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Comment Re:Short answer? (Score 1) 174


A handful of people have asked why not go wireless instead? I know my reasons (speed, privacy, and we have an existing fiber loop) but are any wireless technologies good enough that cities should consider them?

So yeah, I think there are plenty of justifications that allow wireless to make as much or more sense.
For example, a backhoe could quickly destroy a large area of fibre coverage, where as, depending on how its implemented, a wireless outage would be more like a brown out in a small location.
Wireless (if it's not highly directional at the last hop) would also have a VERY different level of coverage. Slower than fiber, sure... but fiber would only be fast at that single point of termination, and most folks walk around with phones, tablets, watches, laptops, etc. Few people even run cable to their PC's, and just use wifi from wherever their access point got installed.
Also, if all neighborhoods were blanketed with free wifi, then there'd be FAR less reasons to have personal access points in the home. This could significantly reduce the congestion, especially in densely populated areas. This could end up significantly improving the usable wifi speeds.

Personally, I'd rather have the fiber, and I'd really rather have both the fiber and wireless (for both redundancy and coverage reasons).

Comment Re:PL/B (Score 1) 426

I know it's still being used; I have to deal with it every day. I was kind of hoping to stimulate a discussion where I could complain about it, but it seems there aren't enough people still using PL/B.

It's certainly complaint worthy. I haven't had to use it in a long time (about a decade, and it was old school even then), and though I did make fun of it at the time, it really wasn't that awful to work with. Maybe I was lucky to be working with a relatively well designed system, but, once I got used to some of the particulars (which didn't really take very long.. they just required a slightly different line of thought), it was easy to debug, modify, update, improve, etc. That said, I wouldn't choose to use it again unless I absolutely had to.

Comment Re:PL/B (Score 1) 426

I was going to say "databus", which is the original PL/B.
FWIW, it's still being actively used by some big/important places (

My favorite fun fact about it: developed in the early 1970's as an alternative to COBOL because Datapoint's 8-bit computers could not fit COBOL into their limited memory. Yeah... designed for those times when COBOL is just WAY too big.

Comment Re:HOSTS file (Score 1) 423

Why should they do something that complicated if ...

(emphasis mine)
I'm not sure what world you come from, but one line is not "that complicated" here. The GP also referred to it as, "Even thinking of it requires significant criminal energy". That's simply not true... it's dead easy; it's an insignificant change.

I do think all those external fetches should be clearly documented and relatively easy to block or redirect, but I could care less if they bypass the hosts file, and it's certainly not some huge bit of dark magic.

Comment Re:Duh (Score 0) 70

It's just a WebView component embedded inside a web page.

One thing I wasn't able to deduce from the article is whether or not "x-ms-webview" components can exist in publicly served webpages. Are the only for use in Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications?

If they are available elsewhere (ex. open up a local html file with one, or from an intranet site, or from the public internet), it would seem that this *could* be a step backwards in some ways. To quote one of those articles:

The crux of the functionality stems around the powerful WebView control. Offering a comprehensive set of APIs, it overcomes several of the limitations which encumber iframes, such as framebusting sites and document loading events. Additionally, the x-ms-webview, how one declares a WebView in HTML, provides new functionality that is not possible with an iframe, such as better access to local content and the ability to take screenshots.

... so the page loading the component could, or example, be a really clean phishing attempt (ex. loading your bank and screenshotting the webview).

Actually... IGNORE EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE. I should have looked at actual tech pages:
It's only for windows runtime apps, and when a windows store app uses it, it ends up being turned into an iframe. Nothing new to see here.

Comment Re:Hard to believe (Score 3, Informative) 172

H.264 and JPEG are supposed to output random-looking bytes, by definitions.

If you can compress those, something is very wrong.

Where'd you get that idea?

$ bzip2 test.jpg
$ gzip -9 test.jpg
$ ls -la
-rw-r--r-- 1 me me 1519279 Feb 7 2012 test.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 me me 1430059 Aug 28 16:42 test.jpg.bz2
-rw-r--r-- 1 me me 1427872 Aug 28 16:44 test.jpg.gz ... I also tried it on a max-compressed file. Opened that test.jpg up in gimp, then saved with quality at 0 (lowest), and re-did the compressing on both:
-rw-rw-r-- 1 me me 189230 Aug 28 16:50 test2.jpg
-rw-rw-r-- 1 me me 111623 Aug 28 16:50 test2.jpg.bz2
-rw-rw-r-- 1 me me 117971 Aug 28 16:51 test2.jpg.gz

Feel free to try the same experiment yourself on random jpg's you find online, or your own.

