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Comment Re:Um (Score 4, Insightful) 294

Is the problem of cheap blue LEDs News worthy? The conversation certainly is. News can inform but need not always be just current events, particularly on the Internet where nothing is paper.

Slashdot is a news aggregation site. Ostensibly for 'News for nerds, stuff that matters' at founding. In practice is was a blog for Rob Malda, CmdrTaco. It was also a website with an accidentally really good commenting technology.

Been around long enough to see the jokes about not reading the article? Then you have probably been around long enough to see the argument that a lot of the people still visiting the site do so for the conversation in the articles. They provide everything from group-think arguments, good counter-arguments and funny jokes about the topic to warnings about click-bait, pay-wall free options and corrected sources.

If Slashdot had ever depended upon the quality of the articles it would have failed when it was still Chips-n-Dips hosted on a university student account. The commenting system is more than a chance to keep up your HTML skillz. People in the know are really providing the value. (Queue complaints about Facebook's model, etc.) However, getting quality articles is important to attracting the readership that does not know about the site.

For instance, this article currently doesn't shows up in Google search for annoying LEDs, being a day old. But the top link is for lifehacks.stackexchange.com for whatever reason. Stackechange and Amazon dominate the front page. I almost feel sorry for companies with products on that page. Even with no such thing as bad marketing, being known for having annoying lights on your non-party-joke product is not a good thing.

The Blue LED backlash article on McConnell's blog is page three. And he discusses a vendor that sells low intensity LEDs for computer products. But I expect - or at least hope - this slashdot article to make it to at least page three with McConnell's blog if not higher.

Comment Re:Does it work? (Score 3, Informative) 299

Does it work? No. But that depends on your definition of "work."

But Drug dogs work perfectly for law enforcement: they provide whatever answer the police want and the gullible public believe the dogs are infallible.

I fear you might not know just how accurate some critter's sense of smell is.

You might just not know how dogs behave.

If search dogs work then the dog should be fine to hunt these without the handler there at all. Just let the dog search on his or her own.

Search and rescue dogs work this way just fine every day. You let them go and they hunt down people easily that you or I cannot see or hear or smell.

But any person who raises and breeds and trains dogs professionally knows the first and only thing a well trained dog wants is to please the handler. That's the definition of well and trained for a dog. Drug sniffing dogs are very well trained.

In the hands of their handler a dog is just a dowsing rod for the man with the leash. Combine that with objects that conveniently fit in an officer's pocket and the long history of corrupt government officials. You shouldn't have plausible evidence. You should have plausible deniability. Yes, dogs are great at finding skunks or burnt joints you might be able to smell yourself. Not so much for things in air-tight closed containers on in piles of stuff that smells exactly like it.

But like you demonstrate, most people don't know how dogs behave. (Or how to spot magical thinking.)

Keep the handler away from the dog. Let it search on its own. Otherwise he or she is just a furry four-legged lie detector.

Comment Re:-based? (Score 1) 599

Is something like Debian itself Debian-based? Your answer to this philosophical question divides into two interesting camps of logic.

  • One is that a thing is most similar to itself therefore is always based on itself. The set of things similar to a thing would contain that thing.
  • The other is the idea that identity and similarity are completely separate concepts. The prototype in this latter thinking is not part of the set that classifies things into the set defined by the prototype.

It is not like asking what is the closest star to Earth (Sol, or the sun). It is more like asking what is the closest planet to the Earth. (Insert car analogy here.)

For sake of argument assume a planet is just something in the heavens that can be seen by naked eye and that moves daily against said heavens

All of this is without touching on important questions like is Debian made from Wood? Does it float? And does Debian weight as much as a duck? (No but only if you use rare double-sided, double-layer DVDs.)

Comment Re: Linux - Gentoo based (Score 1) 599

When did the package manager become more important than the operating environment?

Documentation and support information tends to be organized around how each distribution works or fails. (Or just provided for Ubuntu.) Knowing the distribution of software involved is thus important for sending the correct lmgtfy.com links.

