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Comment Can we eliminate the most common passwords? (Score 1) 538

There have been a few stories in the last year or two with analyses of stolen password databases. The overwhelming majority of the passwords were based around a few simple schemes like abc123, ABC123, 123456, etc. Wouldn't it be possible to simply not let users choose those passwords? If you know what the 10,000 most common passwords are, you can hook the list into your account creation routine and reject them. Seems like an big improvement for very little effort on the user or server end.

Comment Re:Please don't (Score 1) 67

You're one of the few enemies we can still put into our video games without any real backlash.

Modern warfare games tend to use Russians and Middle Easterners as villains. I can't think of a game in the last five years that had China as the main villain. Sometimes North Korea is used as a euphemism. I had assumed this was because game publishers wanted to sell to China's growing middle class, but if game consoles are banned that clearly doesn't work.

Comment Re:time to transcode again (Score 2, Insightful) 182

There are already lossless video codecs out there. Lagarith is a recent and popular one. The problem is that they only cut maybe 2/3 off your raw file size. Ten seconds of raw 1080p video is over a gigabyte. There's just too much information there -- you have to throw some away to get reasonable compression ratios. Waiting for lossless video to be as small as H.264 is like waiting for a 200MB download for a DVD-sized Linux ISO. Sadly, it's just not going to happen.

Comment We need to rethink what work means (Score 1) 586

The best concrete example I've heard of why this situation is troublesome concerns an isolated, self-sufficient farm. Imagine the farmers build a machine to automate some of their work -- milking cows, collecting eggs, harvesting, cleaning, whatever. This is unambiguously a good thing. It means there's less work that needs to be done, so everyone gets more free time to use however they want. Survival just got easier. In the same vein, reducing the total amount of work needed to keep humanity fed, clothed, housed, and entertained ought to be a good thing. But it won't be until we can develop an economic system where less work and more leisure time doesn't come at such a high material and social cost.

I doubt we'll reach that point any time soon, though. There's still plenty of work to go around, and there are lots of other factors involved in the American middle class's problems.

Comment The article links to a better explanation (Score 4, Informative) 204

There's a link in the article to Leprechauns and Laser Beams, which IMHO does a much better job of explaining things. As I understand it, negative temperatures don't just come from the entropy-based definition of temperature. You also need to be talking about a system whose energy content is capped. Normal materials don't do this -- you can keep adding energy (speeding up atoms) as long as you want. But if you have a group of atoms with exactly two energy states (high and low), once every atom is in the high-energy state you can't add more energy. Apparently, one example of this is a laser.

From an entropy point of view, the lowest energy and highest energy states have identical entropy (i.e. none -- one possible state). Entropy reaches a peak with half of the atoms in the high energy state, since this gives the largest number of possible atom state combinations.

Temperature is defined as the slope of the energy/entropy curve. The curve goes vertical at max entropy. If I understand right, at this point the temperature overflows like an integer variable, going from +inf to -inf and approaching zero from the negative end. (It's not really a continuous curve, but I don't know enough to guess at what difference that makes.)

So it sounds like the recent news about a negative-temperature gas was more about creating a new material with these sorts of quantum states. The negative temperature part caught the attention of the reporters (and the rest of us), but isn't the real scientific discovery. That's my reading of it, anyway.

Comment Re:Lost a Friend Yesterday (Score 5, Insightful) 385

Mostly I was talking about the ACs, but let's talk about you. What BoRegardless said was:

Now [my drug-addicted friend] is gone. Would he have been better served to still be here w/o some "reward center". I don't know. I will never know.

This is not a statement of support. It is a statement of confused grief.

After misinterpreting this as fervent support, you proceeded to speculate wildly about BoRegardless's motivations and his late friend's addiction, levy criticism based on that speculation, and recommend that he read a story about being trapped in a hellish existence where death is the only escape.

In response to a person who just said that his friend had died. Yesterday.

The article is talking about a surgery that is performed only in China, only for research purposes, and only with worldwide condemnation. The only debate outside of China is whether the results of that research should be published in respectable journals.

Your comment did not address that debate. It will have zero effect on what happens in China. The only thing it does is attack and belittle someone who just lost a friend. In your zeal to put on a show of righteousness on the internet, you are stepping all over the real human being who is (metaphorically) right in front of you.

To say that this lacks compassion would be an understatement.

Comment Re:Stop. Just stop. (Score 1) 145

90nm? In 2010? That should be enough to tell you that Freescale doesn't care. A chip announced in 2010 (no idea when, or even if, it actually shipped), using a process that was state of the art in 2002.

ColdFire is a line of microcontrollers. Microcontrollers are not built on state of the art CMOS processes, partly to keep the cost down, partly to keep the power consumption down, and partly because they need high-quality embedded NOR flash, making them not pure CMOS anymore. This means you're making a whole separate, specialized process for your MCUs. In that context, 90nm is pretty good. I think the absolute top of the line for flash MCUs right now is 55nm, which might not even be in production yet. There are plenty of MCUs still in production at 180nm.

TL;DR: Embedded processing and desktop CPUs are Not The Same Thing.

Comment Re:It's not just the power (Score 1) 328

Disagree about peak efficiency. In my experience testing PSUs, it is normally found around 90% load. Newer PSUs have gotten a lot better and enhancing efficiency at lower load levels, but PSUs still work most efficiently when running near the load they are designed for.

Thank you for the correction. I was talking based on the 80+ certification requirements and hazy memory of an article I saw once. Glad you know the efficiency picture is better than I thought.

Comment It's not just the power (Score 2) 328

Noise is also a factor. High-efficiency supplies have fans that run more slowly under load, or not at all. If you're building a quiet system, this is a big deal.

Note that the peak efficiency is usually at ~50% load, so be sure to size your power supply appropriately for best results. Newegg has a calculator to help with this.

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