The goal of H.264 and JPEG isn't minimum file size at all costs. It's also not encryption. Your premise is wrong, and even old tech can compress this stuff further than it may already be.

Comment Re:HOSTS file (Score 1) 423

sed -i 's/^\(hosts:[[:space:]]\+\)files[[:space:]]/\1/' /etc/nsswitch.conf

Yeah. Lots of work on other platforms too.

(and yes, I know this is almost completely unrelated to the topic at hand; they probably just use DnsQuery with DNS_QUERY_NO_HOSTS_FILE; it's not hard though, and shouldn't be)

Comment Re:HOSTS file (Score 1) 423

... I can't believe they went to all the trouble to design and implement this and aren't going to push back against people trying to disable it.

Really? What percentage of people are actually going to disable (and/or block) all of it? What percentage will disable *any* of it? ANYONE that wants cortana to work, which seems to be a large part of their marketing, will have to keep most of it enabled. Will the percentage that's left from those be enough to justify what was done? (the answer is "Hell yes it will, unless some lawsuit somehow gets in the way").

Now, you may be thinking something along the lines of, "while alienating all their true supporters and die hard fans", or something like that (eg. those who are going through the disabling steps are annoyed, and that annoyance may cost MS). Why would MS give a fuck? Anyone going through the trouble to disable all those settings has bought into Windows so completely that they're even willing to go through all that trouble just to use Windows 10... Microsoft doesn't have to worry at all about losing those customers.

Why would they push back any further within Windows 10? They can just wait 'til the next round of shitty-ui-new-version then slightly-better-new-version-that-adds-more-privacy-issues (or any other combo of two evils).

Comment Re:It's been 24 years (Score 4, Informative) 152

I know this 32 bit epoch is a running gag, but time_t is 64 bits on 64 bit systems and I doubt there'll be many 32 bit systems left (even embedded) by 2039!

There are still a large number of 32bit cpu's being made (like almost every android device CPU there is, and most Apple iPhone/iPad things, and many of the chromebooks out there):

All ARMv7 based CPU's, such as:
* Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (nexus 7)
* ARM Cortex-A9 (ex. Exynos 4210 in Galaxy Tab 3)
* ARM Cortex-A15 (ex. nvidia tegra K1 in NVIDIA SHIELD; Galaxy Tab 4 and S, ASUA Chromebook C201 with Rockchip 3288)

Apple mobile products:
* Apple A4 (ARM Cortex-A8): iPhone 4, iPod Touch (4th gen), Apple TV (2nd gen)
* Apple A5 (ARM Cortex-A9): iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch (5th gen), iPad mini
* Apple A6 (ARM Cortex-A15): iPhone 5

Some notable 64bit exceptions:
* Apple A7 (ARMv8-A): iPhone 5S
* Apple A8 (ARMv8-A): iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
* Apple A8X (ARMv8-A): iPad Air 2
* Exynos 5433: Galaxy Note 4 (but it only runs in 32bit mode)
* Exynos 7420: Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
* NVIDIA Tegra X1: ... I don't know if this is in anything yet.

The work that OpenBSD did needs done everywhere. 32bit systems need to have a 64bit time_t.

Also, like y2k, there will be LOADS of data storage issues - databases that need tables altered, etc. Unlike the printed date, it will be far more difficult to make assumptions about the values based on proximity to the current date (ie. 9/11/01 was considered to be 2001, but 7/4/48 was considered 1948). time_t was a signed 32bit int, so it will wrap around to negative which has a poorly defined behavior.

It'll only be a "gag" if everyone ends up fixing their systems, rather than crossing their fingers and assuming all cpu's and OS's will be running full 64bit. 2038 isn't even the deadline... the deadline is whenever usage of that date as a timestamp is needed:

64bit-sys$ TZ=GMT date -d "2038-01-19 03:14:07" +%s
64bit-sys$ TZ=GMT date -d "2038-01-19 03:14:08" +%s

32bit-sys$ TZ=GMT date -d "2038-01-19 03:14:07" +%s
32bit-sys$ TZ=GMT date -d "2038-01-19 03:14:08" +%s
date: invalid date `2038-01-19 03:14:08'

Comment Re:Yes (Score 2) 690

The intent of second amendment was never to give citizens the power to overthrow the legitimate government.

I don't believe that is entirely clear.

