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Comment It will never die (Score 1) 300

There are too many systems in banks that aren't documented and no one bothered to keep the source code. There are databases that contain ascii, ebcdic and binary packed decimal. I replaced a program once that I thought I knew what it was doing only to discover that because it was looking at every customers data it was creating a file that had a 1 bit flag for every customer that met some unspecified criteria. 6 weeks later another department complained that they were getting the exact same report everyday. Lesson learned. If you don't have the source code don't mess with the programs and even if you do you would have to reverse engineer every possible thing the program did. COBOL will be around until the last bank fails.

Comment Data Point for a single city (Score 1) 168

I'm in Ottawa, Canada. Uber is almost exactly half the price of a Taxi, the Uber rides are more pleasant, and the cars are clean and well maintained. My suspicion is the Uber drivers are taking home more per hour than taxi drivers. They sure as heck aren't working 16 hour days like the taxi drivers who are working the first 8 hours just to pay the medallion rental.

Comment Can we get a defense for Dries Buytaert? (Score 1) 656

Something doesn't seem right here. Everyone on slashdot and I suspect most of the Western World would agree that what someone's consensual sex life is their own private thing and has nothing to do with an open source project. I find it hard to believe that a person in Dries Buytaert position would publicly ask someone to leave a project in such a way. There has to be more to the story.

Comment Many security tools are a security risk (Score 1) 102

Anti virus and sand boxing programs such as Invincia run as root. (any program that requires root to sand box a user space program is just a bad idea). The quality of programming and design that goes into some of these programs is appalling. It would be nice to educate employere not to click on every link and to be suspicious of certain emails but unfortunately most corporations find it too inconvenient to actually authenticate their corporate emails so a vigilant employee would miss any company wide notifications.

Comment I doubt it (Score 1, Informative) 249

From the picture you can see their set up is flawed. The current sensor they are using can be inaccurate but more importantly they are likely measuring power as current*voltage which is only correct in AC for purely resistive loads. The switching power supplies in the LED light bulbs or the ballasts in florescent lights or any inductive motor will cause this reading to be incorrect.

I didn't recognize any of the meters in the pictures. The big makers L+G, Itron, Elster and Senses go through an insane amount of testing and regulatory oversight. These are almost commodity items and the cost of a recall would wipe out tens of years of profit.

We do need smart meters. We need to have billing based on the cost of electricity production so that we can use things like wind and solar. I want people to use more energy when the wind blows or the sun shines and I want to avoid building and firing up peaker plants.

Lastly ask some former meter readers from Texas and the US south how much they miss being bitten by dogs and shot at while reading meters.

Comment Insurance industry should fight this (Score 1) 397

In any normal country the insurance industry would be fighting this. Insurance is insuring against risk. Without risk there is no insurance. If an insurance company knows 100% that you will die or cost them something then they won't offer you insurance but if they do offer you insurance then you would be a fool to take it since you aren't going to need it.

Comment Not a back door (Score 1) 85

Many vendors put a method to contact and trouble shoot their devices. Windows telemetry could be considered an example of this. For the average consumer (who doesn't even know what privacy is) this is almost always a good think. Customer support can easily fix their device. Unfortunately, this is IoT so the security is going to be shit. It's not just a Chinese problem it's the entire industries attitude.

Comment Maintenance costs will kill it (Score 2) 238

The killer to these projects is you have to recoup your cost before the system wears out while also covering maintenance costs. We do this on land pumping water up hills and doesn't make economic sense. The systems require to much maintenance. In North America the ones that are already build are used as insurance. Utilities pay for the ability to draw several MW from these systems while they wait for a coal system to come on line. Coal takes a while, while hydro is close to instant. The utilities pay for this insurance every month whether they use the electricity or not and when they do use the electricity they pay in the multiple dollars per KWh. The system in the article will be charged with unwanted electricity, cost 0, but will sell the electricity only at peak and shoulder prices. It's not going to viable.

Comment Complex systems don't make great leaps (Score 1) 474

A modern processor has many different parts and technologies in it. You might make huge leap in one area - lithography, reducing internal resistance or gate switching time but it won't increase your overall performance by very much because one of the other parts will then become the bottle neck.

Comment The more power the more rope to hang yourself with (Score 1) 169

The admin has a very powerful tool. It has almost no constraints on what it can do because 99% of the time we want that power. We are dealing with an uncommon, unexpected situation and need to be able to have the power to do something different. The exact correct command might be something that no one anticipated before. It would be very time consuming to come up with rules preventing such a command.

Also I don't think more warning messages or safety logic is always the answer. Maybe practicing more without the autopilot is the answer. Look at Air France 447.

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