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Comment: Does away with.. (Score 1) 1

by niftymitch (#47767097) Attached to: The DOT wants to know where you are

Such a move would do away with radar and other speed trap tools.

All that would be needed is a box that gathers this information and
issues citations.

A patrol car need only get close. Static devices catch you in passing.
Static devices can log you in passing. Any traffic light would have the
location and position to also be a speed trap.

Contra flow traffic would gather an astounding number of vehicle information

I wonder if traffic avoidance and serious injury line up well.
I would expect most serious injury events involve vehicles
crossing the median and encountering oncoming traffic. If the
Russian traffic videos I see the serious wrecks happen in
seconds and involve cross traffic or oncoming traffic.

Next there would be a mandate for video recording .... That
may be a good thing. If autos had continuous recording cameras
a lot of traffic stop shenanigans might go away but most police
departments would dislike this. The best camera configurations
could be those that have a wide view and would be witness to
lots more. A simple click of the auto remote would silently start the
cameras as the bystander moved well clear of the action.

Cell or WiFi links could move data to a difficult or impossible to corrupt
cloud location as well as keep a local copy.

I sort of see some value in this but the notion of GPS latency and V2V
data being current enough for avoidance and active safety seems like an
astounding technical reach today. This is revenue generating, grudge and tracking
not safety.

Where are bicycles in all this... Clearly in the modern green future bicycles, scooters,
and motor bikes need to be factored in all of this. Skateboards too.

N.B. We do not mandate transponders for all aircraft....

Comment: Re:But (Score 1) 191

by niftymitch (#47746153) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

I moved to Minnesota so I wouldn't have to worry about earthquakes, or tsunamis

But winters can bring their own challenges and different answers.
A frozen week is a long frozen week....

Large trash bags make windproof and rainproof emergency layers and
make taking trash away from the park easy too.

Keep that old comforter in the boot of the car and some old shoes, hat,
dry clothing handy too.

Frozen food is difficult to eat... you will need something to cook/ heat food with. Something
that does not kill you with carbon monoxide. Camping and picnic equipment makes great emergency
kit if it is maintained and has fuel.

Comment: Re:Most are ill-prepared (Score 2) 191

by niftymitch (#47746105) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?

The kit, as described, is a barely adequate 36 hour kit, for four people.


OK for 36 hours in america all you really need is water.

Most individuals can fast for 36 hours.

In addition a can of tuna or a can of soup needs nothing beyond
an opener and a fork or spoon to become food. If you are hungry it is just fine. If it is
not fine you are not hungry...

It gets different if you are hiking or digging through rubble.

Shelter could be high on the list for many...
A blue tarp is inexpensive.

Trash and sanitation need attention...
The superdome and katrina would have been less evil if
there were buckets on ropes and ways to just flush the crud over the
side. Sadly too many had no clue about sanitation and EXPECTED
others to clean up. This responsibility issue and an exclusion zone where
only trained first responders can play is also a disaster in and of itself.

Reach and scope of the disaster can be overlooked.

A katrina wrecks an astounding area in some cases permanently.
Politics imposes limits on rebuilding which gets manipulated
by do-gooders.

A tornado totally wrecks a narrow band that can often
be accessed by first responders in half a mile left/ right of the

A quake is a regional disaster... small medium large...
One lady in Napa was interviewed -- she had wine but ALL the wine
glasses in her home had been broken. This points out the fragile
chain of needs and reminds one about a king and his horse.
The area of the Napa quake is modest and lightly populated ....
other areas.. 50 miles south would be shit to pay disaster.

Economic resources of the area come to play.
Does the population live paycheck to paycheck (Katrina)
or is the population flush with a credit card that would
let them move to another state and a work from home
like Google and FB engineers.

So a blue tarp, water and some cans of tuna and
the first 48 hours are covered for some... More than
48 hours and it gets nasty because restoration of services
that takes longer than 36 hours quickly becomes a week
or three.

Comment: Re:Why not just use hard drives and then store... (Score 1) 193

by niftymitch (#47740977) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

Not sure where you live, but writable blu ray was available in 2002 initially. DVD in 1997, CD in 1988. We're a little past 5 years. Thats 12 for BD, 17 for DVD, and 26 for CD. There is a wealth of data on storage life on all of them if you know where to look.

yet there was a big deal not too long ago where DVD media began to come apart
after about five years. The rumor was that it was a manufacturing FUBAR that lasted
a couple years and impacted a lot of big name players.

I picked five years to comment because apparently the life of media has two statistical humps.
The five year one points to short term risks unknown at day one and the 12 and 17 year data gives
hope that the 40 to 100 year storage life expectation is possible. Bursts of defective media discovered
a couple years after mfg remind folk that inexpensive could be foolish.

