* Posts by Ammaross Danan

1023 posts • joined 23 Sep 2009

Seagate to buy Samsung's disk drive biz?

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Ditto

I've been running F2, F3, and F4 drives for quite a while now. I also have an assortment of Seagate and WD, and a solitary Hitachi drive. Care to know which ones have failed? Two Seagate 320GB drives. That's all. Granted, they lasted nearly two years and their replacements have lasted another two years now. However, I do back them up quite regularly to my F4 drive....

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Pope says gravity proves technology can't supplant God

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Title

hypothesis: a proposition assumed as a premise in an argument

theory: a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

fact: something known to exist or to have happened

Therefore, "I believe there is no God" is not a statement of "fact" but, at best, could be considered a Theory. However, theory (or theorem for those maths people) is something at seems to work, but doesn't have definitive proof to make it a "law" or "fact." So, the statement then takes the actual role of "hypothesis" since there has been no supporting evidence for or against the existence of the beardy sky-man.

However, I think everyone is missing the point that a religious leader has denounced humankind's push to control the world around us and stated we should all give it up. This is definitely blind devotion if I've ever heard of it. Any (other) religious person would suggest beardy sky-man would want us to learn and grow in knowledge....or was that passage simply skipped over in bible study?

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Got a buck to send M Night Shyamalan to film school?

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Problem

"considering that grandfather plots are approximately the third most hackneyed cliche in all of science fiction."

And the most misconstrued considering the alternate timeline theory to solve the grandfather paradox. Granted, time travel isn't called such by physicists, but "closed time-like loops"

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Reviewers slam BlackBerry PlayBook software

Ammaross Danan
Linux

PlayBook

Likely, the figured "PlayBook" would relate to (American) "football" and could be used in meetings and the like to suggest productivity and such (since the "playbook" has all your tactics and "plays"). Will it work that way? Likely not. Easier to say "It's a blackberry" and get instant "OOOoooo"s by your business associates. About the same as whipping out an iPad2 in a coffee shop will do.

As for the 350(insert your currency here) Honeycomb 10.1" tablet, my money will quickly follow yours. My requirements for a tablet worth my money will be: dual core, 1GB RAM+, 16GB onboard storage (apps and whatnot), SD slot (32GB+ capable) for videos/music/docs (flash stick replacement potential basically), and capacitive touchscreen (obviously) with a decent viewing angle (where every tablet [minus iPad2 and a single Android tablet] so far fails). I'd even be willing to sacrifice 3D game performance for better battery life (retaining video decode and the like of course).

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Ammaross Danan
FAIL

@Carol

I couldn't call the Xoom cheaper, and not quite better either compared to the iPad2's gfx capability (superior still) and screen. Now, the Samsung 8.9" and 10.1" Tabs are/will-be superior (with a performance hit in gfx compared to iPad2). By years-end, the iPad2 will look quite antiquated, just like the iPhone or MacBook Air does now. That's Apples biggest problem: they're high-end market without necessarily having high-end components/features. Their "high end" is in "Oooh shiny," as a status symbol (phallus waving) and UIs.

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Plane or train? Tape or disk? Reg readers speak

Ammaross Danan
Boffin

A few things

First interview person Henry Wertz: "The big one? Price; tapes cost about 1/10th the cost per byte of hard disks."

1.5TB Maxell LTO5 tape from Amazon: $67.95. 1.5TB Western Digital Elements external HDD from Amazon: $78.62. If you want to get really technical, you can get one of those HDD docking stations (similar to requiring a tape drive for tapes [which run about $2,600 for LTO5 btw]) and buy raw disk drives: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB from NewEgg for $59.99. If you want to get really picky, you can assume no compression on the hard disk and an optimal 2:1 compress for the tape to achieve the 1.5/3.0TB capacity, then you have to get a HITACHI Deskstar 3TB (NewEgg $139.99), but mind you, compression on disk is quite easy and 2:1 is by no means difficult to achieve using even low on-the-fly streaming compression. Back up a video or JPEG library and you'll only see 1.5TB out of the tape. Therefore, even worst case (no compression for disk and optimal 2:1 for tape) lands at 2.06x the cost of tape. Best case is only 88% the cost of the LTO5 tape for like capacity. So no, not 1/10th the cost. Sorry. Especially when you factor in the $2600 tape drive vs a moderately priced Cavalry EN-CAHDD2BU3-ZB disk dock (for instance) at $64.99 @NewEgg.

Second interviewee Evan Unrue: "but also, disks keep spinning, so doing this comes with a larger physical footprint in the datacenter and a larger power bill. Tape scales by adding cartridges which don’t spin when not being use and don’t take up space in the IT room as they scale"

Why is it that everyone assumes that a disk-based solution mandates the drives are always on? Sure, the first target in the D2D2T or D2D2D will be required to spin, but not the last stage. Disks would work as removable medium just as effectively as tapes in this regard. I would suggest that disks are less vulnerable to environmentally-caused "bit rot" as well, due to the platters not prone to going brittle as tape has a tendency to do (at the very least it can withstand being in a less-than-ideal storage location better [think attic of IT Director's house or the like] if necessary).

I applaud the third interviewee Chris Evans for pointing out some of the shortcomings of tape solutions. Granted, disk has disadvantages too, and as Chris said, it comes down to finding a balance between the two based on your RTO/RPO requirements. The key is finding the best spot to use the appropriate medium. For enterprise environments with hundreds (or even tens) of TBs to backup, you can't beat a tape library for convenience. For anyone with 3-6TB or less for a full backup set, anything more than tape drive or external HDD is likely overkill, especially for the sub-1TB market.

As always, check your logs on your backup jobs frequently. If that's too much of a pain, find a way to have the results emailed (same as paged nowadays) to you upon completion/failure. For those willing to roll up the sleeves (such as the ZFS/CopyFS commenter above), there's plenty of methods you could employ to produce a better setup for your organization than BackupExec or the like could provide, and using HDDs just makes that solution even easier and more feature-full.

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WTF is... 4K x 2K?

Ammaross Danan
Go

Usefulness

From the article: "for most of us, a 4k TV set still remains years away. So too does suitable content. Most broadcasters are still not solely operating in HD, and Blu-ray capacities aren’t high enough for 4k video right now."

OP: "great that technology is taking leaps forward but not really viable for the residential consumer."

Even though the storage medium isn't there to use this "4K" set natively, upscaling can be more than useful as a stop-gap. Many people are quite happy with how their DVDs upscale to their 1080p displays. So much so that Bluray uptake might have been hampered by the prolific upscaling support in modern DVD players. I've seen 1080p on even a 48" screen look grainy (from a Bluray over HDMI btw), being clearly able to see pixels (dot pitch was the likely culprit, I'll admit). 4K with upscaling will make Bluray quality leaps and bounds above DVD (DVDs would likely look quite horrid at 4K upscaling compared to Bluray).

Once a proper size format comes out (multi-layer Bluray or the return of the superior capacity HD-DVD [yes, unlikely I know]) then people can start having native 4K video. But until then, start mass producing these things so by the time 4K video comes out, the TV prices will be within reason.

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Viking Modular plugs flash chips into memory sockets

Ammaross Danan
Coat

@Chris

"(1) DIMM slot does not properly signal power-loss"

The article said they put a supercap on the board in the event of power loss.

"(2) memory hub has not been designed with microsecond-level time-out in mind"

You can be forgiven for thinking it uses the mem controller as an interface. The article wasn't very clear on that point. It's mounting into, and powered by, the mem slot. Data is likely a SATA port soldered onto the SATADIMM board.

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Microsoft reveals WinPhone 7 'Mango' details

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

@Flybert

"he hardware specs to pull these features off aren't in the current phones"

So, if the hardware specs are not on current phones....then why was the alpha build of Mango being demoed on a "current" HTC phone?

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AMD backs USB 3.0 on desktop and laptop chipsets

Ammaross Danan
Unhappy

But....

Still slower CPUs per cycle and a half-step behind on die shrink :(

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Updates galore in Microsoft's biggest ever Patch Tuesday

Ammaross Danan
Coat

W7 SP1

"I'm still picking up the monthly patch update from MS, but was there any news on the SNAFU that was W7 SP1."

SP1 worked fine for me. On all 7 machines I've patched with it so far.

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Nvidia: 'old' tablet development kit won't get Android 3.0

Ammaross Danan
Linux

However

"Many of the devices are locally branded tablets from from Asian manufacturers, and how many of them will ensure Honeycomb support without Google's say-so or Nvidia's aid?"

