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* Posts by Matt 32

42 posts • joined 3 Jul 2009

Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9

Matt 32

>MS has to sell a credible vision of mobile + tablet + secure remote access,

From the folks that bought Skype as a favor to the NSA so it could be redesigned to allow interception, good look with that.

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EMC boss Tucci’s last battle: Stopping a forced VMware selloff

Matt 32

>You actually run VMWare on equipment they make, and

>VSAN isn't threatening to make intel servers obsolete,

>like it is the VNX.

Taking a page out of the Kodak Book of Strategy?

"We invented digital photography. OMFG...bury it, bury it! It'll eat our film business!"

Faced with emerging technologies like VSAN that could make your core product obsolete, you'd advocate selling the new technology so you can stick with what will become obsolete?

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Canadian flyboy prangs CF-18 Hornet

Matt 32

The answer...

>What is it exactly that makes CNN block a video in some countries, but not others?

I used to work at a newspaper.

The AP feed would frequently come in with comments like "No Ecuador" or "No Florida" -- in those cases a paper in Ecuador (or Florida) was keeping the photo exclusive in their home market so local competitors wouldn't run it, but outside their market area it was open for anyone to run. Geographic restrictions were most common, but you'd see other ones from time to time.

Very sophisticated technology was involved...they'd just put the restrictions at the end of the cutline, in all caps if memory serves me right. Used to be fun at lunch to just peruse the photo feed.

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IBM chills sealed data center with outside air

Matt 32

Pish

>In the U.S. North Carolina is considered a pretty warm part of the country.

North Carolina is considered very comfortable, not "pretty warm."

>I'm waiting for the day when people start submerging these containers in lakes and stuff to

>keep them cool

Not going to happen. Not a lake anyway, power plants are under pressure here to move away from open circuit water cooling to air cooling (using water or other coolant in a closed circuit with an air-heat exchanger). Warmer water reduces alters the marine ecosystems.

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Half a million PCs can access Schengen's 'secure' database

Matt 32

Probably right.

For comparison sake, there's about 800,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S.

A lot, obviously, share computers in their cruisers, dispatch desk, or (for customs) at checkpoints.

A lot such as detectives have their own assigned laptop. My State Police assign a cruiser to each Trooper, so each also has their own laptop they can use in the cruiser or bring into an office when filling out reports.

Security on the databases, like any system, relies on accountability. That can vary; Massachusetts last year the Attorney General investigated reports of widespread abuse, but concluded too many departments had implemented too weak of administrative controls -- such as common logons on dispatch computers so that queries couldn't be reliably pinned on a specific user.

The FBI was not happy. While they have policies that can sanction individuals and departments which violate the access policies by yanking their permission to national systems, it's not like it's practical to shut off access across many agencies in a single state.

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Fugitive VoIP hacker admits 10 million minute spree

Matt 32

Because...

Drunk driving, almost by definition, is negligent behavior because alcohol alters your judgment and motor control. There was no intent to harm another.

Conspiracy to commit a crime, however, is a deliberate act with multiple opportunities for one to exercise proper moral discretion.

Half of all drunk drivers drive drunk more then twice per month. It is lucrative to police officers working overtime from federal grants, defense attorneys, insurance surcharges, court fees, DMV suspension and work license fees, charges for jail and community service time, etc to take a "crime & punishment" approach but obviously not sufficiently effective.

We'd be far better off requiring first time offenders for DWI to maintain ignition interlocks for five years ($60/month per car) which would eliminate most repeat offenders. It would redirect the money into a technical control that prevents the problem, not a punitive control you don't care about once drunk...because your drunk.

And of course couple that with continued social pressure not to get sh!t faced to begin with.

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Closeted lesbian sues Netflix for privacy invasion

Matt 32

Spot on!

>Never mind trawling Netflix database records, perhaps this reveals a way to make other

>information a bit more private again...

That is EXACTLY how we get better privacy regulations.

If it wasn't for the side effect of having the U.S. Attorney & full weight of the Government come at you in a way that would make Gary McKinnon look like someone being handled with kid gloves, the most effective way to improve privacy would be for hackers to target Congress & the Judiciary's private lives.

Succede enough and they'll target the source -- keeping and collating too much information, not the channel of it's release.

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Combat walker machines: $3m for new studies

Matt 32

Well...

>or maybe develop a more energy-dense mule fodder. If that's not too mundane & practical.

>Which it is.

They have.

They're called oats.

A little higher tech hay replacer (basically just the best stuff from hay, dehydrated).

Problem I believe is the digsetive track still needs a certain amount of bulk each day to function effectively and keep things moving. High energy / protein foods like oats and hay replacer don't provide enough roughage.

Unless you re-engineer the donkey's digestive tract, but please don't tell DARPA...I'm sure the bioengineering dollars involved would make them swoon.

