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Comment Re:Relational stuff scales - not around the world! (Score 2, Interesting) 222

Can you shard the same SQL data store in Chicago, London, and Tokyo? Not with standard SQL databases, unless you write your own complicated replication techniques or pay through the nose. (See CAP Theorem).

Yes, the company I work for has expressed the world-wide SQL database need, so this is not just a thought experiment.

Have you heard of GemFire/GemStone, VoltDB, or Xeround?

If you can get rid of the SQL requirement, try
    XML (or other format) on Amazon's S3
    or try one of the NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, Riak, or CouchDB.

All of the above scale horizontally, most even scale in a geographically diverse environment.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 208

I'm talking about USB keychain sizes, not 2.5" to 5.25" SSD's.

If the really big 128G USB devices could go to 512G or 1T, with a 20nm process, then SSD's could jump from 512G / 1T to 2T / 8T sizes, on the low and high end, according to that logic, and barring any issues.

So, my original point of raising this is: If a tiny fob grew to a 512G or a 1T device, then is the 20nm barrier a problem, really? It's true, we can't conceive of how much storage we'll want to walk around with, in the future. In 5 years a 1T USB device might seem paltry; then again, we might not need those crazy sizes, on a daily basis.

A case in point: I don't see too many complaining about not having a 64G keychain in hand. I haven't personally seen anybody sporting a 32G device. I have seen exactly one person with a 16G USB and another with an 8G fob. Most people I know have 1G to 4G keychain-sized devices, since they so cheap and they really don't even use that up. ...and 8G is about $10 to $20...

Comment Re:So... (Score 2, Interesting) 208

Agreed. And, I believe that 34nm is near the best they can do today, in any kind of production.

So, if you can go from a 34nm * 34nm feature to a 20nm * 20nm feature, you can almost triple the density.

So, in the same space you can produce a 128G drive, you can then produce a roughly 384G drive, going from 34nm to 34nm.

So, if a USB Keychain is produced w/ 128G, a 384G can be produced at the same size, barring other issues.

That assumes they are even using 34nm process SSD's, today, to produce 128G USB SSD drives. If they are using a 40nm process, then expect 512G USB SSD's, as a future possibility.

This doesn't even take into consideration stacking SSD vertically and horizontally in a RAID configuration on a drive and maximizing use of space (packaging, support chips, etc.) or making larger physical USB devices.

In the future, hardware compression, deduplication, etc., may further add to storage improvements.

My best guess? 1 Terabyte uncompressed on a keychain, eventually, assuming a 20nm process.

If they can go further than 20nm or improve in other ways, all the better.

Comment Learn Ruby and BDD (Score 1) 396

Lest you think I'm a Ruby fanboy and dismiss me out-of-hand, try this or at least read about Behavior-Driven Development (BDD), as opposed to Test-Driven Development (TDD).

Then, learn Ruby and some of the common testing methodologies, like Shoulda, Cucumber, mocks, and RSpec.

Whatever language, OS, and framework you use, you just might change how you look at non-automated tests.

Comment Re:Use databases! (maybe, maybe not) (Score 2, Informative) 235

Yes, agreed, a combination is good (SQL + NoSQL + filesystem).

There is no one-size-fits-all scenario, here.

However, there is utility in a NoSQL database over a raw filesystem. One feature is indexed search. Another is versioning. Another is the fact that it is extremely multiuser (proper record locking, even if there are multiple writes to the same record). Also, many NoSQL databases (especially MongoDB) have built-in replication, sharding, Map-Reduce, and horizontal scaling.

MongoDB's GridFS (especially with FUSE support) marries many of these features together. MongoDB does have some SQL DB features (such as indexing/searching and transactions) but not others.

Check out the whole stack here:
    http://www.mongodb.org/
    http://www.mongodb.org/display/DOCS/GridFS
    http://github.com/mikejs/gridfs-fuse

Comment Re:Use databases! (maybe, maybe not) (Score 1) 235

I agree. It depends.

Yes, relational databases store and retrieve well-defined data very, very well. Do you have referential integrity needs?. If that's your situation, use SQLite (small data and very simple types but little referential integrity), MySQL (medium to large data), or PostgreSQL (medium to very large data or more complex data types) and don't look back. SQL queries, relationships, and referential integrity are very powerful.

