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Comment Re:Time Standards vs. Time Formats, and Y10K probl (Score 1) 214

Historically, a day was defined as 1 earth rotation.

And that's where you went wrong. Historically, a day was one sunrise to the next.

That doesn't make sense since humanity have been living on parts of the Earth with constant night during winter and constant day during summer since god knows when. "One sunrise to the next" doesn't make sense there. There were probably local units all over the place.

Read this very carefully as you quoted only part of it. "Between 1000 (when al-Biruni used seconds) and 1960 the second was defined as 1/86,400 of a mean solar day". So, that means before the year 1000 the second did not exist as a defined standard; and may not have existed at all; still fuzzy on that.

I have a hard time imagining all people on Earth of the 11th century all agreeing on the definition of time units at all, let alone on the second. It's probably one of those things where the now standardized time units of hours, minute and second was used more and more, and gradually took over any existing local units and standards.

But why 60ths? Was a minute always that long?

I imagine it's because it was convenient to divide the minute in the same way as the hour. There's 60 minutes in an hour thanks to the Babylonians, who used that as their base (just as we use base-10).

Comment Re:Android an Open source success story. (Score 1) 136

Uhm yes, the license text itself? Just diff COPYING in the kernel tree with the one available at Honestly, it's not that difficult.

Anyway, since you were to lazy to do it, the difference is this added preamble (sans some layout changes):

NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work". Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.

Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

Linus Torvalds

Comment Re:Why?? (Score 3, Insightful) 196

No, I think he's straight on. Secure boot stems from a broken threat model: that kernel access is extremely important. I know about userspace security, but the kernel already secures userspace without secure boot and proper privilege separation secures the kernel. Secure boot is a way of securing the system from root, which is futile (look at SELinux, for example).

This is primarily a technology for vendor lock-in. Always has been, always will be.

Comment Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (Score 1) 182

All of those patents are most likely incredibly trivial and all companies and organizations that sucessfully lobbied them in, did so not for their technological benefits but to make sure their patents were as widely used as possible.

If the ITU were to demand patent-free standards, they would be just as good but without the royalties.

Comment Re:WTB Cisco Switch (Score 1) 284

I also went through 2 WRT54G's in as many years. I find both stories believeable, but of the people I know, no one is actually still using their WRT54G for anything other than one guy is using it for a small wired subnet. The wireless generally loses range on them as they get older for some inexplicable reason.

I'm still using my WRT54GL as my primary wireless router and I haven't noticed it's range decreasing at all. Perhaps it's just me, but I think it's working as flawlessly as when I first got it and installed OpenWRT on it six years ago.

Comment Re:64-bit computers DO NOT solve this problem (Score 1) 492

Was that ever true? I thought long=2*int always. Otherwise, what's the point of long?

You are only guaranteed that sizeof(long) >= 32 bits and sizeof(int) >= 16, so it's perfectly valid to have sizeof(long) == sizeof(int). There is no data type guaranteed to be >= 2*sizeof(int) (a long long is >= 64 bits). This is all for crappy legacy reasons. If you don't believe me, wikipedia has a good list.

Comment Re:What's a strike? (Score 1) 505

A strike is probably whenever the entertainment industry who has paid Verizon to do this, enter your IP in a list and report you. If you think the ISP will do anything except tell you to "stop pirating stuff" (such as cross-checking or verifying their data), I think you're sadly mistaken.

Comment Re:What's a strike? (Score 3, Interesting) 505

People on Slashdot seem to see oversubscription as some kind of evil - it's really not. It keeps your costs down in the name of accommodating real-world demands rather than peak demands.

I don't think so, people on Slashdot see oversubscription as an excuse to not expand your network as evil. To use your car analogy: It's perfectly fine to build a 4-lane highway instead of a 15-lane highway as the latter would be hopelessly oversized almost all day, except for peak hours. The problem is when you build a 2-lane highway and tell people "You can't take your car to work more than twice a week, or you are using an unreasonable amount of highway space".

Comment This affects all measurement units (Score 3, Informative) 177

Just to preempt all comments about imperial or home-grown measurement systems: All measurement systems in the world are defined from the metric base units, which are in turn defined from a few physical constants and this kilogram prototype. When the kilogram prototype gains mass, this affects the kilogram, pound, liter and fluid ounce equally.

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