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Comment RealTime from RealNetworks (yes really) (Score 1) 115

RealNetworks has a service, "RealTime", that works across most platforms for doing just this kind of thing. The use case explained to me was a family sharing video where much of the family is Windows but also there is a Unix person, a few Apple-or-nothing, and another few "Android All the Way".

Since this indeed describes my extended family, it was helpful.

Comment Re: Reasons to actively target undersea cables (Score 1) 37

> No company would want to give north korea or isis a reason to actively target undersea cables.

  It might give them MORE reasons but, given my understanding of their agenda, those two (at least) already have reasons
  to want a capability of targeting undersea cables.

  A bit more in the sensor department might at least give warning that something is about to be damaged
  and info about the thing doing the damaging.

Comment Ingres (Score 1) 85

It might be worth looking at INGRES (not INGRESS) and their business history.

They've managed to stay in business as long as Unix has had commercial databases (albeit with a close call every decade or so) and currently are in a similar position to yours but are still standing and still innovating. Many lessons in tech company survival, some of them of the "don't do that" variety to be learned there.

Sadly, the people that know the name tend to think of Ingres as what it was way back in the 70's-80's, not what it is, so the company is called "Actian" these days.

Comment More than One Keyboard to Prevent Damage (Score 1) 452

  Having gone through some hand nerve damage over the years I found it useful to have more than 1 keyboard;
  having my hands in different positions during the day has proved useful to preventing further problems.

  Most of my typing is done on a Unicomp Model M, which is very much an IBM Model M. I type most
  reliably there although the I can type longer at the Kinesis models and probably would be almost as fast if there
  if I really devoted the effort to it.

I find the clickety-clack of Model M type switches cheerful and I need all the happy thoughts possible when
debugging Ansible scripts.

I probably wouldn't inflict that on people in an open office.

Comment Had that problem, now much less so. (Score 1) 312

Two things helped me so far:

1) A Sleep Study

  I thought I was sleeping well because I fell asleep easily and stayed asleep. Nope: That
  was my body trying to make up in quantity what the sleep lacked in quality. I thought my problem was
  caused by too many electronic distractions (yeah some, but not most of it).

  You don't get enough deep and REM sleep, you don't have focus and your ability to remember new things takes a BIG hit.
  My problem was ridiculously easy to treat and I deeply regret spending several years not realizing I was being fuzzier than
  I needed to be for want of a couple slightly uncomfortable nights wired up.

  2) Turning off the router at night

  Also helpful: I put my home router on a timer. 10pm, BANG! No internet on anything but my phone, which is OK to use
  for short periods as an internet device and keeps me in touch if need be. Nonetheless it's much easier for me to decide to close
  my eyes now. That probably only works because my phone screen isn't very big.

Comment Health Issues a Real Possibility (Score 1) 275

At my job it was noticed I was getting increasingly conservative about the systems. Some of that was justified but eventually I found I had a medical problem that made learning new things hard; it had been gradually messing with memory....very very slowly so as to be hard to notice until it became obvious something was very wrong indeed and being fired became likely.

    Learning new stuff when you can't reliably remember what you learned the day before will rapidly decrease ones enthusiasm, even if one recognizes change as necessary.

    Before losing insurance, I started insisting on checking out possible causes. If you're lucky (I was) there might be a simple fix: diet change, CPAP, whatever. That's the good news. Not so good: the longer a problem goes on, the longer it may take to recover and one may never get back to 100%. Very scary but it's better to get back 90% than to continue to degrade.

    I'm convinced that for some significant fraction of older workers, this kind of thing can be some or all of their problem and I urge people reading this who have memory and learning problems they didn't use to have: check out stuff like sleep apnea, vitamin deficiency and the like.

Submission + - x86 Computation Without Executing Any Instructions (

jones_supa writes: Trust Analysis, i.e. determining that a system will not execute some class of computations, typically assumes that all computation is captured by an instruction trace. A team at Dartmouth College shows that powerful computation on x86 processors is possible without executing any CPU instructions. They demonstrate a Turing-complete execution environment driven solely by the IA32 architecture’s interrupt handling and memory translation tables, in which the processor is trapped in a series of page faults and double faults, without ever successfully dispatching any instructions. The 'hard-wired' logic of handling these faults is used to perform arithmetic and logic primitives, as well as memory reads and writes. This mechanism can also perform branches and loops if the memory is set up and mapped just right. The lessons of this execution model are discussed for future trustworthy architectures.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel