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Comment: They forgot a few other issues (Score 1) 323

by thogard (#48146515) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science

German and English won in the engineering world because of compound words. You can invent a new device and create a name that works in letter describing it.

English wins over German because of the relative lack of gendered words. Genders can get very messed up when using compound words. As an example, if a boat is female and a trailer is male, what gender should a boat-trailer be?

Comment: Re:FP? (Score 1) 942

by thogard (#48042749) Attached to: David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures

I haven't flow in the US in the last year. I've been on commercial aircraft in Australia where the pilot got the wrong frequency when the controller was using "dec-ee-mal". A friend had his class do an experiment where students wrote down numbers that were being read in different styles. There were substantially more errors with the ICAO way of reading numbers than the older FAA style with the Aussie students.

Comment: Re:Fine. Legislate for externalities. (Score 1) 488

by thogard (#48025871) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power

You may not have a choice. My last power bill had a connection charge that was higher than the energy consumption charge an I pay $.22 a kwh. That will be the trend in the future. In places where the grid is still locally owned, I see it being added to property taxes as the cost of batteries come down where people can go off grid.

We just put in 6 250W panels. They cost less then $190 each but installing the frame and the wiring cost more. The mPPT module happens to plug into our existing telco grade -48V DC power supply and it was only $800 but plugged into a nice $5k system. The batteries that will run one of our racks of gear for 8 hours cost $250 each for 8 of them. The silicon bits aren't a major part of the cost of going off grid now.

Comment: Re:kill -1 (Score 2) 469

by thogard (#47961277) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

You can't do this with systemd. A kill to a process group is an atomic operation in Posix so that if you do a kill -9 -1 (i.e. send a SIGKILL to init and all of its children), the kernel will not return from the "kill" syscall until it has sent the signal to all of the processes. That syscall will also prevent any other task switches until it is done so the result is no process (other than init) ever runs again even if they are in the middle of a forkbomb. A kill -1 -1 (send SIGHUP to everything via init's process group) has traditionally told all user level programs that the user logged out and all daemons that they should reload their config files.

Killing a process group (the negative process id, which is what the original commentator was talking about, not a SIGHUP) is used all the time on systems. That is how apachectl (and most other forking deamons and their control programs) tell its children to reload the config file or end in a controlled way. It is used every time a user logs out to make sure all their processes do go away. Signals are the oldest and more reliable of the IPC mechanisms and are great when the number of messages you need to send is a tiny number of options.

Comment: There are still better ways (Score 1) 469

by thogard (#47958747) Attached to: Fork of Systemd Leads To Lightweight Uselessd

Over the past 3 decades, versions of the inittab syntax allowed for things in the 2nd and 3rd fields to say things could be run in the background or depend on other named states which is why the 1st field is a name.

It is amazing how many properly run systems can cope with a "kill -1 -1" to reset everything without a reboot.

Comment: Re:It did? (Score 1) 129

by thogard (#47905703) Attached to: Chrome For Mac Drops 32-bit Build

The problem is the new xcode will soon drop support for the 32 bit versions of the OS and for some reason, mac developers can't figure out how to make a fat binary that runs on everything from about 10.0.0 to 10.11.00 even thought it requires having 3 versions of X code running on two or 3 different (virtual?) machines and then copying a few files. It is amazing how many open source packages just compile with older version of Xcode if you add in a few #DEFINES for things that aren't used anyway.

Comment: Re:reading the results wrong (Score 0) 208

by thogard (#47896681) Attached to: Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

Oddly enough, pushing pixels is the only sane reasons for doing 64 bit operations on a hand held device. If your not using more than 4 gig address space, going from 32 bits to 64 tends to mean you spend far more time moving pointers that have all zeros in the top half. Old stats showed the best a 64 bit PCU tends to do is about 6% worse based on average loads but operations with lots of indirect operations (like Java) it can be far worse.

Comment: Wrong accusations are so easy (Score 1) 27

by thogard (#47773345) Attached to: African States Aim To Improve Internet Interconnections

I had a situation that appeared that a hacker had taken control of a VOIP system and ran up a full E1 worth of calls to Africa 24x7 for a weekend resulting in a $1.4 million dollar phone bill. The initial evidence showed that Sierra Leone was involved with toll sharing fraud but I looked deeper. I called a few of their embassies and found out they couldn't call home if they tried and the London embassy had some who had the job of trying to calling home all day. It turns out that someone else was playing the scam and taking the money. Sierra Leone was given millions every month for the scam but then it was taken way with fines leaving them with problems. Everyone I talked to was hesitant to talk to me until I explained that I didn't think they were the scammers. I ended up talking to Alpha (what a cool name) who was the head of their phone company and he provided just the extra details. I had a friend from The old school US telco get some of the guys who used to work in the dark room listen to the calls and they said the wobble in the busy wasn't right for modern automatic gear so calls there would be considered connected even if most people heard a busy signal. The end result was a US phone company shipped them a nice bit of kit to terminate some of their calls in a deterministic way.

I am the wandering glitch -- catch me if you can.