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Comment Re:This does pose the question: (Score 1) 195

I used to run a lot of freebsd at home - until I tried linux for samba and never went back to bsd again. bsd samba simply sucks. its dog slow and it hammers on disks, unlike linux which is very cache-oriented (from just looking at the drive lights).

that was my main complaint. maybe linux has better integration with smb and the network stack but bsd is just not nearly as fast.

stability wise, this isn't 10 yrs ago and linux stays up as long as you need it (years, even).

bsd has better mgmt, though; one distro and one style of doing things. THAT is much nicer than the linux fragmentation.

Comment I find this all very funny (Score 1) 637

Because back in the day we were disparaged as engineers and not real computer scientists if we worried about memory and addressing things at the processor level. Real computer scientists apparently used things like Modula-2 and then Java instead of that messy C and FORTRAN that only lowly engineers like myself should touch.

Comment Re:They still do a reader for the professional mar (Score 1) 172

As far as I know only LG makes the plastic display and only the Russian vendor Wexler has a consumer device built around it - the "FlexOne", which looks nice but it's nowhere near as large as the 9.7 inch Boox.
So IMHO the answer is to keep treating the larger displays like glass. While I would like the big Sony display I can just turn my Boox sideways and look at half of a page at a time.

Comment Many of them do have such devices (Score 1) 85

Because, of course, every last man, woman, and child in Ecuador has a PC or other digital currency device, right?

You may not have noticed, but since about 2000 a lot of people have been getting hand held telephones with plenty of processing power. If it can decode voice from a digital signal it's got the CPU power to be an electronic wallet. It's not iPhone territory. It's cheap Chinese Nokia knockoff from ten years ago territory - and such things seem to be everywhere on the planet. So probably a large chunk of the adult population of Ecuador has access to a potential "digital currency device" already.
We are already seeing banks push slowly towards using phones like credit cards. I heard of people buying fuel from the pump using their phones with an electronic payment system in Italy in 2001 FFS - and now it's 2014! It's about time a country started thinking about doing something like this.

Comment Re:Yet another fiat currency (Score 2) 85

However, if it's backed by gold, US dollars, or some other reasonably-stable commodity

Such as enough land to make up an entire country!
It's funny how people don't consider such a resource before yelling FIAT! Bitcoin is a fiat currency because some shadowy recluse said so, and others in the scheme agreed. If a promise is backed by someone with resources and a promise that it will commit those resources then it's backed by more than just "their will", so by definition it's not a fiat currency.

Bitcoin has poisoned the well a bit on this site so I suggest people think instead of the fictional example of a digital currency in "cryptonomicon" which was backed by gold. The digital bit is about creating a mechanism so you can be sure it's really money issued by the whoever is supposed to be issuing it.
Now that so many people have mobile phones it makes perfect sense to print less banknotes and use phones as digital wallets.

Comment I think you are looking at this the wrong way (Score 3, Insightful) 85

It looks to me as if it's just about printing less banknotes and using phones etc as electronic wallets. It's nothing like bitcoin. It's more like what some banks are starting to do with payment apps on phones, only instead of having backend mechanisms in the bank to make sure the dollars are there it's about having identifiers on the currency so it can be checked for legitimacy.

Comment I'll add (Score 1) 85

When a nation's currency basically falls apart, they are forced to turn to another country's currency to get their economy to function.

A lot of people expected Zimbabwe to implode when their currency became worthless but the switched to the US dollar with little fuss. Funny how we were making such a big deal about how evil Zimbabwe was while Syria was ignored.

Comment Right. This is the "deadly valley" (Score 4, Insightful) 406

No, it's clear why we should be worried about almost-but-not-really autonomous vehicles, in the real deal this would be fine.

That's right. Automatic lane keeping plus radar-based cruise control is right in the middle of the "deadly valley" - good enough to allow hands-off driving 98% of the time, not good enough to handle trouble. This is why that Cruise startup building a budget self-driving system worries me. Thos guys are from "social" apps. They're thinking they can ship something that sort of works, and that's good enough. It isn't.

Auto manufacturers are held to a much higher standard than the computer industry is used to. GM is being sued because their ignition switches could turn off if people hung too much crap on their keychain. (Something unlikely to be caught in testing, because, at the test track, each key hangs on a separate key tag.) "Speeding, cellphone texting, intoxication... irrelevant. We are not looking at the driver, or the circumstances of the driver's negligence. We are looking at the automobile, and only the automobile." - terms of the GM settlement.

The minimum safe level of performance for a self-driving car is that the vehicle must be able to bring itself to a safe stop, preferably at the side of the road, in any emerging bad situation. Even after any single-point failure.

Few computer based consumer products meet that standard, but a some do. The Segway is a good example. There's enough redundancy in a Segway to keep single failures from face-planting the user. Five rate gyros instead of three, two batteries, two processors, and a safety shutdown mode that brings the vehicle to a stop and sounds alarms to tell you to get off before it fails.

Comment Re:Look at it this way instead (Score 1) 502

Baseline power is always cheaper.

Not to the consumer in some places. I'm very much aware that it's cheaper to generate (I was in the power industry for a few years before moving to the resources sector), but by the time the consumer gets the greatly inflated bill it can make more financial sense to put solar panels on their roof. If cheap and effective batteries are available it can then make more financial sense to go offgrid entirely.
It used to be that such a choice only made sense in areas where it would cost a lot to get connected to the grid due to distance etc. Many utilities have been exploiting their monopoly status so much that they are have priced electricity high enough that consumers are willing to wear the large capital cost of panels, since it's cheaper than the alternative after only a few years.

Comment Re:How should this poll converge? (Score 1) 267

Slashdot is male dominated, so it should have more colorblindness than a random population sample. If we know the sex ratio on /., maybe we could predict how the poll converges.

The problem with this is that many people with red-green colorblindness (especially with the milder forms) are unaware of it. There's a reason why colorblindness as a disorder wasn't recognized until 1798...

Comment Re:Why do people even use this garbage? (Score 1) 353

You know how they work their way up with drugs? By offering reduced charges/reduced sentences for providing evidence. For example, a drug user will be offered probation/dropped charges for ratting out his dealer, who in turn will have a "possession with intent to distribute" reduced to mere possession for saying who his supplier is, and so on up the line until they find someone big enough to go all-out against.

The police can't do that with CP. There are no lesser versions of possession, and dropping charges will get a prosecutor crucified by his opponent in the next election.

Comment Re:Request to remove or alter content (Score 2) 81

Requests to fix errors come in all the time -- and are forwarded to the community, who decide if the request is reasonable or not. In such cases, the Foundation merely acts as a conduit for the request, rather than granting or denying it.

The denied requests come about when someone demands (and it's almost always a demand) that the Foundation use their powers as operator of the website to make a change to an article.

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