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US gov warns banks on money mules

Matt 32

Only in America...

Would the bank be asked to report someone with a fraudulent passport...only if they're doing a lot of suspicious transactions.

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Pregnant monkeys on crack - boffins investigate

Matt 32

Well there we go...

Legalize crack. Fortify it with birth control. Sounds like a solution to me.

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China fingered in cyberattack on mystery high tech co.

Matt 32

hmmm...

>They used a host with an address in China? Yeah, cause they'd do that, wouldn't they?

Read the article. The files were being dropped into University and other servers in the U.S. first before the transfer to China.

High Tech companies won't blacklist Universities they have researchers / business relationships with. University academics won't blacklist nations.

There's all sorts of non-Defense specific industries the Chinese (and Russians, Poles, Israelies, Iranians, French, British, etc...) would love to get into. I've worked at an R&D center in the past that (before my time there in the 90s) had a foreign national as the top person...until he was taken away by the FBI for industrial espionage. Americans, in general, have a far lower appreciation about the scale of industrial espionage globally then others.

Such espionage could be for simple economic competetive advantage. Think of the counterfeit Cisco switches and routers that came out of China.

It could also have dual-use to enable further attacks. Think of the value of having the source code for Cisco IOS so you can make your own hooks into said counterfeit routers and see who buys and installs them.

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West Antarctic ice loss overestimated by NASA sats

Matt 32

Yes!

>@The BigYin: Totally agree about recycling, improving efficiency and cutting pollution. If

>nothing else it will make the planet prettier and allow more people a better standard of life.

As well as better balance economics, by being able to cut trade deficits. And let's face it, most of the countries that receive the money for petroleum right now aren't using it in economically efficient ways once they get it. A major part of our current economic doldrums is these sovereign wealth funds not loaning the money in risky ways or building factories, but instead seeking low risk, low reward places to park the money. Meanwhile the U.S. Government and probably some other central banks keeps printing more to compensate.

New religions and hookie science is no match for reason.

Unfortunately, we don't have much reason in this debate when we have an entire side taking on the mentality of bible thumping creationists from Kansas. They hammer away at peoples' self worth by repeatedly telling them they have moral failings (though art not green!) and setup a vision of hell (the seas will rise and consume thee!) in order to collect tribute from the people to support themselves.

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Finland grants 5.2m souls the right to 1Mb internet

Matt 32

Pretty sure...

"Human Rights" has jumped the shark as a catch phrase when it includes broadband access.

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Bloggers howl after conference snoops on 'secure' network

Matt 32

The real bottom line

>BOTTOM LINE: SecTor is not Defcon, all attendees aren't security experts, and what happened

>was wrong.

The real bottom line is some pansies got owned and and are now crying a river they should've been protected by some written policy.

B.S. Your adults, you screwed up -- LEARN FROM IT. That's why you go to conferences, not to sit in some ivory tower saying nothing ever bad can happen to you without your express, prior written consent.

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Hotmail phish exposes most common passwords

Matt 32

Um...

How 'bout we recognize that passwords alone are the equivelant of just weak padlocks and it doesn't matter how fancy you make them today?

What will be truly great is once one of these major sites has it's password database stolen, and a massive rainbow table attack is run against it using distributed computing (think: zombie network).

Most stuff online just needs a really simple, weak password to keep the honest folks out. Keep the more complex ones for where you actually need high security.

Anything needing truly high security we need systems better then passwords. Tokens, password protected keys, or the ability to authenticate transactions by out-of-bandwidth means -- i.e. you do an online banking transaction, your cell phone gets an SMS with a authorization code you then type into the website to authenticate the transaction.

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US military jets to run on weeds, scum & corpse-grease

Matt 32

Meh...

>It seems, in the USA at least, that they are finally waking up to the real issues of limited oil in

>the not-too-distant future...

Don't forget the substantial reserves the lie off the U.S. coast that are either off-limits or too expensive comparable to imports to exploit.

The U.S. remains one of the largest oil producers today -- 20% less then Saudi Arabia (#1), and twice as much as Iran (#4).

There's a lot more oil still to be pumped. But that doesn't mean there isn't a good case to be made for developing alternatives more heavily, such as nuclear power (for electric heating to displace oil in the northeast), or compressed natural gas for motor vehicles to reduce gasoline and diesel usage.

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Facebook kills 'Kill Obama' poll

Matt 32

Well...

>the only country where you find pepol who are FOR unversal access to guns and AGAINST

>uinveral access to doctors you got to love the logic

We have universal access to healthcare. Go to the Docs, pay for the healthcare. Have an emergency, go to the ER and you'll be treated irregardless of ability to pay.