If not, then I'd look at MongoDB with GridFS. I'd even go further and explore GridFS-FUSE (a mountable file system version of MongoDB/GrisFS).

With GridFS-FUSE, you have a crazy powerful database/file system combo. Now, since MongoDB is a NoSQL database, you cannot do SQL queries against it. You can store and retrieve key-value pairs, NoSQL "documents," and actual files with MongoDB/GridFS/GridFS-FUSE.

Mars

New Mars Rover Rolls For the First Time 100

wooferhound writes "Like proud parents savoring their baby's very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time. Engineers and technicians wore bunny suits while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet). Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life."

Comment Re:Great (Score 1) 200

First of all, this is all off-topic. How is this related to the *thermosphere*?

Also, hang on a minute. Please actually pretend that you read *all* of the link you submitted. At least be slightly even-handed, as the article seemed to be, because about 1/2 of your very article (past the title) directly contradicted you.

The 2010 is the warmest year on record link you sent *also* said this:

Marc Morano, a global-warming skeptic who edits the Climate Depot website, says the government "is playing the climate fear card by hyping predictions and cherry-picking data."

Joe D'Aleo, a meteorologist who co-founded The Weather Channel, disagrees, too. He says oceans are entering a cooling cycle that will lower temperatures.

He says too many of the weather stations NOAA uses are in warmer urban areas.

"The only reliable data set right now is satellite," D'Aleo says.

He says NASA satellite data shows the average temperature in June was 0.43 degrees higher than normal. NOAA says it was 1.22 degrees higher.

Earth

Nuclear Power Could See a Revival 415

shmG writes "As the US moves to reduce dependence on oil, the nuclear industry is looking to expand, with new designs making their way through the regulatory process. No less than three new configurations for nuclear power are being considered for licensing by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The first of them could be generating power in Georgia by 2016."
Australia

Good Language Choice For School Programming Test? 407

An anonymous reader writes "The Australian Informatics Olympiad programming test is being run in a couple of months. I'm an experienced programmer and I'm thinking of volunteering to tutor interested kids at my children's school to get them ready. There will be children of all levels in the group, from those that can't write 'hello world' in any language, to somewhat experienced programmers. For those starting from scratch, I'm wondering what language to teach them to code in. Accepted languages are C, C++, Pascal, Java, PHP, Python and Visual Basic. I'm leaning towards Python, because it is a powerful language with a simple syntax. However, the test has a run-time CPU seconds limit, so using an interpreted language like Python could put the students at a disadvantage compared to using C. Is it better to teach them something in 2 months that they're likely to be able to code in but possibly run foul of the CPU time limit, or struggle to teach them to code in a more complicated syntax like C/C++ which would however give them the best chance of having a fast solution?"
Space

Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System 135

PipianJ writes "A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog, Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified."

Comment Re:GATTACA (Score 1) 268

GINA should never had to have been enacted, since it shold never have come to this....

The Supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, has this to say:

  • 4th Amendment - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • 9th Amendment - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • 10 Amendment - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
  • 14th Amendment, Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Why do our Congressmen, President, Justices, and States ignore the Constitution? Why do the people let them?

Math

7 of the Best Free Linux Calculators 289

An anonymous reader writes "One of the basic utilities supplied with any operating system is a desktop calculator. These are often simple utilities that are perfectly adequate for basic use. They typically include trigonometric functions, logarithms, factorials, parentheses and a memory function. However, the calculators featured in this article are significantly more sophisticated with the ability to process difficult mathematical functions, to plot graphs in 2D and 3D, and much more. Occasionally, the calculator tool provided with an operating system did not engender any confidence. The classic example being the calculator shipped with Windows 3.1 which could not even reliably subtract two numbers. Rest assured, the calculators listed below are of precision quality."

Comment Re:Home schooling vs. school duty (Score 1) 1324

You gave lip service to home-schooling, which is nice, sort-of, but then came this indefensible rant:
Home school kids are massively underdeveloped socially, they miss out on a lot of cues that the rest of the population learned the hard way in social environment.

I'm calling you on the carpet -- this is your big chance. Prove it!

I never actually met someone who actually believes that our public school system, by and large, produces such well-adapted children. Nor have I met anyone who crows about the academic prowess of our elite Federal public schools.

I do hear *lots of* concern about drugs, rape, murder, school fights, dropouts, peer pressure, depression, suicide, ADD/ADHD, racism, bullying, teen pregnancy, AIDS/HIV, lack of discipline, school riots (!), hazing, poor grades, and on and on, in the public schools. Some of our good/safe local public schools have metal detectors, since students have brought guns into their lockers. How is this good "socialization," again?

Oh, by the way, my wife and I worked in the public school system for a few years (K-12 and junior college) and personally know many ex-elementary public school teachers who now home school! One of the reasons we all don't public school? Socialization!!! (Now, I do think colleges are generally safer than junior/senior high schools, but that's another story). Increasingly, our friends who teach in public schools are pulling their kids out, in favor of home schooling!

Do you have kids, BTW, or is this just a hypothetical rant -- "if I had kids?"

Uhm, maybe look up the definition of "socialization" or "socialize", some time. It's probably not a "good thing" at all, unless you like the thought police: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialization

If this is what you mean by "socialize," which of these these attributes would you call "good" with a straight face:
      1. To place under government or group ownership or control. (Is this good -- really?!?!?! Public school *does do* this!)
      2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable. (I'll grant you this one, maybe, if you like an institution defining it for you)
      3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society. ("Bend to our will and do our bidding, slave!")

How about "socialization," itself?
      1. a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. (Should public school be telling our kids about their "norms" or "values" -- really?)
      2. the act or process of making socialistic: the socialization of industry. (OK, we're defining the word with the word, here)

What is "socially normal" about a child spending his waking hours with a bunch of rowdy people/class clowns/bullies/jocks and picked-on kids/nerds/outcasts/druggies -- all part of a pecking order, all part of a high pressure/peer pressure "society," all kids roughly his/her own age for 13 years? How is this in any way like "society," outside of school? This "society" of public school is institutional, artificial, and orthogonal, compared to "normal" society.

As far as socialization of home schoolers is concerned (as I guess you are redefining the term "socialization"), prove it with actual evidence, please. I call foul. Please define your term, too.

You need to read John Taylor Gatto http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/, some time, and remember that he's a public school expert and taught in NY public schools for about 30 years. He's also a researcher of public schools. He's a sharp critic of public (and even private) schools and he has ample evidence to destroy your tired old assumption, which is not based on fact.

Not only do public school students lack mental acumen, they also lack social skills, the facts show.

Hey, I at least sited an expert on the subject who's "been there, done that" and who's researched his position. What about you? (Prove your bald assertion, please!)

OK, here are more articles, in case you actually care about this issue (some expert articles, some opinion):
here, here,
here, and here.

Now, not all public-school kids are wusses, jerks, whatever, but I don't see the positive fruits of public-school "socialization." On the other hand, however, public-schoolers are generally *far less* well-adjusted (socially) and don't compete with the rest of the industrialized world (academically). Do a Google search on "school violence statistics" some time. The 2.3-2.4 million articles returned ought to change your view on public-school "socialization" a bit.

Anecdotally, my own four kids are home-schooled and they are not only "sharp as tacks", but they don't give in to peer pressure, don't believe the thought police, or do "group think" like the other kids. They are well-adjusted, instead of wussy pushovers. They don't start fights with other kids, either.

Not only that, but our kids do not lack for friends, group and individual interaction, etc. When we see them interact with other kids, we notice how well they behave, and so do the other parents, and the other kids.... They play with their neighbor kids, go to church, play well with each other, go on numerous field trips, respect other children, respect each other, have lots of friends, respect their parents/elders/relatives, aren't dysfunctional, get invited to (and go to) numerous birthday parties, play online games (with real people they actually met in real life), watch most of the same cartoons, read very extensively about world cultures and have multi-cultural friends, yada, yada, yada.

The "social skills" my kids have (and I am concerned about them having *great* social skills) are more important than the bogus "are your kids popular in school" and do they "conform to peer pressure" acid tests most people apply to home-schoolers.

Home-school is not right for every parent, every family, or every kid; nor is private school; nor is public school. In the USA, we have this nice thing we call "freedom" and it reintroduces competition and choice in schooling.

I'll apply some acid tests of my own: Is your public-school kid a.) The Bully, b.) The Picked-On Kid, c.) The Already Burned-Out Child, d.) The Poor Performer, e.) The Angry Child, f.) The Depressed Child, g.) The Drug Addict, or h.) A Child that no Longer Relates with You? Or, are they i.) The Increasingly Rare "Functional" Child?

Again, prove it.

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