Home users had a spate of problems in 2003 or so... if my Google foo is telling.

Comment: Re:What about bitrot (Score 1) 193

by niftymitch (#47739115) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

If they only keep one copy, how do they detect and recover from bitrot?

Or is the stuff already not really important to keep more than one copy around

Data replication is an honest question. What if a copy was kept on spinning disks
and the Blue-Ray media was backing store for spinning media.

A RAID design for the future need not have equal access times for ECC, voting
and redundancy. It only needs to be reliable and the net sum of the parts
inexpensive. Data rates on and off a single Blu-Ray are consistent with very long
distance optical fibre data rates.

If I allow myself to think of this as heterogeneous RAID hardware design it makes sense.
If I allow myself to think of this as an isolated magic solution it seems fragile.

Comment: Re:Why not just use hard drives and then store... (Score 1) 193

by niftymitch (#47739063) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

You could have a robot unplug/plug HDs, but once you're accepting the latency of disk changes and spin-up, I imagine Blu-Ray disks would be much, much cheaper than a similar capacity of HDs.

Yes except the connectors are not rated for many disconnects and reconnects.

Hard drive media needs to spin up often. If the drive is not spun then there are
risks of the media and heads having problems. The complexity of the electronics
and component life expectancy on the drives may be less than Blu-Ray media.
There are just too many moving (active) parts in the drive to believe that media with
no moving parts has an equal MTBF value.

With deep pockets and money in the bank... this is worth a hard look.

Comment: Re:Why not just use hard drives and then store... (Score 2) 193

by niftymitch (#47739029) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

This estimate also ignores the cost of a robotic system, powering that system, and maintanence and doesn't factor in costs for redundancy (they need two robotic systems, not one.) The whole thing is phenomenally stupid. As someone already pointed out before I got here to say the same, if you want to take data offline simply literally take it offline. Power down the friggin hard drive array completely. Power it back up when needed.

Bingo... but given the mass of data Facebook has set themselves up to store they would
do well to try a multitude of things.

And redundancy of two at this scale is not going to be sufficient.
The media will need to be organized as a RAID larger and wider
than anything folk are used to thinking about.

A read error on one disc will need to be validated by a very big ECC code
on the media and also on redundant media local and far away. Two copies
gives little voting confidence as to which is incorrect so dust off your old
HP-41 calculator and stat pack or perhaps SPSS and start working
on the numbers. Then verify and check them with Haskell and R

Big robot data systems are interesting and even dangerous as they
get bigger and faster.

Then there is the security of the OS running the robot. Stuxnet has
a lesson to be applied here. Lots of stuff spinning... .

Comment: Re:Why not just use hard drives and then store... (Score 2) 193

by niftymitch (#47738969) Attached to: Facebook Experimenting With Blu-ray As a Storage Medium

They'd also be cheaper, even at the bulk HDD rate that FB would pay.

A quick on-line search show a spindle of fifty 50GB Blu-Ray discs (2.5 TB) retails for about $100. A 4TB HDD costs about $140. So HDD is actually cheaper per byte of storage. Maybe wholesale price ratios are way different from retail, but I see no reason to assume that. So BluRay doesn't win on price, volume, or access speed. The concerns about moisture and big temperature swings seems odd. Are Facebook data centers exposed to the weather?

Seldom used data sitting in spinning power draining disks has a continuous power cost.
Power and cooling are important data center considerations.

Facebook has an astounding pile of data in picture archives that after a couple months are
only called on once in a while if ever again.

Layers of storage from the modern very quick SSD devices to spinning rust disks to perhaps BluRay
seem to have a place when access time and space considerations come to play. I wish them luck.

One problem with BlueRay, DVD and CDROM media is the lack of data as storage beyond
five years or so. But as a physical form factor goes these little devices do have a lot of potential.
I wish them luck and wish I knew what vendor to invest in.

Comment: Re:Yes Google and FB are the ones to protect us? (Score 1) 116

by niftymitch (#47730697) Attached to: NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

I happen to know a highly skilled person working as a security analist. He says his main customer for 0days is the NSA.......

Golly someone connected directly to gwolf has now been outed.
Unless you are Kim Kardashian with 23 million followers a zero
level direct connection might well be an individual name.

Further with 23 million followers for Kim; 600,000 for Robert Scoble;
83,000 for /. ; 42 million for B. Obama.... we are all connected within three
or so degrees of K Bacon

Comment: Re:Yes Google and FB are the ones to protect us? (Score 1) 116

by niftymitch (#47730611) Attached to: NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

He suggests a massive company like Google or Facebook will eventually have to take up the task of making Tor scale up to millions of users.

If one of those guys gets their hands on it you can forget about using it to hide anything from the government.

