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Comment: Re:No. (Score 2) 51

by mlts (#49622057) Attached to: Is It Worth Learning a Little-Known Programming Language?

On the other hand, once you learn a few programming languages, it becomes easier to know others, (assuming something that isn't completely different, such as a procedural language (C or Java) versus a functional programming language (Lisp, Scheme), versus assembly language.

If you know C, you can consult the camel and make functioning perl code. So, it might not hurt knowing a non mainstream language, and may not take too much of your time, relatively.

Comment: Re:SubjectsSuck (Score 1) 249

by mlts (#49611561) Attached to: VA Tech Student Arrested For Posting Perceived Threat Via Yik Yak

Yik Yak isn't that bad for the most part. A lot of it is people asking for kik IDs and wanting a good time, there are a few tired witticisms posted every so often, a few things about human sexuality popping up quite often...

In general, if one plays/or ever played WoW, it is like Barrens chat, or present-day General/Trade in the garrison.

Of course, you get the people who say something stupid, but the reporting mechanism takes care of that pretty quickly.

Comment: Re:Linux fans will always hate Ubuntu now (Score 1) 276

by mlts (#49611463) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Received Well By Linux Community

The way to get Linux into the desktop space isn't by drawing individual users in. It is how IBM's PC became the standard -- take over business, then personal stuff follows.

The trick is to get businesses to embrace a desktop distribution, by having the OS be able to be managed and policies set by Active Directory GPOs to being able to be audited/updated with existing management tools, to being able to be images and said images updated and maintained so reimaging a desktop is as simple as a PXE boot.

Trying to woo individual users is like herding cats. Instead, get the big boys using your OS, and the personal users will follow.

Comment: Re:The SystemD marketing rolls on... (Score 2) 276

by mlts (#49611413) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Received Well By Linux Community

SystemD, (and to a lesser extent FirewallD) have their points... but as anything in IT, it is good to at least learn the basics of them in order to get around, just like one has to learn how to use SELinux and not just disable it completely.

I personally am on the fence... SystemD provides a lot of functionality, especially with just one command (systemctl). However, I will have a lot more faith in this new functionality once the code certification and auditing is complete.

Comment: Re:Systemd and Gnome3 == no thanks (Score 4, Interesting) 276

by mlts (#49611269) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Received Well By Linux Community

It follows the same path that OS X and Solaris 11 do, with the root user disabled by default, with the first user created having sudo access to root. A quick change of root's password can enable this if needed.

All and all, this is a good thing. There are a lot of security audit checklists that are starting to require root not be able to be logged on directly, so shipping an OS that has this locked down is not unusual.

For personal use, there isn't anything wrong with unlocking root and using that with su or just logging directly in. However, in business/enterprise settings, it does make sense to have a user stage, even if it is just having different RSA keys in root's authorized_hosts file that belongs to each individual user. I like unlocking root locally, so I can log in with that in single user mode, but having remote root access completely disabled.

Comment: Re:Lead Acid (Score 3, Interesting) 297

by mlts (#49608619) Attached to: Tesla's Household Battery: Costs, Prices, and Tradeoffs

There is also battery life. Take NiFe batteries. They have less energy density than lead-acid... but properly watered, they have an extremely long lifespan.

Yes, a rack of NiFe cells would take up a more room than Tesla's technology... but they will still be working and storing energy long after the current generation of lithium batteries have hit the landfills.

Comment: Re:With REALLY Huge Fans... (Score 1) 279

by mlts (#49586741) Attached to: New Study Suggests Flying Is Greener Than Driving

I wonder about airships. If we can build some that can handle the cargo of a larger plane, it takes far less fuel to keep those going than it does an average plane (mainly because an airship won't crash if the engines stop.) I can see those being quite effecient at moving cargo. Since they only go 20-60 mph (32-100 km/hr), they won't be replacing high speed rail... but airships require relatively little energy to operate compared to a plane which needs airspeed to maintain lift.

Comment: Re:Does it matter? (Score 1) 52

by mlts (#49571709) Attached to: TeslaCrypt Isn't All That Cryptic

You know what you are doing. Ransomware makers don't prey on the Slashdot crowd. In general, people here are well inoculated from malware, just because we tend not to run files from the Web, our Web browsers are well sandboxed (or run in a VM), and if someone calls up and demands we run software to "fix our Windows box", the response will make the caller's brain ooze out their ears.

However, most people on the Net don't. They go to a pr0n site, and get presented with "you must download this application in order to get past this point"... download it, and get infected. Or, their browser isn't patched and some add-on gets compromised. Or, a phishing E-mail says they have a UPS package, and they need to just open the "foo.pdf .exe" file to see more details. The ones that get nailed by those are the ones that the ransomware guys know are going to pay up.

Comment: Re:Does it matter? (Score 4, Interesting) 52

by mlts (#49569769) Attached to: TeslaCrypt Isn't All That Cryptic

It isn't that simple. Some ransomware variants will find the backup device (external hard drive, NAS share, etc.) and zero those out. In fact, if the hard disk is encrypted, malware can just zero out the locations where the volume encryption key is stored, then dismount the drive.

Other variants will encrypt files, but will transparently allow access them until a point and time where it zeroes out the decryption key and puts up the ransom dialog. This makes backup utilities like Mozy and Carbonite ineffective since they may not have a usable copy.

For effective backups, one needs a backup server that pulls backups from clients, so malware cannot tamper with already stored files on the server side. However, outside of larger enterprises that use NetBackup on desktops, this isn't something that is often done. On a small scale, one can use Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, Retrospect, or a file share from all clients which is mounted by the backup server to copy documents off.

