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At 40, a person is ...

lenski Re:It's all relative (286 comments)

I wonder how many Slashdot readers remember drooling over an HP-67? It was programmable and had external storage. No peripherals, no printer, but real nonetheless.

about a month ago

20 More Cities Want To Join the Fight Against Big Telecom's Broadband Monopolies

lenski Re:Meaningful Competition? (97 comments)

hmm that reminds, me what ever happened to internet over electric cables? The elect company's are not saving and replacing old infrastructure as they should be. I've seen plenty of news stories about how bad our grids are and how everything needs to be replaced but is not. Who owns the cables??

The neighborhood grid is owned by a single delivery company (AEP in most of central Ohio), while the generation is provided by "competitors".

The U.S. generally does not have broadband over power lines for two reasons:

  • We have more transformers, each with a smaller step-down ratio, than other countries (Europe, Japan, etc.) since our grid started earlier. BPL needs a repeater over each transformer.
  • Ham operators put up a pretty major stink about delivering high bandwidth over power lines due to an expectation of (and possibly experimental data showing) interference.

On the original article topic, I would totally vote to have an entity that is (at least lightly) accountable to citizens/voters in order to put a little competitive pressure on the current crop of duopolists. Digital/internet communication has transformed the way most of us work, and has become non-optional. I believe it's informative to note that many times that localities have tried to provide comms services, the entrenched players usually sue. I'm thinking it's a pretty good gravy train or they wouldn't be so protective of the turf.

about 3 months ago

Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

lenski Re:Upfront costs will slow adoption (517 comments)

Bull shit. ...Hippy girls....

I am damn tired of the unreliability of our current grid. I am in central Ohio: our power blinks at least once/month, and every few months it's out for hours. After any real storm, it's a week or more.

If my house weren't surrounded by trees, I would have solar to offset/augment in normal times, and to work when the local power providers fail to deliver service.

about 4 months ago

When Beliefs and Facts Collide

lenski Re:quelle surprise (725 comments)

I'm with others upthread whose expectation is not that "nuclear is impossible to do properly", but rather "Nuclear is impossible to responsibly here". Executives with authority over large projects have an essentially perfect record of focusing on finances and schedule to the exclusion of all other factors, most notably the safety of the many people who are likely affected by the executives' decisions long after the executives have deployed their golden parachutes.

It's also worth noting that the executives involved have an essentially perfect record of focusing (there's that word again) on the difficulty of proving that increased frequency of negative health effects are due to the facilities that they manage.

So in the context of applying "scientific principles" to policy debates whether the debate is over nuclear safety or AGW, it's my opinion that people with well-financed megaphones argue that "science cannot prove anything" while simultaneously arguing that "scientific proof is required" before taking any action. Works for them, not so much for everyone else.

Some specific examples

  • Dangers of smoking
  • Nicotine addiction
  • Effects of polychlorinated bisphenols
  • Groundwater pollution due to nuclear technology

Finally, I'm old enough to remember that the only way to get industrialists off their lazy asses in the 60's and 70's was by "government action". "Self-regulation" wasn't worth a good GodDamn.

about 7 months ago

Congress Unhappy With FCC's Proposed Changes To Net Neutrality

lenski market force: Let customers decide. (208 comments)

I tend to favor light regulation to ensure a level playing field, or alternatively a way to ensure a large enough pool of providers that customers have choices.

I really HATE the idea of reducing the market power of the end customer. It is my opinion that the current stream-of-consciousness rulemaking from the current FCC chair has that goal in mind. As things are progressing, with large content-providers being stuck with paying priority upcharge fees for the bandwidth and connectivity that THEY ALREADY PAY FOR, the ISPs (Comcast, TW, etc.) have another set of partners to collude with, without the need to satisfy the paying customers.

A plan that gives local ISPs a revenue stream other than their end customers is yet another erosion of the power of the customers in the marketplace, which is already so weak that we pay double or more for equivalent access than our international counterparts. Our market power is already severely limited by the lack of ISP choice in most communities, linked to the fact that there are only a few large providers nationwide.

I propose a rule requiring that an ISP's only source of income must be its customers. Is this "government regulation"? Or would it pass muster for the free market fundamentalists out there?

about 8 months ago

Russian Officials Dump iPads For Samsung Tablets Over Spy Fears

lenski Re:Zero info in article (198 comments)

Just one developer's observation... I have not yet seen Google fuck over developers and customers with the naked contempt shown by Microsoft or impenetrable garden wall of Apple.

Being operated by humans, I am sure Google will come over to the dark side and mis-use their market power eventually. Hopefully I'll be retired before then, as I am getting bloody tired of having to change infrastructure every time a formerly functional organization's mis-use of its market power becomes an unbearable burden.

about 10 months ago

Russian Officials Dump iPads For Samsung Tablets Over Spy Fears

lenski Apple: a Perfect example of Network Effects (198 comments)

No, "network effects" is the right term.

Apple had a very well-designed, well-built and convenient product with iPod. They followed up with the well-designed and convenient software product, iTunes. iTunes is so profitable and flawlessly exemplifies vendor lock-in, that they followed up with the same model for the iPhone and iPad.

One ecosystem, which just happens to not work very well with other vendors' products, and essentially never with open-platform systems.

That model is even sweeter than Microsoft's lock-in model, which was an improvement over IBM's lock-in model.

The company I work for has implemented some infrastructure with iXxx and they basically regret the decision; Apple's control is *very* effective at many levels, much to our disappointment.

about 10 months ago

Intel's 128MB L4 Cache May Be Coming To Broadwell and Other Future CPUs

lenski Re:not on die (110 comments)

what this means is the memory is not on the same piece of silicon as the CPU, just stuffed in the same chip package.

Which allows the designers to count on carefully controlled impedances, timings, seriously optimized bus widths and state machines, and all the other goodies that come with access to internal structures not otherwise available.

Such a resource could, if used properly, be a significant contributor to performance competitiveness.

about a year ago

How much I care about GMO food labeling:

lenski Re:Life's tough all over (461 comments)

Huge bucks spent to prevent states from requiring labeling. A great example is the coalition of the unwilling against California prop 37:


As I've written upthread, I would be fine with GMO if a) I were able to be aware of which products feature it so I can study the literature, b) Decide whether to do business with the dickheads indirectly and most importantly, c) Balance the legal power of the patent holders versus everyone else.

I don't suggest punishing Monsanto or anyone else for designing, building and selling a product. Unlike nearly every other business in the marketplace, Monsanto executives are uniquely interested in *preventing* people from knowing whether their product is part of the consumer end product. My only interest merely to be informed. The idea that fully informing purchasers of food products is "punishment" is very instructive.

I flatly disagree with the assertion that it is "punishment" to require that the marketplace be fully informed, and assert that it's a genuine privilege to block the flow of information that would otherwise be used to fully inform consumer decisionmaking.

I hear executives and PR flacks endlessly bleating about "the free market" but spend big money preventing exactly the information flow that makes the market "free". This is true for Monsanto, it's true for bankers and for many other industries that tend to externalize costs (environmental, health, systemic financial risk, etc.). My wife and I live conservatively to minimize our contribution to the power of these people.

about 2 years ago

How much I care about GMO food labeling:

lenski Re:People getting their issues mixed up (461 comments)

GMO is probably OK despite some unexpected ecological and personal risk. But the people who collectively "own" the "intellectual property" contained in GM organisms are far more interested in their stock value than the delivered value of their products. Executives have a nearly perfect record of hiding dangers and weaknesses of their products, until shitloads of people are hurt or killed and the effects can no longer be swept under the rug. Then when caught with their pants down, they bleat about "freedom".

I want the freedom to find out who is trying to fuck me over.

about 2 years ago

How much I care about GMO food labeling:

lenski Life's tough all over (461 comments)

So people think that industrial food might give them headaches? Tough shit. The fuckers with all the money and all of the control are welcome to show the safety and effectiveness of their product just like everyone else.

Monsanto gets ZERO special privileges. They have spent fuckloads of money on manipulating public discourse without showing any proper evidence of the long-term effects of the genetic manipulation and much worse, this society has allowed them near monopoly power over important parts of our food supply.

