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Comment Re:Discussed before (Score 1) 266

DV cameras were the one and only practical consumer application of firewire,

For years, firewire buried usb in terms of hard drive transfer speeds. (solid 800mbps vs laggy 480mbps) But it was during this time that PC motherboard manufacturers stubbornly refused to put firewire ports on their boards. Also during this time, it was difficult to impossible to boot a windows computer from an external drive. These factors led to almost a decade of time where the macs were the only computers that commonly used high performing external storage. (and not just for video) The windows users literally didn't know what they were missing, and most remained blissfully unaware. A few I know installed firewire cards and talked to me like they'd just discovered this amazing hidden technology that nobody else knew about.

Processor and controller advances (both in the computer and in the external drive controllers) during this time slowly removed the lag, and I suspect that's why it took so long to get USB3 out the door, they just weren't in enough of a rush to innovate. There was no push from the consumer side, and no one wanted to be the first to add FW as a standard option. The benchmarks I ran as early as 2012 were still running into slow controllers. There were a specific set of common speeds, determined by which chipset the manufacturer happened to be using. Speeds were now usually either 26 or 36 MB/sec, although there were a small number of them running at 39 and unbelievably still at 18. During this entire time, firewire 400 has been running at a consistent 39MB/sec, (fw800 at 79MB/sec!) and at the end there was about a 50/50 split between 36 and 39MB/sec on new USB adapters.

So then USB3 is announced and the world is buzzing. So I asked, "If you wanted higher speeds why didn't you just get firewire?" "Firewire? What's that?" "Nevermind...." But by the time USB3 came out, thunderbolt was hitting the stage to be the new usb dominator. USB seems to be doomed to be a generation behind. For the first year and a half it was almost impossible to find a USB3 drive that actually performed at speeds substantially faster than firewire 800, because most of them were trying to keep costs down after changing to USB3 by using slower hard drives. 90 and 130MB/sec HDDs were the norm in most of the early USB3 enclosures, but hey, they got to stamp "USB3!!!" all over the box and get the suckers to buy them without reading the fine print. The enclosures that had actual fast drives in them were more expensive and so were mostly overlooked. We had to endure years of "USB3 speed" flash drives that were below USB2's maximum speeds for exactly the same reason. The "premium high speed" flash drives cost 2-3x as much, and while they read faster, they still had slower write speeds.

There's just a large chunk of the demographic that wasn't seeing the faster alternatives. But at this point the storage, even though it's much faster, has been surpassed finally by the interface. I have a Lacie 500gb ssd with dual USB3/TB interface, and both of them top out at the same speed of 438MB/sec, which appears to be the SSD's maximum speed. I'd need to have an SSD raid with fiber-channel grade speeds to do a comparison now, which I don't have. So for now, for me at least, they're effectively the same. The speed of home-grade networking (gigabit ethernet) has become the bottleneck now, but this time it's affecting us all equally. (438MB/sec requires about a 4gbps connection to properly saturate, even dual-link gig ethernet just isn't up to the task)

Comment Re:Well thats odd (Score 1) 114

Everyone whinges about Uber undermining the taxi monopoly ... the reality is, Uber is pretty much ignoring laws around proper licensing, insurance, background checks, and anything else.

The biggest (and arguably most legitimate) excuse I see given is simply that the laws were written not to serve the public good, but to reinforce the monopoly the local cabl companies have, and has in many cases lead to a profound drop in service without the expected drop in cost that you find in a free market.

It's well-established that most successful companies exploit any advantage they can, so it's not the least bit surprising that they lower quality of service to cut costs because it has no net impact on their revenue, which can only serve to increase proffits. This only encourages a drop in quality of service, relative to cost.

In SOME respects I can understand why there are laws that encourage the monopolies. There are certain markets where competition can lead to a drop in average quality due to redundant overhead, such as power companies. I can also see where this could apply to some extend to cab service, in specific (usually small) cities. Some businesses you need to maintain a certain minimim customer base so you can do things on a profitable scale. But there's no reason for that in a big city like London.

Comment "compliance" ? (Score 1) 291

so that communications providers can once again comply with court orders.

