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Comment: Confuzzling! (Score 1) 114

by mcrbids (#48604599) Attached to: Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

So, the cheapest TV stick imaginable has a Cortex A9 processor, so reading about the A9 processor in development by Apple is something that doesn't inspire much in the way of excitement up front for me. But it looks like Apple's A5 is more / less the Cortex A9 with some tweaks, so now we literally have two similar products with the same name that are generations apart.

I know of their technical strength in the low-power scene, and the MIPS/Watt race, ARM still leads by a mile, but ARM could also really stand to have some standards for naming the variants in a semi-consistent way so that the merely technically proficient have a chance of keeping up. And, (dare I say it?) this is what trademarks are for and why they exist.

Comment: Re:Sympton of a bigger problem (Score 5, Interesting) 596

by mcrbids (#48603559) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Buses do nothing when they're stuck in the same traffic everyone else is.

I would take exception to this!

1) Time spent on a bus is time not spent concentrating on traffic. Relax, read a book, maybe do some work.

2) Every person on a bus is a car not on the road, and that results in sharply lighter traffic.

I honestly have no idea why buses aren't free. Putting a bit of economics behind the problem can make a dramatic difference, even eliminating traffic jams completely.

Comment: Job security vs System security (Score 1) 247

by mcrbids (#48527941) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

I've found that there's a sweet spot to balancing system security and job security: recommend better practices than currently in place without becoming adamant about it.

If you get the attention of a caring boss, you'll get your implementations, so make sure it's really a good idea and will work well before recommending it. But, more importantly, if they decide not to do it, then you are basically off the hook for responsibility for *any* breaches that occur afterwards. "I recommended a two-factor authentication to prevent data breaches over two years ago, and every quarterly IT review ever since!"

What's odd for me as a developer is how many times I've talked to a tech guy who really "needs" us to add security feature X in our software, and we send over the information to turn it on after we write it, and they *still don't do it* even after they paid for the modification.

Comment: Re:Every 30 days. (Score 2, Interesting) 247

by mcrbids (#48527823) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Convincing My Company To Stop Using Passwords?

There are a few minor tweaks that significantly increase entropy will still not being hard to remember:

1) Don't capitalize the first letter in a word used in a passphrase. Instead, capitalize something in the middle.

2) When adding numbers, add somewhere in the middle of a word rather than between words.

3) If security is really important, spell one longish word backwards before apply 1 and 2.

4) Another trick I've used many times (as a touch typist) is to type words with your fingers slid over one key, left, right, or upleft/upright. Thus a simple, common word like "login" becomes ";phom", "kifub", "o9t8h", or "p0y9j" .

Use of these tricks add tremendous amounts of entropy to otherwise crappy passwords while still being very easy to remember.

Comment: Re:Life Everywhere out there? (Score 1) 334

by mcrbids (#48527495) Attached to: Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Nearby

Planets can't be too close to other stars

This is most likely the biggest one. Being too close to more than one star means higher range of fluctuation.

As a point of reference, a significant number of solar systems are binary systems, making them subsequently less likely to support life.

6. Planet needs to have a core preferably iron to deflect electromagnetic radiation.

Or life exists in gas giants which have thick atmospheres, or beneath the crust.

Although it's tough to consider the possibility of structured life existing at 10,000 atmospheres and 2,000 degrees F, I would imagine it being possible. But, such a life form is *far* less likely to be reaching out into space than we would, as the problem of keeping a "livable environment" in a space ship is at least 10,000 times more difficult. Are there even solid elements at 2,000 degrees F and 10,000 atmospheres?

Comment: Re:triggering below percentage is dumb (Score 1) 96

by mcrbids (#48527297) Attached to: Windows 10 Adds Battery Saver Feature

Maybe I just avoid horrible "battery saver" apps but I've never seen any particular tendency to have them actually further drain the battery. What kind of horrible "battery apps" do you torture yourself with?

I'd like to re-emphasize the GP post: the rate of drain is what a battery app should be focusing on, not battery life remaining.

Comment: Re:Still not legal, right? (Score 1) 92

The FAA is all about protecting the commercial use of the air.

It's so one-sided that pilots don't even have a consistent right to appeal punitive actions, and the rules around "non commercial" (private) flight are so ridiculous that merely sharing the cost of a ride in a small plane with a buddy can be considered a commercial flight, if your buddy does anything work related at all. It is truly just silly.

