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Comments

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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Rich0 Re:So what was the plan? (782 comments)

A shooting war with Russia means the entire US East and West coasts are within range of sub-launched cruise missiles,

Which is why US attack subs are following the Russian boomers around...

Sure, but can we be sure we have found every one of them?

It isn't just the boomers that are a problem either - I imagine their attack subs can carry cruise missiles.

But, think about it. The only way a war could start and stay contained is if the US sends troops to the Ukraine, the Russians don't do anything to interfere with them arriving there, and the US troops just fight along a front with the Russians to push them back to the border. How likely is that? It would certainly be a bloody war - nobody fights that way since WWI.

The more likely scenario is that the US mounts invasions of Russia from somewhere OTHER than Ukraine, which would put Russia on the defensive. They would immediately have to pull out of Ukraine or they'll end up being encircled, or losing a city in the north like Moscow or St Petersburg. Since that would be all-out war the US would preemptively attack all Russian Naval assets, expecting them to retaliate with unrestricted conventional warfare otherwise. We are now talking about a global unrestricted conventional war between the US and Russia, that we hope stays conventional even though the US is fighting on Russian territory, and will likely capture quite a bit of it assuming they can get enough ground troops over there before the real shooting starts (there is a logistics challenge here as Russia is huge and the US isn't basing thousands of troops in Latvia or anything like that). If the gloves are off, then you also have to factor in things like special forces, sabotage, and so on. I'm not sure that Russia's only option for striking the US is submarines.

I'm sure this would make for a great Clancy novel, but nobody really wants to actually see this stuff happen. I think the US/EU would let Russia march right up to the border of Germany before they'd do something about it. Maybe they'd stop them at Poland this time or something. I doubt that they're ready to draw the line at Ukraine, or even the baltics. Everybody is just going to want to pretend that it isn't happening, or that Russia just wants a bit more buffer.

12 hours ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:My opinion on the matter. (807 comments)

For now...

In general there hasn't been any kind of move towards making non-init-oriented stuff part of PID 1 in systemd, or requiring the use of any of the satellite software. I don't think you have two points you can even draw a line through here...

12 hours ago
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:A Windows-like UNIX (807 comments)

An obvious application for storing configuration in a database is when you have a cluster. Suppose I have an application with 400 settings. I have 10,000 nodes. Some settings are unique to each node, some are unique to a group of nodes, and some settings are common across all of them.

With a normalized database you could store every value once, and make one change to have it propagated to all your nodes. If you have a pile of text files in /etc then you either:
1. Really have the database storing the true values and just regenerate all your text files, which is really just the database design with a text-file compatibility layer.
2. Come up with some way of editing 10,000 text files across 10,000 systems to make the right changes to each one, trying to stay on top of all of them if that really is the master source of configuration for each one.

Most of the new configuration management paradigms are built around the concept that systems are not hand-built, but they're machine-built on-demand.

yesterday
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Rich0 Re:Probably lies again. Just give it a few days. (782 comments)

Tend to agree. The US wouldn't have any problem with the rebel forces, but just about anybody else would. Now that Russia is pulling out all the stops even the US would take care before intervening - they have some serious air defenses that are potentially effective against even stealth aircraft. I suspect the US could still overwhelm them, but it wouldn't be bloodless even if limited to an air war, and I doubt any battles would remain contained to the region.

yesterday
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:A Windows-like UNIX (807 comments)

My point is that using text files vs something else is a design decision with both pros and cons. I can understand why individuals have their preferences, but that does not make either design outright wrong.

yesterday
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

Rich0 Re:So what was the plan? (782 comments)

This is something we saw coming, at least since the incident with Crimea. What plans were made for this? Or are they all pretending to be surprised?

I'm sure everybody has both made plans and is pretending to be surprised. That's just politics. Nobody says what they really think.

Does Germany want Russia invading the Ukraine? I'm sure the answer is no. If push comes to shove are they going to put principle above gas prices? Probably not, but we'll see. The downing of the airliner was taken seriously because so many of the dead were EU citizens, but even then it was just sanctions.