One also needs to keep good backups since the scrambled files might be around for a long time without someone knowing that they were tampered with. This requires multiple backup rotations and data lifetimes (again something only really found in enterprise-grade backup programs.)

Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 4, Interesting) 329

by mlts (#49568771) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

I have personally found that if you mount normal panels (as opposed to the flexible panels that you tape/glue in place directly on the surface), you create some clearance under the panels that air circulates under, insulating the roof from the sun.

To me, solar is a "why not" item. Not just for saving on electric bills, but providing electricity in areas where it isn't worth the hassle to run code-compliant wiring to, especially if all one is needed is basic lighting or a place to charge cordless drill batteries. For RV-ing, solar goes without saying, because it keeps house batteries topped off and helps minimize engine or generator use. Even for a plain old house, one can use a set of panels, storage battery, and inverter as a UPS so one can move all the parasitic draw devices (set top boxes, consoles, USB chargers) to that circuit, where they get clean power... and are not on the electric bill.

Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 1) 329

by mlts (#49568487) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

I think the key to that $13k outlay is the life of the batteries. If it is like conventional lithium-whatever technology, the batteries will have to be replaced in 4-5 years, making that $13k a $26k expenditure every decade.

However, if the battery life is like NiFe with an automatic watering system, the batteries could run indefinitely, and 100 years from now, the battery bank would still be useful and relevant.

I'm in agreement with the parent. If cars were like reactors, a lot of the press would be pointing to an old Packard or Studebaker and saying how unsafe it is over 55 mph, so all cars should be banned.

Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 2) 329

by mlts (#49568443) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

I have looked at off grid in Texas, and unless a house is buried deep within the earth, or can take advantage of some natural feature (a nearby water turbine on a stream), keeping the place cooled in the summer is virtually impossible without mains power.

For everything else, a house can run from propane for heating, the gas dryer, water heater, and even the refrigerator. Electric for the smaller appliances can easily be handled by a set of panels, battery bank, inverter, and charge controller. However, HVAC needs will tie a residence to the grid.

I wonder if someone can scale the mechanism up for an RV fridge and make a propane based water chiller. This way, power needs would be a lot less (mainly to move air through a heat exchanger), as the propane would be the energy source for the refrigerator. Bonus points in using the Einstein cycle where that uses ammonia, butane, and water.

If HVAC needs can be moved from the grid, that will help immensely, especially in warmer states.

Comment: Re:Talk about creating a demand (Score 1) 329

by mlts (#49568343) Attached to: Why Our Antiquated Power Grid Needs Battery Storage

There are always flywheels. If those are good enough for IBM UPS systems in the days of mainframes, they are good enough for local electricity storage. I don't know how they compare for energy density compared to batteries, but they are a lot less toxic to the environment than all but NiFe batteries, catastrophic failure of a flywheel is a solved problem, and "recharging" a flywheel is all mechanical, so it is relatively quick. Plus, there is no memory effect, or damage done if a flywheel is drawn to a 0% SoC... it just stops.

Comment: Re:With the best will in the world... (Score 2) 481

by mlts (#49560969) Attached to: Audi Creates "Fuel of the Future" Using Just Carbon Dioxide and Water

I feel the same way. Hydrogen takes a lot of effort to store compared to a compound like diesel or even gasoline which can be stored in a (mostly) unpressurized tank.

TFA has me wondering a number of points:

1: What is the energy density of this fuel compared to diesel or gasoline. Is it as dense as diesel, or is it about half to 3/4 as much, like ethanol?

2: How easy is it to have a fuel cell use it, as opposed to direct combustion?

3: How toxic is it? Ethanol is arguably the least toxic, but one atom away is methanol which will cause blindness.

4: How flammable is it? Diesel is flammable, but gasoline not just has liquid, but gasoline vapors give a risk of explosion.

5: Is the process to make it encumbered in patents, or will there be some help to provide the initial impetus to make a working infrastructure to get vehicles to take this fuel?

6: Is it bad for the environment if spilled? Propane if spilled will eventually disperse in the air (or go boom). Gasoline and diesel spills make Superfund sites.

7: What catalysts are needed?

8: How much retrofitting does an existing engine take? Here in the US, newer diesel engines only go up to B5 because any more biodiesel hoses the DPF.

Of course, assuming the best, this fuel would be useful assuming an energy density of existing diesel, but there are just a lot of questions to be asked first.

Comment: Re:This never works (Score 4, Insightful) 304

by mlts (#49547673) Attached to: Microsoft, Chip Makers Working On Hardware DRM For Windows 10 PCs

I wouldn't say it will be cracked in a week. The latest gen consoles don't even have a single crack or mod in place, much less an actual break, and with hardware DRM, it will be the same thing.

However, what will kill it is that DVDs, streaming, and Blu-Ray is "good enough". If people realize that their UHD content only can play on PlayReady hardware using only PlayReady monitors, cables, and other items... they will give it the same treatment as they did DIVX players and just not bother to buy it.

In fact, it might even slow down PC sales (which are stagnant already) if some misguided, false rumor gets around that the latest DRM spies on you or lets malware on your system. There was a lot of FUD about Secure UEFI booting... just wait until people encounter hardware DRM and cannot play their new 4k content.

Then there is bandwidth. 4K content is great... but bandwidth in a lot of places just can't handle it, so people will not be streaming it for the most part.

System going down at 1:45 this afternoon for disk crashing.