We don't have universal access to guns -- while there is a fundamental right to bear arms, there is a variety of government imposed rules regulating that right. Most are quite reasonable, some are feel good political nonsense. Far more restrictions are placed on the ownership of guns then on where one may seek healthcare; there is no taxpayer supported programs to buy guns for the poor or elderly; there are no places to simply show up and say you have an emergency and ask for bullets for free.

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Ammo rationing at Wal-Mart as panic buying sweeps US

Matt 32

Great, tell the Generals in Afghanistan!

>As a Brit who lives in the US I find this argument particularly humerous. The US people have a

>handful of guns; the government have tanks, stealth bombers, aircraft carriers, and the whole

>array of modern weapons. In a stand-up fight I know where my money will lie.

So, what's the problem in eliminating the Al Queda and the Taliban then? They, after all, only have arms barely a notch above what is legal in most states.

Basic arms are one part of the puzzle. The Bill of Rights, on the whole, protects much of what would be needed to start what today would be called a guerilla war. Things from allowing propoganda to be printed unchecked, to high bars to searches -- even if our courts are far too willing to stretch the definition of reasonable.

It's not that the colonists had the ability to win by themselves when the guns were muzzle loaders -- the organization of the British Army, backed by the industrial capacity to build cannons and ships, was enough to overcome our forces until we got an ally with similiar capabilities to assist.

>Regarding gun control, I have always thought the most interesting argument runs like this.

>Should the average Joe have access to nuclear weapons?

Again, apples to oranges argument.

You don't need tanks, or nuclear weapons, to succesfully fight an insurgent war. Asymetric power does not mean lack of power

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Matt 32

As well...

>Regarding gun control, I have always thought the most interesting argument runs like this.

>Should the average Joe have access to nuclear weapons?

Many states go beyond the federal 2nd amendment and specifically protect the right to bear arms in the defense of one's self as well as the state.

I do wonder if some of the cultural disconnect is the difference in development patterns.

I live in what was a farming and mill town that is now mostly a bedroom community.

Population 8,000 in 26 square miles, fairly evenly distributed. The town contracts for two state troopers to be assigned to our town full time. When they are not on duty (or in training, or assisting with an emergency in another community), we fall back to the normal state police patrols. In our area that's 1 Trooper covering 100 square miles with a population of around 15,000.

About a decade ago there was a murder several towns over buy a pyschotic husband -- the wife was killed just before the police arrived 15 minutes later, and they started an emergency response as soon as they received the call.

If you are not prepared to defend yourself, the police in my area are likely not going to be able to do it for you. It's just a matter of geography and what local citizens are willing to pay.

While my area has a lower police presence then most towns of it's size I'm familiar with, we also have a lower crime rate (part of the reason folks don't see the need to pay more taxes "just because").

Just knowing the difference in population density and the patterns of development (i.e. low density suburbs -- most of my town is now 2 acre minimum lot sizes) between the U.K. and U.S., I suspect there's a lot larger percentage of Americans who would have to wait a lot longer for a police response then a Britian.

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Matt 32

Simple

>You can't get beer, wine and spirits in Walmart, but you can get ammo? What the hell?

Following the repeal of prohibition, the business interests wanted to make things as much like organized crime as they could.

So you have a lot of rules designed to create limited supplies and monopolies. Stuff like limiting the number of retail licenses to sell alcohol, limiting hours and days of week it may be sold, restricting who a retailer may buy from to a list of approved distributors, closing times for bars.

Most of these rules appeared following prohibition.

Guns and ammo never went through a similiar reset period after which all new laws could be introduced as the retailers started up operations from scratch again.

It *is* harder today to buy guns and ammo in my area then 20 years ago, but that's a combination of incremental regulatory changes, industry changes, and lower demand. There's fewer gun shops, but if you drive you can find ones far bigger then what we used to have. Fewer retailers selling ammo, but the ones who do have bigger assortments and quantities. In my area we've switched being "rural" to more "rural-suburban" so there's less target shooting in corn fields due to conflicts, and more a need if you want to go shooting to join a club and drive there.

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Matt 32

One last point...

Many U.S. police agencies have switched to either .40 S&W or .357 Sig trying to find a middle ground between 9mm and .45ACP. The police agencies, by and large, have been underwhelmed by the performance of 9mm.

========

And related to geekdom, you'll notice on Chuck that Sarah always has a larger caliber pistol then Casey. Not sure why, but it makes me chuckle :)

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Alabama judges take hard line on dildos

Matt 32

Really?

>Nor is there anything obscene about it. The court's playground morality is telling.

>and it's not being promoted by liberals; it's the religious right who are doing this.

And now folks, explain to me why the EU can ban conventional incandescent lightbulbs but the State of Alabama can't ban dildos? Yes, the right has some wing nut ideas. And the left is just as glad to use Government to impose it's belief system as well.

The issue here isn't obscenity, it's whether the State can regulate what is being sold. It can. The courts do (should) not make the law; this court was simply saying no matter how ridiculous it is the State of Alabama has a right to prohibit their sale.

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A phone in every car gains hard-won GSMA support

Matt 32
Linux

That could get fun...

It'll be interesting to see what happens the first mass collision and all the emergency lines are jammed by simultaneous, automatic dialers!

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/germany-autobahn-pileup-259-car-crash-66-injured-no-deaths

Granted these very large incidents are rare, but speaking as someone with pretty good knowledge of emergency operations in the U.S. I could see our dispatchers getting very busy very quickly handling both auto dialers and human 911 callers.

The home-and-business version of these auto dialers are prohibited from dialing our dispatch center directly, taking advantage of state law that prohibits them unless the local emergency call answering point allows them. Due to the large number of false alarms, when one is hooked up and dials the dispatch, we send a State Trooper out who ensures the unit is physically disconnected. People can use them to dial a private alarm monitoring service for a subscription fee which weeds out most false alarms, to call someone else, call their cell phone, etc.

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US likely to downgrade Euro missile-interceptor plans

Matt 32

Wow, what narrow sense of history we do have...

>Some would be bold/unkind enough to posit, that rather than being fashionable late, they

>invent major world conflicts

Well that's an example of someone replying on a totally different timeline...even taking into account both halves of the 20th century, the homicide totals racked up by either Europeans or Aisans far exceede those of the U.S.

>But I suppose the peaceful nature of Iranians makes them unbelievable and scary.

The unpleasantries of 1979 tended to put a damper on that image. I admit I cringed when they were lumped in with the "Axis of Evil" since Iran and it's people should naturally align with western civilization and interests much more then Arabia. Nor do I like that world diplomacy often acts as if we're still in the Victorian Era, in Europe, and should feel insulted if not invited to the ball. There is a lot of immaturity on both sides that the Swiss have to relay back and forth.

>If Iranian wanted to destroy American they don't need ICBM...America would become a 3rd

>world country with Serbian style racial, religious wars.

It's hard to begin on that one.

First, the U.S. is not dependent on middle eastern oil. The global economy is -- but the oil from the Gulf is far more likely to end up in Europe, China, or Japan then the U.S. Between U.S., Mexican, and Canadian production we'd do OK in such a scenario, and for all the talk about the fungibility of oil let's face it -- in a situation of global economic meltdown caused by a constriction of oil supplies, the U.S. Navy would not have difficulties ensuring Venezualan oil also flows north if push came to shove.

In such an economic meltdown the U.S. would still come out in a very good position -- we still have vast natural resource advantages, first and foremost the largest agricultural capacity of any nation on the earth. Strip away all the chemical fertlizers, we could still feed our nation and export food. Eliminate oil for transportation and we have the largest coal reserves in the world to power our nation while working on longer term solutions. When all else is said and done, the folks with the most corn and coal will still come out on top -- at least for the next few centuries.

To think, or even postulate, the U.S. would break down into racial or religous wars is not credible. Even the Civil War was, in the end, was fundamentally economic and not cultural. Slavery as a cultural problem was fading away in the late 18th century and would have, absent the invention of the cotton gin or similiar items, petered out a natural death. It was the new life breathed into slavery by new technology that fanned the flames of the anti-slavery movements and the pro-slavery side out to protect the economic interests of their region.

The economies of the several states are in far better shape as one, then as many. We recognize it and that will keep a new civil war from occuring. Even in a scenario of a true global economic meltdown that stopping middle eastern oil would cause.

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What’s the point of desktop virtualization?

Matt 32
Thumb Up

I have done it...

Maybe not quite as you're talking about, but here's my real world tale:

We had an older application that was dependent on Windows 95. Wouldn't run on anything newer, $500,000+ for an upgrade, and a new corporate solution was coming in about three years. Old PCs were failing, and Win95 was very unstable when loaded up with newer versions of Office, Outlook, Acrobat, etc. needed to support more modern needs. Each user had to reboot 2 or 3 times in an average day, quite a problem when they often were on the phone with a customer.

Rather then spend $500K for 30 users just to extend the life of the application a few years, I used VMware ACE. Bought the users new XP computers, dual monitors, ran all the office applications on the XP side, and used ACE to host Win95 with their order entry software. They could seamlessly copy-n-paste between the two systems. Even let them boot up two ACE instances of Win95, so they could be writing up a big order in one screen, and if the phones got busy they could take another quick phone order without having to close the original.

The new PCs were deliberately spec'd heavy so they would still be adequate a few years down the road when the new corporate wide solution was rolled out to make training & transition easier.

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IT Crowd writer defends NHS

Matt 32

Well...

