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Comment: Re:Good Luck (Score 1) 246

by swb (#49357847) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

My guess is that it's only a serious issue for people with specific IP knowledge, like higher-end people in pharma, chemicals, semiconductors, some kinds of software -- the kinds of skills with very limited places to use them, most with direct competitors.

For other jobs, like mostly generic IT work, I just can't see my boss bothering to spend the money to figure out where I might have moved to, provided I keep a low-ish profile about it.

Comment: Re:How propaganda decides wars (Score 1) 233

by swb (#49357737) Attached to: How Professional Russian Trolls Operate

Is it really "paranoia" (a mental disease involving ungrounded fears) if the fear is substantiated?

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?

I'd say the number of non-threats who were actively and vigorously blackballed might call into question as to where the boundary between legitimate fear and paranoia fear is on this topic.

But, somehow, that clear and present danger of Communism no longer played the role it played during Korea War. Why?

Probably no one single answer. I don't think the early years of Viet Nam faced that much ideological opposition. I do think that the political-based mismanagement of the war led to "conventional" opposition to it. Then add in civil rights discontent, the exemptions that made it a "poor man's war" and the general social upheaval of the 1960s, shake well and pour over ice.

Comment: Re:How propaganda decides wars (Score 1) 233

by swb (#49356565) Attached to: How Professional Russian Trolls Operate

It was vastly different political era.

There was a lot of paranoia about Communist conspiracies. The Rosenberg trials. Joe McCarthy was making headlines "exposing" Communists. In some sense, there was some legitimate fear of Communist actions -- the Soviets had blockaded West Berlin, leading to the Berlin airlift in 1948.

Not only was the political climate dangerous for anyone opposing fighting Communist expansion in Korea, it wasn't irrational to believe that expansionist communism was a real threat, especially after recently fighting a war against two nations who started wars of imperial expansion, at least one of whom did so under the guise of a totalitarian political philosophy.

Comment: Re:MY data in AMAZON's cloud ?? (Score 1) 114

by swb (#49354071) Attached to: Amazon Announces Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans

Sure, and I could also hotplug USB3 disks and cut even more power/space/complexity if I wanted to futz with turning it on and off.

Power cycling a NAS may be worthwhile if it's some kind of archive you don't use often but it doesn't make a ton of sense if you want it online more than offline.

Comment: Re:Tipping point? (Score 2) 87

I think major leaps of density will eliminate platters. Why bother with them at all with their ridiculously slow seek times, heat, power consumption? At high capacities they're more of a risk to data integrity due to slow array rebuild times and it takes dozens of them to equal the IOPS of flash. Even now platters are either useful for their high density as Tier 3 in a SAN or in large numbers to get IOPS.

If there was a huge leap in flash densities I think they would get cheap enough that no one would bother, even if they were "unreliable" consumer MLC technology. Vendors could just double the extra flash used for recovery of bad cells and increase the endurance.

Comment: Re:Wait... what? (Score 1) 228

by swb (#49338097) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

I think I've read that the Israelis have communicated back-channel to key actors that they will respond to a nuclear or chemical attack against Israeli with a response that will hit *all* major Arab capitals and Mecca.

To your larger point, I think only desperate, religiously motivated non-state actors reasonably believe that they can "get away" with use of a nuclear weapon. Either via subterfuge or because they believe in some kind of metaphysical redemption that transcends any material consequences.

I think even the worst bad state actors understand that state use of a nuclear weapon has a significant possibility of devastating retaliation which would end their state as they know it and possibly lead to the disintegration of the civilization it represents.

Think of the domestic political situation in the United States relative to being attacked with a nuclear weapon. For one, I would imagine that there would be significant demands within the military for a retaliatory nuclear strike as a preemption against a further strike. The American public would DEMAND a retaliatory strike and political pressure would very likely lead to one on its own.

Comment: Re:Wait... what? (Score 1) 228

by swb (#49337995) Attached to: How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

In what fucking world do you think it would have ever been politically acceptable to allow the Japanese a negotiated surrender after 4 years of war and after Pearl Harbor Especially when that would have been approved by an unelected President like Truman?

I would imagine that the converse was true, that there were elements who wanted to *continue* nuking Japan after the second strike as retaliation for starting the war.

Comment: Re:Risk (Score 2) 160

by swb (#49330709) Attached to: Energy Company Trials Computer Servers To Heat Homes

Heat is heat, it's maybe less efficient to redistribute it throughout a house than in a single room, but a rack of servers puts out a lot of heat.

You would want a thermostat that controls an input damper and an output damper, so that when it called for heat the servers recirculated the indoor air and when it didn't, the severs drew air from outside and output it outside. An existing furnace could provide supplementary heat if the rack's heat output wasn't sufficient.

I think the bigger idea has a lot of drawbacks.

Data connectivity? Maybe in the Netherlands everyone has access to gig fiber at residential addresses, but that wouldn't work in the US.

Regular server maintenance? Parts like disk drives break often enough that I wouldn't want to have to deal with the technician all the time, especially not off hours.

Power? At a residential address you would need some significant wiring done and a separate meter for the server rack. What about power outages?