"Here's some bugs we've fixed for you guys. Trust us."

Oh yeah, because the current debug team we can trust so much...

There are two parts..
      * Here is the bug.
      * Here is a bug fix.

The first has a lot of value in an open source community.
The second if taken with blind faith is a potential disaster.

As a pair the time window for attack can be reduced.

Gifts from the NSA are an interesting thing... Some might be triggered
because they have evidence that others have knowledge of the
flaw and are exploiting it. As the need for human intelligence
grows the need for secure communication increases from individuals
(assets) far afield. In that regard bug disclosures would be self
serving but still be quality fixes the Tor community needs.

One important point to me in terms of global security is that
"actions speak louder than words" and if the TLAs like the NSA
pay attention to global bad actors things might find clarity in contrast
to the thought police reaching out four+ degrees of connectivity
for co-conspirators (almost the entire world today)

Speaking about bad actors... our news media outlets seem to
have abandoned all attempts at quality, completeness and
truth. The web does not have time editorial limitations the way
airtime programming does and unedited content should be available.
It is not obvious how one might edit out the payment for cigars
unless the shop is a source of illegal Cubans for the local big

Decades ago news broadcast (Walter Cronkite time frame) news
was a mandate and effectively a cost center not a profit center.
This has gone to stink with the advent of cable and broadcast
outside of the airwaves. But if the FCC can get in the middle
of net neutrality these magazine format sensation and headline
grabbing outlets could find their finances and marketing vastly different.

Comment: Python in 1968 (Score 1) 2

by niftymitch (#47721897) Attached to: What You Wish You'd Known Starting Out As A Programmer

I wish I knew about Python, FORTH and Haskell in 1968
when FORTAN, Snowball, Lisp... were the dominant choices.

Implied in this is the dream that students then had access to
tools like a Raspberry Pi and all that implies.

Why... well I am excited by the future and would like to push the
clock ahead 40+ years both hardware and software. I do find the
use of JavaScript to be a step backwards and sadly a bit of the
path of least resistance.

Comment: Well sure... (Score 1) 578

by niftymitch (#47705613) Attached to: Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

Well sure -- I do not know but would assert() that MS gave them a major
sales effort. Full court press perhaps with promises and discounts.

Linux is not free. It does take work and is not monolithic.
The biggest gap is one that customers of Munich must bridge
in terms of document tools, multimedia tools, codecs and
even Adobe Flash tools and development.

Having said this it is clear from the most recent blue screen
of death Tuesday updates that any critical business could find
themselves in a monster tangle with a botched patch, an aggressive
zero day attack and any number of other risks. All of which would
be worse if there was only one OS in the house.

Some might recall the old IBM executive directive that overhead
slide presentations be prepared ONLY with a typewriter and only
in black and white. The flood of artistic efforts and costs to contrive
fancier more marketing rich eye catching song and dance presentations
and production company tail wagging the dog expense was diverting
and distracting from the ability to communicate content.

Decades ago at Silicon Graphics there was a move over MAC program
to focus the company and eat your own cooking in the decision making
levels of the company. If an SGI executive could not communicate with
other parts of SGI with ONLY SGI tools customers would have the same
problem and no mater how worthy the hardware could not get the job done.

The important lesson for the world and especially the US to understand
is monoculture is a big risk as any that have looked into the Dutch Elm
disease that killed more trees than Xerox (perhaps an exaggeration).
The attack surface for computers and digital infrastructure and data should
not be in the hands of one company or one QA, or one release test group.

There are a couple of ways to divide and identify the issues and needs.
There are a lot of smart people on /. and we could make some positive
comments --- but hey this is /.


Comment: And they could add stuff... (Score 1) 158

And interesting specific yet easy to detect substances
could be added to money to make it easy to track from
one place to another. Each of the 12 reserve banks could
use a unique easy to detect substance....

One step beyond serial number records... and one step
beyond ultraviolet and edge stack marks.

Comment: Re: Well at least they saved the children! (Score 1) 790

by niftymitch (#47611835) Attached to: Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

Replace "Child Porn" with "Subversive Material" and suddenly it doesn't see like such a good thing, does it?

Or, for you folks who like to "share", copyrighted movies, music, etc.

Or replace with any financial instrument bought and sold.

Remember Martha was locked up over a lost post-it note
that implied that the sale/purchase of such and such a stock
was likely profitable...

Given the interconnectivity of the modern world the vast majority
of the technical community are connected to individuals that know
or MIGHT have access to sensitive financial information.

Any recruiter or resume system that sees a bump in traffic from XYZtech
might assume trouble as the rats flee the ship. They do not even
have to mine it... it is visible.

Social issues, financial, sexual (legal), religious, emotional, medical.....
can be fabricated from real and fabricated content....