Damn hippies? Who the FUCK do you think controls the discussion? Sure as hell not the greenies or hippies or anyone else not in the club.

FYI, I would not have a problem with GMO food as long as it was not managed as some shithead's private "intellectual property" being used to push around too many farmers.

about 2 years ago

How much I care about GMO food labeling:

lenski Re:If they're safe, what's the problem? (461 comments)

Greenpeace has marginal effects, at best.

Monsanto on the other hand has a huge iron legal fist, uses it regularly and without remorse.

Farmers are running on the slimmest margins as it is, and shithead patent holders are raking them over the coals.

about 2 years ago

How much I care about GMO food labeling:

lenski The harm is paying patent holders (461 comments)

I want to see a label that allows me to choose not to give my financial support to the shitheads trying to monopolize my food supply.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Buy a Raspberry Pi When I Have a Perfectly Good Cellphone?

lenski Re:Teensy 3.0 maybe? (273 comments)

Teensy would be tempting to anyone who has already done embedded development in the ARM microcontroller world. Insufficient memory to run any Linux, but plenty of flash and RAM to run any of many deeply embedded RTOS. Looking over the reference manual shows that the chip's peripheral blocks are powerful, including what appears at first read to be a pretty snazzy DMA controller.

I've been seriously considering it as a target for developing a communication front-end for a project at work. Previous experience is with a Cortex-M3 (Atmel AT91SAM3U) which was a great MCU to work with. GCC is available and I've been able to do all development on Linux workstations.

The price at PJRC, $19.00 can't be beat.


about 2 years ago

Real World Code Sucks

lenski Requiring communication among stakeholders? (292 comments)


At least from the point of view of the executive manglement team.

The last time I saw a mid level manager require written documentation from more than one stakeholder (marketing, business analysts, etc.) at a time, he was FIRED, for "being inflexible". This after he offered *many times* to help shepherd the process including discussing the effort of various options that might be chosen for implementing the ideas under discussion. Also after >3 years of trying to implement under-specified, over-promised features whose priority was always greater than refactoring and cleanup as the application experienced shifts in functional emphasis to match changing market conditions.

I've been doing this stuff since 1977 and the most consistent statement that could be made about top management people was "he or she has never felt the pain of an ink pen in hand". Fear of commitment. Frequently we who had to keep things going just did as much work as possible, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, even with the willingness to get into the work, our vision was necessarily limited, and consequently so was our success rate.

Beyond a certain point, high level managers become extremely risk-averse. It's explainable: The challenges of getting details right are many, and the likelihood of success is small due to the vicissitudes of most business marketplaces. I believe this is why there's lots of talk about "taking risks" but truth be told, risk taking is such a fear-inducing process that it's never used.

With that complaint out of the way, I agree with your premise. I merely observe that I've seen it carried through about once or twice in 35 years.

more than 2 years ago

AMD Rumored To Announce Layoffs, New Hardware, ARM Servers On Monday

lenski Re:ARM Servers: FP performance (81 comments)

Your comment is on target given that ARM systems have a history being both lightweight and worse yet, inconsistently equipped with floating point hardware. The consequence has been that application and package developers face a choice between being able to run on lots of hardware by avoiding dependency on FP, or to provide good performance by limiting their applicability to systems with that hardware. I do not know whether ARM can overcome that history in a bid for a place in the server marketplace.

I expect that ARM architects recognize the need for consistency, with the result that the ARMv8 64-bit spec is way more specific about what developers can count on, so they can use high performance compiler settings consistently, while still being sure their applications can run on all servers.

This is a very important place where the Intel IA32 and AMD's x86-64, won. Beginning with the i486 (not SX), developers had a consistent set of compiler optimization choices providing "really good" performance. Anyone wanting really kick-ass, custom-optimized performance is welcome to go with tightly customized, processor-specific compilation, as one might be able to justify in HPC.

So the question is whether ARM's history of support for giving silicon implementers major freedom in selecting from among many options, will leave a legacy of inconsistency or whether they can get past that to enter the marketplace where consistency is required for success.