"it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." ...
"... it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." ... seems there are some strong indications that they would want the citizens to be able to do so if needed.

Comment Re: To Fight Car Theft (Score 1) 258

The first thing theives do is change the plate.

If that's true then how exactly will the scanners we're talking about ever do anything useful to deter or recover after vehicle theft?

Not that I'm defending it, but it'd be a simple matter of checking all plates against the registry, which would only be feasible on the backend:
1. collect all plates seen
2. run each to see if it's listed as stolen (naive check for stolen plate found). If found, do manual review of the car, and possibly dispatch.
3. run each to see if it's registered. If not, then do manual review, etc. If yes, then attempt other checks (does the vehicle match description (color, type (truck/car/bike/etc), make/model if possible, etc), and flag for manual review if it does not appear to match with some level of certainty.

Having the stored history of plates found may also allow them to look back a little in cases where the vehicle was reported stolen some time after it was actually stolen (possible days or weeks... like if someone goes on vacation).

I do think it's a realization of the slippery slope that was assuredly feared when registration was first mandated, and could open the door to other uses/abuses. That said, I'm really torn on this one. The best reasons I can come up with for not wanting automated plate logging is if someone was trying to get away with something like dumping a body, or sneaking off to another city to do something bad (robbery, murder, etc). Even if it were more of a civil matter (cheating on ones partner), it's still not a good reason to not want tracking. The examples from the summary are, however, pretty good - one should have some level of privacy regarding their meeting places for religion, AA, strip clubs, gay bars, etc... but those things aren't illegal, and I doubt this data will be used for that purpose (unless it's leaked, which should be a major concern).

Comment Re:Makes sense (Score 1) 226

There is no reason they couldn't remain distinct and sortable by various means (by datetime, by thread, by source, etc) and any combo of those.
One huge benefit... if I happen upon some article today, I have no idea if its been on slashdot (or any other place). If I could comment right on that page through slashdot (or my system of choice), that'd bring those worlds together - maybe even getting rid of slashdot dupes! This system is almost in place already - most pages have a stupid tweet and facebook link, but the comment and moderation system in those places, IMO, sucks.

Comment Re:Is there a law? (Score 2) 244

Then you may not want to read this article on Wired, "10 Guns, Bombs, and Weapons You Can Build at the Airport":
Let alone the myriad of books that have been published on exactly the topic you describe, and loads and loads of "fiction" in movies, tv, books, etc following the same. You must really hate Dexter.

Comment Re:Two arrests in Denmark for Murder Time (TM) (Score 4, Insightful) 244

Well said.

I also have a huge issue with Beerdood's statement that, "Maybe it's time to re-think your principles and realize that "information" that supports or promotes illegal activity should be taken down, regardless of how severe the crime is". Fuck that.

Laws change, and that change often comes through education of others. Promoting women's suffrage in the 1800's should not be illegal. Documenting how a Jewish person might escape Germany in 1945 should not be illegal. I'm not surprised that those in power want it to be illegal to simply document how to do something that might have an impact on their bottom line and may violate copyright laws in some (ok, most) jurisdictions, but we should not consider that acceptable. One may argue otherwise, but I feel this would fall directly under Amendment I of the US Bill of Rights (and yes, I realize this is not taking place in the US, but these are an enumeration of what many believe to be unalienable rights).

They're not forcing anyone to read those pages; They're not distributing copyrighted works, or even links to copyrighted works; The wrong parties are being sought out there - those that are violating the copyrights should be the targets. The problem with that is that Beerdood would likely be charged, just as would most of the RIAA, MPAA, the lawyers, and most of society as well.

Comment Re:Oh, the horror~~~ (Score 1) 316

300 x 15 min = over 75 man-hours lost per day. That's nearly two weeks, each day. The same productivity loss as firing ten people.

I mean, dude, do you even math?

They've been doing this for 4 years.
4 years is about 250 working days (52 weeks in year - 2 weeks vacation * 5 days a week).
250 x 75hr a day = 18750 hours = 468 weeks of work, all down the toilet since they're moving back.

With that amount of time invested into the move already, they should have virtually all issues worked out. If not, they're doing something wrong.

* by "virtually", I mean enough to put it on par with what it'd be like operating any other office suite, which will also run into compatibility, formatting, training, etc issues.

Blows my mind that they are fairly blatantly admitting that proprietary formats caused great difficulties in freeing up their data to use as they like, and yet their making the decision to move back to that. Lucky for them, moving from open formats back to .docx should go very smoothly.

It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. -- Woody Allen