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Comment Re:Leap Seconds (Score 2) 179

Are you really claiming that "roughly coordinated" is at much less than 1 second resolution? If I understand correctly the maximum discrepancy would be half a second to occur at the actual point that the leap second is applied plus any normal deviation of the time systems. For most applications this is acceptable. Anything that is failing to fly or exploding due to this level of difference in time has bigger problems than the time servers being slightly off and is an accident waiting to happen. It would seem that such a sensitive application should be able to determine and adjust to a skewed time from an external source regardless of the reason.

Further the bugs introduced in the timing logic of numerous applications that don't care so much about timing, just that their clock agrees with the world, makes this the right answer for most applications. For what its worth it sounds like the right answer is to have smeared and non-smeared servers, with the smear period using the same period for the smeared servers. If you need precise time make sure your system can handle a 61 second minute and use the special case non-smeared servers.

Comment Re: Thanks to (Score 2) 637

To understand the make electoral votes automatic statement it should be understood that in each state, when voting for a presidential candidate, you are actually voting for a slate of electors (one elector for each house seat apportioned to the state and two additional for each senate seat) who are then supposed to meet and determine the states actual vote for president. It is possible for those people, despite supposedly being loyal to the party they represent, to cast their vote for anyone, not necessarily the states selected candidate. This was seen as a check on the populace. Some states have laws requiring the electors vote for only the candidate on the ballot, but I'm not sure those laws would actually pass constitutional muster. Occasionally there has been a "faithless elector" but its never changed the result.

#3 An automatic system would do away with the formality of electing people and having them cast the electoral vote. The states votes would automatically go to the candidate with a plurality of the vote.
#4 As #3, except allocating the votes as closely to the popular percentage as possible.
#5 As #4, except the 2 extra votes go to the winner of the state as a whole.
#6 Get rid of the 2 extra votes for the state, each congressional district (the area from which a representative is selected) selects its vote by majority. This would open up the presidential vote to gerrymandering, for what its worth.

Comment Re:Linus the man-child (Score 3, Insightful) 523

Not to back up the "all success is luck" meme but I would put it like this.
There are any number of people who might have the skill to write a kernel.
His "luck" was being the one who put in the work at the right time, caught the attention of other like-minded individuals to make it a community effort, and very effectively filled the niche that needed to be filled at the time. Without him it is fairly likely that another project would have eventually emerged, or that BSD would have been what people rallied around. And we'd then know another personality or group of personalities or company as the face of the open source operating system.
That is not to say he doesn't have a crazy amount of skill.
But that skill and that "luck" don't necessarily make his opinions infallible especially on something as asinine as this.

That said, you don't like his management style don't work with him or with a company that requires you to work with him.

Comment Re:Nothing to see here, move along. (Score 1) 308

Really? Maybe the second could be considered obstruction, but in the first case you'd hold that once one has any concern about anything ever viewed online that it is forever illegal and a crime to delete? Who would you even go to if you wanted to clear yourself to repurpose your computer? Would you have to hire counsel for an opinion regarding the legality of deleting anything regarding the acts in question?

Regardless of whether it is or is not actually illegal, it shouldn't be a crime short of being under an active investigation. I'd go further and require an actual injuction to be issued prohibiting your free exercise of your rights to your own property. The destruction may be used as circumstantial evidence at best, which would be weighed against whatever plausible motivations you advance for your actions.

Comment Re:other suggestions? (Score 3, Informative) 161

Spideroak allows online viewing via web interface. Anytime you use the web interface, however, you give up the zero knowledge portion as they need your password to decrypt the files. Also there is a shared folder feature that allows you to create a separate share password to give out to other people for a folder. Presumably use of this feature also gives up on the zero-knowledge at least for that folder.

Comment Re:Some say...why bother? Too much a PITA. (Score 4, Insightful) 530

One cannot say that it is simply a small minority that support inaction. The entirety of the economy is based on people buying stuff and despite many experiments in what products are offered people will consistantly choose to save a dime rather than pay for things they perceive as unecessary. This encourages businesses not to care since their customers don't care. So yes, inertia be it political or economic is not at the 1% level. It includes the 90%.