From good Linux questions the reader can figure out or be told:

  1. Which kernel won't load your graphics drivers (Linux, Android, ntoskernel, Darwin, BSD.)
  2. Userland so you know which switches don't work (BSD, GNU, busybox, something else.)
  3. Package Manager (yum, zypper, apt, dnf, up2date, app store, etc) so you know which software won't install.
  4. Filesystem hierarchy violations so you can't find where anything got installed.

The package manager provides a really good hint to everything in that stack. apg-get implies a Debian derivative, most likely Ubuntu. Use dnf? Probably a Fedora desktop user. Got a question that shows zypper commands? openSUSE or really recent SLES. Yum instructions? RHEL or older SLES. URPMI? Mageia Linux. up2date? Really really old RedHat. Brew? You want the Mac OS channel, this is ##linux. Someone handed you a tarball and 50 pages of ./configure, make, make install? Hello, the 20th century called and wants their unpackaged software back.

Knowing which package manager is involved can also be important for supporting users. Those users who a only familiar with very basic support for their specific distribution need to be given instructions exactly for that distribution. Telling someone to do 'sudo apt-get' a bunch of stuff on Fedora will just confuse them. You'll waste time explaining the explanation. Then you'll waste time explaining that after you get a wall of hate about how everything sucks, your instructions suck, your distribution sucks and why can't we have nice things?

More advanced users can translate between Slack, Arch recipes, .rpm local flavors , .deb or Gentoo instructions. They may package stuff for themselves or others. (Whether or not you have to eat a whole bucket of mushrooms to figure out how to make said package is another matter.)

These more advanced users also know that a particular package in some Google-able documentation may have a very different name for each distributions. Those who have been around longer know that some software is not even be available on the distribution with the issue to solve.

So, yes, knowing the package manager lets people know which Linux tribe you hail from and thus which kind of hate mail to send. I mean support to charge you for. After all, all operating systems suck.

Comment Re:Length damn it! (Score 2) 148

Human factors and industrial engineering turns out to be important when working on systems used by humans.

I spent 15 years developing and writing password / pass phrase security tools used on a huge number of web site

This is the biggest argument for open source software. Security software is important software. It should work, do so correctly and be able to survive audit or exposure. Do you re-implement printf(3) to write a web page? (Usually no, but I've seen some interesting stuff. Ask a veteran C programmer to do HTML and you might get a new web server with the pages statically encoded in the binary.) But we re-implement user space stuff all the time that is really infrastructure in disguise.

The amount of time wasted re-writing stuff that should be written once and well is I guess a useful tax on the stupid. And too often that's how business works. The waste certainly keeps a lot of people employed.

"Code Monkey says maybe manager should write stupid login page himself."

In my professional opinion, where strength meters and password policies most often fail is that they greatly underestimate the importance of length. I recently encountered a site which required:

Requirements are funny things. Required fields on passwords actually reduce the strength of passwords. I don't need to guess or search the entire alphabet if I know that I only need combinations of unique characters. The result is a much smaller space to brute force. Sadly, without any requirements on variety most people just pick familiar and public information, which is even worse.

Comment Re:Driving yes, but charging? (Score 1) 990

Even with the American insane focus on the rush to get "there" the station doesn't make money off the gas. The profit is in the junk food, services and garbage for sale inside.

and it still won't be anywhere near as fast as refilling a liquid fuel tank.

And that is fine by this gas station logic.

There is money to be made in slowing down the pace of life. Just like making people queue a long time right next to the junk food stands at a Best Buy store. You might see restaurant style waiting tables inside more convenience stores with cellphone charging stations. Perhaps even possibly better bathroom cleaning schedules.

Well, one can hope about the cleaning schedules.

If you go places to do something longer than minute it fits with the EV lifestyle. This may sound like a retirement community approach instead of a high schooler's idealized speed-demon lifestyle. But the money is in gas stations that operate more like restaurants or rest stops. This is the reason charging stations pop up at malls, parks and recreational locations. Like a coffee shop with power for you in a cup and your car in a plug.

The real problem boils down to infrastructure.

For infrastructure we are only talking about the last few inch problem here. You already need a power tap to run the pumps. This just cuts out the pump between your car and the grid. Most of the remodel will be in getting those tables and chairs.

And getting those bathrooms cleaned.

Comment Re:High failure rate (Score 4, Informative) 209

If only that blackbaze pods were even remotely like other datacenter equipment. As far as vibration is concerned they are still pretty much a torture test for anything with a spinning motor. Minimal vibration protection while being mechanically coupled to a weak foundation while crammed in as tightly as geometry allows.

A temperature-controlled environment, clean power, low shock and vibration, and 1 out of 5 still fails

The density and structure of a pod is only temperature-controlled in that it is going to get hot, quickly.

Remind me never to buy Seagate.

The numbers from Backblaze you'll actually see that you shouldn't buy one particular desktop model of hard drive for your "datacenter." Numbers like Backblaze releases are quite fascinating in that you can analyze them. You can find which models at any vendor to prefer or avoid.

Oh, wait, I already vowed never to buy another Seagate- about 10 years ago after experiencing their unequaled propensity to die fast and hard.

Sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you kept backup copies. If not, I hope it taught you that if you don't have a copy then you don't have a backup.

It is certainly reasonable to avoid a vendor when a lot of their products from many lines have defects at a given time. Seagate's desktop line certainly took a hit from the initial Backblaze numbers. The DM1000's huge failure rate is almost as legendary as the IBM Death Star line or Maxtor click-of-death. But stuff from before or after a given run may have better or worse quality. And of course even manufactures can get batches of bad parts. (Hidden variables like that are one of the reasons why the singular of data isn't anecdote.)

I also wonder if we'll ever get numbers from Backblaze on things like the actual temperature, decibels and power these drives lived through. More than just avoiding a particular model. It would be nice to know how hot, loud and nasty you can get before your commodity-class storage starts pooping out.

Comment Research arm of NASA (Score 2, Interesting) 80

I hope this thing is happy being fueled by cheap polluting sources and doesn't clog much. Just with clean water the current politics of 3rd world nations makes access to fuel sources difficult. But it could be very useful to roof-top first-world herb gardens and space travel.

One common plan to colonize Mars, the Moon or various science fiction worlds starts with dropping of robots and letting them build the infrastructure. Then all you need to send humans is a fancy taxi with some really good entertainment for the long trip. One problem facing these plans is that the cost estimates. One NASA plan to research, develop and implement the robotic parts of a farm on the Moon has a literal Moon-shot price.

Yet here we are in the age of Kickstarter and Indiegogo funding where the key parts of a space colony are being invented one piece at a time.

Let's just hope that nobody decides to take the money and go build a house with it instead. That would be just Peachy.

Comment Re:Too glib (Score 2) 93

I defy you to find a single person in a company who cannot comprehend something other than profit.

Investors.

Also the implied definition of profit it very limited. There are other kinds of profit than 'make as much money as possible.' But the investors are always taking on some of the risk and responsibility for a profit.

Large investors like Venture Capitalists or Mutual Funds may only be interested in how to generate money since they don't really have any other value they can derive from a random business.

It is sad today that any company created who doesn't have the express purpose of making more money is called a non-profit. It reflects our current narrow thinking in Western culture and a lack of knowledge of our history. Originally a company was a kind of business that a group of people formed legally to achieve some end of some kind. There were many kinds of charters. Often expected social benefits were required for granting the recognition of a company as a thing.

A company was once practical tool for a practical world. If openness was not harmful it might even make the achievement of that goal easier by enabling other companies to work together to achieve that goal. A perfect example is Universities creating the Internet long before the private dial-up networks created their closed captive markets.

But in lassie-fare market economics secrecy can give your for-money-profit-only company a competitive edge. Deny others access to your market and force them to spend time developing their own trade secrets. There is little advantage in the for-money-profit-only world to you letting government regulators or customers in on your super secret formula. Best to do away with the FDA and BSA, too.Your product or process could be a ball full of crap, kill kittens to make pop-tarts or power ancient evil with pollution. Openness would be harmful to that business model.

