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eBay To Spin Off PayPal

RabidReindeer Re:too big to be acquired (67 comments)

PayPal's yearly revenues exceed $7 billion ... they're also too big to be acquired, which is on [investors'?] minds after the ludicrously successful Alibaba IPO

Just ask for dividends.

What are you, some kind of Communist?

7 hours ago
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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

RabidReindeer Re: Why do they even have a Starbucks? (241 comments)

Food Lion is a Wal-Mart wannabe when it comes to groceries. Odd sizes, limited inventory, horrible layout.

Try Duncan Donuts. Their coffee has been praised a lot lately and they may sell whole bean bags in their shops. They do in Publix supermarkets, and I'm pretty sure you can find Publix in SC. Also check out Cost Plus/World Market. They have whole bean of various qualities and an in-store grinder. Another local option you may find is The Fresh Market, which also has a grinder.

Or, you could just order green beans from Sweet Maria's and roast them yourself!

yesterday
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

RabidReindeer Re:Evaluation of a charged topic (443 comments)

I know that RTFA is passe' here, but if we even take a look at the abstract (which shoudl be publicly available to all) we see a key point here:

Turning to a case study of scientific communication, another online sample of adults described public attitudes toward climate scientists specifically.

We already know that a large portion of our country is repeatedly fed biased misinformation on this topic and told to distrust anyone who represents an opposing viewpoint. If we tried this on something that is less of a political football, we would likely see very different results. I would doubt that anywhere near as many people would doubt scientists telling them about research on gravity or the spheroid shape of our planet.

Wall.... I ain't no pointy-headed intellectual. I'm just common folks, just like you. But any gol-darn Fool with a lick o' Common Sense can see that the Earth ain't no spherical-thingy. Why if it was, people on the bottom would fall right off! That's how gravity works!

2 days ago
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Scientists Seen As Competent But Not Trusted By Americans

RabidReindeer Re:scientists gonna science (443 comments)

Rather than persuading, scientists may better serve citizens by discussing, teaching and sharing information to convey trustworthy intentions.'"

So, the study calls for presenters rather than scientists? It is difficult to find balance, but I'm inclined to think that scents should just do the science, and they'd better be well left alone. It's up to the (gasp!) media or to their institution's press department to sensibilise the public in general to the science being done and what it means.

This isn't a problem unique to science. For decades, IT people have been told that they need to focus less on technology and more on "the business".

F**K! If they don't focus on the technology, who will? Or can? Might as well not have technology people.

Yes, there is very much a place for the people who can plant feet in two different worlds. But don't go around expecting much progress if you demand that everybody be that kind of person.

2 days ago
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At CIA Starbucks, Even the Baristas Are Covert

RabidReindeer Re: Why do they even have a Starbucks? (241 comments)

Uh huh. Americans suck at coffee. That is why there are 100s of Starbucks in the UK with LINES OUT THE DOOR.

Actually, Americans do suck at coffee. And Starbucks isn't helping, serving up fattened brewed charcoal water in pretentiously-named servings at ridiculous prices.

Then there's US Navy coffee, reputed to be too corrosive for use as battery acid.

It's mostly that Americans just drink so much coffee. And suck even worse at tea.

You can find decent coffee in the USA. it's just more of a challenge than you'd expect, considering. Then again, we invented McDonalds, too.

Until Starbucks came along, though, we really didn't even pretend very hard to have good coffee.

2 days ago
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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

RabidReindeer Re:Utilities Fighting Back (490 comments)

And this just demonstrates why market fundamentalism, just like about any other fundamentalism I could name, is foolish.

People do not exist to serve markets. Markets exist to serve people.

If all that mattered was that cash continued to flow back and forth in an orderly manner, maybe market fundamentalism would be worth all the worship it's given. But there's an extraneous concept known as progress. Progress requires R&D, which isn't a profit center. R&D used to be very important, up until about the 1980s when the name of the game changed from Industry to Money Manipulation.

