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Comment Technology Disruptive like Wars/Catastrophes (Score 2, Informative) 392

Yes, technology levels the playing field.

That is because, like major wars and catastrophes, it can devalue established wealth and power and empowers others to succeed based on their ability. The great thing about technology though is that it usually does this with far fewer people dying and it does not require wars to spur it on even though they often do.

Comment Re:PKI? (Score 1) 27

Worse than that; in all likelihood.

While adoption has been patchy; the 'trusted computing'/TPM guys definitely have what it takes to deliver a cryptographically locked bootloader and a variety of other powerful-and-somewhat-creepy capabilities; so anyone who gets onboard with this will presumably move from shipping hardware with shitty firmware that doesn't get patches to shipping hardware with shitty firmware that doesn't get patches and cannot be fixed or replaced even if you have the requisite expertise with that platform. The sort of 'support' that bootloader locked android devices get now. Far too insecure to be remotely safe; far too secure for mere mortals to reflash the firmware with something else without a particularly elegant 'trustzone' compromise or hardware attacks.

I hardly mean to suggest that OpenWRT will save IoT or anything(IoT needs a lot more saving than is probably possible for anyone; and vendors are spitting out unsupported hardware far faster than 3rd parties and mainline kernel support can catch up); but if you think shoddy firmware is bad; it's hard to get excited about shoddy firmware that is effectively impossible to replace even for devices based on well supported hardware.

Comment Re:vGPU seems cool (Score 5, Informative) 90

My understanding is that it is more extensive: PCI(mostly 'e' these days) passthrough allows you to assign a physical device to a VM; but the device can't be shared: if a given piece of hardware is being passed through to one of the guests, none of the other guests or the host OS can use it.

This 'virtual GPU' stuff is supposed to make allocating GPU resources between VMs closer to how it is with CPU time or memory, where all the guests and the host can't exceed the capabilities of the machine they are running on; but they can all have access, with relatively modest overhead, to the same device.

I don't know if things work as pleasantly as desired yet; but in principle it should be a lot more convenient than full device passthrough. Especially in cases where you might be interested in the GPU for its computational capabilities, video transcoder, etc.

Comment Re:Why not blame the manufacturer? (Score 2) 263

If you think that finding a vendor that doesn't keep cutting battery life/SD card slots/headphone jacks/basic safeguards against electrical fire in order to make it thinner, cheaper, or both is hard; just try to find one that ensures sufficient borated polyethylene(with something else to sop up the resulting gamma rays) or other neutron shielding into their products.

There probably are some, making bits for nuclear reactors and industrial, scientific, and medical users of neutron sources; but it's a niche.

Comment Re:LibreOffice? (Score 5, Informative) 121

You can definitely embed Windows Metafile images in LibreOffice on Windows; but I'm not entirely sure if that is enough to make it vulnerable. WMF is dangerous because it is basically a package of GDI function calls, which might be good for efficiency or compactness; but has led to a number of creative and executable things being shoehorned in(as in this case; and repeatedly over the years).

However, there are several image handling libraries that can render or convert WMF images without access to GDI; so in those cases GDI bugs wouldn't be a problem(though you probably have other things to worry about).

This Libreoffice VCL documentation suggests that LibreOffice uses its own VCL WMF filters; but I sure wouldn't bet anything remotely important on that without testing it first; or knowing rather more about how LibreOffice is put together.

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 508

American border patrol was just given authority to conduct is security theatre in Canadian airports too

There is one subtle difference doing it in Canada though and that is while Canadian law requires you to tell the truth you have the option to withdraw from the process at any time and not enter the US. Hence if you are asked for your phone you can choose to decline but then you will not be allowed to travel to the US. This is actually quite a sensible arrangement: countries should be free to set their entrance requirements and foreign travelers should be free to decline to travel there if they do not like them. The problem is that if you come from Europe you are already in the US and declining leads to arrest and detention not just denied entry and a return flight home.

Comment Re:The published article (Score 1) 218

It seems that they're claiming energy densities of ~20Wh/L

Compare that to petrol which has an energy density of 46.4MJ/kg which is 12.9kWh per "equivalent litre" (1l water has a mass of ~1kg but petrol itself is less dense than water). Now you gain something back because an internal combustion engine is far less efficient than an electric motor but even if you assume it is ten times less efficient (which is not the case) you would need a fuel tank ~64 times larger to have the same range as an internal combustion engine.

Even for a laptop you would need a 4 litre tank to replace the existing Li-ion which is typically ~80Whr. Before this technology becomes useful they need to gain at least an order of magnitude in energy density. That's when it will become interesting.

Comment Re:And the freezing temperature is...? (Score 1) 218

Actually you would probably want it to work down to -50C since -30C is not the extreme low just the typical low for a week or two most winters. Going below -40C is not uncommon for a day or two every few years so -50C should be relatively safe unless you live up in the territories.

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