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Comment: Re:Retro computers as DIY kits? (Score 5, Informative) 81

by necro81 (#48213393) Attached to: Apple 1 Sells At Auction For $905,000

Sure, some company would have to re-manufacture the parts that couldn't be made at home

Thankfully, a lot of the early computers used commodity parts that are still manufactured, such as the 7400 series of discrete logic gates (e.g. 7400 = quad NAND gate, 7404 = hex inverter, etc.). The Apple I's 8-bit microprocessor, the MOS 6502, is still commercially available, too.

Comment: Re:Solar powered drones (Score 1) 99

by necro81 (#48202901) Attached to: Internet Broadband Through High-altitude Drones
A variety of people have been working on solar airplanes that collect sufficient energy during the daylight hours that, through a combination of electrical storage (batteries, reversible fuel cells, etc.) and mechanical storage (going to higher altitude during the day, then losing some at night) you can provide continuous operation. This isn't a new idea, and practical realizations of it are tantalizingly close.

Comment: Re:I'm betting on balloons (Score 1) 99

by necro81 (#48202813) Attached to: Internet Broadband Through High-altitude Drones

and for most of that 98%, existing wireline technologies work too

In the United States, a lot of /.ers like to gripe about how the existing wireline providers (DSL and cable) are monopolistic and provide poor service at high cost. They'd love to see more choice, but the barriers to entry (i.e., deploying a parallel network, including the last mile) are so high that only other megacorporations (Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS) can hope to break in, and even then it is very slow. Result: everyone gripes, but everyone eventually buys the service that's available, and nothing really changes. As you point out: it "works", but not that doesn't mean everyone is happy with the situation - lots of people hope for greater competition resulting in better options.

The actual situation is a lot more complicated and nuanced than the preceding paragraph, but it is a sufficient synopsis to now tie into this article. High altitude drones could provide that parallel network at sufficiently lower (capital) cost that a lot more players can take a crack at it.

Comment: Re:At least the infrastructure is in place (Score 1) 237

by necro81 (#48148355) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

If you have solar panels on a rooftop that would otherwise be cooked by the sun, aren't you also saving on the amount of power required for air conditioning?

If you're trying to heat the building - not so much.

In the case of a datacenter, I don't think that heating the building is that much of a concern.

Comment: Re:Obligatoriness Extraordinaire (Score 1) 237

by necro81 (#48148333) Attached to: Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

Your datacenter takes 1 MW/h. You receive roughly 8 hours of usable sunlight, so you need 3MW/h capacity of solar panels to produce the power you need

Whatever the soundness of your arguments, you immediately discredit yourself by using "MW/h" as a unit of power. That's like saying that your new car is rated at 500 horsepower/minute, or has a fuel consumption of 32 mpg/hour. What are those even supposed to mean?

And, no, the corrected unit is not MWh, or "megawatt-hour". That is a unit of energy (a bulk quantity), not power (the rate of energy production or consumption). The proper unit for referring to the size of a PV array, or any electrical generation facility, is "watts" or some SI-prefix thereof.

Comment: Re:To their defense (Score 2) 314

It would do nothing to curb criminality

Some kinds of criminality would be harder. If you have to move, say, €10 million in cash, whether you do it in €500 bills or €50 bills makes a large difference. In the first case, you only have to move 20,000 pieces of "paper" (a stack about 2 m tall). If you are constrained to €50 bills, you have to move 10x as much cash. Now, instead of a single briefcase that can easily be carried onto a railcar, you need a few duffel bags.

Not that this is an insurmountable obstacle to criminals - it just makes certain transactions harder to execute and hide.

Comment: Re:Oh great. (Score 4, Insightful) 26

by necro81 (#48054671) Attached to: FDA Issues Guidance On Cybersecurity of Medical Devices
If you are making a medical device where there is the potential for someone to hack the software or communications, resulting in death or serious injury, then yes, you do. No sense in whinging about it - that's the reality of the world. Computers get hacked, and that can have serious consequences, so you'd better examine the risk and mitigate it. This is nothing new, especially on /.

If anything, you should be asking yourself: if the FDA is only now issuing this guidance, and you haven't already been worried about security in your devices, how far behind are you?

Comment: This is why we can't have nice things (Score 5, Insightful) 575

by necro81 (#48040381) Attached to: Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics
If the government hadn't been stomping all over its authority (and limits thereof), then perhaps such measures wouldn't be needed.

Holder contends that "It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy.” that may be possible in theory, but governments everywhere have demonstrated repeatedly that they can't be trusted to protect personal privacy. In other words: allowing law enforcement the ability to search through a phone's contents willy nilly, trusting them not to abuse that authority, is a nice-to-have. And because of their actions, we can't have nice things.

Comment: Re:Interesting. But might end up as more of a toy. (Score 1) 56

They're trying to duplicate something they saw on a sci-fi TV show, thats primary use was exploration of alien planets

No, the tricorder's primary use was exposition, not exploration.

TV Show Watcher: What the heck is going on there?
Star Trek Character: (consults tricorder) There appears to be a radiation surge from other there, indicating a portal will soon appear and introduce this week's source of conflict.
TV Show Watcher: Thanks, informative tricorder!

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990