Re: Interesting (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Philae lander: touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 2014-11-14 06:16 (#2V29)

This is the coolest thing ever, and I'm stunned how little coverage it's getting in mainstream American media. This is for me like the moon landing for our generation.
I think you're overstating it. Voyager I leaving the solar system is far more interesting.

It's much harder to cover than typical NASA stories, since the ESA is doing this one, and not many news agencies have foreign reporters on the payroll who can head over and send-back footage, while all networks have local stations across the US to pull from.

Intentionally Misleading (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Elon Musk looking to blanket the planet with 700 microsatellites on 2014-11-11 19:31 (#2TZQ)

I thought about publishing the same story a couple days ago, but found it too much smoke and mirrors, with no actual news.

Elon Musk certainly didn't "announce" it... He's not even really involved at all: This is just a sad attempt from WorldVu to drum-up investors for their existing old crazy business-plan:
"the venture is in its formative stages, and Mr. Musk’s participation isn’t certain."
And it's a decidedly poor investment at that... Companies that have attempted similar business models tend to go bankrupt. See: Iridium. It's a hard business having to pay to launch hundreds of satellites, while not being able to sell to customers until completed, and most everyone with significant money to spend have other, better, local options (wired or cellular).

I'd like to see it go up, personally... Shortwave broadcasting is in steep decline and the internet isn't currently an option in remote areas of the world that are far off-the-grid. And text or audio services require only a very slow trickle of data, equivalent to dial-up or even 2G cell service speeds. The astronomical costs for current satellite internet is not viable for the impoverished people that WorldVu & O3b's model is meant to serve.

Rural areas of the US could seriously use something faster and cheaper than HugesNet. Even some urban areas have only one high-speed internet service provider available, and that may be with old & slow DSL at high prices. The large number of medium-orbit satellites with modern technology offers the potential for high speeds. But that requires getting prices below competing cellular offerings (eg. $30/month for 5GB+ data), and THAT price-point will probably require the first round of investors to go bankrupt, as it might never be viable to repay the initial cost plus interest with the small number of customers they can sign-up.

And THEN they'll still need government subsidies from around the world, on an ongoing basis, to make it economical for their stated target market. I think it's a more viable option than the solar-powered drones or balloons that Google and Facebook are toying with, but they'll need the cash reserves of those two huge companies to make it workable.

Re: IMAX killed it (Score: 1)

by in Interstellar and the end of the film era on 2014-11-10 03:04 (#2TYS)

Real film lent a grittiness to the movie that meshed well with the story and desperation and it would be impossible to replicate that with digital.
Impossible to replicate? Are you daft? You could easily transfer a digital print to film, then digitize the film... And that's the hard way. Easy way is to push the button on your digital processing suite that says "film grain".

IMAX killed it (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Interstellar and the end of the film era on 2014-11-09 00:57 (#2TYN)

I suppose IMAX is to blame... Trying to squeeze more money out of their customers, they introduced "IMAX Digital" so they could show just any regular film nice and cheap, but charge IMAX prices for the ticket. Angering your customers who are paying big bucks and keeping film alive, is a losing propsition.

Another negative is the move to 3D. Whether you like 3D or not, it has divided audiences in half... Some won't ever watch a 3D movie, others won't pay to watch the regular 2D versions anymore.

But I suppose as long as IMAX and Cinemark XD are able to demand huge ticket prices, and fill their theatres, film won't be going away just yet.

Only real-time broadcast TV? (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Aereo closes Boston offices, but reveals Plan B on 2014-11-07 20:27 (#2TYF)

Unfortunately, the FCC's proposal specifically only applies to "linear" video services... I.E. real-time continuous broadcasts.

That's some strange way of legislatively foisting the technological limitations of 1920s radio technology, upon the unsuspecting internet, where it makes no sense at all. Do you really want Netflix to look like cable, where there are channels just playing repeats of Law & Order every day, around-the-clock?

Broadcast video only makes sense for breaking news, sports, and just a few other live and ephemeral events. Otherwise, people have been spending money on DVRs and services like Netflix/Hulu and OnDemand for DECADES, trying hard specifically to rid themselves of such "appointment TV" limitations.

Of course the possibility is that once internet video services get their foot in the door, court challenges will later allow them to do OnDemand like their cable TV brethren. And perhaps the laws allowing the FCC to regulate the likes of Aereo, Netflix and Hulu to ensure their software isn't anti-competitive and excluding people.

