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Can Our Computers Continue To Get Smaller and More Powerful?

EndlessNameless Re:Obvious (151 comments)

Zero? No, that is incorrect---both in theory and in the normal conversational context.

Did you read your own links?

Per Landauer's principle, it takes a small amount of energy. In that same article, it states that modern computer consume millions of times the theoretical minimum. So, technically, the energy requirement is non-zero, and practically it can be quite high.

The limits of computation have a great deal to do with energy, as any given computation must occur on some physical medium, and that medium consumes energy while operating. It is extremely myopic to claim that energy has nothing to do with the limit of computation.

IBM, Intel, and the other guys have all done a lot of work to reduce the energy required for computation. The number of operations per watt has skyrocketed in my lifetime---and can continue to do so at the current rate for quite some time. Energy consumption and thermal constraints limit computational capacity at every level, and to claim otherwise is simply ignorant or disingenuous.

about 2 months ago

MIT Researchers Create Platform To Build Secure Web Apps That Never Leak Data

EndlessNameless Re:How can you search data (90 comments)

I think you don't understand what searchable encryption is. It means you can search the data without decrypting it. Once you find the records you need, you decrypt them.

The only data that is ever decrypted is the actual data that you want.

If you're like me, you probably had a brief moment of "OMG, how is that even possible?" when you first grasped it. And that is why it is an expensive software package for those who need it.

about 7 months ago

Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

EndlessNameless Re:Answer is totally obvious - content providers (490 comments)

Because renting physical discs is well-established legally and has a pre-existing distribution model.

Note that they didn't want that either. The studios tried lawsuits and then lobbying to stop Betamax and VHS, the analog predecessors of DVD and Blu-ray.

The movie industry is quite happy with a pay-per-view model. Most content becomes available as paid video-on-demand before it is available on Netflix or cable television.

If Netflix streaming were pay-per-view rather than a smaller monthly subscription, they would probably be happier. But a lot of people wouldn't be.

The movie industry is run by nitwits that still think scarcity and exclusivity are relevant to informational goods.

about 7 months ago

Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

EndlessNameless Re:Answer is totally obvious - content providers (490 comments)

To make the old DVDs available online someone would have to invest the time to shift them into digital format.


If it's on a DVD, it's already digital and encoded as an MPG2 stream. Converting MPG2 into another format is simple and available on almost every video editing app in existence.

The idea that old DVDs need to be shifted into a digital format is absurd---they are already digital. And transcoding them into a streaming format is not difficult. There are free tools that do it, and do it well.

If anything, it is the negotiation for distribution rights that would be the real issue. Because delivering DVD-quality video is trivial. It takes longer to install and configure Apache than it does to transcode a two-hour movie.

about 7 months ago

Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

EndlessNameless Re:Stealing? (197 comments)

> They have an obligation to do what the corporation was intended to do.

And when a corporation is founded as a commercial entity, its express purpose is profit. The corporate charter may espouse numerous other principles, but a commercial business is legally a profit-generating endeavor---everything else is window dressing.

Henry Ford wanted to lower the price of automobiles and employ more workers in order to bring the benefits of industrialization to all people in exchange for lower profits---and the court told him he could not.

In the US, the board of directors has a fiduciary duty to its shareholders. That duty is ensuring profit, either through dividends or stock valuations. They have no conflicting fiduciary duties to the general public or human welfare.

> Which may not involve making money at all.

I laughed out loud. If we're talking about publicly-traded corporations in the US---and in the case of Microsoft, we are---you are absolutely wrong.

about 7 months ago

Microsoft Dumping License Fees For Windows Phone?

EndlessNameless Windows Store (125 comments)

If they get a cut of all the app purchases, this is an obvious win-win. Manufacturers get cheaper devices to the market, and Microsoft increase its user base.

I can't speak for everyone, but I have spent more on apps than the price of my phone over its lifetime. (The unsubsidized price, at that.)

about 7 months ago

Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

EndlessNameless Re:Lifers? (597 comments)

If it applies only to full-time students, you have to remain full-time. This limits your job opportunities. Also, higher level graduate studies become rather selective. The number of people who qualify for graduate, post-grad, and post-doc *combined* is a minute fraction of the student population.

Also, post-grads are often working as research assistants or teaching assistants---while receiving a small stipend at most. I'd consider this enough of a public good to not worry about it. Between the small population and the value of the work, I wouldn't advocate a change unless someone finds a way to really abuse it.

I support the general idea. I am happy to pay the tax provided the actual law has no major problems. That is a bigger concern to me---what will the idiots in Congress do with this idea?

about 8 months ago

Gnome 3.12 Delayed To Sync With Wayland Release

EndlessNameless Re:Gnome 3 - Windows 8 for Linux (204 comments)

For Windows 8, if you're referring to the new Metro/Modern UI as the new desktop, the lack of Win32 compatibility was not a mistake. There is a huge security shift moving to Metro/Modern.

They finally implemented a secured app ecosystem. Instead of granting installers blanket admin privileges, they require permissions manifests that are enforced by the local security system. This makes some traditional trojans (like keyloggers) impossible without privilege escalation exploits. Their read/write privileges are also restricted unless their manifests request more.

This is similar to how Android presents the user with a list of permissions for each new application (or for an update, if that particular update includes new permissions).

While some apps can never move to Metro/Modern, any non-technical user will have better security with Metro/Modern apps. Personally, I use none of those apps on the one Windows 8 system I have---but I would prefer it if my parents switched. I believe Metro/Modern is useless for Slashdot-level users and an important step for everyone else. Given a few iterations, it could knock down the wall between security and usability.

about 9 months ago

Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)

EndlessNameless Re:The Problem (332 comments)

This arbitrary fabrication precisely mirrors how Bitcoin started. There will eventually be 21,000,000 in existence. That number was completely arbitrary, as was the original degree of subdivision and nomenclature. The proposed subdivision and nomenclature is equally arbitrary yet functionally equivalent. The method by which Bitcoins are transferred and verified would essentially remain the same.

If there are too many Bitcoins lost (e.g., in the secured wallets of dead people), then further dividing Bitcoins into smaller fractions will have little effect besides slightly increasing liquidity. Any psychological effect would come from people misunderstanding the nature of the system.

If this hypothetical scenario is worrisome to you, you should already be worried about the "fabricated" nature of Bitcoin. Because, fundamentally, nothing changes with OP's proposal.

about 9 months ago

Marc Andreessen On Why Bitcoin Matters (And A Critique)

EndlessNameless Re:Beware of "We" (332 comments)

living paycheck-to-paycheck need a currency whose value doesn't decay while stored in cash/checking.

Nice try, but this is a red herring.

If you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, your money doesn't sit around long enough for inflation to have a meaningful effect.

Middle-class retirement planning may be affected, but there are already a number of options for those investments. (Granted, they aren't as nice as the upper class options.)

Those of us in the middle class need something that won't fall victim to another anti-Wikileaks financial blockade.

I think this is your real concern. Expand and clarify on it however you see fit, but leave the other garbage out.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Convince an ISP To Bury Cable In Your Neighborhood?

EndlessNameless Re:The basics... (324 comments)

Fiber is provider-agnostic. Which electrical wiring to run? Most phone companies provide service over twisted pair to the house, and most cable companies use coax. Fiber is essentially a universal medium, and the telco will provide (or spec out) compatible equipment to be installed in the home.

Fiber is the future. Most major telcos have some sort of next-gen internet offering based on fiber. And everyone's fiber service is better than their copper/coax service. Since most of the cost is digging up and filling back in, you might as well spend a little extra to make it worthwhile. There is no reason to tear up the entire neighborhood just to install some obsolete technology.

Fiber is easy. In the past, running and splicing (aka, fusing) fiber was very difficult and therefore expensive compared to copper/coax. This is no longer the case. Fiber has outgrown its early-adopter and premium-price taxes for the most part. Experienced techs are now commonplace. You no longer need a huge box mounted on a pickup truck with a generator to splice fiber---there are handheld units. The tech has matured.

Running copper/coax now is like building a cobblestone road. You certainly could do it, and it would essentially work. But this is not something you should do anymore unless there is a specific requirement to do so.

about 9 months ago

China's Government Unveils 'China Operating System' To Great Skepticism

EndlessNameless Re:before you go there (223 comments)

I trust the chinese a lot more than the americans at this point, never heard of the chinese secretly going into other countries to get a foreign national. china at least keeps their misdeeds mostly in china and bordering countries


about 9 months ago

Building an Open Source Nest

EndlessNameless Re:This is great (195 comments)

Assuming that the data is reliable in any way. I have a Nest, and I've turned off auto away because it was awful at predicting when I'd actually left the house.

First, this is likely to improve over time. Second, whatever raw data is used to determine if you're present could also be collected and stored indefinitely.

Actually, if both of those are true, they could go back and review the data with their improved algorithm and retroactively figure out whether you've been there.

The point about cloud-connected home management is that once they have data, they can do whatever they want with it. That includes the cloud provider, their sponsors, and anyone else who can access their data.

about 9 months ago

Microsoft Remotely Deleted Tor From Windows Machines To Stop Botnet

EndlessNameless Re:Battle (214 comments)

My tinfoil hat says it worked as intended. Making TOR unusable in this period of time would discourage its use by non-technical computer users who were probably flocking to it for privacy's sake.

Except for the part where MS security researchers asked the Tor devs if this type of installation was normal, and they said "No."

That's why the tinfoil hat moniker came about in the first place: to identify FUD and other nonsense.

At the end of the day, the malware got removed, and there was no public outrage from people losing their legitimate Tor installations---because only the bad ones got wiped.

If you don't run a Microsoft security product and don't choose the Malicious Software Removal Tool from Windows Update, then nothing happens. Granted these are both default options, but if a user doesn't understand enough to choose alternatives that user probably needs both of these tools.

about 9 months ago

Microsoft Remotely Deleted Tor From Windows Machines To Stop Botnet

EndlessNameless Re:Battle (214 comments)

It was mining bitcoins on the slave machines.

At a minimum, there is an increase in electrical consumption. Also, potentially: slowdowns, overheating, bandwidth overages (some countries have metered internet), misc compatibility issues.

about 9 months ago

Microsoft Remotely Deleted Tor From Windows Machines To Stop Botnet

EndlessNameless Re:A Microsoft Killswitch (214 comments)

Bloatware leads to one of two conclusions. Either:

1. The user doesn't understand what his OS and applications do, and so he needs someone to secure his computer for him.


2. The user understands the software on his machine, and he can remove what he deems unnecessary.

The presence of bloatware strongly indicates the person falls into category #1, at least for Windows machines. I also have no problem with the idea that a person could be a guru on one system and a total noob on another.

The decision to"secure it yourself" vs "let someone secure it for you" includes time, effort, and expertise as considerations. If most people decide to have someone else secure the system, that is probably better anyway. After all, a vast MINORITY of users are IT professionals.

about 9 months ago

Google Confirms Shut Down of Schemer

EndlessNameless Re:Here we go again... (170 comments)

You make the most important distinction that is typically overlooked.

Dependence on other companies should be avoided if possible. Anyone complaining about the disappearance of an unprofitable beta service deserved to fail.

Both iOS and Android are established platforms with established SDKs and a profit model based in part on the success of 3rd-party developers. Those market characteristics make dependence on their platforms a reasonable risk to accept.

Basing an entire business on Google Wave or Schemer is simply moronic in comparison. Cutting edge =/= profitable, cool =/= wise.

about 9 months ago

Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

EndlessNameless Re:I don't get the whole 'new version' thing (1009 comments)

Users want a) compatibility with all of their existing hardware and software, b) familiar interface, c) reliability, d) security

But the reality is that 'a' is mutually exclusive with 'c' and 'd'.

This is the big underlying problem.

In the FOSS world, if enough people care about an app that needs to be updated to run on a new kernel, someone will probably update it. In the closed source world, the copyright holder needs to have the capacity and desire to update it---and even then, users will probably have to pay for the new version.

Because of this fundamental difference, the closed OS developer has more constraints.

In both XP and Vista, Microsoft broke compatibility quite drastically and suffered slow adoption rates partially because of it. Broken applications and immature drivers are unappealing in any circumstance---it's even worse if you expect you'll have to pay money to resolve the problem.

about 9 months ago

Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

EndlessNameless Re:9.1 (1009 comments)

Installing an unsupported OS cannot void the warranty.

The manufacturer may not offer support for another OS, or they might insist on restoring the factory software to diagnose problems. But a hardware warranty is still effective.

When in doubt, contact the manufacturer directly with your question. Most consumer tech sales are handled by illiterate loons. You only get decent info at the SMB and enterprise levels anymore.

about 9 months ago

Google Begins To Merge Google+, Gmail Contacts

EndlessNameless Re:Great.... (339 comments)

Using market dominance in one area (search, email) to gain an unfair advantage in another area (social) is anticompetitive. If the degree of market dominance and anti-competitive effect are sufficient, anti-trust laws come into play.

A perfect monopoly is not required for legal intervention, but I doubt there will be an intervention at all because the legal system barely understands IT. The lawyers, economic experts, and judges would have to realize that these are entirely different markets before they could consider an antitrust suit.

We had electronic banking and medical records for decades before SOX and HIPAA addressed a number of glaringly obvious concerns.
Social media is maybe 5 years old? Yeah, they'll have it figured out sometime after Facebook or Google+ is dead.

If memory serves, Netscape vs IE should be the perfect example. Legally, Netscape demonstrated that Microsoft hurt it. Unfortunately, Netscape was crippled and killed in the time it took to prove it.

about 9 months ago



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