I'm not entirely convinced the US/EU would commit to warfare if Russia invaded Lithuania, which is a NATO member. I'm very skeptical that they're going to do more than sanctions over Ukraine. A shooting war with Russia means the entire US East and West coasts are within range of sub-launched cruise missiles, completely setting aside the doomsday scenarios. There was an uproar over closing a few lanes of bridges into Manhattan last year - imagine what will happen if key bridges along coastal rivers are destroyed? It doesn't take much disruption to have a huge impact on the economy.

yesterday
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FBI Investigates 'Sophisticated' Cyber Attack On JP Morgan, 4 More US Banks

Rich0 Re:im growing to hate the word cyber. (96 comments)

There is actually a deeper issue than corporate security competence.

Imagine that a bunch of soldiers stormed the front door to their datacenter with APCs, tanks, and artillery support. They then removed hard drives and proceeded across the border to some other country. Would you consider this a bank security problem?

Banks don't have this problem because the government provides physical security against these kinds of threats. Sure, the bank is expected to lock the doors and have some guards, but they aren't expected to stop an attack of arbitrary determination.

With the internet we benefit from the free exchange of data across national borders. However, at the same time this means that computer security can be subjected to attacks of arbitrary sophistication, and national governments have generally not intervened.

Now, I'm sure more could be done to secure the average corporate network, the reality is that state actors are free to develop more and more sophisticated attacks free of interference. If I wanted to hack into some foreign bank I probably would have the FBI kicking down my doors before I got too far with it. The same is not true of an NSA agent doing the same thing.

I think the only real solution to this sort of problem involves border control. Establish agreements with nations to cooperate on prosecuting computer crime, and heavily firewall communications or block them entirely at the borders. Parties to the agreement would agree to not accept traffic from countries that aren't parties to the agreement. The downside to such a policy is obvious - far less freedom of communication, and that will probably support dictatorships and such abroad since we'll effectively be providing the firewalls for them.

Either that, or we just accept that data stored on networked computers is going to be insecure. There is no reason to think that security is a game where the defenders can ever win - that certainly hasn't been our experience in physical security.

yesterday
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Research Shows RISC vs. CISC Doesn't Matter

Rich0 Re:It's a question that WAS relevant (151 comments)

I actually wonder how relevant CISC even is to people doing assembly programming these days. There is no reason you can't pull an LLVM-like move and target something other than the native instruction set when you are programming.

That is basically all the x86 does anyway - convert CISC instructions into microcode. There is no reason that an assembler couldn't do the same thing, further blurring the lines between assembly and compiled code. If the whole point of writing assembly is to optimize your code, and a RISC processor could run your code faster after low-level-compilation than a CISC processor could run it natively, then RISC is what you really want anyway.

yesterday
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:A Windows-like UNIX (807 comments)

Do you actually want to discuss this? If so, please do so politely.

yesterday
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:A Windows-like UNIX (807 comments)

People talk about text files like they're magical and more robust. The fact is that in order to access a text file you need about 14 pieces of software, and for one of them you have a lot of options as to which piece of software you use. If it is in a binary format you need about 14 pieces of software, and you have less choice about that one piece.

Are you trying to disprove your own point now?

Your reply addresses zero of my arguments. Try again.

You said "If /etc becomes a database, you lose the ability to use your standard tools on it, which, gasp, tend to work on text files, because it's the one single truly universal /and/ human-digestable format."

My point is that there is nothing human-digestible about a couple of magnetic domains in a sea of trillions of magnetic domains on a piece of metal. You need a lot of software to access it, and most of it isn't particularly interchangeable.

Sure, text files have certain advantages, but they have lots of disadvantages as well. If I'm spawning 3 million instances of some application server, and they all have slight configuration tweaks, it makes more sense for them all to check in with some kind of configuration management server or receive their state information at boot, rather than building a unique disk image for each one just so that I can stick a text file on it.

yesterday
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CenturyLink: Comcast Is Trying To Prevent Competition In Its Territories

Rich0 Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (110 comments)

Ebola, for all the scaryness, doesn't actually kill many people. That's why there's no drug for it: Not enough dead to be worth the research investment. It's generally too lethal to spread, baring the occasional outbreak.