But things might go the other way, too, with internet video services only getting a fair deal with linear video, and the current trend of on-demand binge watching slowly fading away, or perhaps being the domain of only proper cable TV services, without the government oversight to impose CableCard compatibility so consumers can buy DVRs for these new services, as we reminisce about the "good old days" before the FCC killed-off time-shifting (they tried to do so, before, with the "broadcast flag" rules)...

Re: Two Kilometers in Area? (Score: 1)

by in The future of cable internet services may be as backhaul for cellular... on 2014-11-06 19:35 (#2TY2)

I don't know exactly what TFA means by that, so I can't correct it.

Obviously two SQUARE kilometers would be a measurement of area. But when talking about broadcasting, measurements are generally made as the radius from the antenna, which could be a considerably different area.

Re: Too broad of categories (Score: 1)

by in Which of the following groups do you trust when it comes to scientific research and reporting? on 2014-11-05 21:53 (#2TXG)

There are concrete examples how religious people faked 'evidence' to support their religious world view.
A nice example:
Except that was a hoax intended to discredit someone, not to prove someone's beliefs. The hoax only just happened to have some religious connotations.
Since there isn't anything to 're-hide' for atheists
That's complete nonsense. There are a huge number of religious artifacts out there. Nothing that proves the existence of an all-powerful being, of course, but lots and lots of artifacts none-the-less.
Perhaps you could ask Richard Dawkins what he would do?
Perhaps you could ask any Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist scientists what they'd do?
For atheists it is not important whether a god exists or not. They just don't see any evidence for its existence so they don't care. Give only one irrefutable proof and most of them would immediately accept its existence.
Also complete nonsense. Like any other religious group, atheists are all across the spectrum.
I would.
Your particular position on the spectrum is not the textbook definition of the term, nor typical of all adherents. In fact what you've described is closer to agnostic than atheist.

Even if you dismiss the dogma involved, any one of them who has a flourishing business publishing books or whatnot, would be hesitant to undermine their life's work and risk their highly lucrative business.

Re: Too broad of categories (Score: 1)

by in Which of the following groups do you trust when it comes to scientific research and reporting? on 2014-11-05 20:25 (#2TXE)

However, unlike Atheists and perhaps Agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists can have an extra incentive to fake results.
If you mean to say that Christians, Muslims & Buddhists have incentive to fake results to suit/support their religious beliefs, then atheists have the same problem. Their "extra incentive" would be to fake results to undercut evidence that might lend supports to any of those same beliefs, at every opportunity.

Swap Indian Jones with Richard Dawkins, and tell me that, upon discovering the ark or the grail, he wouldn't have just re-hidden the artifact, and never said a word about it to anyone...

It rubs the iPhone on it's skin, or else it gets the hose again... (Score: 1)

by in Dollar value of the gadgets/stuff in my pocket(USD) on 2014-11-02 19:05 (#2TVW)

I'd give you a couple dollars for the battery, speaker, mic, and motor. Not worth much, but it's something.

Not the first disaster for Scaled Composites (Score: 1)

by in Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured on 2014-11-01 05:04 (#2TVC)

Back in 2007, a Scaled Composites rocket engine test killed three people and injured three others:

Re: Misleading summary (Score: 1)

by in Australia poised to introduce controversial data retention laws on 2014-10-31 17:27 (#2TTR)

1. Whether the numbers are correct or not, you're confusing per-month with per-year. $100-200 per-year works out to $8.34-16.67/month, making your internet service $59-65/month.

Re: Suppose I have.... (Score: 1)

by in Dollar value of the gadgets/stuff in my pocket(USD) on 2014-10-29 22:23 (#2TSR)

Obviously the first option is the lower bounds, and the second is higher. So if you have anything over exactly $100 in value, even if it's just worth a fraction of a cent, I'd go for the second on. Only just barely $100 and the first will do...

Re: ftp web server? (Score: 1)

by in wget prior to 1.16 allows for a web server to write arbitrary files on the client side on 2014-10-29 19:33 (#2TSN)

If you look at the pipe history, you'll see the submission from the AC repeatedly said "web" server, and the editors simply corrected one of the two to FTP.

Changing the subject line after publication can break links, so I'd rather not, except in extreme cases.

