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Ebola Outbreak Continues To Expand

WuphonsReach Re:Coming to a plane journey (167 comments)

The problem is that people move around... a lot. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days so that gives an infected person lots of symptom free time to travel to visit his neighboring village or go to the city or get on a plane to visit relatives anywhere in the world.

From doing a layman's reading... you are not infectious until you start showing symptoms around day 21. This is, fortunately, not like influenza where you are infectious before showing frank symptoms. It is also, again fortunately, difficult to transmit only through casual contact.

Scary yes, but not end of the world scary.

2 days ago
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Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

WuphonsReach Re:Good (300 comments)

That's what Cisco does, they do regular bottom 5% cuts where those who are ranked in the bottom 5% on their performance reviews are let go.

And as a result, Cisco keeps putting out crappier and crappier products and their brand is swirling the drain.

The 5% cut of the bottom is not something that you do more then once. Because the second, third, and fourth round of cuts means that employees will start throwing each other under the bus, just so that they aren't in that 5%. Inter-department cooperation takes a shitter and your teams of very good employees constantly get gutted instead of being left alone. Just because there has to be a sacrifice.

If you're in a company that does that every year... it's time to find a new job. Or become a psychopath and enjoy throwing your co-workers under the bus each year.

about two weeks ago
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Nano-Pixels Hold Potential For Screens Far Denser Than Today's Best

WuphonsReach Re:What's the point? (129 comments)

I don't own a tablet - I use a desktop machine for every day work, a laptop around the house and an Android smartphone. I wouldn't really want to read books on my smartphone except in an emergency - screen's too small to be comfortable. And I don't want a bigger smart phone because then it wouldn't be convenient to carry around and I honestly can't think how a higher resolution display would make my phone better.

I took my HTC One (m8) smartphone on a long flight a month or three ago. Ended up reading almost an entire fiction book on the flights on a little 5" screen. This is a 1920x1080 display packed into a 5" screen.

It actually worked quite well - far better then I was expecting. The higher DPI on the modern phones (441ppi on the HTC) makes for easy reading.

about two weeks ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

WuphonsReach Re:Reconcile these two sentences please. (502 comments)

Meanwhile, other game developers have stated that discrete soundcards just don't matter in terms of performance. A lot of the game developers need to do special processing on the audio files in the CPU before handing them off to the sound system to be played. Because the Windows API doesn't allow them to do that special processing on the card (and nobody wants to go back to the days of supporting a dozen different cards).

The "advanced functionality" of the add-in cards is mostly mythical these days, hardly any developers are willing to jump through the hoops to support it.

(It used to be true that your PC would offload a lot of the audio work to the soundcard, lessening the demand on the CPU. But that is no longer true.)

So these days, it boils down to whether the add-in cards have better S/N ratios for your analog speaker / headphone / microphone jacks, or work better with whatever you are outputting audio to then the built-in solution. And while I'm a happy ASUS Xonar user, I feel that built-in audio on most motherboards is good enough for most of the time, so it's a shrinking market. I don't even recommend an add-in card unless there is evidence that the on-board audio is just pure shite.

about two weeks ago
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Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

WuphonsReach Re:ridiculous (608 comments)

And how did you learn to write good code that's efficient and make sense to others? Maybe you're the rare case of a person that can just intuit what is good code and what isn't, but I think most developers (including myself) learn how to write good code by first writing lots of bad code, and then suffering the consequences until they learn from experience what works and what doesn't.

We learned by reading tomes like Code Complete which forced us to examine why we coded in a particular style and whether what we were doing was efficient or made sense. In short, we took it upon ourselves to improve.

Or you can do it the hard way as you stated and just write bad code until it bites you in the arse.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Web Language That's Long-Lived, and Not Too Buzzy?

WuphonsReach Re:Java (536 comments)

Java in the web client is dead (so is Silverlight / Flash)... go Javascript / HTML5 if you have to do things on the client. Java on the server side... isn't going away for many decades.

The only downside of Java is that it's rather heavy for "one-of-a-kind" web pages. There's a lot of setup that you have to learn (Maven archtypes help) before you get HTML on the web browser. But as soon as you need something that can scale, talk to disparate systems, support unit testing, etc., it's far better then PHP. PHP just falls apart once you get past a handful of PHP pages.

about a month ago
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Windows 9 To Win Over Windows 7 Users, Disables Start Screen For Desktop

WuphonsReach Re:Blank is to Blank... (681 comments)

If by SSD support you mean TRIM, that came in around the era of Vista or Win7. WinXP definitely didn't have it and SSDs definitely got slower after a year or two of use (until you redid the system).

about a month ago
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Overkill? LG Phone Has 2560x1440 Display, Laser Focusing

WuphonsReach Re:Battery Runtime (198 comments)

The HTC One (m8), released this year, also has a battery stretch feature.

Overall, very happy with the HTC One (m8) other then I wish it was about 1/2" to 3/4" smaller. HTC did a good job with the UI and it's very snappy, makes my 18 month old Asus TF700T Transformer tablet feel slow (both are quad-core units).

about a month ago
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Endurance Experiment Writes One Petabyte To Six Consumer SSDs

WuphonsReach Re:extremesystems test (164 comments)

You really don't know what you're missing. For business laptops, we've made the switch to 100% SSDs for 2-3 years now (ever since they dropped down to $1.50-$1.75 per GB). Granted, these are all uses who can function with only a 128GB SSD. Which holds true for probably 90% of office workers who have access to a file server (instead of storing business critical data on their HD).

Now, instead of waiting on their HD to seek around and find information (a boot process measured in minutes, program loading times measured in 10s of seconds), boot-up takes under 20-30s and program loading times are near instant. What you *will* notice is that your CPU is now the bottleneck (oops). For development work or any thing where you need to do two or three things at once, or run something disk-intensive like a scan or search of files, SSDs are a must-have. I will regularly kick off compiles / version control updates / searches, and still be able to use the machine for other things while it thinks.

Just makes sure you have a good backup system in place. On the Windows-side, I recommend Acronis True Image writing to a 2nd old-style HD inside the case. Or an external 1TB USB3 drive that you leave connected during the backup window. That is not because SSDs are unreliable (unless you buy crap like OCZ), it's because their failure modes are such (if the controller goes crazy) that data recovery is highly unlikely.

about a month and a half ago
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"Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

WuphonsReach Re:And hippies will protest it (396 comments)

No, becasue the only food they can afford is salt laden fatty food.

If you are willing to spend a minimum amount of time cooking, things like rice, lentils, beans that you soaked overnight in the fridge, potatoes, budget cuts of meat, frozen veggies, quick-oats are all easily affordable and don't come laden with salt unless you add it. None of it requires special expertise to cook (most of that consists of "put in pot of boiling water for 10-20 minutes"). It's not going to be high cuisine, but it will be nutritious and filling.

Once you learn how to boil water and cook things in the boiling water, then you can graduate to "make a stew on Sunday, serve it as leftovers on top of rice / potatoes the rest of the week". You know, like your grandparents did back during the 1920s and 1930s.

about a month and a half ago
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

WuphonsReach Re:So there's 100 or so unimmunized? (387 comments)

Even if it's not free the price is not particularly high; basically $50/dose for immunization against Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, and Polio; add another $60/dose for MMR.

That might not seem high to you, but for many lower-income families, that's still a lot of money.

about a month and a half ago
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Grand Theft Auto V For Modern Platforms Confirmed

WuphonsReach Re:I feel sorry for PS4/XBone early adopters (133 comments)

A good gaming PC is about $850.

$100 for MS Windows license
$150 for a good CPU
$50 for RAM
$80 for a good motherboard
$60 for a good PSU
$80 for a good case
$100 for a SSD
$80 for a magnetic drive (to backup that SSD to)
$150 for a gfx card

Adjust to taste. You could spend up to $250 for a powerful video card, or as little as $100 for a more bargain-side card. CPUs can also be scaled down to an $80 model or up to a $250 model without getting too much out of the sweet spot. The sweet spot for both the CPU and video card is around $150 +/- $25. You get very good bang for the buck at that price point.

If money is truly an issue, go with a 10k RPM SATA drive instead of the SSD. Performance will be good enough for a budget machine.

So you could probably whittle the above down to $650 and still be able to play the latest games at modest frame rates (24-36fps).

about a month and a half ago
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Crucial Launches MX100 SSD At Well Under 50 Cents Per GiB

WuphonsReach Re:Ye Gods, an Ad (107 comments)

That 50k iops were measured in what? 4k operations? 16k? What? I could claim I can pull 1 million amps out of my house socket, which would be true... as long as the voltage is 0.0018v. IOPs are just as meaningless.

In general, real-world usage, a good rule-of-thumb is 100:1 speed up for random seeks when comparing SSDs to 7200 RPM drives. Maybe only 50:1 for 15k SAS drives.

Since enterprise SSDs are only about 2x-3x the cost of the equivalent sized 15k SAS drive, you have to ask whether that 50x-100x improvement in seek speed is worth the 2x-3x drive cost.

(Rough cost of enterprise SSD is $1.50-$2.50 per GB right now.)

For a lot of use cases, where your drive spindles are 100% busy frequently, SSDs are a good solution. They're cost-efficient if you were having to short-stroke a bunch of 15k SAS drives in order to get enough performance. If you were short-stroking your SAS drives and only using 1/3 of the drive space, why not use 3x fewer SSD drives of the same size and save space / money / power in the rack?

about 2 months ago
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HP (Re-)Announces a 14" Android Laptop

WuphonsReach Re:HP Is Being Cheap = LOSER segment (121 comments)

Who is going to match Apple for top-of-the-line laptops, which a professional can use for 5-6 years before replacement?

Probably the Lenovo Thinkpad T-series is still up to snuff. Build quality on a recent T440 purchase is pretty good.

Personally, I'm still using a T61p from mid-2007. Purchased it with a 4-year warranty and made sure to use that warranty during the 4th year to get worn out bits replaced.

about 2 months ago
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PHK: HTTP 2.0 Should Be Scrapped

WuphonsReach Re:Encryption (220 comments)

It doesn't need to be perfect. If cracking it still takes some time, it lowers their resources. And it can still be unbreakable for attackers with fewer resources at their disposal.

Encryption is the easy part. Managing those encryption keys is the really really hard part. And if you screw up managing those encryption keys, the attackers don't need to spend those resources to crack your encryption.

Plus, encryption is no silver-bullet. There's still traffic analysis that can give the game away.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved?

WuphonsReach Re:No (403 comments)

Simple. The hover bike chase scenes in RotJ mattered, because lives were at stake, specifically those of the main characters that we cared about, not some nebulous planetary population. They also made sense within the movie plot.

The pod racer setup was so horribly contrived... just an excuse to show a hutt and show off some special effects as a way to make some quick cash and setup Anakin as the golden child.

about 2 months ago
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AMD Preparing To Give Intel a Run For Its Money

WuphonsReach Re:Just like Bulldozer? (345 comments)

Itanium 64-bit failed for one reason. It could not execute 32-bit workloads at the same speed as an equivalently priced 32-bit Xeon chip.

With an AMD Opteron chip, you got the best of both worlds. A chip that could do 64bit, and it could run your existing 32bit software as fast as your old CPU.

That made moving to Opteron a no-brainer decision. You got better performance from having a newer chip, even if you weren't ready to jump to a 64bit OpSys. PLUS, when you finally did move to 64bit operating systems, your CPU chip was ready and waiting.

The other reason that AMD ate Intel's lunch for a while was that they were the first ones to drive the cost of dual-core chips below $150. Intel was still charging $300+ for a dual-core CPU while you could pickup AMD Athon x2s for under $150. And dual-core makes a huge difference in how responsive the machine feels compared to a single-core CPU.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

WuphonsReach Re:OpenOffice or LibreOffice (281 comments)

OpenOffice or LibreOffice's Base.

A) The built-in SQL engine in Base is crap and uses weird syntax for SQL statements. Stupidity like having to double-quote all table names and column names. When you are doing mock-up work, you want to be using local tables, not have to constantly create and destroy tables on some database server.

B) Base is very poor at import/export. In MSAccess, if you have a CSV file, you can import that and MSAccess will offer to create a brand new table for you, with proper field names and you can muck with the column types during the import process. In Base, you have to create the database table, by hand, ahead of time. This means for a simple CSV import of some random data, it takes you much longer to do in the Base world.

Base also suffers horribly when you want to pull data from source A, B and C, and output it to source D. That's something that MSAccess handles easily with linked tables (either linking to other MSAccess databases, or ODBC data sources, or whatever).

C) There's no visual design tool for update / delete / append queries. You have to write the SQL by hand. In MSAccess, you can put together an append query that pulls in 100+ fields very easily. In Base, you have to write out that query yourself, by hand.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Easy-To-Use Alternative To MS Access For a Charity's Database?

WuphonsReach Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (281 comments)

It can be handy if I'm dragging data from multiple sources like an Excel spreadsheet, CSV file and MySQL database, via ODBC connections and be able to build queries on all these sources (even if it can be as slow as a dog).

That's something that ooBase (or LibreOffice Base) has yet to get right - a good database tool lets you pull from *anywhere* and put to *anywhere* with minimal effort. MSAccess has very good import/export capability, which makes it easy to pull in a CSV, massage it, and then output something else.

The other issue with ooBase/LibreBase is that you cannot visually design insert / update / delete queries using their QBE interface. Instead you have to write out all of the SQL. Add to that the stupid idea to use a non-standard SQL engine that requires weird syntax not supported by the mainstream databases (like pgsql). In ooBase you have to put double quotes around every table and field name.

As much as I want to use ooBase/Libre at the office, MSAccess still beats it hands-down for data manipulation.

about 2 months ago
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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Loses Deep Sea Vehicle

WuphonsReach Re:I'm not buying you another one (93 comments)

If you watch "Return to Midway", during one of the first dives, they have an implosion of some part on their ROV. The quote said it was similar in force to a stick of TNT going off at close range.

A larger catastrophic implosion would naturally result in an even larger amount of damage.

Plus, the ROV that was lost was only trailing a slim fiber optic cable for control signals, not for power, and definitely not strong enough to haul up a ton or two of metal off the ocean floor.

about 2 months ago

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