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Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 1) 159

There used to be a web page called "Your Eyes Suck at Blue". You might find it on the Wayback machine.

You can tell the luminance of each individual channel more precisely than you can perceive differences in mixed color. This is due to the difference between rod and cone cells. Your perception of the color gamut is, sorry, imprecise. I'm sure that you really can't discriminate 256 bits of blue in the presence of other, varying, colors.

Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 5, Insightful) 159

Rather than abuse every commenter who has not joined your specialty on Slashdot, please take the source and write about what you find.

Given that CPU and memory get less expensive over time, it is no surprise that algorithms work practically today that would not have when various standards groups started meeting. Ultimately, someone like you can state what the trade-offs are in clear English, and indeed whether they work at all, which is more productive than trading naah-naahs.

Comment Re:No, not economics at all (Score 1) 185

I don't have to apologize for national fiat currency, it's silly too, and I don't keep my assets in cash. My problem with Bitcoin is that it is even less credible than "the faith and credit of the United States government", which has been the justification of the Dollar since it was allowed to float. It seems to be nothing but "wish and it will come true".

Comment Softlanding Linux System (Score 1) 136

In 1991 I was an Atari ST user. I'd learned C, written some software to connect it to Usenet, and spent most of my time in a command line or MicroEMACS rather than in the graphical interface. At that point it was clear that Atari was headed for oblivion, and I jokingly told some of my friends that I was thinking about kicking it aside for something really crazy -- a PC running Minix, or maybe even that new Linux thing people were talking about.

The following year I used the U of M Gopher system to download SLS Linux (the very first distro) to a handful of floppies, and took them to a computer junk store across from the Minnesota Supercomputer Center. I told the proprietor that if he could bolt something together that would boot SLS, I'd buy it. I went home with a '386 with a 10MB hard drive, a keyboard, and a cheap monochrome monitor, and never looked back.

The big breakthrough was switching from Miniterm to a TCP/IP dialup connection made available by a friend at the university. I downloaded alpha kernel patches from and recompiled about once a week. I hovered over and Swapped in a '486 motherboard and I was on a roll. I wound up putting Linux on a spare Pentium at work for the mission-critical functions of file sharing between PCs and Macs and Friday afternoon Quake.

Now I run Linux on my wristwatch.

Comment Re:Are they going to fine airlines for doing the s (Score 1) 188

No, the small-aircraft owners aren't at risk of messing up their avionics. They are, however, consciously messing up the cellular network for everyone else. You see, you are supposed to be in range of just a few cells when you use your phone, so that we get frequency reuse between cells. If you are at altitude, you are in line-of-sight communications with all of the cells out to the visible horizon on all sides. And the frequencies you are using are probably locked out from reuse over that entire vast area. It would not take very many phones at altitude to disrupt the entire system.

Comment No, not economics at all (Score 4, Insightful) 185

People who received a play-money system from a mysterious unknown person and actually convinced themselves that it has value are now facing a schism over the money market failing to grow without bounds. Unless, that is, the software is modified in a way that might, over time, disincent people from playing the game.

I can't be the only one who is thinking that the only problem is that these folks believe bitcoins have value.

Hell, I thought that the fiat currency of nations was a bad deal. This is an order of magnitude worse.

Comment Re:Are they going to fine airlines for doing the s (Score 1) 188

No, the real problem is that you have line-of-sight communications to every cell site until the visible horizon. This tends to use up frequencies over a very large area. In general the antennas have been engineered not to work at high angles, but this can't be complete and the ones on the horizon may see you at the same angle as their regular users.

Comment Re:all voting should be paper and pencil (Score 1) 393

Some other things should be added.

First, the paper ballot should also list all the candidates the voter did *not* choose, so that a later recount can see if there were choices left off, which is something that should invalidate the election.

Secondly, neither the voting machine nor the verification/scanner machines should store any results. The only thing that should store the cumulative results during the day should be the ballot box itself, ie, the box that holds the voter-validated ballots.

I'm fine with a ballot box setup that causes incoming ballots to be permanently tied/secured together, and I'm fine with the ballot box doing electronic counting, and being used to generate an end-of-day printed tally that can be attached to the secured ballots.

In this way every step of the process is human auditable: A person can print out twenty different ballots, validate twenty different ballots, (verifying that the machine readable portion corresponds to the human-readable text), then throw away 19 of the 20 and put the one they really wanted in the ballot box. In any recount, a person can manually tally the paper votes and verify that it matches the printed tally per filled ballot box, and poll watchers can watch the number of ballot boxes, making sure none are switched out during the day, and getting a copy of tally printouts for each ballot box so they can each see that the same set of ballot box tally's for their precinct match the tally's reported centrally.

The same validation machines and ballot boxes can be used for any set of elections, without any reprogramming, and the hardware is all interchangeable, individually testable, and verifiable. There is no need to trust that supposedly audited code matches the code that is actually running in the machines. The only machines that need an updated data file for each election are the machines that print out the potential ballots themselves, but everything related to their fundamental purpose of displaying choices and printing ballots can be independently verified.

Comment The problem is usually video (Score 1, Insightful) 378

Think of how we use video devices. Not just in Linux, in pretty much all current systems. In the name of "efficiency" we memory-map them, and we let the user process directly mess around with the internals of a hardware device.

This is the way a set-top video game box works, not a secure and reliable operating system.

Until the video is firewalled off from the user the way other components of the operating system are, it's not going to be safe, secure, or reliable. Obviously we'll need new hardware designs to make this work fast enough.

Comment Re:People isn't the issue, farming is (Score 2) 390

What you are complaining about here is a failure of management.

But not the one I see signs about whenever I drive on I-5. The latest rash of billboards is "Why are we spending on high-speed rail when that money should be used to build additional water storage right now!".

Farmers, build your own water storage if you want it, I'm finished subsidizing your every expense and I'm taking the train.

Comment Re:People isn't the issue, farming is (Score 5, Insightful) 390

The fact that rivers run to the sea isn't really a management problem. There is actually only one river in California without a dam at present, all of the others have controlled levels, hydroelectric generation, and take-outs of much of their water volume for various purposes.

We've already destroyed much of the fisheries and are having trouble recovering them. We might have about 5% of the birds the state once had. The Central Valley, which was swampland only a century ago, has been made a desert. Giant lakes have disappeared.

No surprise if this has changed the weather. A huge heat sink was removed from the environment and there is a perpetual windstorm as cool air is sucked into that valley.

Proper management is not to suck down the remaining 5%, interrupting the flow of rivers to the sea permanently. Proper management is to attach the real economic cost to water delivered to agriculture, rather than to vastly subsidize it.

Yes, this means that farming, and farming jobs, would change. Sorry, you asked more of the land than it could provide forever, your resources have run out, game over.

You are in a maze of UUCP connections, all alike.