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Comment: Re:and... (Score 1) 31

by Kjella (#49550257) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

Cue Slashdotters claiming it is either impossible or a really bad thing in 3..2..1..

Impossible? No. Economical? I don't see how, if it were why isn't the power company doing this centrally? Then they could average it out across everyone on the grid, instead of just you as the problem is usually production not transmission capacity. I guess it might make sense if you're producing your own power with solar panels and don't have to transfer power into the grid when it's sunny and out of the grid when it's dark, but the price seems steep for what you're getting. I mean this tech already exists but only for solar powered cabins off the grid, it's really expensive per kWh and usually just to power light bulbs and such.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 228

by Kjella (#49548305) Attached to: Microsoft, Chip Makers Working On Hardware DRM For Windows 10 PCs

And why would anyone willingly submit themselves to this abuse? I absolutely will not be adding hardware that only serves the purpose of limiting what I can do with my PC.

Does your computer have a HDMI/DisplayPort or DVI port made in the last 10+ years? You got DRM. Nothing keeps you from running the RMS-approved distro of choice and play all the creative commons content you like though, you won't notice it's there until you try to play protected content. And that's why boycotts won't work, the only reason to buy a DRM-incompatible version of the same hardware is so you can try to play protected content and bitch about it not working, kinda like buying a Mac and complaining it won't play PC games.

You must understand that the entire movie industry is in a "now or never" mode, DVDs was broken, BluRay was broken and these 4K discs will rival the cinema master (DCI 4K) in quality. If the standard is established enough they can't just ditch it and the DRM is broken, they won't be able to do one better. So they're trying to make this the most unholy DRM abomination ever, because if it fails it's game over. It's really that simple.

Comment: Re:This never works (Score 1) 228

by Kjella (#49548115) Attached to: Microsoft, Chip Makers Working On Hardware DRM For Windows 10 PCs

He shouldn't have said in the home - probably more the school yard and campus. We used to pirate stuff on floppy discs and later burned CD-Rs with MP3s. Before online activation was possible as a requirement you could just install as many times on as many PCs as you wanted. And it wasn't like we hoarded it, here's my collections of MP3s for your collection of MP3s just pick anything you like and if you don't want the rest just delete it. But I think that's a bit 80s and 90s thinking, then you had Napster and the 00s. If there's "casual copying" like we did today, it's a secondary effect of a torrent download, one downloads and spreads it around to friends and extended family. That seems quite likely to still be going on.

Comment: Re:So, where's IBM in all of this? (Score 2) 75

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546641) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
They've been trying(in part by developing, in part by buying, they ate Softlayer and Cloudant fairly recently); but they've been finding it a bit tricky.

IBM wants to sell you some sort of unique, value-added, hardware and/or software feature that makes going with them worth it over going with the commodity product(presumably, this is why they sold of PCs and low-end servers). Some customers do want this; but it's a very, very, different offering from the more commodified cloud providers(Amazon, Google, and Microsoft all differ a bit in where they are on the spectrum from 'what you do with them is your problem; but our VMs are cheaper than you can believe' to 'we can provide automagic email accounts and SQL server instances abstracted from the host OS'; but all of them are very much on the 'we aren't going to hold your hand; but look at how cheap this stuff is' side, an area where IBM has no obvious advantages.)

Comment: Re:It is a cycle. (Score 4, Insightful) 75

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546567) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
The one other element in the cycle you identify is arguably 'management/administration'.

This can work both for and against both local and remote/cloud options: Back when anything that touched the mainframe needed 6 signatures and a blessing; but you could classify an IBM-compatible as an 'office supply' and just have it on your desk and doing stuff, part of the virtue was in cutting through red tape, not in enjoying DOS on a slow machine with virtually no RAM. These days, especially for individuals or small outfits, without technical expertise available, 'the cloud' wins not so much because local computers are expensive(since they aren't, they've never been cheaper, either absolutely or per unit power); but because 'the cloud' is something you can use just by plugging in a URL and following directions. IT geeks are correct to point out that 'the cloud' is neither impregnable nor as well-backed-up as it likes to pretend to be; but for a non-techie user who will lose all their data as soon as their HDD dies or they lose their phone, it's still a step up.

For larger outfits, who have technical expertise available(and whose needs are complex enough that they will need IT and/or developers whether they go 'cloud', local, or some combination of the two), it is much more a straight battle on cost, security, and reliability; but ease of use and ease(or nonexistence) of management is huge for the consumer side.