> Maybe Americans are used to this sort of thing, but as an outsider seeing it for the first time I

>was shocked.

Apparantly you didn't turn to other channels then Fox, many of which put on their own theatrics. MSNBC in recent years has tried to become Fox Left -- and their hysterics are just as over the top.

All commercial news -- and NPR is commercial with a subsidy -- is entertainment to a greater or lesser extent. For the Rush Limbaughs of the right, you have folks who are just as bigotted, barely less overtly partisan, and more oblivious to their faults on the left (Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, for example).

There is a good number of Americans who do turn to British news websites for a reality check now and then away from the American news organization's perspectives which all tend to look at things the same way (it's a giant version of group think). Even when you compare "opponents" like Fox & MSNBC, it's really that the agree on the fundamentals and just try to spin the story right or left -- they don't question if the fundamental statement they're spinning is bogus or not.

Perhaps the best thing about the current right wing temper tantrum is it proves in it's own words and actions they are grass roots. No one organizing or leading a group would set out to come across as a bunch of militia members wearing camouflaged tinfoil. It's a right wing version of the left's unfocused moonbats.

A modest amount of true leadership and organization and some rational talking points sent out among the energized right wing / conservatives / liberterians right now would go a very, very long way.

I can't tell from my perspective if there is cohesive guidance developing yet on the opposition, there's some signs it might be, but it's a faint at best.

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Men in Green step back from GM's 230mpg Volt claim

Matt 32

Simple...

>When diesel engines can easily give more mpg and power per cc, why do manufacturers of

>hybrid vehicles always dump a petrol engine in their models?

There is not a direct trade off between how much diesel and how much gasoline a given barrel of oil can produce. While the exact ratio varies depending on where the oil comes from, and refining can favor one or the other a bit, when you look at how much diesel and gasoline can be made from a barrel, a significant part will be gasoline.

Since you have to burn the gasoline somewhere, using it for lower compression (i.e. lighter weight) engines for hybrids is a good use.

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US bank deposits checks via iPhone camera

Matt 32

Nope...

>What I mean is that everyone has the ability to use non paper based payment and/or cash.

Town will only take checks for paying property taxes.

DMV in my state only accepts checks or cash in person. Checks if renewing by mail. Neither the town or state want to lose revenue to merchant fees, and they have pretty big hammers to hit you with if you're dumb enough to bounce a check to them.

That said, almost all commercial businesses take both credit and debit cards, generally preferring debit since the merchant fees are lower.

There remain reasons to accept checks, however. The big one is most debit cards are limited to $500 per day. Any big tickets or a modest shopping spree either require multiple cards, putting it on a credit card if you have one, or writing a check.

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Matt 32

I think it's pretty universal

I haven't worked retail in years (instant check checking schemes were just starting to come on line back then), but I believe Owen's experience is the norm with any of the national retailers from what I see when others write checks.

Most of the large retailers will print the check for you -- hand them a blank one, they run it through the printer, you sign. Even if they keep the physical check, while you were signing the system was getting authorization and putting a hold on the appropriate funds.

Gas station debit card readers work similiarily -- they typically check your account when you swipe the card to make sure there's $75 in there. Then you pump. For a while (maybe overnight) there's a $75 hold on your account until they post the actual amount as part of a bulk transaction overnight which goes to MasterCard / Visa, who then send it to your bank, at that point the $75 hold is removed and the exact charge substituted.

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Will Google regret the mega data center?

Matt 32

Hmmm...

The fundamental solution is simple:

Don't compete on the basis of tax discounts.

It's obscene that some companies are offered "incentives" while local businessmen can't enjoy those same low tax rates. Fundamental fairness says the tax rate should be equitable across the board.

One major retailer built a warehouse near me. Now the locations for a warehouse serving retail stores is relatively limited -- figure a four hour driving radius so your drivers can make the journey back and forth in a day. Yet in my case three states competed by offering tax discounts to the corporation -- despite the fact the corporation logically had to locate in one of those states.

Part of the deal keeps the town from collecting full taxes on the facility for 20 years. Of course in 20 years that depreciation on the facility and especially the automated handling equipment inside will be substantial -- and the corporation will simply be shopping around for somewhere to build a new facility instead of dealing with the interruption of overhauling an existing plant while maintaining productivity there. Complete with new tax discounts, of course. The existing building, just as it gets to be taxed at full value will see the major corporation pull out and be replaced by a bunch of small businesses looking for low rent and having a fraction of the taxable assets that a corporation installing all new, highly automated machinery does.

It's a completely crazy way to operate, soak the local businessmen with the highest taxes, and provide the national corporations who will come and go with the biggest discounts.

===========

>if their pile of servers in California becomes a problem, whether due to taxes, energy costs or

>just shifting user patterns, they can stick some or all of those containers on the back of trucks

>and drive

I'm not sure that's the really compelling cost argument for them.