If you look at tablets like the Advent Vega or Viewpad, the ability to download and build your own Android firmware is what gives groups the ability to provide those desired updates to antiquated devices. Will 3.0 be able to be hacked to work on these older devices? Perhaps. Will I buy one on that hope? Definitely not. But it is nice to know that there are options to upgrade your firmware, even if your manufacturer has long since (since it was launched?) abandoned your device.

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Ten... 40-42in net connected HD TVs

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Expensive

That's a large price premium for network (non)connectivity.

Find a larger, or cheaper TV without worrying about network connectivity and pick up a Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p HD Media Player. Then, in 2 years when it's obsolete, ditch it and buy a newer one. Loads cheaper than just ditching your TV and buying a newer one....

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Upgrade-hungry office drones ponder PC prangs

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Computers in Work Environments

The computers of 5 years ago weren't even fast enough to do the menial office tasks of yesteryear. People merely suffered along because it was as fast or faster than most of the kit out there. Now that home computers have exceeded office kit, people feel like they step into the dark ages when they use their work computer. It IS slower. They can't have 3 memory-intensive applications open at once (Windows, Excel, and Internet Explorer.... :P) like they do at home. Granted, the CPU has been more than powerful enough since the Core2 line came out. RAM has been insufferable on "business class" machines even now. I'm hard pressed to find a vPro-enabled "business class" machine on HP with more than 2GB of RAM without going to the $800 mark. Most businesses likely buy the kit stock or request an extra stick of RAM (if they're smart). This will definitely help things a little bit. What's the other problem? The biggest bottleneck in modern computers: the hard drive. Business machines get a bog standard cheap hard drive. A Western Digital Black would be a decent slot-in for an extra $20 over the de facto. However, many business machines don't store files locally. They host their OS and a hand full of assorted programs. The best idea would be to slap an SSD of a ~60GB variety (or less even) en lieu of a spindle drive. This will place the performance bottleneck back where it should: the CPU. I've seen my old Pentium D machines out-perform newer quad-core Core2-based machines with just an SSD swap-in. (Disclaimer: "out-perform" is entirely user-perception and is not based on CPU benchmarks nor the like, but simply windows boot time and application load time). Granted, code monkeys or other compute-intensive users need better hardware, but the receptionist computer would be a new beast just with a bit of RAM and an SSD.

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Air cooled data centres are hot!

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

So...

You're expecting a data centre that requires less power than it takes to run the data centre? A PUE of 1 means zero energy is used in cooling (the bottom co-efficient is the power required by the computing equipment mind you). So, unless the servers are generating their own power from an alternate universe (see Stargate for precedent), then you won't see <1 PUE.

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Ammaross Danan
Coat

Hot Water

The difficulty you run into with the "hot water" idea is that you can only heat the water up to the temperature of the hot air exhaust (perhaps ~48*C or so if you're running dense), which is still about 12*C colder than the energy-conscious "low" setting of a hot water boiler. Heating the water more than that would require energy to push the heat into already-warmer water.

Now, they already heat the building the data centre is in, but the idea of heating a surrounding residential zone is kind of interesting. Granted, they can't do so during the months when most would prefer AC over heating....and they'd have to figure in the cases of "what if most of the homes are already 'hot enough' and turn off their heat at the same time?" It starts adding complexity when you can't for-sure dump your heat. Ground pipes have the same general problem as the water heating method: once the immediate surrounding ground is saturated, the cooling effects become less efficient, and you're forced to dump heat elsewhere. Unfortunately for your "reclaim it in winter" idea, the heat would have long since dissipated by the time the season changes.

Your "joined-up thinking" would work, if your view of thermodynamics was actually accurate...

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Ammaross Danan
Coat

Ideas

They've already thought of that. Look up DC Bus Bars or the like. They have a single large UPS to high-volt bus bar transformer, and it's from that bus bar that a step-down transformer powers each server.

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Avast alert finds WHOLE WEB malign

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Could....

Could just turn off the webshield. It would catch the script in the web cache, but you'd at least have been able to surf the internet.

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iPhone 5? You might be waiting till 2012

Ammaross Danan
Coat

They have to brag....

....so it gives meaning to the premium price they paid for the closed architecture.

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US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Likely because....

"I'd say the ban should extend to "any weapon where you cannot see directly that the enemy combatant you are about to kill or maim is a human being"."

Likely desired so that he can say a quick "Hail Mary" before he's jibbified?

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Ammaross Danan
Coat

Last I checked....

"The kinetic energy generation system is smaller than the laser and uses a loading and targeting system that is completely immune to computer failures and ECM."

Doesn't the launcher rails destroy themselves after about 3 shots?

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Seven... SSD sizzlers

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Shame

It's a shame The Reg didn't crunch numbers for the Vertex3 drives. The Crucial m4 drive does have some nice specs, but it eats more than 3 times the power of the F120 drive under load (3 watts, one of the highest among these models). So, not necessarily the best for a "laptop." I'd be more inclined to get the Samsung for such, but I don't have wattage numbers for it. The F120 runs strides against any of the others with real workloads (rather than synthetic) due to it's on-the-fly compression. Crystal uses incompressible data I believe, so these numbers are a worst-case for SandForce-based drives. Going off performance and power consumption, a SandForce-based drive (like the OCZ or F120), or the Intel 320 drive would be the best for performance and power consumption. If you want raw performance, Samsung or Crucial would definately be on the table. However, with those price margins, the Vertex3 240GB would be a forceful contender, if not leader.

Anand or Toms has the numbers you'll need. :)

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Verizon iPad 2s suffer 3G blindness

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Don't worry....

"It just works"

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GIVING UP BOOZE CAUSES CANCER - shock study

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Yep

Loads of things they didn't control for their test subjects. They likely just junked all forms of cancer that could be attributed to other things (skin/lung cancer) and focused on other cancers (stomach perhaps?). They should have found a source group that didn't have sunbathing/tanning in their habits, didn't smoke, do drugs, drink coffee, or have a family history of cancers. Then perhaps they'd have a better subject group they could split out based on drinking habits.

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Record Patch Tuesday with 17-bulletin bumper crop

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Holes and Cheese

"Why would you want to Start a Shutdown????"

It hasn't been a "start" button since XP was replaced by Vista. It's the "Windows" button. Hence the icon on it.

""Windoze" is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese."

Wow. Quotes AND slang spelling. Grow up much? Either way, if you don't like all the leaky holes in your Windows box, pull up your Windows Firewall and close those open holes. You don't need SMB? Close the ports. The difference between Windows and Linux in this instance is Linux asks you what ports you want to open during install (since it has them all [well, almost all] closed by default), whereas Windows just assumes you'll want all the "it just works" file sharing, printer sharing, DNLA, etc to work.

Windows hasn't been "swiss cheese" since WinXP.

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Wind power: Even worse than you thought

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Last I checked....

...Lewis didn't write the research paper, nor the conclusions therein. He merely brought it to our attention.

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Commodore USA prices up revived C64, VICs

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Not only that...

"to $895 (£548) for a fully specced model with 1TB of storage, 8GB of memory, built-on 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi and a Blu-ray drive."

Seriously, who wants to fork over $900 to chain down 8GB of RAM and blu-ray to an Atom CPU? Would be as useful as dumping that 8GB into the original Commodore....

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Apple Digital AV Adapter

Ammaross Danan
Jobs Horns

Buy-in

"Well no one takes these people down the shops at gun-point and forces them to buy these things at these stupid prices."

Actually, if you consider they're (at the cheapest) $500 into the platform, if they wanted the "extra" features, such as HDMI, they either have to change platforms or shell out for the adapters. Another $50 is small compared to a shift to something like the Xoom. Hence, they're literally being forced to buy these magical addons to get the functionality out of their iDevice. Granted, they could simply just live without such features. The sad thing is, no one seems to care what the down-the-road costs of their devices will be.

New marketing idea for Android tablets:

Cost of iPad2: $500

Cost of our tablet: $450

Cost to made the iPad2 able to do the things WE can out of the box....hook up to a set of speakers or connect to your car stereo, play 1080p (impossible, but still...) across HDMI to your TV, connect to your digital camera, work as a mass storage device or read an SD Card: $XXX.

True cost of the iPad2: $700 (we'll call it an even $200 for the adapters)

Our tablet: Still $450. (plus a fiver for your HDMI cable).

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Apple 'orders 12 petabytes of storage' from EMC

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Trouble for....

"...to support its iTunes video service, according to report citing an "inside source"."

So, does this mean that the Netflix App is the next one to get face-punched?

"allowing tune junkies to store their music collections on Apple's service and access them from any device"

Wouldn't it be a LOT easier just to keep a database of the music they've "purchased" and present that to them as "virtual" files. The rest of the stuff that might be uploaded (assuming they allow non-DRM content to be uploaded....) could be de-dupped in the cloud based on song/video metadata, or the time-tested block-level method...

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AT&T's iPhone 4 drops 2.5 times as many calls as Verizon's

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Fans

Perhaps the Reality Distortion Field emitted by the iPhone causes users of said iPhone to overlook things like dropped calls and still be "overall happy" with their iPhone experience....of course, if it was WiFi that kept dropping out, causing forced page re-requests to be the norm, I'm sure there'd be a bit more of an uproar.

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Salt Lake City goes wallet-free with Isis

Ammaross Danan
Go

So...

"...as well as flooding the area with NFC handsets and SIM chips."

Does that mean they're discounting NFC-equiped Droids? I'll buy one! :)

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Judge flips $625.5m Apple patent payout

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

So...

For future reference, if you're going to infringe a patent, you better just infringe ALL the patents from that company at the same time, so that you'll only get slapped for one infringement, but benefit from their entire portfolio....good to see we now have precedent.

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SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket - WORLD'S BIGGEST

Ammaross Danan
Big Brother

You had a good point up until....

"Clean, cheap, abundant fuel..."

As long as "cheap" is in the equation, your vision won't happen. Money is the driving force for any of this. Columbus sailed to the "new world" to find a better TRADE ROUTE so they could make money. Until something with economics akin to "unobtainium" is found, there won't be a massive drive. Show the world that an asteroid is 50% gold, 25% titanium, and 25% platinum and you'll have scores of people trying to mine it. Heck, even if it is only half that. Oh, and with leniency for the "acceptable loss" (oh, "tragic loss" for the supporters) that is seen in coal mining. Columbus had deaths on his voyage, and we can mitigate better now, but just because someone died doesn't mean we should halt our progress for 10 years while we have a tribunal.

Back to the point: cheap. Your "Star Trek" ideal world won't happen with the driving force being capitalism. As long as it is expensive to get it, the base line cost will always be high. So, no, you won't be seeing cheap space resources until it becomes more economical to get them; which is the point of SpaceX in case you haven't noticed. Of course, the other option would be adopting the Star Trek form of government, which only works in (Science) Fiction.

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MythBusters: Savage and Hyneman detonate truthiness

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Thumb up to Tom 13

"The flat mirrors at irregular distances is a better chance at approximating a parabolic shape focusing at the single point. But I think the engineering required to get the precision alignment of the mirrors makes it impossible for it to have been done in ancient times."

"The focal point for the parabolic mirror is too close to shore to have an effect."

Very good. The point of this experiment was toasting ships/sails of an invading fleet, which would require a minimum distance of 150 feet, if not 150 METERS just to make this more useful than, say, FIRE ARROWS. As stated previously, a single parabolic dish would have to have such a slight curvature that using their tools (likely just a hammer and heated metal, even though the blacksmiths then were likely quite skilled none-the-less) would still not be able to reproduce one with the required focal point distance. Then there's the obvious problem of taking more a few seconds to heat the point on the ship, it would require the ship to be stationary. In the Mythbusters experiment, the ship was stationary and sealed with commonly used (and ideal) pitch, and the mirrors were barely 150 feet away. After their burn attempt, they did manage to char the wood, but nowhere near a necessary 2 second flash burn. A modern example of this is using a laser to cause an ICBM to explode en route....

>Ancient< Death Ray - definitely busted. Computer tracking and megawatt lasers are having a hard enough time as it is. :P

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Ammaross Danan
Coat

All it takes....

...to destroy a CD in a "normal" drive is to have a fracture in the disc. I've seen some (stupidly) attempt to play their FF7 or somesuch computer game with a crack running half the radius of the disc. Only seen or heard of one catastrophic failure though.

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Ammaross Danan
Coat

Overclocking

Computer Myth:

I have a friend who claims to have "OC"ed his CPU by (stupidly) splicing in an extra PSU to his ATX mobo connectors. Said his CPU (being bound on top by his heat sink) actually popped through the base of his motherboard and through the side of his case, sticking into the wall. I believe his story about as much as one would believe Kill Bill's version of "punching" through 6 feet of dirt.... which Mythbusters attempted as well, incidentally.

