top William Binney: NSA Records and Stores 80% of All US Audio Calls
Umm, no it is in fact entitlement spending. By a long ways. The black budgets may be black, but they still have to be accounted for and you can actually find out the total of the black budget allocations, just not what they are going for.
top Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy
You're being pedantic of course, but for all intents and purposes, batteries aren't the real source of the power we use every day. Gas, coal, or nuclear generating stations are. Batteries get charged up with that power, then take it to where it's needed and release it. You said it yourself, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. All the batteries in the world aren't going to stop global warming if electricity is coming from Coal. Some battery chemistries form batteries that have a full charge when manufactured, and some of these are not rechargeable. Therefore we'd have to class these in the same category as other non-renewable energy sources. Which doesn't help the problem of finding renewable, clean energy production sources.
top New Single Board Computer Lets You Swap Out the CPU and Memory
Very much this. While a few people are doing cool things with robotics, remote sensing, or UAVs with these small SBCs, most sit and gather dust.
Those actually putting their SBCs to use are by far in the minority. I have plans for my Pi to do some remote sensing work, but so far they are stalled. So it's in a drawer until I find time.
My drawer is full of these devices including Pis, GuruPlugs, and SheevaPlugs. Theoretically useful, but never quite panned out. Could make nice file servers, but honestly a hackable NAS box that also runs linux is probably a better buy. If I need a web server facing the internet, I'm better off hosting it somewhere. If I need a local web development server, a virtual machine or my existing desktop machine fits the bill much better. Tried to use a Pi for XBMC, but it would crash during video playback every 20 minutes or so. Not very encouraging.
I'm also tired of messing with the various and sundry ARM boot loaders, since ARM is such an non-standardized platform.
top New Russian Law To Forbid Storing Russians' Data Outside the Country
I wonder how such a thing is going to be enforced. Seems to me this is more about burdening Russian companies who use western services than it is about securing the privacy of Russian citizens. Besides if Putin forces all Russian companies to keep their data local then his cronies can more easily do their own spying on it, rather than have to beg the NSA to give them access, which given Russia's frosty relationship with the US, is probably pretty much cut off these days.
top That Toy Is Now a Drone
Wow, that was unbelievably irresponsible of Ars Technica. I think you're correct in your assessment. It is pretty much all of us.
Even laying aside the FAA, I believe that it wouldn't be too hard to get widespread public support for pretty strict regulations of these devices. And I wouldn't be too opposed to some regulations either.
top That Toy Is Now a Drone
As an RC airplane enthusiast, who likes to dabble in FPV and UAVs, I must say that I'm not surprised. However my feelings are a mix of outrage at the FAA as well as understanding. When a few irresponsible people use their toys in ways that are, well irresponsible, I'm not at all surprised to see the FAA come down hard on everyone. I think in many ways this is a tragedy of the commons. A few idiots have actually ruined it for everyone. When a toy has the power to kill people, or to hurt them, and people do stupid things with them, then it ceases to be a toy. We are now seeing stories in the news almost weekly of stupid people flying their toys in reckless and dangerous ways.
That said, I don't see how the FAA's rules are enforceable, nor do I see how the FAA can actually claim to have the authority to make rules in an an area that, as far as I can tell, congress has never granted them the power to do.
If FAA truly has the power to regulate a hobby, then they need to have a framework in place to allow this activity to continue safely. It's happening everywhere in the world. Banning it in the US will only put companies behind the curve who want to develop and use the technology.
top NASA's Orion Spaceship Passes Parachute Test
Yes I agree. I'm also happy that NASA is making progress on this. I think it's a worthwhile endeavor, even if it is tied to earmarks and corporate welfare, much moreso than SpaceX's lucrative NASA contracts.
I also am excited at what SpaceX is doing. They are certainly the farthest along, and most likely to succeed in the near term. Who knows. Maybe in the future if SpaceX is the only American company visiting the space station and hauling astronauts, they could just take over space station operations and open it up to civilian scientists. That'd be cool. If dangerous and impractical.
top I suffer from jet lag ...