I think the advantage, really, is along the lines of pre-fab houses: It's far cheaper to build them in one central facility, then on site. You can have specialists at the "data center factory" who just specialize in assembling them, and then they're shipped to be assembled on site.

With an obsolesence of what, 5 or 6 years, why bother moving existing containers as-is? Break down / ship / setup labor costs will exceed tax costs in most cases. Instead as modules reach their functional obsolence, pull it out, send to the factory for a refurb with new servers, ship the refurbed unit to the new location. Within a few years you've accomplished shutting down the old site without the headaches of coordinating one big move.

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US Stealth bombers may get nuke-bunker nobbler for 2010

Matt 32
WTF?

I'm a little slow

>Instead of using billion dollar bombers to drop earthquake bombs on people, how about

>showering them with a clean water supply, reliable electricity, decent infrastructure and stable

>jobs. It would be far cheaper, more lasting and might even win some friends.

Explain to me how us providing those things to states like North Korea and Iran, which chose to spend their domestic budgets on building nuclear weapons instead of, oh, say clean water, reliable electricity and a decent infrastructure would stop them from making nuclear bombs?

While capitalism and the economic development that accompanies it is a terrific thing (look at China or India for prime examples of rapidly improving the lives of billions of poor citizens), it is not the be-all, end-all of world geopolitics. It is just one of the tools in the toolbox of advancing liberal western civilization and it's values -- of people and the future -- across the globe. And that is a good thing. It unfortunately needs to be supported by military force when despots will threaten the lives of millions in order to hold their grip on power.

Our voices have not always been soft enough, while our sticks have not been big enough in recent years. Sometimes we have not talked enough, other times the stick was not wielded with decisive force.

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Amish farmers lose court battle against RFID

Matt 32

Not quite

>The Law of the Land cannot give special dispensation for certain religious groups.

Not that clear cut. Start with, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." and extend it by state constitutions with similiar language, statutes, and case laws.

In general that means that government regulations are not extended to religous organizations, if it conflicts with the self declared religious principles, unless there is a compelling public safety purpose.

So Planning & Zoning regulations and architectual style codes do not apply to churches and associated buildings, building codes do. A city can't tell a church where they may build a church or how big it is or what materials are used to side it, but they can tell them how to build it so it doesn't fall down in an earthquake or trap occupants if it catches on fire.

Perhaps the most tangible aspect is the tax exemptions enjoyed on most church income and property. It's not that government exempts them because they consider them useful social institutions (indeed, such a finding would likely place it in conflict with the 1st), but they are exempted since taxation represents undue influence and control by government beyond the needs of public safety on a religous establishment.

There are a myriad of other exemptions provided based on sincere religous beliefs. Concientious objector status from military service and (many state's) exempting mandatory school attendance till the age of 16 (allowing instead formal education to end at the 8th grade, about 13) are two the Amish enjoy. Exemption from the Social Security Insurance system is yet another religous based "perk" for the Amish.

There are few if any "Class 1" Amish dairies, Class 1 being those that produce fluid milk to be marketed for human consumption. That's due to public safety requirements of how to milk, clean equipment, and store milk. There are many Class 2 dairies which serve the cheese producing market and have lower sanitary standards, but even here many of the more conservative Amish are finding tightening regulations more then they're willing to accept.

In this whole context, a specific technology like RFIDs could be given an exemption provided a reasonable alternative (metal ear tags) meet the public safety needs.

There is a larger issue with NAIS, which is it is simply security theater. The problem with infectious animal diseases, particularly their economic impact, is largely borne by industrialized farms. We've been controlling diseases like TB and Foot & Mouth quite nicely using paperwork for decades.

Instead of asking the fundamental question whether single dairies should have 1000 head of cattle under one roof or a beef feed lot should have tens of thousands of head of cattle wallowing in their own filth for months on end, the USDA decides the solution to the problem is better tracking. No, the solution is diversifying and deintensifying the farms -- yes, it has an economic impact that our food might cost marginally a bit more. It would also mean an system fundamentally less vulnerable to disease, weather, and attacks; if we paid the same share of our income for food as we did in 1970 we'd probably eat much healthier and we would have the mythical American family farm actually doing quite well financially -- any farmer of ordinary ability could enjoy a middle class income. Instead we have overly industrialized processes more vulnerable to diseases and other risks along with negative rural social policy impacts, and instead of addressing this sucking chest wound the USDA in bureaucratic fashion is telling people they have to wear oxygen masks to compensate.

I'm no birken stock wearing slow food maven. But there is a happy middle ground between over concentrated, over industrialized owned or controlled by relatively few corporations and some hippy vision of organic farms with cows who willingly sacrifce themselves to their benovolent master's needs. NAIS is just useless window dressing.

