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With Burning Teslas In the News Ford Recalls Almost 140,000 Escapes

Pr0xY Re:Fire vs. Potential Fire (293 comments)

The article points out that there have actually been 12 fires in the Ford Escapes being recalled

about a year ago
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Bitcoin Tops $1,000 For the First Time

Pr0xY Re:Who wants to prick the bubble? (371 comments)

I recently had a discussion about whether or not the spike in BTC is a bubble or not and came to some interesting conclusions.

From what I can tell, essentially a bubble burst occurs when prices have become so inflated that people are priced out of buying in. This creates a lack of buyers, causing the sellers to dramatically drop their prices. For example, if I buy a house for $100,000, and then sell it for $150,000, then they sell it at $250,000, etc, etc. Eventually the price gets so high that people just won't buy the house. Leaving the last buyer to take the hit and sell at a loss (if he chooses to sell).

BTC is somewhat different though. It is divisible to 8 decimal places (infinitely divisible in theory, just need to update the clients). So people can never be "priced out" of the market, they can just buy a smaller slice of the pie if they desire. This is unlike a house where I (typically) can't buy just a fraction of it.

So the only thing I can say for sure, is that we cannot be sure whether or not the rapid rise in BTC value is a bubble which will burst or not.

about a year ago
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How 3 Young Coders Built a Better Portal To HealthCare.gov

Pr0xY How would it handle a large load? (499 comments)

This is a nicely done website, there is no doubt about that. And certainly the people who implemented healthcare.gov could learn a thing or too from it.

But I do have to ask, how would thehealthsherpa.com hold up when 100,000's of people try to use it at the same time? My guess is that the site is hosted on a single, relatively small server and wouldn't hold up very well. I could be wrong, but I think that scale is worth considering.

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

No, that's not what I said. I am saying that the profits come from somewhere, specifically consumers. They aren't just "magic'ed" into existence. I have yet to see any examples that truly violate that concept.

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

Many years ago the site manager at the company where I worked put it quite succinctly: the purpose of companies is the creation and distribution of wealth.

I guess what it boils down it, is that I simply don't agree with that. I would instead say that companies create value, which can become wealth if (and only if) consumers choose to exchange their wealth for the value in the companies product. In essence, I believe that something is only as valuable as what you can sell it for (or barter it for, certainly the economy isn't just cash).

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

I think that you have misunderstood the concept of investment. The whole purpose is to spend money on something that becomes more valuable than the money spent. Hence creating an increase in overall wealth. It's value may be based on its future capacity to produce products and not just the value of the machines, land and buildings.

That's the purpose, but it isn't guaranteed to be successful. There is no guaranteed that you will get more out of the investment that you put in. And I would also assert that you are only capable of making out of the investment what others are willing to put in. I could make a bridge and charge a toll. But if no one drives on it, I've lost wealth.

That's a measure of relative personal wealth. But that's not very useful because we were talking about total wealth in the economy.

Perhaps you are right about that, honestly, I'm not sure I really see the value of measuring the wealth of a whole economy unless we are discussing how one country can exert economic pressures on another, which is often based just as much in politics as it is in actual wealth. And as a result much more complex.

In the end, my assertion is simply put. For one to become more wealthy, that wealth has to come from somewhere, typically the consumer. While it is not proof in itself, I cannot think of a single scenario that violates that concept.

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

You ask an interesting question about the bridge/factory.

I would say that no the total wealth hasn't changed at that point in time because the bridge/factory took investment. That investment may or may not have value. Even after the investment is recouped, they can only produce as much wealth as others are willing to spend on what it provides.

If I build a factory which makes a crappy product that nobody is willing to buy, my wealth has done down. If that same factory makes a wonderful product that is popular, my wealth goes up... but the buyer's net worth goes down slightly.

For example, when I buy an XBOX from Microsoft. Microsoft has clearly gained some wealth. (let's assume they are profitable in straight sales for simplicity's sake), but my net worth has gone down a little bit. I can't resell that same XBOX for a profit (on average, I'm sure there are fools out there). MS marginally went up, I marginally went down.

Your question about the total wealth I think is a good one as well. And I suppose it would depend on one's perspective. So let me define mine. I consider wealth to be a measurement of what percentage of the economy you own. The economy can grow/shrink, but the there is only 100% available to have. Your perspective may differ, I'm fine with that, it just means we disagree.

I think that a more important economic measurement is the **utility** of ones money. Certainly the utility of money has increased over time, because many things have become so cheap there is pretty much no economic barrier to acquisition (for example, I've seen homeless people with cell phones). This to me is not a sign of an increase in wealth, but instead an increase in standards of living.