If the court order demands you produce the data, and it's physically impossible for you to do it, that's not non-compliance. That's "hey retards, you DO realize you just demanded we do the impossible, go take a hike!".

There's absolutely nothing wrong (or unexpected) to do with refusing to do the impossible. Quit twisting words, the internet's pretty good at seeing through that crap.

I find it entirely gratifying to see companies that in the past have been getitng forced to cooperate with the government ignoring the people's rights finally being able to tell the criminals wearing the badges to get lost, without risk of arrest or prossicution.

Comment Re:Then what are they going to do with the extra t (Score 1) 242

last I heard, shows were shot to 52 minute lengths, and had initially designated certain unnecessary scenes that could be cut to drop the runtime to 48 minutes. Additional allowance was added to cut to 46, and finally to 42 minutes. But cutting 10 minutes out of an hour long show was starting to have serious effect on the shows. It was getting common to have scenes that weren't properly set up and left viewers confused about what was happening becuse needed shots were being replaced with more ads.

And who remembers back in what was it... 1987 or so, when the rules on commercials got removed "because they weren't necessary" claimed the advertisers. And within months commercials per hour roughly doubled and pissed off pretty much everyone. I remember a period of a few months where TV was essentially unwatchable, with a 2 minute break every 4 minutes or so. Some of that got put back but I didn't keep track of it much back then. Just goes to show, they'll be greedy clods every last minute they think they can get away with it.

It DOES surprise me here though that they appear to be somewhat proactive, if not at least fast-reactive, with regard to the public (who has been sick-n-tired of tv commercial onslaught for years now) who's finally got alternatives and is abandoning "free" broadcast tv in leu of "paying for less pain". Normally you'd expect the greedy fatcats to lawn-dart their industry before realizing at the end "maybe we went too far?" But they seem to be coming to their senses and acquiring a grip on reality much faster than usual now?

Comment Re:Really... (Score 1) 169

As stated above, my scenario is it was dead when he started, and someone cut power back in during his work. I'm going on the assumption the tech was following good practices and that management/communication was where the fault occurred, based on the background provided in the article.

But the correct way to address that particular risk is to tie said source wires to ground with heavy cable. That way if some clown does light up the wires while you're working, the worst you're going to get is a bath of copper sparks before a breaker trips somewhere in the line. (unpleasant to be certain, but not lethal)

If I was going to be working in an environment where I was trusting somoene possibly a long distance away to keep their fingers off the knife-switch while I worked, (where driving to another location to install a lockout may not be practical) I think webbing the lines to ground while working on them is a precaution I would be consistently taking. I've read too many stories about clueless idiots blindly switching power back on when they stumble across a switch or breaker that's off.

Comment Re:Leave it to idiots.. (Score 1) 241

"they offered me everything but money"... "so I still have it".

Owell. Wonder what his price is? If NASA doesn't want to cash him, maybe someone else will. If anything, barter for some of those "perks". $1000 for free lifetime tickets to usually off-limits NASA facilities would be a killer deal.

or eBay it...

Comment contradictory statements (Score 1) 86

Today, some fears were allayed when it was announced that the government was not seeking to require software developers to build backdoors into their products. That said, the government said that companies should be able to decrypt 'targeted' data when required, and provide access to it.

What's the difference here? Companies like Apple are designing their systems such that they never have the key to the data. They hold the data, but have no way to access it, by design. The UK is saying they're not going to require back-doors, (presumably this means "they won't be required to provide a way for us to decrypt the customer's data") but at the same time they're saying "we should have access to the data anyway".

The only three ways I see to reconcile these two statements is to do one of:
- not encrypt the data in the first place.
- use worthless encryption
- keep a copy of the key

Apple's current method of "we use strong encryption and don't have your key" would seem to voilate their requirement. But since the government wants to have a way in, without a back door, it means the company itself is required to have a back-door of their own built into the system, that allows the company access to your data. From there, the government can issue an NSL or something to force you to hand over the data.

So we're going from a back-door that lets only the government to have access to your data, to a "better model" that lets them have access to it, because the company also has access to it? How is this BETTER?

I say NO to both!