Re: Yikes! (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Dollar value of the gadgets/stuff in my pocket(USD) on 2014-10-29 19:19 (#2TSM)

one Samsung Note 3 already puts me in the highest category.
A graph of the depreciation of high-end electronics looks like a baseball's trajectory due to the pull of gravity when it rolls off a table... eg. Something like this:


Like any good insurance adjuster, I'd use the depreciated replacement value. Amazon will sell you a used Note 3 in good/very good condition for under $350:


If you're figuring it any other way, you might need to include the full price of the 2-year service contract your device is on, too. You might also run into the complication of your credit/debit/ID cards being reasonably valuable to a thief, while having only minimal or perhaps zero replacement cost for you.

Re: WTF is cramming (Score: 1)

by in More than 350,000 AT&T customers apply for "cramming" refunds on 2014-10-29 19:02 (#2TSK)

Re: Expiry (Score: 1)

by in FCC Postpones Auction Of Broadcast TV Spectrum To 2016 on 2014-10-28 00:16 (#2TR8)

Yes, broadcasters have to renew them all the time.

Here's their website to renew licenses:

TV broadcast licenses are 8 years.

Narrow-band 2-way business radio licenses are 10 years.

I don't know the specific term length or renewal fees for the incentive auction spectrum, and just the thought of looking through all those books full of legalese to find out already makes me feel nauseous.

The auction price just gets them the initial license. The FCC generally recognizes users of spectrum as having a right to keep using it, as long as they're paying their fees, using it as efficiently as possible, and following whatever other restrictions and requirements have been set-out by the FCC or Congress.

TV broadcasters aren't going to spend millions building their broadcasting infrastructure, if they might just suddenly lose their license. Similarly, wireless phone companies aren't going to spend billions building out their cell towers, if they might suddenly be rendered unusable.

We need enclosed electric bikes (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in My primarily used mobility opions: on 2014-10-27 17:53 (#2TR0)

No option for scooters? We just had this discussion:

Every time I walk somewhere, it always astonishes me just how convenient cars are. Sure, maybe walking you can take a more direct route, ignore traffic signs, don't need to park, etc., but it's still just so ridiculously slow as to never be convenient. Expect to multiply your travel time by 10-20. Even the shortest trips suddenly become cumbersome, with basic issues like food getting cold before you can get it home. Of course bikes are faster, but they have most of the disadvantages of driving, and some of the disadvantages of walking, too.

Personally, I anxiously await a future where fully enclosed (fully electric) bikes are common:

The EPA or CARB just has to crank-up the (CAFE) fuel efficiency requirements a few notches, and car makers will necessarily have to improve upon current sub-compacts, turning them into something an awful lot like the above in order to keep their numbers up, without needing to make all their vehicles EVs or hybrids. That's almost similar to what happened in the mid-90s, when GM was developing the EV1, Chrysler was meanwhile nearly giving-away as many GEM electric golf-carts as they could.

Re: And in the US? (Score: 1)

by in New standard offers gigabit DSL over short distances on 2014-10-26 20:25 (#2TQK)

Should be a good fit for AT&T's U-Verse service. They've been responsible for the proliferation of network cabinets (VRADs) through neighborhoods they serve for many years... Though not remotely enough to put everyone 50m from a DSLAM.

CenturyLink is probably in the same boat. They're deploying fiber, but they might take the DSL upgrade path for their (many more) already-deployed DSL areas.

Verizon has gone the other way entirely, deploying FIOS instead of improving DSL, and trying to make POTS and DSL impossible to sign-up for, anywhere FIOS is available.

Re: You keep using that word... (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Future manned Mars exploration at risk due to lowered solar activity on 2014-10-26 16:56 (#2TQG)

what would be a better word? Is there one? Or are we stuck with "showered with gamma particles" etc.?
Hmm, let's try a few...

Original: cosmic rays, which are dangerously radioactive.

Option1: cosmic rays, which are dangerously high-energy radiation.

Option2: cosmic rays, which are dangerous high-energy particles.

Option3: cosmic rays, which are dangerous high-energy atomic nuclei.

Option4: cosmic rays, which are dangerous ionizing radiation.

Option5: Cosmic Ray's, which is the most dangerous pub in the universe.

Re: By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet (Score: 1)

by in Tablets vs Chromebooks: an unexpected year on 2014-10-25 19:25 (#2TQ8)

You've got an incredible level of self-delusion going on to believe the article supports your claim.

Re: By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet (Score: 1)

by in Tablets vs Chromebooks: an unexpected year on 2014-10-25 16:27 (#2TQ5)

1) You're completely wrong about what I was saying.
2) It's not just a theory, it's based on plenty of evidence:

Re: Does it really need to be... (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Google's new "Inbox" hopes to simplify email on 2014-10-25 05:08 (#2TPQ)

In 2006 or so gmail was a pretty straight-forward thing that did everything you were used to doing but better, more cleanly, and more easily. They've pissed around with the UI ever since then and generally made it into a beast that's less likeable by those who value their email.
You can get the old Gmail interface back quite easily. Just disable javascript and reload the page.

Click the link that says:

"To use Gmail's basic HTML view, which does not require JavaScript, click here."

Then in the new yellow bar across the top, click:

"Set basic HTML as default view"

All done. Good old plain Gmail, wherever you log-in from, permanently.

Re: By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet (Score: 1)

by in Tablets vs Chromebooks: an unexpected year on 2014-10-25 04:52 (#2TPP)

And yet manufacturers are too stupid yo give it to them
As slim as the margins were, and as high as the return rate was, I'm not so sure it's stupid at all. If they have to price them so they only just barely turn a profit on the line, then it's not worth it for them to make the products you want.
One can't get a tablet or phone with a real keyboard, except maybe those overpriced or crippled MS things.
Most Blackberry phones still have real keyboards, and now they can run Android apps, too. I admit, looking for Android slider phones is depressing and unrewarding.

But I suppose keeping my old phone is for the best, as Google just keeps making it harder and harder to make a phone call on Android. Several additional unintuitive steps needed to add a recent number to the contact list, much more difficult to switch between recent calls, the dialer, and your contacts, and absolutely NO WAY to EDIT your contacts from the dialer... You can create one there, but if you make a mistake, you must switch to a different program entirely. This is a complete regression. [/rant]
I don't get it. The entire market is being handed to Google.
Actually, at least Acer's Chromebooks are just older models of cheap Windows laptops they previously sold. Maybe the Windows tax makes a huge difference in low-end hardware, or maybe Google's mega advertising for a tiny number of products gets them exposure they wouldn't have as low-end Windows laptops.

Re: Keyboards & other thoughts. (Score: 1)

by in Tablets vs Chromebooks: an unexpected year on 2014-10-25 04:38 (#2TPN)

I wouldn't call laptop keyboards "great". Ever. Anybody ever found one that isn't terrible for programming?
The keyboard I prefer to use on my desktop is smaller than many laptop keyboards:

Only thing I really regret is that it only has one CTRL key, but altwin:ctrl_win takes care of that under X11 just fine.

But it would be necessary for the wrist-wrest to be 0.5" lower than the keyboard, which I haven't seen any laptop ever do. That might make the difference between comfortable easy typing, and horrible laptop keyboards...

I also prefer a trackball for faster pointing, which is a similarly good fit for laptops, though sadly haven't seen them on portables since the 486 days. Their pointless and unnecessary demise makes it clear that whatever laptop manufacturers are looking for, it isn't good input devices.

Just another bad Ghost knock-off (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Friday Distro: Redo Backup & Recovery on 2014-10-24 15:04 (#2TP4)

"It is simply a front end to partclone". Ugg. I'll be skipping this one. Partclone / Clonezilla are both dumber than Ghost was 20 years ago, and require restoring to identically sized partitions. If you want to image your drive, the CloneZilla CD has that market pretty-well sewn-up, and I don't see why to bother with anything else. At the very least, I'd want more advanced features, like something based on FSArchiver, which is the more capable successor to partclone.

But that's still something you only want for cloning systems like in a lab. It's terribly inefficient for routine backups. You want something that'll do super-fast incremental backups, with deduplication to save disk space and allow numerous backups to coexist for restoring from long previous backups.

I personally found BackupPC unexpectedly impressive. Most all the benefits of rsync, on any Unix or Windows system, even those without rsync installed, wrapped-up in a slick user-interface. Interesting features like the ability to give non-admin users the rights to easily restore old versions of files automatically via the web UI, and a great scheduler with blackout time-blocks, which avoids the need to set exact times ala cron. Instead it is much more flexible to changes (eg. if one system suddenly has a lot more data to backup), and a dogged determination to backup all the systems you told it to, even if it runs out of time or something fails one night (or repeatedly).