In the end, there will always be "have nots", I honestly think that inequality is required for an economy to thrive. People need to have goals to shoot for, things that seem **just** out of reach that they can work for. That's OK. What we can do though is do things to raise the floor so the have nots don't live in unlivable conditions.

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

Additionally, let's say that you're right and there isn't a specific, finite amount. If that were the case, why couldn't the government in theory just print more dollars and give that to only the poor? It wouldn't hurt the rich since the rarity of the dollar hasn't changed.. after all there are infinite dollars available!

They can't, because it would devalue the dollar and cause runaway inflation... because there IS a fixed amount of wealth to be had.

Care to demonstrate in any way, that this is not the case?

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

First let me clarify. When i say " there is a fixed amount of US dollars at any point in time", I am talking about the whole world economy. Sure I could take tons of Yuan (if I had it) and convert it to US dollars, but that's not adding to the economy, that's just shifting piles around.

But in the end, yes, you do need to explain how there isn't a fixed amount of US dollars because you can look at the federal reserve and see a specific number in circulation.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/currency_12773.htm

which states: "There was approximately $1.22 trillion in circulation as of October 23, 2013, of which $1.17 trillion was in Federal Reserve notes."

That plus, whatever I could convert from other currencies is the **effective amount of US dollars in the world** which is certainly, a specific, measurable, quantity.

Sure the government can and regularly does print new money (about $500 million a day, but most of it is to replace old money) but when new money is added to the system, it is effectively slightly lowering the value of all other dollars.

Think of it this way.

Suppose tomorrow, I trip over a brick of gold which no one has ever seen before. This wasn't wealth "added" to the economy, that new brick actually caused every other bit of gold to lose value by some incredibly small amount. This is trivially true, and I'll show why. Let's take the example further. Let's say that I wave a magic wand and now "find" a few hundred thousand tons of gold instead. The value of gold would noticeably go down as I try to exchange it for goods, services, or money, because... gold would suddenly be less are.

about a year ago
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Where Does America's Fear Come From?

Pr0xY Re:A century ago, Progressives (926 comments)

You're right in that it's not a closed system. Certainly there are outside factors which matter. Money comes in and out. But I think that the poster simply used the wrong word. A more accurate way to describe the system is IMO "zero-sum".

Meaning that in general, there is a specific amount of US dollars that exist at any given point in time. An individuals wealth equates to what percentage of the dollars they have. Even with exchanges from other currency or precious materials, the exchange has to be actually have enough USD to do the exchange (they can't just create dollars given some pounds if they don't have enough dollars).

The conclusion of that fact is that that system must be zero-sum. I actually find it very confusion when I speak to republicans who say the following two things:

1. "that's income redistribution/class warfare! The government isn't hurting the job creators by giving to the poor!"
2. "the economy isn't zero-sum, everyone who works hard can be wealthy."

These two statements directly conflict with each other.

If point 1 is true and is truly a problem. Then that means that the income redistribution is making the rich less wealthy in order to give the poor more wealth. In other words it's like looking at an unbalanced scale and moving some weight from one side to the other to make it closer to balanced. Don't get me wrong, I agree that this is bad for the government to do on large scales (help small groups doesn't hurt too much IMO).

If point 2 is true, then there is "infinite slices to the pie" conceptually available, so the rich would not be hurt by making the poor more wealthy... which is obviously not true.

Additionally, the fact that the government printing more money results in devaluing the dollar directly implies that there is a finite amount of dollars to be had, because it is changing the rarity (and therefore the value) of the dollar. Rarity means that it is limited in availability.

about a year ago
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Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

Pr0xY Re:Why is this even news? (375 comments)

Actually, i forgot to mention that the numbers were yearly averages :-P

about a year ago
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Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

Pr0xY Re:Why is this even news? (375 comments)

You make some very good points.

The data on car fires doesn't really speak about average maintenance or age of the cars, that's worth taking into account if possible.
Additionally I have to agree that Tesla's are new, so any data we have on them is subject to change as they are in the market for longer and with higher numbers.

So yea, I can agree that using statistics to speak about the safety of them is premature. But I feel my point still stands... Cars catch fire, fairly routinely. So much so, that if the news chose to report them all, we'd hear about nothing but car fires. The fact that some new car type catches fire in relatively small numbers shouldn't be newsworthy at all. We should note it, and move on without sensationalizing it.

If it happens to be the case that over the next year or so the failure rate rises as more of them are on the road, then THAT's a story worth reporting.

about a year ago
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Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

Pr0xY Re:Why is this even news? (375 comments)

Just as a followup, the NFPA claims that 8% of the fires were intentional. While that's a large amount we can subtract, there are still a huge amount of car fires happening more or less all of the time.

about a year ago
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Third Tesla Fire Means Feds To Begin Review

Pr0xY Why is this even news? (375 comments)

I really don't understand why every fire in a Tesla car is so news worthy. According to the NFPA (http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/vehicles) there were an average of 152,300 car fires between 2006 and 2010. That's the same as 417 per day, and about 17 car fires per hour.

Cars catch fire. There have been somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 Telsa Model S's on the road. (3/15000) * 100 = 0.02% failure rate.

Meanwhile there are about 250 million cars on the road in the US last I looked. (152300/250000000) * 100 = 0.06% failure rate for cars on average.

So even with there being 3 fires, they are below the average. Additionally, there have been zero injuries in the 3 fires so far.

So... why is this news?

about a year ago
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New Smart Gun Company Hopes To Begin Production This Summer

Pr0xY Re:Access management nightmare? (632 comments)

Even so, would you really want to have each gun accessible by every person in the unit? What if there was a friendly fire incident? Wouldn't you want to know that the only person capable of firing a weapon was the person it was allocated to? If it could only be fired by one person then an investigation into a friendly fire or non-combatant death could be investigated rather quickly.

That's a good point, but there is a fairly simple solution. You could have the gun record which finger print was approved when it was fired. if storage is a concern, then you could have it only store the newest 1000 rounds or something to that effect.

That way, you can approve the gun for many finger prints, but still know which individual fired recently if there is an incident which requires investigation.

I suppose the major caveat with that, is that you need to store the information properly encrypted to avoid people covering there tracks or worse yet, framing someone. But once again, that's doable.

about a year and a half ago
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Comparing the C++ Standard and Boost

Pr0xY Re:I don't like boost (333 comments)

Some of your requests will never happen, and with good reasons, I'll explain:

e) Fix the macro language so it is type safe

The macro language is not part of the c++ language. As far as I know, Bjarne would have loved to get rid of it entirely, but it was kept to help maximize C compatibility.

g) Deprecate and REMOVE that stupid 'short', 'long', 'double' crap from the language

Why? Sometimes the user wants to use types which are relative to the CPU word width, but don't want to be tied to a specific bit width. Remember, not everyone who codes in c++ uses an Intel CPU.

h) Provide PROPER 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit characters

16/32 characters are fully supported in c++11, see char16_t and char32_t. I could be wrong, but I don't think I've seen a language which has 24-bit characters. It would likely be inefficient to support anyway since I'm not aware of any architectures which 24-bit access is properly aligned.

i) Fix the darn grammar so that compilers accept UNICODE source

Many compilers already do support UTF-8 in source code. But I do agree that this should just be standardized across the board.

j) Fix the darn grammar so that compilers RECOGNIZE identifiers WITH Unicode characters

Why? So you can have a function named () instead of pi()? This strikes me as something which would just make it harder to read.

k) Add a proper exponent operator

Won't and Can't do this efficiently. Not all CPUs have an intrinsic way to do exponention. This is specifically why it's a library function so it is obvious that it is potentially a non-trivial operation. Once again, not everyone uses an Intel CPU.

m) Add proper multiple return types

This would be nothing more than syntactic sugar. Why is using a struct such a big deal?

n) Fix all the times the spec says "undefined" or "implementation dependent". The point of a spec is to SPECIFY what the operations do, NOT to be ambiguous because in some idiotic universe 'char' is not exactly 8-bits.

NO. You will probably disagree, but this is part of the *strength* of both C and C++. By allowing something to be undefined or implementation dependent. The standard is allowing the compiler to choose the most efficient code to emit. If the standard were more specific in these places, we'd have a "one size fits all" solution which would be optimal for some architectures and very much sub-optimal for others. Better to let the compiler writers who know the arch best to decide these things.

q) Add a proper rotate-left and rotate-right bit shifts

See the answer to exponent operations. Simply put, not all CPUs have this. I would however welcome a standard library function for this like pow for exponents. Which the compiler could inline to a single instruction if the CPU supports it.

When is C++ going to add reflection support?

It probably won't because it's not well suited for how things work in the language. Here's (part of) the problem. With templates and optimizations, often there can be 100's of types created during compilation which are independent but get optimized away to literally nothing when finished. Should the compiler waste time and space generating reflection information for types which simply don't exist at runtime? Should the compiler emit reflection information for each and every template instantiation of std::vector that your program uses? You can't do one set of reflection's for each template, because different specializations can have different members! It spirals out of control really fast. Personally, I would not be apposed to an opt-in reflection system. You use some special syntax, let's say:

reflect class T { };

or something like that. Which would then add extra stuff to the std::typeinfo object associated with that type. So that way you could in theory do something like this:

typeof(T).methods(); to get a list of methods for T, IF you have opted in. But I don't think that will happen.

about a year and a half ago
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Linus Torvalds Will Answer Your Questions

Pr0xY Re:Your 2007 Comments on C++ (460 comments)

I am a big fan of C++, but I must admit, you make an interesting point. But pretty much the first half of your post really boils down to you not liking "constructors and destructors". That is the discriminating factor here. Sure, if you somehow create an object that is initialized with garbage, when the desconstructor runs, literally anything should happen. It can in fact run arbitrary code in your application. So, yes, there is no arguing that that is a danger which must be avoided.

Fortunately, it's been a VERY long time since I've seen any compiler not complain about a missing return, even with no extra warnings enabled. So that case should be visible to the most inept of programmers. And the other ways of accomplishing similar, honestly require more skill to pull off (I'm thinking of the case of allocating raw memory (not initialized), casting it to have the type of an object, and then doing something like trying to copy that junk object).

However, like most ANY tool that can be misused, constructors/destructors are more useful that I can adequately describe in one post. smart resource management itself does tremendous things with regard to increasing code correctness, clarity and brevity. Done in a way, which is simply not possible without the concept of destructors. Being able to write code that I KNOW will always release a mutex, regardless of how it exits the function is a godsend. Knowing that I won't have file descriptors accidentally left open, knowing that I won't have dangling pointers if I simply use smart pointers... the list goes on.

It was mentioned in a later post that "If every programmer should compile with certain flags, then they should be part of the standard". I would disagree, this removes flexibility from the compiler writes (remember, unlike things like C#, D, etc, the C and C++ committees write language specs, not compilers). I would love the see compilers default to "-ansi -pedantic", since it does nothing but improve code quality. But requiring diagnostics for certain *runtime* errors would introduce undo burden on the compiler writers. For example, the "no return" scenario is often not as obvious as you present, all possible code paths must be evaluated, which for most compilers means that a certain level of optimizations must be enabled to have that information. Additionally, sometimes, it can't be known. Sometimes the code path that has no return is impossible to reach because of constraints elsewhere. Sure we could target the easy ones, but you'd still be able to point at some case where it isn't caught.

Like I said, you made a good point. C++ introduces new tools, which have new pitfalls, but you are not required to use them. And frankly, modern compilers with appropriate warnings enabled will catch pretty much all of the obvious ones.

about 2 years ago
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Windows 8 Graphics: Microsoft Has Hardware-Accelerated Everything

Pr0xY Re:Maybe it's just me (563 comments)

You are right about software bloat, but I wouldn't blame OOP.

OOP doesn't have to be less efficient (though admittedly, it is in some ways easier to write less efficient code in OOP languages). For example. There should be absolutely no difference in the the performance between these to snippets (as long as no virtual functions are involved):

C code:

void some_function(struct some_struct *p) { /* do whatever */
}

some_function(&thing);

C++ code:

void Thing::some_function() { /* do whatever */
}

thing.some_function();

In fact, they should in principle end up being identical machine code.

**properly** written C++ code can and should be made as efficient as its C counterparts. In fact, due to templates which have nothing to do with OOP, some C++ code can even exceed the C implementation's speed.

Abstractions can sometimes be **more efficient**, if they can convey to the compiler what is needed better. A trivial example of this is something like: std::swap, when you see this in the code, you know that it is swapping two variables. Because of templates the compiler has extra type information available, and in theory could have specialized implementations which do the swap particularly efficiently. Imagine when swapping two integers if the compiler has enough information to say "hey, that could just be a single xchg instruction. That higher level of abstraction just increased the expressiveness of the language and let the compiler implement more efficient code!

I think a more fair thing to blame is the current mentality of the development world in general. There seems to be a (IMO misguided) consensus that it's OK to write things in an inefficient way if it works, because the hardware is "fast enough". While I can agree that "premature optimization is the root of all evil", I also feel that people should default to writing code in a well designed way, which happens to often overlap with the efficient way. The pervasiveness of scripting languages (JavaScript, Python, PHP, Ruby, etc) continue this trend and I feel it's only a matter of time before this crappy, bloated, inefficient code can no longer be outweighed by the power of our CPUs.

Well designed code needs to make a comeback!

more than 2 years ago
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Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s

Pr0xY Re:I don't think so. (1128 comments)

While what you suggest is hypothetically true, it is a terribly impractical stance. For a couple of reasons.

First of all, living in all of these exotic environments would be an extraordinary costly endeavor and would therefore probably only be accessible to the super wealthy.

Secondly, while living in oceans, other planets, etc is an interesting option, they are remarkably impractical. Building long term, large structures for large populations in under sea environments is not something we've done. At the very least there are several issues which have very difficult solutions. Air, Food, Water Pressure, etc. Heck, we can't even get a damn bio-dome to work sustainably above ground, I love the idea, but it just doesn't work yet (as far as I know, there may have been some success stories). But you know what, I'll even let you have that. After all, BioShock was an awesome game...

However, we can toy with colonizing mars and such, but it isn't exactly the most hospitable place. Sending resources there would take 6 months at best. It is even more resource constrained than the oceans. Terra forming may be a valid approach, but since that depends on green house gases warming the planet, it doesn't exist to the average conservative :-P. Joking aside, I like the idea of terra forming, but we have little to no experience making it actually work. And we don't know if it would work as expected until we actually tried. It may just end up being a multi-trillion dollar waste of time.

If we are to seriously consider planets in other solar systems (as you imply), then we would need to disconver some method of space travel that would get to other stars MUCH faster than anything we've ever considered. According to NASA, conventional rockets are nowhere near efficient enough. At a maximum speed of about 17,600 mph (about 28,300 kph), it would take the space shuttle, for example, about 165,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri.Currently. And that's assuming we are even capable of bringing enough Fuel!

The bottom line is that the options you present are good ideas, but effectively inaccessible. It's not that I don't think that "it would be enough" (the universe is *really* big), it's that the universe is almost entirely out of reach. Even our "galactic neighborhood" isn't practical. Since it is not currently possible to do something like colonize mars, let alone other further planets, they are not part of the economy in terms of land and/or other resources. As far as wealth is concerned, they don't exist (yet).

Even if we discuss things like mining the moon or asteroids, etc. The cost would probably outweigh any gain in wealth. Making it not a viable option outside of science fiction.

Certainly, it is inarguable, that the amount of living space/resources/other things of value we have now, and could conceivably use in the foreseeable future is very much finite. At the very least, we are (currently) limited to what's on earth (and maybe the moon, but i don't think the math makes it a win).

about 2 years ago
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Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s

Pr0xY Re:I don't think so. (1128 comments)

You seem to have ignored when I said "but this applies to any form of economy". Sure, I agree completely that wealth != money. It is simply one type of wealth. But all types of wealth are finite.

To use your own example, having a large amount of land only adds to your wealth *because* there is a finite amount of land. If everyone could have as much land as they wanted, then it wouldn't matter how you have, it would have no value, because it wouldn't be rare.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Steve Jobs Dead At 56

Pr0xY Pr0xY writes  |  about 3 years ago

Pr0xY (526811) writes "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Link to Original Source
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Vista not as ready for modern desktop as Linux?

Pr0xY Pr0xY writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Pr0xY writes "Recently I purchased my new "gaming rig." So I decided to just go for and loaded up a new Dell XPS 720 with the works. Among other things, I got 4GB of RAM. To my (and many others according to google) surprise, x86 Vista only reports 3 and change GB of RAM.
I do some systems programming, so I had a clue as to what was going on, my first reaction was "PAE must not be enabled." Here's what's going on. With traditional paging, there is 4GB of physical address space available to a 32-bit x86 processor. This includes memory mapped devices, for example, your shiny new video card with 768 Megs of RAM takes up that much space of physical RAM your system can use. The solution is to use either PAE or PSE36, both provide up to 64GB of physical memory to a 32-bit x86 system. The limit of what you can map into memory at a time is still 4GB, but this allows motherboards to relocate the RAM that got displaced by hardware above the 4GB and still be usable.
However, it turns out that first of all, Vista automatically enables PAE if you want DEP since it is necessary for the NX bit. And in addition to that, Microsoft deliberately doesn't use RAM above the 4GB mark even with PAE for "compatibility reasons." The main issue being that DMA can't touch RAM higher than 4GB on x86. Microsoft could have easily had a special pool for this "high memory" in order to make some use of it when you know it's safe. This isn't impractical as the server editions of Windows are in fact able to use upwards of 4GB on 32-bit systems as well.
Linux has no issue using all 4GB of my RAM once I build my kernel with PAE support. Microsoft also claims that they support 4GB of RAM in their documentation. All in all, I find this whole thing to be a bit deceptive on Microsoft's part. Microsoft's solution: "Get Vista x86-64""

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