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Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA

Skweetis Re:Happy President (569 comments)

No[me] it[me] isn't[me].

I apologize if this seems rude, but why should I be interested in your opinion? Are you an authority on economic policy?

The only way you can judge Presidents is how the economy fares AFTER their 4 or 8 years in office.

It's been pointed out to you that this is flawed and why, so I won't repeat it. However, there is a grain of truth in this. A president's policies with regard to economic matters don't really take effect until their second year in office, given the constitutional procedures regarding budgeting, etc. If you want me to take you seriously, take the figures in the links I cited, and demonstrate how accounting for this changes the premise I posted.

about a year ago
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Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA

Skweetis Re:Happy President (569 comments)

Sorry, bloggers and authors peddling their own books? Sorry, not convinced.

I tried to select sources that referenced actual numbers. Feel free to cite numbers of your own, but this is such a well-known phenomenon at this point that denying it strikes me as highly unusual.

And how convenient, that the most recent disaster is blamed on Bush...

I don't think it's very fair to blame former President Bush for the financial crisis. Though his 2003 tax cuts included a provision eliminating capital gains tax on certain home sales, which created structures that allowed the real estate and financial markets to become corrupted and eventually collapse, assigning blame to him is like blaming the owner of a gun shop when someone commits a crime using a gun purchased at that shop.

Democrats of the late 1990ies are to blame...

The core cause of the financial crisis was the over-leveraging of securities backed by subprime loans. Given that these loans were overwhelmingly not backed by Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac, I'm struggling to determine how the author of that article is making the connection between rules regarding affordable housing access for the poor and minorities and the financial crisis (I do like his books, though). After some cursory Googling, I located this, which, while interesting, isn't especially relevant.

...workforce participation...

This is why.

about a year ago
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Obama's Privacy Reform Panel Will Report To ... the NSA

Skweetis Re:Happy President (569 comments)

Until there is a Libertarian candidate, who is remotely viable, picking Republicans is what Libertarians ought to be doing. Because Republicans are far less wrong on economy. And economic freedom is required for prosperity...

The opposite is literally true. I don't personally vote economic issues (there's nothing wrong with doing so), but if I were to, voting Republican would not be an optimal choice.

On contrast, if an ultra-Conservative "RethugliKKKan" wins elections and, horrors, manages to outlaw abortions... Guess what? I'll still be able to afford my daughter's trip to Canada, should she ever want the procedure.

You seem to primarily vote your wallet, and you also have a liberal position on at least one social issue, or, at least, you're not crazy about the Republican platform position on that issue (please correct me if I read you wrong). Again, nothing wrong with that, but holding a Republican preference with what you've shared of your political views seems... decidedly strange. I'd honestly be interested in how you arrived at the preference you have.

...the deterioration of our economy...

What deterioration? Now, I'll be the first to admit that we're not exactly seeing Clinton-era growth, but we are seeing steady, albeit slow, improvement. Again, literally the opposite of deterioration.

about a year ago
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GOG: How an Indie Game Store Took On the Pirates and Won

Skweetis Re:Love GoG (397 comments)

...what we need is a "Win9X Box" that will simulate say a 733MHz P3 with 384Mb of RAM and a Geforce 4 that will fake all the quirks that devs would use back then.

For 3D-accelerated games from that era, I've had good luck with dgVoodoo. Unaccelerated DirectDraw stuff often flat refuses to run on newer versions of Windows, but I've gotten some things to work with The DirectDraw Hack and similar programs, depending on the game.

But, that's not really what you're asking for. QEMU might be a good starting point; getting it to emulate a P3 and a Geforce 4 may be a lot of work (I haven't perused the source), but probably not impossible; I mean, it's designed to emulate selected CPUs and video cards already.

WINE is getting good, too -- I want to try this when it's working.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Little Boxes Around the Edge of the Data Center?

Skweetis Re:ESXi (320 comments)

If you don't need perfect timing, just consistent timing for kerberos and log file sanity, then running ntpd on ESXi with tinker panic 0 and about four time sources will work well, with no more than a few seconds drift at any time.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Little Boxes Around the Edge of the Data Center?

