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Comment Declining Real Wage? (Score 3, Insightful) 91

I wonder if our ever-declining real wage is connected to our pessimism?

If I thought that my life was going to be Better In The Future For Sure then I'd be much more likely to take risks, try stuff that might not work, and generally be more optimistic. When I'm confident that my life will be as-good-or-better than now then I could always say "well, that was a nice experiment, too bad it didn't work, thank goodness it will not substantially impact the remainder of my life"

And, just because I feel like I ought to provide a citation:

Comment How Relevant Are The Technologies? (Score 1) 16

Can anyone shed some light on whether these technologies are niche/minor technologies, or whether they're actually popular / useful / used technologies?

"I've never heard of AMPLab" means just about nothing, given that I don't really spend a lot of time on Big Data. I recognize Hadoop (and MapReduce, Scala, etc,etc), but most of the technologies used in this class seems to be specific to Berkeley.

(I'm almost afraid to ask, given that there's a grand total of 13 comments and it's already 1/2 down the /. main page :( )

Comment Re:Vs. Diskless boot? (Score 1) 143

Huh - so the main difference is that it can figure out what's changed after the local machine has been running for a while, and save those changes?

Many many moons ago I was at a Usenix conference & it seemed like the trendy topic was moving a process from one machine to another. After some quick Googling, it looks like the terms to look for are
process migration
application checkpointing

This patent sound similar to that stuff.

(It's probably one of these things where I"m going to have to dig deeply into all these concepts in order to actually be able to clearly differentiate amongst them.)

Re: trolling: LOL, yeah - I replied to geekoid, *then* clicked on his name & noticed that all his posts are very short and very negative. Luckily for me my response also got a reply from you, and so the discussion quality just upticked quite a bit :)

Comment Re:Vs. Diskless boot? (Score 1) 143

It was tough reconciling the sacrosanct rule of not RTFA with a desire to actually know what the patent actually does. So I compromised, followed the link, and then only read the summary:

A system for providing an operating system over a network to a local device is provided. The system includes a base image server, a preferences image server and an image loader. The system may also include a boot loader. A method for providing an operating system over a network to a local device is also provided. The method includes receiving a request for an operating system. The method further includes transmitting to a local device remotely stored base and preferences images that are configured for combination into a combined image. The method may also include the synchronizing the combined image with a cached version of an operating system on the local device.

Going back and reading the patent in a little bit more detail, and then skimming RFC 906, I still don't see how the patent isn't obvious. Things like encrypting the image (or compressing the image), updating the image, etc, etc all seem like they 'fall out of' the diskless booting idea.

Could you provide list of the specific things that this does that RFC 906 doesn't do?

Comment Such a quaint definition of college... (Score 2) 171

the mission of the university as a place of refuge, contemplation, and investigation for its own sake

It was really nice when the college's mission used to be refuge, contemplation, and investigation for its own sake, but in today's shrinking economy that is (more and more) no longer the case. Now-a-days not only does the college as a whole feel immense budget pressure, but if individual departments don't ante up each year then they'll be on the chopping block

Comment Employees vs. The Firm (Score 4, Insightful) 210

While staff in many industries might object to a plan that expects them to sleep in their office, data center firms have a primary calling of keeping their facilities operational at all times

I love how the summary neatly dismisses the objections of the employees by citing the goal of the corporation. I can see this working well for a variety of other problems that the data center firms face, but let's just jump to the one the MBAs are salivating over:

While staff in many industries might object to working without pay or benefits, data center firms have a primary calling of keeping their costs low and profits high

Comment Neighborhood Watch? (Score 1) 508

I know that you're looking for a nerdy techno-solution, but have you looked into a neighborhood watch? If your house has been broken into then the thieves / backyard guests are probably stealing / visiting your neighbors, too. If there is someone who works from home (even occasionally) they can keep an eye out and call stuff in. I don't have the source handy, but I seem to remember the Seattle PD saying that something like 90% of their residential burglary- & trespassing- type arrests come from neighbors calling stuff in.

In Seattle we've actually got a Crimewatch coordinator position on the police force - an officer like that can answer your questions about how to secure your property & neighborhood, and will even drop by your neighborhood watch meeting once you've got 10+ people or so. They don't stop the guy directly but they know a ton about how to deter thieves & make it easier to catch them.

As an added bonus it'll get you talking to your neighbors. There's really no reason to talk to your neighbors in modern America (except for stuff like this), and a shared threat really makes people come together. Our neighborhood watch started out banding together against the 'troublesome houses', and expanded to neighborhood cleanup days.

Comment Re:Long-term sustainability of this model? (Score 1) 75

academics themselves get practically nothing for writing textbooks. Almost all of the money goes to the publishers.

I've never written a book myself, but people who have have told me that your statement is absolutely right.

That still doesn't change the underlying question - if there are textbooks out there for free, will publishers leave the market because there's no money (no incentive) for them to stay?
And if they do, will there be enough other incentive to keep people working on the maintenance of the free textbooks?

Another interesting question just occurred to me: O'Reilly seems to be doing ok (at least, that's my impression). If there's all these Awesome Free Resources on the web, how does O'Reilly stay afloat?

Comment Re:Long-term sustainability of this model? (Score 1) 75

Thanks for the links - these are definitely interesting!

Some of these look good (I had forgotten about 'Eloquent JavaScript'), but many don't ("Introduction To Computer Science", at (linked to from contains hardly any material at all).

a professor is going to put together the equivalent of a textbook in handouts and lecture notes anyway, over the years

From what I've seen this is not true. Instead the professor puts together the handouts and lecture notes for their specific course(s) over the years.

The difference between that and a textbook is actually huge - the textbook fills in everything that's needed for someone to pick the book up & understand it without going to the professor's classes. Why would anyone do that when the target audience is people who (by definition) will be going to class? And it's this last 10% of the work that will take 90% of the effort.

All of which brings me back to my original point - will these free / OSS books actually be maintained over the years? Looking at, under "Computer Science", there's several books about OpenOffice and MS Office that appear to have been updated as new versions came out, but I can't quite tell if these are normal, or exceptions.

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