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VGA and DVI Ports To Be Phased Out Over Next 5 Years

Timothy Brownawell Re:Sweet! (704 comments)

Why would you buy a TV that only does 1920x1080 when you can get a higher res monitor?

I have a pair of 2048x1152 monitors. That size seems to pretty much not exist any more, which just leaves 2560x1440 (or 2560x1600). Which are about 6x as expensive as 1920x1080, and which I've only seen online and not in physical stores.

more than 2 years ago
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Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations?

Timothy Brownawell Re:Dear Hugh: (948 comments)

civilized labour law that includes no firing without cause after a probation period, paid annual vacation, paid overtime, and other laws that are simply fair and levelling the playing field

Making it hard to fire people is a bad idea, since it makes hiring mistakes far more expensive.

What I'd like to see is something along the line of (1) free vocational training and higher education; (2) work-hour limits (not overtime pay rules) that are higher than reasonable people would want to work but low enough that "evil" employers can't use overtime to interfere with (1); (3) assistance is breaking the information asymmetry in hiring, by proving information to workers; (4) a reasonable safety net so that being out of work for a bit isn't the end of the world. Basically, instead of restricting what employers can do, empower workers so that it doesn't really matter what employers try to do.

more than 2 years ago
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Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations?

Timothy Brownawell Re:I just got back from a job fair today (948 comments)

Post citing lots of "studies say" references, but can't find the actual studies: So yes, the basic claims above do weakly check out, at least for the construction industry. But basic questions still remain: How solid is the data here, does this apply to all industries, and does it apply to our most productive workers?

Later post that does cite studies: So averaging over many construction projects, and including long-run exhaustion effects, total product tends to be highest at sixty hours of work per week. This leaves plenty of room for higher hours-per-week peaks 1) for especially hardy individuals, and 2) in less physically demanding industries.

more than 2 years ago
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The Rise of Developeronomics

Timothy Brownawell Re:Idiots (253 comments)

The safest investment for corporations and individuals is corporations, as usual.

It's turtles all the way down?

At some point the value in these investments needs to either come from making things, or doing things. This is saying that the (current) best investment is in doing/making things that make it easier (or cheaper) for others to do/make things.

more than 2 years ago
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The Rise of Developeronomics

Timothy Brownawell Re:Great a new boom. (253 comments)

Right now, I make nice money. If this is a bubble, that will go up. And I'll get comfortable with that, and adjust my life to suit. When the bubble pops, my income will go way back down again, and that is going to hurt.

Sign up for direct deposit, with a fixed amount (not percentage) going to your checking account, and the rest going to a savings account that you never look at.

more than 2 years ago
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Can Newegg Survive the Post-PC Future?

Timothy Brownawell Re:Holy Wars ... the Punishment Due (559 comments)

Obviously there will always be some demand for high-end PCs. However, it is plausible that at some point in the near future, most people will be using "netbooks" or tablets for their day-to-day computing needs.

Won't those be the same people who currently buy preassembled machines at bestbuy or walmart?

more than 3 years ago
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RMS On Header Files and Derivative Works

Timothy Brownawell Re:Copyrights on facts (247 comments)

So by this explanation I can link my closed-sourced program to a GPL library(dynamically). I only use it's headers!

Depends on what's in the headers (is it *just* declarations you need for talking to the library, or is half of it macros and inline functions and such that end up in your binary), and whether you have enough spare cash/time to fend off a lawsuit.

more than 3 years ago
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Linux 2.6.38 Released

Timothy Brownawell Re:200-line patch (159 comments)

(And if it's completely IO bound, there's never been any reason to fork it 20 ways.)

That depends on why it's IO bound. If you're saturating available bandwidth then yes, but for example if you're trying to crawl a bunch of really slow webservers on the far side of the internet (high round-trip time) then you'd really want to have several outstanding requests at any given time. Even if you're IO bound against local disk parallelism can sometimes help a little, since it gives the IO scheduler more to work with.

more than 3 years ago
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Linux 2.6.38 Released

Timothy Brownawell Re:200-line patch (159 comments)

the example was forking 20 compile processes. normally that's a big speedup because when one has to pend on some i/o, another can pick up and do some work on your overall compile. with this new scheduling instead of 20 new processes crowding the few existing processes into much less cpu, now the 20 processes only act like one new process which makes me wonder why you'd fork 20 processes any more, since they'll have only one process' share of the resource. might as well run them sequentially; it'll take almost exactly as long

Say you have regular desktop programs that take some small amount of CPU, and you want to be able to compile things a quickly as possible without making your music skip or your window manager get laggy. Before this you would have to guess at the right number of compile processes to run; too few and it takes longer and doesn't use all your CPU, too many and your desktop gets laggy. Now, the scheduler treats all of the compiler processes as a group, and lets your music player and window manager steal CPU cycles from them more easily -- so you can run more processes and keep the CPU busy, without worrying about your music skipping.

more than 3 years ago
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SSDs Cause Crisis For Digital Forensics

Timothy Brownawell Re:Good. (491 comments)

These drives are oblivious to the file-system, which is why there needs to be a TRIM command which allows the OS to say "hey, I don't care about that page (4 KB) any longer."