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VMware 'buys' Mozy for its cloudy goodness

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Study

"What if the live data and backups are in the same datacentre?"

The point of a global network of datacentres is precisely so the "backup" isn't in the same datacentre. Not only that, but the "live" data is redundant across multiple datacentres in the event of an outage. They likely split data/parity between the 3 or 4 datacentres closest to your location, so in the event of an outage, there's not a lot of data to push around to rebuild the "lost" information, or in the case of mirroring, much data to push to a new centre to maintain the mirror.

A single vendor then only becomes a problem if you're bound to their services (for whatever reason) and they "adjust" their fees and ToS (like Mozy did). Or if they go out of business (like Mozy might, however unlikely).

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Microsoft wraps Windows 8 in Ribbon UI?

Ammaross Danan
Coat

@AC 10:12

"All the built in apps use it. You know, the ones that get replaced by a more professional version by those who use them a professionally."

Yes, and Windows Explorer has quite the number of "more professional" versions that can replace it too. Will we? Not likely.

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Google bids $900m for Android and Chrome patent shield

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Fortunately

"The only problem being that it only works for those Big Companies, meanwhile everyone else is shut out or ends up being forced to pay and pay and pay in order to be able to compete in the marketplace with the "big boys"."

Fortunately, for those little guys, they don't have to invest billions into R&D to come up with that base tech that they get to license.

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Sony CEO signals summer of tablets

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Meh

With the Vega's poor viewing angles, it isn't much worth it. I'm holding out to see if the Samsung 89 or 101 offers a decent price/quality ratio. the iPad was never in the runnings due to to lack of use-as-mass-storage-device mode, lacking SD card slot, and restriction of certain software types ("network utilities" to name one) from the iTunes App Store (yes, I'm prefixing "App Store" properly).

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Baby Googles: The answer to the Chocolate Factory dominance?

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

Someone!

Someone buy this writer an Ergo (split) keyboard!

"YouYube" :P

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Net boffins plot password alternatives

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Failed

It failed (or will at least) because it used Petfinder.org as the source for "human categorized images of cats and dogs." They even would put a link to petfinder.org under the CAPTCHA as a head-nod credit and to "support adoption" of pets. The obvious problem with this? Image trolls scripting the crap out of Petfinder, causing poor performance and expense, and effectively hash-verifying the images or something similar. If they're smart, they'll convert the scraped images to a 120x120 jpg or the like to prevent direct hashing, but the scrapers could do likewise, and any cropping or the like as well to mimic what they see on live sites (or according to the Asirra specs), or if it comes down to it, random area sampling to compare images to known ones. In short, very easy to game the system. CAPTCHAs are a difficult system to construct. I would posit that it would be far more likely to use the cat & dog solution, but based on breed and/or coat color. The user says "my 'password' will be German Shepherds or Chocolate Labradors" and each random sampling of 12 jpgs will contain at least 1 German Shepherd or Chocolate Lab (yes, Chocolate Lab is not a specific breed, working off the "or coat color" bit) for the to choose from. It would require a human continually refreshing your log-in page to see which breed(s) always show up in each set, which is why you have a password requirement linked to it. Enter password first, which then displays the images (regardless if you get the password correct or not). If the password was wrong, a random sampling of images is shown, if password is correct, show random sampling of images with your password image included. Doesn't get rid of passwords altogether, but CAPTCHAs aren't really meant for log-in authentication, just as preventions for automated sign-ups and the like. Once you are required it show a certain image or image type for authentication purposes (since the human will have to pick something standard), using it (random-image-based CAPTCHAs) for anything more than a minor deterrent at brute-forcing the password becomes not-fit-for-use.

1
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Email compromised at Epsilon

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Have yet to get any

No emails yet. Guess I dodged a bullet... or it could be calling in and requesting they "do not use my personal information for soliciting by third parties." If you request they don't, and it doesn't block their ability to give you their primary service, they're required to obey by US law.

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Google drops Schmidt for Elop, Android for WinPho 7

Ammaross Danan
Joke

Not quite

No, MS buying Red Hat would be just as obvious. Perhaps "Microsoft Accidentally Posts Windows Kernel Source on Own CodePlex Site."

2
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Seagate triples up heads/platter ratio

Ammaross Danan
Boffin

@Suburban

They stated there's 3 read/write heads on a single arm (well, more inferred, but still obvious). The 3 heads will still be bound by data that's near them. If they're a fairly large-spread array (about 1/3 the radius of the disk wide), it would potentially cut the seek time by a good quarter (most of the latency is likely due to initial movement/stopping at that point, rather than travel time). However, I would have proposed a dual-head solution (granted 3 heads might be just as simple/complex) combined with a dual arm setup. Then you'd have 2 independent arms with two heads per arm. You could read/write up to 4 tracks at once, but not be constrained by the physical location of the data, whereas a single arm with 3 heads would only be useful if other to-be-read-simultaneously data falls under one of the other heads. Two arms will act likely as quick as a RAID1 setup with an intelligent controller, where the two read requests are handled simultaneously, rather than speeding up one read, then both moving to the other read.

Granted, two arms = worse MTBF since there's more moving parts, but it's likely the best way to get better random I/O. Parallelism is why SSDs get such great data rates (yes, and access/"seek" time, but that's practically impossible to eliminate on spindle drives). HDDs will have to think in terms of parallelism before they can start to approach SSDs in performance. 3 heads is a good start, but it will only help in a limited number of situations. The largest benefit will be the (modestly) reduced seek times and concurrent read/write ops (assuming there's a blank track below one of the 3 heads).

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Samsung rolls out 22in see-through screens

Ammaross Danan
Linux

"I need adblock for my eyes."

"I need adblock for my eyes."

Easy enough, just gouge them out with Fire(fox).

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Google preps identity spotter app

Ammaross Danan
Coat

Time to....

...break out those aviator glasses and fake mustache from the attic....

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James Cameron to amp up Avatar frame rate

Ammaross Danan
Coat

60fps

60fps gives video a "soap opera" effect, according to PowerDVD. Having seen it, I quite agree. The characters move very smoothly and the colors are notably brighter. Makes it even more odd when a viewer such as PowerDVD "upscales" old DVD content not only to 1080p, but to 60fps as well. Had to pop the DVD in the normal player just to make sure the movie really was as crappy-looking as I remembered it.

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Microsoft's Google complaint not an April Fool

Ammaross Danan
FAIL

@Lewis Mettler

As a whole, I whole-heartedly agree with your post. However, two comments to note:

"If you have a copy of IE, you have been screwed by monopoly power.

...But, you still buy IE, right?"

True that since MS Windows is a "monopoly" on PCs, having a copy of IE hiding on your hard drive means a monopoly shoved it down your throat. However, having IE in Windows is NO DIFFERENT than having Chrome in ChromeOS (they're both highly integrated, right?). My Android phone forces me to use Chrome! Oh noes! How about an iP*d or iPhone forcing me to use their Safari browser that came pre-bundled against my will?

Providing a browser by default is not, in my opinion, a problem. You have to get on the internet somehow to be able to download your real browser, right? They may not have distribution rights, or likely care, to stuff a competing product by default into their OS. Imagine the lawsuits that would occur if MS Security Essentials and Office 2010 web were free and bundled with every copy of Windows. Imagine the lawsuits. Last I checked, Apple distributed all sorts of iThingies in their OSX. Is anyone complaining? Have they been sued for providing Safari by default, like MS did with IE? No.

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Fukushima fearmongers are stealing our Jetsons future

Ammaross Danan
Coat

@OP

""If there are significant areas of caesium-137 soil concentration of the order of 100,000 Bq kg−1, evacuation of these areas could be effectively permanent," says Smith."

If you actually read the article, they did not find 100,000 Bq/kg of caesium-137. This statement would be similar to "if Chernobyl had contaminated the area with 100,000 Bq/kg of caesium-137" or if we found that amount under your front porch. It's not saying they are likely to find such, nor had found such. It's giving you a rough figure to know where the "permanent evac" level is.

"In short, irrational fear of nuclear technology is what has stolen away the brilliant Jetsons-style future that was envisioned for us 50 years ago – and may yet steal it from our children."

I remember hearing about a period of time where irrational thought prevented technological improvement....oh yeah, it's called the Dark Ages. Perhaps some of these fearmongers (such as the OP) should come out of their quasi-religious delirium and actually learn something about the situation.

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