Comment: Re:Amazon has really been a stealth company (Score 3, Insightful) 75

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49546481) Attached to: Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
Amazon is a bit tepid when they try anything too novel(their phone went from flagship pricing to free-after-contract how fast?); but they have three basic virtues that make them a terrifying force to be reckoned with:

1. Cultural disinhibition: They started selling books; but never seemed to have fossilized into the 'We are a bookstore. I can see maybe expanding into selling some bookmarks, or paperweights; but hand tools? How absurd!' model. 'Books' was merely a special case of more or less rectangular objects that are legal to send through the mail. They've since expanded into an ever larger collection of more or less rectangular objects that are legal to send through the mail, without much concern about what they are.

2. Adequately competent implementation: Remember 'Microsoft PlaysForSure', the killer ecosystem of hardware, software, and a competitive marketplace of music sellers(almost always cheaper than iTunes)? No? That's not very surprising, they don't really deserve to be remembered. How about 'Ultraviolet', the 'cloud-based digital rights library' that is somehow associated with blu-ray, some media players and streamers, and various retailers; but is so dysfunctional that I can't actually summarize exactly what the hell it is? No? I can't imagine why.

Amazon, though, while they don't lead the pack, knows how to get the job done well enough (their Kindle e-readers and 'FireOS' tablets all have at least adequate industrial design and build quality, and 'FireOS' is arguably nicer than some Google-blessed-but-vendor-skinned versions of Android, despite being a hostile fork; and their media-streamer hardware and software are both more or less painless). You don't necessarily go to them for the premium gear; but they are definitely good enough that they don't actively sabotage the appeal of the low prices.

3. Logistics. I don't know how they do it(if I did, I'd probably be a whole hell of a lot wealthier); but when they decide to sell something, they know how to make it impressively cheap compared to the competition, whether it be books or VM time.

Comment: Re:Someone contact Chris Hadfield! (Score 3, Funny) 129

by Kjella (#49542557) Attached to: I spend most of my time ...

I averaged my location (frame of reference, Earth) and find my average location to be the Center of the Earth.

Lucky you, I averaged with the sun as my frame of reference and over a year my average location is the center of the sun*.

* Assuming a spherical and not elliptical orbit, if you don't get the desired results tweak the model.

Comment: Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 1) 328

by Kjella (#49542517) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

Careful what you wish for, the flip side of war being declared is that all the war-time powers of the president, FEMA etc. are invoked. If you don't want that to happen, you have to somehow define it as non-war military action and then it wouldn't be in violation of the Constitution, you can't have it both ways. And the amendment says only Congress can declare war, but the President is commander-in-chief of the military and there's really nowhere that explicitly states he can't commit acts of war without approval by Congress. It seems implied, but technicalities might matter.

By the way, if you're arguing the person at the top is violating the law then that naturally flows down the chain of command and as we learned in the post-WWII trials, following orders is no excuse. So if the President should go on trial for violating the constitution, the soldier shooting should go on trial for manslaughter. Possibly even murder, because you clearly meant to kill and that you happened to kill a few that weren't the target is like an assassin's collateral. I doubt that goes under manslaughter, really.

Comment: Re:Dell, HP, Panasonic (Score 1) 400

by Kjella (#49542285) Attached to: We'll Be the Last PC Company Standing, Acer CEO Says

For wired machines, sell iSCSI, 10gigE, and the ability to boot from the NAS (well, used as a SAN in this case.) One drive array then handles all the home files, and is easily backed up and managed.

Your understanding of "easily" may differ from most people, besides you're thinking too limited. People want access to their data on the go, visiting friends and family, at the cabin or on vacation or business trips or whatever. Sharing movies between the upstairs and downstairs TV isn't exactly the biggest problem. Even though you might hate the buzzword "cloud" they certainly want cloud-like functionality. And then you're talking an Internet-facing service with all the fun that entails.

It might be wise for EMC/VMWare to get with hardware makers and put ESXi into BIOS of computers

Almost all desktops computers are able to do decent software virtualization already, at least for a single user case. Who is really waiting for ESXi outside of enterprise servers?

SAN functionality like snapshots, copying backups on the array level, deduplication, and other tools would be useful on PCs. Malware can't touch previous backups if done on the snapshot level.

Only if it's done by another process they don't have access to, just like backup files they can't alter. They steal your credentials, so if you can delete your own snapshot so can they.

Time to bite the bullet and move to SSD wholesale, at least for the OS. HDD bays are still useful, but the machine should at least boot, if not run its apps and data from SSD.

They'll stop providing HDDs when the market stops buying them. Lack of choice isn't going to sell a lot through extortion, because unlike Apple buying their hardware isn't the only way to run the same software (Hackintoshes excluded).

Consumer level backup media. Malware isn't going away anytime soon, and there is nothing out there that actually gives resistance from malware overwriting backup media, except for CD/DVD/BD-R drives. What would be ideal would be some form of inexpensive tape drive with the media able to be write-protected, maybe even WORM media available

Except it doesn't exist. Except consumers often treat their media like shit. Except it's that manual process users never bother to do. Most can't even be arsed to copy-paste it to a thumbdrive/second HDD/NAS/whatever as backup. If you got one online backup (anywhere but at home) and a disconnected USB HDD next to your PC you're better off than 99% of the population. The chance of a fire/theft destroying your offline backup and a virus/trojan destroying your online backups at the same time are pretty slim.

You can't backup a 4TB drive to DVD-R. Or I guess you can, but it'd take forever both to do and restore. Same with tape backups, you're not going to swap ten tapes to back up/restore one drive and the kind that could back up large parts of a drive is $$$.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 189

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49528619) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
I can only comment on SRPs as they currently exist; but as of now the only real pain is vendors who don't sign anything. Self-signed or untrusted roots throw up scary warning by default; but you can add those to the trusted list if you wish. Legacy software is a giant pain in the ass, since most of it predates the custom of signing much of anything by default; but newer stuff generally isn't so bad. If necessary, you bless the vendor's cert and that takes care of it. You can also (again, with the present implementation of SRPs) bless binaries by hash, rather than by signature, which is frequently easier if you need to do once-offs.

Comment: Re:FTFY (Score 1) 189

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49528543) Attached to: Microsoft Announces Device Guard For Windows 10
TFA is a little vague; but if it is implemented the way that Software Restriction Policies currently are; I'd be all for it(and I say that as a smirking, linux using, tinfoil-hatted paranoiac.)

Cryptographic verification and whitelisting are enormously powerful techniques, and (aside from being able to take advantage of them), they are simply too useful to forbid successfully. What matters, and makes the difference between a fortress and a prison, is who gets to put something on the whitelist.

If you can whitelist something(either by signing it yourself, adding the cert of the person who signed it to the trusted list or both), it's a fortress. If the whitelist is what the vendor says it is, it's a prison. Same deal with 'secure boot'. If I can re-key it, it's a valuable tool. If I can't, it's a device that I'll never be more than a peon on.

Comment: Re:Common sense (Score 1) 277

by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (#49526997) Attached to: German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal
Unfortunately, the general lack of DRM(wouldn't even have to be effective DRM, just going through the motions) is pretty much the only thing that keeps a DVD-like arrangment from enjoying force of law anywhere with a DMCA-style law on the books.

Copyright tends to be a little awkward around computers; because there is so much copying that has to occur internally just to display something; but the analogy between running adblock and taking scissors to a magazine is a pretty easy one, and the right of the end user to mangle up an article, even a copyrighted one, however it amuses them is pretty well established.

If, though, even the most pitiful DRM were on the table, you'd be right were DVDs are: you need an illegal circumvention device to watch them without an authorized CSS decryptor; but you can only get an authorized one by agreeing to certain conditions, which include enforcing the unskippable flags, region codes, etc.

Comment: Re:Much Ado About Nothing (Score 1) 195

by Kjella (#49523371) Attached to: Concerns of an Artificial Intelligence Pioneer

All these guys like this Stuart Russell, Stephen Hawkings and Elon Musk are talking about AI that we are not even remotely close to building, and if we do manage to build one anytime soon, it will be so primitive that we can just pull the plug out the wall if it becomes a real concern.

Unless it's too useful for some, like say an investment robot that has figured out the ROI on dirty business beats clean business, ethics be damned. Or that they don't want to look a human in the eye and say no money, no food for you but a sales droid won't be bothered by it. Or that it provides too much control, like a despot using AI to weed out dissenters and eliminate political opposition. And if the killer bots have a bit of civilian collateral, they're just too powerful not to have. There's plenty of reasons why "bad AI" might be allowed to grow, they're the perfect opportunity to let out the worst of humanity without getting your own hands dirty.

We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon