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Comment Re:CitiBank? (Score 2) 170

There are 12.4M bitcoins, valued at something like $400 each. That means that the bitcoin network is tracking something like $5B in value. This is three orders of magnitude smaller than the value tracked by the computer systems of those major banks, even if all of their computing power were needed for the task. In reality, the vast proportion of that power is spent predicting the most effective enterprises in which to invest that value. Even accepting that high-frequency trading is of dubious economic benefit, there are still real economic decisions being supported by the computation.

Comment Re:Digital games will be cheaper they said. (Score 1) 101

Sure, release-day games are just as expensive if not more expensive than they were in a box, but things like Steam sales and the Humble Bundle make games that ordinarily you'd pick up used available for even cheaper than the used market, and get at least a little money to the creators (at the very least, it credits the creators with long-tail sales they can reference in the future).

Comment Re:For a constitutional lawyer... (Score 4, Interesting) 546

In the case of the San Bernadino phone, that is in the FBI's lawful possession.

I've seen this statement made several times during this debate, and wonder where it came from. While the owner of the phone is dead, presumably it along with his (or her? do we know which shooter's phone it is?) other possessions passed to their estate. Perhaps it was taken as evidence, but evidence is taken for protection from alteration until it can be presented in court, not as the property of the state (and even in the case of evidence, what trial is it being held for? We know who did it, and it is unlikely they will ever be indicted since they died in the act). Is this some interesting new application of civil forfeiture?

Comment Re:It's really too soon for this post. (Score 4, Informative) 118

I also thought that going back to barge landings seemed like an unnecessary complication, as I was under the impression that the reason the first two attempts were at sea was because that proof-of-concept was needed to get permits for a ground landing. Today during the webcast, though, they clarified that for polar orbits such as this, they need to launch from Vandenburg in California, and there isn't a convenient piece of ground to land on.

Comment Re:Hydrogen next? (Score 4, Informative) 175

In hard drives, the fill gas is used to lift the heads, not for cooling. The idea is that the thin film between the head and platter forms at a shorter distance in helium, so everything can be made smaller and closer together. As another poster pointed out, at room temperature/pressure, helium is monatomic while hydrogen forms H2 molecules, which are larger than the helium atoms.

Comment Bad Intent (Score 1) 123

I think it's somewhat telling that the example was WhatsApp. Even if we stretch the idea of "new technology" to include a chat service, it's just that: a chat service. It's a product that literally cannot affect anyone unless they consent by instructing their device to accept these messages. What regulation could possibly be necessary?

Comment Re:"Advanced battery technology" is a flashlight b (Score 4, Informative) 209

The idea on many small battery cells is that the standard size makes them available from multiple suppliers, reducing risk, and the gaps between the cells due to the packing fraction provide a conduit for cooling.

Telsa does have a lifecycle plan to refurbish packs from cars for use in the home; at least in the press photos, the home packs are a different form factor, so I wonder if they break up the packs to cull outright broken cells and then reconstitute the good ones into wall units. Since the breakdown is a function of electrode area, having the area in smaller pieces might help with reuse.

Comment Re:What about other life goals? (Score 1) 130

I used the unpaid example to draw a sharper contrast. A large block of time off is generally unavailable under any terms, except at companies like FB (or apparently everywhere in Europe) that explicitly call out child-rearing.

Since you seem to know of the system: If European democracies have a state system for paying for the leave, did the debate include proposals to allow payments for other avocations?

Comment Re:What about other life goals? (Score 1) 130

Let me turn that around: Should child rearing be restricted to those who can demonstrate that they won't raise them to be horrible? I know plenty of complete jerks who had a parent stay at home.

In any case, if this leave is special because it appeals to a higher purpose, then there are many other higher purposes that I can think of that are equally deserving of paid leave. An engineer could take time off to educate underserved populations, or to apply their skills to solve basic problems in developing areas. Even the assistant manager at McDonald's has skills with logistics and sanitation that could be applied to standing up a soup kitchen.

Comment What about other life goals? (Score 2) 130

Allowing employees to take a big block off to get started on what may be the biggest achievement of their life is great, but what about for people whose aspiration is something other than being a parent? Even a guaranteed job after an unpaid sabbatical is a rare benefit. A generic "life goal" leave is, I would think, even cheaper to offer since the leave can be planned in advance to avoid crunch times (not that parents can't plan, but it's a rare one that seems to).

Comment Now if only the memory pressure metric worked (Score 1) 231

My concern with any memory management strategy under Windows is that even the current, disk-based virtual memory system is horrible at determining the "memory pressure" statistic. Under Windows 7, when I have a memory-intensive operation running, I'll hear the disk grinding away paging the whole time, while the system monitor shows physical memory usage at 60%. Even if the other 40% is disk cache, I'm pretty sure the foreground process should take precedence.

The other frustrating scenario is in sleep mode: after an overnight sleep,you can watch the physical memory line go from near zero back to where it was before the sleep as the disk grinds away paging things back in. That's hibernation, not sleep! My suspicion there is a feature which gets the machine hibernated while sleeping, to recover in the case of a power outage. The feature pretty much kills the usefulness of sleep, though, if every wake is a wake from hibernate.

Long story short, I'm pretty sure that this new compression feature means that Windows will simply keep itself to an even tinier corner of the physical RAM, while wasting CPU cycles in addition to disk accesses.

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