BTW, as an embedded developer, I've found the flexibility of choosing silicon that's well-tuned to my device-specific needs to be very important.

more than 2 years ago

Koch Bros Study Finds Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made

lenski Uh... I disagree... (769 comments)

My 2010 TDI "Sportwagen" gets 35+ under constant in-town acceleration/deceleration during rush hour, gets 40+ in off-hour in-town driving, and 52+ on disciplined long trips.

Plenty of room for a custom bicycle (I am 6' 4", and the bike's frame is enlarged to accommodate exceptionally long legs). Or alternatively room for 4 people and all their luggage for a long weekend at a family wedding.

Being a slashdot poster, you should know about "refactoring". Doesn't happen enough in the software world, and it for sure doesn't happen often enough in the legislative world. But the answer is not "deregulating": which merely cedes the power to those who really want to socialize their responsibilities while privatizing their profits.

There has never been a free market. The only question to be answered is "who controls the market"? It could be, and usually is, the group who have the concentrated market power, or an entity that should be responsible to the society at large, whose capacity to design and implement the regulations is admittedly imperfect, but without that imperfect process, we're all fucked.

more than 2 years ago

Koch Bros Study Finds Global Warming Is Real And Man-Made

lenski "middle class effects": A stitch in time... (769 comments)

Mitigation strategies become more expensive as "we" delay efforts to develop and apply those strategies.

There is now a huge separation of interests between those control access to concentrated capital from those whose lives are most directly affected by environmental conditions.

The "capitalists" have a strong interest in preserving their existing revenue streams. The interests of the rest of society are irrelevant. The truly poor in other countries, many of whom live in low lying areas and depend on water supplies that are already turning brackish due to the current rise of only a few inches. Such people have almost negative value to high-concentration capital operators, usually being in the way when one investment or another involves their displacement.

The Koch brothers and their friends the major fossil fuel industries have a strong interest in their current business model, and will fuck the rest of the world if necessary to prevent losses in their investments.

The delays that the Heartland Institute, and other thinktanks advocate WILL cause mitigation strategies to become prohibitively expensive and count on it coming out of our asses. The longer we wait, the more painful the movement will be.

To those who are skeptical of government intervention, I hesitantly agree, for two reasons: 1) It's been bought off by highly concentrated capitalists expressing their "free speech rights" drowning out all others in the public square, 2) Too many people have a problem with learned helplessness and are unwilling or unable to see the effects of the endless talk of "freedom", failing to see that "freedom" usually means "free to fuck over those that do not have the countervailing power to prevent it".

The place where I flat out disagree with that logic is that the people who pull the strings of highly concentrated capital are *far* worse. My preference for "government" intervention is precisely because in a society that has not entirely lost its capacity for small-D democratic action, government is weakened by the constant re-election of legislators & "leaders". Throw away that feedback loop by *endlessly* whining about "government" with the effect of ceding control to the few lever-pullers, and you will have something way more interesting.

P.S. I am a white guy in my mid-fifties who has been working in corporate environments large and small for 35+ years. I have seen the effects of narrow interests screwing over the others for most of those years. When authority is not balanced by strong accountability WITH TEETH, that authority is misused one hundred-point-zero percent of the time. Those with insufficiently accountable authority have an absolutely perfect record of misusing it.

more than 2 years ago



Ed Lorenz: Rest in chaotic peace

lenski lenski writes  |  more than 6 years ago

lenski (96498) writes "Edward Lorenz, the discoverer of the Lorenz Attractor, died at the age of 90 last Wednesday April 16, 2008. His path of discovery began when he noticed that restarting a simple weather simulation program from an earlier printed description of its state variables. Looking into those anomalies, he discovered the principle of "sensitive dependence on initial conditions", which has entered common usage with the phrase butterfly effect. Professor Lorenz' discoveries rival those of John Horton Conway and Benoit Mandelbrot in consumption of both programmer play time and of computing resources worldwide. We have learned much from Prof. Lorenz, and raise a glass in celebration of his life."


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