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Comment Mod parent up! (Score 1) 213

Or even use the PIN as part of the encryption key used to encrypt a random string sent from the bank once authentication is requested.

And the connection between the PoS and the bank should also be encrypted.

And that connection should be 100% private. ISDN or whatever. Nothing going across the Internet. Not even with a VPN.

Comment Re:SSD drives are fast, but they suck for reliabil (Score 1) 293

Dont buy shit software from EA then, because really we know they are the biggest retailer using DRM still.

Every piece of $1,000+/seat software we use at my company comes with some form of obnoxious DRM/copy protection technology.

Every. Single. One.

We are not talking about expendable games here, we are talking about software that only gets away with those prices and poor customer service because it's still so much better at what it does than any cheaper and less encumbered alternatives.

To be fair, even if you dont agree and continue to buy software that is copy protected, that is the issue, not the SSD.

Well, no, it's both.

If the SSD didn't fail, there would be no problem. If the SSD even failed with more than one minute's warning, there probably still would be no problem, since typically you can deactivate licences for software on this level if you can fire it up for a few seconds with an active Internet connection. It might be wise to back up anything you can, but a drive that fails young, suddenly, and with limited options to recover because of poor design decisions is still the drive manufacturer's fault.

Of course plenty of blame also goes to the software vendors, and as you can imagine, we have about as much respect for them in my industry as their customer service warrants.

Backup everything fools.

You can't.

Comment Re:Yeah right. (Score 1) 564

How on earth do you find Android more "annoying" than Win3.1, MacOS, OS X, or any Linux distro?

That's like saying you find a bicycle more annoying than a motorboat. It's a nonsensical comparison, because you don't use them for the same thing, or in the same places.

The comparison to iOS is the only one that makes any sense.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 2) 564

An old dual processor 3 ghz board with is going to kick ass for quite some more time...

Just as long as it isn't using Pentium 4 (or its Xeon variant with Netburst architecture) CPUs. That POS was such a power hog, it's worth it to upgrade to something newer as you'll recoup your savings on your electric bill shortly.

Comment Re:SSD drives are fast, but they suck for reliabil (Score 1) 293

Of course the DRM crap is Adobe's fault, and they did eventually resolve the issue. However, it took a couple of weeks, demonstrating almost comically bad customer service except that it wasn't actually funny at the time. As I mentioned, the problem was finally fixed only when my patience ran out and I sent them the recorded letter that starts formal legal proceedings.

Regardless of where any blame belonged, the facts are that if the SSD had not died suddenly, this could all have been avoided by just deactivating the software first, and that backing up the relevant data is simply not possible using normal tools, because to back it up, you must first know that it exists and where to find it, and you must be able to restore it (assuming that it would still be the same after swapping out the disk anyway, which a hardware signature used in a DRM system might not be).

So, a better SSD would have been worth a lot to me in that situation, and saying "Just back everything up" still isn't a good answer.

Comment Re:SSD drives are fast, but they suck for reliabil (Score 2) 293

This is all a great theory, until the "data" in question is something like copy protection hackery that someone's high-end software puts on your SSD boot disk without necessarily telling you anything about it.

The only time I had an SSD failure, the hardware guys were great and got a replacement to me the next day, while it took literally weeks (and, in the end, a recorded letter threatening legal action) to get Adobe to let me use the software I already f**king bought on the same f**king PC it was always installed on, after I'd reinstalled everything on the replacement SSD.

If that had been an isolated occurrence, I might be willing to drop the point, but since I know of others who have also been screwed by Adobe's DRM/copy protection mess after a drive failure and I also know of other high-end software providers who play similar games, I don't think "just back everything up" is a good enough answer to unreliable drives. A drive failure typically costs some of us at least an order of magnitude more than just replacing the hardware itself once you factor in downtime, and we shouldn't have to mess around with RAID arrays of SSDs just to compensate for poorly designed products that fail unnecessarily.

Comment Re:What about the success of Reddit? (Score 4, Interesting) 384

Not only that, but it also serves a very valuable purpose: It allows people to have "unpopular" opinions, only to realize that they may be more popular than they thought.

