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How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable

jandrese Re:Cloud Cities? (45 comments)

Depending on your definition, you could do that on Earth. In fact it is probably easier on Earth because you don't have 200kph winds gusting up to 400kph.

5 hours ago
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How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable

jandrese An X-Ray baked hellscape sound perfect (45 comments)

This sounds like a great way to make a Mercury type planet, but I'm not so sure it will be so great at making a place you would want to live.

7 hours ago
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US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

jandrese Re:$45 Billion is just another tax, different form (83 comments)

Have you ever tried to use WiFi in a crowded apartment building? Do you want the same experience with cellphones? It works for WiFi and Bluetooth only because their ranges are so short that you usually don't get much interference. That solution obviously won't work for cell phones. Nobody wants to have to find the nearest cell tower and drive over to it to use their phone.

8 hours ago
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New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

jandrese Re:Vast... Tracts of Land (184 comments)

There is a famine going on right now in North Korea.

I read a claim that there has not been a famine in 400 years that was not politically created. This sound crazy when you first hear it, but when you start diving into the specifics it is scary.

8 hours ago
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US Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $44.9 Billion

jandrese Re:$45 Billion is just another tax, different form (83 comments)

One could argue that the Government didn't create the monopolies here, physics did. There's only so much spectrum and it doesn't work if multiple people are trying to use the same frequencies at the same time in the same area.

Unless you can find the political will to separate highly regulated tower operators and the phone carriers (so airtime would be a utility and there would be competition with the carriers), then it's always going to be like this. It could be worse, at least there is some competition in the wireless space. It's not wireline broadband.

9 hours ago
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Proposed Disk Array With 99.999% Availablity For 4 Years, Sans Maintenance

jandrese Re:I would love to, but that server is a soup Nazi (251 comments)

This was on Windows with Firefox and the Adobe plugin. I don't have the built-in plugin because I like popping out PDFs and because the built-in viewer is slow as balls on nontrivial PDFs.

yesterday
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Proposed Disk Array With 99.999% Availablity For 4 Years, Sans Maintenance

jandrese Re:Naive to say the least. (251 comments)

100,000 hours is 4,167 days which is ~11.4 years. That sounds pretty reasonable to me, since I've run plenty of disks for over a decade.

yesterday
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Proposed Disk Array With 99.999% Availablity For 4 Years, Sans Maintenance

jandrese Re:Power Costs (251 comments)

The spares should be warm spares. Not spinning until the RAID controller detects a failure and replaces the failed drive. So they won't take any appreciable amount of power. The concern I have is space. That many idle drives eating up rack space is going to be expensive.

yesterday
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Proposed Disk Array With 99.999% Availablity For 4 Years, Sans Maintenance

jandrese Re:4 years? (251 comments)

They only had availability data for 4 years of drive life. This is largely a math study. I'm not familiar with any implementations of their 2D parity system, although it is outside of my area of expertise. Their assumption that the service calls would always be more expensive seemed a little suspect to me. Rack space isn't free and when you have basically 100% redundancy or more in spare drives you're going to eat up a lot of space. Putting 54 spare drives in a rack that already has 11 parity disks and only 55 primary disks just doesn't seem efficient. Is all of that space really cheaper than a single service call during the life of the machine to replace 20 failed drives all at once (when the rack drops below say 6 spares of the original 26--saving you half of the space the spares would have taken up).

I have also seen enough buggy RAID controllers in my day to make me very wary of that 2D raid arrangement in the paper.

All in all this smells like a mathematicians solution to the problem, largely unbounded by real life concerns.

yesterday
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Proposed Disk Array With 99.999% Availablity For 4 Years, Sans Maintenance

jandrese I would love to, but that server is a soup Nazi (251 comments)

So I tried to view the PDF, and it says "can't use the plugin, it causes problems on our server". So I figured I'd just download the file with wget instead. Nope, 403 forbidden.

Looks like fetch works though. If anybody else has trouble getting the file, try my local mirror.

yesterday
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Adobe's Latest Zero-Day Exploit Repurposed, Targeting Adult Websites

jandrese Re:Maybe if Adobe fixed their broken updater... (201 comments)

My favorite part is where the updater tells you that a new update is ready, but it won't install it automatically because Adobe needs another ad impression or something and you have to download and install it yourself. This is why I don't have Flash or Java installed anymore. I especially like when they try to sideload some crapware toolbar with their security update too. I can kind of understand this sort of behavior from a sketchy freeware app being hosted by J. Random Guy, but Oracle and Adobe are multimillion dollar corporations. Do they really care so little about their brand?

2 days ago
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Plan C: The Cold War Plan Which Would Have Brought the US Under Martial Law

jandrese Re:So it was the 1950's PATRIOT ACT (308 comments)

I guess we'll be well prepared for nuclear war then. Lets get right on that. Or maybe not.

4 days ago
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NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

jandrese Re:Option? (113 comments)

Won't the option be to either let the GPU use the extra 1/7 speed memory, or force the data back out to system memory over the PCIe bus at a much lower speed? Outside of benchmarks, I don't think many applications are going to be demanding that extra memory anyway.

4 days ago
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

jandrese Re:Terrible names (376 comments)

At least the old Unix names were at least somewhat relevant to their purpose, even if severely shortened to save keystrokes:

grep: Global Regular Expression Print -- Ok, still pretty bizarre sounding if you're not a bearded unixguy
man: Short for MANual. Straightforward.
awk: Beats me. I think it's named after the author's initials or something
sed: Stream EDitor: does what it says, edits streams of characters

4 days ago
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Windows 10: Charms Bar Removed, No Start Screen For Desktops

jandrese Re:Terrible names (376 comments)

Just because open source projects can choose terrible names doesn't mean they have a monopoly on it.

4 days ago
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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

jandrese Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (200 comments)

FiOS is expensive, but then so is cable and at least you get what you pay for with FiOS. If Google fiber or Muni Fiber came to my area I would almost certainly switch, but as it is I feel lucky to at least get good service if I'm going to be paying out the ass.

about a week ago
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Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

jandrese Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (200 comments)

That is in fact exactly what the article says. While the profit margin on FiOS is apparently 4.4%, the wireless side had a 23.5% profit margin. While those numbers are heavily encrusted with bullshit, they do show the relative value of the technologies to Verizon.

about a week ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

jandrese Re:One of many (76 comments)

It's also possible they don't have some of the features you would need to make them any better than the Hubble. They may be set up to track things on the surface of the Earth and not have hardware necessary for long tracking shots of deep space objects. They may also be malfunctioning in some way and not useful unless they get serviced, which isn't going to happen now that the Shuttle program is over.

about a week ago
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Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

jandrese Re:Translation: (158 comments)

Surface RT was always a bastard child of the lineup. They sold pretty poorly too, so it's not a surprise that Microsoft is wiping their hands of the whole product.

about a week ago
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TWEETHER Project Promises 10Gbps MmW 92-95GHz Based Wireless Broadband

jandrese Re:Physics doesn't work like that. (54 comments)

I think this is for tower to tower type communication. I do have to wonder about rain fade on a 95Ghz signal though.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Here is some of the most famous content stolen from the Public Domain in 2015

jandrese jandrese writes  |  about a month ago

jandrese (485) writes "

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1958 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2015, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2054.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019.

Here are some of the works that did not enter the public domain this year in order to protect corporate revenue streams on content that is older than your parents."

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Help save historic space data

jandrese jandrese writes  |  about 2 years ago

jandrese writes "The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has been recovering and digitizing NASA's old images from the Apollo program from dusty old tapes found in a barn. They are using modern techniques on the old data to achieve stunning results from the old material, but have run out of funding and are looking for help. They have a very modest goal of $75,000 and only 5 days left to reach it."
Link to Original Source
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Verizon CEO: US #1 in Broadband; Because I say so

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jandrese writes "Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg went on the record with the Council of Foreign relations to say that the US has far and away the best Broadband in the world, and that the European model has not served its customers nearly as well as the US model. Also how the FCC is making a big mistake if it starts regulating broadband and wireless.

Murray: So on the measures that matter most to you, where does the United States rank in terms of

Seidenberg: One. Not even close.

Seidenberg then goes on to explain how Verizon has laid more fiber than all of the telecom companies in Europe combined, and how Europeans have to carry multiple cell phones if they want to avoid roaming fees. He also promises to go after wireless bandwidth hogs."
Link to Original Source

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1.474 Gigapixel image of the Inagural Address

jandrese jandrese writes  |  about 6 years ago

jandrese writes "David Bergman used a gigapan Imager to create this stunning 1.474 Gigapixel image of the inaugural address by taking 220 images with his Canon G10 with the robotic mount quickly and precisely aiming the camera for every shot. A fullscreen version of the image viewer is also available. The level of detail is amazing, you can almost read the band's sheet music."
Link to Original Source
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Clear Channel wants to clean up XM/Sirius

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jandrese writes "It seems that Clear Channel's terrestrial stations are tired of the XM and Sirius counterparts being free from the FCC decency guidelines, especially after they are forced to pay $1.75 million in fees. To fix the problem they are asking the FCC to impose additional restrictions on the pending XM and Sirius satellite radio merger. In particular, they want the FCC to apply the over the air decency guidelines to all channels on satellite radio. The worst part is that the FCC has not rejected this idea out of hand."
Link to Original Source
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jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jandrese writes "LONDON (Thomson Financial) — Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc could face a possible lawsuit for failing to include measures to control access to copyrighted material in products such as Vista OS, iTunes and the iPod, two companies have warned.

Media Rights Technologies and BlueBeat.com have issued cease and desist letters to both companies and to Adobe Systems Inc and Real Networks — which produce the Adobe Flash Player and Real Player respectively — for actively avoiding their X1 SeCure Recording Control, which they said is an effective copyright protection system.

I guess DRM companies have gotten so used to suing their customers that suing potential customers seems like a good idea."

Journals

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Why does C not have a heap checking function?

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 7 years ago One of the things that has bothered me from the first day I learned about the Memory Management in C over a decade ago is how there is no apparently method in C for knowing how much memory is allocated behind a pointer that you are passed. I asked my teacher back in the day how we would prevent stuff from running off of the end of a buffer if we can't find out how big a buffer is and he just shrugged his shoulders and said "very carefully". It is no surprise to me that buffer overflows are by far the most common form of exploit on C based languages. The worst part is that a lot of that could be avoided with one simple function:

int heapsize(void* buffer, void** start);

Passed in your target pointer it would set the start pointer to the start of the buffer and return the length of the buffer in bytes. Now you would know exactly where your pointer is and how many bytes are left. Bounds checking suddenly gets really simple and buffer overflows, while not completely a thing of the past (lazy programmers would never check), appear far less often.

The normal argument against this function is "it's your program, you should know how big the buffers are", but frankly in an age of libraries and team coding this is just not true.

The worst part is that C already knows this stuff. It has to or the "free" command would not work. It is just hidden away and impossible to get at for some reason. Even with the many revisions of C over the years, it seems like this is one feature we're never going to get. I wonder why?

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Mkisofs

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 11 years ago Why in the world does mkisofs have such a crummy method for specifing what files you want burned?

In case you don't know, here's how it works, you specify one or more directories after the options to mkisofs like so:
mkisofs options_here directory1 directory2 etc...
If directory1 contains the file foo and directory2 contains the file bar, your CD will have foo and bar on the root. Directory1 and directory2 are gone.

This design is as frustrating as it is stupid. If you want to burn directories like that you either have to create a third directory and temporarily move them in there, or create symlinks in the third directory and turn on the (unreliable) -follow-symlinks option (hope you don't have any symlinks in those directories that you cared about).

The worst part is, the correct interface is trivial to implement. If mkisofs didn't get rid of that last directory, it would work perfectly. Using the above line you would get a CD with directory1 and directory2 at the root. If you want the old behavior, all you would have to do is explicitly glob the files like so:
mkisofs options_here directory1/* directory2/* etc...
Maybe it's time to pull out the source...

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S-Box mod chip

jandrese jandrese writes  |  more than 11 years ago I've had the S-Box (also called the NeoKey) installed in my PS2 for some time now, and there are a few things I need to get off my chest:

  • Installation: The first problem was that the documentation was wrong. I apparently have the generation 3 PS2, but it has all of the markings of a generation 1 PS2. When I talked to one of the vendors about it, they said that Sony has been doing that to try to thwart the modchip crowd. Ok, they can't do anything about that. What they could do is actually mention that somewhere. I went to at least a dozen different mod sites and none of them had any sort of waring about that whatsoever. Also, they all appear to have copied the instruction pages from a single source, lock stock and barrell. The originals weren't very good though (the pictures were kinda small and fuzzy). Finally, as for the actual process of installation, it was no too bad, except that the PS2 has an incredibly compact PCB, my pencil tip soldering iron was almost too big for that tiny little patch I had to solder on. I'm also not sure if that USB port will ever be usable again (I suspect not). Fortunatly almost nothing on the PS2 uses the USB port.
  • Import/Burned PSx games: The chip works as advertised sometimes, and lets me play DDR on my US PS2, however it is rather flaky, only working about 50% of the time and requiring a reboot the other times. I've found that it works best if you power the PS2 completely off (using the switch in the back) and back on when trying to play an import. It does blink ALL of the time when it is on however, which is rather annoying (fortunatly the light is covered up by the controller plugs).
  • Import/Burned PS2 games: there were some conflicting reports on the sites about support for Ps2 games. Apparently you need a Gameshark, and even then you can only play PS2 games that are burned on CDr. I suppose that would be fine for pirates, but all I really care about are import games. I guess I'll just be playing the PSx imports instead. Also, instead of a Gameshark, I already had a Code Breaker. The Code Breaker is apparently not sufficent, as it does not work. Actaully, I havn't had a gameshark to test with either, so I don't know if it works at all.
  • Final Verdict: If your soldering skills are only so-so, and you only want to play PSx games, and don't mind a bit of a headache in the install procedure, then this is an acceptable modchip. It is also reasonably inexpensive compared to some of the more full featured mods.

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