Comment Re:It's not money... not unlike US green back (Score 1) 150

Every country in the world is trying to put their wealth in dollars.

Because to buy oil for heating, making gasoline to drive cars, making diesel to drive trucks or persecutors for plastics you need dollars. US dollars.

The US governments, both one for the rich and the one for the poor, have been mighty stable compared to many poorly managed governments. But that's only because its economy moves in lockstep with most everybody's economy now. Thanks to international trade the US economy can feel any Chinese slow down or European Union financial stress. But to get or sell that fuel oil you need greenbacks even when your petro-nation is circling the $20-a-barrel toilet.

And every time some uppity nation of non-white people tries to sell oil for Russian Rubles or Chinese Renminbi guns and bombs with American flags painted on the side go raining down on them until they change their mind.

Comment Re:Companies shouldn't have political power (Score 0) 416

Any "solution" that is premised on changing human nature is not a solution at all.

Human nature is just an implmentation detail. With germ-line and retrovirus treatments improving your crops and pets it is only a matter of time until that gun is turned back on us.

After all, GMO people are safe people. Does your neighboor come with a Monstanto Pedophile Free(tm) garuntee?

Comment Re:Is this available to the US also? (Score 1) 360

yes, I, who grew up here in the US, demand to have first right of jobs over some foreigner who did nothing for the US, and in fact, won't do anything for the US once they take their money away and return home, later on.

The solution to this is very simple: end the H1-B visa program. Replace it with a program that lets you import a worker temporarily to do work only if (a) the employeer cannot find someone with the skills to do that job (b) willing-to-work-for-ramen level pay cannot be a consideration as a skill (c) that employee must actively train a native or green card holder in that skill. Set a deadline for replacing that worker with the native worker. Make the employeer pay both people at the same time.

When you are in business for the money that's the only thing you'll care about. Tariffs aren't just for products. Making that the H1-B "replacement" always costs much more than just hiring and training a citizen then your government is actively protecting and investing in the people that created that government to protect and invest in them. As long as your elected government creates and supports a system of cheap labor importation those employers who can take advantage of the cheap price will.

Comment Re:Some basic flaws here (Score 1) 298

. Air travel already involves sitting in a seat for too long.

Sit in a car. Stand in a line. Sit in chair. Stand in another line. Sit in a tiny, cramped seat. Sit in another car.

For shorter trips a high cost of air travel today isn't money, it's the long lead time and frustration. You can get in your own car and start driving to your destination in minutes or seconds. Trip on an airplane? That's a car, train or bus trip plus waiting in several lines for upwards of hours just to sit in a "lounge" for your aircraft.

What people *actually* want are revolutionary new concepts that cut the cost of air travel

I want to know: what does the USA's TSA thinks about people getting into pods?

I doubt that a pod would be pleasant after the bean counters come around and ask how tightly can you pack people into them.

Comment Re:Please don't kill 32-bit Wine (Score 1) 378

16-bit Windows software can be run through Wine. Linux has never had a 16-bit implementation.

Some business software is run through Wine. But it is heavily used for Windows games on Linux Mostly just 32-bit Blizzard titles and a few 32-bit or 64-bit MMOs like Eve Online.

For these applications Windows-on-Windows (WoW) is something Wine should handle. Wow is a subsystem specific to Windows. Both the 16-bit and 32-bit versions. Thunks to Linux 32-bit compat libraries may not always be appropriate when WoW behavior is expected.

64-bit Wine prefixes are considered experimental. But I would expect them to be very common. Ubuntu, MagiOS, openSUSE and Fedora provide it. Gamers playing on Linux likely will be using it the way from their distribution built it. That will be on 64-bit if their OS is 64-bit. On the flip side, competitive gamers looking for as much performance as possible are likely to try every combination to eke out that extra few fps. I have met people who dual box Windows and Linux for extra FPS on Linux when possible.

At the worst, 32-bit compat libraries will have to remain around. Wine can use those instead of providing internal narrowing support. The compat libraries are needed anyway for closed-source applications. Things like Oracle products, random indie developer apps and any number of long gone companies that farted out a single Linux edition in the 90s.

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