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Comment A New Individual Backup Paradigm Is Needed (Score 1) 366

In my view, people are too rigid with 'RAID Is Not Backup' and '3-2-1' schemes. I think these ideas are fine in an enterprise setting, but in an individual setting, people have different needs that depend on what they're guarding against. And the likelihood of what they're guarding against will vary depending on individual settings. For example:
1) For most people, the most likely risk is hardware failure. The first line of defense has to be a scheme that can survive the failure of a hard drive. In that sense, hardware RAID is ok, though something software-based (Storage Spaces, DrivePool, the various RAID-like schemes) is much better.
2) The risk of flood/fire will vary depending on whether you live in a flood-zone basement or a city high-rise. If you live in the latter, there's no point wasting sleep on guarding against an unlikely risk.
3) In 30 years of computer use, I don't think I've ever deleted something accidentally that was beyond recovery. Again, this may not apply to you if you're a command line jockey, but if you live in GUI world, this is not a risk you need to worry about.
4) It's hard to corrupt data in software. Programs can get borked, and OS installs/updates can be messed up, but data usually remains accessible unless there's a hardware failure.
5) How likely is a ransomware attack? What if you're careful about security? Is it worth it guarding against this risk?
6) You have to weigh the recovery effort/cost vs the protection effort/cost. Rather than spending time and money making sure you implement and maintain a 3-2-1 scheme, you might consider living with some small risks of data loss or time-consuming recovery.

Comment Re:I can answer that! (Score 1) 474

This is still idiotic. It's like saying how much of a disaster it was to make the WinXP 'candy' (or whatever it's called) desktop the default, when everyone wanted to keep the 'classic' desktop. Well guess what? I'm sure there will be a checkbox to make your system boot into the Win7 UI every time.

Seriously, people are just grasping at straws to hate this thing!

Comment Surprised by the Negative Reaction (Score 1) 538

We're getting an OS that:
1) is a superset of Win7 (everything on Win7 will run on Win8),
2) easily switches from a touch UI to a classic desktop UI,
3) will work on various CPU architectures for phones, tablets, and PCs,
4) will allow seamless connectivity, application, and data sharing between all your computing devices,
5) and will run on a crappy atom CPU,
and people here are complaining?!

Slashdot is now officially full of luddites! Go read the engadget review of the developer preview to get a sense of how this OS fits in the modern world.

Obligatory hedge: "I have karma to burn, so go ahead and flame away"

Comment Re:excellent PR by Google (Score 1) 186

True, but it does highlight the danger of the government and enterprises moving their email service to Google and the 'cloud'. My company requires me to use an RSA token to log in to corporate mail or VPN, so simple phishing won't be successful. I'm aware of the recent RSA hack but in some ways, that's the point of two-factor authentication: you can completely compromise one factor but still have time to fix things before the other factor fails.

Comment Re:BCC still existed? (Score 1) 366

As someone who has worked in a corporate environment for a number of years, I would say bringing someone's boss into a spat is childish enough. Bringing someone's boss in via bcc is downright shitty.


Why Sony Cannot Stop PS3 Pirates 378

Sam writes "A former Ubisoft exec believes that Sony will not be able to combat piracy on the PlayStation 3, which was recently hacked. Martin Walfisz, former CEO of Ubisoft subsidiary Ubisoft Massive, was a key player in developing Ubisoft's new DRM technologies. Since playing pirated games doesn't require a modchip, his argument is that Sony won't be able to easily detect hacked consoles. Sony's only possible solution is to revise the PS3 hardware itself, which would be a very costly process. Changing the hardware could possibly work for new console sales, though there would be the problem of backwards compatibility with the already-released games. Furthermore, current users would still be able to run pirated copies on current hardware." An anonymous reader adds commentary from PS3 hacker Mathieu Hervais about Sony's legal posturing.

Have I Lost My Gaming Mojo? 418

danabnormal writes "Increasingly I'm being frustrated in my attempts to find a game I want to play. In an effort to catch up, I've been using my bog standard Dell laptop to dig out treasures I have missed, such as American McGee's Alice, Grim Fandango and Syberia. I don't often get the time to play games, so I like to have the opportunity to dip in and out of a title without feeling like I'm losing something by not playing it for periods of time. But when I find a title I like, I make the time. Heavy Rain is the last game that gripped me, that truly engaged me and made me want to complete it in a single sitting. I'm tired of the GTA formulas, bored of CoDs and don't have the reaction time to think on my feet for AOE III. Is it about time I tossed in the controller and resigned myself to the fact that the games I want only come out once in a blue moon? Or have I just not found that one great title that will open me up to a brand new genre? Lords of Ultima is going OK at the moment — is there anything of that ilk I've missed? What are your thoughts? Do you stick to a particular genre? Are you finding it harder, as you get more mature, to find something you want to play?"

