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Comment Bargain (Score 1) 184

The thing is, the hostage is the only bargaining chip that the criminal has.
They won't automatically shoot the hostage at the slightest police apparition, that would be them losing they only hope for a way out.
They would rather *threat* to shoot, and try to see what they can leverage to try to save their asses.
But once the hostage is dead, they'd lose all mean for negociations.

So the most likely way the situation unfolds would be :
*bang* *bang* *bang* "This is the police. Open the door, we have a warrant"
*keeps door closed*
"Stay out of here! I have a hostage! If you entire I'll kill them! And find me a helicopter and enough fuel to Cuba, or I start to chop fingers!"
*police calls in reinforcement, negociators, etc. and tries to find a way out that minimizes losses*

As opposed to the SWAT approaches:
*over armed and under trained police* [Storms in]
[all starting shooting everywhere]
[high risk that the hostages get harmed during the mess]

Comment Northbridge (and thus memory controller) is in CPU (Score 1) 255

ECC Memory isn't the only added cost, you also need a motherboard and processor that supports it.

For your information, ever since AMD's Athlon 64, most x86 compatible hardware has had its Northbridge *inside the processor package*.

That means that the memory controller is inside the package of your CPU.
The mother board is basically only traces that connect your CPU and the memory slots directly.
A glorified cable/connector.
(In practice, there is a bit more, regarding powering the RAM slots, etc. but you got the general idea : not much smarts in the motherboard between RAM and CPU.
Smarts is in the "Southbridge" : between the CPU and peripherals)

On the AMD side of things, nearly every CPU has ECC capability in its build-in memory controller.
For a motherboard to support ECC, it basically means just having a few instruction to activate it in the EFI/BIOS.

On the Intel side of things, it's marketed as an enterprise feature, so it's only available on the more expensive business/workstation hardware.

Comment Linux: Depends (Score 1) 203

The kernel is Linux, most of the rest of a "Linux system" is GNU.

Not necessarily.
On one of the few desktop systems running Linux mentionned in the summary : yes, the rest will be GNU.
On most of the clusters, webservers, etc. : Yes, again, the rest will be GNU


On smartphone, with a few corner case exception (Sailfish OS, Tizen and other Maemo/Meego/Mer based OSes ; Ubuntu Touch ; in the past also HP/Palm WebOS ; etc.) everything will run a Linux kernel, but coupled with the Android user space (uses Google's own Bionic as a C library, and then runs their own "I can't believe it's not Java(tm)" userspace in place of the usual user-space daemon and tools that you'll find on a regular GNU-Linux platform).
This even required Jolla, the maker of Sailfish OS, to develop "libhybris", so that critical drivers and firmware for smartphone normally designed for the Android userspace could actually be used on a classical GNU-Linux OS stack.

On embed platforms (e.g.: the dozen of wifi routers with which your smartphone has interacted since you woke up this morning), you'll also find a Linux kernel, but it's going to use an alternative user-space, usually something with a much smaller ressource footprint.
(busybox, instead of GNU tools ; dropbear instead of SSH, etc.)
though those userspace tools are designed to be as close to and as compatible with the usual "GNU" as possible within the resource limitations of the embed platform.

So yes, there's a difference between the Linux kernel and a whole Linux machine :
- GNU Linux
- Android/Linux
- Busybox/Linux
3 different popular combo of userspace and linux kernel.

(And also since recently, Microsoft has gifted us with a sort of GNU/WindowsNT with their "WSL")

Comment Carsharing in Europe: still no shit. (Score 1) 78

Meanwhile, there are tons of car-sharing programs in Europe
(book a car online, find the car, open with your RFID card or app, ride it, return it...
think "car rental" except by the hours instead of the day, and entirely between you, the car and an online webapp, without ever needing to speak to an actual human)

Not a single human interaction needed along the line.
Yet, there are still no endemic problems of people taking dumps into the cars.

I have used such system in Switzerland (Mobility, Catch-a-Car, ElectricEasy, ...), Germany (DB-Carsharing).
I've had friends use such systems in France (Autolib').
Again, these are systems that already exist in the wild *right now* (and have existed for the past decade) where one can enter a car, without ever needing to interract with a human.
None of us has ever found one of those "shit-filled" cars that haunts the nightmares of /. readers whenever such a thing (a car that can be accessed without another human watching) gets mentioned.

The only subtle difference is that these cars are non-autonomous, which require :
- the driver / "renter" to have a valid driving license.
- said driver to not be completely drunk to avoid losing the above mentioned license and/or causing accidents.

So maybe *autonomous* shared cars would see a slight increase of user who got extra charged for cleaning the car, because they puked into it.
And users who need to pay for a *26-hours* long rental and/or overtime, because they passed out drunk and overslept in the car.

Comment Re:Good ol' days (Score 0) 120

The reason is both the reason for its success and the reason for its failure. The Pascal language makes a lot of compromises in areas of readability and organization to allow for small compilers. In the case of PCs, it was much easier to write a Pascal compiler that ran well off a 128k floppy than a C compiler. That stopped mattering pretty quickly.

Comment Re:Pascal-based? (Score 1, Redundant) 120

Well first off the super computers aren't about the Pascal language but the Pascal chip. I'd disagree that Pascal was all that proven out. It seemed very quickly to have had structural flaws which caused other languages to overtake it. Pascal was fairly low level yet it lacked good low level interfaces. Which is why it lost out to C. Pascal supports admit this and one of the main directions of Turbo Pascal / Delphi was to introduce into Pascal handling for lower level code (example partial compilation).

If you think of Pascal as a higher level language where bad handling of low level code is acceptable it also wasn't competitive. Pascal is strongly typed but has a poor type system without abstractions. Making types difficult to work with under almost all conditions. It had poor handling of static vs. dynamic data including things like abstracting networks or file systems. There are lots of sacrifices in organization for ease in writing small compilers. A very good choice for early 1980s PC compilers that had to run off a floppy not a good choice since. The languages strictness on looping structures tended to result in duplicate code.

Etc... Pascal was a partial success. But it died for good reasons.

Comment TOR: not only for illegal stuff. (Score 1) 60

It's like holding up a sign that says "Totally nothing illegal here investigate the hell out of me!"

The Pirate Bay it self doesn't hold any copyrighted item. It just lists torrent hashes, and comments and metadata about the content associated with those hashes
(again, the content isn't hosted there. Only the comments and the hashes).
In several jurisdiction, that's not even considered illegal.

You're not using Tor to access illegal material (say non consensual porn, like child porn ; or to access a platform to buy banned goods like weapons and drugs)
You're using tor to get around a blockade.

That's completely fine and that's what Tor was designed for (getting around blockade, as much anonymously as possible. E.g.: to circumvent censorship like China's great firewall).

The more people use tor for anything, the better the chance that tor will be considered normal traffic on the internet, instead of the tell-tale sign of a criminal sharing child abuse.

Comment FM Radio in Europe (Score 4, Informative) 209

Honestly, I don't even use the radio in my car anymore. It's been ten years or more since I listened to the radio.

On the other side of the atlantic pond, radio in cars tends to be used a lot, specially for traffic information.
Last time I listened to the car's radio has been lat time I drove it :
the car automatically suspended the music we were listening to announce some traffic jams and incident on the highway.
Most GPS (specially the in-car built-ins) are also able to leverage the digital information (TMC signal on the RDS on FM radios) to also display and take into account such traffic information.

So radio on portable devices can be useful for such traffic informations.

The only thing is, as far as I know, most smartphone with disabled radio chips only have *FM*-Radio (i.e.: plain old analog. Sometimes not even with support for digital metadata over RDS).
Whereas lots of European regions are moving to DAB/DAB+ Radio (digital radio, transmitted as MP2 or AAC digital stream respectively), which is not directly supported on purely FM chips, and would be quite taxing on the battery life if attempting to decode on CPU in software (SDR - software defined radio).

Comment Tons of them got it right. (Score 1) 113

My android phone has two "soft" buttons next to a physical home button, and I hate those little fuckers.

Other device did it better :

- more recent android device have no physical button or touch zone, just a bigger screen. It's either 3 clickable button displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Or full screen, with the button appearing if you touch the screen (used for gaming and movie watching). They are handled by the same code that handles most UI button on the OS, so a little bit better handled than the "a fly could click on it" older softbutton you mention.

- before that, Palm/HP WebOS used to produced devices that started using gestures on the touch area under the screen.
Harder to confuse a touch with a gesture, than a touch with a click.

- Sailfish OS (Meego/Maemo/Mer descendant, cousin of Tizen, full blown GNU/Linux under the hood) has completely abandoned system button. Applications always display full screen, and users use some type of swipes (starting for the screen's edge) to do commands that would require buttons on other phones.
(Except when running android apps in the emulator that still require button. For those it goes to the software displayed soft button like android)

My preference goes for the later 2 (webOS and Sailfish)

Comment Autopilot != Self-driving (Score 2) 225

Note that, neither Tesla's Autopilot, nor the countless other camera/lidar based solution sold by countless other manufacturer nowadays are self-driving.

At best, they are exactly what is called an Autopilot for planes and ships : some travelling is automated up to some level by the onboard electronic, but the vessel still must remain under the supervision of the plane's/ship's captain. (i.e.: the captain can't go take a nap. only the electronics is relieveing them from needing to mind the minute detail of piloting).
Hence the logical name "autopilot" used by Tesla marketing. Though stupid people are stupid and somewhat mis-interpret what "autopilot" means.

At worst, they are simply collision avoidance technologies (the driver is in full charge of steering the vehicle, but the car is able to sound an alert and to an emergency braking to avoid a crash).

Self-driving is *still* limited to small scale experiments (google cars and similar technologies tested by startups)

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