R&D has another name. Investment. In theory, market fundamentalists should laud this, then, since investment is how you leverage the system. But since only sure-bet/quick-pay investments are in vogue these days and physical R&D can have wildly varying results and years of effort, pure R&D isn't valued any more.

Solar Subsidies are - or at least are supposed to be - investment in practical R&D. An attempt to build up a critical mass that will allow getting off century-old energy production and on to presumably better options. The fact that government subsidies are using pretty much the entire population as investors may get some people irate, but in any reasonably democratic society, the majority is - if not in favor - at least not actively opposed. And governments are not - contrary to popular belief - the only agencies who attempt coercive means of gaining additional investment in any event. I've had the screws put to me personally once or twice, and can name a few other people as well. The main difference is that private concerns can't usually add jail time to their threats.

Actually, subsidies are nothing more than an attempt to make trickle-down economics work practically. And, unlike the other kind, sometimes subsidized technology actually works.

3 days ago
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Breakthrough In LED Construction Increases Efficiency By 57 Percent

RabidReindeer Re:You know what this means (181 comments)

Another simple fix: Add a current limiter to the die.

Well, it's simple if you're the LED manufacturer!

I know it sounds strange, making devices that are deliberately set to under-perform. but we're plagued with too much of a good thing!

4 days ago
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Breakthrough In LED Construction Increases Efficiency By 57 Percent

RabidReindeer Re:You know what this means (181 comments)

Actually, I think in Europe they're particularly picky about what kinds of indicators can be red.

OK, fine. Green's good if the item in question isn't capable of going Terminator on you when powered up. I like yellow and orange and even white. Black LEDs are kind of hard to read though.

Blue's OK in its place, but please, I DON'T need to see my bones projected on the wall behind me!

4 days ago
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Breakthrough In LED Construction Increases Efficiency By 57 Percent

RabidReindeer Re:You know what this means (181 comments)

I bought a dishwasher and found it came with a free night light.

4 days ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

RabidReindeer Re: I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (595 comments)

There's 2 ways to "dim" an LED. One is to reduce the input current. The other is to run it via pulsed DC instead of of continuous current. It's not dimmer - in fact, you can run higher current so it could be brighter. But just like motion pictures and TV, the percieved effect of this strobing is a brighter or dimmer light.

Light bulbs dim by taking advantage of the fact that the filament doesn't immediately go black when the current is removed. So by switching on and off rapidly, you get an adjustment of the average filament temperature.

LEDs, of course, don't do that. Although white LEDs are typically UV downshifted in spectrum via phosphors, and phosphors do have residual glow so they'd be less obviously strobing. My overhead LED bulbs do fade slowly when I turn out the lights.

If you're modulating an LED via power line duty cycle (PWM), it may or may not work since the AC is being converted to DC and if the convertor has a capacitive or inductive aspect, it will smooth out the resulting DC voltage, which doesn't help, since LEDs are being driven by the current. They need a clean on/off strobe or current regulation to dim (or "dim") effectively.

4 days ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

RabidReindeer Re: I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (595 comments)

Unless you have a very big heavy-duty resistor (rheostat) in your wall dimmer, it's not directly controlling the AC line. You have a variable resistor modulating the duty cycle of the A/C by biasing the control line to a thyristor - typically an SCR or triac. An SCR can modulate one size of the power sine, a triac is 2 SCRs back-to-back, so it can modulate both sides.

A typical circuit has the resistor connected to a capacitor across the power legs of the circuit. Do you know what a capacitor is? The junction of the resistor and capacitor typically connects to a diac so that the trigger will be essentially digital rather than analog. When the diac fires, it triggers the gate of the 3-terminal thyristor. By adjusting the resistance, hence the charge time of the capacitor, the point in the A/C sine wave where the thyristor fires and cuts off the power can be moved earlier or later in the cycle, thus regulating the total power output at the expense of making the sine wave a dirty mess. This is why dimmers often cause radio hash. But they're fairly energy-efficient.

