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Do Embedded Systems Need a Time To Die?

Melkman Planned obsolescence (187 comments)

What could possibly go wrong ? A PLC controlling a plant stopping at some random date is perfectly acceptable, right. I'm sure manufacturers will love this. A guaranteed replacement market is a wet dream for any market.

about 3 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

Melkman Re:So... providing electricity is easy, IT is hard (192 comments)

AC OP has overstated the simplicity of the electric grid but his main point is still valid. Power is a bit like cable TV, everybody gets the same subscriptions. People don't care what power plant has generated their energy. As long as power is available within certain parameters it's good. People do care a lot which bits they receive from a network. If they get their colleagues email instead of their own it's mostly worse than not getting email at all. The storage and processing of information is continually changing to adapt to needs of all kinds of organisations and people. If you compare the number of people working in electric utilities to the number of people working in IT I'd say IT is about 10 times as complex.

utility workforce
IT workforce http://www.globalization101.or...

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Tell a Compelling Story About IT Infrastructure?

Melkman Re:Tell them how the users screwed things up (192 comments)

Errrm, I think you need something else than sleep. Although a bed is often used for it.

about 4 months ago

Tesla Model S Has Hidden Ethernet Port, User Runs Firefox On the 17" Screen

Melkman Re:Ubuntu + Battery = Not the best choice (208 comments)

I don't think even running a computer at full power all the time will make difference to the battery of a car. The engine of a car uses kilowatts and a PC watts. In other words a PC uses factor 1000 less than the rest of the car. Even if you could completely eliminate the power usage of the computer it will result in less than a mile extra range. So no "huge benefit" to be had. And where did you get the idea that this computer is always running even if the car is offline ? This computer is only for the entertainment system. As JB Straubel has said: "That's a key point. The whole entertainment system, those touchscreens, all of the applications you might load are totally separate from the propulsion of the car. In fact you could, if you had to, turn off the screens in the car while driving and the car still drives just fine."

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Passwords?

Melkman Re: (445 comments)

Also worth mentioning is that the PasswordSafe database format has many different clients many of which are open source so you can check how your passwords are protected. Examples are Password Gorilla for Linux, MacOS and Windows and PwSafe for iOS .

about 6 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

Melkman Re:No, UI designers went crazy. (503 comments)

The market for desktops and laptops is not going down the drain. A good part of activities that were performed on it have shifted to other form factors like tablets which offer a superior experience for those activities. Those activities are for a very big part media consumption. Media creation is largely still done on more traditional PC's and will in my opinion stay there for quite some time. The form factor and available software are not the only reason for this. The user interface is also a factor. When you are creating a document you don't want to move your fingers from the keyboard to the screen all the time. It is imprecise and touch obscures the part of the screen you're interacting with. Also a mouse has at least three actions under a click of a button. Much faster than using gestures. For a portable form factor touch makes sense since carrying a separate pointing device is awkward and you pretty much need a desk for a mouse or precision touch pad. Portable devices are limited in screen size by virtue of being portable. So it makes sense to run all apps full screen. Desktops are more and more using big screens and/or multiple screens. This lends itself to presenting all necessary data for a task at once in multiple programs. That does not work if all programs only want to display full screen or two programs at once maximum. Desktops and tablets are different things and are used in a different way. Forcing them to use the same tablet UI is as stupid as forcing flight yokes in cars because more people are flying these days.

about 7 months ago

Scientists Detect Two Dozen Computers Trying To Sabotage Tor Privacy Network

Melkman Re:HTTP/HTTPS Issues? (94 comments)

Sorry, but modern browsers don't really address that. The problem with the browser warnings is their definition of insecure. You only get warnings if there is something wrong with an encrypted https site like an invalid certificate. Using an unencrypted site is NOT seen as insecure as it would annoy users during most of their normal browsing sessions. The Blackhat presentation about sslstrip from Moxie explains very clearly what the problems are. You can view it at

about 7 months ago

Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Melkman Re:Fear and Paranoia... (926 comments)

Well, I live in Europe and have been to the US. And the waiters in Paris pale in comparison to some waiters in Florida ;-). But on average people are people wherever you go. You got friendly and entertaining people in all societies as well as rude obnoxious ones. In areas with high populations like big cities you got more of both of them.

about 10 months ago

Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Melkman Is it fear ? (926 comments)

I don't think the primary motivation for massive surveillance and such things is fear. In my opinion it is about control and power. Being able to silence any opposition before it gets organized and knowing in advance which groups dissent is growing gives you the power to stay in control longer. Fear is only used to gain acceptance of the public: think of the terrorists etc.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose Frameworks That Will Survive?

Melkman Re:Open source survives (227 comments)

But that depends on other parties with the will and capabilities to support the framework having an interest. Being open source definitely is an advantage but by no means a guarantee a project will survive. Sturgeon's law applies to open source software just the same as to proprietary software.

The request of the submitter for a fail-safe set of axioms can never be answered. With fail-safe systems tending to fail by failing to fail safe. But with common sense a few indicators of long term viability are easy to give:

1) Who controls the software ?
If it is a single party chances are good it will be abandoned at some point in the not so distant future. Open Source can help with this point but as said earlier it is no guarantee. There are many open source projects which are for all practical purposes developed by a single company. These projects are just as likely to be abandoned as commercial software.

2) Who uses the software ?
The more people use the software the less likely it is it will be abandoned. For commercial proprietary software a big user base means income and companies are not in the habit of slaying the goose that lays the golden eggs. For open source software it means there is a bigger potential pool of contributors to continue development if a main developer exits the project.

3) How long has the software existed ?
New software is continuously written and released. Again according to Sturgeon's law 90% will be crap. It will take a little while before the writers realizes their software belongs to this majority and stop supporting it. The longer software has been actively developed the less likely it is to be crap and discontinued.

4) What was the motivation for creating the software ?
If the motivation is a specific goal other than meeting the needs of the users expect the software to be abandoned if it becomes clear that the goal is unrealistic. If the goal is met the software might be continued. Think about lock-in strategies and subverting standards in this regard.

The choice for Adobe Flex had issues in at least point 1, 2 and 3.

about 10 months ago

PayPal Credits Man With $92 Quadrillion

Melkman Re:Unlike Monopoly (151 comments)

A few hours ? If he had put it in an account with only 0,1% interest he would have earned almost 3 million dollar per second...

about a year ago

Ask slashdot: Which 100+ User Virtualization Solution Should I Use?

Melkman Re:Proxmox (191 comments)

I agree with the Proxmox sentiment. It has served us very well and continues to do so.

about a year ago

Spain's New S-80 Class Submarines Sink, But Won't Float

Melkman Re:Where were the checks and balances? (326 comments)

Maximum buoyancy being 100T too low is a collossal cock-up of a design error.

Ah, I think it was just a sign error. The buoyancy should of course have been 100T and not -100T.

about a year ago

Internet Explorer 0-day Attacks On US Nuke Workers Hit 9 Other Sites

Melkman Re:What company ? (157 comments)

Yup there are other ones. Thales also comes to mind....

about a year ago

Localized (Visual) Programming Language For Kids?

Melkman Re:The only way to do it (185 comments)

And there is a visual programming environment for squeak especially geared towards kids with localization in many languages. It's called Etoys ( You can also link it to an Arduino or Mindstorm for real world interaction with Physical Etoys ( It's what my kids use ;-).

about a year ago

Microsoft R&D Burgled: Only Apple Products Stolen

Melkman Re:Microsoft is finished (141 comments)

However revenue is not the interesting part, income is. And net income for Microsoft has been falling lately to 2010 levels. See this chart. Not that this is proofs impeding doom on Microsofts part, just that business hasn't been nice to them lately. A fate they share with many other companies in these difficult times. What is interesting is that neither Google or Apple share this kind of dip.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: Easiest Way To Consolidate Household Media?

Melkman Re:Cheaper too. Eventually. (272 comments)

I use a HP Microserver N40L as a NAS. It's way cheaper to purchase than decent 4 drive dedicated NAS appliance. It's more powerfull and does not use much energy. I bought mine for about €200,- without disks . It uses about 14 Watt without disks booting from USB. With the high electricity prices here (€0.23 per kWh) I expect to spend in 4 years 4x365x24x0.014x0.23= €112,- on energy on the system. So in total that is €312,-. That total is still less than the purchase price alone of a decent 4 bay NAS which will still not give me the same performance. Installing OpenMediaVault or FreeNAS is about as much work as configuring a dedicated NAS (Next, next, finnish).

I installed 4 WD20EARX disks for €84,- per piece. This increases the power usage to about 40 Watts active. So the disks are the biggest component in price and energy usage and that will be the same with a NAS. Performance is great I can saturate a 1Gbps ethernet link nicely if the device requesting the data is fast enough.

about a year and a half ago

Linus Chews Up Kernel Maintainer For Introducing Userspace Bug

Melkman Re:Arsehole (1051 comments)

But if you want to make this analogy correct it it should be something like:
Customer to Bill: That weld is bad.
Bill to Customer: No, you're looking at it wrong.
Supervisor overhearing this and after inspecting the weld: Bill, STFU and grind it out and redo. It's absolutely one of the worst welds I've ever seen. And don't be an arsehole to our customer.
Bill to supervisor: Sorry boss. I'm doing my best and wonder why the bottom being cold would be a problem.
Supervisor to Bill: You know that a cold weld won't handle load and can cost lives. But what pissed me off the most is the way you handled our customer when he was right.

about a year ago



Melkman Melkman writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Melkman (82959) writes "Today the french TGV train set an new speed record. With 574km/h (357mph) it is the fastest train on wheels. Only the Japanese Maglev has set a higher speed record for trains with 581 km/h. Too bad they didn't push just a little harder. You can see a movie of the record here. Akamai should be able to withstand a slashdotting :-)."


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