I don't know if anyone here ever played the RPG "Paranoia". It stopped being fun when it became too close to home for comfort. It was a world under total surveillance where mutants and members of secret societies were hunted. The fun part now was that EVERYONE was a mutant and EVERYONE was member of some secret society. And everyone thought they're a tiny minority and everyone else is out there to hunt them down, because that was the generally accepted dogma and everyone was happy when someone else was being hunted because it means that, at least for now, they're not on the hunt list.

Sounds familiar? It should.

What anonymity allows in the context is that you can find out that you're not alone. That you're not the "odd man out" if you don't think the generally accepted dogma and creed is the all encompassing truth but that basically everyone thinks like that. Only the ones that hold power and media do not.

Of course, this is a threat to those that have power and media outlets in their hands. If you can convince everyone that they are alone in their "resistance" against the official opinion, they will conform. If you can threaten them with indirect or direct repercussions if they disagree, they will fall in line, even if they could in theory voice their opinion. Just lock up everyone who dares to speak out and people will think that that guy and they are the only 2 in the world who thought like that.

If people can voice their concern anonymously, they will soon find out that they're not alone. Not by a long shot. Actually, they will find out that the official opinion is backed by nobody but a tiny minority.

Comment The internet may be (Score 2) 384

The community is not. People who are concerned about privacy simply avoid commenting on pages that outlaw having a private moment in life.

I stopped commenting on YouTube. I stopped commenting on various news pages. I guess given time they will find out what drives even more people away than vitriolic comments is no comments worth reading at all. Because for some odd reason, when I peruse the various pages I used to frequent before they became part of the 1984 set, the quality of comments in general dropped, it didn't improve. Now you have mostly self-absorbed showoffs that would dance naked in the street if it only meant 5 seconds of YouTube fame.

People who commented because they wanted to give people a piece of their mind, more often than not inspiring or insightful rather than destructive (and the destructive ones were easily blended out, given the omnipresent ability to simply ignore people you don't want to hear from), are moving away from these sites. There is now very little reason to read YouTube comments. Or, given the fact that it has become virtually impossible to watch YouTube videos without stuttering or loading problems anyway, to use that page altogether.

Comment Re: There must be a very good reason... (Score 4, Interesting) 579

You don't need giant indoor dam, you just need a giant outdoor tank higher than the surrounding region. The problem is, big tanks like that are kinda expensive. Millions of dollars.

Expensive and, more importantly, dangerous - storing large amounts of power would risk a rather large flood. It would make more sense to excavate an underground cavern and pump water out of it to store power. This is (likely) cheaper, safer and allows far more height difference, thus more power per same amount of water and storage space. And of course you get a huge cistern out of the deal, too.

Let's assume we excavate our cistern so we get a water head of 100m for our turbine. Also, let's assume the turbine+generator is 80% efficient. A single cubic meter of water weights one metric ton, so we'll get 1000kg*100m*9.8m/s^2 * 0.8 = 784 kJ = 217.8 kWh out of it.

According to Reuters, New York State's electricity usage peaked last summer at 33,955MW, so if we'd want to provide every single watt for, say, two weeks from our reservoir when fully loaded (completely empty of water) at maximum power draw, we'd ned to excavate 24h/d*14d*33955MW/217.8kWh/m^3= 53 million cubic meters of rock. This works out to a square 10 meters high and 2.3 kilometers on each direction (plus enough to compensate for support pillars). Expensive, yes, but also ridiculously oversized and perfectly doable with today's technology. Also, doubling the depth doubles the power contained in every cubic foot of water, leading to smaller cistern required.

Comment Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 1) 579

I don't understand why the utilities simply don't build out their grids to accept feed-in from customers' solar rigs, and then split their pricing structure into 1) grid access, and 2) net power supplied? Or is this too simple?

I suspect it's a matter of idling power plants being nonprofitable. Remember, all those solar panels are going to be varying their power production pretty much in lockstep, so the grid's net demand is going to vary by a huge amount. You could solve the problem by building storage capability, but that's an expensive investment that could drive the cost of grid tie-in to the point where people get their own batteries and disconnect.

Also, what happens if there's, say, a week-long spell of bad weather? It seems unlikely that people would accept "it was cloudy" as an explanation for why utility couldn't deliver enough power. That means it can't scrap its usually-unused power plants even if it builds energy storage but must keep them ready to go before batteries run dry. And that eats into profits.

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