Comment Re:Really... (Score 4, Informative) 169

The 600k was the fine for non-compliance. You'd get that whether or not someone was killed. (some fines will get a bumper for injury, but not many have a bump for death for some reason)

Ret assured, there will be a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by the family that will get settled out of court for an "undisclosed amount". (around 4 million is par) The fine was just the wakeup-call for the board to find a scapegoat to be the focus of the PR crucification and actual painful monetary loss for the impending lawsuit. The way things like this usually go, if the press doesn't dig up any real pattern of misconduct, there will probably just be someone issuing a public apology. If they do find a pattern, someone will get the axe.

Unfortunately, these places rarely get a fine unless someone is injured or killed, because nobody knows or cares about the noncomp until it hits the papers. Then the regs look bad if they don't step in and issue a fine like they ought to have done several times in the past to have, y'know, prevented this from happening in the first place.

But regardless of what happens, hopefully there will be changes made. From the looks of it, the tech that got killed was unaware that the wire that got him was energized, due to poor communication from his management, which appears to have been the result of poor communication from upper management and whoever was coordinating the work with the other group that was in charge of the deadly wire. So it's a bit early to be blaming the tech. Heck, he may have opened the box and tested it and found it wasn't connected yet and was safe to leave open, got to work, connecting it to something else, and half an hour later someone in another building lit the box up and the tech never knew what hit him. Things like that can happen when two different groups are working on connected systems and are unaware of each other and not keeping in communication as shared circuits are cut and energized.

Comment Re: Capitalism at work (Score 4, Interesting) 168

I wonder though... at a dollar a pill... when you compare it to 750, it seems insanely tiny. But look at your bottle of ibuprofin, at $13 for 1,000 capsules, you see that even at a buck a pill they are still easily able to stay in the black.

I realize not every pill has the same manufacturing cost, but they are at least within an order of magnutude of each other for the most part. At a buck a pill, that bottle above would be $1,000. It's $13, and they're still making a margin off it. I'd be surprised if this $750 drug costs over 76 times as much to manufacture in quantity as another drug.

They're trying to recoup an R&D lost. I get that. That's OK. But they've had years to do that. That's precisely why we have patents. But when your time is up, that knowledge is transferred to the public. It's up to you as a developer to use your time wisely and recoup your investment and reap a reward for your innovation. But then you have to give it up. If you still don't feel you've managed to get enough back out of the system by that point, then you're doing something wrong, and have no one to blame but yourself.

Comment Re:the three rules of crypto (Score 1) 164

FYI those rules are meant to apply to home devs and small time dev shops where it is nearly always far worse to write your own security than to utilise one that is professionally written.

That's half of it - getting crypto done right can be a very subtle thing, and doing something even slightly different can have an unexpected/unintended and sometimes catastrophic impact on the crypto. It's agonizingly easy to accidentally introduce bias without noticing.

The other half of that is the "many eyes make for shallow bugs" principle. Before anyone jumps, no that's not a guarantee, there have been several cases of a bug being in plain sight for years in the linux kernel for example. But as a general rule, the more people that can review the code, the fewer bugs it will continue to harbor. Unless MS's APIs are open-source (I don't know for certain but I rather doubt it!) then instead of thousands of reviewers, it's had at most a dozen serious examinations. And the notion that MS is assisting shadowy short initials isn't even a bit far-fetched. Back doors have an extremely short life-expectancy in open-source. (I've seen it happen with a rogue commit, but they get found in under a few weeks typically) No open source? No telling what's in there. It's much harder to identify a well-hidden back-door or especially an intentional bias in closed source.

Comment the three rules of crypto (Score 1) 164

1) Leverage Windows crypto APIs instead of OpenSSL/LibreSSL

Rule #1 of crypto: don't write your own
Rule #2 of crypto: DON'T write your own
Rule #3 of crypto: DON'T WRITE YOUR OWN

They're not difficult rules to follow. But then they seem to enjoy writing their own rules, despite what's good for the consumer.

Comment Re:editorialize much? (Score 0) 71

It will also come in several different (subscription based) versions, offering a variety of features like Alarm, Daylight Savings, and chronograph, none of which will come with the starter version. If you don't keep your subsription up, it will start displaying "this time isn't genuine", and force you to watch an ad before it tells you what time it is.

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek