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Comment Re:No Moore's Law (Score 1) 182

I attended a course by Yale Patt from U. Austin, who is one of the "popes" of Computer Architecture research (see this ranking, for example), where he discussed Moore's Law.

He argued how Moore's Law was not a physical law, nor a technological or market-driven law. But it was a real law and had a very large impact.

Instead, he argued very accurately that Moore's Law was actually a psychological Law: given that it provided the baseline for the expected performance (or transistor count) increase, every company would struggle to get to that point, knowing that otherwise the others would get it and make a much better product. Therefore, Moore's Law became somehow a self-fulfilled prophecy. Note how the ITRS still provides yearly predictions for the (still exponential, in some cases) improvements in semiconductor technology fabrication.

So definitely you are right in that it was a mere observation -- but this observation drove the evolution of electronics for more than 50 years (enough to be labelled as "Law", isn't it?)

Comment Most of us know THX as the logo... (Score 1, Offtopic) 44

Most of us know THX as the logo that comes up when we hear that zooming sound at the start of a film...

Don't you see the problem with the current Slashdot? Summaries do not target nerds, or anyone minimally interested in technology. Some years ago, most of us would have known THX, many of us would have known the intricacies of multichannel digital sound encoding, and some of us would have indeed worked in the field, possibly in THX itself. Comments on the news would come in first person. But right know, news target a general audience, so there is not enough detail for people interested in the very details of the topics.

Any advice on alternatives to find news for nerds, with a good commenting and moderation system?

Comment Cat 6 cable finally has a use (Score 5, Informative) 157

This new standard is very interesting: it employs the same coding and spectral density as 10GBase-T (6.25 bps/Hz), but it employs the available bandwidth (Hz) depending on the cable category: Cat.5e (100 MHz) can provide 2.5Gbps and Cat.6 (250 MHz) can provide 5 Gbps.

Interestingly, before this standard there was no practical use for Cat.6 cabling: any speed you could obtain using Cat.6 cable (1Gbps) could be also obtained using cat.5e, and if you wanted something faster (10Gbps) you needed Cat. 6A (500 MHz BW). This newly ratified standard finally gets some use from those extra MHz you have in Cat. 6, if you have installed it. It will be interesting to know if 802.3bz ports will be able to measure link bandwidth to adapt speed accordingly to 2.5/5Gbps.

Comment Countdown traffic lights (Score 2) 203

Rather than implementing a complex technology in every single car, there exist countries that have started to implement countdown traffic lights. I have found them while driving and understood it immediately without any explanation. Much simpler, really easy and intuitive, much cheaper globally. I do not understand the approach from Audi.

Comment Re:I've got a crazy idea (Score 2) 295

The parent is right.

But not only that. The flash controller could be running a background process, such as offline deduplication or data block movement for static wear levelling. These processes are *not* triggered by reads or writes from the OS, so even when you are not actively writing to the disk, simply removing it without ejecting *might* cause data corruption and data loss.

Comment Please Slashdot editors (Score 1) 94

Please Slashdot editors,

      Make summaries interesting for your target readers.

      If you want to shift your target to people who, within the context of a wireless protocol, consider "advertisements" as something bad and intrusive and not some type of broadcast service announcement, that's ok. But please, in that case tell us clearly, so we can find an alternative site.

      If you want to recover the old nerdies who have long left the page, please consider that your audience has some technical background when writing the summaries. You could have highlighted many interesting points from the Ars Technica text (or even have found a deeper one), such as current size of advertising packets or the discussion on hardware compatibility via software upgrade.

      But instead, you highlighted the only part which has no interest -- the clarification about what are *not* advertising packets. Seriously, is the focus of the summary targeting your target?

Comment Re:Actually not really fixed - URL not validated (Score 1) 96

I doubt it. The binary could be unsigned, and the (fake) website provide some instructions on ignoring the UAC notification but validating the SHA-1 hash, which would be a sensible way to do when you do not have (or pay) a code signing certificate. More info, for example:

Comment Actually not really fixed - URL not validated (Score 1) 96

When the website is compromised with a MITM attack, the attacker can provide a (fake) download link which downloads a compromised binary from the compromised website, instead of the original binary from Sourceforge. In such case, the user does not know that the file should be digitally signed by a certain author. Instead, the attacker can modify the site to provide (fake) MD5 and SHA-1 hashes which validate the (fake) binary, or provide a self-signed binary. In particular, the problem is that the URL to the download binary and the binary validation instructions also need to be validated, as well as the binary itself. This would be solved using HTTPS.

Note that this attack does not particularly target recurrent users (looking for updates; they probably know how the program security works and where it is hosted), but particularly first-time users who don't know how it works.

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"If you own a machine, you are in turn owned by it, and spend your time serving it..." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, _The Forbidden Tower_