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Comment Re: Not a surprise (Score 1) 59

Not really. It kept Apple alive, but not much more.

Maybe a quarter of the school labs I saw from the late 80s to mid-90s were Macs. (Keep in mind that the computer market was much more diverse back then.) Most school Mac "labs" consisted of four computers, because that's all they could afford, even with heavy discounts. Outside of school, my circle of about a dozen nerd friends only included one Mac guy until the early 2000s. I knew of only one business, an advertising firm, that used Macs, and they only had two.

Of course, the education sector did keep Apple's heart beating until they could come up with the iPod...

Comment Re: Why? (Score 1) 235

The investments in which the very rich put their money are usually far removed from production. It is much more common to invest in derivatives, that are basically a bet on an event in the real economy. This makes the bulk of stock market investing more like a casino than a way of giving worthy businesses the resources to create new products and grow.

But don't take my word for it. Have a look at the recent comments made by Charlie Munger, a billionaire and vice-chair of Berkshire-Hathaway, which is Warren Buffet's company.

It would be nice if your perception of the markets, where most investment money was used to get resources into the hands of builders and creators, but it simply isn't so.

Comment Re:Pollution in China (Score 1) 88

Regulating pollution by industry has been wildly successful in the US. There are still plenty of pollution events that one can point at, but the overall levels of air and water pollution have fallen at the same time that population has grown and standard of living has risen. The EPA deserves a great deal of credit for this fact. Canada's protections seem comparatively weak by comparison, but our population is so small enough and our land area so large that we get away with it.

I really have a hard time imagining a regulatory system applied to consumers. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to see it done, as it would close the "pollute in another country" loophole, but it's just really hard to imagine.

Comment Re:Ha (Score 1) 340

There isn't much in a mammal that will make a fellow sick should he eat it. There's a few bits one should avoid, but they don't add up to much. Most of the entrails are perfectly edible. Of course, one has to empty the gastrointestinal tract of its contents before chowing down, but the actual animal tissues are fine. Same goes for the bladder. Basically, just the skin and bones are tough eating, but not harmful. Bones can be crushed to expose the marrow and cooked, but I'd have to be pretty hungry to actually consume the bone itself. The skin is a pretty sizeable proportion of an animal and perfectly edible. Pig and chicken skin is consumed in western society, but not cow or sheep skin for some reason.

I'm not sure I would argue that animals were "made" to be eaten, but the fact is that a lot more of an animal can be eaten than western culture chooses.

Comment Re:Missing the point a bit? (Score 1) 122

Embedded projects are exactly what these boards are aimed at. If anyone is thinking of these as a general purpose desktop, they should think again. But as a dedicated device for an embedded project, these are very interesting. The CHIP's built-in WiFi and otherwise RPi-like specs make it compelling. I have more than a few Arduino projects that would be much more convenient to develop on top of Linux. A $10 board that can run Linux and can talk to a wide range of sensors and devices would be very tempting.

Comment Re:What exactly are you backing up? (Score 1) 118

Yes, but once you have a Windows network to the point where anyone can sit down at any workstation, with all user data being stored on a file-server, you no longer have to back-up the user workstations. I managed several networks of between 50 and 200 workstations, each with a single Samba-based DC and file-server that was backed up off-site via rsnapshot. The workstations were imaged via FOG. Once we had a working image for a workstation (which could take a couple of days to prepare from scratch), the bottleneck in deploying workstations was physically putting them in place and hooking them up. We could image forty machines in about 25 minutes. Best of all, we could reimage machines remotely. This meant I could set up forty workstations on a Friday afternoon, register them with FOG and deploy an initial bare-bones image, then head back to my office to fine-tune a new image before redeploying it (from my office). Active Directory took over from there. If a workstation started acting up, we could trigger reimaging remotely, and 7 minutes later the user had a fresh workstation. In that environment, rsnapshot worked fine backing up about 8TB of user data from about ten Samba servers over a 20Mb/s WAN. Nightly back-ups rarely took more than an hour. Storing many snapshots (7 nightly, 4 weekly, etc.) didn't have much of an impact on the required backup storage. It was also nice that rsnapshot could run a script on a server before and after backing up. So one could dump a database to a file before backing up.

Comment Re:Every single gag order needs to have an expirat (Score 1) 81

You've hit upon something important. Most Slashdot readers haven't been served any kind of gag order, but I'll bet quite a few of us are under NDAs and confidentiality agreements. In a nutshell, the situation is that, if you have signed this sort of agreement, it can be used as leverage against you, even if you aren't breaching it in any way. Just the threat of legal action can be used to push you around. You could be forced into a court room to argue against an organization's claims. Even if squeaky clean, an organization can usually bankrupt an individual long before hitting the court room. If an individual were to successfully defend against claims in court, they would still likely end up losing several hundred thousand dollars. It turns out these sort of SLAPP suits are common. So lets say you realize that your employer is breaking a law in a way that you can't stomach. If you've signed any kind of confidentiality agreement, unless you aren't very sure that you can report the problem to the authorities (don't even think of going to the media) anonymously, or that legislation that protects your disclosure is in place (talk to a good lawyer to be sure), you are in a bad place. A person in this situation should probably just quit and stay quiet.

