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Comment Re:And that's why (Score 1) 103

I have wondered about different virtual machines on a phone. The retina lock might get one the VM for a workspace for personal stuff, while to access business data, it would require a fingerprint and PIN. Done right, there would be plausible deniability for this... and more importantly, it would separate business and personal stuff.

Comment Re:Yes, the Cloud, but other factors too (Score 1) 118

The ironic thing is that when I interviewed at one place last summer, the CTO personally started asking me questions. When I asked them about their disaster recovery plan, as the company was 100% AWS based, the reply from the CTO was, "Asking a cloud based company about 'backups' or 'uptime' is like asking a Tesla owner about the type of buggy whip they use."

Needless to say I decided to look elsewhere for work.

Comment Re:Well, once the panels are installed (Score 5, Insightful) 415

Not really. Solar panels are becoming as tied to a construction project as roofing materials, and other basic building supplies. Even after buildings are retofitted, there are always new things coming up, new technologies that are iffish now, but are maturing (tinted windows which may run at 1/20 the wattage a normal panel, but with the sheer square footage on a south side of a building, it might be worth doing, when the price for the tint becomes that cheap.)

Solar plants will continue to expand. With HVDC transmission methods, there is a lot of desert that can be used for solar, and with roughly 3.5% transmission loss per 1000 km, this can be a viable way to provide a few GW to a city. If the transmission loss is too great, it isn't too difficult to pull CO2 from the air and make ethanol, propane, synthetic diesel (Audi has pioneered this), or something similar as a way to fuel non-electric vehicles and stay carbon negative. Heck, with enough power and a source of water, thermal depolymerization becomes possible, which is an extremely good way to dispose of plastic and have a usable resource for fuel or manufacturing.

Solar technology will only improve as well. Panels may be near maximums of energy output, but better MPPT controllers and energy storage will be the focal point eventually as the bottleneck moves from panels.

The nice thing about solar is that it is stupidly easy to set up compared to any other energy source [1], and it is relatively maintenance free, because everything is solid state on the grid, and off the grid, the only component that wears out are batteries.

[1]: A cast off car battery, a surplus panel, a $8 PWM charger from eBay, and some 12 volt light bulbs can power the lights on a detached building indefinitely. I don't know any other energy source that can sit there and do that. The Aussies go a step further and stick refrigerators with solar panels on them in the middle of nowhere so they can get a cold one even if on the back 40. I don't know any other energy source that can do that... nuclear perhaps, but with all the fear about nuclear, you will never see a basketball-sized reactor just for powering a small building.

Comment Re: Yay, connectivity and IoT (Score 2) 203

Torts will do little to nothing. Every IoT device has a EULA or ToS with it forcing arbitration and absolving the device maker of all blame should something happen with the item. Even with torts, the IoT company likely has a good number of lawyers who will just steamroll over anyone bringing lawsuits, or just stall the lawsuit until the plaintiff has to drop it due to lack of funds.

For the little guy, the civil system only will bankrupt them, so it is no real check.

Because IoT makers view security as having no ROI, we will keep seeing this over and over. In fact, having devices that are unable to be updated brings more money, because it forces consumers to buy the 1.1 or 2.0 version of the same IoT device.

This is why government has to step in. There is no mechanism to make IoT makers give a rat's ass about security whatsoever. The same exact thing is why we have UL listings. Companies don't make money by spending extra to have appliances that don't electrocute the end user, so government mandates UL listings in order to have a safe standard. Perhaps the same should be done with regards to security, since security mandates will not be coming from the private sector, as it does not benefit them. "A lock makes no money for anyone other than the lock maker and the locksmith."

I applaud the hotel for moving back to keys. Ideally, the system for the card readers should be a closed, air-gapped system that has zero network connectivity (almost all hotels had exactly this in the 80s and early 90s so it isn't a must have for door locks to be connected to the Internet), but moving back to a completely mechanical system isn't a bad thing either. Even with a high security locks like Abloy or Evva MKS, the cost of cutting a new key and repinning a hotel cylinder can likely far cheaper than having to maintain/update/replace a keycard system anyway.

Comment Re:Leaf off the air too (Score 1) 128

Car makers need to stick to stuff that runs on the CAN, and well away from consumer electronics that get chucked in a year or two. Oddly enough one of the better audio heads I've used was the one on my Ford. It doesn't have a touch-screen display, but buttons and dials. However, Bluetooth works, and has worked with a large array of Apple, Motorola, and HTC phones. If I need navigation, that is what a suction cup holder, smartphone, and Siri can be used for. People made fun of Windows Automotive, but I found it quite usable, and has stayed usable over the years.

