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Comment No shit (Score 1) 318

And I dunno about schools these days, or everywhere for that matter, but way back when I was in high school the books usually used something that was quasi-cylindrical like a Robinson or some such. Tended to give you a good picture of whatever they centered it on (which would usually be whatever was being talked about) and squished things near the edges.

I don't recall ever seeing a Mercator projection. Maybe the local maps were, like when it was showing a single country, but of course it doesn't matter a lot at that point as the distortion in a small area isn't that large whatever kind of projection you use.

Comment That's how these things always go (Score 4, Insightful) 125

Whenever there's a "language popularity" thing online they always do their research by looking at what people are doing online. Either what they are talking about, what they are sharing, etc. Somehow none of them ever consider how horribly skewed this is.

The simplest counterexample to something like this is embedded software. It is unarguable that there's a lot of development of that going on. Everything today gets controlled with a micro-controller or small CPU. Actual custom designed ASICs/circuits are reserved for only a few applications, most things get a more general purpose device and do it in code. Your car, your cable modem, your microwave, your TV, etc all of them run code.

Well guess what? That embedded code isn't done in Javascript or Ruby or any of these other trendy languages. Often as not it is done in C/C++ (and sometimes partially or all assembly). It just isn't the sort of things that gets posted about online. First the code is almost always proprietary, so the project itself isn't going to get posted as it is property of the company that paid to have it written and second it is professionals working in teams doing it, not people who are getting started out or playing around. They are likely to get help internally, not talk about it on the Internet.

So if you want to look at Github to see what is popular on Github, that's cool, but when people try to generalize that to development overall, it is false. To get a feeling for what is really popular in software development you'd have to poll programmers working at a variety of big companies since that's where a lot of the code is being generated.

Comment If the goal is reducing federal spending (Score 1) 647

Then restoration is not the way to go. You can't on the one hand say "We have to cut spending!" and then on the other say "We have to give the military back what we cut!" If you want budget cuts to try and balance the budget ok, but then the military has to be part of it. It is bigger than any other agency, by a large margin. You could eliminate (not cut, completely eliminate) education, transportation, agriculture, HHS, and the DoE and not even come close to the whole military budget.

Another way of looking at the military cuts is restoring it to 1990s levels, percentage wise. In the mid 90s defense spending was about $270 billion which was about 16% of the budget. In 2015 defense spending was about $640 billion (estimates are harder here since congress doesn't include Iraq and Afghanistan costs directly in the budget) which is about 16% of the budget.

Comment That's fine but you can't cheer this budget on (Score 3, Informative) 647

Because it not only doesn't cut the military, ti increases it by $54 billion. That offsets any other cuts. Combined with them wanting big tax cuts for the wealthy (who have the most to tax) that means a higher deficit. If you thing is cutting the debt, these guys are not interested in it. This proposal does nothing in that regard.

Also cutting spending isn't the only way to balance the budget. Increasing income works too, either via raising taxes or increasing the overall economy. Well guess what? Many of the programs being cut are the kind of things that help economic growth. Science is that way. The US is rich and prosperous in no small part because of science and development. When you are on the forefront of new things, you make a lot of money. Cut that, and it cuts future growth.

Comment Well ok there Trumpet (Score 3, Informative) 647

You are either a complete Trump fanboy, or just hopelessly naive because this budget IN NO WAY reduces the debt. Never mind you silly argument of "living off a credit card" (if you don't know how public debt different from revolving debt, go spend some time reading or take ECON 200) let's just focus on the budget:

It includes a massive increase of $54 Billion to the military. This is the military that is already funded 3x the next highest military (in fact if you add #2-8 in spending together you don't equal it), that has spending more than transportation, education, housing, international affairs, science, labour, and agriculture COMBINED. We really need this? We need that much more money for the military?

On top of that they are also set to propose sweeping tax cuts, particularly for the rich.

This is NOT something that'll reduce the debt, not even reduce the rate of increase.

If you want to compare it to a family (which as I said, it doesn't really work like personal finances) this is a parent saying "No I'm sorry kids, we can't afford to get a new water heater even though ours isn't working well, and I can't get you new clothes, we have too much debt. In other news I'm buying myself another new car and cutting my hours to 35 per week!"

You show me a budget that cuts the military like everything else, that at the very least keeps taxes where they are if not increases them, I'll give the "we have to cut the debt" argument credit. However so long as it is "less taxes, more defense spending" you can GTFO with that crap.

Comment Frankly this is what they should have launched 1st (Score 0) 173

The current Ryzens are kinda underwhelming. Not because they are bad chips, but I find myself in a position where they wouldn't be what I'd recommend to most people.

For your average user, they are way overkill. Hell even a quad core is overkill for normal desktop/media consumption/etc usage. They are too expensive, a cheaper Intel i5 or i3 is the way to go.

For gamers, they don't perform as well as Intel's high end in general. Games are multi-threaded these days, but generally have one main thread that is the big limit and the others are much smaller. It is rare to see them max a quad core, much less more than that. For best performance they need high clocks and IPC, and the 7700k does a better job at that for about the same money as the 1700. Only 4 cores, but as I said just doesn't matter to games. Likewise the 7600 or 7600k are in general better and even cheaper.

For audio production Ryzen seems to have higher latency. Maybe this gets resolved later, but right now you need to set your ASIO buffers higher to avoid dropouts with the same project. Also since CPU load isn't generally the limiting factor (CPUs are very fast compared to the needs of audio processing) the extra cores aren't useful unless you do REALLY heavy mixes. So better to go for an Intel CPU and get lower latency for cheaper, or maybe an Intel HEDT CPU for the same price as the 1800X.

Video encoding is the one area they seem to really win at. There the more core equal more performance and you can get 8 for the price Intel sells you 6. So if that's what you are after, then it is a good deal. Not really the most common use.

These though, for the price they should be killer. The 4 cores are likely to at least compete with the 7600 and cost you a good bit less. Could make them a very good contender for gamers, or just general desktop users that want a solid system.

I'll be real interested to see the benchmarks when they come out.

Comment No kidding (Score 2) 143

Google and Apple don't care about you as an individual. To the extent they care about your data, it is as an aggregate, for statistics and optimization and advertising. They aren't interested in trying to get your bank account number and steal your money, for example, the amount of money you have is fuck-all on their scale. They would not be interested in committing a crime with very real consequences for a totally inconsequential amount of money.

However a random thief that steals your smartphone? Ya they are absolutely interested in something like that. They are interested in getting as much money from you in any way they know how. That is how they operate.

While we certainly do need to consider information security and privacy with regards to big companies, the risks and reasons are very different with relation to individuals and it doesn't mean that we just ignore the problems of individuals. They are the bigger issue.

Like at work, we get people who manage to get their accounts compromised all the time. It has never, near as we or the FBI can tell, been a big company doing it. Google has never Phished someone's password and used it to spam, Apple has never used someone's information to get in the employee system and change their direct deposit target. That has always been an individual, or small group of hackers: A criminal (or criminals) dedicated to criminal activity. That is the real risk that our users really face, and the one we need to be far more concerned about than analytics Google gathers on them.

Comment Not just that (Score 1) 621

It is employers figuring that everyone should be either fully trained, or extremely cheap/free. That's why they want to demand internships and other such shit. They want someone to come in to an "entry level position" completely trained up and ready to go. That is, of course, not what university is for. It is for getting the general knowledge and theoretical training you need to do well in a field, not for specific practical training. That is supposed to be what you get in your entry level job.

Well they'd much rather that you get that either somewhere else, or as an unpaid intern that they can abuse. Then once you are trained up and have a couple years experience they'll give you a job. Of course it is still "entry level" with pay to match.

However there's more than a few greedy/grouchy people who've convinced themselves that is how it should work. Young people should just be willing to do whatever it takes for no money (or really negative money given that university costs money to attend) and work hard for long hours to "prove" themselves worthy of a low end position. You can see it in this thread where someone is suggesting that colleges should be "like monasteries" because he thinks young adults shouldn't have any fun and just spend all their time working hard.

Comment Not only that (Score 1) 240

But these days, cheap notebooks are around the price point that Netbooks were at. You can get a cheapass notebook for around $300ish. It won't be very good, but it'll work and be better than what a Netbook was and that was around what they cost.

All a "netbook" ever really meant was "very small, very cheap laptop." I guess if the "very small" part appealed to you then the current crop might not do it, but you can get cheap laptops.

My parents both have cheap Dells. Not the absolute bottom of the barrel, but under $400 in both cases. They aren't great, they aren't fast, but know what? They do the trick for them.

Comment Re:doubt the viability (Score 1) 222

No, people have demonstrated why it is BS quite well: It has major flaws, none of which they have an answer to. It isn't like this idea hasn't been thought of before, it has, but it never happened due to the issues. Until they have an answer to "How do you deal with a failure?" it is a non-starter. With anything you have to ask what are the consequences of a failure, what can cause the failure, and what do you do in the case of a failure before you can deploy it.

That's why airplanes have shit like fully redundant systems, a rigorous maintenance schedule, and trained operators. Because a failure is a big deal. It can not only kill everyone on board, but others as well. Hence there are backups to the backups, and plans for dealing with shit so that when something happens you have a situation where the pilot lands it in the Hudson, rather than smashing in to a neighborhood. This is also why there's nothing like a "flying car". You can make small planes, and they are something that could be affordable to the wealthy, however regulations will require them to be treated like aircraft, because the problems if they fail are so much greater than if a car fails.

Given that a dent in the tubing could cause a catastrophic failure where the tube crushes and a pressure wave is formed that turns the passenger container in to a very large, very fast projectile, they have to have an answer to "How do you deal with that?" before there's any reason to look at going further.

Comment It ever ceases to amaze me people who don't check (Score 1) 222

Yes, vacuums DO exert a massive amount of pressure, or rather our atmosphere does and because there's no counter-balance in a vacuum that pressure is fully felt. The numbers are easy to get: about 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level. That means about 15 pounds of force for every square inch of material, which is not a large area. You can throw a little math at something to figure out the total force a given area takes.

Also it turns out vacuum pressure is something that companies have to worry about, so they've tested it and posted demonstrations online. Here's one of a company subjecting one of their tanks to a vacuum and it failing in a spectacular fashion:

This isn't Hollywood, this is a company that makes tankers for transport.

Mythbusters (which I'm sure you'll deride as being Hollywood) has a great episode where they try it with a tougher tanker and it dues survive under effectively full vacuum... until they drop something on it and dent it, at which point it fails spectacularly.

As a related thing to forces from a vacuum (or rather the sudden failure) have a look at ping pong ball cannons. You evacuate a tube with a ball in it, and then suddenly open up the end. The pressure wave can drive the ball to extremely high speeds:

Comment Ummm, all of them? (Score 1) 498

Any of the penetration tools try simple shit first because people use it ALL THE TIME. They try single letters, they try pw that is the username, they try "password" they try "1234" and so on.

If you are talking ones that try at a system remotely, that is usually all they try, since you can only hit a remote system so fast and you can't just search a keyspace and try and get in feasibly, so it just uses a list of the most common ones to try.

Now when you are talking a situation like when an attacker has compromised something and gotten hashed passwords, you damn bet it tries everything simple. You can hash everything 5 characters or under in a couple seconds. For 8 characters and under you can have a precomputed rainbow table to look them up that is about 500GB.

Go look at L0phtCrack, see how it works, if you want a real world tool.

The hash situation is what you are really defending against so ya, you need some complexity in your passwords. That's also why things like PINs on smart cards don't need to be so complex: You can't recover the PIN (it is stored only in the secure element) and attempts to try it are extremely limited (3 for NIST PIV compliant ones).

Comment If you don't trust Intel you are kinda screwed (Score 3, Insightful) 159

So obviously Intel makes popular CPUs, as well as other components, in computers. If you run a system with any of those, well then they could have a back door in them and there's nothing you could do. However it goes further than that: The Intel C Compiler is EXTREMELY popular for writing software (in Windows and Linux) because it generates really optimized code. It could, of course, insert back doors in to binaries without the knowledge of the person compiling it. So you'd have to scrap anything written using it.

Really, it isn't feasible. If you are so paranoid you think Intel is spying on you or helping others spy, your probably have to go hide in a cave because there is just nothing you can really do to eliminate all risk.

At some point, you have to stop being a member of the AFDB brigade and just accept that ya, there's some risk in trusting, well, anyone but you have to and just leave it be. You also have to accept that you aren't protecting nuclear secrets, the kind of attacks against you are not the spy-agency level.

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