* Posts by Nexox Enigma

853 posts • joined 28 Apr 2007


Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard's $45 Linux micro blow

Nexox Enigma

XBMC on ARM works

XBMC on Android has some issues, but if you take an Android set top box, remove the Android OS, and install just the bare minimum required to run XBMC, it works great. And there's (enough) community support from places like: http://www.j1nx.nl

Keyboard, you're not my type

Nexox Enigma

Re: Microswitches

I, too, never owned a Dell, but I spent years combing over surplus computer outlets to acquire a nice stack of their mechanical keyboards for quite cheaply (sadly they seem to be all gone from those sorts of places.) I have had a few die, but they'll do for parts when the rest of my stash needs them.

My favorite part (other than the keys) is the steel plate stuck in there to add heft - a single keyboard weighs more than a typical laptop.

Linus Torvalds in NSFW Red Hat rant

Nexox Enigma

Re: RE: Pete Spicer

"""As long as you wouldn't criticize <insert CEO you hate the most> for speaking the same way ..."""

I'd love it if every CEO (and other people in positions of economic of government power) would speak like this - this sounds like how adults communicate, and I know that some of those CEOs, at least some of the time, would like to be allowed to talk like that in public. I'd much prefer the occasional emotional expletive to flavorless, clean statements that are designed to make life easy for the relevant Legal and/or HR departments.

Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow

Nexox Enigma

Re: OpenSuSE

Plus, KDE4 randomly renamed some programs - Apparently KPDF and KView were too obvious, so we got Okular and GwenView, respectively.

As for Amarok v2 - that mess caused me to quit monolithic media players all together and switch to mpd (the clients for which were also lost in a KDE3 vs KDE4 crapstorm for years.)

Nexox Enigma

Re: .. and then there were 2

Agreed, Slackware does just what I want, which is to say: not much. No automation (because sometimes I don't want a USB stick mounted when I plug it in,) no package management (always causes me more trouble than it saves,) and no unnecessary patching of sources.

Then again, I do maintain an internal LFS distro in my day job, so compiling and scripting don't exactly scare me. Then again, again, I only got the job because I learned everything the hard way with Slackware.

Micron glues DDR4 RAM to flash, animates the 256GB franken-DIMM

Nexox Enigma

Re: Motherboard impact?

It's a good bet that BIOS will have to know about this sort of hardware and treat it specially, like Micron's NVDIMMs (similar to this, but only enough flash to back up the RAM on power loss, with the aid of a battery or capacitor.) Then there'll be OS kernel support, and, finally, some sort of software support required before these will actually be usable and useful.

Seagate: We'll bring down HAMR in 2014 ... this year, you get shingles

Nexox Enigma

Re: Seagate and Western Digital Drives are shit.....

5 years maybe - 10 years hasn't been feasible in quite a long time (at least not 10 years of 24/7 use, which is how I use my computers.) If you're experiencing a lot of disk failures, it very well could be your fault - running drives at high temperatures or in a high-vibration environment will significantly reduce their life span, so if you want them to last, make sure they've got air flow and proper mounts.

In any case, it's a bit irrelevant, because after 5 years a drive is comparatively tiny and slow, to the point where it's not worth really keeping around any more. And it's certainly past the point where you should trust it to keep working.

If you're trusting your data to a single drive, you're just asking to lose it, regardless of drive quality or durability - you must have redundancy and backups if you even remotely care about keeping your data safe.

Review: Intel 335 240GB SSD

Nexox Enigma

Re: Actually.....

No idea about the PowerMac compatibility, but the Intel 320 series is probably what you want. Honestly, given the way most drives lose data on power fail, I'd go with an Intel 320 even for a SATA3 system. But that's just me - I understand most people value benchmark numbers over reliable data storage.

Nexox Enigma

Re: Power fail behaviour?

Ehh, the Intel 320 series has capacitors, so it's worth asking about this one. Unfortunately, Sandforce charges a lot more for their Enterprise controller (the only one that supports power-fail protection,) so Intel can't add that feature cheaply to their low-end drives (like they could with their own controller on the 320.)

If you need power-fail protection, it's best to stick with the 320 series until Intel releases the (rumored) consumer version of the S3700, assuming they don't remove the capacitors in the process.

New Tosh drive can wipe out 4TB 'near instantaneously'

Nexox Enigma

Re: Dunno about this.

You seem to be forgetting that there are some other enterprise operating systems (besides Windows 2012) that have supported 4k sectors (and automagical alignment, the sysadmin doesn't even have to know what 'alignment' means) for years.

And while some enterprise workloads make the price bump for a 15k 2.5" drive worthwhile, there are other workloads that don't demand the performance, and thus work fine with cheaper, higher capacity disks. Just like how plenty of enterprise workloads work well on 'consumer' SSDs, for a large cost savings.

Intel halves SSD power draw with 20nm chip shift

Nexox Enigma

Re: @ Lee Dowling

Nobody ever said you have to replace all of your storage with solid state - I can't even begin to imagine what you're doing as a regular consumer that needs 3TB of SSD storage (which is to say: latency sensitive random IO.) If you're running some sort of massive database, sure, but then you're solidly into the enterprise market. SSDs and standard rotational magnetic storage have different strengths, and they're best used in some sort of combination. For most consumers, 160GB is plenty for the files which are actually read and written frequently, the rest can easily be stored on cheap magnetic disks.

SSDs give you the ability to pay for higher performance where you need it, and if you've evaluated your situation and decided that the performance isn't worth the price, then that's fine, but it's hardly true for everyone.

As for your claim that spinning drives manage half the speed of SSDs, that's only true for sequential IO. Once you start doing random IO (or merely more than one sequential operation per disk,) even the crappiest SSD will start to pull out a significant margin. Last time I bothered to benchmark spinning disks, year ago, the fastest 15krpm 2.5" SAS drive was more than 20 times slower than a then-current SSD under random IO. Since then SSDs have roughly quadrupled in speed, and spinning disks have gained maybe 25%.

First gen SSD controllers, by the way, are horrid (you're probably thinking of 3rd gen, at least,) and also can't even begin to operate with 1TB of flash. You can't just keep adding chips to a controller because: A) new, high-density chips use different interfaces, not compatible with old controllers, B) Controllers have a limited number of interface channels, each of which support a limited number of flash dies, C) Controllers are just now becoming able to address and manage that much NAND, due to hardware limitations in the controller. Old controllers (3rd gen for instance) probably can't handle more than 128GB (or 160GB for Intel, due to their odd architecture,) and there's no way around that, short of making a new controller.

And flash prices don't scale linearly with capacity because higher density chips cost more per Gb, and large drives require the use of multi-die flash packages, which also increase price per Gb.

Why is solid-state storage so flimsy?

Nexox Enigma

Re: Both SSDs and HDDs can fail in two ways (slowly with errors, or all at once)

Re SSD Camps: The two you mention are just the two most vocal - there are huge amounts of enterprises customers using SSDs just fine, they're simply not telling you (probably because they're working as expected, and there's nothing to tell.)

SSDs 4.5 years ago were crap - they were using flash and controllers originally designed for USB flash drives, which were designed with very different use patterns and lifetimes than a desktop drive. Things have come a long way since then - I've got hundreds of consumer-grade SSDs with 30k hours of runtime on high-write ratio workloads, and while some have failed, the AFR is significantly lower than my enterprise-grade hard drives (which mostly sit idle) over the same time span. And those SSDs are many generations old - every generation the drives become significantly more durable, to the point where I haven't seen a single failure in the latest generation drives over a cumulative 600 years runtime.

You just have to know what brand (and model) to buy, which usually means ignoring the benchmark screamers.

Sharp punches out über-retina phone screen

Nexox Enigma

Sounds good to me

Put this in an N810-style tablet, throw in some decently powerful hardware, load it with a nice, open OS, and I'm sold. Too bad the chances of that are... slim.

Hipsters hacking on PostgreSQL

Nexox Enigma

Re: Nothing OSS wise gets close...

For what it's worth, 100GB (and thus 7GB) is not really a large database these days - even MySQL should be able to handle a few hundred gigs of data without totally falling over. You need to push into the terabyte range to start separating the real DBMSen from the poseurs.

Apple building 'tactical' data center with 'mantrap' doors

Nexox Enigma

Re: Isn't this normal?

I think you may be off base here. A man trap, as I've seen them, fits multiple people, but won't allow both doors to open at one time, so that in order to unlock the inner door, you have to close the outer door. Thus, if you fail the hand print / pass code / key card authentication, both doors lock, and you're stuck until the authorities get there.

The goal is to slow people down, so nobody can get in or out of a secure location without plenty of time to be observed by security, and to catch absolutely everyone that attempts to enter without permission.

And yes, as far as I've seen, most high end (expensive) data centers have these. I've heard it was to make them able to host certain types of government servers, but who knows how accurate that is. Either way, it's not really a unique or notable feature.

Micron mass-produces Phase Change Memory

Nexox Enigma

Re: "PCM uses heat generated by an electrical current"

I don't know the details, but I believe the things being heated up are nano-structures, apparently heated for 1us or less, according to the write latency figures. I doubt that's going to cause any sort of packaging problems.

SMART's new SSD wrings extra juice from MLC flash

Nexox Enigma

Re: Oh, FFS

SMART generally doesn't sell to consumers; you get pricing by negotiating with an account manager / sales person, so there are no retail resellers, and there's no publicly-available list price.

They do make some pretty slick SSDs though, and, from what I've seen, they follow through on their advertised specifications. Not exactly what you'd call "cheap," but if you've got certain requirements, I can definitely see their kit being the best choice, cost included.

Fanboys excited by ancient Google Qwerty Nexus plan

Nexox Enigma

Re: First N900 bod to post

Really dreading the day I'll have to replace my N900. I use it primarily for instant messaging and SSH, two things that really benefit from a real keyboard. I wouldn't mind if the available web browser and email client actually worked a bit... but I'll live. New battery made my charging issues much less pressing, and TMobile didn't get bought by ATT, so I still have a network to use it on.

DARPA overjoyed that its hypersonic glider came apart, blew up

Nexox Enigma

Re: again.. reality imitates girlgenius :)

I have a framed copy of this: http://wondermark.com/634/ on my desk. So excellent.

Nanodot memory smashes RAM, sets new speed record

Nexox Enigma

Re: I dont quite see the progress here

My guess is that since the only mention of RAM is outside of the quote (which says non-volatile memory,) maybe El Reg got it wrong? It certainly does look more like a replacement for NAND (or possibly NOR) Flash rather than DRAM. A 1us p/e cycle would be a hell of an improvement over current NAND.

Also, +/- 7V doesn't seem remotely 'low' compared to any sort of modern volatile or non-volatile solid state memory. Maybe they mean it's low compared to alternatives that are currently in development? Or low compared to their last prototype? It certainly doesn't scream 'efficient operation on battery power,' which is kind of necessary for mobile use. Then again, DC-DC converters aren't all that bad these days.

'I'm no visionary': Torvalds up for $1.3m life-changing gong

Nexox Enigma

Subtitle Snark

The Git comment exists because it's true and hilarious.

Supposedly (I heard it from a guy, who read it on the Internet!) Linus never planned for users to interface with Git directly, he wrote it as a back end for other, more friendly version control applications. And it shows.

Not that any version control is perfect, but my experience lines up with at least a few others', which is something along the lines of "Oh god, whyyyyyy!?!"

But if Git is what you know, by all means, use it. There's nothing that'll make you hate version control more than trying to alternate between similar, but ultimately incompatible syntax and operations.

Pew study finds one in five Americans still won't go online

Nexox Enigma

Re: Thank goodness!

"""You won't be laughing when these people are the ones left to save the human race after alien mind-hackers take over the rest of us via the internet and our mobile phones!"""

OK by me - I've got an unlikely quantity of firewalls (displayed in real time and full color on a handy flat screen) and a sweet Nokia smart phone. If movies are anything to go by, I'll run into an action hero and provide questionable technical plot devices while things blow up for no reason. We'll then send the aliens packing, the hero will get the girl, and I'll find a beer. Roll credits.

Kidding about the firewalls, of course, but you'll have to pry my N900 from my cold, dead fingers.

Soup up your home network

Nexox Enigma

Re: Another good one for troublesome wireless

It's called WDS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Distribution_System

Implementations might not be compatible across different WIFI APs, but if you build a network with all the same kit, it'll probably work. Note that I haven't tested this at all, since one high-powered AP can cover my whole house quite nicely.

As for devices, you may not be in the right country, but I rather like the devices offered here: http://www.wlanparts.com/category/wlan.access_points/

As for my network - I've got a policy against using wifi for anything that isn't mobile, so I'm running CAT6A everywhere (slowly.) I'll be ready when 10gbit kit gets semi-affordable. And yes, I need it, because my (rather old) fileserver can manage a sequential read speed over 500MB/s, and I can't stand waiting for transfers that are bottlenecked down to 112MB/s. Also, it's important for me to have the biggest toys.

What system builders need to know about solid state drives

Nexox Enigma

Re: Buyer Beware

"""Even for my own "light consumer" use, I would be shocked and dismayed if I shelled out a ton of money for an allegedly faster SSD device and only got 75MB/s of sequential writes out of it."""

Well, if you were to buy a drive that came out a few years ago (the C300 quoted in the article,) this is what you should expect. If you were to get the C400, which came out about a year ago (judging by the timestamps on my benchmark logs,) you could easily manage 250+MB sequential write (for the 256GB model - performance varies with size in SSDs) until you run out of available erased blocks.

I've got to say, there are a few kinds of 'enterprise' application out there. For instance, the one that I work with, which is (somewhat) latency sensitive, and writes reasonably large amounts of data, which works just great with (certain) consumer SSDs.

The key is to have a benchmark that models your application, and then see how a given drive performs over a suitably long period of time. Disregard all of the data from early in the test, when the drive looks good, and then assume you'll be operating in the messy zone, where the drive is scrambling to come up with enough blocks to cope with your reads. And then start killing power randomly, and make sure all the data that you think you've written (and sync'd) is still there.

If your application performs alright when the drive is saturated, and your data doesn't disappear, then you're probably better off with a handful of consumer SSDs than a single enterprise drive. An elegant redundancy system (something nicer than boring old RAID, that is) makes drive failure somewhat more tolerable.

TSA bars security guru from perv scanner testimony

Nexox Enigma

Re: Quite innocuous, everyday items can be used.

"""There is NO logic in banning 100ml+ fluid containers if I can book 20 people onto the same flight."""

Ehh, no reason to book anything. All you need is 20 people with passable ID (it's not recorded... so using your real one wouldn't be the end of the world) and a faked boarding pass. Since they let you print your own boarding passes these days... you pretty much need half a brain and a printer to get into the secure area of an airport.

Once there, give all of the 100mL containers to one guy, have the others blend in with people who have just landed, and head out of the airport. Sure they'll be able to trace things on the security cameras after the fact, but your mules probably have a better chance of getting away than if they're on an airplane that you blew up... Or whatever you can /actually/ do with a couple liters of liquid(s).

Honestly, it'd probably be cheaper to smuggle booze in that way than pay airport bar prices...

Worst movie poll screening delayed 7 days

Nexox Enigma


The "Oh Hiiiiii" thing caught on around the office and stuck... Really hits a nerve in the pre-coffee morning times. I had an opportunity to see it live, with Tommy in attendance, but then that life stuff got in the way and I did not get to experience the awesomeness. Too bad, because I'm pretty damned good at extremely-short-range football tossing, especially in formal clothes.

Nvidia shows off first 'Kepler' GPUs

Nexox Enigma

Re: have yet to find a compelling reason to upgrade my 5850

Last video card upgrade for me was because I got a second monitor, and my trusty Nvidia 7800GT didn't have a wide enough video buffer... so I got a 9800GT, which can theoretically display 8096x8096 pixels.

And I can play Quake 3 on native resolution. For all 9 minutes per month that I have free to play games. The rest of the time, it handles Fluxbox + hardware transparency with about a hundred windows spread across a dozen workspaces just fine. Which is all I need: Quake 3 and a hundred windows.

It displeases me that there seem to be no more dual DVI-I cards out there that fit in a single slot, and have no aux power connector... HDMI and Display Port don't work so well with my CRTs...

New steganography technique relies on letter shapes

Nexox Enigma

Re: Yeah, who could possibly tell that a random-appearing string of characters .....?

"""And besides, a random appearing string of characters might be a program in Perl"""

The ultimate form of steno is, of course, hiding your message in a Perl script which prints 100 Bottle of Beer, by all of the same methods that can be made to make that script look like a row of beer bottles.

Then you post the script to a suitable newsgroup, and your secret communications are complete.

HP unveils hamper of Ivy Bridge notebooks

Nexox Enigma

Re: Seriously?

""""14in dv4 and 15.6in dv6 feature a screen res of 1366 x 768"

That's where I stopped reading. """

Exactly. I had 1280x768 in 10.6 inches in 2004, and 1366x768 in 8.9 inches in 2008. Where have all the reasonable DPI screens in laptops gone? (Yes, I know the netbook fling is to blame.)

Even desktop LCDs are only just starting to catch up to CRT DPI - I had ~110 DPI in 2001, and the new 27" 2560x1440 screens have just caught up to that (30" LCDs are about 110DPI.) My current monitors will do 120 DPI, which comes out to 2560x1600 in 25", or 2560x1440 in 24.5" - those would be some nice LCDs.

Now don't get me started on chicklet keyboards...

So, what IS the worst film ever made?

Nexox Enigma

This is easy

"The Room" - try to avoid watching it without the Rifftrax audio commentary.

Tiniest ever 128Gbit NAND flash chip flaunted

Nexox Enigma

Re: Jeez

I love how they also doubled the page size (again) to get twice the performance. Of course that increases write amplification (and thus reduces wear-life and performance) if you're not writing 16K blocks. Which nobody really does.

Oh well, it does say it's for tablets and smart phones, which nobody apparently expects to remain usable for longer than ~18 months, and flash write speed is waaaay less important than a large capacity number on the spec sheet (to marketing people, and probably most customers.)

Oh well, it's always good to see 'progress.' At least they came up with some new buzzwords to make this chip supposedly not as bad as it could have been.

RIP: Peak Oil - we won't be running out any time soon

Nexox Enigma

Not Quite...

Your last graph there shows the rig count increasing from 200 to 1000, yes that's 500% (though your article claimed that well count increased 500%, which is entirely impossible,) but it's not all that impressive, because your graph only goes back to Jan 2009. If it went back a bit further, it would show that we were at the same number of active rigs in mid-2008. All we're seeing is that the rigs shut down after things hit the fan in Q2 2008 are being fired back up, slowly. This is actually a pretty typical pattern in oilfield, which tends toward cyclic expansion and contraction.

Here's a nice historical graph, which combines oil and gas rigs: http://www.wtrg.com/rigs_graphs/rigus.gif

Note that rigs have increased in efficiency a lot since the 70s, so the red line on that chart isn't a great indicator of wells drilled per unit time.

The real news to go along with new technology is the huge quantity of horizontal drilling rigs - right now there are twice as many horizontal as vertical in North America.

SanDisk thrusts SSD into the client OEM battlefield

Nexox Enigma

Re: The reliability of SSD devices still worries me

"""Suffice to say, SSDs haven't proven themselves both over the long term and at high storage densities."""

They might not have done so for you, but I've got hundreds of them that've been running 24/7 in enterprise workloads for the last 3 years... they're fine.

"Moreover, figures for read/rewrite operations are actually published, this was never 'matter of fact' for magnetic HDs; alone, this is of considerable concern (especially when considering long term storage)."

I think maybe you don't understand how SSDs work, and specifically how they're different from spinning magnetic storage devices. Also, manufacturer-published performance data is always worthless, on any product in any field. Test it yourself. Long term storage, which to me means "Write once and read the same data over a long period of time" is a perfect application for an SSD - they're really quite good at maintaining written data, since most of the failure modes occur on write events, not reads. A spinning disk, on the other hand, is more or less guaranteed to fail in 3-5 years of continuous runtime.

And you shouldn't have any data, on any storage device, without backups (and RAID, if space allows.) If you follow those same standard guidelines with SSDs, you still won't have data loss.

Intel 520 240GB SSD

Nexox Enigma


"""Although 16 x 16GB memory chips populate the 240GB Intel 520, one is used for firmware and other tasks"""

Actually, I believe you'll find that Sandforce do a Raid5-style striped XOR across their flash, so they can tolerate an entire NAND die failure with no data loss. They still have ~7% spare capacity for firmware and things, from the GiB to GB conversion.

@Giles: "The question is why is Intel (aka Chipzilla) using other people's controllers? where's their own design?"

They've still got their own controller in the 320, which is still untouchable as far as price / features / performance for large segments of enterprise users. The 5x0 series is for gamers, who need every last benchmark win - when Intel released the 510 they said they could make the most money in that segment with a third party controller.

@Anon: "Super capacitor?"

1) Super Caps are so last year - they tend to wear out quickly at the elevated temperatures found within computers. They've been replaced by arrays of SMD electrolytic caps, which last quite a lot longer. 2) Clearly from the circuit board pictures, this drive doesn't have either sort of power fail protection. 3) Sandforce only offers power fail on their enterprise controllers (2500 for SATA and 2600 for SAS,) though not all drives with those controllers actually have the capacitors.

But yeah, power fail protection is essential, even for desktop use.

Hitachi GST pushes out boosted SSD

Nexox Enigma


If this drive was SLC it'd be quite a lot faster. It's probably MLC in the Intel 520 (thus slightly higher performance) and eMLC in the Hitachi, for more endurance.

Also a major consideration in drive lifetime is the quantity of spare NAND available to use as blocks start failing - the 520 comes in 240GB and 480GB advertised capacities, whereas the Hitachi is available in 200GB and 400GB, with probably the same amount of raw flash on board, which would allow them to withstand ~20% more failed blocks before the user noticed anything.

"""so maybe there will be a true successor to the X25-E?"""

There are plenty of those - they're made by companies like STEC, are blisteringly fast, and far, far out of my price range. Just like the original X25-E.

NASA: Solar system may have alien origin

Nexox Enigma

Don't even need them!

"""But, this time, let us pray keep those Telephone Sanitizers though....."""

If you look at it, our society has progressed to the point where we no longer share phone handsets! So we can ship out the Telephone Sanitizers' Union along with the rest.

Great, now I feel like a gin and tonic, and it's not even lunch time yet.

The Pirate Bay torrents printable 3D objects

Nexox Enigma


There are (I've heard, haven't tried) decent programs for 3D modeling for things like animation. But when it comes to mechanical design, you want (need, in my opinion) a parametric modeling system, like Solidworks or Inventor. Believe me, I've looked (and re-look every few months,) and nothing free comes anywhere near the capabilities of Solidworks.

For reference, parametric design mostly boils down to relative dimensioning, so you can define the center of a hole some distance from an edge, and if you move that edge the hole follows it. This allows you to make adjustable models, which in turn allows you to iterate your designs quickly (until you hit some limitation, and your hole is now in free space, at which point everything goes to hell and you just have a beer.) Anything with static dimensions ("this hole is at x,y,z - then adjust it manually after you move the edge it's supposed to be aligned with,") or, gods forbid, primitive-based modeling (BRL CAD - "I have a rectangular prism with these corners, I subtract from it a cylinder of this side at these coordinates... now imagine making a laser printer paper tray") is just asking for trouble.

Then again, I'm a mechanical engineer (and I've had models 3D printed!) Maybe people art abilities (not me, in the slightest) would do better with Blender. I've heard it works, but I can't imagine tolerancing moving / meshing / interlocking parts with it.

I also doubt that it has a button that'll tell you the second area moment of inertia of a surface (IE cross-section,) which saves about 2 pages of calculus (assuming an oddly-shaped beam) when you're trying to print beam springs. Couldn't live without that!

Nexox Enigma


Quick, everyone, pirate some expensive modeling software so you can make free 3D printable models!

Also, how long until (or how long since - I'm not checking) this format does the "Internet" thing and becomes 90% porn?

I think when I get a minute (never) I'll make a model of goatse, then upload it under titles like "Big Tits" or similar, just to stir things up a bit.

Toyota teases next-gen Prius styling

Nexox Enigma

I've used them...

I've had a couple cars with touch screen stereos now, and I can say that they're tricky to use while driving. Thankfully, they just played music (SatNav is for people who are lost,) and the important interfaces (power, volume, seek) were on physical knobs, plus replicated on steering wheel buttons. If I was insane enough to try and adjust the fader while moving, though, things would go horribly wrong.

