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Comment: Generally speaking (Score 1) 259

by m.dillon (#48647275) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

Generally speaking, major owners of multiple networks such as Fox often try to force distributors (cable networks, dish, etc) to bundle all of their networks. Kind of an all-or-nothing approach. Otherwise networks like Fox News just wouldn't get distributed at all. It doesn't have a large enough following.

This is slowly changing as peoples viewing habits change. People are watching less T.V. these days and that is shifting the cost model such that the 'junk' channels are now more of a drag on profits vs the relatively few channels that people still really care about.


Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Re:Traffic Furniture (Score 3, Informative) 596

by m.dillon (#48603217) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Yes, this works extremely well in Berkeley too. There are neighborhoods on both sides of Ashby (hwy 13) and along various other routes, but the streets are relatively quiet because traffic furniture either prevents entry from Ashby or directs the flow such that there's no point using them for the commute. And they don't inconvenience the residents either. For a resident or for local travel, entering and exiting only adds a few seconds. For a commuter, trying to use residential streets just doesn't work.

The barriers seem to be favored over speed bumps. Over the years the speed bumps have been made softer (15 mph bumps now instead of 5 or 10 mph bumps), and are generally concentrated only in areas that simply cannot be blocked off for fire and other safety reasons.


Comment: Re:lowering price? (Score 1) 127

by m.dillon (#48549345) Attached to: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 32-Layer 3D V-NAND-Based SSD Tested

No, actually for flash it does NOT have to be extremely good. Flash memory production can handle lots of bad bits due to process errors. The controller firmware will simply map-out the bad bits, simple as that. If 1% of the flash cells are lost due to process errors, it just isn't a problem.

The same cannot be said for cpu and ram logic.


Comment: Re:You can pry my wallet from my... (Score 0) 375

by m.dillon (#48502349) Attached to: The Cashless Society? It's Already Coming

Hey mythosaz... I think you will find that trying to save every single one of the many billions of people in the world from all the nasty carrots which get wiggled in front of their faces by big companies every day is a losing proposition. You'll just burn yourself out without making any impact. My recommendation... worry a bit more about yourself and a bit less about everyone else.

Plenty of people can handle a credit card no-problem. Plenty of people cannot. And the same could be said for a thousand other little bits and pieces of life. That's just the way the world works.


Comment: Re:It DOES have permission (Score 4, Insightful) 234

by m.dillon (#48475327) Attached to: Uber's Android App Caught Reporting Data Back Without Permission

No, in fact the vast majority of people who run an IOS app on an Apple device who see a permission request pop up that they don't like, say 'No', and the app continues to run just fine.

Even better, the apps on IOS tend not to request absurd permissions in the first place because they know those pop-ups will annoy their customers enough to either say 'no' anyway or not use the app in the first place. Its a black blotch for an IOS app to request permissions that it does not need, and Apple customers call them on it in the reviews.

Whereas with android, everything is quiet and silent and people run apps without really understanding what data they are giving away, EVEN if they have read the manifest... so app writers can get away with almost anything and consumer privacy on android is poorer for it.


Comment: Re:Have you ever used Android? (Score 1) 234

by m.dillon (#48475289) Attached to: Uber's Android App Caught Reporting Data Back Without Permission

Google changed the way the permissions are described in order to combine non-invasive permissions and invasive permissions under the same label. Even a person reading the permissions off doesn't really have a clue about how much access the app actually has to their data.

In anycase, this is why I stopped using Android phones and went with iOS. Apps can't play these sorts of games on iOS.


Comment: Re:MO as an HDD (Score 1) 215

by m.dillon (#48475245) Attached to: Consortium Roadmap Shows 100TB Hard Drives Possible By 2025

Jeeze, I remember those. Hey, how about the Bernoulli box? I had one of those too. Might not be M.O. though. Think it was just magnetic.

There is one basic problem with megneto-optical drives and why they've basically fallen off the edge of the earth... instead of having to have one high-precision/high-bw part in the drive you now have to have two. In the world of storage, that makes it too costly a technology to produce.


Comment: Re:So that means we're still gonna be buying (Score 1) 215

by m.dillon (#48475179) Attached to: Consortium Roadmap Shows 100TB Hard Drives Possible By 2025

Every personal laptop/desktop/server box has a SSD which holds the machine base (boot, swap, root, home dirs, etc). For laptops and workstations, the SSD also holds nominal data and there is no HDD at all. On the servers, the SSD is beefier and also caches the HDD.

Bulk data is stored on a large 2TB HDD on the server and exported via NFS and samba. There's another 2TB spare on the server.

There is a backup machine on the LAN in another part of the house with a 2TB HDD and there is an off-site backup machine in a colo with two 2TB HDDs (in addition to the normal SSD as described above). Both have around 60 days worth of incremental backups of everything.

I gave up using RAID of any sort for personal data long ago. It just makes things *less* dependable and unnecessarily expensive in heat and power. Not even needed for speed since the SSD will cache ~200GB worth of HDD data.

Right now my personal data (the permanent data that I back up) clocks in at around 1TB. 90% of it is pictures and videos (DSLRs generate a godawful amount of data, the RAWs are 20-40MB each).

