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Comment: From the very title: "Towards a Speed of Light..." (Score 1) 221

For faster Internet they clearly wants more bits to move as photons, at the speed of light through fibre. Nothing is faster (latency, throughput, bandwidth), and all the nearby alternatives including microwave as more expensive and less reliable.

The organizations that had microwave towers for communications, namely telecommunication companies and media broadcasters, have long since migrated to a) satellite or b) fibre for their primary connections. The only microwave links that I know of locally (~100km) are small short-haul for local broadcasters (not-for-profit media broadcasters) and piece-wise legacy systems as backups to fibre loops. Latency, throughput, and operational costs are all factors.

More researchers who know nothing about electrical or RF engineering (both fields with over 100 years of development) making stupid shark with laser style claims. Or at least the people who are writing about their speculations, are making such stupid claims.

+ - Adventures in microchip repair

Submitted by plcurechax
plcurechax writes: From Intel's own website, a "soft-news" or promotional pieces takes a high level look at technology behind fixing design mistakes in microprocessors, "Microscopic Adventures of a Chip Circuitry Repairman":

For nearly two decades, the pursuit of perfection has led Nikos Troullinos down minuscular rabbit holes to fix tiny design mistakes that can cause computer processor circuitry to malfunction..

While Slashdot regulars and IT veterans don't need to be reminded about well publicized follies of past processor flaws that have been discovered, from the infamous Pentium floating point division bug (FDIV) discovered in 1994, to the TSX flaw on Haswell to early Broadwell processors discovered in 2014. TSXTransactional Synchronization Extensions.

Given the complexity and vast number of processor models, few flaws are discovered outside of the manufacturer. I believe an average of less than 1.0 (flaw) per technology generation. While Intel's processor flaws are the best publicized, that is at least in part due to having the largest brand awareness amongst consumers. Non-Intel x86 and other non-x86 microprocessors have had flaws as well from classic 8-bit micros used in 1980s personal computers and game systems to the latest AMD and ARM offerings.

The Intel Pentium FDIV bug occurred at a time when the company had been spending considerable amounts of money and effort in mainstream advertising intended to build brand awareness, direct to average consumers, not just IT professors and computing enthusiasts. Bob Colwell, retired Intel engineer who worked on the Pentium Pro (P6) to the Pentium 4 (NetBurst / Willamette), discusses this in an appendix of his book, The Pentium Chronicles, Colwell discusses his own involvement in internal FDIV bug reporting, and Intel's surprise and poor handling of the public relations fiasco which perplexed top executives and engineers for quite some time.

Comment: Re:Does it report seller's location and ID? (Score 1) 142

If the seller is to get the money then the bar code must be unique to that seller, so it's not the general bar code of the magazine that's getting scanned.

The phone then reports this seller's ID to some central server.

This is a real issue as a notable percentage of long-term homeless tends to include individuals with mental illness, and in particular may be rationally or irrationally paranoid (from both previous experiences with government officials& law enforcement, and from the illness itself).

So identity card programs can be a tough sell, even ones meant purely to benefit the homeless themselves.

The reality of such a program unfortunately fits all too well into paranoid delusions that some homeless with mental illness suffer from.

Comment: Re:Does it report seller's location and ID? (Score 1) 142

I seriously doubt it. I don't see how location reporting for a payment transaction in which location data is irrelevant could possibly pass Google's privacy policy review process. Collection of data not relevant to the transaction is not generally allowed[*]

Geo-location associated with transactions is one of the simplest, most effective fraud detection methods, [...]

Fine-grain, i.e. high precision, such as an actual raw GPS or Assisted-GPS reading for location, is not necessary for fraud detection to be effective, and is generally counter productive.

Comment: Re:Does it report seller's location and ID? (Score 1) 142

I seriously doubt it. I don't see how location reporting for a payment transaction in which location data is irrelevant could possibly pass Google's privacy policy review process. Collection of data not relevant to the transaction is not generally allowed[*]

Geo-location associated with transactions is one of the simplest, most effective fraud detection methods, AFAIK, used in traditional (Point-of-Sales, credit cards, smart card and pin - aka card-and-pin) and online transactions done by financial companies.