But it does provide an esoteric data center model. With the right site selection, you could have a very distributed compute facility that would be insulated from single-site failures. But it would only work for the kinds of distributed workloads that don't care about a bunch of nodes dropping off.

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 332

by swb (#49328931) Attached to: Islamic State Doxes US Soldiers, Airmen, Calls On Supporters To Kill Them

Let me ask you this: if a country would come into the US and start razing cities and towns, would that break your will to fight? Or would that just inflame your desire to see of the invaders dead?

Of course, initially everyone has a natural response -- rally 'round the flag. Kill the invaders.

Now, what happens when people hear about the invasions continued advance? Cities in ruins, millions killed? Resisting military units wiped out, irregular paramilitary units crushed, cities and towns harboring resistance razed, their inhabitants summarily executed. Oh, and your town has been bombed, food supplies are sketchy, no electricity, etc.

Eventually the idea of anything but total surrender becomes impossible.

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 2) 332

by swb (#49327443) Attached to: Islamic State Doxes US Soldiers, Airmen, Calls On Supporters To Kill Them

Our appetite for foreign militarism is entirely the result of our politicians selling the idea that our enemy is the leadership and their military forces, but the populace is our friend. With our advanced military weapons, we can defeat the defined "enemy" and then the populace will embrace us as liberators.

What I don't know is where this idea originated. My only guess was that it grew out of the reconstruction era in postwar Germany where civilian resistance was minimal and largely theoretical understandings of the Soviet domestic political climate.

Both of these seem naive. The Allies let the Germans starve for a couple of years after the war and most felt this was a better alternative than their experience with the Soviets. Despite Stalin and his repression, the Russians took massive losses and fought for the Soviet state. Much of this was compelled, but at the same time the populace did it.

Yet somehow, it's become a cornerstone of US military policy that the civilian population is at worst neutral and most likely supports US goals, not to mention US belief systems and values. Which is ironic if you look at most of the American and British propaganda from WWII, which sold the idea that the enemy nations were subhuman races which deserved to be wiped off the map.

Comment: Re:ipfw/dummynet (Score 1) 60

by swb (#49327259) Attached to: Facebook Engineering Tool Mimics Dodgy Network Connectivity

This was my thinking.

It's been ages since I've used ipfw as a WAN simulator, but my memory of it is normally around a fairly static kind of configuration of latencies and bandwidth.

Simulating a cellular link that might hop between LTE and 1x kinds of data might be tough to do without some kind of engine which dynamically reprograms dummynets for vastly different bandwidth/latency scenarios to better simulate a node moving between 1x and LTE speeds. When I built a WAN simulator, I did to actually simulate known WAN link performance parameters.such as bandwidth and latency. I didn't have to worry about my link switching from multilink T1s to 512K frame relay to 56k dynamically.

They could have also provided a ton of statistical profile data so that the simulations closely mirrored real-world throughput associated with various media, especially common variability patterns.

A nice GUI front-end would be useful too, with actual throughput measured.

Comment: Re:It is moving to one standard internal (Score 1) 204

by swb (#49326929) Attached to: Apple Doubles MacBook Pro R/W Performance

USB would not be desirable for internal system use, too much overhead. It is well designed for the purpose it has but you wouldn't want it for everything.

But what is "too much overhead" when the transport link gets fast enough? If USB4 ends up with 20 GBit/sec, overhead for anything but SAN shelf backplanes really won't matter.

I actually think I *would* want it for everything. One connector for disks and other peripherals, usable internally and externally. The way they package SSDs now you wouldn't even need to bother with an enclosure.

I think the real problem USB specifically has is a marginal performance history with USB2 devices (high CPU usage, low throughput) and Microsoft's steadfast refusal to allow Windows installs to USB devices, even USB3 (which makes no sense, really, when I can benchmark an ordinary PNY USB3 stick @ 110 MByte/sec read and 60 MByte/sec write).

If Windows could boot off USB3, eSATA would be largely forgotten as faster but with clunky, limited cabling and even SATA as a connector internal standard might get relegated to "enthusiast" boards where some minor performance boost was seen as valuable. M.SATA adoption would end up only in places where extreme miniaturization matters or the same enthusiast crowds.

I know it sounds crazy, but it sure seems a lot less crazy with USB3.1 supposed to hit 10 Gbits.

Comment: Re:Why would you care? (Score 1) 204

by swb (#49324857) Attached to: Apple Doubles MacBook Pro R/W Performance

I hope it eventually becomes "fast enough to settle on one standard". It's getting to the point where if the software support was there we could just settle on a standard like USB3.1 gen 2 (the 10 Gbit one) for internal disks and external peripherals with some kind of PCIe slotted flash solution for people who wanted stupid fast speed that only shows on benchmarks.

Maybe by the next major revision they will figure out how to come up with a way to unify interface standards. The bus speed increases are making it increasingly about who has the best connector and longest usable cable lengths, not who is 1-2 GBits/sec faster. What's crazy is that a SSD on USB3.1 is probably capable of the kind of disk I/O only the biggest 8 gig fiber channel SANs with spinning disk could deliver just five years ago.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll