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Comment Re:Were the users randomized? (Score 1) 480

Or do you seriously think an Apple Intel CPU is more reliable than a Dell Intel CPU?

Never heard of Xeon? At least half of a high-end chip's reliability comes from the post-manufacture test procedure and binning standard.

At Apple's scale, they can negotiate any production standard with Intel that they wish to have. This isn't even uncommon, as companies like Google and Facebook are already negotiating custom Xeons for the datacenter, which certainly involves tweaking some internal chip firmware (e.g. changing cache allocation policies or thermal envelopes), all the way up to possibly adding specialized instructions and/or execution units.

Finally, far more problems arise from the mainboard and assembly quality than the underlying chip quality, but at the end of the day it all adds up.

Welcome to Supply Chain 501. It's not your father's Supply Chain 101.

That said, Apple (the company) is a cult-like Black Box of the highest order. When it serves their agenda, they make good products. When their agenda shifts with the winds of fashion—so long, sweet Mini—caveat emptor.

The New Mac mini is Quickly Turning into a Disaster
Mac Mini 2014 Review: A Terrible Shame

Once upon a time, a very nice product, too bad about the "greatness" removal tool presiding from the glass office.

Comment Skyrim is a 2011 game though (Score 1) 259

I mean nothing wrong with having it on the platform, but it isn't exactly the pinnacle of modern tech. It was released in 2011, and the console versions were designed to target systems with 512MB of RAM (unified for the 360, 256/256 system/GPU for the PS3) at 1280x720@30fps. That was fairly low spec then, since the consoles were old (remember Oblivion released in 2006 as one of the first flight titles on the Xbox 360) and is really low spec now. It wouldn't at all surprise me if my Shield Tablet could handle it easily. It has more RAM, and its GPU seems to be at least as powerful as the 360/PS3 era stuff.

So while there's nothing wrong with Nintendo getting games like this, it isn't really some major win, or proof of a high spec system. We saw the same kind of thing happen with the Wii U where it got games that previously the Wii hadn't because of a lack of power.

The issue in the long run is that being too low spec can exclude games from being released on your platform. While people like to claim "graphics don't matter" they do and they sell games. That aside, there are a lot of things you could want to put in a game that will require more memory, more CPU, more GPU and so on. Developers aren't always going to be interested in either compromising on what they want to make, or producing a cut-down version to target the lower spec hardware.

Comment Re:ASLR was a dumb idea while it lasted (Score 4, Interesting) 71

Yes it is but people have been trying to do that for 40 years and have not gotten it right yet so...

Wrong. Plenty of code correctness has been deployed in service of this goal.

Unfortunately, there are endemic economic and political reasons why we constantly choose the protocols and implementations that are bigger, hairier, and less continent.

All you need is a culture of kicking non-conforming implementations to the curb, and then the rigorous implementations have a chance to emerge from the weeds. Do we have such a culture? No—most of the time—no, we do not. Such a culture would cramp Megacorp style, and interfere with timeless value-adds, such as embrace and extend, closed ecosystem, DRM jungle, NIST-sanctioned algorithmic weevils, definition by implementation, documentation by implementation, etc. etc.

Far, far away in dull and dusty places like the Erlang OTP or Bernstein's qmail or Knuth's TeX—or perhaps even the Google protocol buffers for at least one lucky and unusually blessed language binding from the somewhat recent past—you just might find a rigorously coded parser or two.

For the most part, however, I agree. We'll probably never have rigorous parsers in a dominant culture of "screw everyone else", Wild West dysenteroperability.

Comment Re:space agency cooperation? (Score 3) 244

Of course NASA passed on decades of hard-won experience. They're not psychopaths.

It went something like this:

Dear ESA:

Hire only the best and the brightest, keep the group challenged and engaged for decade upon decade, with frequent launch opportunities pushing the boundary of the possible at each and every iteration.

N.B.: Sorry, there's no silver bullet.

Comment one track mind (Score 2) 99

My favourite touch is the two giant call-outs in the linked article.

Few of the sites I read regularly have these any more (meaning since I got good at "inspect element" and custom User CSS overrides; appears I've accumulated 150 of these over the past three years, also used to defeat anything that hovers or slides annoyingly).

Comment Re:DNA testing is inherently racist (Score 1) 227

Basketball is inherently racist, as genetic traits are heritable and are correlated with your ethnic/genetic background.


What's racist about race is presupposing outcomes that were highly predictable on first impression, because it's lamentably a very short step for an advantaged social group—often one of relatively homogeneous racial composition, suffused with elaborate rituals of social etiquette—to conclude that a disadvantaged racial subgroup never given an opportunity to do x can't do x.

Race isn't just some magic third rail used to divide humans into two distinct groups, in much the same way that humans divide house pets into two distinct groups: potty trained and not potty trained. There are days, though, where that can be a good working assumption.

Comment acid reflux hellban honeypot (Score 1) 49

Somehow this story showed up in my Slashdot feed, when it's really just supposed to trigger a mass outpouring of the reflex derision arc among those so inclined (said barf cookies falsely paraded by its practitioners as chuckle fodder).

"There, don't you feel better now? Now come sit with us at the adult table." Amazing what a quickie bile purge can accomplish in raising the level of discussion elsewhere.

This is all good. Yet somehow my dank, reeking bile seems to have been misclassified as grasshopper lipstick and I seem to be trapped in completely the wrong purgative honeypot. Where do I unclick "chuckle fodder"? Where do I unclick "news-item-of-the-week free-association paralympics"? Which direction do I kneel to moon Marvin, patron saint of universal laugh-at-anything good will?

No, I'm not new here. It must be shocking to some that I haven't figured out my account configuration yet. You'd think I'd know by now that no unexplored configuration sub-menu goes ultimately unpunished.

Well, now I know. True hell is becoming stuck in the wrong hellban honeypot.

Comment Ahh yes, the most accurate source of infomration (Score 1) 312

The AC who posts doomsday scenarios with absolutely no sources :P.

Seriously man, if you think this crap you are peddling is real, then some sources please. If not then fuck off.

I'd imagine the reason you don't is because, of course, the real story is far less dramatic than you make it out to be. NatWest is closing RT's account why is not known, as they haven't said. There is no "at the behest of the US" reported anywhere. They also aren't doing anything dodgy like seizing funds, they've notified RT "We don't want to do business with you anymore," and they will close the account down next month.

Here's a source, since you can't be bothered:

Comment It does feel that way (Score 1) 312

Particularly with the "state actor" thing. I mean there is no reason to use that language I can think of other than to insinuate it was the US (or maybe UK) that did it. Yes, it is correct, that Ecuador is a "state actor" but if you knew it was them, well the just say so up front. If my ISP cut off my Internet access I would say "Cox cut off my Internet," not "A corporate actor cut off my Internet," even though both are true.

Now if they didn't know who cut it off, fair enough, but then saying a state actor did it would be again misleading, implying knowledge they didn't have. Then it would have been accurate to say "Assanage's Internet was cut off by an unknown party."

To me it seems like just another way to try and drum up more attention, which is all these leaks have been so far.

As I said in my other post, the leaks have been exceedingly "meh" for anyone who's looked at Clinton with anything even approaching a critical eye in the past. I can't see them changing anyone's mind. Die hard Clinton supporters will ignore them, claim they are made up, or claim they don't matter. Die hard Trump supporters will scream and shout about how evil Clinton is... just like they have been since day one, they have convinced themselves she's done much worse. All the rest like the Bernie supporters will just say "Ya, we knew all that shit, that's why we wanted Sanders. What a crap election. Oh well, better her than Trump."

Plus if they had anything major they'd really better reveal it now-ish. Early voting is already happening in many states.

Comment You can buy them for like $20 (Score 2) 204

And they'll dump the data out as keyboard output, if you like. We used to use them at the university I work at to do pay for printing. You'd swipe your student ID which would feed the info to the print program that could then contact the card office database and look up your account. Same idea as a credit card terminal, but just for printing (Pharos, if you are wondering).

We also used them just to let students register for events. When they'd come to an open house they'd sign in, which in the past meant writing their name and e-mail on a sheet, which got entered manually later. Now instead they could just swipe their student ID and the data dumped in to a text file. That could later be fed in to the student information database to get an e-mail address (the whole point of signing in was because you wanted your e-mail on the list for contact with job recruiters). Made it much easier for the students.

The actual data on the card was nothing more than your name and the card number (both printed on the front) and a checksum to validate. Credit cards tend to be the same, just name and number matching what is embossed on the card, plus checksum. There's no security or special hidden information, mag stripes were developed WAAAAY back in the day and it just stores identifying information. Hence the push to move to chip cards.

If the purpose was just to verify that the information on the mag stripe matched the information on the card, one would need little more than the reader hardware and text editor of your choice.

Comment Doesn't really matter how she comes off (Score 4, Insightful) 312

The real thing is so far, I haven't seen anything I didn't already know. I mean maybe some of the "bombshell" revelations are news to some people, but not to anybody who has followed Clinton for any amount of time. She's cozy with Wall St.? Oh so fucking shit, tell us something we didn't already know :P.

Perhaps I've just missed it (I haven't gone and read everything, I've been relying on synopses provided by others) but I've seen nothing that would change my opinion, nor would I think anyone else's. Everything "revealed" was already known: She's cozy with big business, favours free trade, had the Democratic establishment behind her, etc. All the reasons why I would much prefer that Sanders was the Democratic candidate.

However, none of it makes me think any better of Trump. Like Senator Sanders himself, I can be pragmatic about what happened.

Comment algorithmic morality long-term side effects (Score 1) 365

The side effect of your Mercedes choosing to impact the young mother with her baby stroller instead of the nearby telephone pole (ouch! that could hurt!) is that the customer's testicles fall off, and his dick never rises for the rest of his miserable, injury-free life (female customers sensibly snipped the wires on this pathetic contraction long ago).

The Mercedes survivor can always tell his disappointed women, "not MY fault, the Mercedes made me do it". Mercedes! Modestly dressed women cross themselves. Everyone spits.

All this spit makes the sidewalks dangerous to navigate for the common folk, but we can all rest safe knowing that the privileged remain comfy and cozy inside their steel cocoons.

Comment Precisely (Score 3, Insightful) 394

The issue is NOT language, that's something that Trump's PR people have been trying to spin it as, and you are eating that spin if you believe it. The issue is what he's saying: That he commits sexual assault because he's a star, because he can. THAT'S the deal. The terminology he used isn't the issue, it is what he's claiming he's done.

Trevor Noah put it pretty well:

Anyone who thinks this is just "normal guy talk" needs to reevaluate who the fuck they hang out with. None of my friends have ever said anything like this. We've said vulgar things to each other, we've talked about sex, but none of us have ever said we have forced ourselves on a woman without consent. If your friends talk about doing shit like this, no matter if the language they use to describe it is crass or refined, you need better friends.

Comment So far there has been nothing interesting (Score 1) 394

At least nothing interesting to people who have looked at Clinton's past at all. She's cozy with Wall St. Well no fucking shit. Nobody except for everyone knew that one :P

I've been very underwhelmed with the leaks given the "bombshell" claims about them. It's all shit that was already known about her, or shit that is totally unsurprising about any politician. I can't see it changing anyone's mind.

Now maybe I've missed something juicy or there's something major yet to come, but if there's a big thing they think will change shit, they'd better release it soon since the election is very near. A non-trivial number of people have already voted by mail, or will in the next few days.

It seems like Wikileaks didn't really find anything great in the e-mails, and so instead is playing a PR game with them, since they don't, in fact, have a bombshell that'll have any effect on the election.

Comment Also (Score 4, Informative) 169

Richer areas often newer areas. Not always, of course, there's plenty of "old money" areas but you also see plenty of cases of new development particularly for middle and upper middle class. They want nice new homes, those homes are built in new developments.

Now why's that matter? Well when you are building a new development, you usually use the most current technology which often means FTTH, or at the very least higher quality category cable and fiber out to the box. That lets them offer higher speed. The big cost is running the lines, not the material used so you do it with better materials. You have to spend the money to lay the lines, or you can't offer service.

However in old development, well that has old shit. It can be replaced, of course, but that is a lot of money. It can cost more than a new run because tearing shit up in a developed area can be pretty costly. So they are reluctant to do it.

This of course goes double if you are talking areas that are poorer. The improved infrastructure would allow them to offer faster speeds, but the reason they want to do that is because they can get more money. People who live in poorer areas are not as likely to want to spend more money and will just elect to keep slower speeds. A good number of them might not even be on the fastest speed available to them already because they wish for something cheap.

Thus it makes sense why it happens like that. The reason cable companies offer faster speeds is it is generally much easier for them particularly with DOCSIS 3. All they really have to do is put more channels on their CMTS. It isn't free, but doesn't cost a ton and doesn't require redoing lots of buried cable. The coax out there is already good to a gigahertz, maybe more.

You even see it in middle class neighborhoods. I live in a decent condo complex, and right next to me is some pretty upscale housing. However, both here and in the houses, 6ish mbit DSL is all you can get. Reason is it is old construction, 1970s. So the telephones are all copper, straight to the CO, and not very high grade cable. The cable company will sell you 300mbit though, no problem. That said the same cable company offers fiber in new developments, many of which cost less than the houses near me.

It is just what we are going to see with for profit companies. If we want an "equal speeds for all, don't worry about the costs" setup then it is going to have to be publicly funded and run.

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