For example: The Settle soccer mom who suddenly spends a few thousands dollars on jewellery in Nigera, without having a family member buying any airline tickets, generally sets off a red-flag that is verified or investigated.

I believe all online payment systems do some sort of geo-location based correlation, for fraud detection / reduction. It was common practice in 2000, I think I first experienced it in late 1990s, maybe 1998.

Comment: Not surprising. (Score 1) 309

by plcurechax (#49480963) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly

Since the very reason given since the discussions began 15 or so years ago, Nvidia, and most of its competitors (Intel being a special exception for an unrelated reason) have always said that due to fears and concerns about reverse engineering, they - Nvidia and ATI, now AMD, have been slow and limited in making available any documentation or assistance that could directly or indirectly ease reverse engineering of its technology, its intellectual property (IP); not to Open Source / Free Software developers, but to potential and current 3D video card competitors.

Providing the direct firmware blobs, even if encrypted (to be decrypted in memory on the video card) does reduce the effort of a reverse engineering attempt. Perhaps legal or senior management has overruled the previous plan to make encrypted firmware blobs. I believe there was one or more blogs entries written about methodologies of bypassing the decryption of encrypted firmware blobs even when/if the decryption key(s) are secure stored in the Nvidia GPU, or at least recovering the decryption key which undoes a lot of work by Nvidia, and may cause violate terms of various patent / IP licensing agreements.

Nvidia could possibly go out of business if they were barred from obtaining necessary licenses allowing them to implement video codecs in hardware in their future products.

I suspect this, or some benign reason (Nvidia's Linux developer were simply busy with in-house development, or on holiday) is the culprit.

* Unrelated pure speculation:

My pet theory about why Intel has been so open with their open source driver support for Linux, is that it is intended to be a) to support their APU processors and b) to try to help AMD in its secondary market (video GPUs) rather than their primary market (x86 compatible processors) which Intel knowns AMD needs to keep being a viable option, as AMD's x86 processors alone the past few years could of easily drove it out of business.

To avoid more anti-trust violations / investigations Intel needs at least one viable x86 competitor to remain alive. Preferably neither too far ahead nor behind, so that Intel continues to dominate the CPU manufacturing sector, it has at least something that is realistically a potential threat to their business. Just not a strong potential threat. But by possibly supporting AMD's secondary product line by providing an open book to their GPU's documentation and interface via their driver source code, Intel can provide a subtle nod to technologies, or other solutions that AMD could re-implement to improve their (AMD's) video card offerings.

In summary Intel can stand to help AMD in their video cards to keep AMD alive, which serves a critical purpose to Intel, as Intel needs someone that can be seen as potentially a rival CPU manufacturer.

Regarding Intel's domination of microprocessors:

While ARM processors have shipped in record numbers the past few years, they are manufactured by various companies who pay ARM a royalty (per unit made AFAIK), so Intel remains the single largest designer and manufacturer of CPUs. Although ARM Inc. has experienced explosive growth and tremendous profitability, it is still a tiny company in relative terms, such as market capitalization (a common benchmark) compared to Intel.

Comment: Re:Dangerous Precedent (Score 1) 237

This sets a dangerous precedent that it is perfectly okay for the government to block websites in order to generate more revenue. If this passes, expect states in the US to try the same thing, especially if they have casinos that aren't doing well.

That would almost make sense, except Quebec, like Louisiana, has a legal system based / influenced on French civil law, rather than the more common (in US and Canada) English common law heritage.

That said, state and provincial governments are facing deficits and short-falls, so anything that promises increased revenue would certainly catch their attention.

Comment: Re:hypocrisy (Score 1) 337

by plcurechax (#49302557) Attached to: German Vice Chancellor: the US Threatened Us Over Snowden

americans are and should be angry at the NSA

but other countries complaining about the NSA is hypocrisy

So you think the rest of the world should just accept the illegal (in the rest of the world) spying that the NSA does to them, just because it's a foreign government? That's a foolish argument.

It is hypocritical to continuous publicly call a nation an ally, often pressuring them them into working with US on fighting terrorism, etc., and then spy on said government who practises what US calls good governance, i.e. an independent government consisting of democratically elected representatives. That's the part of hypocrisy in foreign affair approach of US that upsets people from the rest of the world. That and the fact they do it even when there is no evidence or even fear of hostile or undemocratic activity.

if i was [G]erman, would i be worried about the NSA? or the BND and the BfV?

Why should any law-aiding, peaceful, democracy supporting person in the world be subjected to espionage?

if you live in a country outside the USA, and your biggest privacy concern is the NSA, you're a moron: your own country is doing everything the NSA is doing, and in many countries, far worse. obviously, they can also abuse you a lot easier than the USA can. and they do

Actually in most of world the intelligence agencies are limited to investigate suspects of terrorism, and international criminal activities, not whatever they feel like. While unlawful and unreasonable spying does happen, the democratic governments do try to limit the powers of their intelligence agencies. Economic espionage is regarded as an illegal activity, even though numerous countries have been found to be engaged in it, it is still considered wrong.

No other country in the world has an intelligence community even half the size of US. The Americans have always complained about allegedly Russians and Chinese spying on UN activities during negotiations, etc., but I doubt the Soviets ever managed a fraction of the spying the US conducted on the UN representatives.

It is quite rational to be considered with being spied upon by all parties, foreign and domestic. The idea that US is somehow above the law when dealing with other countries in one of the prime reasons the US suffers from poor public image internationally, it undermines the massive good the US also does do in many cases.

again: i don't have a problem with americans complaining about the NSA. americans SHOULD complain about the NSA. but i do have a problem with other countries complaining about the NSA when they do the same or worse

Do people also not have the right to complain about fascist governments, because they didn't elect them? Do Americans have no right to be opposed to ISIL / ISIS because they are not primarily active within US?

Why should you complain about what others complain about? Or are not a supporter and believer in free speech? It is one of those so-called key "American values" in theory.

Comment: Classified "experiments" (Score 1) 97

While border crossing has typically meant displaying government issues documentation, primarily a passport and any related travel/entry visas. This requires informed consent of the traveller, they are asked to display their papers. The question is, what about programs that aren't obvious or informed consent?

The part that is concerning is the existence of classified "experiments" where is it not clear what information is being gathered, who has access to it, and how it is being used.

History has repeatedly shown that undisclosed, and/or unchecked surveillance ends up being misused against the public, not in the public interest.

If everything is legal, robust, and accurate, why does law enforcement has to be done in such a clandestine manner? The vast majority of identification / evidence techniques used in court are robust enough to withstand being challenged by the defence.

While these clandestine techniques being "experimented" with may be pure BS, being misused simply as a basis for law enforcement agents to continue practising age-old discrimination based on racial profiling, bigotry, and sterotypes, not any actual accurate information.

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 2) 110

In case people are confused it is important to point out that the Titan cards aren't aimed at gamers.

Yes, the Titan series is an odd bridge between consumer price/ performance, and professional reliability (ECC RAM) and unhampered double precision performance at painfully professional level prices of the CUDA / GPGPU oriented Quadro and Telsa cards. (Telsa K20 to K80 cost $3500 - $5000 USD approx AFAIK)

So they are great alternatives for CUDA aware 3D graphics application users who traditionally can't afford a Quadro or Telsa card (are not professional movie / video-game studio artists or CAD designers), and students and researchers looking for low(er)-cost prototypes for developing CUDA / GPGPU software / experience. I assume any graduate CS/EE student studying parallelism / many-core hardware or software wants a Titan as an affordable alternative to the tuition-like pricing of the Quadro and Telsa cards.

I had considering putting the Titan X on my own personal wish list, until I read that the FP64 isn't in line with performance improvements over previous generation Titans.

Comment: Re:Compaq sk-2700 (Score 1) 452

by plcurechax (#49276369) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

[...] from ~1995 [...] It has more stains on it than a motel mattress, the space behind the keys is a highly effective lint trap, and it has never been cleaned even once. [...]

OMG !? I feel sick just reading that. You do know that you can clean keyboards, right?!

For your own health and those around you, I strongly recommend a bottle of isopropyl alcohol, available off-the-shelf from any pharmacy (or chemist) and a toothbrush (not the one you use for your mouth at present). Did no one teach you germ theory?

All you have to do is unplug the keyboard before cleaning, and ensure it is dry before plugging it back it.