Comment Re:Dumb as a Rock (Score 1) 77

If anyone is wondering how pubwvj achieved a $7k build, it's all about size. The house is really a cottage, and a very small one at 252 square feet. That's probably the most important factor in keeping the cost low. They also used some fairly uncommon building techniques, including a ferrocement roof. I believe pubwvj is an engineer, meaning he likes to solve problems, of which there would be many in this sort of construction. He may have been able to get around any code issues with an engineer's stamp. Then again, it may be that a 252 square-foot structure isn't required to meet code. Looking over the construction diary, I don't think I would be worried about the safety of the building, it seems sound. The cost is about what I would expect for an owner-built structure of that size, even a more conventional structure. And I wouldn't abandon the idea of such a small home out-of-hand either. Looking around our home, which is about 1500 square feet plus a basement, the vast majority of the space is used for storing stuff we don't use (mostly equipment for former hobbies of mine). If we got rid of our junk, we could probably be quite comfortable in a 250 square-foot cabin/cottage, assuming it was well designed.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 110

I've worked in Alias Wavefront, Maya, 3DS Max, and Blender. They all have their quirks. All were fairly painful to pick up. But honestly, Blender is nice in that it is a fairly complete program. I'd like to see more consistency in its user interface, but it is comparable to the competition in that sense. Certainly, I'm seeing Blender in production settings a lot lately. Watching the documentary Video Games: The Movie, Blender was all over the place.

Comment Docker and wrappers (Score 1) 104

I've had trouble thinking of Docker as anything but a, fairly thin, wrapper to LXC. When Docker announced a move to support BSD, that made sense, because of the existence of jails. LXC and jails obviously have a fair bit of over-lapping functionality, so supporting the BSDs isn't a huge leap...but Windows? Microsoft must have a team well into work on containerization, otherwise this new partnership would have to implement everything from scratch. And given the mayhem that cgroups brought to Linux, I can't see that happening quickly.

Comment Re:TCO (Score 1) 158

I generally agree except for the install-time bit. My last job was as the technical director for a school division. We ran mostly Windows on user machines and mostly Linux on the back-end. I did a lot of installs of both Windows (XP & 7) and Linux (Ubuntu Server) over those years.

Getting XP or 7 to the point where one could image it onto a bunch of other machines took us at least a day. We didn't leverage AD as much as we could. If that were the case, it likely would have taken less time, but I'm not sure how much. Installing updates was, by far, the most time-consuming part. We tried to schedule that for the end of the day so the bulk of it would be done by morning. Next up was setting up the software suite, and then the virus scan and disk compaction. Finally, the little details about the desktop environment needed to be dialed in before imaging.

Setting up Ubuntu Server on a box took under an hour. Our procedure for setting up a file-server (which included several other services) could be executed in at most three hours. Heck, on Friday, I upgraded an Ubuntu desktop box (with a RAID array that needed to be preserved) from 12.04 to 14.04 in a bit over an hour. The hard part was backing up the most important bits of data. The actual upgrade was painless...except for the corrupt USB-key I made the first attempt with.

We didn't really image Linux machines because they were generally back-end servers, but it was something I looked into with some depth. Basically, because of the effort Canonical put into supporting Ubuntu on VMs, it was a piece of cake. I was actually more interested in network booting ala the Linux Terminal Server Project, but the truth is that I would have been drawn-and-quartered if I put any distribution of Linux onto a machine when a teacher didn't demand it. The teachers ran the show. A situation that was mostly fine, but horrible in some areas (ie. security).

Comment Re:A da Vinici is $499 (Score 1) 32

The current craze of 3D printers use additive methods (FDM). This makes it impossible to print a whole class of pretty simple shapes. For example a scan of myself with my arms held up 60-degrees above horizontal: printable (assuming there's not much overhang in my belly area, and ignoring my chin). A scan of myself with my arms held down 60-degrees below horizontal: unprintable without support. A sphere, for example isn't printable on a standard Reprap-type printer without support. You can add support or print models in pieces, perhaps with indexing to make them easy to assemble, but these can be challenging operations.

There are a lot of problems that still remain that make printing as a hobby a fairly frustrating experience. Automated bed-leveling will be nice when it becomes standard. Some sort of dissolvable material for printing support (using dual-print heads) would also be a huge leap. The software has a ways to go too.

But if your aim was to keep a couple of printers busy day-in and day-out in a business, it would likely be worth learning how to efficiently jump these hurdles.

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It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead