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Comment: Armchair engineering at its finest (Score 5, Insightful) 241

by mcrbids (#48920923) Attached to: Engineers Develop 'Ultrarope' For World's Highest Elevator

I'm probably going to lose some karma for this...

I, too, could come with a half-dozen answers that would be "far superior" to what 100+ years of the finest minds in the industry could come up with. But in reality, I really, seriously doubt that my designs would hold up because there's a *reason* that things are done the way they are.

Mechanical engineering is a *very old* industry, and any radical, new design would have significant hurdles to pass before it could be accepted and used in a real scenario. The cost of failure is very high and there are real lives on the line.

My first thought was to use something like a caterpillar drive along the sides of the shaft, each of which would operate like a mini elevator for perhaps 10 floors. But, very quickly, I can see that this type of system would have many, many more moving parts and consequently many more points of failure.

So, I think it *might* be best to trust that 100+ years of experience are, in fact, at work, and that we should first understand that there is *real knowledge* at work before assuming that our half-baked and thoroughly unproven ideas hold any merit in reality.... ?

Comment: Re:It doesn't have to get it right (Score 1) 489

by mcrbids (#48850871) Attached to: Windows 10: Can Microsoft Get It Right This Time?

I bought a Dell laptop (Precision M3800) last week from the Dell business laptop dept. The sales guys assumed I'd want Win7 and the laptop (by default) comes with Win7 installed. When I asked about that, they said that it "technically included Windows 8 media" but that everybody wants one running Win7.

I find this quit interesting as Win7 has officially gone EOL. Personally, I plan on running Fedora Linux, but still....

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 4, Informative) 93

by mcrbids (#48798525) Attached to: The Next Decade In Storage

Get off my lawn, blah blah...

Meanwhile, flash has revolutionized storage. We saw at least a 95% reduction in query times on our DB servers when we switched from RAID5 15K SAS drives to RAID1 flash SSDs. Floppies are history, and 32 GB thumb drives cost $5. SSDs have been catching up to their HDD brethren, now just 2-4 years behind the cost/capacity curve, and spinning rust has just about reached EOL, with Shingled Hard drives that make you choose between write speeds and write capacity being a necessary compromise for increased capacity.

I have no idea why you'd be so dismissive.

Comment: Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by mcrbids (#48797407) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

You can't have an auditable trail and a secret ballot.

I don't see why these are mutually exclusive. The trick is to set aside the math for the ballots themselves with the math for verifying the ballots.

Let's say you take 100 ballots, and randomize their order. You make hashes of the ballots and hash the sum of hashes. Keep the hash of hashes and you can easily verify that the numbers add up, while simultaneously anonymizing the ballots on a per-voter basis, making it instead 1% likely that any vote can be attributed to one person.

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

... or you could set up ZFS with a mirrored vdev and keep snapshots. All the benefits of RAID1, combined with all the benefits of keeping any number of sync'ed disks laying around. If you have many disks, go with RAIDZ and get the reliability of RAID5 too.

If you store lots of data, once you ZFS you'll never want to go back.

Comment: Re:Stupid/Misleading Title (Score 3, Insightful) 118

by mcrbids (#48676163) Attached to: US Navy Sells 'Top Gun' Aircraft Carrier For One Penny

Actually, those $0.02 make all the difference in the world.

1) Sold for $0.01 means that the new owner can do whatever they want with it, including sell it to North Korea for $5, hoping that the NKs have enough to make the check clear.

2) Paid $0.01 means that it's a demolitions contract, and the recipient has obligations to perform a service under specific terms. While many commercial contracts limit liability to the size of the contract, (in this case, $0.01 damages) my guess is that this wouldn't be the case for a DOD contract.

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) 611

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.

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania