3614 posts • joined Thursday 14th June 2007 08:27 GMT
Re: swap file
Since you appear to be running Windows, the short answer is "You don't want a swap file.". If you can afford an SSD, you can afford enough RAM to fill your motherboard and then you won't need a swap file.
There was a time when the high cost of RAM made it almost reasonable to use a hard disc to emulate a bit more of it. This hasn't been true for a decade or more.
"- True, something could conceivably come along that makes all these happy teens jump ship. Good luck designing that."
Er, I think it is called "life" and it doesn't need designing. It will just happen once these kids grow up. Oh, and you can't monetize it, so don't waste time trying.
I'm not pretending to be superior to these people. Looking back, I wasted a horrific amount of time in my childhood. But I grew up. Other things seemed more interesting or more urgent. The same will happen to current FB users. And to echo someone else's remarks, just at the point where these people start to have their own money, they'll start to drift away from FB.
I'm much more interested in the possibility of simulated thoughts of an insect than in the real thoughts of you.
"As a parting shot, where is the code in a solitary spider-hunting wasp [...] None of these insects boasts more than a million neurons."
But nyelvmark tells us that no-one is interested, so despite the fact that you'd probably deserve a Nobel prize for answering this question, you'd better go and waste money on something sexier.
Facebook owns social?
"Once that happens, it's very hard to imagine that it could be replaced by something else."
Tell that to hoover and biro, now small players in their respective markets despite being spelled with a lower case letter.
I seem to recall that Murdoch paid a (then) huge sum for a social networking site, but I can't remember the name of the site.
Beyond the basics like name, address and credit card details, most of the supposedly valuable personal info on Facebook is completely ephemeral stuff. Do you think anyone trawls the Stephen Fry archive? Of course not. They look at what he said today. What he said last week is barely a memory and if he started using a different site then within a month the "transition" would be complete.
"Social" has a short half life. It needs constant input. If you try to own it, you'll simply find that your initial investment decays away to nothing.
Re: worthless in its current form
"If I was an advertiser I would not pay to advertise on FB"
If I was an advertiser, I don't think I'd pay for any internet advertising.
How many TV or magazine adverts can you remember from your childhood? Quite a few. How many internet ads can you remember from this year? Hardly any. It just doesn't have the impact, even for those who aren't using ad blockers.
Your ad is always "somewhere off to the side" and if it wasn't then your audience would spend more time finding out how to block it. Unlike old-fashioned TVs, the target audience has some control over the viewing platform. Interestingly, this is also true of new-fangled TVs and TV advertising revenues peaked a long time ago everyone knows that everyone else records the program and fast-forwards through the ads.
Only Google really make it pay and that's because they are offering something qualitatively different from everyone else. Paying to have your company appear in somebody's search results is not advertising. Your viewers have self-selected for actually being interested in the "ad".
Re: Overheats != unfit for purpose
Just because the machine can't shed the heat when it is running at full speed doesn't make it unfit, as long as it has proper regulation. Most end-user facing devices spend most of their time idle, so it makes perfect sense to design them so that they deliver the answer in one second even if they can't dissipate the resulting heat in less than two.
Human beings work the same way. We can all generate lactic acid in our muscles faster than we can remove it. Put another way: we can run fast enough to get tired. That's a good thing.
Because if you render on a server then you have to be within range of a many megabit network connection. That makes the overall system "portable round the house", but not really "portable". Public wireless access does exist, but inevitably (being wireless) it is contended, so the bit-rate you'll get "on the beach" is nowhere near enough to play a game being rendered on a server.
You'd be quids in in the US if anyone ever started manufacturing real teleporters without paying you a licence fee and if you also managed to avoid getting your own ass sued right off by whoever owns the rights for Star Trek. But...
Re: The Brain Handles Information
You may be right, in which case this simulation will discover absolutely nothing. Or it may be some *other* feature of a neuron's behaviour that we don't yet realise is significant, in which case (again) this simulation will discover absolutely nothing.
And when it doesn't work, we won't have a clue why not.
I'm all for blue-sky research, but this does seem to be a /complete/ shot in the dark. Would it not be smarter for these guys to take some lesser organism (like an insect), faithfully model everything that they believe is important, and then see if the simulation actually reproduces the observed behaviour? That experiment is doable and guaranteed to teach us something.
Re: hiding a bar of gold
If you just *say* you've hidden a bar of gold in the rubbish tip, then perhaps it *doesn't* exist.
Similarly, I bet there really is tons of gold at the bottom of the Pacific but (as we were all told earlier this week) that doesn't help a bundle because it is mixed up in a whole load of rubbish.
There's hope for us yet.
Clearly this is a pointless piece of vandalism. Equally clearly, it has been designed not to mislead anyone and was performed by someone thinks this is a better use of their technical skills than, say, earning money. I'm proud to be human.
Re: No, there is no catch-22
If I can just reply to myself...
"Microsoft will announce a Windows port because if they don't then they'll spill oceans of blood in the server market, ..."
I'm *assuming* that this heterogeneous thingy is fully virtualisable. Current GPUs are not, which is why you don't get bleeding edge games performance in a VM. However, it is obvious (to me!) that if you are depending on the GPGPU for performance on general benchmarks then you won't be considered AT ALL in the modern server market unless you preserve that performance advantage under virtualisation.
So, um, AMD could block their main route to market if they choose to omit virtualisation support in the first release.
On the internet, no-one knows you're a dog (at the moment).
The article mentions Facebook's "real name only" policy but doesn't indicate whether Google+ intend to enforce the same. Anyone who does is surely designing a single point of failure for their customer's web identity and everyone here will know what a bad idea that is.
The suggestion of an earlier comment was that the majority of the general public do *not* realise what a bad idea this is and see it only for its "convenience". However, that will change over the years as more people get to know a friend of a friend who was thoroughly shafted as a result. I think it is noteworthy that the real-world equivalent of "single-sign-on & it-has-to-be-your-real-name" combination is a law stating that a duly empowered authority (like a policeman) can stop you in the street and demand to see your papers. History shows that human beings really don't like that. I am therefore optimistic that my children's generation won't have to put up with this shit.
However, it *does* look like my own generation is going to have to learn this stuff AGAIN from bitter experience rather than applying real-world common sense to the internet. As the saying goes, "Experience is a harsh mistress, but fools will learn from no other.".
No, there is no catch-22
"The vast majority of developers code with Intel / NVidia in mind, ..."
You what? The only people who code with NVidia in mind are the folks who write drivers for their cards. A high nines proportion of the programming community *can't* write NVidia-specific code in their usual coding environment. Similarly, although it is slightly easier to write CPU code that runs on Intel but not AMD hardware, hardly anyone does it because most the compilers for most languages won't let you and for the rest it is fairly tedious.
There is no catch-22 for this or any other radical architecture. Here's why...
If AMD can create a C compiler that generates decent code for the heterogenous system (and by decent, I mean faster than just using the homogenous part, even for algorithms that aren't embarrassingly parallel) then the Linux kernel will be ported within a month of the systems being available in shops. Others will provide cfront-style front-ends for all common languages. In many cases, this is already how compilers for such languages are written, so this will be trivial. Once you have a complete Linux distro running, faster than is possible on a homogeneous offering, Microsoft will announce a Windows port because if they don't then they'll spill oceans of blood in the server market, where Linux already has enough market share to be taken seriously.
If AMD can't create such a compiler, then their new architecture just isn't as great as they are claiming and no-one (outside AMD) will care.
Re: RSA patent not new innovation
"Specifically, it is public information that..."
Well it is now, but it certainly wasn't at the time and therefore this doesn't count as prior art. (The deal with patents is disclosure in return for legal protection, so those who don't disclose can't complain that someone else was awarded the protection.)
Also, one could point to the claim that this discovery was kept secret "for over 20 years" as a clear demonstration of the non-obviousness of the inventive step. (Cryptography is a respected academic discipline, so it's not like there weren't smart people working in the same field trying to come up with ideas like this one.)
Re: Team America
"The US Gov wants global access to HTTPS Google searches, Skype convo's, TOR, PGP emails, Hushmail and every other source of confidential or encrypted communications that businesses and private individuals have."
But on the face of it, the US consitution tells that same government VERY CLEARLY to fuck right off. It would be interesting to see a challenge to these powers in the Supreme Court.
But as I once said to a visiting merkin, the constitution is a truly wonderful document and it is fun to imagine a state run according to its terms. Sadly...
"Or, maybe: MS are alerting their customers to the fact that this law applies to them."
Of course, you don't even need to credit MS with great sensitivity either, since this law also applies to their principal competitors. As a result, warning customers carries no great competitive risk and clearly covers Microsoft's ass for when the government come asking questions.
But yes, the smart money favours cock-up over conspiracy every time, because most human beings just aren't smart enough to do a proper conspiracy, but cock-ups are easy.
"Brooks has to go, she was in control at NoTW at the time"
IANAL, but as I understand it the owners of a company are entitled to employ trained monkeys in managerial positions if they want to. *Clearly* Brooks' only defence is that she hadn't a clue where her paper was getting its stories from and was therefore a waste of space in the editor's chair, but that's Rupert's problem.
The *directors* of a company, however, are legally responsible for the actions taken by that company. If the company is found to be in breach of the law, it is the directors who end up in court. That *is* our (the public's) business.
Re: Voicemail security model
Since you raise the subject ...
I've been looking around for technical details of what these people did. What were they able to listen to? What sort of equipment did they need? Does it expose a weakness in mobile phone security that we don't already know about?
Well, for values of "we" including "I" the answer is almost certainly yes, because I know diddly squit about this at present. Obviously recent events have piqued my interest.
I vaguely recall that transmissions between base stations are unencrypted and so with some reasonably affordable (for a newspaper employee) equipment one could intercept them. If tweaking a phone to fake caller ID lets you probe voicemail, though, that's a whole new level of weakness. Aren't at least some modern phones pretty near open source, so there's probably an app for that?
In short, is mobile phone security so weak that basically this has been a scandal waiting to happen? Do the mobile companies bear some responsibility for leaving everyone's front doors open? Are the basic standards at fault? (Unencrypted base station traffic certainly *sounds* like it is a weakness that becomes ever-more-likely to be exploited as the cost of electronics comes down.)
Re: Are these people really needed?
Clearly not, and keeping them employed probably costs a whole lot more than simply allowing them to retire early. Even better, these are (presumably) intelligent and resourceful people, so if they *were* persuaded to retire early they would surely find something socially useful to do with their time.
Probably because the closing date for applications is 2012.
A long wire is almost certainly how it *will* be done, and the energy costs of that system will be a pittance of what rockets require, but the cable isn't quite ready yet. Give it another few decades.
Re: Doing the sums
"So 1 MegaJoule to get 10g to 10km/s for orbit, how much to potential energy is needed to get to a viable orbit height?"
Bugger all. Low Earth orbit is "of the order of" 100km, so "mgh" is 0.01*9.81*10^5 which comes out at 10kJ or so, so it is about two orders of magnitude less than the kinetic energy for maintaining orbit once you are up there.
This means that all the suggestions about starting from Mt Everest or a balloon are just pissing into a category five hurricane. Height is not the problem here. The problem is the truly awsome speeds you need to achieve. To put it into perspective, remember that once you've attained the necessary speed, actually coming back down to Earth without burning yourself to a cinder in the process *purely from atmospheric friction* is a significant engineering task in its own right.
Regarding one of the other suggestions from commenters, I think blasting something up the arse with a high-power laser *has* been seriously considered as a launch system for lightweight payloads. Nothing came of it though.
Re: an encrypted container
This is fine, as long as data storage is the only service you are getting from the cloud. Sadly, I think you will find it is quite hard to perform computations directly on encrypted data (*). In practice, you'd have to decrypt it, perform your computation and then encrypt the results -- all on a CPU that is owned by that US company and therefore subject to US laws on snooping.
(* Off the top of my head I can't think of a simple proof that this is impossible, but equally I'm not aware of any way of doing it.)
Re: Cat amongst the pidgins
No it won't.
MS have simply pointed out that as a US company they are bound by US law. This is not a new phenomenon. Multinational companies have always had to square their obligations in several jurisdictions at once. The cloud (as ever) adds nothing qualitatively new to this old problem. It merely makes it easier to get confused about "where" a given transaction takes place.
It is easy to imagine situations where it is impossible to grant freedoms enshrined by law in one country and simultaneously protect rights guaranteed by law in another country, so the hard line you advocate is pretty much a ban on the existence of multinational companies. Since such companies clearly exist, I assume that the lawyers, courts and politicians have seen sense and take a more moderate view.
Not obviously impossible
Low Earth orbit is around 10km/s which for a 10g payload is only a megajoule of energy, so at current prices you could do it for well under a pound.
However, I think most of the rockets that have made it into space have delivered a payload two or three orders of magnitude smaller than the delivery vehicle. On the face of it then, your energy costs alone are going to blow the budget even if the whole of the rest of the system is re-usable.
So we can expect that a winning entry will have to recover some of this energy, perhaps by sticking a large windmill out of its window on re-entry.
Re: Is there Visual Studio for ARM?
Yes. The compiler and tools most definitely do exist because it's what you use to develop for WinCE or whatever the non-desktop thingy is called this week. They've existed for about a decade and are generally about one product cycle behind the mainstream offering.
If MS want to offer Win8-on-ARM, the tools won't be a problem. Similarly, since Itanium is only just a thing of the past, porting the core OS isn't going to be a problem either. The only problems are political (do they actually want to offer it?) and appropriateness (is the standard desktop offering actually what you want on a tablet?).
"But Mountain View does give back in less-direct ways."
Like buying a codec in order to give it away?
I hate to spring to the defence of a company so obviously evil as Google, :), but credit where it's due (and a hundred million dollars is a lot of credit).
Re: Comically retro
"If you can type, why in god's name would you ever want to write anything by hand?"
Because I don't think in prose?
When I'm brainstorming, I push my keyboard to one side and pick up a biro and a pile of scrap paper. I'll do quite a lot of scribbling before I have the ideas sufficiently clear in my head to start thinking (and writing) linearly. I'll quite often find myself redrawing a clean version of a previous sheet in order to start off in a new direction. An A4-sized tablet that tidied up my labels, straightened my lines, smoothed my curves and let me "branch" several versions of a diagram would be the perfect tool for that sort of work.
And I'm a programmer, not a graphic designer. I'd hazard a guess that text entry is a fairly small part of the time spent using a computer for most people and a fair bit of *that* is free-form text where you are constantly switching between mouse and keyboard to position fragments of text. Even something like Excel would be easier (for some tasks) with a high-resolution pen input.
Re: I was responsible...
Sorry, I don't believe you. I think this leak is coming from the guy who wrote that software. He wants out, but he wants the company to offer him a golden parachute. So he leaks this letter, thinking that he is probably the only software guy who will not be under suspicion as a result.
"Microsoft will make it very awkward for users to install said driver for alternate filesystem by holding up the signing process and possibly stalling the signing process for any other drivers from that company that need resigning..."
Technically, you don't need Microsoft's signature on a driver, even on 64-bit systems. You only need a signature from one of a small list of CAs and not all of those are part-owned by MS. :)
What you *can* get is a counter-signature from the MS quality control group. If you don't, there is a prompt from Windows to ask the user if they trust the vendor. Since the vendor is named and will presumably match the branding on the device the end-user has just bought, it isn't very scary to be asked "Do you want to install the vendor's driver for this new toy?".
Re: Who the hell uses root anymore
People with mis-configured systems that are no longer using their ISP?
My guess is that a manufacturer has just issued a bad update and zillions of domestic ADSL routers are now banging directly on the root servers.
I think what he means is that softies don't want to be left with "just amd64". They were happy to lose MIPS, Alpha, Sparc and Motorola, and they will not mind losing Itanium because there is still Power left. But they won't want to lose Power because it is the last remaining alternative to keep AMD honest.
I'm not sure I find that argument convincing, myself. Microsoft have spent most of the last decade untroubled by their lack of an alternative and when (recently) they finally went looking for one they picked ARM, not Power. So OK, ARM aren't yet playing in the server space, but if they ever decide to then they'll have a huge consumer base to subsidise their initial forays.
Re: Could not resist
I don't know about other religions, but in Christianity the fact that it *is* just a question of faith is flagged up in the old book and is pretty much the whole point of the Creed, too. You are being much less provocative than you imagine.
Re: Family photos
"Family photos - not a big problem. Your tax/sales data - potentially a big problem."
Without wishing to disagree with the thrust of your reply, I feel obliged to point out that you clearly haven't ever lost any family photos. If you lose your tax records, the worst that can happen is a short holiday in jail. If you lose your family's photos, you might as well kill yourself now, to save them the effort.
I know you're just trolling, but that's a particularly poor attempt. In this particular case, the attackers went to considerable lengths to target a particular end-user within a particular organisation. If they'd been targetting you, you could be very sure that they would have sent you a mouse with an OSX-specific payload.
Advantages of plastic discs
They're better quality than an MP3 download and I'm more confident that I'll be able to play it in the distant future. They also *don't* cost any more than the download option, but that's probably just a reflection of my taste in music.
Star Wars and Lego, so very new indeed.
You may laugh, but only yesterday my son suggested that Lucas should remake the original six films, but in Lego to match the games.
From his ten-year-old perspective, he has a point. The original films are ancient history and most of his generation have probably only watched them as a sort of cultural backdrop to the games and toys they are familiar with. Perhaps George has realised this and is even now working to "fix" his youthful error of using human actors when it would so obviously have made more sense to use the merchandising characters throughout.
Yeah, I know. I now *owe* EVERYONE a new keyboard.
Re: used to do this all of the time
They still do. Most industrially sponsored academic research doesn't lead to ideas that are worth patenting and publication stops anyone else getting a monopoly on the idea if circumstances change a few years down the line.
Depending on the extent of sponsorship, the sponsor may not even have "first refusal". The benefit to them is simply that the research is done at all.
Re: requiring source code
Unless someone has "foolishly" removed the requirement that the patent disclosure be sufficient to let anyone else make the invention, source code is already a requirement. However, "novelty" and "non-obviousness" are also mentioned in the various treaties that underpin the global patent system, and we know that courts don't bother themselves with either of those.
Perhaps the only real change necessary is that courts are instructed in the *basics* of patent law and told to forget everything they've ever learned about its complexities.
"This is about who gets the patent if two people both claim to have "invented" the same thing at about the same time."
Since the benefit to society in granting a monopoly (patent) is that inventions happen which would not otherwise, the *correct* resolution of this grey area is that neither inventor should be granted a monopoly. since *demonstrably* the invention is not non-obvious to those skilled in the art.
"And when you try to import them you're very much subject to the laws of the country you're bringing it into, even those in which you're re just switching planes and won't be leaving the airport, so the stuff may well get confiscated."
With a physical object, that's true even today if the purchase was made over the internet, since we've had mail order companies since forever. But if the Dear Commissioner would have that apply to Facebook, then she is presumably applying it to a service that is performed abroad (giving you a presence on a foreign web site) and in connection with which no physical object is ever imported. You don't bring services back. The analogy doesn't work.
And if you *really* want to carry your airport analogy further, that would imply that the service is subject to the laws of every country that packets hop through. Quite apart from being impractical to determine, if the packets are carried via multiple routes then who is to say which countries the *service* is carried through?
The only *practical* solution is the one that says business transactions take place in the country that hosts the server and any physical deliverables are subsequently imported *by the purchaser*. The commissioner's approach would mean that websites would have to determine the legal jurisdiction of their customers before they know if it is safe to do sell to them. Last I heard, IP-address geolocation wasn't something I'd want to rely on in a court of law.
Re: The method of enforcement is simple.
"Block the traffic of those who seek to hide behind international borders. This obviously has many practical difficulties but can be done, especially to large companies with a well known addresses."
Umm, no. The *specification* of enforcement is simple, as you describe. However, the *method* is considerably harder, for several reasons. For one, the "well-known addresses" you speak of would have to be blocked at every border router in the legal jurisdiction trying to block. For another, they don't include the addresses of people mirroring or providing tunnels to the restricted content, and whilst *that* may be illegal in your country is certainly won't be in your neighbours, so you'd have to add "every foreign mirror and proxy" to that list of addresses you are blocking on every route in. For a third thing, the address you are trying to block might be a dynamically allocated one, so you'd have to snoop DNS servers to keep your huge list up to date.
So it *can* be done, but it is rather expensive. The Chinese seem to spend quite a lot of effort on it and after all that effort they still rely on "disincentives" for people who uncover errors and omissions in the block list.
Of course, if the IP address space were more cleanly aligned with legal jurisdiction, it would at least be possible for people to *know* whether the site they are doing business with is in the same jurisdiction, and therefore sue-able in the event of disappointment. However, that's solving a slightly different problem. Specifically, that's "giving users the tools to protect themselves from stuff they don't want" rather than "giving government the tools to protect people from stuff they do want". In a free society, the latter is impossible whereas the former is relatively simple once you've figured out that this is what you should be trying to do.
But you are right. The present situation is legally intolerable, so ultimately they will figure all this out and we will get an internet that is as safe as the street where you live. (Hmm...)
Is this news?
The internet has been cutting out brokers and other species of middlemen since sometime in the last century. How can a software reseller not be aware of this in 2011?
What's next? Record company exec is SHOCKED to learn about downloads?