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Comment: Re:Who would? (Score 1) 358

by olau (#49437771) Attached to: Google To Offer Ad-Free YouTube - At a Price

I probably would. I don't have a TV, and when I need to find something to watch with my small kids, it's usually on Youtube, e.g. the renowned Lego Police Chase Part 3. The ads are annoying, especially when you have an angry 3-year old, and we've had some long stretches where adblockers don't work (currently they seem to do).

Likewise, with two small children I don't really have the time and energy to play computer games, but I still sometimes watch a let's play - it's easier to just watch an episode or two and then fall asleep. For me, it's a bit like watching a friend play a game, except I can turn it on and off as I wish. :)

I realize for many people, Youtube is mostly a bunch of stupid cat videos, but there are a lot of different niches in there, some of which have high-quality content of a different sort than what you'd find on commercial TV channels. Provided the fee isn't absurd, I wouldn't mind giving something back to the creators.

Comment: Do not add anything to the list (Score 1) 298

by olau (#49358357) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Makes Some Code Particularly Good?

Code needs to be easy to understand, that's all. You can't keep a long list of priorities in your head, that simply doesn't work at all. Just keep one: easy to understand.

Of course it needs to work, but that's obvious so not really worth stating - testable is part of this obviousness, if you need to test it, and you can't, well, then it doesn't work.

Sometimes code needs to be performant, but often this is only the case for small parts of it, so it's better not to think about it or it will tend to compete with making the code easier to understand.

I'm deliberately using the phrase "easy to understand" and not just talking about readability, because ease of understanding often doesn't not come from just superficial readability tweaks like spacing, consistent styling, self-explanatory naming, etc. Often it may require approaching the problem at hand from a different angle, modeling it slightly differently or otherwise shuffling things around a bit to reduce accidental complexity and avoidable dependencies.

Comment: Re:Yes he's right (Score 1) 214

by olau (#49290003) Attached to: The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty

He considered my and their work with "software as a service" to be immoral, because all the software should be directly in their hands.

Well, I'm not RMS but from some of the remarks I've seen from him on mailing lists, it's not just the software but also very much the data. He's against the idea of giving up data to a third-party.

In the light of the Snowden revelations, you have to admit there's some validity to his point.

... nor to discuss the inability of most home users to maintain a robust or secure database

I'm sure his response would be that we should figure out ways to help them do that. There are in fact people working on these kinds of things, e.g. the FreedomBox project. It's of course a much harder engineering challenge than a controlled server-based solution where the service provider can monitor stuff and fix problems directly.

Comment: Re:Ain't freedom a bitch... (Score 3, Interesting) 551

by olau (#49015931) Attached to: RMS Objects To Support For LLVM's Debugger In GNU Emacs's Gud.el

So why is he complaining here?

He's complaining because this is about GCC.

AFAICT, he's seen in the past that GCC can be used as a tool to make hardware vendors open up their platforms because writing a new compiler is just too damn difficult compared to getting support into GCC, and the latter required distributing the source under the GPL.

With LLVM, that kind of hardware vendors can keep their source code to themselves.

Thus he sees LLVM as a threat in the long term.

I think most people in the Emacs community understand his point, but disagree that adding support to Emacs will change anything. LLVM will thrive whether Emacs supports it or not.

Comment: The GR outcome (Score 1) 581

by olau (#48417499) Attached to: Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

IMHO it was good that it ended up with the outcome it did. You'll notice that the option "we should not have a GR about this" won. What it means is that Debian elected NOT to try to force any particular solution through, but let things settle themselves through consensus decisions by individual package maintainers.

If enough people care about sysvinit, it will survive and thrive - if not, it will die in Debian, just like other things that have been abandoned. Whether project X is your pet project or not, this is just natural software evolution. You can't be in the software world for long without seeing something you like rot and be disbandoned.

Comment: Re:Article is retarded - here's the situation (Score 1) 488

by olau (#48369917) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

If you erect a wind turbine it will produce power as the wind blows.

I should perhaps add that unless you've looked at the data, intuition in energy production works really bad. For instance, the above sentences makes wind sound really bad, but in reality the wind conditions in Denmark are actually pretty good. Otherwise wind power wouldn't be economical here, and it certainly is.

Comment: Article is retarded - here's the situation (Score 4, Informative) 488

by olau (#48369855) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Look, energy production is hard stuff, and the reporter here clearly didn't understand ANY of the intricacies.

Basically the situation is this: you have a consumption curve that you need to meet at every instance. It is important to understand that this is a curve with daily peaks. These peaks MUST be met or you get riots in the streets.

If you erect a wind turbine it will produce power as the wind blows. Same with solar and the sun. When you match the resulting production curve up against the consumption curve, there will be gaps that you need to fill in some other way.