I am not impressed with some of the touchscreen models, just because the functionality can be obsolete or inoperable in less than six months... and unlike phones, people in the US are not going to swap cars out every year or two so they can have 128 gigs of SSD for storing MP3s compared to last year's 64 GB.

Comment Re:False premise (Score 2) 501

The NUCs are looking pretty good as well, especially the latest ones. For most tasks, they have enough GPU power for home use, and with a NVMe/M.2 SSD, I/O is less of a bottleneck. Eventually, I may buy one just for a virtualization server.

PCs are just too versatile to be "dead". Take a desktop that is too slow for day to day stuff, toss another OS on it, and it can do other tasks, offloading stuff from the desktop. There becomes a point where it becomes a waste of power, but an average PC bought now has at least a ten year lifespan before it is not worth running even as a background server.

Comment Re:What about Scheme? (Score 1) 205

I used Scheme for a class in college, mainly to demonstrate some AI concepts like states.

As for the real world, I see four types of languages used:

1: The mainstream Web languages. PHP, ASP, node.js, etc.
2: The latest language in vogue. Rust and Swift 3 come to mind, because I keep getting E-mails about jobs asking for five years of Swift 3 for minimum required experience.
3: The old standbys, C, C#, C++, VB .Net, Java, Objective-C, assembly, perl, and python. They are not shiny and new, but they are time tested enough that there are enough tools and an installed base to handle what is thrown at them.
4: Specialty languages: Ada, FORTRAN, COBOL, ABAP, and others are still around, and one can make a living knowing them because they are not going away anytime soon.

Comment Re:False premise (Score 5, Interesting) 501

The PC isn't dead. There are just a bunch of people in marketing divisions which -want- it dead, because they want to replace the commodity priced item with free OS choices and privacy settings that the user can choose with a device that has to be tossed in 1-2 years, dumps telemetry data 24/7 with the user unable to a single thing about it, and requiring all transactions to go through some type of gateway, where they guard it, and do their best to monetize every transaction. This is a damn good deal for the tablet maker. It doesn't do much for the consumer.

This type of lockdown isn't new. About 12-13 years ago when Windows Mobile smartphones were used, Sprint only allowed signed applications on their devices, and one had to pay several thousand dollars to play in their ecosystem.

PCs are not going away anytime soon. I doubt there will be a tablet that has decent GPU performance that can handle two 4k monitors. In the PC world, $350 gets you a card that can easily handle this task.

Comment Re:Conservatives need to realize cheating occurs (Score 1) 125

A friend of mine has a rural Texas cabin that he visits in his campervan. The cabin is small, small enough that the A/C unit can run from the van's generator (a 2500 watt Onan.)

The winds are not great, so all of his stuff is solar. The carport has a roof tilted south and is covered with panels, about 3KW worth. The batteries are Iron Edison (NiFe), about 2000 amp-hours, with a self watering system and box with fans in it that are thermostatically controlled. He also has an inverter, and a battery charger, so if his van's generator is running to run the A/C, it also helps with charging the batteries.

It is pretty cool how much a set of panels can run. If it were not for the need for A/C, the entire cabin could be completely livable all year just from the panels.

Compared to cooling, heating is relatively easy. A stove like a Kimberly or other efficient model can do wonders with very little fuel needed. Of course, for backup, propane heaters work well.

Comment Re:Conservatives need to realize cheating occurs (Score 1) 125

In my experience, electric cars are wanted regardless of political tastes. Here in Texas, I know a lot of rural people who would love an electric pickup truck. The two biggest advantages of electric vehicles, which are max torque at 0 RPM and zero noise would help things immensely on the farm. The fact that there are fewer moving parts means upkeep is easier. Plus, on larger ranches, there is plenty of room for solar panels, and wind farms are common in the western side of the states.

Of course, having a high wattage inverter connected to the vehicle's batteries can't hurt either. This would allow one to bring a welder to the back 40 without needing to run a loud, smoky generator.

Comment Re:This is nearly-trivial with bluetooth (Score 1) 172

Blackberry has had some hardware/software that they sold, in effort to replace CACs/PIVs with their devices, which did a similar thing. Walk off with your phone, the screen locked. Come back, the machine will wake up and ask for your PIN. They were hawking this for about ten years now.

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Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"