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Comment Re:Not an alternative to Linux, an alternative to (Score 3, Interesting) 277

Microsoft has been working quite hard to make windows a good development platform for linux. Between WSL and the changes to Visual Studio it has gotten pretty easy to do writing, compiling and debugging of linux software from windows.

For me this is really important since linux has never run well on this laptop. I have optimus which means I have a dedicated gpu + integrated gpu and with windows it seamlessly switches between them and everything works. Under linux there are commands to make one or the other run but it is not remotely seamless and it is really buggy. I have also run into problems with ubuntu and fedora where an update will sometimes break x entirely where the default output gets set to the device that is not activated and then having to deal with debugging that.

I also write C++ simulation software and I have found no better IDE that VisualStudio so far. With eclipse under linux once I upgraded to an SSD I sometimes had issues to compile multiple times to compile without errors about files not being found. If I compiled from the command line that never happened. Debugging is MUCH worse in eclipse vs visual studio. The worse thing though is profiling. I have no idea what happened to it on linux since I have done linux development for almost 20 years now and we used to have some of the best profilers out there but no it seems most of them just do a horrible job. Trying to profile a program that uses shared libraries in linux mostly ends up with no, poor or inconsistent results even when the program behavior is highly consistent. I ended up trying the proprietary vtune from intel and that worked great on linux and windows.

In the end it is easier to do development on windows where all the desktop type stuff works and get the software running completely correctly and debugged and then deploy it to linux servers, clusters, supercomputers etc for actual running. At this point I pretty much use windows for desktop work and linux for all the server work and the WSL system has made life much simpler.

Comment Re:Meal breaks (Score 2) 255

Overall I have been screwed over FAR more commonly from a small business than a large one. What I have found is that large businesses don't screw you over on small contracts since it is not worth the time to do it. It gets them more negative press and for no reason at all. I have also found that small businesses tend to be the most abusive and deceptive in what they want to do.

I once had a contract to build an electronic voting system for a professional ethics body and they wanted the ability to tamper with the election, They where PISSED when they found out the system notified everyone voting when they tried to temper with the system. I have just never seen a large business do that.

Comment Re: Super safe Linux (Score 1) 164

Restarting them yourself is likely to be more disruptive than a reboot. When you do a reboot the system is running pre-written scripts however fast it can execute them. If you run commands yourself to do all of this then it will happen at the speed you can type stuff in. The reboot process is likely to be FAR faster and won't miss anything.

Comment Re: Super safe Linux (Score 1) 164

Even something like an openssl update can impact more than you would remember and missing just one long running program can leave you screwed. You could try to keep track of each library and dependency and you better not make a single mistake.

It is just much easier and safer to reboot and check. Sure you can't do that in all situations but for most machines rebooting is quite fast before all services are up and running again. Why take a risk you don't need to take?

Comment Re: Super safe Linux (Score 1) 164

On a server you can get away with it for longer but if you had a libc update then that means restarting pretty much everything anyways. I ran into a system with an openssl update and something had not been restarted that was a long running process and they where exploited through it.

If a library is updated you CAN restart everything that uses that library one by one. However, if you miss even one program that can become a security problem you are not aware of. That is why it is generally better to just have a maintenance window where you patch, reboot and test.

Comment Re: Super safe Linux (Score 1) 164

A reboot on linux IS necessary for most updates to be effective. Linux uses a reference counting system for the files and this allows it to update the files while other programs are using them. However, any program still running is also using the original (insecure) version of the file. If you have a flaw in gtk for instance you would have to restart the GUI to actually fix it.

I have had to deal with servers before that where broken into that had a patch applied but program was still running and so the originally insecure version was still being used.

Linux does not force you to reboot after an update to things like libc, qt, gtk etc but the system essentially does need one. Sure you could shut down to the cli and then restart all the parts so that the newer libc is used for instance but at some point rebooting is just easier.

Comment Re:Would this work without crypto-currency? (Score 1) 236

I absolutely agree with the benefits of crypto-currency. I just think we should seriously look at all the costs and benefits of crypto-currency and see if we can modify them to keep the benefits and cut back on the costs or if we should have them at all or if we should do noting at all.

Comment Would this work without crypto-currency? (Score 1) 236

I have wondered about this for a while. These groups can't use cash due to it being easy to track in the mail and needing to receive the cash, They also can't do credit cards since that could be traced almost immediately and the account seized.

Does ransomware work on the scale it exists today or larger without crypto-currency? Right now I can't think of any way to have it work on a large scale without crypto-currency.

If ransomware really can't work without crypto-currency then this would have to be factored in as part of the cost of crypto-currency and it should be seriously looked at to decide if the costs are worth the benefits of the currency. I know we could not truly get rid of crypto-currency but if western countries did not allow any financial institutions to convert to or from crypto-currency and companies where banned from accepting it or paying that would effectively kill the currency.

Of course if ransomware could work fine without crypto-currency a different course of action is needed. I just see a systemic flaw right now that allows ransomware and attacking users is not going to fix the issue. Like all large scale issues if the flaw is systemic it must be fixed at the system level not at the user level. OS mitigation strategies should be seriously looked at also. Any application that tries to change large numbers of user files should be stopped quite quickly for suspicious activity.

Comment Re:Cue the hipocrisy... (Score 1) 412

The NSA has two jobs.

Spy on enemy communication
Protect USA communication

They seem be be focusing entirely on the first one and doing almost nothing for the second one. Since USA communication is higher value (due to the larger economy) and the monetary damage and enemy can inflict it makes more sense to focus on the shield aspect.

I realize they have a conflict within their core goals and right now it seems they focus almost exclusively on the sword part.

Comment Re:Cue the hipocrisy... (Score 4, Insightful) 412

Actually the NSA has focused more on hacking and putting make sure crypto is weaker than it should be. Some algorithms are even no longer used due to this reason. If the NSA was seriously trying to protect the country they would be working to make sure the USA systems are much better protected and that means better security by default and better crypto.

The NSA could have worked to make Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, iOS and internet of things stuff more secure by default and pushed for real security standards and tools in programmers to help make the software more secure.

The USA is simply a higher value target than other computer systems due to the money in the economy and we will never gain as much from being able to break into other systems as they have to gain breaking into our systems.

The NSA has failed at helping protect the country and destroyed almost any security work they do try and do since they have no credibility anymore. It will take decades to repair the damage if they even try at all.

Comment Re:FB is a de facto monopoly, just like Microsoft (Score 1) 65

Facebook is VASTLY easier to avoid than the Microsoft monopoly ever was. A windows tax was added to nearly every computer, even ones that shipped without any os at all. They used their monopoly to make using almost any other product that competes with their painful. They leveraged the OS to push their browser and it worked until VERY recently.

Facebook is fairly easy to avoid and pretty much no pressure related to it.

Comment Do literary awards matter? (Score 5, Insightful) 252

Do these awards even matter? My understanding is that science-fiction sells pretty well.

Before you buy a book do you check to see if it has won awards? Do you even care?

It certainly seems that amazon doesn't use awards when recommending books that would interest me.

I understand that people want to receive recognition but in the end does it actually matter? It seems to me that just like other award ceremonies they just matter less and less. Kind of like when the Oscars don't represent the actual movies that people really liked they stop mattering to people.

In the end read what you want and let computer algorithms figure out what you are more likely to want to read and ignore the silly awards.

Comment Re:Software patents could be workable. (Score 2) 294

I could agree with this also. If you create yet another ecommerce system you should not be allowed to patent it.

If you create a deep learning algorithm that can classify human emotion accurately based on the video camera and microphone on a standard laptop or smartphone that should be patent-able. If you create an non-linear non-gradient based descent algorithm with general case performance better than something like GA that should also be patent-able.

The kind of stuff I see as patent-able is the stuff that takes engineers and scientists years to figure out and often a LOT of money and if we don't protect those ideas it will be harder to get more of them done. If universities can patent actual useful software algorithms and license it out they can use the money to fund more development.

Comment Re:No SD card slot? (Score 1) 116

That is why I don't get any of their phones.

I work somewhere with VERY poor cell reception and the wifi has a lot of non-research stuff throttled. I have a 64gb SD card in my current phone and I can store all my music, podcasts and some videos on it just fine.

I have a limited amount of data every month and even on the commute the network coverage is not very good. Probably because the train is just a large metal box.

In the end Google's everything in the cloud approach just does not work for me in my phone.

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