Comment Re:Slashdot Economics (Score 2, Interesting) 342

First, oligopoly is a far cry from monopoly. Barring collusion (which is illegal under anti-trust law) oligopoly markets can be extremely competitive, leading to razor-thin profit margins, low prices, rapid technological change, and consumer choice: compare the current mobile OS market to Windows in the 90s, or even the cell phone service market to pre-1980s AT&T.

Second, successful companies continue to grow to achieve scale efficiencies, but at some point, 'bigger' starts to bring its own problems of lack of agility and innovation and uncoordinated management. Anyone who watched Microsoft or Detroit's big three stumble can see this. So there's a limit to how large a company can/should grow based on the nature of its business.

Third, whether a market becomes an oligopoly or not depends on the overall size of the market relative to the efficient size of a company. The extreme case of a natural monopoly happens when the size of the market is smaller than the efficient size of the company (so there's room for only one), but in most cases, the market is large enough to accommodate several firms of efficient size.

Finally, just because a market is an oligopoly doesn't mean the same players remain successful and continue to control the market. Changing technology and innovation create a lot of churn (Schumpeter's creative destruction). This is particularly true in the IT world where leaders can quickly lose their edge to small upstarts and the game is changing at break-neck speed. A few years ago, Asus was a name known only to geeks, now it's a household name churning out millions of netbooks each year. A year ago, nobody gave a shit about 'tablets', now it's the rage with a few unlikely names poised for success (Samsung?!). There's still plenty of room for 'garage' innovation here, and lots of venture capital to see it through to commercial success.

Comment Slashdot Economics (Score 3, Insightful) 342

Only on slashdot would such economic bullshit (and the socioeconomic bullshit referenced within) get modded +5 insightful and repeated ad-nauseum. Free markets do NOT tend towards monopolies eventually. The vast majority of markets are not monopolies and are in no danger of becoming so, regardless of government intervention or regulation. The evidence on this is so overwhelming I wouldn't know where to begin. In fact, there are so few examples of natural/existing monopolies (where the efficient scale of production exceeds the size of the market) that we tend to use the same examples over and over in classrooms and textbooks (public utilities).

The internet and information goods have some interesting characteristics (e.g. network effects) that tend to encourage consolidation, but even in this area, changing technology and consumer preferences tend to overthrow dominant firms (e.g. Microsoft).

And yes, I'm an economist.


Google Engineer Sponsors New Kinect Bounties 96

ashidosan writes "Hot on the heels of the Adafruit competition, Matt Cutts (a search spam engineer at Google) is sponsoring two more $1,000 bounties for projects using Kinect. 'The first $1,000 prize goes to the person or team that writes the coolest open-source app, demo, or program using the Kinect. The second prize goes to the person or team that does the most to make it easy to write programs that use the Kinect on Linux.'" Relatedly, reader imamac points out a video showing Kinect operating on OS X.

NASA Parodies Reach New Level of Awkwardness 28

MMBK writes "NASA TV recently produced six movie-trailer parodies about current projects for a 'themed exhibit at an international conference.' But for the most part, the attempt remains pretty corny, far, far away from the imaginative, inspiring work of space artists like Bruce McCall."

Comment Re:This is second place (Score 1) 1260

I'm not asking you to give me examples of what *you* consider vanishingly small. I'm asking for references that "vanishingly small" probability is the same as "zero" probability. You've provided none.

Just because "almost surely" and "almost everywhere" are precise mathematical concepts (which they are) doesn't mean "vanishingly small" also is. Ditto with "infinitesimals".

Comment Re:This is second place (Score 1) 1260

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

From a Google search on "vanishingly small", you can see that the phrase is used to describe something very small, but not equal to zero. In this case, the probability *is* zero, so "vanishingly small" is incorrect. Of course, you're free to prove me wrong and provide a credible reference where the phrase is used the way you describe.

We're having a discussion about mathematics. Let's not screw things up by using language incorrectly!

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