Skweetis Re:VMs (320 comments)

A friend works for a large server vendor. He told me a while ago that they essentially only provide and support the management tools for their servers as VCenter plugins anymore; because, almost without exception, their customers only use them as ESXi hosts.

about 2 years ago
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Obama and Romney Respond To ScienceDebate.org Questionnaire

Skweetis Re:Here be no surprises (608 comments)

And here's the complete context, where you can see that he was talking about infrastructure:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

Good job proving the grandparent's point.

about 2 years ago
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35 Years Later, Voyager 1 Is Heading For the Stars

Skweetis Re:Correction (226 comments)

2 + 2 = 3.14159

(I want to join in the mistake-making, too.)

about 2 years ago
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AMD64 Surpasses i386 As Debian's Most Popular Architecture

Skweetis Re:Run the 16-bit applications in a real emulator (216 comments)

...run the 16-bit applications in Windows 3.1 in a real emulator such as DOSBox.

This works really well, actually. DOSBox is good enough that it seems more stable than any 486 hardware ever was. It runs my old DOS/Windows apps handily, runs on any recent Windows/Linux/OSX OS with no drama, and the source is readily available in case I ever run into something that needs some tweaking to get running. Not that I've needed to do that much; I think I made a small hack to 0.72 to get it to run something, which ended up working in 0.73 and 0.74 without modification.

about 2 years ago
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What Does a Virtual Assistant Do Best?

Skweetis Re:The missing SEX option (125 comments)

I initially misread the first option as 'gives erections'. And, frankly, that would be as good a use of a virtual assistant as anything else they do. As cool as the software can be, it's really just a UI paradigm; all of the operations in the poll options are straightforward enough to do with a standard smartphone interface. Not to diminish the importance of UI paradigms, as they can be industry-changing, but at the same time, I've worked through enough of them to be less interested than I used to be.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Use For a New Supercomputing Cluster?

Skweetis Re:Lost some funding? (387 comments)

'Decent speaker cable', according to the reply to your original post, is simply cable of sufficient diameter to lower resistance. This is correct -- any two conductors of sufficient size will work fine in this application. Induced noise isn't an issue at the voltage levels required to drive a loudspeaker, so no shielding is required (or desired -- shielded cable would introduce capacitance issues that would potentially cause your amplifier some distress). I do sound reinforcement for extra cash sometimes; I have personally used two sets of booster cables and 500 feet of barbed wire fence as a speaker 'cable' for an outdoor event. I mostly use bulk lamp cord in normal situations. Monster Cable is largely unnecessary and overpriced (and, frighteningly, is generally regarded as low-end among the cork-sniffing segment of the pro-audio world).

about 3 years ago
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PC Designer Says PC "Going the Way of the Vacuum Tube"

Skweetis Re:Even and odd harmonics (685 comments)

A tube amp may emphasize either even or odd order harmonics, depending on the circuit design in the output stage. A single-ended output stage (one in which one or more tubes are used to simply amplifies the current of the input waveform) will indeed tend to emphasize even-order harmonics. Many tube hi-fi amps use a Class A single-ended output stage for this reason. An amp with a push-pull output stage (one in which the input waveform is split into two, with one phase-inverted 180 degrees from the other, and each new waveform sent to one half of one or more output tube pairs, which are biased so that each member of each pair essentially amplifies the current of one half of the original input waveform) will tend to emphasize odd-order harmonics, as even-order harmonics present in the signal will be canceled out when the signals are recombined by the output transformer. Most guitar amplifiers (probably the most common use of vacuum tubes anymore) are Class AB, push-pull amplifiers, which, aside from being much more efficient than single-ended amps, add mid-frequency punch to what would be a somewhat thin tone otherwise.

/Finally, a chance to use my archaic, outdated electronics knowledge for something. =P

more than 3 years ago
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Making Microelectronics Out of Nanodiamond

Skweetis Re:Size matters (80 comments)

Transistor amplifiers typically have a much faster slew rate than tubes. The slowness of tube amplifiers is mostly related to the rectification stage, though -- in older amps, a diode tube such as a 5AR4 or 5U4 is used, which can have a slew rate of 100 ms or more under some circumstances. Newer tube amplifiers typically, though not always, have solid-state rectification (usually 1N4007 diodes in a bridge configuration), which slew much faster.

Another characteristic of tube amplifiers that is of interest to musicians is harmonic content. Where a transistor amplifier simply takes an input sine wave and outputs an amplified version of the same wave, a tube amplifier will output dozens of harmonic waves as well. A "clean" sounding tube amp likely outputs a signal with 10 to 15% THD. A single-ended amplifier (one in which one or more output tubes simply increase the power of a signal) will tend to emphasize even-order harmonics (even-numbered multiples of the input frequency). An amplifier in a push-pull configuration (one in which two or more output tubes are paired, with each member of a pair amplifying one half of the input waveform) will tend to cancel even-order harmonics and emphasize odd-order harmonics (odd-numbered multiples of the input frequency).

