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Comment Re:Captain Obvious to the rescue!!! (Score 1) 699

The last two motherboards I've bought boasted twin BIOS chips, such that if the active BIOS was corrupted a quick jumper connection would copy the read-only contents of the backup chip to the active chip, providing an easy out from a possibly bricked computer. Sounds to me like the affected motherboards didn't offer a similar feature for EFI, and were very cavalier about how they stored their system-critical data, so we should file this bug under "lazy/negligent mobo manufacturer".

That said, the kernel should be a bit more careful when applying "rm -rf" to EFI vars. When I decide to send my current setup to oblivion, I'd prefer it not take my hardware along for the ride.

Comment Re: White People Problems (Score 1) 118

Better example: in an age where Raspberry Pi's are being celebrated by mass media as the next big thing in education, it seems unlikely that this envisioned total lockdown will happen any time soon. After all, no politician wants the other guy to be able to point at him and say "my opponent opposes giving children a proper STEM education!" So, maybe the big lockout will happen if Microsoft can get its hooks into the embedded/maker world via its godawful Windows 10 IOT core, but not before.

Comment Re:Reservations re Hawking radiation (Score 2) 82

Here's another way to think about it: Don't think of the black hole event horizon and singularity as different things. That is probably what's confusing matters. Instead, think of the black hole as a single object, with its event horizon as its "surface". Anything that touches the "surface" disappears and adds its mass/energy to the black hole. However, because of the requirement that the virtual particle pair has a sum energy of 0, and the fact that the escaping particle has a net positive energy, the particle that falls into the black hole must have negative energy, and adding that negative value to the black hole is what causes the black hole to lose energy.

Alternatively, the particle that falls in could be thought of as leeching energy from the black hole and transferring it to the escaping particle, in a way that would look to an outside observer as though a particle inside the black hole suddenly appeared outside it. That's what the article probably means by particles "teleporting" out.

Comment Re:Reservations re Hawking radiation (Score 5, Informative) 82

Not quite. The virtual pair has a net energy of 0, and therefore isn't really "extracting" anything from the vacuum. If the pair weren't straddling a black hole, they'd recombine and disappear and nothing would happen. However, when one member of the pair is sucked into a black hole while the other particle escapes, the escaping particle must have a greater-than-zero amount of energy. Because of that, and the requirement that the two particles balance each other out, the black hole has necessarily absorbed a negative-energy (not negatively-charged, mind you, actually negative energy) particle, causing the black hole to shrink ever so slightly. Basically, while the particles originally came from vacuum, the energy was taken from the black hole.

Also, to an external observer this process looks exactly the same as if the black hole itself was slowly emitting particles and shrinking away. And if the black hole is emitting particles, we can use that to determine something about its internal state.

Comment Re:Face it (Score 1) 126

Funny story. My brother and I tried to set up an ad-hoc wifi network to play some multiplayer games. I run Linux, and was able to create the ad-hoc network easily (just by "clicking on things", of course) and the game ran flawlessly in WINE. My brother could run the game, but guess what? Windows 8 takes a big step back and shits all over the concept of ease of use, because it doesn't let you connect to or create ad-hoc networks without opening a command prompt and invoking a set of arcane powershell commands.

So, there's my little anecdote. WIndows has a very thin superficial layer of usability, but when you want to do anything marginally difficult (even things that were easy in a previous version), Windows makes it next to impossible. Meanwhile, it's easy for any simpleton user to do the same thing in Linux.

Comment Re:So... Too soon? (Score 1) 110

Yeah, how dare we be upset that a product we paid good money for would suddenly stop working because of the whims of some corporate executive? We should just accept the loss of our hard-earned cash and buy more stuff from the large greedy corporation that screwed us over.

Or, you know, we could be justifiably upset that a product we paid for was disabled after the fact. Sounds like you have more money than sense if your response is "throw it out and buy something else".

Comment Nothing illegal about it...yet (Score 1) 149

Nothing might be technically illegal about posting names of non-paying customers, assuming the list of names is correct. But cable companies are notoriously bad at keeping accounts in order themselves, and the moment they try the name-and-shame on someone who actually is a paying customer, they'll be on the hook for libel.

Comment Re:Don't have anything for them to find (Score 1) 324

I doubt Linux would be banned entirely (it's in use by too many big businesses), but I could see only certain "approved" distros being allowed. I'm sure Red Hat would jump at the chance to be the sole government-approved official Linux provider, and I doubt they'd even think twice about including a few "special" government-provided packages in their base installation.

...assuming they don't do that already.

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