But no, it's not really bright enough to affect my night vision, plus, if it was, I could (while parked...) dim it to the point that it's nearly off.

If I had to use the touch screen to adjust A/C, or switch on a defroster, well, I wouldn't drive that car. That said, I'm a weirdo, as I still insist on cars with the right number of pedals (3, for the tragically uninformed,) and what's more, I have a tendency to pay attention to things going on outside of my vehicle while I'm on the road.

Feds propose 50-state ban on mobile use while driving

Nexox Enigma

Maybe Overkill

"""I don't drive with the radio on any more"""

On long drives, it's generally recommended to keep the radio on to fight fatigue. Maybe you get more distracted by music than I do, but wind (white) noise tends to tire you (well, most people) rather quickly, so covering it with something intelligible helps a lot.

And driving really isn't so hard that it needs your full attention any where near 80% of the time - I spend far more than 20% of my driving time stopped at lights, and it doesn't require intense concentration to tell when the 8 people in front of me begin to roll forward.

If you've been driving for a while, and you're used to your car, picking a course and steering onto it should require minimal thought and effort, and most of the time conditions really don't require anything more than moderate alertness to notice and respond to unexpected events.

I'd say that occasionally, when there's low visibility, low traction, unpredictable drivers, unfamiliar or complex interchanges, or poor signage, a driver needs to pay attention 100%. If you can't drive safely in easier conditions with a few added distractions, then there's just no way you can reasonably be safe in difficult conditions with no distractions. Plus, maintaining a high alertness level also leads to fatigue.

Fatigue, by the way, is also quite deadly behind the wheel, and it can be sneaky, which is why I concentrate so much on avoiding it.

Around here, almost nobody pays attention - while I wait at those lights I watch other drivers complete their left turns and then almost at the same point on the road most of them look straight down into their laps, where they're trying to hide their devices from the cops.

And I think they should all have their licenses revoked.

I'm OK with a hands free call (no, holding a phone on speaker phone 2" from your face isn't hands free,) but any activity that requires looking away from the road for more than ~2 seconds seems like it should already be illegal under various reckless driving laws.

FCC (finally) cracks down on BLARING! TV! ADS!

Nexox Enigma

I've got a better solution

"""Households across the country will soon get the relief they deserve from the annoyance of blaringly loud television commercials."""

Easily accomplished by turning off the television. That way you can avoid the irritating commercials /and/ the irritating programming. Maybe read a book or talk to your room mate / significant other / family instead.

Seriously though, this bill is just in time, since everyone now has a DVR to skip commercials, or they just watch on some form of streaming service, the ads on which are probably not even covered.

IMFT exposes its incredible shrinking NAND

Nexox Enigma

How much market share?

Looks like some how the 4 top NAND manufacturers have about 109.5% market share between them. I'm no economist, but that seems... wrong... to me.

Also, everyone should stop worrying about write endurance. It's just not an issue with a modern (less than ~2 or 3 years old) SSD. You're more likely to suffer some low probability component failure on the drive which renders it useless than you are to see any problems with flash endurance. That's not true for cheap USB stick and SD card flash, which is (often) quite crap.

Voyager probe reaches edge of Solar System's 'bubble'

Nexox Enigma


Was thinking Vogon, myself.

Toshiba Regza 32UL863 32in LED TV

Nexox Enigma


I can't stand that almost all LED-lit screens are edge lit. From what I can tell, this is because 'LED' is a price-bump feature, and so is 'thinness,' so they end up combined on the higher end sets. I like the color and energy efficiency of LED backlit screens, but I think that edge lighting generally looks like crap. And I really don't understand the point of a thin monitor - you just look at it from the front anyway.

Oh well, I picked up a lovely full LED backlight Sharp a while ago, I guess I just won't buy any more displays for a while.

Making connections: The world according to Intel

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"""Is Thunderbolt really faster than PCI-e?"""

Technically, I think Thunderbolt runs PCI-e (4x?) over the cable, along with some other things. I imagine latency is higher, but it should be enough to drive the sort of GPU you'd expect in a reasonable laptop (these Ultrabook toys would clearly have a much less capable GPU.)

That said, I wouldn't give up my desktop - I've had laptops, netbooks, PDAs (remember those?), and smart phones, and they all just make different amounts of compromise to give me a computer that I can move around a bit. My desktop, by comparison, doesn't compromise much (only in price, and maybe energy consumption,) and yields a much more enjoyable operating experience.

Of course, I tend to use computers a bit differently than many people ("You can't possibly need that many open tabs / windows / workspaces / monitors / etc!") and since computers are now used for 2 purposes (streaming video and facebook,) most people probably don't need more than a laptop. In fact, many of them probably don't even need all the buttons on the tablet screen keyboard - a simplified version with a handful of buttons for 'phrases' like 'lol' and 'omfg' would satisfy most of their text input requirements. For all the rest they can just click and drag the pretty pictures.

Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it

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Easier than that

You just need a computer with wifi - then broadcast beacon frames to announce whichever SSID/BSSID combo you'd like. The interesting thing to do would be to scan an area some distance away, and realistically broadcast that set of beacons, to confuse phones in the area. More complicated would be to set up a geographically diverse network, where each node scans it's surrounding networks periodically, and other nodes randomly pick a node to replicate. Extra points for spamming the Google scans.

Sounds disturbingly like work though - I'll let someone else handle the details and implementation bits.

Why GNOME refugees love Xfce

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KDE3 was just fine...

KDE3 was a bit ugly, but it worked fine. Then along came KDE4 and they had to 'simplify' and rename all their programs. Amarok 2.x (for KDE4) was a useless iTunes clone last time I bothered to run it, wheras Amarok 1.4 (From KDE3) was almost exactly what I've always wanted in a music program. KPDF got renamed to 'Okular,' KView is now 'GwenView,' and both of them are slower and harder to interact with.

That said, I don't even recognize Gnome 3 any more, and have zero desire to try it out. I've been running Fluxbox on all of my machines (the ones with displays, in any case) since Gentoo and Fedora Core were the cool distros of choice, and there's just no reason to run anything else. Similar to XFCE, the Flux developers don't rush anything, and aren't adding features just for the hell of it. It's light-weight and pixel-thrifty enough to run on my netbook, and works similarly just fine on my more powerful desktops. And I get to customize everything in text files, no messing with wizards or configuration widgets, and when I need to provision a new machine, I just have to copy my prefs directory and all of my keyboard shortcuts and app-specific settings are ready to go.

But XFCE seems neat, if you're into that kind of thing.

Google dumps + from Boolean search tool

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lateral move at best

For a long time you didn't need a + at all with Google, but now their search is so smart that they drop off important key words if they'd restrict your search too much, and you end up with generic crap. But to be fair, if you needed to use the +, there's a good chance you also needed to quote your term, to stop Google autocorrecting it to something unrelated.

So what they've done is A) Break search so you needed to +"foo" everything, and then B) 'made it more efficient' by allowing you to just "foo" your search terms.

I got so fed up with their search "intelligence" and the tendency to just find massive quantities of duplicate spam sites that I switched to *cringe* bing last week. It's at least 3% not as horrific to use as Google.

And yet again, I wish the web could go back to 2002 or so, when it was more or less a document repository, and the advertisers hadn't quite figured it out yet.

Ubuntu's Oneiric Ocelot: Nice, but necessary?

Nexox Enigma

Mmmmm Fluxbox...

I'm with you there, except I enable slight transparency on my unfocused windows, where my hardware can handle that sort of thing.

Keyboard shortcuts to do /everything/ - not just run programs, but maximize (horizontal, vertical, full screen,) shade (collapse to title bar like OS9,) half-screen maximize (Like you get in Win 7 by dragging to the edge of the screen,) toggle window dressing (title bar, window border,) and even one to ssh to my web development box and restart httpd.

And the best thing about Fluxbox is that I'll never get into the situation where I get forced to learn a new interface, which doesn't seem fun or productive or anything. Plus there's no temptation to collect a huge mess of icons on my desktop, since Fluxbox doesn't offer them (though you can get some 3rd party software to provide clutter if necessary.)

Mobile industry fights San Fran 'carcinogen' labelling

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Apparently you haven't spent much time in San Francisco...

"""Sounds a bit of an overkill knee jerk reaction from the authorities to me."""

Actually sounds like a pretty typical reaction for this region... But it's OK, since the general population is exactly as insane as the politicians.


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