Nuclear power is a bad way to fill the gaps. Due to high capital costs, to stay economical a nuclear plant usually needs to produce 100% all the time until it needs refueling (which takes a month I think) where it will produce 0%, in other words a flat line with some clearly defined gaps. But we need to match a curve with gaps, so a flat line doesn't help much.

Instead you need something you can dispatch relatively quickly without costs going through the roof. Currently stuff like hydro, biogas, biomass, etc.

In Denmark, besides all the wind turbines we have a bunch of big coal plants. These plants are currently being transitioned to biomass (i.e. wood pills and chips) and will fill in the gaps, as well as produce heat for district heating (which is really big in Denmark, winter's cold up here).

If these plants get into financial trouble, the national grid operator Energinet can increase a fee on each kWh (the PSO) and use the extra income to pay some of the plants for standby services. Besides this, we have really good grid connections to Norway where they have a ton of quickly dispatchable hydro. The connections to Norway are a two-way street - they get cheap wind turbine power in return which makes it easier for them to get through the winter without running out of water (very little water flows to the dams in winter because it's frozen).

Hence, apart from the transportation sector where we're waiting for Tesla and the like to come up with better electric cars, there really isn't anything tricky or hard about the transition away from fossil fuels in Denmark.

It was tricky in the past because wind turbines used to be expensive, but the industry has matured and wind is now the cheapest source of new (undispatchable) kWhs. Really, the only political question left is whether we should try to save some of the biomass by building more off-shore wind turbines.

It's also true that our current path is a bit more expensive than a fossil-based base scenario - I think it's supposed to be around 100-200 USD per inhabitant per year in 2050. So not overwhelmingly expensive.

Comment: Re:Temporary (Score 1) 488

by olau (#48369317) Attached to: Denmark Faces a Tricky Transition To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

I don't know how you got modded up, but you are actually wrong on most accounts:

- Greens in the government just pretended it doesn't exist until it's now hitting them square in their faces.

False. It is well-known that you need something to fill in the gaps. Energistyrelsen (~ department of energy) has recently calculated the costs. They are not excessive.

- Wind power is installed mainly offshore.

False. But it's true that much of the future growth is expected to be off-shore.

- Essentially, not a single watt of non-renewable energy can be sold on exchange until all of renewable capacity has been sold.

False. At least for Denmark. If you think otherwise, please provide a source. The producer bidding with the lowest price (so usually those with the lowest marginal costs) get to sell first. Solar and wind have lower marginal costs.

- This obviously leads to the problem where it's unprofitable to keep the non-renewable plants operating, so operators just shut down the plant. Except that woops, if they do, you have grid blackouts

Well, this hasn't really happened yet (many plants shutting down), and Energinet is responsible for making sure that if it happens, we don't get into trouble. Energinet can increase the PSO (a fee on each kWh sold) and use that to pay standby plants or build more power lines. We will not have regular blackouts, that's just FUD.

Comment: Re:Not subject to Carnot efficiency limit (Score 1) 78

by olau (#48324365) Attached to: Enzymes Make Electricity From Jet Fuel Without Ignition

There is no reason we cannot create hydrocarbons at will using various approaches.

Except for price. Most alternatives when it comes to energy are limited by costs. Although I think you're right that we'll eventually end up creating/harvesting the hydrocarbons from other sources than the ground.

Comment: Re:Sparks but no flame: Pianist Dejan Lazic at Ken (Score 1) 257

by olau (#48300167) Attached to: Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

I think a perfect example is the recordings of Wilhelm Kempff of Beethoven sonatas. You can find some with video on Youtube - on those there's an occasional misplaced note (it's an old man playing), yet the music is... beyond this world.

Take a MIDI-playback directly from the notes written by Beethoven and compare that to Kempff's performance.

Technical ability is the means to an end.

Comment: Re:Out-of-the-box babysitting of processes (Score 1) 928

by olau (#48278115) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

Autopilots on production servers seem like a bad idea to me.

I once thought the same. But investigating with a "OMGF!!! THE SERVER IS DOWN!!!!" over my head just doesn't work well in practice - so I tend to end up restarting the service anyway, in which case the difference between a program doing it and me is just loss of availability (and worse working conditions for me).

Have you ever found any practical advantage of doing this manually?

Comment: Re:What system d really is (Score 5, Insightful) 928

by olau (#48277771) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can You Say Something Nice About Systemd?

The reality is that before systemd showed up, there wasn't really any project with an active upstream that tried to solve the plumbing problem (I'm not talking about init in isolation here). Each distro had to invent their own hacks, some of them good, some of them not.

The fact is that the community that is beginning to form around systemd is much more healthy than the scattered bits and not-quite-fitting pieces we had before. Maybe that's sad, I don't know. I think that in the end, the unification around systemd will allow competitors to form (just implement the interesting subset of the systemd interface and you can integrate with all distros!). So long term we'll end up with a much more vibrant plumbing for Linux.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354

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