For me what matters is rest, period. IE sleep. At any time during the flight in any direction, and as much of it as I can get. Traveling is very tiring anyway. If I get exhausted, say by staying awake coming west as you suggest, I just start feeling crappy and my sleep schedule will take far longer to adjust. Instead I just take a benadryl and sleep while I can. That means I wear a mask and earplugs and try to get 6 hours sleep or so coming west in the daylight. I'll be tired regardless, but less tired this way. That night (in whatever timezone I'm in), I try to sleep as close to my normal bedtime as possible, but earlier is okay. I'll take another benadryl if necessary. But then if I wake up in the night, it's important to not get up and do things. I just lay in bed, and I will fall asleep again. I'll soon be on a fairly normal schedule. The only lingering aspect of jet lag for me is that I do tire more earlier in the day, often going to bed by 8 or 9. But mornings and afternoons don't feel much different for me. That lasts about 5 days or so. If I can work things out so that my first night in country I can sleep for 10 hours or so, I have zero jet lag. One time I managed to stay awake until 7:30 pm, then crashed and slept until 9 am the next morning (did wake up at 3, but didn't get up). Felt wonderful and my schedule was fully adjusted.
Flying lie-flat business class also helps greatly!
top Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy
I think the problem is that the nature of most of our jobs and work environments are repetitive, non-physical, dull, uninspiring, and often lacking in meaningful interpersonal communication. You can only take so many hours of that sort of stuff without burning out. In that context I understand and agree with the supposition that our productivity is hurting because of these long hours.
On the other hand, sometimes working long hours isn't that bad of a thing, but it depends on the context. Currently I'm working in a family partnership doing agribusiness (IE farming). Depending on the day I may be working from 8 to 14 hours a day. But since it's a lifestyle as well as a job, and family lives here on farm, it's not quite as soul-sucking as working 14 hours behind a computer screen, though sometimes I do spend hours doing things on the computer doing things like server maintenance, or the odd bit of software development, which is rather tiring after a few straight hours (maybe it's being behind a screen shining in one's eyes that makes jobs so fatiguing). Each day differs pretty significantly. Yesterday I put in some hours after supper and came in at 9:30 pm. Today I was done by 5. Those seasons that demand long hours do get old in a hurry, but they don't last forever, and there are other compensations. Also I take one full day a week off (Sunday). Most farmers really enjoy the lifestyle, and their families too, as well as many farm workers, despite sometimes putting in long hours, and they do find balance and it works out. At least for some people.
So it's not just a simple hours put in issue, but more of an inability to balance personal and family needs against an employer's demands, and the type of work these long hours consist of.
top Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip
And hopefully in any lectures on Moore's Law, the students learn that Moore's Law refers to transistors on a die, not the speed of the chips. This 36-core chip probably jumps ahead of Moore's Law a bit, as it's got to be a fairly large die. In any event Moore's Law continues to hold, more or less. Other things like CPU speed have followed a similar trend in times past, but no longer do now.
top Russia Wants To Replace US Computer Chips With Local Processors
Replace Windows with ReactOS? That's funny. Putin might have taken a passing interest in ReactOS for obvious reasons, but I'm highly dubious that anyone has replaced Windows with ReactOS for any reason, especially in the military. From what I can see ReactOS development crawls along at about the same rate it always has, with no sign that Russian money has caused any dramatic leaps in stability or usability.
top Freecode Freezeup
How will visiting sourceforge help me see summaries of new software releases? Guess I'm confused. I always thought freshmeat.net (renaming and moving it to freecode.com was stupid IMO) was just a listing site, and that's what I've used it for the last 14 years. And it's still been useful at that. Takes money to pay the bills, but it seems to me that this is another example of Dice thinking they can takes something that's popular and monetize it without bothering to find out why it's popular, and what value it gave to the community.
top Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Released
Have you ever written an init script? As an admin you should have written one or two in your day. You'll know how fragile init scripts are, reinventing the wheel over and over again to do basic things like prevent a service from running twice. Want to restart a service automatically when it crashes? Well you hack another script that runs in a cron that uses hackish ways of determining if the daemon has crashed: Check for a running process, find out if it's responding, kill it if necessary, start it again. Gets unsupportable in a hurry on production systems. So we resort to third party solutions like supervisord, which work pretty well, but aren't integrated into the init system at all, so they don't obey runlevels. The two largest unix vendors have not shipped sysv init for many years. Solaris replaced it with SMF, and Apple with LaunchDaemon. systemd is superior to both systems.
As an admin surely you can see the benefit to creating simple daemon definition files that can get your daemon up and running (with restart, with protection against multiple instances) all with two or three lines of a simple text config file.
From what I can see systemd is modular, and if you don't want to use journald, you don't have to. On RHEL7 it's set to small, ram-based log for crash reporting only, with the real enterprise-required logging going to rsyslog which is a conventional logging facility.
I personally cannot find fault with Pottering's work. It just works for me (I am an admin also). I also am extremely grateful for pulseaudio also. It just works now, and lets me do things that no other system currently does, like record one program's output to mp3 while listening to music or watching videos. Can't argue with results.
about a month and a half ago
top AT&T Charges $750 For One Minute of International Data Roaming
If you read the article, or even the summary, you'll know the author indeed had roaming disabled. He only enabled roaming for one minute to get google maps to update, then disabled it again. And he also states that he never successfully got any data. Google Maps did not load. 50 MB is a lot of data for an unsuccessful attempt to connect.
So while your advice is sound, the original author also followed it and still got burned. He would have been happy to pay exorbitant rates for the 1.5 or so MB he actually needed. But not for 50 MB which in all likelihood the phone never used. Thus AT&T is still ripping people off by charging for data that they admit they cannot even accurately track. It is this that he wishes to call attention to.
about a month and a half ago
top Apple Says Many Users 'Bought an Android Phone By Mistake'
After friends, coworkers, and sales people convinced her, my sister got a nice iPhone a year or so ago after having a crappy android phone for a couple of years. After one week she was so fed up with it. This was probably iOS 5 days. I'm sure things are better now but back then it had a hard time setting up her contacts and calendar to sync with Google. That and the lack of third-party keyboards caused her to give up on it and she exchanged it for a halfway decent Android phone which she quite likes. To this day she wonders why people can stand iPhones. To each his or her own.
All this isn't to say that Android doesn't suck; rather it sucks in different ways that work better for some people. To me battery life on Android is still pretty crappy after all these years.
about a month and a half ago
top PHP Next Generation
Yes I have used Python, actually. and I've found the same thing ESR discovered about it years ago. Python promotes rapid development with fewer errors than many other languages. And it's generally clean and extremely easy to read. Python has its warts of course. And gotchas. PHP has its good points and bad points as well. But to try to disparage Python just to make your point that PHP is great is pretty silly. If PHP is great it should stand on its own regardless of your personal language preferences. And I think it can. That's not to say, of course, that PHP does not have many problems as a language; it does.
top The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC
Umm yeah that's what the OP was suggesting. The flaps cause drag and increase downforce. So of course you might want that... while slowing.
top SpaceX Cargo Capsule Leaves Space Station For Home
The problem with metric is that some of the arbitrary base units are more difficult for humans to estimate and use. For example, let us take some common units of measure: centimetres are too small, decimetres are too large. Both are inferior for human estimation compared to inches. An inch can be approximated more easily using say a segment of a finger. Even feet are easier for a lot of people to estimate than metres (or yards). Especially for in-between distances that are neither small nor large. In general the idea of using orders of magnitude prefixes is a great idea, but the base unit, metres, leaves something to be desired. And lets not kid ourselves. All units of measure are arbitrary. A metre is an arbitrary length. It's currently based on some reference bar somewhere. It may have originated by dividing latitudinal distance by some factor or something, but the standard metre is completely and utterly arbitrary. We could have selected some other unit like an inch to be the base and everything would be fine, though a kilometre would be very small.
top Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming
I agree with your overall sentiment. In many cases it is beyond a joke and misguided attempts to help the environment often hurt it, as is the case with banning the disturbance of brush around homes and communities.
While you are correct that the banning of DDT was at the time unfounded scientifically--the egg shells seemed to be thinning that year generally and may not have had anything to do with DDT, but alas it was never really researched. However, had DDT continued to be used on the scale that it was, modern research has showed that mosquitoes would have adapted and become resistant in just a couple of years, ending the use of DDT anyway. Put in another way, banning DDT did *not* directly lead to the deaths of millions of people. Perhaps banning DDT was even a benefit, because now it is used by some countries, on a much smaller scale, to a good effect in controlling malaria.
top $7 USB Stick Aims To Bring Thousands of Poor People Online
You're completely misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm not saying Africa is going to be a bread basket exporter of food. I'm simply talking about principles of self-sufficiency. Growing one's own food internally is one thing that can break the poverty cycle (if only the attitude part). Look, many people in Africa are completely dependent on western handouts, which wouldn't be so bad but for the strings attached to the food which western nations do pull on a regular basis. That's what I'm getting at.
Perhaps my sarcastic remark about cheap goods from China misled you, but I never said anything about export-related jobs and Africa. You are correct about that of course. But it simply wasn't a part of my comment.
Either way we both seem to agree that handing out USB sticks to work with garbage computers we dump on them isn't going to do a thing to help with poverty.