planet, all my CS classes taught me about languages from the 60's that aren't in use any more. Literally, by the time you get to the workplace the language does not matter. It's like a car mechanic who's repaired some Fords in the past... it won't help him much on the new Fords or on other models if he can't use the underlying skills instead of the rote teaching.

Course languages should not be chosen to suit employers who - generally speaking - by the time those students graduate will be demanding something else. They should be chosen to promote understanding and completeness and practicality (I'm not saying we should all teach a language that doesn't exist outside of academia, for example). Just for the simple matter of students being able to obtain a compiler and get to grips with it at home, if nothing else.

But saying that business should dictate the languages taught is nonsensical. Things used in business are generally a BAD IDEA. We know they are. Because they are quick, cheap and dirty. That shouldn't be the basis of an education, especially when - as you hint at - it's the theory that matters.

For the record, I have been "officially" taught BBC BASIC, Visual Basic 3.0 and Java. And I have a degree in CS. Only one of those is close to a useful language any more, and that's the one being ridiculed in the previous article for it's use in the world's most popular brand of smartphones nowadays. If anything keeps me in a job, it's C, SQL, and the ability to quickly read example code from any language (PHP, Ruby, Perl, VB, C#, you name it) and knock up something that works by knowing that they are all pretty much the same at the bottom.

Course languages have almost zero correlation to future success. Business is already suspicious of people who do a 3-year CS degree and then tell you they can program anything in Java. It honestly doesn't matter what the language is, so business shouldn't be dictating it.

Comment: Design to an appropriate platform. (Score 2) 60

by ledow (#47840041) Attached to: Carmack On Mobile VR Development

It's back to the age-old arguments.

You can have the speed of native code, if you deal with the problems of native code (device compatibility, non-portability, security, etc.)

Or you can have the security and cross-platformness of some standardised intermediary language that basically runs as a VM at a slightly slower pace.

To be honest, I think Carmack's best work is long behind him, but there's also a need to develop on appropriate devices. If you need a device to be that fast and powerful, then aiming at smartphones and tablets probably isn't the best idea at the moment - they aren't the cutting edge of the market and won't be for a long time. In the same way that aiming at the 286 probably wouldn't have been the best idea for Doom, or that aiming only for software rendering probably wasn't the best idea for Quake.

Get the code going and providing something people want, and they will either buy devices that can run it, or ask you what you need for a port to work. By the time you're finished, the speed you're after will be available in the next device to launch.

Isn't this how cutting-edge development has always worked? Had to have huge resources and powerful machines totally unlike those seen before to make the software run at the speeds you need while you're developing it. Then a year after release, everyone has those devices and soon people are calling your code "old"?

Comment: Re:taxonomy (Score 1) 64

by ledow (#47835729) Attached to: Mushroom-Like Deep Sea Organism May Be New Branch of Life

Which will work fine right up until the point that one person is genetically un-human and then we'll have no end of arguments (and maybe even bloodshed) on our hands.

DNA is also a bit of a problem - are you talking mitochondrial DNA, etc? Because you don't have "one" DNA in your body. You have several thousand, minimum. Thus you are instantly several thousand species in a single individual and actually your largest amount of DNA probably isn't "you", as such.

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)