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Last chance to vote to cut phone termination rates

Matt 32

On the upside...

In the U.S. the "pay for all calls" (even if it's bundled so you don't see it) is the moral rubicon that keeps 99.999% of telemarketers and such from daring call mobile phones, out of fear the backlash would end their industry.

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Is server virtualization delivering for you yet?

Matt 32
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Never called a vendor for tech support, eh?

>If you do though run lightly loaded apps then you don't need a VM to run several of them on the

>same physical server; you just install them directly.

Which is all well and good until two vendor's packages conflict.

Or you have to tell the people using the other 10 applications you installed "Sorry, rebooting the server, nothing to do with your stuff, it's the other guy's, but it's all on the same box..."

Virtualization minimizes the hardware while still keeping each vendor's tech support happy and minimizing conflicts and single-points-of-failure within a (virtual) server environment.

Not everything is appropriate for virtualization, but a heck of a lot is and it sure makes it much easier to manage machines and also to test solutions before moving them into production!

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Windfarm Britain means (very) expensive electricity

Matt 32

Ah that it's then

A basic inability by people to do math!

>I make that 2400 Turbines.

There's 85,000Mw of power generation capacity currently in the U.K.

That's 17,000 sky-scraper sized turbines @ 5Mw.

Ah, ok...so you only want 20% to come from wind power so that's 3,400 turbines.

But wait, there's more.

As other posters above pointed out, the efficiency of wind turbine fields is only around 20%.

So to replace 20% of the current capacity, you need to build 100% of it all over again in wind turbines. So that's 17,000 skyscrapers using your assumptions and correcting the math for errors and ommissions.

Now, how much of domestic heating, cooking, and transportation should we look to move over to electricity instead of fossil fuel? You're not going to conserve your way out of that pickle -- more capacity is needed. Will it be built with fossil fuel or nuclear? Or will it be built with wind?

If one is truly serious about using windpower to seriously reduce carbon usage and fuel imports it's not hard to envision a system needed 45,000 wind turbines to produce enough base load at their miserable 20% efficiency while also shifting big time to electric vehicles and electrically powered homes.

In any other context many of the folks supporting these wind turbines would be screaming bloody murder and chaining themselves to bulldozers and crying how ugly, awful they are. But somehow because it's cool, they go along with peer pressure and declare them cool.

Airplanes are an irriation -- if there was something positive to take from 9-11, hearing for the first and only time in my life the sound of silent skies was amazing for that week. But they are a necessary annoyance. Highways, powerlines, cities -- all mar the landscape, but we can at least usually limit their impact.

Windmills necessarily must be thrust upon the highest spots if on land, creating the greatest possible visual pollution, and for what? They are not economical due to the need to still build base capacity. They are, arguably, of environmental value but not at a scale that they merely replace 1/5th of a nation's power, leaving what...4/5ths, 3/5ths to still come from carbon?

I'm not one to argue for inaction in the pursuit of the perfect, but wind power so utterly fails questions of basic logic we should not be spending our money on it. At least not on land, far off shore perhaps. We know nuclear makes economic and ecological sense today and can get use through the next few decades. Logic says working to use the earth's own heat will be a far better solution then either nuclear or wind or hydro power -- and that's what our "moon project" today should be.

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Matt 32

Huh?

>your children and childrens children will accept them as if they were television

>aerials/transmitters/telegraph poles just as you accept these today.

Do folks who write stuff like that have any perspective of the scale we're talking? That the U.K. would need tens and probably hundreds of thousands of windmills?

It's an industrialization of the landscape on an unprecdented scale.

Storage schemes like hydroelectric is something the world needs less of -- we need to restore rivers and lakes to natural cycles and improve the habitat.

Investing in dual infrastructure -- wind and conventional -- is pretty much the definition of stupid.

Nuclear, as others pointed out, while better then fossil fuels is still finite. It is the best option though for rational people who can balance economic and environmental needs for now.

Not a single dime more should be spent by any government on interdeterminate power sources like wind -- hmmm, when and where it blow and how good are our models?

What that money instead should be going towards is developing the drilling technology for deep well geothermal systems that can tap the earth's heat and do so in a manner that is 100% predictable over the course of decades, not what we think next week's winds will be like. Geothermal can produce electricity as well as steam to drive heating and cooling systems. Well heads could be built in industrial areas in towns and cities.

Geothermal IS where a post-fossil fuel, post-nuclear world will be, at least if the adults take charge and use rational, sensible thought.

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US tactical bot has no taste for humans

Matt 32
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Yes!

I for one look forward to the day we can turn our cars out like cows to graze in suburban office parks while at work during the day!

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Companies line up for funding to break China's Firewall

Matt 32
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Well..

