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New Middleware Promises Dramatically Higher Speeds, Lower Power Draw For SSDs

csirac Re:Wear leveling (68 comments)

I believe Advantech will still happily sell you ISA backplanes. At the same time I put these things together, I had to reverse-engineer and fabricate some old I/O cards which had "unique" (incompatible with readily available cards) interrupt register mappings, also with EAGLE - great software!

I should mention: the MS-DOS system has outlasted three replacement attempts (two windows-based applications were from the original vendor who sold the MS-DOS system). There's just something completely unbreakable about the old stuff.

about 3 months ago
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New Middleware Promises Dramatically Higher Speeds, Lower Power Draw For SSDs

csirac Re:Wear leveling (68 comments)

Many industrial computers have CF-card slots for this very application. I put together a few MS-DOS systems using SanDisk CF cards around 8 years ago and they're still going strong, using a variant of one of these cards which has a CF slot built-in (so no need for a CF -> IDE adapter): PCA-6751

about 3 months ago
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As Species Decline, So Do the Scientists Who Name Them

csirac Re:It's not dead, it's evolving (76 comments)

Yes, that's a problem. BHL is really the go-to source for plant people I've worked with in the past.

about 3 months ago
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As Species Decline, So Do the Scientists Who Name Them

csirac Re:It's not dead, it's evolving (76 comments)

That's true. People scoff at the older taxonomic groupings from before we had molecular evidence, but actually I'm often surprised at how similar new phylogenies are to huge chunks of the old taxonomies. What's more, at least with plants, one molecular study can produce quite a different looking evolutionary tree to another depending on what genes they used to compute them.

Which begs the quesiton... what's the ground truth? Data from classical taxonomy is actually extremely valuable. It can help inform molecular studies. It can be used to feed consensus trees or indicate which genes might yield certain phenotypes.

There seems to be many who think that with enough CPU power and algorithms we can turn any old meaningless garbage string of GATC into something we can pretend is useful. It seems like a lossy way of thinking... you can do interesting work without names, that's true - but the reckless abandon and total lack of scientific discipline when using names would never be tolerated in the "harder" sciences.

I dare you to pick up ten different papers using species or group names... and find even just one that cites the name in a reporducible, scientifically useful way (i.e. cites the taxnomic publication which specifies what they mean when they use the name).

about 3 months ago
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Could Google's Test of Hiding Complete URLs In Chrome Become a Standard?

csirac Re:Please try harder. (327 comments)

I wouldn't ask Chrome to do anything more than it already does, which is to just do its job - help me navigate the web. I refuse to believe that a prominent domain part which yields the exact same phishing mitigation, and a visible path part are mutually exclusive things.

I am at a loss as to why you'd dismiss the ability to spot obviously funky URLs with a dodgy "but script injection vulnerabilities are browser-independent!" straw man; surely there's a stronger rebuttable to my thoughts than this.

about 4 months ago
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Could Google's Test of Hiding Complete URLs In Chrome Become a Standard?

csirac Re:Please try harder. (327 comments)

Are you seriously suggesting that a prominent domain part and a visible path part are mutually exclusive?

And whilst it's fun to talk about redundancy between the <h1> text, title text and the address bar, it's also true that the address bar is the only one that's always visible in a consistent location that isn't lying to you.

about 4 months ago
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Could Google's Test of Hiding Complete URLs In Chrome Become a Standard?

csirac Please try harder. (327 comments)

There's obvious ways to shoot for the phishing mitigations that this is apparently seeking to achieve, without turning the web into an app store. We used to make fun of stupid flash sites due to lack of linkability, is it really necessary to so thoroughly lunge off the cliff into this idiocy now?

I wonder how many bad guys are already thinking of ways to exploit this. Yes the domain is more prominent, that should have been fixed years ago - but how many sites out there are completely free of XSS vulnerabilites? When this eventually becomes non-optional, how am I going to spot https://mybank.foo/?q="><script>evil; stuff;</script>

?

The perfect irony of course is that Google's own pagerank depends on cross-site linking... By robbing people of URLs, a future generation of net users will grow up never knowing how to share a page with their friends unless there's a sharing mechanism within the same site their friends already use.

about 4 months ago
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OpenSUSE 13.2 To Use Btrfs By Default

csirac Re:Have they fixed the need to manually rebalance? (91 comments)

BTRFS is so mature already, I never lost my data with it

Dude, nobody said BTRFS is mature. Did you read the part where I've had to manually rebalance several volumes on multiple occasions? I'm sorry that you interpreted this statement as a ringing endorsement of a mature filesystem - but it's not the case that users should have to do this kind of babysitting in a mature technology.

I *have* had BTRFS fill my logs with checksum failures on a couple of dying disks, and I was able to recover everything intact (the bulk of this data had shasums thanks to some deduplication I had been doing months earlier).ext4 on the other hand (by its very design, unless you count recent kernels where metadata may be checksummed) happily allows the disk (or whatever) to take a shit all over your data without so much as the slightest hint that something might be wrong until you go to open a file years later and discover it's zero bytes long, truncated, or full of garbage.

The data integrity features of the new file systems are nice only if you can assume them to be bug free.

No shit. But if your idea of data integrity is to start with something that doesn't even try, there just isn't any hope of that is there?

about 5 months ago
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OpenSUSE 13.2 To Use Btrfs By Default

csirac Re:Have they fixed the need to manually rebalance? (91 comments)

ZFS, and BTRFS are designed to cope with bitrot. Perhaps you believe the implementation renders the design ineffective, all I know is that ext4 doesn't even try.

about 5 months ago
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OpenSUSE 13.2 To Use Btrfs By Default

csirac Have they fixed the need to manually rebalance? (91 comments)

I've been using btrfs on all my machines/laptops for more than 2 years now. I've never had corruption or lost data (btrfs has actually coped rather well with failing/dying disks in my experience), unlike ext4. COW, subvolumes and snapshots are nifty.

But too many times I've had the dreaded "no space left of device" (despite 100GBs remaining) when you run out of metadata blocks. The fix is to run btrfs balance start /volume/path - I now have a weekly cron job on my non-SSD machines - but it's hugely inconvenient having your machine go down because you're expected to babysit the filesystem.

Recent months of Docker usage has made me encounter this condition twice this year already.

I'll continue using btrfs because I've experienced silent corruption with ext4 before which I believe btrfs would have protected me against, and I like snapshots and ability to test my firmware images cheaply with cp --reflink pristine.img test.img.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

csirac Re:I'd replace Java with Perl, for one. (247 comments)

It's even more amazing that it came from the guy who built Catalyst. But I guess he had to have that journey to create Mojolicious.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What's New In Legacy Languages?

csirac Re:I'd replace Java with Perl, for one. (247 comments)

It's a shame that perl's taint mode is actively discouraged from use in production. At least from #perl lurkers. I've encountered a few almost-show-stopper unicode regex regressions that core perl devs just don't seem to care about - apparently there aren't enough people that care about taint mode enough among perl core devs.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

csirac Re:"Classic?" Or Just Uniform (503 comments)

Nothing the GP said was incorrect - perhaps you've misread it. I thought GP was referring to the FUD/backlash against KDE which lasted many, many years longer than the actual licensing dillemma itself (less than a year?).

So yes, politics/belief/FUD drove the creation of Gnome, and that mis-maneouver by Qt/KDE project - despite being quickly rectified - had repurcussions that lasted much of a decade, despite the indifference of pragmatic users such as yourself.

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

csirac Re:Don't know about you guys... (503 comments)

I've been a Gnome user since around 2001, to say things were pretty rough back then is an understatement... In 2012 I switched to KDE. I finally had a machine with 16GB ram to run it on (FWIW KDE seems slightly better at running on limited hardware now, but stil..) Its defaults made me angry, though (especially Konsole - seriously, no keyboard shortcuts to hit a specific tab? Tabs at the bottom [oposite edge to the menus and titlebar]?) but I can actually repair it a lot quicker than fixing Unity/Gnome.

It's been this long and they still can't make KDE remember the orientation/resolution/relative position of any monitor that isn't the primary one - if I'm going to suffer through that sort of thing I might as well give i3-wm a proper go. I was able to use it productively for a whole day recently, which is more than awesome and xmonad lasted for me.

about 7 months ago
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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Newegg Patent Case

csirac Re: Abolish software patents (204 comments)

A *lot* of funky SCADA software. In 2012 built another MS-DOS 6.22-based data acquisition server (which is still in use, along with the others) using incredibly overpriced (albeit reliable) bits from Advantech, 16-bit ISA cards and all. The application's last update was 1996, not quite 20 years but getting there. Slightly less ancient data acquisition software runs in parallel with nicer looking reports and modern export formats, but isn't as reliable. The DOS machine, as clunky and ugly as it is, just absolutely refuses to ever fail. And I can't say that disaster recovery in an environment without any internet connectivity (drivers? activation? updates? etc.) is any worse with MS-DOS: transplanting the windows software from one installation to the next is actually quite traumatic compared to "let's just dd this image to a new CF-Card and boot from that"...

Also, did some work last year on an impressively large website with many millions of hits per month whose codebase began circa 1997. I should tell them perl 5.19 has dropped CGI.pm from the core distribution, heh

about 7 months ago
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GNU Octave Gets a GUI

csirac Re:Who the fuck wants to use GNU trash? (166 comments)

What a strange question. Octave has quite an enormous userbase, perhaps not as big as R but with a heritage going back to the 1980s.

The real question is what can't you do in Octave that you'd do in Matlab: it's been quite some years since I used either, but I did have to port my Matlab code to use different or missing toolboxes so that it would run on Octave. The other big problem is a complete lack of integration with data/signal acquisition hardware which has drivers for Matlab (up to a crusty old version you've probably just retired)...

about 8 months ago
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Out-of-the-Box, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS To Support TRIM On SSDs

csirac Re:Taking too long (133 comments)

I've been choosing btrfs through the debian installer for at least a couple of years now. Yes, I know it's not as awesome as ZFS, but it still beats mdraid and lvm.

about 8 months ago
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Cruise Ship "Costa Concordia" Salvage Attempt To Go Ahead

csirac Re:this has me wondering (151 comments)

Now personally, I happen to feel that maintaining those people's lives is a net loss for the human race, because they'll never contribute anything of import. These are not capable, creative people. These are chair-warming wal-mart shoppers.

How on earth did you reach this world view? Some of the most brilliant people I know are less than fully functioning human beings... I'm reminded of the famous mathematician Paul Erdos, a person whose achievements are truly remarkable but he famously had to ask one of his hosts once to close a window for him... apparently in the middle of one rainy night, he couldn't figure it out how to close it for himself. If he's a chair-warming waste of space, who isn't?

about a year ago
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Critical Security Updates Coming To Windows XP, 8, RT & Server

csirac Re:Why? (289 comments)

I always do a little research before buying my next computer, to see if there are any Linux compatibility issues. My last few laptops have been Lenovos, they seem to have pretty vanilla intel-centric hardware that works well for me with Debian.

On my recent x230 install I stumbled a bit as it was my first install on a UEFI boot machine, and KDE never remembers that I want the touchpad disabled at all times (it also never remembers how to configure my external display when I dock at my desk) - but meh. Other things which used to be a monumental pain in the arse, Eg. bluetooth tethering, printing, suspend/resume - "just works" now, so I'm probably a little more forgiving than the average windows user for any rough edges (multi-monitor support in windows is definitely superior, especially if you're spanning across different video adapters).

about a year ago
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What Does Six Months of Meta-Data Look Like?

csirac Re: This isn't metadata. It's just data. (60 comments)

Metadata refers to side-channel data.

Don't make that assumption. As someone who works on data acquisition/management/processing (not telco) and gets trapped into hours-long discussions on data standards, especially derived data assets where the provenance/curation/modification history (not to mention the inputs, processing parameters, process versions/systems etc.) are just as important as the assets themselves... what is "meta" (or meta-meta, or...) and what isn't - is a huge area of ambiguity. The word "metadata" becomes utterly meaningless; I've been in meetings which informally ban it (lest we get lost into meta-meta-meta-meta-data - no exaggeration - and people lose their bearings, frame of reference and everybody gets confused about what "level" of meta-ness the conversation has collapsed into).

There is a good argument that the content of the call is only an incomplete record of the call. Without knowing the caller/callee/duration/date/time etc. we cannot put a voice recording into context and so the recording becomes useless and even perhaps unsearchable. If that's the case, then this "data" is of "first-order" importance and cannot be omitted by anyone - especially not the telcos who want generate any billing.

What is "meta" and what isn't, is all in the eye of the beholder. Meaningful documentation of protocols and information standards need to avoid assuming any common sense notion of the word.

I would be surprised if telcos consider "metadata" of a call to be far more boring than anybody cares about: technical stuff; SS7 attributes of the call, routing/exchanges/equipment involved, hand-overs between different mobile phone cells/towers, signal quality/encoding/protocol modes, measurements of bit error rate/latency/jitter/etc.

about a year ago

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