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Comment In the cloud! (Score 1) 402

"networked, cloud-based launching software provided by Qatar which can set off a rocket from any distance, and set them to go off at a specific time, using timers"

What's the difference between this and cell-phone activated stuff they've been using for years? (source: any war movie featuring IEDs)

It's on the Internet.. and they've found out how to use TIME CLOCKS!?

Comment Re:Who would hire a ketamine user? (Score 1) 102

That's not how the logic behind those security clearance questions works. The reason they ask if you've used drugs, had an affair, or any other unmoral things is that if you have done those things you might be susceptible to blackmail. Some foreign agent comes up to you and says "I know you use drugs and can prove it. Sell us secrets or we'll tell on you and get you fired/jailed/etc.."

Or whatever.

Comment Jeff Campbell? Never heard of him. (Score 0) 337

Vice president of whatever... not an engineer. I read one of his letters to a congressional committee and it seems obvious that either he is a lawyer or had it drawn up by Cisco's legal council.

In other words this guy has never used a router.
This person has no idea how the Internet works.

He shouldn't be speaking about things he doesn't understand. Cisco had some good engineers who I really respect, with a few still working for them. If someone with enable wants to speak up in favor of a stupid policy that every operator knows is a bad idea then I might listen.

Comment Time release escrow (Score 2) 170

I started working on software to do this a few years back. I concluded that all the software is already written if you have a need and the problems are all regarding the way the user wants to protect the information, how much money they have to spend and how careful they are. In other words, it's a social/societal problem and you could setup a consulting service to help people do it, but software probably wouldn't be much benefit.

Here is an example:

First encrypt all the things. Then give the encrypted file to anyone since you're going to assume for the sake of this slashdot post that the crypto is unbreakable (if you're unwilling to accept this assumption then feel free to divide the data the same way the key is outlaid).

Next establish some trusts in your name and appoint a number of people as trust managers. This should probably be more than one trust and definitely more than one person. You may even need to obscure who creates the trust depending on what you're hiding and who might want to get it. Try to make some of the trust managers overseas might be good if you're worried about long term survivability of your data, since stability of a country might be in question in 100 years or so.

Now, cut your key into two halfs (or more), write out instructions that the managers are to meet at some location at a certain date. None of the managers should know any of the other managers. For survivability you might give a duplicate copy of parts of the key to multiple people so if one person doesn't show up there is still a chance to recover from it.

Ultimately nobody has knowledge of anything. On the date in question the responsible people show up only with the knowledge they are supposed to arrive with their bit of information. It could be that they don't arrive anywhere at all and their instructions are to publish the information. Without having context only the receiver would know what the completed key was for, and even they might have only been instructed to hold on to data for 100 years then accept the key when it arrives.

This scheme works best if there are multiple companies around the world formed with the purpose of doing this for people, or if it was a common service asked for at banks/law offices/etc. If the lawyer is holding on to only one key for 100 years they might become curious and try to figure out what it's for. If it's one key amongst thousands then it's nothing more than a tiny amount of data they're paid to deal with. They would also be less likely to publish the information out of turn because it could be they're storing it for something worth less than the amount they're paid to escrow it.

Comment Re:Work visa (Score 3, Informative) 76

I contributed a plugin to XBMC that scrapes content from a site and shows youtube videos. I'm in the US and as far as I know everything I did was legal. Technically I don't play the videos, I just hand them over to the youtube plugin.

My preference would be to show youtube ads so the site I'm showing videos for gets revenue for users of the plugin, but I think the youtube plugin automatically bypasses ads, or doesn't have provisions to play them.

Regardless, XBMC has problems that have nothing to do with playback or copyrighted video. Crashes, the fact that the whole thing is a single-tasking system which can be hung by any misbehaving plugin, the inability to integrate web content or windowed content (the latter might be a skin thing that could be feasible, but you would still be stuck with a system very much prone to crashing)

You can help the XBMC team with real problems and not worry about video playback. Technically, the DRM piece in XBMC is probably an imported ffmpeg library anyway.

Comment Re:Anyone TRIED to set up OpenStack? (Score 1) 99

I agree somewhat. I was turned off by the silly naming of their daemons.

Nova, Swift, Cinder, Neutron, Horizon, Keystone, Glance, Ceilometer, Heat, Trove.

It's like they're trying to be old sysadmins and naming their boxes after their favorite pokemon until they run out of names and start using Star Trek episode names midway through. No context in the names so you can't figure out what anything does without a reference.

That said, I've looked at it several times because of the things it might do for me that ESXi doesn't (without costing a fortune). I wish it were less flakey. I've worked with people who managed Openstack in large clusters and had plenty of difficulties. It's a work in progress though. I imagine in a couple more years it will be rock solid.

Comment Re:Too much integration (Score 1) 533

It installed in less than 2 minutes because there is no software, as you stated in your post.

I use debian preseed and install my systems via PXE in 5 minutes. Of course I tell it not to install any software, so that is part of the reason it installs quickly. The other part being that it doesn't have to ask questions. We could get that time down a bunch by throwing away compatibility with 90% of the hardware. Solaris on Sun hardware used to install relatively quickly, and was very reliable (in some ways) because they always knew what hardware was there.

Honestly, on a workstation boot time is 1000% more important to me than install time. If windows 8 takes 45 minutes to install and boots in 3 seconds then fine, I'll accept a windows update if I'm not doing anything at the moment. If Linux can install in 5 minutes but takes 2 minutes to reboot then I don't want to reboot. Which is fine unless I'm using a laptop..

Comment Re:um (Score 5, Interesting) 121

The core melted a hole through the ground deep enough to hit the water table where it exploded on contact with water, then caused a steam explosion that was so powerful some of the material hit the jet stream. The heat continued causing hydrogen build up and further hydrogen explosions.

They tried to pour molten lead into the cavity but that just boiled and caused the radioactive steam to also carry lead vapor as well, making it even more toxic. So they gave up and filled it in with concrete. No one has any idea how large the whole was, if there was a chamber at the bottom from the water reservoir or multiple explosions. I don't find it the least bit suspicious that the amount of concrete poured into a random unexplored hole in the midst of the greatest man made disaster in history might be a bit off.

Please cite sources for the core melting through to the water table. Accounts that I've seen say the steam explosions are from the cooling loop and secondary explosions are due to hydrogen. Most of the dispersal was due to the fire which burned for days.

Comment Re: Hybrids (Score 1) 193

Hybrids use their batteries much less than pure electric cars. Hence their batteries are smaller and cheaper.

Different kinds of batteries too. Rather than a deep cycle full discharge you're only using the battery when accelerating and recharging it when braking. They need to consider this when designing the battery system. Although I don't think anyone does, you could use giant capacitors instead of true batteries since that is how you're using them for energy storage. If you did use capacitors I think the reliability would go up but the fire/explosion risk might go up too, so maybe that is why they don't do it.

Some strange hybrids like one of the Ferrari's uses a compressed air cylinder instead of batteries. You could also use a flywheel but then you've got gyroscopic forces on the car. London's subway trains use hills as an energy recovery mechanism. They go up a hill when pulling into a station (slowing down) and go down a hill when pulling out (speeding up). Not practical for a car but kinda neat.

Comment Re:Summary. (Score 1) 301

I would like to see performance numbers on who's malloc is terrible anyway. This was true in ancient times on some systems, to the point where people specifically did what they're doing, but I haven't profiled it in forever and I always assumed it had gone away.

I'm wondering if they cargo-culted their allocator, or if their software just happens to be old enough to fall in that range of things that ran on junky hardware from long ago. It's one of those things where if you're going to leave it in then it should be extensively documented. Not "some systems are slow" but "these exact systems have problems"

Comment Re:What about maintenance costs? (Score 2) 102

While I don't doubt your experiences were sucky, I think this could be overcome if they designed the computers and the datacenter with it in mind. You could make the boards be pullable cards from above. Depending on the size of the chassis they might use a robot crane to retrieve the cards or it might be by hand (the crane would mean the entire datacenter floor could be liquid and the cards would be brought to a place where they could be serviced without messing up the place)

As far as the plumbing getting in the way, I imagine that would be something they would have to address before this became practical. Most of it could be routed according to purpose so it doesn't obstruct but if the CPU board needed active cooling I think there would be more problems like you described.

If it saves enough money people will do it no matter the mess. They might make sealed pods that need to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair.

Comment Re:Seems pretty different, not a gesture (Score 3, Informative) 408

That seems like grasping at straws. The fact of the matter is we've all used sliders in real life. Air conditioner controls on old cars being a good example. Apple took a concept everyone understood and made a modern look to it, but it could still be a virtual representation of a physical slider.

What needs to be asked is if this patent brought anything to the table or is it superfluous? My question isn't if sliders are innovative since they obviously are not, but is the concept of "slide to unlock your phone" innovative?

I could say no but I'd be lying if I didn't think they might have a case there. From what I remember the iphone was the first slide-to-unlock phone, and now all the smartphones seem to have it.

Comment Sounds like a RC plane not a drone (Score 5, Informative) 178

If it's subject to interference caused by someone broadcasting on the same channel and it can't compensate for it by switching channels or in some way authenticate it's control traffic, then it's a poorly designed toy and shouldn't be used commercially.

Reading the article:

"Operators of all unmanned drones used in a commercial capacity are required to be certified.
Neither Mr Abrams nor his business appear on the list of the 92 operators certified nationally."

So it sounds like he should be charged with some form of negligence if that is applicable to Australia. In the US the FAA would also probably be fining him.

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