>So the US can waist $15m on this

Technically, if you've seen our federal deficit and whose buying it, a good portion of the $15m is China's money....

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Shell issues 12% pay cut ultimatum to IT contractors

Matt 32
Stop

Economic insecurity

The issues of economic insecurity are not addressed best by unions -- especially for professionals.

Unions simply want you to believe their greed, ineptitude, and self centeredness is morally superior to that of management. It's not. It's just their own greed, ineptitude, and and self centeredness.

It doesn't matter if a company is brought down by the pursuit of short term profits by management or the concessions wrung out by unions exploiting management's short sighted concerns by threatening job actions -- the owners lose money in the long term, and you're out of a job.

Nor is the fix for economic insecurity believing The Government will give you a blankie and tuck you in at night.

The fix is this wonderfully old fashion notion: It's called savings. Keep your debts low, your savings high...you really wouldn't worry, and if faced with a 12% pay cut you have the choice to simply tell them pound sand. If the workers by and large had that ability the company's faced with the problem of not being able to recruit replacements because of their current practices or past reputation -- and then they'll fix it.

Long as you keep spending your money as quick as you earn it, they have you by the gnads.

STOP for stop the insanity.

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Niagara Falls to power next Yahoo! data centre

Matt 32
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Praise the Lord!

>Filo also said that Yahoo! would stop buying carbon offsets in an effort to make itself carbon

>neutral, and would instead focus on getting its data centres to be as efficient as possible

Somebody actually calling carbon credits for the vanity they are and talking about actual efficiency? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

While hydropower in general is of dubious environmental friendliness in general (dams tend to muck up the rivers quite a bit), a natural hydropower facility like Niagra Falls certainly is the best way to go down that road!

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Toyota preps plug-in Prius for mass production

Matt 32

Huh

>Of course, neither are as efficient as a bicycle, which is how people should tackle <10 mile

>shopping and commuting trips.

Provided you live in a utopian place of always nice weather, don't mind showering when you get to the office, and never have to bring home things bigger then a single grocery bag in the rain. Or snow. Or ice. If you want to plan your life around transport, deciding when an afternoon thunderstorm has popped up you'll work a couple hours late to avoid bicycling in it, that's fine.

But I suspect it doesn't describe most of the world.

>Not everybody drives 100+ miles per day anyway. Just because it doesn't suit your purposes,

>doesn't mean it's useless or pointless.

While that is true, you still need to explain the price penalty. The extra money paid for hybrids today simply do not make economic sense -- you will never gain a return on your investment. In that sense there is no moral or ethical difference between buying a SUV or a Prius -- both are bought, by the vast majority of their owners, to satisfy their own ego and self image and not was is economically justifiable.

I truly like the idea of plug in hybrids, but the prices have to come down dramatically. And that is true whether I'm working from my home office (as I did for the last three years with a carbon footprint about the size of a twelve year old ballerina) or times like this where I'm commuting 150 miles a day.

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US starts emergency radio tests

Matt 32

Mostly BS

Being able to talk to each other != effective communications

Most of these interoperability schemes try to push the level of communication down far too low.

As a rule, a police officer does not need to talk directly, by radio, to a firefighter. They can follow their normal chain of communications and have the dispatchers organize and deliver the messages in a manner everyone understands. There may need to be improvements in how that dispatch-to-dispatch communication process works, but that's where the improvements can be focused.

On certain tactical assignments you can coordinate in person whose going to do what, and hand out compatible radios to all involved.

There is, no doubt, the need for compatible communication equipment between senior managers. While this often can be accomplished by this wonderful interoperability device called a telephone, there is a need for radio systems as well. In my state that is the I-TAC system that allows local police & fire chiefs, state agencies like State Police, Environmental Protection, and Transportation to all have a common radio channel assigned to coordinate their activities. I-TAC is 800mhz; there are also V-TAC (VHF 140-ish mhz) and U-TAC (UHF 400-ish mhz) standards out there to allow national capabilities.

Most of this radio stuff is far to complicated and does not meet the real needs. We need systems like I-TAC to coordinate between managers at multi-agency incidents. We need a Resource Management System to coordinate responses to disasters -- no radio system, no matter how fancy is going to overcome the problem that disasters overwhelm human's abilities to collect and sort through the volume of information generated. That's a computer problem, to allow local agencies to punch into the computer their needs, have the computer match the requests with available resources, and simply give a human the final approval to make sure the computer program didn't spit out something wildly unrealistic.

Part of the shame of Katrina was you had requests going unmatched becasue agencies were relying on inter-personal phone calls from one contact to another, and on faxing lists to one another. State Emergency Management Agencies which are responsible for coordinating large resource requests in such situations failed not due to communication technologies but because people were at their human limits. They need much better computer systems, not radios.

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