Should work great for small companies, or even families with several computers around. For my own more modest, uniform and boring home needs, I find rsync with --link-dest= (like "rsnapshot" does) to an occasionally-on external USB drive a slightly better fit for the time-being. Restoration just requires booting-up with systemrescuecd, recreating the partitions (format & mount to /mnt), running the rsync command in reverse, (rsync -a /dev /mnt/dev, chroot /mnt) then a couple attempts to remember just the right grub incantation... Most often just:

root (hd0,0)
setup (hd0)

And done.

Re: The state of LibreOffice (Score: 1)

by in Escape from Microsoft Word on 2014-10-23 20:04 (#2TN8)

If you leave it alone... how do you convince people to buy a new version
Change file formats every couple version.

Simply refuse to sell older versions to anyone, anymore.

Tighten the licensing restrictions and DRM, to ensure you can only ever install it one one single computer, ever.

Include tricks in newer version of the OS, that will gradually slow and bog-down older versions of the software for no particular reason.


Re: Should be fine... (Score: 1)

by in Future manned Mars exploration at risk due to lowered solar activity on 2014-10-23 19:45 (#2TN4)

Manned interstellar flights? At speeds above 0.3c, which is for all its worth far too slow to get anywhere, the space dust turns into deadly and hard to shield radiation
I'd sign-up for a flight to Alpha Centauri AB at 0.3c...

14 years in a capsule won't be fun, but still doable, and with amazing new worlds all to myself, at the other end of the trip.

Re: Does it really need to be... (Score: 1)

by in Google's new "Inbox" hopes to simplify email on 2014-10-23 15:15 (#2TMG)

Did you read the article? It doesn't simplify e-mail, so much as it integrates it into your calendar/todo list, adds features for tracking packages you've ordered, notifies you about delays in flights, etc, etc.

It actually could be very useful. I'm sure I'm not the only one that uses my inbox as a (cumbersome) TODO list, and integrating some intelligence could clean-up your e-mail experience, and make it easier to check and follow-up on any bits of information you receive through e-mails.

Should be fine... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Future manned Mars exploration at risk due to lowered solar activity on 2014-10-23 15:04 (#2TMF)

Nobody is lined-up and waiting to blast-off to Mars right now, so I think we're good. In a few years, when people are ready to go, solar weather will be swinging the other way. It's an extreme case right now, but still part of a cycle that has been observed going for several centuries, so it's only a matter of a bit more time before things get back to normal:

Re: Planet X (Score: 1)

by in Earth's Magnetic Field Could Reverse Within a Lifetime on 2014-10-23 02:52 (#2TM3)

Hadn't heard that one (Where's Robert Stack when you need him?). "Planet X" typically refers to Pluto and other dwarf-planets.

According to Wikipedia, the conspiracy theory involves the Earth PHYSICALLY flipping up-side-down, nothing to do with magnetic poles:

"(a physical pole shift, with the Earth's pole physically moving, rather than a geomagnetic reversal)"

Fortunately, this was predicted to happen in 2003, so those Zetas have quite the skill for causing cataclysms that nobody notices. I certainly didn't know I was upside-down.

In summary (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Escape from Microsoft Word on 2014-10-22 21:30 (#2TKM)

That's a lot of words just to say:
I know Wordperfect better, and have a hard time switching to Word.
I can't say I like either one, and find Word very nearly unusable since the switch to the "ribbon" interface, but his claims are ridiculous. You can change the tab-stops at any line of a document, and go right back as soon as you want to. Don't know how to set tab stops just how you'd like? You can middle-click anywhere in a document, and start typing. Don't like how some Word feature decides to auto-format your text? You certainly don't have to ever use it again. I am sadly well acquainted with just how deeply buried in obscurity commonly used features are in both of them (eg. header & footers, with first page different from the rest, and including page number, for MLA), but both are still infinitely better than a typewriter, word processor, or similar methods which don't allow you to quickly reformat your entire document from portrait to landscape, or letter to A4, without needing to go through it to manually fix layout and formatting.

Re: Argument is Baloney (Score: 1)

by in Regulating the Internet "Like a Utility" Won't Yield an Open Internet on 2014-10-22 21:11 (#2TKK)

The article serves as a perfectly good rebuttal to everything you've said. But I guess I could point-out a few specifics:
What, there was never a capacity limit on the ability of a local CO switch to handle voice traffic?
For phones, you either got a dial-tone and your call connected, or it didn't. There was no equivalent to throttling a phone call. You weren't placing hundreds of calls at once, to services of different quality and needs. So policing the equal access with telephones was vastly more obvious and straight-forward than with internet.
They should keep their network maintained and upgraded to allow the traffic that they are actively selling to business and consumer.
Your ISP doesn't run a line to Netflix. Netflix's ISP doesn't pay your ISP a standard amount for every packet "connected". There is no single ISP for each geographic area to take responsibility. etc. Peering arrangements are very complex, and aren't just a matter of your ISP expanding its capacity to deliver what they sold you.
You can tell it was written by lawyers and not technologists.
The topic is laws and FCC regulations. The lawyers (that deal with technology) are the only ones with any insights to the topic. A "technologist" doesn't know jack about Title II.
the miracle of competition will suddenly mean that congested hybrid coax-fiber infrastructure and leased lines will be able to deliver higher capacity just by changing a bill-to address.
The problems Netflix and others are having has NOTHING to do with congestion over the last-mile... Net neutrality in general, similarly has little or nothing to do with last-mile congestion. The problems to be addressed are all past that point, in the respective backhauls, and peering points onto each ISP's network. Those would be completely different if you switched your ISP. Presumably, with several ISPs competing for customers, the one that throttles something like Netflix the worst, will lose many customers to competitors, and will changes their behavior if they want to keep them.

Re: Removable File System (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Backing up FreeNAS to external drives on 2014-10-22 16:06 (#2TK5)

Ext2 is more compatible than you'd expect. There are 3rd party drivers for Windows and OS X that work very well. The problem is, Windows won't read anything but the first partition on a USB drive, so you can't have a small FAT partition with the drivers, and the rest Ext2. Some firmware tricks could do it, but no companies seem to care about the patent licenses and other problems with FAT32/exFAT, so I end up carrying around two USB thumb drives.

Plus, a surprising number of embedded systems are Linux based, and the developers just don't disable Ext2, so it sometimes works even when not mentioned anywhere.

It would just take a couple digital camera manufacturers to adopt Ext2 (instead of exFAT) and include it in their drivers, and Google making Ext2 the default for Android. Then Microsoft and Apple would quickly be forced to include it by default to avoid being left out and seen as OSes that don't "just work" with accessories.

Re: There is no replacement for fiber. (Score: 1)

by in Google possibly investigating high-speed wireless alternatives to fiber on 2014-10-22 14:35 (#2TK1)

subterranian cable run to my home, higher reliability, and likely higher future bandwidth.
If it would save me the $600 construction fee, I'd certainly be happy to try the wireless, so long as it doesn't glitch too much in bad weather.

And with FIOS using 32-way splitters, wireless could certainly beat it on speed.
My satelite TV suffered from rain fade during storms. Did yours?
No, but then I was starting-off with around 95% signal strength. In fact it took about 4in. of snow collecting on the dish to finally cause a signal outage.

Poor buggers way up in Alaska need a large dish to pickup anything even on a good day...

Re: There is no replacement for fiber. (Score: 1)

by in Google possibly investigating high-speed wireless alternatives to fiber on 2014-10-21 19:32 (#2TJP)

Actually, microwave links are ridiculously reliable. Before fiber optics, before communications satellites, most long-distance phone calls and TV programming went from microwave tower to microwave tower, all the way across the country, as needed.

Today, microwave links from NY (or NJ) to Chicago are competing with and replacing fiber-optics, particularly for high-speed trading purposes, due to the lower latency.

You shouldn't confuse your experiences with companies that have "wireless" in their names, that are possibly operating very lean and selling sub-par service, with the underlying technology. I think we can all agree that satellite TV can be pretty darn reliable... if it wasn't, your OTA or cable TV wouldn't work, either, because they get their network programming feed via satellite. Ditto for, say, OTA TV, FM radio, etc. There's no reason local wireless from the end of the block couldn't be every bit as reliable.

Re: Fascinating (Score: 1)

by in Embryos Receive Parent-Specific Layers of Information on 2014-10-21 18:48 (#2TJN)

It's a debate I keep having... Trying to convince people not to too-firmly base their conclusions on some currently accepted theories where the supporting evidence is weak or there are known unresolved problems. Just because nobody has disproven theory X yet, doesn't mean it's a good idea to go out and start bloodletting sick patients...

DNA/genomics was particularly solid, but had some red-flags in the form of obvious outward differences of DNA-identical twins, which epigenetics is now helping to resolve.

I am similarly cautious about theories on dark matter, most conclusions drawn from the rather patchy fossil record, etc.

It's more of a nuisance with nutritional or diet theory-of-the-week, and generally people not well-informed enough to see Dr. Oz and his ilk as the bald-faced lying flim-flam artists they are.

Not much to debate... (Score: 2, Informative)

by in Embryos Receive Parent-Specific Layers of Information on 2014-10-21 13:40 (#2TJ2)

I believe the only thing "controversial" was that one AC just patently refused to accept that epigenetics exists, and even the most carefully qualified possibility it could possibly affect humans.

It's not too surprising, as it's a new enough field that probably every one of us were taught in school about strict DNA inheritance, with no room for other mechanisms like the emerging field of epigenetics.

Even experts have a hard time accepting it:

"Genetics. It turned out to be more complicated than we thought." --Laura Hercher

"My instinct is deep skepticism" --Kevin Mitchell

But the fact that humans experience certain epigenetic effects has been rather firmly proven:

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-21 13:16 (#2TJ1)

It happens to be a fact, and nobody has even attempted to refute it, so apparently everyone agrees, and just wants to pretend they didn't hear it due to how badly it destroys their world-view.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 1)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-21 13:14 (#2TJ0)

Just lumped-in with SysV, as there isn't a lot of difference there.

Re: Apples and Oranges? (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Regulating the Internet "Like a Utility" Won't Yield an Open Internet on 2014-10-20 18:33 (#2TH5)

isn't it unfair to compare a nationwide network of AT&T and later RBOC maintained telco copper, on which POTS ISPs ran freely, with allowing/imposing competition on local evil cable company monopolies who all ran their own infrastructure and connected to each other and the Internet per se only as an afterthought to delivering TV?
Nationwide versus local doesn't make any difference... You wouldn't want to do long-distance dial-up, with the high rates being charged, and couldn't ever do long-distance DSL, so only local really ever mattered for internet access.

As far as who ran what, cable companies got government granted benefits, in the form of monopoly/franchise rights, eminent domain and right-of-way access. They've really had just as much help from the government as telcos when they built-out the POTS, DSL and fiber infrastructure.

Remember, as mentioned, DSL was originally open access, too. You could have Earthlink as your DSL provider, just as easily as Verizon/ATT/etc. That is why SBC (now ATT) DSL was $15/month while cable internet was still usually $50/month. SBC had to directly compete with 3rd party ISPs (like Earthlink) offering DSL over SBC's own lines, and they drove the price down in order to get those customers. It was only a mid-2000s FCC rule change that allowed them to lock things up all over again, after-the-fact.

Finally, cable companies wouldn't be asked to give away their lines for free if the rules were changed... They'd still be charging ISPs a reasonable connection fee and line service/maintenance charges. The cable companies can still continue to provide their own internet service directly, too. They just wouldn't be able use their monopoly to FORCE vertical integration of all their services upon their customers. Would it be okay if cable companies took it a step further, blocked Netflix and Magic Jack, and only allowed their own streaming video and VoIP service to travel over the internet service they provide? Would the fact that they built it out be sufficient justification for their desire to make more money at their customers' expense? It's shades of the same issue.

And did you notice that Time Warner, who has to compete with Earthlink, is among the only ISPs with low-priced internet service plans? You can get internet service from them for $15. Charter doesn't offer anything under $40. Comcast's lowest tier is $40. Cox starts at $48. I'm specifically excluding 12/24-month contract promotional prices for new customers.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 1)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 18:15 (#2TH7)

You have 500 servers for the same reason you have raid: Redundancy.
And if you let a few of them stay down for no reason, you've got that much less redundancy.

And when your contract with a big company calls for 30% excess capacity, and those couple servers being down during high traffic happened to let it fall under that level, you get to explain exactly why you don't feel the need to properly monitor and maintaining those servers...

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 17:44 (#2TH4)

"On occasion" across many hundreds of servers quickly becomes a daily occurance.

Of course I've already said that a dozen times now... Willful obstinance and ignorance doesn't make you look smarter.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 14:45 (#2TGY)

Ironically impolite, given your other comments here.
Just calling it like I see it. A spade is still a spade.
If you're getting crashed processes because of hardware errors you can't just restart the process.
A service crashing isn't evidence of a hardware error, and when that does happen, trying to restart it a couple times won't hurt your efforts in any way.