Placing it in a dishwasher may not be optimal, unless the damage is too severe to clean by other methods, and be aware that the heat from the drying cycle may deform the plastic.

Comment: Re:Good toilet paper? (Score 1) 452

by plcurechax (#49276117) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

Slashdot replies are less likely to be sponsored.

That should be modded Funny, or Sad. But in truth Slashdot opinions are nearly as likely to be "astroturf" as legitimate compared to anywhere else.

Personally I do like mechanical keyboards, and for a non-backlit model the Cherry mechanical keyboard (not a 3rd-party keyboard using Cherry switches) I own and can recommend the G80-3000 (USB 104-keys US keymap), available Digikey and other (industrial) electronic suppliers globally. Likely just not your local / mail-order computer shop.

Otherwise for mechanical keyboards it is more a matter of selecting which key switch characteristics (resistance, push-length, noise, etc) than particular brands.

Of course any good keyboard discussion requires mentioning the IBM Model-M successors from UniComp with distinctive yet potentially annoyingly loud, buckling spring switches.

Comment: Re:Protocol vs software that implements it (Score 1) 287

by plcurechax (#49251249) Attached to: NTP's Fate Hinges On "Father Time"

The summary makes the mistake of conflating the NTP protocol with the messy NTP software developed by ntp.org.

Hopefully the ntp.org software fades away.

However, the Network Time Protocol should live on in more secure and more easily maintained implementations (e.g., NTimed and OpenNTPd).

Except that there is not one other fully-featured NTP client/server software system that I know of.

Half of the so called "NTP clients" are really S-NTP clients (Simple NTP) that are barely if at all better than using the ancient BSD rdate command to jerk the time forward or back (whichever is needed) in a discontinuous fashion, that can cause gaps in logs, missing time-based trigger events from being fired, and other well-known woes.

As far as I know PHK doesn't pretend that Ntimed is finished or fully functional. As far as I know it also doesn't pretend to support a large amount of "legacy" systems that still exist within companies networks, even if the vendor(s) disappeared 20 years ago in some cases. OpenNTPd is a pure network client/server system that AFAIK does not support external or master references (i.e. Cesium clocks or GPS modules) so while it may serve the purpose for a large number of users, it still depends on the continued operation of NTP.org's NTP software which is the de facto evolution of David Mill's reference implementation that was not intended to be a global or even enterprise-grade critical infrastructure project, but his research implementation as he, his colleagues, and students researched time synchronization.

Some of NTPd's problem are that a) it has been maintained in a hap-hazarded fashion for 15 years longer than it should have been. b) any system where a single individual is critical or irreplaceable is broken. c) NTPd has been weak in release management / engineering for a long time now, and Stenn's ad-hoc approach hasn't done much to make the work easier for himself. I admit I had not realised that the software project, NTPd, has fallen into depending on a single person. I fact I thought the ISC (Internet Systems Consortium, the group that also maintain BIND, the most common Unix DNS server on the Internet) partnership was more than a means of managing payment and offering a few servers, I thought it was intended to take NTPd, like BIND, and make it into a healthy development community, revitalize the documentation, and share expertise in maintaining a critical infrastructure scale project Open Source of Free Software ecosystem.

The most important yet non-technical solution is for Harlan Stenn to extract himself from being a critical piece of the NTPd software development and release process. IMHO he should focus 100% of his time on mentoring others to take over the various roles he is currently doing himself, and documenting the not so obvious knowledge about the protocol, its implementation, and the history surrounding pieces of code, to preserve his own knowledge, and what he can of David Mill's knowledge that isn't currently enshrined in Mill's papers and technical notes.

Perhaps like OpenBSD that had to learn the hard way many years ago, companies can be leery (wisely from a legal point of view) of funding a seemingly one-man controlled Open Source project. Legally it may open up the possibility of being considered illegally hiring an employee in some jurisdictions ("perma-temps" or "consultants as de facto employees"), as it serves to primarily fund ongoing work that does benefit the sponsor either for their in-house or their product/service offerings.

I have no ill feelings for or any dislike of Harlan Stenn. In fact I suspect he has unwittingly painted himself into a corner, and is now approaching the breaking point. And I believe the solution is radical, but not necessarily financially or technically challenging.

HEAD CRASH!! FILES LOST!! Details at 11.