A couple of weeks ago, I worked on a modern tube amp which was designed to allow flexibility in all of these areas. It had multiple stages which could each be overdriven separately or together for different overload characteristics, rectification switchable between tube and solid-state, and an output stage switchable between push-pull and single-ended. It even had multiple bias/plate voltage presets to allow use of multiple tube types in the output stage. Complicated, but kind of cool, too.

And the grandparent is correct regarding the gullibility of audiophiles. Anyone who would spend $60/foot on "premium speaker cable", when dollar-store lamp cord will conduct the same voltages and frequencies in an identical fashion should probably have their picture posted next to 'gullible' in the dictionary. =P

more than 3 years ago
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Apple To Unveil Light Peak, New MacBook Pros This Week?

Skweetis Re:Yet another Apple "standard" (311 comments)

Who's using PS/2 Mouse/keyboard connectors?

/me raises hand sheepishly. I'm still using the IBM Model M keyboard that I got with a cast-off 286 (the first computer I ever had that was mine, and not shared with someone else) in the mid-1990s. It's the only keyboard I've ever owned; I found it to be a little surreal when they became collectors' items in the past decade or so. I'm also still using a no-name $8 PS/2 mouse (one of the early optical mice) that I got about ten years ago. Maybe I should turn in my geek card for not bothering to upgrade my old junk, but it works fine for my purposes, and the last time I bought a motherboard (a couple of years ago, IIRC) it wasn't difficult to find one with PS/2 ports. When the ports are finally gone, I'll buy a cheap PS/2 to USB adapter.

more than 2 years ago
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Michigan Governor Wants 'Open Source' Economic Model

Skweetis Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (237 comments)

I looked up the figures on the New York State government website, I would be surprised if New York City was not included. This doesn't 'skew' any figures; the figures are either accurate or they aren't. It is possible that the two states aren't easily comparable, but I think they are, as long as differences between them are taken into account in the comparison (as I did, using per-capita government spending rather than overall spending, for example). Both states had major businesses within them fail badly in 2008 (auto in Michigan, Banking in New York). Jobs were lost in both sectors of the economy; IIRC, finance was actually hit harder. Both sectors of the economy were subsequently bailed out by the Federal government. New York is doing relatively better now. If the great-grandparent were correct, that higher taxes, government spending, and unions were the cause of Michigan's economic woes, this would not be the case, as all of those things are more prevalent in New York.

Or, to word things differently, why is New York City, in your words, a "major business & finance centre" even though taxes and government spending are extremely high, and union membership is common? Is it possible, as I stated in my initial post, that taxes, government spending, and unions have much less of an effect on economies than the great-grandparent is asserting?

more than 3 years ago
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Michigan Governor Wants 'Open Source' Economic Model

Skweetis Re:The Real Title: Kalamazoo (237 comments)

These companies are struggling under the current Michigan plus Federal tax and regulation environment. I've been hearing rumors about some of these companies fleeing as well. Some supposedly considering fleeing the USA altogether.

Michigan's corporate tax rate is the ninth lowest in the nation, at 4.95%. I can't speak to any relevant regulations, as I'm not familiar with them, but I would be interested to know what they are.

It's far too soon yet and there are far too few details regarding Snyder's plans available to make any judgments. However, Michigan *must* sharply change its' business climate *and* dramatically reduce state spending & tax rates if it is not to become a failed wasteland of desperately-poor & unemployed, barely able to exist while suffering under crippling crime & murder rates, failing infrastructure, and little to no assistance or social services available from a bankrupt state government.

Michigan's budget for FY 2010-2011 is $47.5 billion. This is in line with other states of its size and population. See above about tax rates. What about the business climate there is problematic?

One other change Michigan *must* make is to become a "right-to-work" state. The choke-hold that Unions in general and public-service unions in particular have on the state government, both in terms of government-union corruption as well as the punishing financial burden of the unfunded public-service pensions, is guaranteed to drive Michigan into default while driving away jobs.

Michigan is sixth-highest in the nation with regard to the rate of union membership, with 710,000 union members, or 18.8% of the state's workforce.

By comparison, the state I live in, New York, has a higher corporate tax rate (7.1%), a much higher budget of $131.8 billion (but a much higher population -- I think a better measure is per-capita spending, where New York still wins (or loses, depending on how you look at it) with a per-capita spending of a little less than $7,000, compared to Michigan's per-capita spending of $4,750. New York also has a much higher rate of union membership (highest in the nation, actually), with over 2 million union members, or 25% of the workforce.

Currently, New York's unemployment rate is 8.3%, less than the national average, while Michigan's unemployment rate is second-highest in the nation, at 12.4% (only Nevada is higher, at 14.3%). Clearly, while the things you mention may be contributing factors to Michigan's economic troubles, they are not the primary factor. Actually, the primary factor is that Michigan has far too homogeneous an economy, relying far too much on the automobile industry. So, when the auto industry has problems, Michigan has problems. In a recession, a new car is a luxury; if your existing one is working and repairs cost less than a new car payment, you're not going to buy one. Not to mention that foreign auto manufacturers have been steadily eating into sales of domestic automobiles for decades, now.

more than 2 years ago
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Solar Power On the White House

Skweetis Re:How does it get any light? (405 comments)

And you don't find it missleading to mention that your home has no more than one 60W light bulb?

You're not wrong, which is why I mentioned it in my second post. While I was making my first one, I quite honestly forgot that my situation was unusual. I live a bit of a sheltered life. =P

And, while it is relevant, I don't think it ultimately matters too much -- scaling of solar installations is rather straightforward.

more than 3 years ago
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Solar Power On the White House

Skweetis Re:How does it get any light? (405 comments)

Complete BS. Moonlight radiates about 1 milliwatt / sq/m. On your panel of 18" x 48" (848 sq/in or about 0.55 sq/m) which is probably about 15% efficient overall at full sun (1000 W / sq/m), would generate about .08 milliwatts in full moonlight.

Good luck powering your solar powered calculator with that let alone charging a battery to any significant degree.

I should have been more specific, here, because we're splitting hairs. In full moonlight, my charge controller will register enough current coming from the panel to activate its charge mode. It will not, however, charge my battery bank to any significant degree. I mentioned this to support my point that direct sunlight is not necessarily required for a solar panel to generate power.

There is also no way that your panel (perhaps rated at 80W in full sun) would be enough to do anything but provide anything but a tiny dent in anyone's electricity bill - it might generate 125 kWh/year in the southwest desert - most households would use that amount of electricity in a matter of days (average household energy consumption ranges between 500-1000 kWh/month depending on where you live).

I think my panel is 65W, actually. You're not wrong about its capabilities, but it meets my needs and then some. Four lamps with 6W CF bulbs, a small 12V water pump, a modest computer, and a 15W guitar amplifier are the entirety of the appliances in my house, though. Were I to ever need more appliances, I would simply add panels and batteries, or even upgrade my inverter (currently an older 10A Trace) as necessary. I won't pretend that my needs are average, though.

As to how well a solar panel works when it's cloudy, let's look at my very own solar panels (I have 18 180W panels / 3240W of solar on my roof with Enphase microinverters).

On a clear sunny day this time of year, my system will generate about 14-15 kWh. PVwatts estimates that my system will generate about 327 kWh in a typical October, or about 10.5 kWh/day. So it's pretty clear that clouds will have a large effect on energy production. Looking at the past 7 days, none of which have been ranged between completely cloudy/rainy to mostly sunny (no 100% clear days), energy production has ranged between 3.0 kWh to 14.4 kWh with an average of 7.8 kWh/day.

So stating that they work "quite well" when it's cloudy is being quite optimistic at best when clouds can cut power generation by 80%.

It sounds like your solar panels work well in the aggregate on cloudy days based on your own statistics. While clouds can cut power generation by 80% of their optimal output, in practice, you have averaged 52% of optimal output over a period of 7 days, or 74% of your estimated normal average. I have noticed roughly similar performance with my system, and I think it is very reasonable. Not that there is a scientific definition for the phrase "quite well", either. :)

P.S. Thanks for posting the stats about your system, btw -- you have added real, valuable data to the discussion. Cheers!

more than 3 years ago
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Solar Power On the White House

Skweetis Re:How does it get any light? (405 comments)

I live in the Northeast, and I have powered my house with a solar panel for almost ten years (there is no municipal electrical service where I live). A sunny day isn't required for the panels to work; they work better in full sunlight, but work quite well with cloud cover. Mine will even charge my batteries slowly on a clear night when the moon is full. They actually work better in the winter -- even though the days are shorter, reflected light from snow cover results in greater ambient light and by extension, better charging. Does it snow much in DC?

My solar panel is 18" x 48", IIRC, and I just have the one. It's an older model, and not as efficient as the new ones, but it meets all of my admittedly modest electrical needs and then some. This will work fine, assuming it's properly engineered.

more than 3 years ago

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