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Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

Man Eating Duck Re:Why no 1 Tb version? (183 comments)

GiB....what does the i stand for?

It's short for Gibibyte.

about a month ago

Solid State Drives Break the 50 Cents Per GiB Barrier, OCZ ARC 100 Launched

Man Eating Duck Re:flash/disk/tape ratios still stand (183 comments)

I've stopped attempting to keep my game collection on the an SSD.

Install all games to an HDD, and only keep the games you're actually playing on the SSD. Under Windows 7 I use a 120GB SSD for OS and the 2-3 games I'm currently playing by using Steam Mover. Since it's simply a GUI for a few cmd commands (mklink being the central one) it'll work for any directory you point it at, not just Steam games, and it's very robust.

If you're on Linux you're likely already familiar with some ways of doing this, if not I can give you a few pointers :)

about a month ago

Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe

Man Eating Duck Re:We've observed and created antiparticles (214 comments)

By coincidence I was discussing Orwell with a friend last night. We decided that while 1984 was fine sociology and politics, the plot really didn't depend at all on the small amounts of technoogy he described. The surveillance could have been provided by spies as well as by TV screens and cameras. "SF" isn't a category we'd put Orwell into.

Um, science fiction doesn't have to be technology-focused, and most of the best stories aren't (with some exceptions where some exotic tech is a plot device). Sure, as many sci-fi stories occurs in the future there is an assumption that new technology have been marching on, but many interesting stories concern themselves with how humans react to the possibilities enabled by technology and new societal structures, rather than the technology itself. Nineteen Eigthy-four is specifically a future dystopia, but I'd certainly place it within the Sci-Fi genre.

On a side note, I've found that providing performance specifics about technology, specifically computers, are a sure sign of *bad* Sci-Fi. I read a novel written in 1992 set in 2007 where one particular computer had a CPU of 400 MHz and was equipped with "several hundred megabytes of memory". Bad Sci-Fi writers: restrict yourself to describing what amazing feats the wrist-computer is capable of, do not venture into providing explicit hardware specifications :)

about 2 months ago

How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

Man Eating Duck Re:Many worlds (202 comments)

Prove it.

I can't prove it as I don't know the math, but I've heard it explained this way:

Imagine a lot of parallel chess games between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand. There might be all three outcomes and a lot of different games played, but not every possible game. The ones where one player loses in five moves, or one player overlooks a trivial mate-in-one, or both players fumble so much as to resemble novice players aren't likely to exist anywhere. The probabilities are simply too low in a game between two high-level chess players.

about 2 months ago

Seattle Approves $15 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Man Eating Duck Re:Sweden (1040 comments)

The more socialist countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany) are doing far better than the more highly capitalist ones post crash.

Yup, Norwegian here. We weren't really affected adversely over here. I am not at all qualified to discern why, but the people who are generally claim it's because of our very solid societal structure and general lack of private interests' influence on our political system, which makes us less vulnerable to external market swings.

Norway as a nation is dependant on export industries (oil & gas, power, cargo shipping services, fish), and a few companies did suffer, but the regular Joes and Joettes didn't really feel any impact at all from the crash.

about 3 months ago

I Want a Kindle Killer

Man Eating Duck Re:Missing the point (321 comments)

I use the Kindle app on my Android phone. I would never buy a standalone reader because I read when it's convenient. My phone is almost always with me and fits in my pocket.

I use the Kindle app on my Android phone. I would never buy a standalone reader because I read when it's convenient. My phone is almost always with me and fits in my pocket.

And I habitually bring my Kobo reader everywhere I go, and read every time I have a few minutes to kill. It fits nicely in a jacket/cargo pocket. I usually read several hours each day, and there are several reasons why I also bring it when leaving my apartment:

  • * When reading for hours at a time the better display eliminates eyestrain
  • * Battery concerns is not an issue
  • * The display is larger and fits more text, making for a more comfortable reading experience
  • * Fewer distractions than on a phone

If the phone is good enough for you when it comes to reading, that's great, and I would also like that to be the case for me. But for me it's not cutting it, so I end up choosing clothes based on whether they can store my (admittedly light and sleek, but bulkier than a phone) e-reader. I really, really hope that E-Ink aren't going away anytime soon.

about 4 months ago

Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla's Move To Support DRM In Firefox

Man Eating Duck Re:Corporate directed not volunteer direct ... (403 comments)

Unless the locks on your doors are to lock people in, they aren't there because you assume all your houseguests are criminals, they are there because you assume some non-house guests are criminals. The locks don't stop the people you've already let in. And yeah, I do assume some of the people outside are criminals. Why wouldn't I?

The problem with this line of thought is that, to continue the analogy, a lot of your legitimate house guests will be kept out by the locks, while the criminals outside all know that you don't lock your cellar hatch and can help themselves.

Most DRM to date don't even slow down the pirates, as long as someone can see the content they can copy it. My experience is mostly from working at a publishing company, and the legitimate customers have a far easier time using a non-crippled file than a DRM'ed one. Basically, DRM is just a big fuck you to your legitimate customers, especially on downloaded files that are ostensibly usable anywhere like an ebook.

That said, I don't really understand why DRM-free streaming is so scary to content providers. Strong authentication would hinder casual link sharing, and the pirates would be able to make a copy of your stream even with any DRM you could imagine, as long as they could see the content. The only ones to suffer are legitimate customers that can't view the content because they don't have the right combination of equipment and software. The music business, and to a lesser degree the ebook industry, have found that in going DRM-free you can still rely on the majority of customers to be perfectly allright with paying for a good product, and they are happy that they can be sure of it being accessible. Currently the pirates are far superior when it comes to objective quality of product in the movie/TV-show department.

about 4 months ago

New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

Man Eating Duck Re:next for NoSQL (162 comments)

While your parent *was* a bit snarky in his reply, I can see only two reasons why you would try to finagle your NoSQL needs into a PostgreSQL server: you don't understand how to use a traditional RDBMS but would still like to advertise that you're using PostgreSQL instead of MongoDB (not likely for most devs), or the decision is made for you by management for the reasons you mention. If you need some NoSQL solution in a new project it's not very difficult to create an instance, and the infrastructure for the future production DB of your project should be a consideration based on your needs, not what is incidentally already there (hey, it's a DB, it should do the job, right?). Right tool for the job.

For the record I am very used to working with traditional SQL databases, and I particularly like PostgreSQL. Still I know there are lots of use cases for the various NoSQL DBs. They are different beasts, some of which are tailored for very specific applications. I haven't scrutinised the new features of PostgreSQL, but if a NoSQL db were a better fit for the project I would need strong reasons not to go for it.

*Analogy warning* If you have to change a large amount of Torx screws, you could probably accomplish it with a flat blade screwdriver of an approximate size if that's what you have in your shed, but it might save you a lot of destroyed screws to buy a Torx driver instead.

about 4 months ago

New PostgreSQL Guns For NoSQL Market

Man Eating Duck Re:next for NoSQL (162 comments)

Yeah, it's irritating, but should not be an insurmountable obstacle for migrating schema+data. I have done this thrice for a database consisting of 40 tables and about 2.7 million rows total (DB2 -> PostgreSQL 7.something, DB2 -> SQL Server 2005, and SQL-Server -> PostgreSQL 9.1). Yes, I know that those numbers are small-ish, but the data contained a lot of user input and included every quirk and special character under the sun :)

This database was storage for a Java application using Hibernate, which likely evaded some obstacles (see below). The procedure took a couple of days in each case: export schema, change a few data types in the schema (bool/int, date/datetime and so on), after which the inserts work if you pay attention to string escapes, encoding, and so on. I scripted the conversion in each case, so that every test iteration started from a fresh dump. I tested it by exporting all data from both DBs to native language data types and diffing the results.

Of course you can get in a lot of trouble if your client software is not using abstraction for db access, I suppose that some software contains quite a lot of literal SQL in the source, and SQL syntax differs in amusing ways. In some causes I can see no other reason for it than "because fuck you, that's why". Also, if your client software relies on non-standard features of a specific RDBMS you might have to rewrite to account for that.

So yes, I would very much like for all vendors to have a standard-compliant default mode, from which exported data would seamlessly import into other RDBMS's (re. sig, how do you write that correctly?). Sadly, most vendors (apart from OSS alternatives like PostgreSQL which should bend over backwards to make migration easier) have no interest in making it easier to switch to another RDBMS, so this will never happen.

Granted, I was part of the team developing said application, and DB portability was something of a pet peeve of mine, for which I was very thankful during the migrations. Due to that we had few DB-related issues during those migrations. I'm not even a DB-admin by trade, so most real DB-admins should have no problems doing what I did.

about 4 months ago

Grading Software Fooled By Nonsense Essay Generator

Man Eating Duck Re:most schools ignore sat essay (187 comments)

[...] My vocabulary has always been tested to be far above my level. Granted if you were to just present me the words with semi-random definitions I would probably be screwed. But if you see how the word is used in a sentence like most test present it to you, it is fairly easy to determine the meaning of a word from just it's grammar, context and usage. [...]

I wouldn't say that a particular word is part of your vocabulary if you can only guess its meaning from context. That's why good vocabulary tests only show you the word. According to this test my English vocabulary is estimated to be about 35000 words, probably because I have read *a lot* of English (it isn't my native language). This test only show you the words, and you have to be honest, so cheating is easy... however, I didn't.

There is also the difference between your active vocabulary (words that you would actually be able to recall and use in a sentence), and passive vocabulary (words that you know the meaning of if you see it standing alone). If you can only guess the meaning of a word from its context, it's not part of your vocabulary at all, and a test which helps you to the extent of showing it in a sentence is close to useless.

about 4 months ago

DARPA Develops Stealth Motorcycle For US Special Forces

Man Eating Duck Re:Hybrids, diesel and Prius (93 comments)

A ship engine isn't a fixed RPM diesel generator, it's a variable RPM diesel engine.

I agree with the rest of your post, but ship's diesel motors used on transport ships are about as efficient as you can make an engine run. For the vast majority of their time, they run at the ideal fuel/output ratio you can get. This is not because of environmental concerns, but because it saves fuel (and money) to the companies running the ships. True, the engines are larger, but you could do worse than looking at what they do to find the most efficient ways to run a diesel engine :)

about 4 months ago

Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

Man Eating Duck Re:What I want to know is ... (239 comments)

Yes. From the airport. Which is "in on it".

Yup, that racket annoys me to the point where I try not to buy anything neither at the airport nor on the plane. Except for that I generally don't care about food and drink prices while travelling. At my local airport one company has an agreement about providing all food and pub services (apart from a couple of franchise stores) at the airport, and the prices are absolutely ridiculous.

I've noted a few exceptions, though. Both Munich airport and Las Palmas had pleasant outdoor cafés with food and drinks, with prices a bit cheaper than typical main street tourist places in those respective cities. Not your local corner joint, but better than expectations for airports.

Departing from Stansted, London last week, I had the cheapest pint of beer of the whole trip. £3.25 for a very nice stout (Saddle Black). Granted, we stayed in central London, where prices are high, and that particular pint was a promotion, but it was still actually good value :)

about 5 months ago

Lytro Illum Light-Field Camera Lets You Refocus Pictures Later

Man Eating Duck Re:Still hoping they make a movie camera (129 comments)

No, it's where you're looking. Why can't you be happy looking where everybody else is looking?

The tech isn't broken just because of a small minority of 'special' people like you don't know how to take in a scene. Why don't you stop being special and just watch it the way everybody else does?

I, too, find this very irksome in some 3D movies. Avatar was pretty good in that respect, some of the Harry Potter movies were really, really bad. The thing is that my eyes will wander over the scene, and it is tiresome when my eyes instinctively try to focus on those out-of-focus areas. It does not happen in 2D, but 3D fools my brain into believing that focusing is possible. And yes, this is an artistic decision on the director's part which doesn't work for me at all, as it does *not* translate from the 2D equivalent.

I haven't gamed much in 3D, but I found it a very pleasant experience when I tried it in a store (I think the game was Crysis 2). I only played for a few minutes, it might have been tiring after a longer period of time, but I'm pretty sure that what made it so *good* during gameplay compared to watching a 3D movie was that the whole scene was in focus.

about 5 months ago

Oklahoma Moves To Discourage Solar and Wind Power

Man Eating Duck Re:Peak During the Day? (504 comments)

You and I have more power available to us at peak because our solar/wind neighbor is only drawing half of peak. "The Grid" is healthier. I agree 100%.

...but that's not my point.

My point is only that excess residential solar has little value, since it's generated when it's least needed. [Because if it was needed, houses wouldn't be generating extra.]

I don't understand that argument. Private homes generating the extra power in daytime are not the ones that cause a higher load; the offices and factories which are most active active during regular work hours does that. More power input to the grid at peak hours means that power plants could be throttled down. Of course utilities run for profit would oppose this change, which is why they try to make it economically unviable for customers. It makes a lot of sense for a society if your goal is to minimize peak output requirements for power plants, or limit the usage of some environmentally unfriendly, but easily throttleable electricity sources like coal plants.

about 5 months ago

Experiment Suggests Monkeys Can Do Basic Math

Man Eating Duck Re:Dogs (87 comments)

Our "doorbell" is actually three rings on the telephone. Normal calls (one ring) and intercom calls (two rings) get ignored by the dogs.

Three rings and they start to bark to let us know that someone is at the front door.

That's more interesting than you would guess; your dogs know Morse. Dah = [t]elephone, dah dah = "[M]r. Watson—Come here—I want to see you", dah dah dah = [o]vert burglary attempt.

On a more serious note, I would guess that your dogs perceive the three ring modes as three different sounds, they're not actually counting rings. Dogs are good at responding to learned sounds. Sorry for the earlier snarkiness :)

about 5 months ago

Will the Nissan Leaf Take On the Tesla Model S At Half the Price?

Man Eating Duck Re:Nissan: learn from Detroit's Old Dream Machines (398 comments)

3 wheels? That's not a car, that's a motorcyle. (At least according to the laws in several states)

Yes, it is in the UK as well, which was advantageous to sales the years after its release. People could drive it with an MC licence, and save a bit on taxes: "[...] the Robin can be driven by holders of a B1 category driving licence[3] in the United Kingdom, and registered and taxed at motorcycle rates[...]".

about 5 months ago

Click Like? You May Have Given Up the Right To Sue

Man Eating Duck Re:The power of EULAs only goes so far (216 comments)

The courts are very hesitant to allow corporate boilerplate shrink-wrap licensing terms that cause the consumer to forfeit their legal remedy paths. I can't believe this change will make it through the first case.

I'm curious, I live in an European country. Here, the law serves as a baseline for which benefits you can contractually sign away. Basically, the parts of a contract which takes away rights accorded to you by law are illegal, and they are ignored in a contractual dispute (and the author of the contract might be punished if the offending company is in contempt of the law by even including such clauses).

I would suppose that the right to sue is prettty integral to US (as it is to many other countries' ) laws, and would be something that cannot be contractually removed, even in a signed paper contract, much less this "a-like-says-you-sign-a-contract" policy. I surmise that the lawyers of this company have thought of this, so my question is: why is this even possible? Serious question, I'm curious about how such legal obligations can be "signed" away.

about 5 months ago

SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

Man Eating Duck Re:RAID? (256 comments)

With just pure read, it's 123k IPS.
With just pure write, it's 43k OPS.

I apologise for nitpickery, but that struck a nerve with me. A friend, who is an extremely successful salesperson employed at HP, talked about 50K IOPS for their top NAS many years ago without having any inclination what it meant. My modifications to the abbreviations are abominations, I know, but to me they seem more precise :)

about 5 months ago

SSD-HDD Price Gap Won't Go Away Anytime Soon

Man Eating Duck Re:RAID? (256 comments)

I have an external 2TB drive I use for backups. (In addition to DropBox for critical files, although I've been reconsidering that particular service lately.) I unplug it when not in use. So in the same system broadly, but not really. It's a consumer system, so no need to go as silly as having a separate BDR box.

Off-topic, but I would advise you to keep off-site backups as well. A friend of mine kept three physical backups of all the pictures and videos of his kids, which where completely useless when his house was burglared and they stole all his computer equipment. He lost everything, and those files were invaluable to him, he would have paid any amount of money to get them back. Anything can happen to a single physical site, from a fire to a direct lightning strike which fries all your equipment. Use a fire-and-forget off-site backup solution to mitigate those risks.

I use Crashplan to keep off-site backups at a friend's place as well as the cloud, but any service that enables you to keep a complete off-site backup is probably OK. Crashplan enables me to keep backups of everything, not just "critical files". Oh, and test recovery as well.

about 5 months ago



Ubisoft has Windows-style hardware-based activatio

Man Eating Duck Man Eating Duck writes  |  about 2 years ago

Man Eating Duck (534479) writes "Guru3D describes how the activation system in Anno 2070 also tracks hardware changes: 'So yesterday I started working on a performance review. We know (well at least we figured we knew), that the game key can be used on three systems. That's fair, the first activation is used on my personal game rig. The second we installed on the AMD Radeon graphics test PC and the 3rd on our NVIDIA graphics test PC. [...] For the NVIDIA setup I take out the GTX 580, and insert a GTX 590. When I now startup the game 'BAM', again an activation is required. Once again I fill out the key and now Ubisoft is thanking me with the message that I ran out of activations.

Guru3D subsequently discovered that Ubisoft was less than helpful: 'Sorry to disappoint you — the game is indeed restricted to 3 hardware changes and there simply is no way to bypass that.' I, and many with me, will never buy games with such a draconian DRM scheme, as it's very likely that I'll swap out enough components to run into this issue. Even the Steam version includes this nice "feature". It's probably a good idea to let Ubisoft know why we'll pass on this title."


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