Yes, I'm being a snot. You see, I really DO know what I'm talking about. I've not only built them, I've repaired a few as well.

A rheostat would be the blunt-instrument approach and not only is bulky, but also gets hot, since it's a resistor carrying a lot of wattage.

4 days ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

RabidReindeer Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (595 comments)

You know all those movies about some future Dystopia where everything is dimly lit, grey and depressing?

Those worlds used these fancy new light bulbs.

Sorry to hear that. I've got an LED fixture that used to use 160 Watts. LED bulbs have dropped that down to 40 watts, and the light is a nice bright cheery white, not Incandescent Yellow. And, BTW, it's real white, not one of the bluish shades that some older LEDs featured.

4 days ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

RabidReindeer Re:I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (595 comments)

So?

If I had all the pieces of all the incandescent lights that had disintegrated on me over the years - ceiling fixtures, oven lamps, even automotive taillights. Well, I'd leave a trail of bloody footprints.

Did you think that CFLs are housed in transparent aluminum or something?

4 days ago
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The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy

RabidReindeer Re: I dunno about LEDs, but CFLs don't last (595 comments)

Every led I've purchased (I only buy energy star , because they are actually testing them for light quality ,unlike with CFLs ,so that may make a difference ) , has said it was dimmable , to the point I thought it was intrinsic in the technology .

They're also the only bulbs that have any real life in my old house . My porch light lasts 2-3 weeks incandesant . I'm 4 months on the led I put in it , on convenience alone it's worth the price .

You sound like a neighborhood in a town not far from me.

Apparently the houses close to the power substation routinely got something like 20% overvoltage. The lights burned bright, but they burned out fast.

In theory, LED bulbs would actually be a better bet, since they're current-driven, not voltage-driven and the voltage is stepped down. So as long as the LED voltage was less than what it took to fry the LEDs, they might burn a bit brighter, but that's about all.

No, LEDs aren't inherently dimmable, since, like I said, they're current-driven and running on reduced voltages internally. Furthermore, a lot of dimmers are not rheostatic, but instead work by modulating the "pulse width" (for lack of the proper term) of the A/C waveform. An incandescent bulb has thermal mass, so that results in dimmer light (and color change thanks to lower temperature). A flourescent light will generally not be amused, and an LED light is only likely to work if it has some sort of way to convert the pulse width to relative current level (such as via capacitors).

I have some dimmable LED lights and they work great, but it was unusual seeing the same lamp color as the light dimmed. And the light curve for the LEDs doesn't match what resistive lamps do, so there is noticable non-linearity in the brightness relative to the dimmer setting.

4 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

RabidReindeer Re:migratable vms? (94 comments)

Not trying to be contentious here, but if you wanted optimal resource usage, you'd be looking more at blade-style compute nodes with no local drives.

Who would you be contentious with? I'm just telling you what Amazon says in their published docs. If you don't believe what they say, or if you think they could do it better you can bring it up with them, or start your own cloud service that does things "right".

But I can tell you that some use cases are perfect for Amazon's model of providing locally attached instance storage since I/O rates are much better than we can get with EBS volumes.

The days when just anyone could enter the market as an ISP are long since passed. The "back bedroom" ISP I started with has been through at least 4 layers of acquisition. I myself stopped providing hosting services before the millenium came. The economies of scale were not available to me and I don't have deep enough pockets - nor rich enough friends - to set up anything even remotely competitive.

So I'll settle for holding Amazon's feet to the fire.

I don't host anymore, but I do work with cloud services internally, so I know that systems such as Openstack operate in the way I mentioned. And Openstack is used by (and developed, in part by) some of Amazon's competition.

When I use my own machines, I can schedule downtime. Or, if it's critical enough, use the techniques I've mentioned to assure continuous uptime. When I outsource to some other hosting service, it's a significant thing if they can reboot me without warning.

4 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

RabidReindeer Re:migratable vms? (94 comments)

Not trying to be contentious here, but if you wanted optimal resource usage, you'd be looking more at blade-style compute nodes with no local drives. It defeats the purpose if every compute node has a fixed amount of local disk space attached to it. There's no elasticity. Some compute nodes might max out, some might be using only a fraction of the drive. The whole reason for virtualizing everything was that there were too many machines burning up tons of resources while sitting more or less idle.

IIRC, Amazon's current instance storage model allows for magnetic or SSD storage, but I don't think they allocate in terms of actual physical drives.

5 days ago
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Miss a Payment? Your Car Stops Running

RabidReindeer Re:Pay cash (903 comments)

Being poor can be a real juggling act.

You probably don't have enough liquid assets to pay cash for a big-ticket item, but you can scrape by lots of "easy payments", even those the interest rates may be ruinous. You may, in fact, spend considerable time and effort on juggling bills because you can't pay them all, you simply rotate who gets stiffed that month. And then pay again because there will be penalties and late fees.

Being poor involves a completely different mindset. You can't afford to trade convenience for money because you have no money. You become timid because so many of life's problems can be smoothed out or solved if you have money, but you don't have money. So you take extra care to try and not have those problems.

And, of course, you buy a pair of carboard-soled boots every 6 months because you cannot afford to just up and buy leather-soled boots that will last 6 years, even though in the long run it's cheaper. Because everything has to be done in the short run.

It's all very well to say "pay cash", but you have to have the cash to begin with. If you start out at zero and you have no excess income to save, you're not going to have the cash. If your reserves are low and Tiny Tim breaks a leg, there go all the savings.

Then again, we all know that if they'd just work hard, they would all be billionaires, just like us hard-working folks. Who gives a crap about stupid lazy poor people?

5 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

RabidReindeer Re:migratable vms? (94 comments)

Xen is software, not AWS, AWS is an entire infrastructure, and they can not (or will not) live migrate customer VM's.

They are very clear in their documentation that customers should be able to tolerate VM restarts and to use multiple AZ's and regions to help mitigate downtime. I have several hundred instances scheduled for reboot, but they are doing one AZ at a time.

Since Xen is rumored to be the VM host for AWS (or at least large parts of it), I'd have to think it's "will not".

I can believe it's "can not", since amazon provides gigabytes (or terabytes) of local instance storage for most of their instance types - that's a lot of data to live migrate. Even if the underlying Xen software technically *can* live migrate VM's, that doesn't mean their infrastructure can support migrating thousands of customer instances.

Except that in a cloud, storage is part of the cloud, not part of the server. The only thing that has to physically move is the RAM image of the running VM from one host to another. And it's almost certainly going to be faster to replicate that than to destroy and rebuild it (reboot).

5 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

RabidReindeer Re:migratable vms? (94 comments)

Xen is software, not AWS, AWS is an entire infrastructure, and they can not (or will not) live migrate customer VM's.

They are very clear in their documentation that customers should be able to tolerate VM restarts and to use multiple AZ's and regions to help mitigate downtime. I have several hundred instances scheduled for reboot, but they are doing one AZ at a time.

Since Xen is rumored to be the VM host for AWS (or at least large parts of it), I'd have to think it's "will not".

5 days ago
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Amazon Forced To Reboot EC2 To Patch Bug In Xen

RabidReindeer Re:Compared to Azure (94 comments)

No, some things are load-balanced banks of apache servers hooked to Galera MySQL clusters.

Really, though. Unless Oracle has been spending a LOT more time on version compatibility than IBM or PostgreSQL, I have to wonder if those 3+ years don't mean that the database is something like 9i still running. And Oracle DEFINITELY knows how to break things in their Financials product from major release to major release.

5 days ago

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