I don't download videos or music. No point any more when it can all be streamed. I don't know anyone who bothers storing 3rd party video any more. However, I have friends who were CD junkies before CDs died away and do maintain large music libraries. I also know a few people who run torrents and sometimes dedicate a TB or two to that, but certainly there is no reason to back up something like a torrent let alone waste a RAID on it. I don't see the point myself, it's just a huge waste of power and bandwidth.

For the DragonFlyBSD project we run a 12-blade server in the colo, each with four 2.5" drives. One or two SSDs (boot + swap + hddcache + home dirs on most of the blades), and 1-3 HDDs for temporary bulk data which we don't bother backing up. e.g. build boxes. With a few spare blades in case something fails. SSDs hold anything important, except for the developer blade but now that I look at it, the 'backed up' portion of peoples home dirs on the developer box only clocks in at 83G so that could go onto the SSD as well. The working storage that isn't backed up is currently running ~400G or so of used space, mostly crash dumps and copies of build trees and such. Everything that we care about is backed up locally and remotely but again it only amounts to a ~1TB or so. Most of the bulk data on the blades, like copies of numerous source repos, is generated and does not need to be backed up.


Comment: Re:HDD Pros (Score 1) 438

by m.dillon (#48465007) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

HDDs are not as recoverable as you seem to think. I have several bricked drives to show for it. Plus there is a trade-off in that your HDD's chance of failure goes up dramatically over time no matter how little or how much you use it. Even keeping it on a shelf won't make it last longer. SSD failure mechanics are very different beasts. If your SSD is barely worn after 3 years of operation (and most will be), the failure rate will not be appreciably higher than when it was new. The chance of multi-bit failures eventually overcoming the automatic SCAN/relocation (in SMART) will increase once appreciable wear occurs, but the wear is write-based and not time-based and for most SSD users that means reliability will be maintainable far longer than the 3 years one can normally depend on a HDD for (assuming it isn't one of those 5% of HDDs which fails every year anyway).

And, again... You don't make backups? Depending on the recoverability of your hard drive virtually guarantees that you will lose all your data one day.


Comment: Re:I like both (Score 1) 438

by m.dillon (#48464983) Attached to: How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

I hear this argument quite often and gotta ask... what, you don't have backups? When any of my storage dies I throw the drive away, stick in a new one, and restore from one of my two real-time backups (one on-site, one off-site). For that matter, I don't even trust any HDD that is over 3 years old. It gets replaced whether it reports any errors or not. And I've had plenty of HDDs fail with catastrophic errors over the years. Relying on a HDD to fail nicely is a false assumption.

Another statistic to keep in mind is that SSD failure rates are around 1.5% per year, compared to 5% failure rates for HDDs. And, I suspect, since HDD technology has essentially hit up against a mechanical brick wall w/regards to failure rates (if you still want to pay $80 for one), that SSD failure rates (which are more a function of firmware) will continue to drop while HDD failure rates remain about the same, from here on out. And that's assuming the HDD is powered on for the whole time. Power-down a HDD for a month and its failure rate goes up dramatically once you've powered it back on. HDDs can't even be reliably used for off-line backups, SSDs can. SSDs have a lot of room to get even better. HDDs just don't.

It is also a lot easier to run a SSD safely for many more years than a HDD simply by observing the wear indicator or sector relocation count ramp (actual life depends on the write load), where-as a hard drive's life is related more to power-up time regardless of load. If I only have to replace my SSDs (being conservative) once every 5-7 years vs my HDDs once every 3 years, that cuts many costs out right there. I have yet to have to replace a single SSD, but have replaced several HDDs purchased after that first SSD was bought. Just looking at the front-end cost doesn't really tell the whole story. Replacement cost, lost opportunity cost, time cost (time is money). There are many costs that matter just as much.

In terms of speed, I think you also don't understand the real problem. The problem is not comparing the 100-200 MByte/sec linear access time of a HDD to the 500-550 MByte/sec linear access time of a SSD. The problem is that once the computer has to seek that hard drive, that 100-200 Mbytes/sec drops to 20 MBytes/sec, and drops to 2 MBytes/sec in the worst-case. The SSD, on the other hand, will still maintain ~400-550 MBytes/sec even doing completely random accesses. Lots of things can cause this... de-duplication, for example. Background scans. Background applications (dropbox scans, security scans). Paging memory. Filesystem fragmentation. Game updates (fragmented data files). Whatever.

People notice the difference between SSDs and HDDs because of the above, and it matters even for casual users like, say, my parents, who mostly only mess with photos and videos. They notice it. It's a big deal. It's extremely annoying when a machine reacts slowly. The SSD is worth its weight in gold under those conditions. And machines these days (laptops and desktops certainly) do a lot more work in the background than they used to.

There are still situations where HDDs are useful. I use HDDs on my backup boxes and in situations where I need hundreds of gigabytes of temporary (but linear) storage... mostly throw-away situations where I don't care if a drive dies on me. But on my laptops and workstations it's SSD-only now, and they are a lot happier for it. For that matter, in a year or two most of our servers will likely be SSD-only as well. Only the big crunchers will need HDDs at all.

Nobody who has switched from a HDD to a SSD ever switches back. People will happily take a big storage hit ($150 2TB HDD -> $150 256GB SSD) just to be able to have that SSD. Not a whole lot of people need huge amounts of storage anyway with so much video and audio now being streamed from the cloud. For that matter, even personal storage is starting to get backed up 'on the cloud' and there is no need to have a completely local copy of *everything* (though I personally do still keep a local copy).


It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet