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NASA Chief Tells the Critics of Exploration Plan: "Get Over It"

bored Re:Radiation... (138 comments)

A high energy electromagnetic field will do just fine. Works on earth... it will work in space.

You just need a fusion reactor.

I don't think electromagnetic shielding is that far fetched anymore. http://physicsworld.com/cws/ar...

Seat of the pants calculation says, its probably smaller than an MRI machine and could be powered with with a similarly sized fission reactor.

Not small by any standard, but completely doable with today's technology.

5 hours ago

NASA Chief Tells the Critics of Exploration Plan: "Get Over It"

bored Re:On, to Mars! (138 comments)

You mean like ~$180k? Because that is how much the fuel costs are for a falcon 9. If space-x can make the whole thing reusable and get the launch rate up to a couple times a week, the raw cost to put a human in orbit could be just a few times the cost of a first class intercontinental flight.

If the fuel costs is 30% of the total launch costs (about the same as the airline industry) then the expected 6 people per launch would be ~$100k per person, which matches the roughly $500/lb numbers musk has been quoting.

Its not at the level of buying a bus ticket, but its less than many corps are spending for their private aircraft to fly C level execs around.

5 hours ago

The Witcher 3 and Projekt Red's DRM-Free Stand

bored Re:What kind? (88 comments)

See GOG.com (where I purchased witcher 2, which I have yet to play). Same basic idea, lots of discounts, nice organization, etc.. Only no DRM! None at all!

The selection though is a little more limited, For me though I tend to enjoy old games just as much as new ones. The combination of GOG, humble indy bundles, and a couple other similar sources keeps me well stocked with DRM free games.


Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

bored Re:Welders make 150k??? (340 comments)

I have a plumber buddy.. He does new construction... That solves the crawling around in other peoples shit problem. Of course it doesn't solve the hauling couple hundred lbs water heaters into attics in the 100+ degree texas heat problem. Then sitting up there running a torch in 140 degree temps..

A lot of these trades are really nice part of the year, and suck the rest of the time due to weather. Plus, the ones that pay well actually require someone intelligent enough to pass the licensing tests. Those tests are often fairly difficult and filled with more math than your average liberal arts student sees in college. Algebra and trig are basically a prereq which is why a high school degree/GED is needed.


Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

bored Re:Not sure how I feel about this one (299 comments)

The same commercial in different shows may share the same blocks even more than the shows.

Having worked on some deduplication systems, I would be _REALLY_ shocked if anyone's deduplication system can find similar video segments from two different shows and deduplicate them.

Unless the raw footage is being decoded and stored there are two problems. First even if the encoding of the video data results in identical P/B frames/slices it will probably exist at different offsets. Many of the block deduplication systems won't re-align block data. Aka the start of a P frame in one stream may be at offset X and in another stream its at offset Y, so even though the data may be identical for long periods of time the deduplication system won't detect it. The smarter systems might be able to detect small runs inside the frame sequence but even small changes in the transport metadata will probably screw this up. So, it would basically require a full blown video transport decoder to make this work properly. I'm not aware of any deduplication systems with video decoders, the ones with stream decoders like that tend to decode things like oracle databases.

Secondly, the commercials tend to be inserted in real time, with a real-time mpeg encoder. So even with a new I frame at the beginning of the commercial (doubtful), the state of the huffman coders/DCT heuristics/etc will cross over from the content into the commercials. Meaning that the compressed data is going to be completely different even though the video stream may look identical. Even if the data were decoded back to a raw uncompressed format its quite likely the frame data still won't match.

That said, it is possible with some frame matching heuristics to find identical sequences in different video streams. Hmmm, do I smell an automatic commercial removal tool?


Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

bored Re:Real problem was law letting the networks charg (299 comments)

OTA can send the full, uncompressed digital signal

I think your a little confused. The OTA (ATSC) standard is still sending compressed video (mostly MPEG2) , just that the bit rate tends to be higher than what most (some?) cable companies provide for their digital content.

See also netflix, which tends to have even lower "HD" quality than the cable companies. With the advent of lossy compression the quality of a show just as much to do with bitrate and compression algorithm than resolution/color depth/framerate/etc.


Aereo To SCOTUS: Shut Us Down and You Shut Down Cloud Storage

bored Re:Not sure how I feel about this one (299 comments)

(I assume that if 1000 of their customers record the latest episode of Big Bang, they keep 1000 copies of it - if not, their argument would be a bit weaker).

And I wonder what that means.. In an age of deduplicated storage your storage vendor's stack is going to detect that there are 1000 copies of the same shit on the storage device and only actually store one copy.


Tech People Making $100k a Year On the Rise, Again

bored Re:a total non-story (191 comments)

On top of that, property taxes are the highest in the country. Expect to pay over $10k/year on a $400k house (which is a pretty modest house, maybe 1500sf)

That sounds about the same as Austin, maybe a little more. Houses selling here for ~500k, with an appraised value of ~400k are ~$9k a year in taxes, more if you can't claim the homestead exemption.

Although, you _CAN_ get pretty nice houses on the outskirts of town in the areas with bad schools for ~200k. If you want one of the better schools $400k is sort of the starting point for anything over 1200 square feet. Moving farther out doesn't help much. The house prices in Leander and Georgetown are getting expensive too and can often mean commutes > hour depending on where your commuting to/from.

A big part of the commute problem isn't the distance but rather that the roads all seem to move at 10 miles an hour during rush hour due to the fact that Austin hasn't really upgraded any of the core transportation infrastructure since the 1970's. Both mopac and 35 (the two north south roads) haven't had any major work since the 1970's. Recently they started adding an additional toll road to mopac, but that probably won't alleviate the extra traffic added by the toll road extension just a couple years ago. Then there is the problem that there isn't actually an E-W corridor between 183 in the north and SH 71 in the south leaving all E-W traffic on the surface roads.


AT&T's Gigabit Smokescreen

bored Re:Applause for Google (126 comments)

Yah, if they were serious about providing service to a lot of people they would have bid on time warner cable, then promptly shipped everyone a 8 channel DOCSIS 3 modem (343.04 Mbits) and started upgrading their peering agreements. Then in a couple years shipped the 24 channel modems (1Gbit) that are on the horizon.

Instant 11 million happy customers.

Then after that sold/spun off the timewarner division off to someone else for close to what they paid for it.

2 days ago

Survey: 56 Percent of US Developers Expect To Become Millionaires

bored Re:I will be a millionaire. (466 comments)

I'm not sure the math works out the way you want it.For 10+ years I expected house values to correct to levels similar to early 2000's housing values (average income vs average house price).

Hasn't happened, during the "housing crisis" house values in some areas of the country fell but in "desirable" areas they went down maybe 10% (see Texas, Colorado, etc). Then starting early last year they came ripping back, with a 20% increase in one year.

If you expect the government to stand by while the banks and REITs loose money in the housing market your going to be as wrong as I was last time. The US government will do everything in its power to preserve the values of houses in the US. The second a 8% interest rate looks to be slowing the housing boom down you can be sure that QE will return.

about a week ago

UN: Renewables, Nuclear Must Triple To Save Climate

bored Re:Nuclear is obvious, an energy surplus is desire (432 comments)

A lesser known situation is if you actually create an energy surplus, food costs, logistic costs, and transportation costs get cheaper.

I think a lot of people have been talking about this recently. The US economy in particular is heavily dependent on energy costs. So, a lot of what has been floating Midwestern states is the fact that energy companies are hiring like mad and putting in oil/gas wells pretty much as fast as they can. This drives unemployment down, while helping to lower energy costs, all while the energy companies are making money hand over fist.

If something similar happened with nukes, it could happen nationally, and as you point out people would be more incentivised to buy leaf's and teslas if the monthly power bill were less than a single tank of gas.

Of course the other big advantage would be that it would make gas/oil wells less economically advantageous too, similar to what has been happening with coal vs natural gas.

about two weeks ago

Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware

bored MS still doesn't get it (294 comments)

I think its great they are fixing their OS...

The problem is that they are making user facing changes in a maintenance stream.

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

bored Re:Hardware requirements (641 comments)

I think this is actually a good argument as to why those people shouldn't be using Windows in the first place.

Which is a great argument if you are a "hacker" or the source of the hardware. But for the user of a agilent scope, the fact that its running XP instead of linux makes no difference. They can't get in and hack the kernel & sources for an unsupported 15 year old linux anymore than they can hack the XP.

In theory hacking the linux machine might be easier because you have source for some portion of the scope, but its probably just as easy to hire a hacker to patch the syscall or dll causing a problem on XP.

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

bored Re:Hardware requirements (641 comments)

My only fear is the motherboard dying and having to find a PC with ISA bus.

Start hording them now! I had a discussion with some friends a few years ago when I needed a 30 pin SIMM for an old 486, that it was easier to find unix workstations and apple II's from that time period than parts for a 486.

Because people don't value x86 clones as much as the $10,000 workstations, the clones have all been ground up and scraped somewhere.

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

bored Re:Software doesn't wear out. (641 comments)

Unofficially, I haven't tried it lately but I suspect it still runs on Windows 2000.

Nah, it refuses to install. I tried it a couple months ago on laptop I keep around because it has a real RS232 port that works with an OBDII/CAN scanner I have. The OBDII scanner won't work with USB->RS232 or low voltage RS232 ports...

On the plus side I discovered qupzilla which works great on win2k, and is about 10x faster than the old version of firefox that was running on the machine.

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

bored Re:Viva La XP! (641 comments)

Yes its cool, winXP boots faster and uses less ram than WindowsMobile, or Android.

I swear, that how smoothly ipad/iphones run is probably 1/2 the user experience difference vs android. I suspect that the reason its so smooth is partially the result of the fact that the system and most of the applications are written in a language compiled down natively to the hardware. Over and over i've seen functionally similar programs that just lag on far beefier android devices, that have butter smooth response on older idevices.

about two weeks ago

Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

bored The largest security diffrence in newer windows (641 comments)

Is the fact that the users run in limited accounts by default.

If you setup a limited user in XP and use the "runas" context menu, or command line utility to escalate privileges you get the vast majority of the "security" improvement in vista and newer.

That is because now an application not only has to exploit your browser/whatever to gain control of the machine, it has to exploit the kernel to get outside of the limited user sandbox. Further using something like sandboxie further lessens the likelihood of that.

Once you have a few levels of protection like this (javascript blocks, flash blocks, browser sandbox, limited user, etc) then it becomes pretty unlikely that any given piece of malware actually gets through all the layers.

(posted from an XP machine!)

about two weeks ago

Fifty Years Ago IBM 'Bet the Company' On the 360 Series Mainframe

bored Re:Virtual Machines (169 comments)

'capacity on demand', it is 'Licensed Internal Code Controlled Configuration.' The use of LIC CC also allows them to offer 'capacity on demand',

Ok, so I got my terminology incorrect for the part that actually controls the hardware license. Other than that I believe my point stands (that Hercules on an inexpensive midrange x86 is faster than the slowest licensed BC12 config). And so your point was?

Why would you pay (for hardware and software) for more performance than you need?

That is not the right question. The question is why I should pay IBM millions of dollars to unlock the hardware I am paying the power bills on, providing the floor space for, and have "purchased". Yes, I know IBM won that lawsuit, but that doesn't mean IBM doesn't come across as the slimiest of business dealings for coming up with such a model. At least when HP rapes you for ink you actually get a product for it, rather than having them just unlock extra ink in the cartridge in your printer.

Especially since I don't actually need the mainframe. All the RAS features i need are available on machines that run Linux faster, for less than $15k, and require me to interact with the CE on a less frequent basis because in our sample of 1 mainframe vs a bunch of HP DL 580's. the HP's are actually more reliable. The HP's haven't needed any service since they were installed, unlike the mainframe which seems to need constant babysitting. Plus, I can spin up new VM's in vmware with a couple clicks of a button vs, screwing around with zVM for days.

So, asking why I should give IBM exorbitant fee's for something I can acquire elsewhere for far less is not the right question. Maybe a better question is why I'm paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for performance that is equivalent to the 20 year old Pentium that is sitting in the junk room next door. Or why I'm maintaining a machine that requires me to manually configure device addresses, and IODF's with text editors, or writing system exits in assembly to do simple things like roll log files or get notification of tape insertions.

Furthermore, if you want to understand where I'm coming from, take a look at the specCPU results in OMVS for a 240 MIP EC12. So, next time I'm sitting there wondering if I should pay IBM a couple thousand dollars to run my job a little faster this weekend, I will remember you asking me why.

So, yah, there is a reason younger people don't want to work on those archaic machines. They don't want to work somewhere that compute time is so carefully guarded, especially since they could just spin up 1000x the compute (and even IO with the SSD instances) performance for a few dollars on EC2.

about two weeks ago

Fifty Years Ago IBM 'Bet the Company' On the 360 Series Mainframe

bored Re:Virtual Machines (169 comments)

You have no idea what you are talking about. "Capacity on demand" has nothing to do with why a BC would run at 1/100 it's capacity (and there is no such thing as a 'base' model.)

Not really, sure what your trying to say? Are you trying to say that IBM doesn't license the capacity (performance) of the hardware? Or that the minimum capacity you can for a machine is only a tiny percentage of the the capability of the hardware that arrives. Or maybe your being pedantic about the exact usage of CoD in relation to how IBM licenses the hardware/zOs/linux? Cause in the case of IFL (processors for running linux) the license is most definitely tied to the _HARDWARE_ and not the OS.

Because, i'm not going to get into a pissing contest, but I don't think you have ever been involved in the purchasing, scaling etc of a zSeries machine from IBM, because I can assure you the hardware is absolutely licensed.

Here is link I have handy from a couple years ago, where approximate prices for a z114 are listed.


Notice, the fact that the minimum configuration is a 2818-A01 at 26 MIPS, and it goes up from there. Realize that there are actually only a couple different hardware configurations and that nearly all those "models" are simply capacity changes (via license keys) on the PEs.

You can click the EC12 button for more recent hardware.

about two weeks ago

Fifty Years Ago IBM 'Bet the Company' On the 360 Series Mainframe

bored Re:software (169 comments)

Its funny that you cite 2012, cause this is one of the first google hits I get.


With such wonderful quotes as:

"Officials with IBM said the company has "thousands" of mainframe customers around the globe but declined to be more specific.

Gartner estimates that annual global sales of mainframes will fall this year and each year through 2016, declining a total of 14 percent over the five years to nearly $4.7 billion."

I wonder how many of those "thousands" are like us. We have a single business class mainframe at minimum capacity (26 MIPS z114).

about two weeks ago


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