The problem with things like Ebola and such is that this is true today, and maybe there is a 95% chance that it will be true 5 years from now as well. The problem is that if there ever is a major outbreak we're going to be stacking the bodies in the streets. It is almost certainly worth having a treatment available, even if it never turns out to be necessary.

The same is true about having reserve antibiotics. They should ideally never be used, so you'll never see private dollars spent on them (who develops a product with the intent to not sell it?). However, if we do get some outbreak of antibiotic-resistant whatever we can now do something about it.

This is really the ideal domain of government - developing drugs that have the potential to benefit everybody but for which no market exists today.

yesterday
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CenturyLink: Comcast Is Trying To Prevent Competition In Its Territories

Rich0 Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (110 comments)

I think it is probably worth having both models. Don't get rid of the patent system, but go ahead and have public end-to-end R&D with the government holding the patents and offering free licenses to US-based manufacturers (or those in countries that reciprocate and make comparable investments).

Private companies could still invest in Viagra and sell it for $5/pill, and if the government drops the ball then at least people have an expensive option instead of no option at all. When the government eventually comes out with its own cure, then prices will fall.

yesterday
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:My opinion on the matter. (807 comments)

Interesting. Hopefully it can be toggled on/off. In any case, it still isn't part of PID 1, and you can run systemd without running resolved.

yesterday
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Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Rich0 Re:A Windows-like UNIX (807 comments)

I've yet to see a standard text file editor which is able to view a text file in /etc without the aid of a very non-standard filesystem driver.

What kind of retarded straw-man or obvious troll is that? Where do you think databases store their data? In the magic data cloud? Besides, what does the 'non-standard' part even *mean*?

People talk about text files like they're magical and more robust. The fact is that in order to access a text file you need about 14 pieces of software, and for one of them you have a lot of options as to which piece of software you use. If it is in a binary format you need about 14 pieces of software, and you have less choice about that one piece.

Sure, I prefer text configuration files in general, but having my logs in text format doesn't matter nearly as much as long as I can convert them.

I abandoned Linux in favour of the BSDs when it started to smell, and you're the perfect example of why it does that nowadays

Glad I was able to help confirm your bias. :)

2 days ago
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CenturyLink: Comcast Is Trying To Prevent Competition In Its Territories

Rich0 Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (110 comments)

The solution, of course, is municipal broadband.

Agree. The problem here is that we want to have socialism, but we don't want to actually fund it via taxes. So we make companies jump through hoops with the same effect, but usually in a less-efficient manner.

Drug development is the same thing. We have this patent system because we don't want to fund end-to-end drug R&D and make drugs license-free. The problem is that then we end up with poor people not being able to afford medicine. Then we talk about price controls and all kinds of other measures, when the simple solution is to just have the government develop royalty-free drugs end-to-end and make them cheaply-available. But, that involves lots of taxes, so we stick with the current system.

We need to get rid of all these universal access fees and all the other nonsense. Just charge an income tax and if you want poor people to have phone service, then pay for them to have phone service. Inevitably all these fees distort markets, and often they end up falling on people with low-to-moderate incomes who can least afford to pay them.

2 days ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Rich0 Re:Will the cameras work? (601 comments)

There is a simple solution to this. When cameras fail, charges are dismissed against anybody who was arrested during the incident, and if anybody is injured the police department is presumed at fault and pays through the nose the greater of proven damages or a statutory fine of $10M. If the local township has to pay out $10M every time a camera fails, chances are that they'll figure out how to make the cameras not fail.

2 days ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Rich0 Re:I like... (601 comments)

Fighting crime costs money. If we wanted to save money, we could just fire all the cops. It is worth it to spend $20k rehabilitating somebody who is caught committing a crime that costs society $100, because the alternative is more crimes being committed, and likely at escalating cost.

These cameras would be an incredibly beneficial investment. It is worth it simply for the ability to restore faith in the good cops who have been doing their jobs right all along. Chances are it will turn quite a few of the rotten ones into at least acceptable ones.

2 days ago
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U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

Rich0 Re:I like... (601 comments)

Agree. I have a dash cam in each of my cars and it only cost $70. Everything but the battery in those would be more than adequate for something an officer would wear. Obviously a police officer would not be tethered to a car, so I can accept that a portable unit with an all-day battery capacity would cost more, though the battery could be attached to the belt.

2 days ago
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Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

Rich0 Re:Hard to do right, easy to not notice you're wro (113 comments)

How can you compare a kid running a program three times to obtain a mean to the calculus required for even the most trivial statistical problems?

That was his whole point. The fact that many people think that the one is a substitute for the other indicates that there is a big problem in CS.

That said, trivial statistical problems usually don't require calculus to solve. I fully appreciate that commonly used statistical functions are rooted in calculus, and you need to understand it at some level to apply them properly. However, the mechanics of solving the problems usually do not require solving integrals/etc. To use a car analogy - I can use a speedometer without knowing what a derivative is.

2 days ago
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Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

Rich0 Re:Statistics as standalone field (113 comments)

I think you hit the nail on the head. Nobody cares about getting it right, they just care about getting it accepted. People know enough statistics to be dangerous.

But the same is true of almost any field. Unless you work in some kind of skunk works team, how many of your coworkers REALLY have a good grasp of the fundamentals in whatever profession you work in? Do you think the average CS major has any idea what an opcode is, or how to implement a binary adder (just in terms of theoretical gates, let alone actual circuitry)? How many cooks really appreciate how the presence and properties of water affects the temperature at which food cooks?

I'm sure even among experts, the average statistician is, well, average.

2 days ago

Submissions

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Cheap second calculators for tests

Rich0 Rich0 writes  |  about 9 months ago

Rich0 (548339) writes "I own an HP 48 calculator that I'm quite content with, but soon I'll need to take a certification exam where this calculator will not be welcome. I'm sure this is a common problem for those who own higher-end calculators. Sure, I could just buy a random $15 calculator with a few trig functions, but I was wondering who makes the best moderately-priced calculators for somebody who already has and appreciates a programmable calculator and just needs something simple. Bonus points if the calculator can handle polar vector arithmetic and unit conversions, but it has to be simple enough that virtually any exam would accept its use."
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Students Punished for Facebook Group Affiliation

Rich0 Rich0 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Rich0 (548339) writes "More than 100 students from Souderton Area High School (just a few miles from Lower Merion School District) signed up as fans of a Facebook group celebrating National Kick a Freshman day. The school reacted by taking minor disciplinary action against anybody who signed up, and sent out a mailing to all parents in the school. Online news is sparse and no information is available yet on the school's website."
Link to Original Source
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Eminent Domain Ends in Irony

Rich0 Rich0 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Rich0 (548339) writes "Not long ago it was reported that the Supreme Court sided with a local town in their battle to evict residents to make room for a new corporate resident. In a twist of irony, Pfizer has decided to shutter the facility, leaving a to-be-abandoned facility in the place of the evicted homeowners."
Link to Original Source
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Rich0 Rich0 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Rich0 (548339) writes "I have a growing pile of CDs/DVDs holding hundreds of GB of files. I would like a linux-compatible software solution to cataloging and searching these disks. Lots of solutions exist for music/video, but not so many for files.

Some features I'd like would be the ability to easily scan the disks (pop in disc, software reads disc, software prompts for a name (with something sensible defaulted), software ejects disc, softare tells me what if any label to write/apply to the disc, and software is ready for the next disc).

I've seen one or two packages out there but they usually require lots of manual disk labelling, or their search capabilities are limited. Windows-only software won't be of much use to me.

What are others using to manage their media collections?"

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