Some SSDs actually do understand a few filesystem formats (maybe just NTFS?), and used this to GC unused blocks before TRIM was implemented.

more than 3 years ago
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London Stock Exchange Price Errors 'Emerged At Linux Launch'

Timothy Brownawell Re:either sympathy or accusation (168 comments)

I can well believe you have had problems in your projects if you think that there are "known issues of TCP/IP message passing from Unix/BSD stack to a Win stack".

Oh, but there are issues. One side does "write(sockfd, &myobject, sizeof(myobject))" and the other does the equivalent (which .NET makes far more difficult that it needs to be, so I haven't room to write it here), and because the platforms are incompatible your program usually just crashes.

Much better to use SOAP (or even just XML over HTTP if you have truly extreme performance requirements) and completely avoid all that TCP/IP mess.

.

Note to the humor impaired: you have no sense of humor.

more than 3 years ago
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Verizon iPhone Also Haunted By the Death Grip

Timothy Brownawell Re:God here we go again.....all phones have the is (191 comments)

The iphone 4 has a VERY real problem when you hold it not in some magical "death grip"....

... according to everybody but the owners of the phone.

Every iphone 4 I've seen coworkers using lately has one of those rubber bumpers on it. I don't see this for the company-issue blackberries or for people with other kinds of phone (including those who have iphone 3's), and I didn't see it for the first couple weeks after people got their iphone 4's. This suggests to me that there is a severe problem, but it has a (rather ugly) $2 workaround that everyone uses.

more than 3 years ago
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'Death By GPS' Increasing In America's Wilderness

Timothy Brownawell Re:It happens (599 comments)

How far south are you from? One-quarter inch of snow is enough to obliterate road markings. One-quarter inch of snow in no way means you shouldn't take a road.

It does around here...

more than 3 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

Timothy Brownawell Re:This is slashdot? (2254 comments)

What tab plugin is that that you're using?

"Tree Style Tab"

more than 3 years ago
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Slashdot Launches Re-Design

Timothy Brownawell Re:This is slashdot? (2254 comments)

...and even better, the keyboard navigation seems to be all jacked up. It's like April come early!

more than 3 years ago
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Espionage In Icelandic Parliament

Timothy Brownawell Re:Recovery Fairy Tales again (274 comments)

Nobody accepted it because it was stupid, and probably just a publicity stunt for the people running it.

more than 3 years ago
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Beware of Using Google Or OpenDNS For iTunes

Timothy Brownawell Re:You would think. (348 comments)

They only find out your IP address after it's too late.

  1. Your computer asks a DNS resolver where the server is.
  2. The DNS resolver asks Apple's (well, Akami's) DNS server where the server is.
  3. The DNS server guesses the closest server, but all it has available to work with is the address of the resolver.
  4. Your computer uses that answer to contact the server and download whatever. If it was given the wrong server, it's too late now.

more than 3 years ago
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Navy Uses Railgun To Launch Fighter Jet

Timothy Brownawell Re:Steam Power for the Win (314 comments)

Steam turbines are basically the way to turn an external heat source into mechanical energy. Typically this is just used to generate electricity since it's so much more convenient to work with, but for a few applications the turbine will be attached directly to something other than a generator (say, a propeller on a big boat). Steam can also be used even more directly; as a heat source / heat transfer mechanism (say, for heating groups buildings particularly in colder climates), for cleaning carpets, for sterilizing things, in industrial chemical processes, apparently as a replacement for liquid water in some kinds of modern clothes-washing machines, ... .

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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Date of Birth now required in order to fly

Timothy Brownawell Timothy Brownawell writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Timothy Brownawell writes "

Re: Compliance with TSA Secure Flight Program — ACTION REQUIRED

Starting August 15, 2009, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require that all travelers provide their name exactly as it appears on their driver's license or other form of photo identification, as well as their date of birth and gender when purchasing airline tickets. After that date, you may be prevented from boarding your aircraft if these documents do not match.

To ensure that we comply with this requirement, we are asking all colleagues [...]

A couple minutes with google turned up this FAQ (which seems to say that you won't be prevented from boarding) and this press release.

This is to let the TSA match people against their no-fly, er "watch", list, and "will improve the travel experience for all passengers" (but presumably by quite a bit less than just canning the TSA and their security theater)."

Link to Original Source

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Timothy Brownawell Timothy Brownawell writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Timothy Brownawell (627747) writes "Most current energy sources have significant problems, which will make them less and less usable as energy needs and environmental restrictions continue to advance. Even most so-called "green" or "renewable" energy sources cannot be made viable as long-term solutions, simply because they depend on sunlight as the origin of the energy that they provide.

Given that sunlight provides about 1kW/sq. yard, and the radius of the earth is about 6400 km, the maximum possible output of these "green" power sources is about 150000 terawatts. Given a world population of about 6 billion, this works out to about 25 MW per person. Now considering that the reason these power sources are considered "green" is that they don't have a substatial impact on the environment it becomes clear that not even a percent of this maximum output can be realized while maintaining this "green" status -- let's assume 0.01% coverage is acceptable, so the output can be up to 2.5 kW per person.

Now consider that charging an electric car takes about 1.2 MW, and driving it will use about 12.5 kW -- simply driving takes 5x the available energy for one person! Clearly, current "green" power is not a long-term solution.

Fossil fuels can provide higher power for a short time, as the act more as large energy reserivoirs which have been filled over the past few thousand years; however, there are two major problems: they cannot provide long-term power because those reerivoirs will quickly become depleted, and they are commonly understood to harm the environment (as well as being generally stinky and unpleasant to live near).

Current possibilities are nuclear and geothermal power. It is not currently known how scalable geothermal power is; perhaps it can scale to the required total power, perhaps not. Additionally, geothermal power requires that the local geography be at least somewhat cooperative.

The best currently known solution is nuclear. Waste doesn't have to be a problem, as you can either reprocess it to extract the valuble component elements (some of which can even be re-used as fuel again), or sell it to someone who wishes to use it. New plants can be built wherever there is sufficient water; on coastlines or at see, or on major rivers. Smaller single-community sized plants could likely even be built near small rivers, or perhaps even large streams.

"

Journals

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Just how old is Test First/TDD anyhow?

Timothy Brownawell Timothy Brownawell writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I found this in a rather old book in the library, it sounds remarkably similar to parts of what the TDD / Test First people are saying now:

Another well-known psychological bias in observation is the overdependence on "early" data returns. In program testing, the programmer who gets early "success" with his program is likely to stop testing too soon. One way to guard against this mistake is to prepare the tests in advance of testing and, if possible in advance of coding. We refer here to tests concerned with detecting the presence of errors -- not to all tests. Obviously, we cannot construct tests in advance for locating the source of an error; nor can we construct the procedures for correcting the error once it has been found. But all testing begins with detection, so advance work of test cases is never wasted -- unless we yield to the temptation to bypass the remaining tests in view of the "excellent" results we have so far.

The debugging system could help us to resist this temptation by forcing us to specify in advance the amount of testing we plan to do. Failure to complete this number of tests could result in a management report, or some other form of prodding to the programmer. In general, of course, anything in the testing system that simplifies the preparation and execution of test cases will help the programmer to overcome the temptation to quit too soon. One such system in use today is particularly designed to counteract the temptation to skip retesting when a "small" change has been made to the program. If the test cases are stored in the system and can be rerun automatically on demand, the programmer is less likely to skip the retest. The typical system of this sort, however, produces vast amounts of output. It is hardly useful to rerun test cases if nobody looks at the results of the rerun. A great improvement could be wrought in these systems by providing automatic comparison between old results and new ones, thus calling the programmer's attention only to those cases that differ from one run to the next.

-- "The Psychology of Computer Programming", Copyright 1971

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Long-Term Energy Sources

Timothy Brownawell Timothy Brownawell writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Most current energy sources have significant problems, which will make them less and less usable as energy needs and environmental restrictions continue to advance. Even most so-called "green" or "renewable" energy sources cannot be made viable as long-term solutions, simply because they depend on sunlight as the origin of the energy that they provide.

Given that sunlight provides about 1kW/sq. yard, and the radius of the earth is about 6400 km, the maximum possible output of these "green" power sources is about 150000 terawatts. Given a world population of about 6 billion, this works out to about 25 MW per person. Now considering that the reason these power sources are considered "green" is that they don't have a substatial impact on the environment it becomes clear that not even a percent of this maximum output can be realized while maintaining this "green" status -- let's assume 0.01% coverage is acceptable, so the output can be up to 2.5 kW per person.

Now consider that charging an electric car takes about 1.2 MW, and driving it will use about 12.5 kW -- simply driving takes 5x the available energy for one person! Clearly, current "green" power is not a long-term solution.

Fossil fuels can provide higher power for a short time, as the act more as large energy reserivoirs which have been filled over the past few thousand years; however, there are two major problems: they cannot provide long-term power because those reerivoirs will quickly become depleted, and they are commonly understood to harm the environment (as well as being generally stinky and unpleasant to live near).

Current possibilities are nuclear and geothermal power. It is not currently known how scalable geothermal power is; perhaps it can scale to the required total power, perhaps not. Additionally, geothermal power requires that the local geography be at least somewhat cooperative.

The best currently known solution is nuclear. Waste doesn't have to be a problem, as you can either reprocess it to extract the valuble component elements (some of which can even be re-used as fuel again), or sell it to someone who wishes to use it. New plants can be built wherever there is sufficient water; on coastlines or at see, or on major rivers. Smaller single-community sized plants could likely even be built near small rivers, or perhaps even large streams.

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