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Comment Some anecdotes (Score 2) 510

We've got a fair number of SSDs here. Failures have been really rare. The few that have:

#1 just went dead. Not recognized by the computer at all.
#2 Got stuck in a weird read-only mode. The OS was thinking it was writing to it, but the writes weren't really happening. You'd reboot and all your changes were undone. The OS was surprisingly okay with this, but would eventually start having problems where pieces of the filesystem metadata it cached didn't sync up with new reads. Reads were still okay, and we were able to make a full backup by mounting in read only mode.
#3 Just got progressively slower and slower on writes. but reads were fine.

Overall far lower SSD failure rates than spinning disk failure rates, but we don't have many elderly SSDs yet. We do have a ton of servers running ancient hard drives, so it'll be interesting to see over time.

Comment Re:Canada will keep the USPS alive (Score 4, Informative) 131

DHL is probably another good one - their fees are pretty reasonable (similar to Canada Post's), but very few American companies support DHL as a shipping option (probably because it sucked inside the US - despite being close or is the #1 worldwide carrier).

DHL ended US-to-US delivery in 2009. They have a service where they'll use the USPS for local delivery, but it's expensive and slow. They also don't do pickup service (for any destination country) in many parts of the US now, so they've made it really hard for US companies to use them. Not all of it is their fault, but it's hard to use DHL if you're in the US now.

Comment I worked with Steve (Score 5, Informative) 89

I worked at Williams/Bally/Midway/Atari/etc in the late 90's. I worked in the coin-op video game division, where Steve was across the street in the pinball division. Occasionally he'd swing by our building, and had a fondness for the game system I was working on, so he'd sit at the test machine outside my office and play for quite a while. He always had this knack for making what sounded like the simplest suggestion, yet it actually being a profound change that took it to the next generation.

He'd walk into my office and say "You know, I like (game X) a lot. Have you thought about adding (feature Y)? It's probably a lot of work, but maybe worth it?" and an hour later we were smacking our foreheads as to why we hadn't thought of that ourselves. There's no doubt in my mind how he could look at something like a flipperless pinball machine and figure out how to take it to the next level. It's something I really wish I could do more often myself.

He was a great guy, and one of the most patient people I've known. He'll be greatly missed.

Submission + - McAfee [Enterprise] Pwns XP systems everywhere (

Heretic2 writes: About 9:50AM all the XP machines in my office started rebooting, and coming up with an error "DCOM: something" followed by "Windows is going to shutdown." and no ability to login. Our IT personnel figured out this was caused by a bad .dat from McAfee pushed in an update (forums posts deleted no links). IT personnel then figured out how to reboot into safe mode, remove the bad McAfee .dat file, and disable MCAfee but it's a manual process across hundreds of computers for us. Luckily I wasn't using WindowsXP.

Submission + - MPAA Kills Anti-Pretexting Bill

Lawst writes: Wired is reporting how a "tough California bill that would have prohibited companies and individuals from using deceptive "pretexting" ruses to steal private information about consumers was killed after determined lobbying by the motion picture industry."

The bill won, which approval in three committees and sailed through the state Senate with a 30-0 vote encountered unexpected, last-minute resistance from the Motion Picture Association of America.

From the article: "The MPAA has a tremendous amount of clout and they told legislators, 'We need to pose as someone other than who we are to stop illegal downloading'"

Ask Futurama Star Billy West About...? 199

In case you haven't heard, Futurama is coming back — in like 2008, so don't go channel-flipping in hope quite yet. This is the first interview Billy West (who voices Fry, Prof. Farnsworth, Zapp Brannigan, Zoidberg, and other Futurama characters) has done since the announcement. Realize, too, that Billy has also been the voices of Ren and Stimpy and hundreds of other animated characters over the years, and old-school Howard Stern fans will remember that part of his career, too. Ask Billy about anything you like; we'll send him 10 top-moderated questions (and maybe he'll answer a few extra ones of his choice, too). We expect to post his answers Wednesday, the day after Freedom Day's 21st Century predecessor, the 4th of July (which, sadly, is not known for nude hot tub parties). Meanwhile, to tide you over, here's a little MP3 voice montage Billy did in his home studio just for Slashdot.

MMOG Sites Under IGE Merging? 52

CTD writes "Grimwell Online notes that IGE has announced a merger of networks involving: Thottbott, Allakhazam, OGaming, and L2Orphus. There is a thread in the Allakhazam forums that brings all the release data together - but still leaves some questions about what is to come. Grimwell raises one in his post about this: 'Even more fun for our friends who work PR for gaming companies. IGE = RMT, which is not the Devil - but is not exactly welcomed at most companies. Will this move help push things past the tipping point and force developers to deal with the new, larger network?'"

Library of Congress Considers Archiving Games 79

GamePolitics reports on talks at the U.S. Library of Congress concerning archiving our digital cultural heritage, including games. From the article: "The initiative is called 'Preserving Creative America,' and plans to compile (with industry help) a list of the commercial digital content most at risk of loss or degradation. The initiative will also develop ideas for preservation, business models to help maintain archives, and promote discussions between the archives and commercial content producers so that the archives are kept up to date. CM: Hopefully the Library of Congress will consider that many PC games were rushed to market before they were ready. Critical software patches should be included in the archive. That's right Sierra, I'm talking about you."

Cellphone Gaming Market Lacks Pull 54

The Washington Post reports that, despite the best wishes of executives, the cellphone market has not yet taken off the way companies like Jamdat may have hoped for. From the article: "McAteer said the phone interface that consumers access when downloading games -- which usually lists only game titles -- is one of the biggest reasons behind the slow growth. As a result, the games that tend to sell best are those with instant name recognition among consumers, such as Pac-Man or Tetris"

DirectX 10 & the Future of Gaming 93

Homogeneous Cow writes "Brent Justice at [H] Enthusiast has put together a quick look at what DX10 has to offer gamers and what the main differences are between that and our current DX9. Unified Architecture and Small Batch Problems are shown to be addressed. There are a lot of ATI slides supporting the text as well." From the article: "The obvious question for the gamer that arises is, 'Will this terribly expensive and arduous upgrade path positively impact my gaming experience enough to justify the cost?' That has yet to be seen and can only be answered with the games we have yet to play. We can however discuss some of capabilities of DirectX 10 with a unified architecture and how it can potentially benefit gamers."

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond