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Comment Re:Say what? (Score 1) 226

The entire point of a HAL is that you just plug in your drivers.

The entire point of the HAL is to abstract hardware, any hardware, away from the OS. There's nothing that says it can't encompass more of the hardware than just the IO bus, CPU and MMU, like WinNT does. On an embedded device there's very little in terms of a standard IO bus that the OS can communicate through cleanly with peripherals, so might as well abstract the whole lot.

Comment Re:The situation is much more complicated than tha (Score 1) 364

The unethical part, as far as I understand, is that smaller ISPs rent the "last mile" piece from Bell, which they're allowed to since the infrastructure is wholly, or partially, tax-payer funded. However, they don't buy big-pipe bandwidth from Bell, but instead peer with someone like Cogent. The cost of the bandwidth over the last mile is zero, since additional bytes don't degrade the infrastructure and therefore don't add to maintenance costs. However Bell wants to charge the ISP, for this zero-cost bandwidth, at the same scale as they charge their end-users, who, unlike the ISPs, *are* using their peering connection to talk to the rest of the internet.

Comment Re:Japan (Score 1) 238

I keep seeing this population density argument being thrown out as if it has some sort of a bearing on the issue.

You're not going to be rolling 100Mbs fiber to each farm house in Montana, now are you?

The fact that ISPs in North-America (Canada included) are unable to do this even in areas with high population density, simply indicates that they want to keep the status quo as long as customers keep paying. There is no technical or logistical issue preventing them from doing it. It's all about abject lack of competition and the precious dollar. Trotting out the density argument is specious at best.

Comment Re:Off topic, but I have to mention it (Score 1) 294

Sure if you only implement the single-precision portion of IEEE-754 then you're still working with 32-bit quantities on an 8-bit computer. All that bit-jiggling really adds up quickly.

I once coded a fully IEEE-754 compliant single-precision floating point emulator for ARM which was about ~100 instructions on average per operation. And this is with an instruction set that handles 32-bit quantities natively.

Feed Certification on the upswing again (

After several years of decline, the demand for certification and training in GNU/Linux and other free software areas is stronger than ever. That's the general opinion of experts in the field, as they discuss where certification has been, current course offerings, customer services, and trends for the future.
Internet Explorer

Submission + - Microsoft drops hints on IE8

benuski writes: "Lost in the hype about Microsoft's new Siverlight platform, there has been some information surfacing about IE8. It will include improvements in RSS, CSS, and AJAX support, and will follow Firefox 3 in supporting microformats. Also, the developers are going to try and improve UI customization, which is one of the main criticisms of IE7."
The Courts

Submission + - Teacher faces 40 years for porn pop-ups.

a_nonamiss writes: "A 40-year old Connecticut teacher was found guilty of four felony counts of risk of injury to a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, because the computer she was using in class displyed pornographic images while she was displaying it to the class. The teacher, Julie Amero, claimed that the popups were appearing on their own, and she could not control them.

From the article:
Computer expert W. Herbert Horner, testifying in Amero's defense, said he found spyware on the computer and an innocent hair styling Web site "that led to this pornographic loop that was out of control."
It's tough for me to believe that they could find twelve people in Connecticut that haven't been stuck in their own involuntary porn loop. Admittedly, I wasn't in the clasroom, and I don't know the exact details of this particular case, but as someone who regularly uses a computer in front of students this prospect scares the hell out of me, to the point that I am rethinking even using a computer in front of students again."

U.S. Commerce Department Hacked Again 164

evil agent writes "The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), a branch of the Commerce Department, has sustained several successful attacks. Chinese hackers were able to gain access to its computers and install rootkits and other malware." From the article: "This is the second major attack originating in China that's been acknowledged by the federal government since July. Then, the State Department said that Chinese attackers had broken into its systems overseas and in Washington. And last year, Britain's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Center (NISCC) claimed that Chinese hackers had attacked more than 300 government agencies and private companies in the U.K."

How Ray Ozzie is Changing Microsoft 266

prostoalex writes "The October issue of Wired magazine takes a look at Ray Ozzie's work with Microsoft. To hear the article describe it, he's rebuilding the company from the ground up. A 70,000-employee company is quietly changing its ways by thinking of software as deliverable services that perhaps could be rented on a monthly subscription basis." From the article: "There are, of course, two major reasons for Ozzie's ascendancy at Microsoft: Gates and Ballmer. Ozzie is one of the few technologists anywhere whom they respect; they'd been trying for years to get him to join the company. Now he's carrying their hopes for the future, and it's a heavy load. Ozzie needs to move Microsoft from selling software in a box to selling lightning-fast, powerful online applications ranging from gaming to spreadsheets. The risks are enormous. The mission is to radically alter the way the company sells its most profitable software and to pursue the great unknown of so-called Web services - trading an old cash cow for an as-yet-to-be-determined cash cow. No, Microsoft doesn't think its customers will stop using PCs with hard drives and work entirely online, but the desktop era is drawing to a close, and that promises to force some painful trade-offs."

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