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Comment Re:Good! 8 more years of time working correctly. (Score 1) 143

If programmers want an exact time system without leap seconds, use TAI, that's what it's for.

No, it is not intended for programmers (as a monotonic clock without daylight savings and leap seconds), or as an alternative to UTC. The TAI, International Atomic Time, is a time standard based on the coordination of approximately 400 atomic clocks from government labs around the world (50+ counties). It has never been intended to be a time standard for general usage.

Universal Time (UT) in its several variants (UT0, UT1, UT1R) are more likely to be appropriate, but UTC is still the best solution for being a time standard used as the basis for legal definition of time.

Just as programmers have been repeatedly chastised for making short sighted assumptions about only storing the final (two) digits of the year, as well as making errors about leap years by hand coding checks rather than using well tested libraries, using everyday approximations and assumptions (e.g. every minute is 60 seconds, or assuming a year is 365 days) causes serious problems in many areas of programming not just with time, dates and calendar.

Comment Re:Apples to apples please (Score 1) 184

I believe many if not most games on Steam For Linux are actually windows versions literally wrapped in what amounts to their propriety/in-house branch of the wine environment.

AFAIK I don't think any Linux games are based on wine (I'm assuming you mean TransGaming?, but don't know of any reason why anyone would target Wine emulation. Some developers or published admitted their titles worked under Wine but make no effort to target or support it), but most are more likely to be based on OpenGL porting for Mac or OpenGL ES porting for mobile targets (phones and tablets).

A number of major and minor game and graphic engines include Linux targets (Unity, Torque, Unreal - with caveats, Moai, Unigine, Source) is perhaps the largest source of titles under Linux.

Comment Re:VHS tapes in bulk? (Score 1) 103

Modern VHS tapes are complete crap, like modern floppy disks. [,,,] (Emphasis added)

Huh? I thought both floppy discs and their drives have been out of production for some time now. I thought retro-computing types have been hording their magentic media for the purists who don't use adapters to solid-state storage (CF, SD card, etc.) for some time now. I don't think you can easily find [USB] floppy drives in stock at online computer retailers any more, except for refurbished units on eBay.

Comment Re:Blinders Much (Score 1) 103

True enough, but maybe I don't want to just toss all my old camera bodies. I reckon that if somebody came up with a digital replacement back for a few standard brands, they could make a killing off of old geezers like me.

Digital backs for still cameras have been around for medium and large format film cameras for twenty years or so. I don't think there were any popular / successful for 35mm (still) film cameras.

I don't know much about cinematic cameras, but I believe companies like Panavision have adapted their own models of cameras to include digital backs retrofits.

Comment tlsdate isn't a NTP replacement (Score 3, Informative) 132

The mentioned TLSdate isn't a NTP replacement.

It openly admits is roughly only good for a <1-5 second accuracy. That's crap. A typical NTP setup can easily maintain ~10-15 millisecond accuracy using public stratum 2 or 3 NTP servers from the Internet.

Sure, tlsdate is a simple, secure rdate replacement, and while many people without precise timing requirements it is good enough, it is simply not suitable for a huge range of applications that are time sensitive, or are timing / synchronization critical.

Comment Re:Another name for the American Museum of Telepho (Score 2) 68

On the other hand, back when Bell owned literally the entire telephone network from the handset to the central office they designed their telephones to last for decades and to provide good call quality. Once the regulations changed and now anyone could manufacture/sell a telephone, the quality of non-Western-Electric phones dropped so far that there are many old landline phones that have terrible acoustic properties. [...]

Well, really early telephones have terrible acoustic properties, from the simple fact that the microphone and speaker elements were quite primitive -- carbon elements (IIRC) on paper cones with Alnico (not ceramic or rare earth) magnets.

I think it may of been the 1950s or 60s, perhaps earlier, but Bell standardized on filtering audio to pass voice frequencies in the 300 to 3400 Hertz range. I believe this (or a 300-3k Hz simplification) became an ITU standard.

I agree the build quality of Western Electric (and Nortel) telephones, particularly business phones were impressive in how ruggedly build "office equipment" was built.

Here's an interesting look at audio quality of modern (digital) mobile phones, from IEEE Spectrum (free access), Why Mobile Voice Quality Still Stinks—and How to Fix It

Comment Re:SEE! (Score 3, Informative) 37

I would be interested to see (if not classified) what the Nato recommended settings for Windows are.

The US's NSA (with NIST - US National Institute of Standards and Technology) and Canada's CSE(C) (with the Treasury Board / Public Works) publish guidelines for civilian government security policies and recommendations on their public web sites. I believe other (counter-)intelligence agencies do the same as well.

Comment Re:I hate to be a dissenter here BUT... (Score 1) 508

You are an English teacher.

There is absolutely zero need to have everything typed as a matter of fact you are doing the kids a disservice here because they need to learn how to write legibly.