This goes for issues of freedom (which are more important to me) as well as environment, so this isn't directed at any cause in particular... people just like to be comfortable.

Comment Re:Farts in their general direction. (Score 1) 445

The password generates the key. You essentially recreate the key when you install spideroak and enter the password in the new client.
More interesting is that they provide a web interface and warn you that using it will decrease your security as your handing over your password for them to create the key in order to decrypt your files. Further they suggest account maintenance is done via the spideroak client for the same reason. Doing it via the web requires you to hand over your password to their webserver, which allows remote decryption.

So it is possible to have zero-knowledge encryption, you just have to be careful never to touch their webserver. That assumes, as others have pointed out, that their are no hidden backdoors in the software.

Comment Re:I knew it would be 5-4 (Score 1) 643

But the amendments to the consitution are not black and white. Whether you can stand it or not, a word like "unreasonable" is a variable word and a metaphorical yardstick must be used to figure out where unreasonable starts. Its hard to argue for any specific measure... current feelings, original intent, administrative whim? Centuries or jurisprudence has resulted in a system that I feel has missed the mark on many important issues, so I can't even put my faith in stare decisis as being a good basis for decisions.

At least original intent attempts to avoid some of the political pressures, poor reasoning, and quirks that have accumulated.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 2) 311

Its news only because people feel strongly about their preferred aspect ratio. The 21:9 aspect ratio is the story, not the physical monitor. I stubbornly cling to 16:10 for example and dislike the continual shrinking of the available vertical space. If they'd scale up past 1080 I might be able to get into a wider screen as it'd allow two decently sized tiled windows on one monitor. That is not the trend though and I hope that this particular aspect ratio does not catch on.


Gameplay: the Missing Ingredient In Most Games 308

An anonymous reader writes "Game designer Tadhg Kelly has an article discussing the direction the games industry has taken over the past several years. Gaming has become more of a business, and in doing so, become more of a science as well. When maximizing revenue is a primary concern, development studios try to reduce successful game designs to individual elements, then naively seek to add those elements to whatever game they're working on, like throwing spices into a stew. Kelly points out that indie developers who are willing to experiment often succeed because they understand something more fundamental about games: fun. Quoting: 'The guy who invented Minecraft (Markus "Notch" Persson) didn't just create a giant virtual world in which you could make stuff, he made it challenging. When Will Wright created the Sims, he didn't just make a game about living in a virtual house. He made it difficult to live successfully. That's why both of those franchises have sold millions of copies. The fun factor is about more than making a game is amusing or full of pretty rewards. If your game is a dynamic system to be mastered and won, then you can go nuts. If you can give the player real fun then you can afford to break some of those format rules, and that's how you get to lead rather than follow the market. If not then be prepared to pay through the nose to acquire and retain players.'"

Comment Re:As a classic car enthusiast... (Score 1) 238

Chances are an aftermarket ECU will be used to get around those cases. As more of the system communications is encrypted more will have to be modified to be able to use the car, but the basic components of the car will be intact. This solution might work fine for the collector. The individual who just wants to fix their car will more likely pay a lot more to a dealership or highly specialized repair shop, however.

Comment Re:Word (Score 1) 586

Maybe for software in active development. I've dealt with million line projects where small teams may have developed a part of the project (a library in your case), but had subsequently brought it to maturity and left. The people who came later, such as myself, could fall back on domain experts to tell us what the code should do but might be expected to learn an area to maintain it that we'll not likely touch again.

I wouldn't say horribly horribly wrong... just a different type of a software project at a different level of maturity than yours. In those cases any kind of tools that help navigating and understanding the system are most welcome. Falling back to windows textual find tools is a bit painful.

Comment Re:Looks like the AG actually read the law (Score 1) 817

The federal law trumps state law when the constitution gives the federal government power to legislate on that area.
A treaty trumps federal law, when there is a conflict... however,
A treaty does not trump constitutional law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_v._Covert

If in fact election law is reserved to the state then short of a constitutional amendment the federal government shouldn't have power to regulate how a state chooses to run its elections and the supremacy clause doesn't enter into it because the power was not delegated to the federal government in the first place.

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