Services will and do crash for no reason... All kinds of strange timing issues will suddenly cause services like crond to just quit after a few hundred days of operation, and continue to work perfectly after being restarted. Go ask someone running a compute cluster how much time they put into investigating every single service crash on their hundreds of thousands of servers...

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 1)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 14:32 (#2TGX)

If its a single Apache server out of 500 thats behind a loadbalancer that can detect the failure and route around, then yeah let it stay dead.
Not actually a good plan... If you have 500 instances of Apache, it's because you NEED 500 instances of Apache, and a couple of them going down is likely to cause measurable slowdowns at peak times. If you have many more servers than you need, you're wasting money to compensate for software limitations.
I think everyone who complains about it should join in with uselessd and see that through. That approach makes sense to me. Forking Debian seems like a waste of time and energy.
I think most everyone can agree on that point.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 1)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 13:10 (#2TGP)

Establishing a record that can be easily linked back to you through a single slip isn't much better than not using a handle at all.
You don't need to keep the same one for 20+ years like me, the barrier is quite low. Besides, it's extremely easy not to let personally identifying information slip... Unless you're Hodor.
Again, I think the ACs here are particularly polite and cogent
Ugg... Polite and cogent like him?:

I'd go at it from the opposite direction, and say it's rare to see real information or insights from ACs. There isn't a lot of trolling and flaming in general because |. is still a small site. As it gets bigger, I have no doubt the ACs will be just as irritating as on other sites.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 1)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 03:32 (#2TGG)

Not terribly happy with the name, but had it forever so I keep using it on /. spin-off sites.

I certainly wouldn't want all my late night (and possibly drunken) rants and shouting matches, or all the times I've played devils advocate in a discussion over the past 20 years, to show up (out of context) in a job interview, ALL needing to be explained. So using a real name on most discussion sites just doesn't work for me.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 01:29 (#2TGC)

I am referring to the claims of that specific AC, yes.

I tend to disregard ACs in general. Back on /. I'd set my preferences to not see their comments unless significantly modded-up, nor ever get notifications about replies from them.

Even a pseudonym keeps people much more honest and polite, and certainly makes for a better community. It's unfortunate that ACs make up such a big proportion of commentators here... People not willing to even minimally stand behind what they say.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 3, Interesting)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 00:43 (#2TGA)

This isn't an issue of sysV vs. systemd
No, upstart is in there, too, and that's about all... It got voted down in favor of systemd across the board.
most people start off their argument by saying "we agree system V init needs to be replaced with something better. But this isn't it.
Open source software doesn't start with executives espousing grandiose ideas. Distros choose from what's out there. Somebody needs to churn out some code, and they needed to do it 20 years ago. This has been needed for a long time, and distros can't take a wait-and-see attitude when their big customers needed these features years ago and aren't going to continue waiting.
Committing to systemd is a big jump it's hard to back out of.
Big jumps, that get redone later, are pretty common in Linux. Big initrd changes, devfs to udev, dcop and dbus, oss with esd and arts to alsa and pulse, KMS, lilo grub and grub2, LVM, etc., they're always painful, and often stupid and pointless, but not world-ending.
Lastly, when you think about how much work it is to maintain Debian, threatening to fork it is a BIG undertaking
Actually, it's easy to make the threat. That's the problem with all these discussions... Talk is cheap, and every random misinformed random user can make lots of talk.

Many people are just buying-in to many of the unfounded rumors.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 3, Insightful)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-20 00:21 (#2TG8)

If something is crashing on a production server you have fucked up
Utter nonsense. You're just a kid with a linux box who has no large-scale experience but wants to pretend to be an expert on the internet. EVERYTHING crashes over a long enough time-frame. The most uber-stable and basic simple system software will eventually crash. Across enough servers, you'll see it happening daily.

Re: Benefits servers and system admins the most (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Is it time to fork Debian? on 2014-10-19 23:24 (#2TG6)

If a service is restarting itself all the time, how would you know?
Because you have monitoring systems in place that report such status information, and because any decent admin will configure a service manager to only restart the process a few times in a short period, before giving-up. "Monitoring logs" is only something you do at home... It doesn't scale. You can't do system monitoring that way.
How about you do that when it breaks and stops running the first time or two
Already addressed this, TWICE, in my post. Look for 'crond'. The most rock-solid stable and reliable service will crash, on occasion, in ways that do not need nor would benefit from investigation. Across many hundreds of servers running numerous services, this is a daily occurrence.