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Comment Re:Sorry, I can't possibly get upset about this (Score 1) 406

Because cell phones generally already have support circuitry built into the CPU which prevents you from changing the OS. The public key is loaded into the PROM at manufacturing time and absent the private key, you're not going to put a new OS on the phone. The Droid X 'killswitch' most likely works that way so when someone replaces a critical signed file, the bootloader just screeches to a halt. This sounds like someone added a recovery partition with the original signed files so it just grabs the files from there and tries to boot again. If the recovery partition's files aren't correctly signed, the phone's a brick. I'd give maybe a week or two before someone gets the brilliant idea to overwrite the recovery partition with unsigned files and we get a story about how the G2 has its own 'killswitch'.

Comment Re:Wasn't Windows 95 and 98 built from the ground (Score 2, Insightful) 106

That's the problem with any software that's not running on bare iron. A C program running on Linux is still limited in the exact same way that managed code is. It's just that the OS imposes those limitations with SIGSEGV rather than simply not deallocating referenced memory. If it really did let you do whatever you want that the hardware allows, that'd be a tremendous security hole.

Comment Re:Design patterns (Score 1) 396

I wouldn't put it in terms of a specific poster given that I haven't seen their code to judge it in the first place and one of the points of GoF is that the patterns are really just techniques that get reinvented over and over and over by people to solve common broad classes of problems. For a lot of programmers, learning big-O notation was really just formalizing an intuition we've had about the speed of nested loops. Education gave us a firmer grasp of what it really means as well as a vocabulary to express it to others.

However I've noticed that there's a contingent of self-taught programmers who learn some Turing complete subset of a procedural language plus some amusing anecdotes about systems programming from over 30 years ago and have therefore attained the status of Programming God. They're the only ones able to see through the perfumed lies of all those college educated frauds with their "event handlers" and "callbacks" and who understand the timeless elegance of a 50,000 line while(1) loop. In short they're so incompetent it hurts and they can't even tell it due to their inability to comprehend just how bad they are.

Comment Re:Do no evil, eh? (Score 1) 271

You can't anycast TCP, so this is a big boon for companies with lots of servers all over the world. The downsides involve bizarre cases with repressive governments that rule over their DNS servers with an iron fist but leave everything else alone because that would be wrong. China already blocks websites and monitors everyone in their country, so adding this really just offers them a less effective way to go about it. Companies wanting to use this to undermine their users' privacy can just look at the actual connections as well. Making sky-is-falling predictions about this just convinces people that these sorts of concerns are always misplaced when the truth of the matter is that this is innocuous even if there are other proposals out there that do have great potential for abuse.

Comment Re:128 Bit Architecture = cloud computing (Score 1) 581

Ideally an OS should be able to mediate access to resources and provide sufficient isolation on its lonesome rather than needing to add more layers in the form of virtual machines to do its job. In the same vein, an OS should be able to provide a uniform interface for accessing the resources available even if they're physically not on the same box. Distributed single level storage would be the logical conclusion, and in a couple of decades a large server farm might start getting uncomfortably close to the 64-bit limit if everything on it shared a single physical address space.

Comment Re:Nobody needs more than 640K of RAM (Score 3, Informative) 756

That's what PAE is. To the process, the address space is just one huge flat expanse from 00000000 to 7FFFFFFF. (or BFFFFFFF if the OS is configured that way and the software understands it) To the OS, the processes are allocated RAM in 4 kB pages which are mapped to their corresponding hardware frames in RAM via the page table. When the process accesses an address, the low 12 bits determine where within the page it should read, while the high 20 bits determine the entry in the page table. That entry has the hardware address which it then accesses. PAE allows the hardware address to be larger than 20 bits so that the OS can address more than 32 bits of physical memory transparently to the individual processes.

The Internet

The Perils of Pop Philosophy 484

ThousandStars tips a new piece by Julian Sanchez, the guy who, in case you missed it, brought us a succinct definition of the one-way hash argument (of the type often employed in the US culture wars). This one is about the dangers of a certain kind of oversimplifying, as practiced routinely by journalists and bloggers. "This brings us around to some of my longstanding ambivalence about blogging and journalism more generally. On the one hand, while it's probably not enormously important whether most people have a handle on the mind-body problem, a democracy can't make ethics and political philosophy the exclusive province of cloistered academics. On the other hand, I look at the online public sphere and too often tend to find myself thinking: 'Discourse at this level can't possibly accomplish anything beyond giving people some simulation of justification for what they wanted to believe in the first place.' This is, needless to say, not a problem limited to philosophy."

Comment Re:Don't jump the gun yet... (Score 1) 272

It doesn't get proven. That's the whole point of that objection. It allows the person making it to sound intellectual while tossing up a smokescreen where there's always some unspecified alternative explanation but there's never a specific one that the researchers can disprove or any point where the person chanting "correlation != causation" will ever concede anything. It's religious fundamentalism wrapped up in a pseudoscientific veneer where gosh they'd really like to believe this but their strong dedication to the skepticism prevents them from doing so.

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