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Comment DNS is the problem (Score 4, Interesting) 207

It still boggles my mind that anyone thought zone files are a good idea. The file format is so damn brittle, that a single byte can spell disaster. On top of that, the hierarchical naming structure presents an inherent systemic risk for all sub-domains as exhibited by this .se fiasco. Nevermind the injection attacks, Pakistan taking out Youtube, and the rest, you have organizations like Verisign which profit immensely off of keeping the system broken. And don't even bother mentioning DNSSEC, as it still doesn't resolve this fundamental issue. The next systemic fuckup will simply be a signed fuckup.

Comment Success in general... (Score 4, Insightful) 69

The moral of the story is the same as with any business. You don't need to "win" by beating all of your competitors, you need to "survive". In life, like all infinite games, survival is its own reward. And if you don't understand that, or tend to disagree, please do us all a favor and leave the gene pool. :)

Comment Re:User friendly for whom? (Score 1) 863

Come on, the meters are a great health initiative! All those lazy fucks who complain about walking 1 block total will get some much needed exercise, and maybe shave off a few pounds by kicking a few potato chips off their sweat pants... --- on a less sarcastic note --- For the record they just put these things in my neighborhood, and replaced a bunch of old parking meters with bike racks! For those of us who don't drive this is a god send.

Comment Good idea, but need to go further (Score 1) 874

While I know the /. community hates anything that will make their power hungry habits more expensive, but quite frankly this sort of bill is great news for us. The United States has done a horrible job at implementing sane growth policies. We've out sprawled, out consumed, while neglecting design lessons learned during times when energy was more expensive. During the middle ages, cities were dense because energy was expensive. Development took place along natural trade routes, such as water ways, because it was too expensive energy wise to move things over land. Society developed in conjunction with energy that could largely be sustained, and when it didn't and over farmed, deforested, and depleted their water supply society collapsed.

For the past 100 years or so, we've been living high on the hog from new sources of energy we learned to exploit, with very little view to the long term consequences. Since we have the ability to anticipate problems, it falls to those social institutions best suited to direct the course of our society's development to prevent its eventual collapse. By paying a higher price now, we can defer the collapse of our civilization by several centuries. For those of us with kids, ardent transhumanists, or just a little more altruistic than selfish, this is a desirable goal.

Does this mean that society will have to change? Yes, but society has been changing faster and faster as technology advances. So rather than burning ancient marine life, we'll charge our hyper-sexy full electric cars with waste heat from the sun. Booo hooo. Will suburban shopping malls disappear? One can only hope!

The society of our future looks much more like the society of the 18th century, only with clean water, medicine, computers, plenty of food, and increasingly high levels of affluence globally. Most of us will return to living in small towns and villages, and the mega-cities will grow upwards (like Edinburgh did) not outwards. Most of us will live in walking distance of everything we need, including parks, wildlife, and recreation areas.

Also with having to make everything energy efficient, changes in technology mean huge work for all of us engineers. Huge money making opportunites will arise when the Feds start taxing waste. Construction will boom, durable goods spending will flourish, and any geek with half a brain will figure out how to "green" some old clunky tech and make a buck.

So quit your bitching... our green future is bright and profitable. Maybe with the higher energy costs, our server farms won't require air-conditioning to operate, and could just be shoved in a closet. Higher commuting costs mean telecommuting becomes even more attractive. As someone who has telecommuted for the past 6 years, let me tell you that's a very good thing.

Comment Re:Wind Could NOT Provide 100% of World Energy Nee (Score 1) 867

Ummm... there is no such things as a "calm day" in which the whole earth has still air. The problem is one of transmission and planning, not of not enough wind. We already sell energy over grids spanning multiple states, do you honestly think it isn't windy somewhere in your region all of the time?

Comment What if he was a Mac Pundit asking about OS X? (Score 1) 542

What if he was a Mac OS X pundit, and asked this question of Mac OS X? "Does Apple innovate too much to be competitive in the desktop market?" What people really want is System 7, all this innovation and UNIX underpinning are just developers writing for developers. Why do we need an object oriented runtime library, and a constantly changing AP that supports concurrent processingI? Most Mac users were happy with one mouse button, why do they need their track pads to sense multiple points? Changes like this just confuse the user and make them learn new ways to do old tasks.

Clearly he has a point. It just isn't a very good one. The real problem with the linux desktop has been INSUFFICIENT innovation. And I don't mean replacing X. I mean designing software that makes computing ubiquitous, transparent, and accessible. Why I as a user should ever be concerned about files, drives, network connections, applications, processes, etc. you know all those metaphors programmers have invented for themselves, is beyond me.

What the linux desktop sucks at (and this is true for all WIMPy interfaces) is cross-task operations. When I'm working on a project that involves, text, drawings, tables, and some computations, using a system like Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X is an exercise in frustration. Each "task" as defined by the system's designers requires a different set of tools. By generating a report is only one task from my point of view as a user. As a result, I will end up using 4 or more tools, because no one tool has my work flow in mind.

There are interfaces that solve this problem, however, and they've been around since the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some of us still use them today. Now there is an experimental implementation of one for linux here you can run them in your web browser here and you can package up you can roll your own tools with this here. But all of these are still from the user's point of view in their infancy.

Comment HTML5 is awesome (Score 3, Interesting) 500

HTML5 is incredibly awesome. I've been building some apps that run only in safari and the things you can do in so very little code make Flash and Silverlight look like anemic. What people don't realize is that HTML5 means tools to author HTML5 in HTML5. I've done a simple Object Oriented Javascript programming interface that currently only runs in Safari4 (only one with sufficient HTML5 support), and it is amazing what you can get done in 500 lines of code. Using the framework at I built a graphing app by adding 2 lines of Javascript. A simple movie player is 5 lines of javascript. It takes stupidly little code to make compelling apps using the right tools and HTML5. Furthermore, more and more phones are supporting the WebKit framework. Qualcomm is recruiting a team to port webkit, so we'll soon see it on Brew phones. Iphone runs it. Android phones run it. And even if you run Opera, once again you're getting decent HTML5 support on your phone. This is game changing technology because it runs on the devices that most of the 6 billion people on the planet actually use.

Comment Learn Both (Score 2, Insightful) 301

Seriously, learn both. The languages aren't that far apart in reality. VHDL is simply a little more verbose. Both can be learned to an extent that you can make sense of most of the designs on in a day. (Yes I said a day! At least that is how long it took me.) There's really no good reason to avoid the little bit of work, that will make your life easier in the long run. If you really want to learn to program FPGAs you need to learn to read other people's designs. Many of the things you won't just figure out playing around with FPGAs have been solved by other people who have kindly placed designs under open licenses. However, since you have no idea which design language it will be, it is better to become familiar with both the popular ones. Eventually, you'll inevitably choose one for your own projects, and the only way to adequately assess them is to use both for a while and figure out which one meets your needs and you can tolerate.

Comment These pictures should be in every Drives Ed Class (Score 1) 544

Seiously, we should show these pictures in every drivers ed class. Giving children lethal weapons and letting them loose upon the world has consequences. Building a society where people think it is reasonable for an 18 year old to be driving around at night after partying is also part of the problem. But most importantly, if you do something fatally stupid in public, there are consequences for both you and for the ones you leave behind. Maybe we as a society need to confront the grim reality much more often. I for one have already lost too many family members to auto-accidents, and expect to lose many more before my time's up. We shouldn't hide the consequences of our choices, we should be forced to acknowledge them and live with them. And that goes for everyone.

Comment Ha ha! (Score 1) 585

A Great Big Nelsonian HA HA! to all of you affected by this. I personally think all of you driving your death mobiles (you are 43x more likely to die in a car crash than to be hit by a car as a pedestrian) should be forced to pay even higher fines and a greater share of taxes. We subsidize car travel far too much in this country. Our foreign policy is geared towards making it economical for you to drive, which means brown skinned people elsewhere in the world need to be bombed to get you your oil. And all I have to say, it is about god damn time you start paying tolls. I hope they put tolls on every road, until it costs too much to drive to work. Then maybe you'll stop living beyond the means of the planet to support. I'm sick of seeing our green earth turned into a parking lot, so you can ride around in your mobile penis substitutes. I for one say it is about god damn time. Hoorah for Tolls! PS. I stopped driving 8 years ago, my wife gave up her car 3 years ago. We walk, take the bus, and started our own businesses we can do from home. Life is much better, and we have hours each day to play with our kid. So let's not pretend you can't live without a car.

Comment Re:gratutitous complexification (Score 1) 432

Quite frankly Steve McConnell and Dijkstra were both proponents of a school of programming that was just as wrong in the 1970s as they are today. The only difference is today we have had an entire generation of programmers schooled in their wrong-headedness.

If you look at the work of Alan Kay, and the people at VPRI, they are striving to produce a complete computing system in 20k lines of code. Charles Moore & friends have complete chip design CAD and simulation systems running on real world hardware written in fewer lines (and have produced actual hardware using them). Dijkstra and McConnell are apologists for a status-quo which promotes ignorance rather than valuing understanding.

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