As soon as the drones have progressed technologically to the point where they are reasonably safe *and* profitable, the FAA would be all over that. Their biggest concern is making sure everybody knows that *they* regulate it.

Comment: Re: Then again, maybe it _is_ good news. (Score 2) 172

by mcrbids (#48510189) Attached to: Study: HIV Becoming Less Deadly, Less Infectious

Viruses mutate much faster than humans.

The truth of this statement really comes down to the definition of "mutate".

People don't exist in "bare form". We have a complex and growing plethora of decidedly human artifacts like clothing, houses, governments, and technology. Subsequently, people have evolved to respond very quickly and intelligently to a myriad of environmental threats, ranging from viruses and disease to climate change. That these responses are exobiological doesn't mitigate the fact that they function as evolution of the human collective presence.

I would argue that this collection of exobiological factors are as much a part of evolution for mankind as a purely biological evolution. By this definition, a quarantine is every bit as relevant as a new gene.

Comment: Exponential growth (Score 1) 455

Assume for a second, that you have a pond. And a new type of algae has been introduced into the pond. Algae grows quickly, so let's assume a doubling time of a day. 24 hours. The concern is that this new algae is gross and smells bad and nobody wants to have a pond full of this disgusting algae. Unfortunately, treating the algae is expensive and nobody wants to treat the entire pond.

The question is: One week before the pond is entirely covered in algae, would enough have appeared that you would even notice? At a "gut instinct" level, we'd guess that perhaps a quarter or a third or at least a tenth of the pond would be covered in algae, but that gut level instinct would be completely wrong. Just 1.56% of the pond would be covered - right about the point where it becomes noticeable at all.

The point is this: information processing capabilities, globally, aren't just growing exponentially: the rate of growth is itself also growing exponentially. Just about exactly at the time where we notice actual, verifiable intelligence of any kind is just about exactly the time where we have to assume it's ubiquity.

Previous discussions talk about the number of cross connects and how far away we are from the mark without commenting that the Internet itself allows for an infinite number of cross connects - my laptop can connect directly to billions of resources immediately with an average 10-25ms delay. Now, it's very likely that what is meant by "cross connects" in the context of AI is substantially different than the "cross connect" capability that global networking enables, but it's equally true that people generally fail at understanding exponential growth. It's why 401ks are so universally underutilized, why credit cards are such big business, and why the concept of the "singularity" seems like such hocus pocus at the gut level.

Comment: Lovin' that smell of BIAS (Score 1) 226

by mcrbids (#48406815) Attached to: Coding Bootcamps Presented As "College Alternative"

See, anybody who has a CS degree will be motivated to HATE boot camp guys. Employers who want more (cheaper) labor will be motivated to LOVE any force that lets them hire more people at less cost.

As a self-taught programmer myself managing a 10+ year project that's highly profitable, you'll probably guess which side of that divide you'll tend to see me on.

Comment: Re:The measurements in question: (Score 1) 142

by mcrbids (#48374457) Attached to: Data Center Study Reveals Top 5 SMART Stats That Correlate To Drive Failures

Your later comments about ignoring RAID controller warnings for a *year* strike me as callous. But we all have our standards, and standards vary greatly from place to place as the needs the drive the standards also vary greatly. (financial institutions care much more about transactional correctness than reddit)

After months of testing, our organization has wholeheartedly adopted ZFS and have been finding that not only is it technically far superior to other storage technologies, it's significantly faster in many contexts, it's actually more stable than even EXT4 under continuous heavy read/write loads, and brings capabilities to the table that even expensive, hardware RAID controllers have a tough time matching. Best of all, since it actually runs off JBOD, the cost is somewhere between insignificant and irrelevant.

I was wondering if you had investigated ZFS at all, and if so, why you aren't using it?

Comment: THIS problem solved long ago... (Score 1) 488

by mcrbids (#48370753) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Large scale internal combustion engines are extremely efficient and can run on just about anything burnable: vegetable oil, powdered coal, agricultural dust, wood gas from trees, dried leaves, etc. Yes, you can literally run an engine on banana peels. The trick is to get the carburetor to get the balance right.

From the perspective of a generator for a hospital, it would be relatively straightforward to design a generator running an engine like this with whatever renewable fuel is most convenient and readily available locally. Large scale wood gas installations typically work with fuel pre-processed into pellets.

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