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Comment It's always worth learning a new way of thinking (Score 3, Insightful) 267

Even if you never make use of the new programming language it is almost always worth getting your head around a new way of thinking about problems. You may not ever need to write code in Lisp but understanding what a functional language is and isn't good for is helpful in other languages. If you're building flight control systems then Python might not be the language to do it in but getting deep into it and start understanding why you'd want a metaclass in the first place can help you stricture your code better. There aren't a ton of job openings for Erlang programmers but there are lots for people who understand High Availability and Disaster Recovery and the background knowledge will stand you in good stead.

In short, yes, it's worth learning all the languages your brain can handle. Even if you forget the details the concepts will stick around and help you later.

Comment UniFi Video Camera (Score 1) 263

Ubiquiti Networks make some decent cameras with a whole bunch of decent features including fetching a snapshot with an HTTP request. They are designed to send their video output to their DVR software (which is actively supported on Linux) but in practice if all you need is to access still images over HTTP and video over RTSP then you can set up the control software on your laptop, fire it up once to configure the camera and then switch it off and the camera will continue to run without the DVR.

Of course, as other posters have pointed out, the right answer is to brew your own with a Raspberry Pi and a Pi Camera.

Comment Re:It's required (Score 1) 170

Firstly, if you can facilitate multi-way calling then it is clearly technically feasible to support a wire tap. Secondly, unlike many other snooping regulations, CALEA explicitly obliges telecommunications companies to modify their systems and equipment in order to facilitate "lawful access" (sic). Verizon are a telco, not an app company, so they are bound by CALEA in ways that people like Silent Circle or CellTrust are not.

Comment (Score 2) 73

If I was publishing an article talking about how huge numbers of eyeballs solves security problem I'm not sure that I'd choose to publish it the day after it was announced that the X window server code has had some serious security bugs for 25 years that have only just been discovered. Clearly open source code can have serious security holes that go unnoticed for a very long time.

Comment Environmental ROI? (Score 5, Interesting) 195

This begs the question whether mining for BitCoins is more damaging to the environment than mining for precious metals, for a given value of return. The EPA emissions factor for electricity is about 0.69 tons of CO2 per megawatt hour, so producing the electricity used by this datacenter is, on average, dumping into the atmosphere 331 tons of CO2 per day or about 120,000 tons of CO2 per year. While there are many other forms of environmental damage from gold mining, a quick search suggest that the greenhouse emissions from gold extraction run to about 11.5 tons of CO2 equivalent per kg of Gold. At this rate 120,000 tons of CO2 yields of 10.5 tons of gold, worth nearly $500 million at today's price. Will this datacentre yield more than half a billion dollars worth of bit coins each year?

Comment So many uses (Score 4, Informative) 129

I have four RPi boards. One monitors my UPSs, cleanly suspending my server when the power goes out and sending wake-on-LAN massages to it when the power comes back up so that the UPS only needs to drive my switch and AP, one has a camera board and does motion detection to spot people coming into my office, one is currently operating as a Bluetooth LE beacon for testing the new iOS iBeacon stuff and one is just for tinkering. Most of these have a few other services running on them too (two have I2C thermometers on them).

I see a lot of negative comments about the Pi being underpowered. Perhaps if what you want to do is run FPS games or you are trying to run Big Data analytics then this is true but it's plenty powerful enough for a whole host of service tasks. It's not that many years ago that the Pi's level of power would have been considered a high-end desktop configuration. The purpose of the device is to give kids a low-cost entry into programming and it does just that. On top, at $25 for a Model A its fine to put in 'dangerous' places where something bad might happen to it (like outdoors, driving the sensors and servos for my Halloween decorations). No, I don't have my MongoDB server on a Raspberry Pi, but for many many projects they are just about perfect.

Comment Hype cycle (Score 1) 39

"More than an actual technology, SDDN is the culmination of many other efforts at abstracting, consolidating, managing, provisioning, load balancing and distributing datacenter assets." Which is a fancy way of saying it's a bunch of commodity PCs running Xen, attached to some f***ing big Juniper QFabric switch with some PHP scripts to let middle-managers bring up servers without knowing where they are. It's just that right now our stage in the hype cycle is the Peak of Inflated Expectations.

Comment Giving thieves the finger (Score 1) 204

A number of smartphone providers have been talking about adding fingerprint readers to phones to make the security stronger. Over 40% of serious crime involves smart devices and half of those crimes are violent in some way, many at knife-point. Does anyone else worry that it won't take long for muggers to work out that if they take the phone they need to take your index finger too?

Comment Re:Would never be approved (Score 2) 286

The test that the competition regulators apply is "Will this reduce competition and consumer choice?" When Google bought Motorola Motorola was already a maker of Android phones and the immediate effect on the market was small. If Apple bought Nokia it would almost certainly want to kill Nokia's Windows phones, which would largely kill Windows Mobile, which would significantly reduce choice. There is no way that the EU would allow this and it seems unlikely that the US would allow it either (although that would be moot if the EU nixed it).

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.