I assume that a high school teacher in any subject, that it still the norm to assume that children can write / print before being accepted, just as you expect they already know the alphabet and can tie their shoe laces.

As most teachers young enough to still be working have terrible-to-no knowledge on penmanship themselves, I think it is not reasonable to expect them to teach a subject they don't have moderate proficiency in themselves.

I also expect an English teacher to teach English, the language and its associated literary culture, not computer (and its applications) usage.

There is zero need to have the papers turned in online.

For the traditional in-person classroom teaching style, I agree.

The English/Literature classes are classes where paper should still rule.

Ideally language classes should focus on the language (and affiliated cultural bodies of work), not methods or pedagogies.

Comment Re:Slower in games, faster in vector maths (Score 2) 53

HOWEVER, what gamers want is a decent priced (sub 200 dollar) mainstream i5 with SIX true cores.

6 isn't enough of a jump over 4...

For most home / personal computing (including high end video games) diminishing returns kick in hard past 4 cores. The problem is that in the few cases where tasks can be easily subdivided so as to utilize more than 4 cores, the cores will normally be stuck waiting for memory updates which continues to lag (speed / throughput wise) behind processor compute ability at an increasingly large gap which spans orders of magnitude. Of course the only known way to speed DRAM is to utilize more power, which goes against the general IT development trends (greener computing, more capable mobile).

The processor to memory speed gap is one of the reasons why Intel is investing in novel memory technology (phase change memory, etc.). The recent XPoint memory announcement hinted at potential future usage as "page swap" memory, replacing virtual memory management swapping pages out to disk (mechnical or solid state).

I haven't read all of Intel's releases this week, but one area I'm interested in is seeing how eDRAM (embedded DRAM) aka Crystal Well technology is going to end up being available and utilized across the Skylake line. In memory intensive benchmarks eDRAM has already shown considerably improvement in memory constrained benchmarks in Broadwell mobile processors, wheere it acts as an additional level of cache.

Give me 8 true cores and 16 threads, remove the IGP which I don't need for such a CPU...

Most people don't utilize more than 2 cores for more than 25-33% of the time, so the market for consumer-oriented many core processors just isn't there. People who really need the performance already just buy a Xeon.

Intel's "hyper-threading technology" is one of the biggest disappointments in many years, I wish they would let the branding and feature set die in obscurity like it deserves (IMHO).

Yes, yes, I know, Xeon and Haswell-E, but the reality is that the "need" for 8 core chips won't really happen until more of them hit the desktop market, and what AMD sells as 8 core doesn't count.

Well 8-16 core processors have been around for what, a bit less than a decade now? They won't really happen in the consumer / desktop market, because the market isn't demanding it (with purchasing dollars, not wishful thinking). Look at the very modest take-up of the Haswell-E X99 (LGA2011) 6 to 8 core processors released last year (August-Sept 2014 IIRC).

I love fast computers, personally I have a 6 core i7-5930K, and the performance difference for most home/consumer applications is so trivial that I don't notice a difference over using a 4 core i7-4790K except for in parallel benchmarks.

Comment Re:Ahh the old TIP series (Score 1) 170

Just like the 2N3055.. Yes, old. but in some cases, absolutely perfect for the job. Usually as linear pass transistors for power supplies :D

There is plenty of reason to avoid the 2N3055, well actually to avoid the TO-3 packaging. The package flexes when mounted, which can cause poor thermal transfer to its heat sink. TO-3 are manufactured to be curved so as to help ensure good thermal contact, but the curvature isn't preserved if the TO-3 is removed.

References: OnSemi's Application Note 1040, and Burr-Brown (TI) Mounting Considerations for TO-3 packages.

Comment Re: Handbooks (Score 2) 63

Any of you old timers remember the Chemical Rubber Handbook? It's a site now also:

I admit I've always heard it called the CRC Handbook(s). The "original" being their Chemistry and Physics one (the one at the link), though CRC Press does tons of technical, scientific printing in the US, they also have handbooks on topics in computer science, computer security and many others.

And my copy is I think 80-something-th edition.

Comment Re:75-year-old Neil Sloane is considered by many (Score 3, Informative) 63

Who are these "many"? Horrible journalism.

Unsurprisingly, mathematicians. Many mathematicians use the OEIS frequently, heck experts and professionals from other disciplines like Computer Science, Economics, or Physics routinely use OEIS to identify numeric sequences or patterns.

I'd hazard to say anyone who calls themselves a mathematician has used OEIS (or the book version) at least once. In fact I'd be surprised if you could find anyone with a graduate degree in mathematics who doesn't know who Neil Sloane or OEIS are.

Yes, it is that important.

Comment Price? (Score 1) 90

What is the pricing on these things? (base or standard configuration)

I would imagine they could be an attractive option for business continuity planning, but personally as a compact, tidy and suitable for global field deployment so that in the field operations don't have to be restricted by real-time networking limitations via cellular or satellite communications, where all requests are relayed back to conventional data centres.

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval