Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2021-Apr-06 today archive
 

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Great Britain's Electricity System Has Greenest Day Ever Over Easter

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Great Britain's electricity system recorded its greenest ever day over the Easter bank holiday as sunshine and windy weather led to a surge in renewable energy. The power plants generating electricity in England, Scotland and Wales produced only 39g of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour of electricity on Monday, according to National Grid's electricity system operator, the lowest carbon intensity recorded since National Grid records began in 1935.

On Easter Monday, wind turbines and solar farms generated 60% of all electricity as households enjoyed a bank holiday lunch. At the same time the UK's nuclear reactors provided 16% of the electricity mix, meaning almost 80% of the grid was powered from low-carbon sources. The low-carbon power surge, combined with lower than average demand for electricity over the bank holiday, kept gas-fired power in Great Britain to 10% of the electricity mix and caused the "carbon intensity" of the electricity system to plummet to its lowest on record.

Re:Well done!

By AmiMoJo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Even if we re-joined say the EEA tomorrow much of the damage is done. Businesses have moved away and won't come back. New trade routes bypassing the UK are up and running. A lot of the skilled workers we need have left and won't return.

The hit we have taken can't be simply undone, it's with us forever now. Even when the economy finally starts to grow again it will be from a lower starting point, so to reverse the damage it would have to experience an equal benefit from brexit and that seems extremely unlikely to happen. The opportunities simply aren't there, given that we need to replace the premium access we had to the EU and the only other blocs of comparable size are the US and China, neither of which would give us such a deal and even if they did it wouldn't benefit us like the EU one did.

Re:Good thing it was sunny...

By shilly • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Oooooh killer argument. What happens is that over time, the UK generates an increasing percentage of its power from low carbon sources. The days in the years where renewables are able to provide electricity also increases over time, as can be seen here:
https://www.theguardian.com/en...

Real-time Power Tracker

By Ginger_Chris • Score: 3 • Thread

https://www.mygridgb.co.uk/das...

Real-time and historical power usage for the UK.

Tracks type and carbon emissions and has data from at least the last 8 years.

(its a great resource as a teacher - it was set up by one of my friends from school)
 

They can do better... with nuclear power

By MacMann • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

Here's an article by Dr. Ripu Malhotra, with some very interesting data from government sources telling us that the UK would have had lower CO2 emissions if they had placed greater emphasis on nuclear power.
https://cmo-ripu.blogspot.com/...

I know someone is going to come back with "but nuclear power costs too much, so take that!" Okay then, how much is too much to spend on lowering CO2? Come up with a number. Please. Because I want to know just how much value you place on lowering CO2 to avoid global warming. I suspect that if this math was done then solar power would lose out to natural gas. The level of materials needed for solar power to create the same energy and power as nuclear fission is at least two orders of magnitude. I'll see people claim that this can be improved with new technologies. You know what can also be improved with new technologies? The cost in time and materials for nuclear power.

Solar power is shit for electricity to the grid. It is a waste of time and materials. More people die from solar power on a per MWh basis than nuclear fission. That's on a global scale when taking into account the disasters outside of the UK. Nuclear power in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, and so many other nations outside of the old Soviet nations is just incredible. By incredible I mean people are incredulous, cannot grasp in their minds, just how safe nuclear fission power has been. We know how to build it safer now, at lower costs, and with less materials.

The costs overruns we see now in nuclear power has come from NIMBYs and BANANAs. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... ) The costs come from inexperience. These were the same kinds of costs overruns that came from early wind and solar power projects. Costs that solar power still has not brought to be competitive with coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind, hydro, and so much else we have to choose from. Solar power is shit for power on the grid and we'd be better served to put those resources into energy sources that are lower cost and lower in CO2 emissions.

With hydro, onshore wind, geothermal, and nuclear fission we can get CO2 emissions lower than this record set by Great Britain, and do it EVERY DAY.

Solar power is dragging down the average and holding us back from doing better. It costs too much, it takes too much time/materials/resources, it's actually not all that safe (people falling off roofs, electrocutions, and other industrial accidents), not that great in CO2 emissions, and very unreliable. As a source of electricity on the grid this makes a very very bad idea.

If someone wants to put solar panels on their roof then I'm not going to stop them. I think it's idiotic, a potential environmental disaster, a matter more of conspicuous consumption than anything practical. I just don't want my taxes subsidizing this. This is a waste of tax money because we have better options on lowering CO2 emissions, lowering energy costs, lowering human suffering, and generally making a better world for ourselves.

Great Britain can do better than this. They should consider this new record a ceiling for CO2 emissions in the future. A ceiling that they can stay under with a combination of hydro, onshore wind, geothermal, and most importantly nuclear fission. Without nuclear fission they will not ever see another day of CO2 emissions this low.

Re:Well done!

By Sique • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Luckily, some people believe that not being part of a corrupt anti-democartic oligarchy is worth more than cash in hand.

As far as I know, Brexit was not about getting rid of the ruling class in the UK.

Google AI Research Manager Quits After Two Ousted From Group

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google research manager Samy Bengio, who oversaw the company's AI ethics group until a controversy led to the ouster of two female leaders, resigned on Tuesday to pursue other opportunities. Bloomberg reports: Bengio, who managed hundreds of researchers in the Google Brain team, announced his departure in an email to staff that was obtained by Bloomberg. His last day will be April 28. An expert in a type of AI known as machine learning, Bengio joined Google in 2007. Ousted Ethical AI co-leads Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell had reported to Bengio and considered him an ally. In February, Google reorganized the research unit, placing the remaining Ethical AI group members under Marian Croak, cutting Bengio's responsibilities.

"While I am looking forward to my next challenge, there's no doubt that leaving this wonderful team is really difficult," Bengio wrote in the email. "I learned so much with all of you, in terms of machine learning research of course, but also on how difficult yet important it is to organize a large team of researchers so as to promote long term ambitious research, exploration, rigor, diversity and inclusion," Bengio wrote in his email. He did not refer to Gebru, Mitchell or the disagreements that led to their departures. [...]

Re:It's a really bad sign...

By Mitreya • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

When your ethicists keep leaving.

Mitchell seems to have been fired for violating code of conduct and exfiltrating documents without permission. Now Google could be lying, of course. But it would be really stupid of them (and easy to disprove & sue) so I doubt it.

Google said in a statement that following a review, "we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct, as well as of our security policies, which included the exfiltration of confidential business-sensitive documents and private data of other employees."

Re:This is Not News

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Are we going to get pointless updates on every staff movement at Google AI Research

Samy Bengio is not just a random guy. He is a co-founder of Google Brain and did pioneering work in deep learning and adversarial networks.

He is the brother of Turing Award winner Yoshua Bengio.

Clickbait headline anyone?

By sconeu • Score: 3 • Thread

The story headline implies a causal connection between Gebru and Mitchell's firing and the Bengio's departure.

TFS (didn't even have to go check TFA) notes that Bengio did not mention either Gebru and Mitchell in his farewell letter.
 

Seems like a pretty clever guy . . .

By OneSmartFellow • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

. . . But, I have a few family members who are equally clever and they also have a problem with unreal expectations of equity, and delusions of inclusion.

The woke world is very enticing, like a dream state, until the day you discover that your micro ethnicity just layed down a micro aggression against a noisier micro ethnicity, and now you're just part of the problem.

Timnit Gebru was not fired.

By HotNeedleOfInquiry • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
At least not by the reading of the first report. Google informed her that releasing her papers without Google approval was not acceptable. She, in turn, said that was not acceptable and quit.

Cyberware Attack Shuts Down Vehicle Emissions Testing In Georgia and Seven Other States

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Georgia is waiving vehicle emissions checks because a cyberware attack has halted all emission testing across Georgia and seven other states. Slashdot reader McGruber shares a report from WSB-TV, an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Atlanta: The CEO of Applus Technologies, whose software runs the system, apologized during the emergency meeting Monday. The outages are delivering a huge blow to small business owners. "All of the sudden, we were doing emissions testing just like normal and the system just kind of shut down," said James Baxter, who owns BP Car Care Tire Pros. "We haven't been able to do emissions since." Baxter said before the cyberattack, his full service automobile shop conducted more than 100 vehicle emissions tests per day. "Emissions is $25. You can imagine the revenue loss. We have employees that are out of work because of this," he said. Last week, Georgia's Department of Revenue issued a press release that omitted mention of the attack.

The Georgia Department of Revenue said its automated systems have been offline since March 31. According to the report, officials aren't sure when the system will go back online. It's also unclear if the hackers were able to access any personal information.

Re:Ransomware?

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It's a out of state software as service vendor. Massachusetts uses them too, and it's been down for a week. Mass government is telling service stations to expect the system to remain down for at least another week.

Connecticut too...

By Andrew Lindh • Score: 3 • Thread

Connecticut is part of the outage too. The State used to run its own emissions program with its own test stations with dynos and exhaust gas analyzers but outsourced the program about 20 years ago. Now it's run by local garages that use the same Applus systems. All they do these days is plug into your OBD-II port and see if the computer is happy (or not) and collect $20. It's not as much of a test as it is a fee collection program. There's no safety inspection, so as long as the check engine light is off you're good to go.

http://www.itnewsonline.com/PR...

Re:Which Other States?

By Andrew Lindh • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Utah (parts).

https://www.bleepingcomputer.c...
https://www.applustech.com/abo...

Re:down there they don't have an state shop to do

By RubberDogBone • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

down there they don't have an state shop to do the test?

No. In Georgia, there are no state inspection centers, no safety inspections, nothing like that at all, really. The closest thing at all would be safety compliance inspections for big rigs during traffic stops. That's it. Emissions testing is entirely outsourced to private operators which can be anything from an old Fotomat booth in a parking lot to a used car dealer doing testing, to gas stations, to tire shops etc.

Additionally, emissions inspections are ONLY required for Metro Atlanta counties. The rest of the state doesn't have emissions testing.

The testing itself consists of looking for fault codes in the ODBII system, looking at the vehicle idle readings, making sure the catalytic convertor is physically present, and testing the gas cap for a good seal. They used to test for exhaust gases but I don't think they still do that for most cars. Some old test sites have a dyno rig but I'm not sure what vehicles have to use that. Not many.

A passing test result is required for gasoline vehicles registered in the Metro Atlanta counties to obtain their annual vehicle registration renewal. The passing grade MUST be submitted to the state by electronic means. You get a paper copy of the test results but nobody will accept that for anything. The test result and proof of auto insurance must be in the state data system or they will absolutely not issue the renewal.

Source: I work for a company that supports the Georgia vehicle license renewal process. We have nothing to do with the computers thankfully.

Georgia does vehicle emissions testing?

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

Given it's Georgia, what are they checking for - do they want to make sure you're generating at least a certain level of pollution? Do you get bonus points if your car is also leaking oil?

GM Is Building An Electric Chevy Silverado With 400 Miles of Range

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
General Motors confirmed it's making an all-electric version of the Chevy Silverado pickup truck with around 400 miles of range on a full charge. The Verge reports: The company did not immediately say when the electric Silverado will go on sale, but GM president Mark Reuss said at an event on Tuesday that the company will also make commercial fleet-focused versions of the truck. The electric Silverado will be made at "Factory Zero," the recently rebranded Detroit-Hamtramck plant dedicated to EVs and AVs that GM is currently retooling at a cost of more than $2 billion. It's the same plant where GM will build the all-electric Hummer SUV and Hummer pickup.

The Silverado EV will undoubtedly be a flagship vehicle of the custom electric vehicle platform GM announced last year, called Ultium. Designed to be modular, the Ultium platform is what will power most of GM's forthcoming electric vehicles. The company has promised the platform will be able to provide as much as 400 miles of range in the biggest configurations, and that the trucks built on Ultium will feature 800-volt architecture that allows for really fast charging.

Re:Happy to see more electric models, but...

By TechyImmigrant • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

>It takes about 10 years to get a completely new car platform into production.

If you're GM

The have to

By Socguy • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Of course they are. It's funny, so many analysts used the 'competition is coming' narrative to cast doubt on the wave of startups Tesla but in reality the OEMs are in just as much, if not more danger from the new wave of competition now that it's aiming squarely at their last remaining profit center... the truck/SUV segment. Now that the wolves are coming for their core business, they either need to compete or fade into history.

I'm not sure they survive this. They failed to hold on when the Japanese came for their cars. Now that we've got a wave of startups and well funded Chinese automotive contenders pointing daggers directly at the heart of the domestic OEMs, they could be in trouble. If history is any guide, they'll fail this test again.

Re:I'd much rather have

By pipegeek • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

How often do you drive 600 miles in a day? Is it worth it to carry around a 600 mile battery for something you do maybe once or twice a year, maybe less?

Say instead you have a 260 mile battery (the current chevy bolt, or the absolute bottom of the line tesla model 3).

If you can charge at home, then any day where you drive less than 260 miles, you don't have to think about fuel at all. For most people, that's most days. Which means the number of times you have to go to a place and do a thing to fuel your car is *far* less than with an ICE vehicle.

And for road trips --- 300 kW chargers are steadily being deployed across the country, and the cars that can draw that much power are coming (current Teslas are close). At 300 kW, you can fill that 260 mile (66 kWh) battery from 0 to 80% in about ten minutes. So, every ~3 hours of driving at highway speeds, you have to spend ten minutes at a pump. So, for the cost of having to spend 10 minutes every 3 hours of road trip (instead of 5 every 6 with a gas car), you get to never visit a public fueling station again *except* on long multi-battery-fillup voyages.

Re:Alaska and Heat

By DanDD • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Colorado native here, driving a Tesla model 3.

If you aren't an early adopter EV techno-geek, you don't want a Tesla in Alaska. You could make it work, but you'd never leave town with it. Instead, get a diesel. You'll have to leave it plugged in all the time if you ever want to get it started, which will condition you for always plugging in an EV when it becomes practical for you :-p

On really cold mornings ( 0F, what I call really cold) the car will alert me that regenerative breaking will be diminished until the car warms up, which takes about 10 minutes of driving. Cabin heat is instant: defroster, vents blowing hot air, and obviously the electric seat heater. 8 minute warm up time not needed, 30 seconds is enough. If I insist on wearing a Hawaiian short sleeve shirt and shorts on a cold day, I'll tell the car to warm up with the cell phone app while I'm finishing breakfast. The coldest part of my day is the walk to and from the car (desk job). Overall range is 20% to 30% less in the cold, but I rarely drive 200 miles in a day, so I don't care. My commute is 40 miles round trip. No range anxiety, ever, even with unplanned excursions before or after work. The drive from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks would be a challenge, for any vehicle :-p Anywhere within the typical metropolitan area of any sprawling US city or town, including Alaska, and you'll have no issues. In fact, operating in the cold will make the batteries last longer, as in more charge cycles, not range. High heat is hard on the battery chemistry. Without a local supercharger network, you'll have to rely on a 240V 50amp shop/dryer/welding plug, which will get you about 40 miles of range per hour - not reasonable for a multi-stop commute.

Charging network

By istartedi • Score: 3 • Thread

A lot of people talk about Tesla having a big target on its back with all these incumbent car companies catching up. True, but the charging network is where Tesla really shines, and it's going to be another game of catch-up that isn't being talked about as much. So ya got this big GM truck with a lot of range, what are the odds that you can find a DCFC at the end of the trip?

Other people have done this analysis more in depth than me, and concluded that it's a pretty big hurdle. There are ways to lie about these statistics too, such as only quoting the "number of stations" and not specifying the type of chargers or number of chargers. For example, there's a small town near here with a park, and a charging station next to the park where they launch boats in to the lake. You can count that as a charging station, but it's only got two outlets. They are 7kw AC. That's not going to charge the truck to 400 mile range, or whatever its max range is when towing a boat, not unless you spend the night. I don't know about the motels, but something tells me the little mom-n-pop motels that cater to bass boaters don't have DCFC.

That's the kind of thing that takes this truck off the list for just about all the customers that would usually buy a truck. I'm not saying it's never going to happen. I'm saying GET A REAL CHARGING NETWORK.

Congress Says Foreign Intel Services Could Abuse Ad Networks For Spying

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: A group of bipartisan lawmakers, including the chairman of the intelligence committee, have asked ad networks such as Google and Twitter what foreign companies they provide user data to, over concerns that foreign intelligence agencies could be leveraging them to harvest sensitive information on U.S. users, including their location. "This information would be a goldmine for foreign intelligence services that could exploit it to inform and supercharge hacking, blackmail, and influence campaigns," a letter signed by Senators Ron Wyden, Mark Warner, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, and Bill Cassidy, reads. The lawmakers sent the letter last week to AT&T, Verizon, Google, Twitter, and a number of other companies that maintain advertisement platforms.

The concerns center around the process of so-called real-time bidding, and the flow of "bidstream" data. Before an advertisement is displayed inside of an app or a browsing session, different companies bid to get their ad into that slot. As part of that process, participating companies obtain sensitive data on the user, even if they don't win the ad placement. "Few Americans realize that some auction participants are siphoning off and storing 'bidstream' data to compile exhaustive dossiers about them. In turn, these dossiers are being openly sold to anyone with a credit card, including to hedge funds, political campaigns, and even to governments," the letter continued. [...] The letter asked the ad companies to name the foreign-headquartered or foreign-majority owned firms that they have provided bidstream data from users in the U.S. to in the past three years. The other companies the lawmakers sent the letter to were Index Exchange, Magnite, OpenX, and PubMatic.
Mark Tallman, assistant professor at the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, told Motherboard in an email that "It's difficult to imagine any policy solution or technical sorcery that can fully 'secure' consumers' private data such that applications and platforms can collect it, and the publishing and advertising industries can access it, while guaranteeing that cybercriminals and foreign intelligence agencies will never get it. Our adversaries already know that they can buy (or steal) data from our marketplace that they could only dream of collecting on such a broad swath of Americans twenty years ago."

Congress is all talk

By schwit1 • Score: 3 • Thread

What teeth has Congress put into the law so the CEO of the next OPM, Equifax or solarwinds type hack does serious jail time and is bankrupted?

Do your own job before telling others what they should be doing
 

Make it illegal

By MrXENIX • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Isn't time to make tracking and aggregating data about people for commercial purposes illegal?

He's right

By wakeboarder • Score: 3 • Thread

Let's rid ourselves of ad networks

Any car in the world..

By drkshadow • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

https://techlog360.com/surveil...

Companies gather so much advertising and behavioral data that they can locate any car in the world, probably any person's likely whereabouts in the world.

The US intelligence agencies think they're the only ones doing this? All of this information has been on sale to any bidder since forever. They'll give you a price. Oh, you can't meet that price? Make an offer. They just want money. You might remember how the US doesn't want tiktok usage in the armed forces, China doesn't want Tesla cars on campus, these companies and _ALL THE OTHERS_ are logging your every everything.

What's more, they all sell it to anyone with a buck.

A company that will sell you the whereabouts of any car in the world, but fifteen companies that will sell you a huge gob of information on most individuals -- put together, huge gobs of information on almost all individuals. Have you heard of Experian? Does anyone think that only US companies and the US government are the only purchasers of US citizens' data? Does anyone dream that there isn't a US-registered company that would turn over, leak, or even "get hagged" and lose the data to Russia or China? Get real.

Re: It's already privatized

By Xenographic • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Where do you come up with that bad interpretation? Does "None of them are up to any good." sound like approval to you?

I'm disapproving of *all* of it, not just disapproving of this when foreigners do it.

Frankly, I'm surprised they'd advocate something so blatantly xenophobic when there's plenty of blame to pass around domestically.

We need to make the social graph less public. It's putting too much power into the hands of too few people and they don't have our best interests at heart, they're using it to manipulate us. So of course Congress is concerned because they don't want to share that power, but it's not a good thing for anyone to have.

Bitcoin Mining Emissions In China Will Hit 130 Million Tons By 2024

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
According to researchers in Beijing, China, the total carbon footprint of bitcoin mining in the country will peak in 2024, releasing around 130 million metric tons of carbon. This figure exceeds the annual carbon emissions of countries including Italy and the Czech Republic. New Scientist reports: By 2024, bitcoin mining in China will require 297 terawatt-hours of energy and account for approximately 5.4 per cent of the carbon emissions from generating electricity in the country. The researchers predicted the emissions peak in China in 2024 based on calculations of when the overall cost of mining -- the investment in computing equipment and the electricity costs -- outweighs the financial rewards of selling mined bitcoin. They used both financial projections and carbon emissions analysis to model the emissions footprint in China, taking into account factors such as location. Bitcoin miners in Beijing or other parts of northern China are very likely to be using electricity from coal-powered plants. Mining in southern provinces -- especially Guizhou, Yunnan and Sichuan -- is in large part powered by hydroelectricity, says Guan. The findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Re:Only if it's economically viable

By battingly • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Bitcoin mining relies on somebody else shouldering a significant part of the cost. Either by using a public utility which spreads the cost over all customers, or by making the rest us who use the atmosphere pay the price for the emissions in the form of climate change.

20 years ago

By crotron • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
If you had told me that one day people would be exchanging virtual funny money, operating independently of any government, online via the Internet, and that it would be so valuable that its production would lead to electronics, energy, and pollution crises, I would have laughed right in your face.

Re:Hence the move to nuclear power

By rbrander • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I admit I didn't check your links, just Wikipedia. It says China has 42 GW, with 10 GW more coming on-line soon, and 36 GW in plans after that. This would haul them up to 88GW out of 2200, or almost exactly 4% nuclear.

China's coal consumption, for the 1190 GW of coal plants, on the other hand, speaks for itself:
https://theatlas.com/charts/Ny...

Breaking Bitcoin Might Be Easy

By HappySeafood • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Bitcoin transactions are performed by the miners and validated by the nodes, and miners and nodes can try to hide but they seem easy to find.

The IP's have to be known to the upstream bitcoin network to perform work, right? Couldn't law enforcement simply create a bitcoin node, and then similar to how the RCAA went after bittorrent users by suing the IP's that downloaded their fake torrents, discover the IPs of the miners and transaction nodes and have their country's ISPs block all those IP's? Bitcoin would be dead in the water.

I don't see Bitcoin surviving a country-wide IP ban. It would be tough to enforce in the USA, but in less liberal countries it seems easy to kill off crypto. Is there something I'm not seeing?

Not just climate change

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
China's grid is *dirty*. Their air quality will be noticeably worse as a result. That in turn will increase rates of cancer, brain damage (yep, bad air causes brain damage, especially in kids) and heart & lung disease.

Google Open-Sources Lyra In Beta To Reduce Voice Call Bandwidth Usage

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Google today open-sourced Lyra in beta, an audio codec that uses machine learning to produce high-quality voice calls. VentureBeat reports: The code and demo, which are available on GitHub, compress raw audio down to 3 kilobits per second for "quality that compares favorably to other codecs," Google says. Lyra's architecture is separated into two pieces, an encoder and decoder. When someone talks into their phone, the encoder captures distinctive attributes, called features, from their speech. Lyra extracts these features in 40-millisecond chunks and then compresses and sends them over the network. It's the decoder's job to convert the features back into an audio waveform that can be played out over the listener's phone.

According to Google, Lyra's architecture is similar to traditional audio codecs, which form the backbone of internet communication. But while these traditional codecs are based on digital signal processing techniques, the key advantage for Lyra comes from the ability of its decoder to reconstruct a high-quality signal. Google believes there are a number of applications Lyra might be uniquely suited to, from archiving large amounts of speech and saving battery to alleviating network congestion in emergency situations.

Backbone of internet communication?!

By Edward Nardella • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

> traditional audio codecs, which form the backbone of internet communication

Tech journalism at its finest folks!

is it really an audio codec ?

By AlexHilbertRyan • Score: 3 • Thread
or is it really transcribing the speech into a simpler form and attempting to recreate them on the other end ?

comparison

By johnjones • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

to be honest I think the comparison they jacked up the levels so its not really all that better and I wish everyone would migrate to Opus

Re:Yet another speech codec

By NateFromMich • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Toss it in the pile over here.

"Human speech can be modeled easier than generic audio."
"This means that otherwise good quality generic audio codecs perform poorly with speech signal even at quite high bit rates"

Who wrote this contradictory crap?

Please no

By wakeboarder • Score: 3 • Thread

Phone calls are already really bad, even when you have good cell reception. More compression make the call quality more susceptible to error.

Google Now Supports Rust for Underlying Android OS Development

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
For the past few years, Google has been encouraging developers to write Android apps with Kotlin. The underlying OS still uses C and C++, though Google today announced Android Open Source Project (AOSP) support for Rust. From a report: This is part of Google's work to address memory safety bugs in the operating system: "We invest a great deal of effort and resources into detecting, fixing, and mitigating this class of bugs, and these efforts are effective in preventing a large number of bugs from making it into Android releases. Yet in spite of these efforts, memory safety bugs continue to be a top contributor of stability issues, and consistently represent ~70% of Android's high severity security vulnerabilities."

The company believes that memory-safe languages, like Rust, are the "most cost-effective means for preventing memory bugs" in the bootloader, fastboot, kernel, and other low-level parts of the OS. Unlike C and C++, where developers manage memory lifetime, Rust "provides memory safety guarantees by using a combination of compile-time checks to enforce object lifetime/ownership and runtime checks to ensure that memory accesses are valid." Google has been working to add this support to AOSP for the past 18 months. Performance is equivalent to the existing languages, while increasing the effectiveness of current sandboxing and reducing the overall need for it. This allows for "new features that are both safer and lighter on resources." Other improvements include data concurrency, a more expressive type system, and safer integer handling.

Ok Android devs, what do you think?

By SuperKendall • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread

I've done a small amount of Android dev to-date, nothing that would be considered a real app. I've mostly been doing iOS development for quite a while now.

At some point though I'd like to go deeper into Android dev work - do you think someone learning Android might be better off learning Rust for Android dev, or just stick with Kotlin?

From an intuitive standpoint, it seems like Kotlin would be better, since the system and UI libraries are more oriented towards a Java/Kotlin mindset, and probably will not really mesh as well with Rust constructs for a while. Also, Kotlin seems closer to Swift than Rust is (not sure about that).

So, I though it would be interesting to ask what professional Android devs thought.

Google security blog post

By Krishnoid • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Here's the Google security blog post the linked article quotes from.

Re:Ok Android devs, what do you think?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I've done a small amount of Android dev to-date, nothing that would be considered a real app.

The be clear, TFA is talking about Rust in the AndroidOS, not about using Rust in apps.

Rust is not well supported for Android app development. If you try to use it, you will be way out on the bleeding edge. Since you claim to have little app experience, that would likely be a mistake. You should stick with Kotlin until the Rust ecosystem on Android matures.

Rust is safe. Hard learning curve.

By SysEngineer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Security is most important. Rust reduces the attack window for software by a large amount.
Rust analysis happens at compile time. This in it self reduces the attack window.
Zero garbage collection make it great for embedded and sandbox environments.
Rust to WASM produces very safe code that can run is a browser.

Libraries? I had to fork two projects to get my projects to work.

I think writing in rust is a good idea,

Is Rust treally safer?

By ShoulderOfOrion • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm certain Rust is safer than C. But it will be interesting to see in a few years if Rust is really safer than properly-written C++ (ie using unique_ptr and shared_ptr et al whenever possible). If the code is doing something that still requires raw pointers in C++, it's probably going to require an unsafe section in Rust. Same difference.

DoorDash Drivers Game Algorithm To Increase Pay

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Dave Levy and Nikos Kanelopoulos are trying to beat the algorithm. The two DoorDash drivers -- Dashers, as the company calls them -- are trying to persuade their peers to turn down the lowest-paying deliveries so the automated system for matching jobs with drivers will respond by raising pay rates. "Every app-based on-demand company's objective is to constantly shift profits from the driver back to the company," Levy says. "Our objective is the reverse of that." Their main tool is #DeclineNow, a 40,000-person online forum that provides a view into a type of labor activism tailored for the gig economy. While there's no reliable way to quantify its impact, #DeclineNow's members say they've already increased pay for workers across the country, including in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, where Levy and Kanelopoulos live. But the effort raises difficult questions about the nature of collective action, and there are reasons to doubt whether using a company's own software systems against it is a strategy that can prove effective for a sustained period of time.

In October 2019 they launched the #DeclineNow Facebook group. They urge members to reject any delivery that doesn't pay at least $7, more than double the current floor of $3. [...] On #DeclineNow, low acceptance rates are a badge of honor. Levy rejects about 99% of the jobs he's offered, rapidly declining low-paying jobs to find enough lucrative ones to keep him busy. #DeclineNow's strategy of selectively declining orders is well-known among DoorDash workers -- and not universally accepted. Some question the strict minimum fee rule, citing regional price differences. Others find #DeclineNow to be mean-spirited and toxic, a place where people try to ridicule and bully others into going along with their plan. [...] #DeclineNow has little patience for such naysayers. Users who question the $7 minimum rule are punished with suspension from the group or, as the group's moderators like to put it, "a trip to the dungeon."
In a statement, DoorDash said drivers are always free to reject orders but added that coordinated declining slows down the delivery process. The company encourages workers to accept at least 70% of deliveries offered, which awards them with "Top Dasher" status.

Re:WOW!

By Gimric • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Why does one employer not have to pay a living wage, while others do? That just creates an unfair competitive advantage and results in a race to the bottom. The flexibility that comes with "the gig economy" should cost employers more per hour, not less.

DoorDash driver myself (side job, at least) ....

By King_TJ • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I've got a few thoughts/comments on this one!

First? I have zero interest in some kind of "collective" trying to push drivers to reject any delivery that pays under $7 or whatever price they feel is "just". I already reject plenty of deliveries offered to me, whenever I don't feel like they're a good deal. I'd rather decide that on MY terms, which tend to change based on where, when and why I'm doing DoorDash on a particular "run".

Beyond that, though? There's truth to what DoorDash is saying; that people consistently taking the deliveries that pop up make the service appear far more useful to customers. Too many people rejecting deliveries in an area leads to people deciding "DoorDash sucks for ordering stuff around here," and they stop trying. They just become converts to Grubhub or Uber Eats or Postmates or what-not, or decide the whole thing is worthless and go back to only ordering directly from places offering delivery themselves.

When I see the really low offers like $3.50 to drive some food across town, it's almost always a fast food delivery. These are usually generated because DoorDash is doing some kind of deal with a big chain so they can turn around and promise "free delivery with DoorDash". Typically, these wind up going to apartment complexes, in my experience, to lower income people (sometimes broke college students), who probably can't afford to pay extra for food delivery otherwise. It's a very different kind of customer than the ones you get ordering from the "sit down" places for entire families.... I usually do skip these, but sometimes grab one if it's close to where I'm at and doesn't need to go very far. I mean, I literally had one like that where the McDonalds was about 500 feet from my location, and the destination was a house on the street behind it. (Turned out it was a babysitter who ordered some snack stuff for the kids she was watching there.)

I don't get the people arguing that these delivery services "need to pay better" because of the people trying to making a living doing them full-time? That was NEVER the point of these gig economy "jump in any time and quit any time" phone app based things! If anything, it's a testament to their success that anyone can actually consider TRYING to do them full-time and earn enough so it seems like a possible option. DoorDash earns me an average of about $18/hr. if I average the whole thing out over the last year or so of doing it. I made $26 in about 45 minutes, 2 days ago, when I took a couple deliveries during my lunch break during my day job. But that's the key: You earn more only during a lunch or dinner rush, so a 2 hour window, essentially. You can't expect you'll earn that consistently at any time or day or night.

Re:WOW!

By superdave80 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
These 'gig' companies aren't even profitable as is. Even just to turn a profit they are either going to have to raise prices (less people will use it), or cut costs (less people will be 'dashers'). If they can't make money during this pandemic, they have zero chance of making money going forward.

Re:Finding the happy medium

By RightSaidFred99 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Wealth "taxation" will never fly in the US - it's not a tax it's simply wealth confiscation. The only people who seriously push for it are the usual populist rabble rousers.

It's not even necessary. You just increase capital gains, marginal rates about e.g. $500k, and then devalue currency as needed with fiscal policy. Add in generous safety nets and some sort of UBI and you get to the same place without the silly pretense that a "wealth tax" is a thing.

Re:WOW!

By hdyoung • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Hm. Yes. I completely agree. And you know how we fix this? We vote in politicians that are willing to make our tax code more progressive (aka richer people pay a higher rate). Heck, it would be an improvement just to make our tax code LESS REGRESSIVE (aka poorer people pay a higher rate) which is the way it is right now. At least in America.

The weird thing is that most wealthier people tend to vote for the party that wants to increase taxes and fix this issue (D). While the poorer, less educated people tend to vote for the other party (R) that shovels up tax cut after tax cut, and would rather let children starve and die on the front lawn of a for-profit hospital before letting taxes go up a single cent. These are the people who voted in a massive tax cut 4 years ago that gave a 3$ of tax break to the poor people while shoveling money at billionaires and corporations. Happily screwing themselves over and proud of it.

I'm educated, professional and moderately financially stable. If I voted my own pocketbook, I'd be a staunch republican. Instead, my vote goes to the party that would like to fix these issues. The problem is that my vote is swamped out by all these less educated, underemployed, blue collar types who insist on repeatedly taking it up the rear end so that my stock portfolio can grow at an extra 0.5% per year. Shrug. Fine. If they really feel that strongly about it. That's democracy at work. I'm only a single vote.

We live in very, VERY strange times.

Cosmic Rays Causing 30,000 Network Malfunctions in Japan Each Year

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Cosmic rays are causing an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 malfunctions in domestic network communication devices in Japan every year, a Japanese telecom giant found recently. From a report: Most so-called "soft errors," or temporary malfunctions, in the network hardware of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. are automatically corrected via safety devices, but experts said in some cases they may have led to disruptions. It is the first time the actual scale of soft errors in domestic information infrastructures has become evident. Soft errors occur when the data in an electronic device is corrupted after neutrons, produced when cosmic rays hit oxygen and nitrogen in the earth's atmosphere, collide with the semiconductors within the equipment. Cases of soft errors have increased as electronic devices with small and high-performance semiconductors have become more common. Temporary malfunctions have sometimes led to computers and phones freezing, and have been regarded as the cause of some plane accidents abroad. Masanori Hashimoto, professor at Osaka University's Graduate School of Information Science and Technology and an expert in soft errors, said the malfunctions have actually affected other network communication devices and electrical machineries at factories in and outside Japan.

Nonsense

By belthize • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This is not the first time this has become evident. There have been papers written on it. You can calculate the expected incident rate based on packet throughput. As others have said companies like DEC and IBM spent a great deal of effort on the general question 50 years ago, CISCO had several papers specific to network impacts in the late 90's.

This is why all such networking equipment, memory and filesystems are fairly resilient to the effect, because there's fuck all you can do about it (at least cost effectively).

Not a new phenomenon

By dsgrntlxmply • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

We had an embedded system with maybe 16KB of (if I recall correctly) Intel 2107 DRAM (4096 x 1 bit) deployed mid-to-late 1977. We had parity on the memory, and were observing higher than expected rates of parity error crashes. Trade newspapers brought word of May and Woods paper (Apr. 1978) on alpha particle upsets from radioactive materials in ceramic chip packages. Reported failure rates applied across our device population, explained most of the parity crashes that we had been observing.

Around 2013 in a telecom application, we (another company) had functional failures that could be traced to single event upsets causing persistent bit flips in hardware routing tables. The failure rate was low, but the limited number of cases observed, seemed to have higher rates of occurrence at higher altitude sites. Third semester physics problem: how can muons make it to ground level (under justifiable assumptions stated in the problem)? Answer: muons at 0.98c are relativistic: their decay "clock" runs slower than earth observer frame by a factor of 5. A sufficient number reach the ground, to cause trouble.

Bonus points: help your kid build a cloud chamber. My dad did. It was fun and spooky, and I had great, if sometimes painful, adventures with the Model T ignition coil. Cosmic ray observation, quite literally on the kitchen table.

Re:even older

By AmiMoJo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

DDR6 is going to be all ECC. Memory sizes are so large now it's pretty much a requirement.

It will still come in two types though. One that does ECC internally, one that exposes the ECC to the CPU.

Re:That's more than one bit flip.

By Camel Pilot • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I was just going from memory as this happened but in 2005. Should've known this was slashdot and someone was going to check me on it... So I searched the official maintenance log and found the actual entry

"Nightingale investigated the problem and after finding no issue with the format of the state file, proceeded to examine the place in the cams.pl code where the error was occurring. Nightingale discovered that the cams.pl file had been mysteriously modified. A single bit was changed causing a variable name to be changed, e.g. State_ref => Stade_ref. ... The source code change was an ASCII character change from "t" to "d".

This is a change of a single bit in the character byte. The change in source code was not made by human editing. Troxel believes that the Piquin hard drive may have been impacted by the "Oh My God Particle". The source code change was an ASCII character change from "t" to "d". This is a change of a single bit in the character byte."

Wife

By argee • Score: 3 • Thread

I tried to explain it to her. Went to an online Flower shop to get her a bouquet, and due to the Chinese Neutron bug, an exotic porn site popped up. For some reason, she wouldn't believe me.

Intel Launches First 10nm 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Processors For Data Centers

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes: Intel just officially launched its first server products built on its advanced 10nm manufacturing process node, the 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable family of processors. 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors are based on the 10nm Ice Lake-SP microarchitecture, which incorporates a number of new features and enhancements. Core counts have been significantly increased with this generation, and now offer up to 40 cores / 80 threads per socket versus 28 cores / 56 threads in Intel's previous-gen offerings. The 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor platform also supports up to 8 channels of DDR4-3200 memory, up to 6 terabytes of total memory, and up to 64 lanes of PCIe Gen4 connectivity per socket, for more bandwidth, higher capacity, and copious IO.

New AI, security and cryptographic capabilities arrive with the platform as well. Across Cloud, HPC, 5G, IoT, and AI workloads, new 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors are claimed to offer significant uplifts across the board versus their previous-gen counterparts. And versus rival AMD's EPYC platform, Intel is also claiming many victories, specifically when AVX-512, new crypto instructions, or DL Boost are added to the equation. Core counts in the line-up range from 8 — 40 cores per processor and TDPs vary depending on the maximum base and boost frequencies and core count / configuration (up to a 270W TDP). Intel is currently shipping 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable CPUs to key customers now, with over 200K chips in Q1 this year and a steady ramp-up to follow.

VMware ESXi Licensing/32-core limit

By random_nb • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
VMware changed their licensing last year to count a "CPU" as "up to 32 cores". It's a real double-dip on dual socket systems, so a shiny new dual socket server with 40-core chips counts as four CPUs, despite actually representing under three 32-core units. Be sure to plan around this. https://www.vmware.com/company/news/updates/cpu-pricing-model-update-feb-2020.html

AVX-512?

By BAReFO0t • Score: 3 • Thread

You mean that nonsensical instruction set that serves no real need and only exists so Intel looks good in benchmarks?

Yeah, sure they'll beat everything in that area. ^^

Thanks, AMD

By zenlessyank • Score: 3 • Thread

Without EPYC these wouldn't be for sale. Yet.

Re:How much is SQL going to cost now?

By jabuzz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Per core payment . . . lol . . . What a sad world some people live in.

SAS at least used to run a benchmark on your system and then your license fee depends on how fast things go.

Also you can game these sorts of licensing if you know what you are doing, and get functional systems at stupidly low prices. I keep a dual core Dell R300 running because it is more than fast enough and it is just 100 PVU for Spectrum Protect(TSM) to backup my Spectrum Scale (GPFS) 1PB file system. Anything newer would be 280PVU which is an extra $1000 in initial licensing.

Signal Tests Payments Feature To Let Users Send Cryptocurrency

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Signal announced on Tuesday it's now testing a new peer-to-peer payments system in the beta version of its apps. From a report: Appropriately called Signal Payments, the new feature right now supports only one protocol: the MobileCoin wallet and its companion cryptocurrency MOB. MobileCoin has a close relationship with Signal co-founder and CEO Moxie Marlinspike, who advised the company prior to its most recent round of funding announced last month. "The first payments protocol we've added support for is a privacy focused payments network called MobileCoin, which has its own currency, MOB," wrote Jun Harada, Signal's head of growth and communication, in a blog post. "As always, our goal is to keep your data in your hands rather than ours; MobileCoin's design means Signal does not have access to your balance, full transaction history, or funds. You can also transfer your funds at any time if you want to switch to another app or service."

This is kinda ghastly

By trawg • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Long-time Signal user and supporter here. I have been trying to migrate family and friends off Whatsapp onto Signal, both because I want to get off FB and I just like Signal better (reactions alone I think are worth it).

But this move seems terrible. Other users have noted there are things that would be really nice to spend dev time on - e.g. some of the long-standing bugs/issues (like any open source application has) that would be nice to fix. I routinely have little issues, like messages seemingly getting corrupted and becoming unreadable on a device, or unreliable or very slow message delivery.

Adding more bloat into an application that is not directly related to its core purpose - cryptocurrency bloat no less!!! - is exactly the kind of thing that is going to drive me away.

Uber May Stop Letting Drivers See Destinations and Name Prices

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader shares a report: A year ago, Uber let its California drivers see ride destinations before picking up passengers and let them set pricing in an effort to prove that the drivers were truly independent contractors. It was part of the company's strategy to block drivers from being reclassified as employees under AB5, California's gig-work law. Now, Uber is acknowledging that the move has hurt business and is considering axing its visible destinations and price-naming policies, The Chronicle has learned. The see-saw may disappoint drivers who appreciated that extra control over their work.

Too many drivers cherry-pick lucrative rides and decline other requests, making the service unreliable, the San Francisco company said on Monday. Uber no longer has to worry about proving that drivers are independent contractors, because Prop 22 -- the November ballot measure that Uber and fellow gig companies spent $220 million to pass -- enshrines their non-employee status.

Other demotivators

By RogueWarrior65 • Score: 3 • Thread

Or perhaps, some drivers don't want to go to sketchier parts of town.

Re:Why do you guess that?

By ghoul • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
How can they refuse a job if they dont know what the job is? if they only find out the destination after picking up the passenger, they cant ask the passenger to get out without getting kicked off the platform. So, No they are not free to refuse jobs.

Re:If driving for Uber is so bad, why do it?

By LeeLynx • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
You have just assumed away the correct answer as inconvenient to your point. If a person needs work badly enough to take a shit job, there is probably a reason - lack of education, lack of experience, outsized family obligations, etc. That person is likely already working one or more of those low wage jobs and not earning enough to live on, and between things like child care or just the schedules of those other jobs, Uber is all that remains that fits. So yes, many people are working for Uber due to a lack of other meaningful choices. Uber is counting on this - if they were actually relying solely on those drivers who are legitimately just doing this in their goof-off time, they wouldn't be able to reach the necessary critical mass for this to be a worthwhile business model.

Re:Ride-sharing

By ArchieBunker • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Uber is a taxi company without following any regulations or licensing that other companies must follow. I care because I pay more to the government than Uber currently does.

Re:Why do you guess that?

By joe_frisch • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
They may find work-arounds (eg scams) as they do now. Uber drivers at San Francisco airport have learned the trick of stopping on the level below where the passenger is calliing. Indicating a passenger pickup, then if they don't like the destination, saying the passenger canceled the ride. Happend to me a few times as a passenger when I was traveling at a busy time and my destination was unpopular. (at least at that time driver couldn't learn the destination until after pickup, unless the destination was beyond some range). I'm sure there are an endless number of tricks and the drivers will find ways to get around these restrictions.

European Institutions Were Targeted in a Cyber-Attack Last Week

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A range of European Union institutions including the European Commission were hit by a significant cyber-attack last week. From a report: A spokesperson for the commission said that a number of EU bodies "experienced an IT security incident in their IT infrastructure." The spokesperson said forensic analysis of the incident is still in its initial phase and that it's too early to provide any conclusive information about the nature of the attack. "We are working closely with CERT-EU, the Computer Emergency Response Team for all EU institutions, bodies and agencies and the vendor of the affected IT solution," the spokesperson said. "Thus far, no major information breach was detected." The attack was serious enough for senior officials at the commission to be alerted, according to a person familiar with the matter. The same person said the incident was bigger than the usual attacks that regularly hit the EU. Another EU official said that staff had recently been warned about potential phishing attempts. Western institutions have uncovered at least two serious cyber-attacks recently.

Experienced an IT security incident?

By terrorubic • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
A spokesperson for the commission said that a number of EU bodies "experienced an IT security incident in their IT infrastructure."

Do you mean their Microsoft Windows computers got hacked.

Microsoft is Now Submerging Servers Into Liquid Baths

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Microsoft is starting to submerge its servers in liquid to improve their performance and energy efficiency. A rack of servers is now being used for production loads in what looks like a liquid bath. From a report: This immersion process has existed in the industry for a few years now, but Microsoft claims it's "the first cloud provider that is running two-phase immersion cooling in a production environment." The cooling works by completely submerging server racks in a specially designed non-conductive fluid. The fluorocarbon-based liquid works by removing heat as it directly hits components and the fluid reaches a lower boiling point (122 degrees Fahrenheit or 50 degrees Celsius) to condense and fall back into the bath as a raining liquid. This creates a closed-loop cooling system, reducing costs as no energy is needed to move the liquid around the tank, and no chiller is needed for the condenser either. "It's essentially a bath tub," explains Christian Belady, vice president of Microsoft's data center advanced development group, in an interview with The Verge. "The rack will lie down inside that bath tub, and what you'll see is boiling just like you'd see boiling in your pot. The boiling in your pot is at 100 degrees Celsius, and in this case it's at 50 degrees Celsius."

Re: fluorocarbon-based liquid

By mrchew1982 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
It's probably one of the new poly-olefin based refrigerants used in chillers, like R1336mzz or R1233zd. Like R11, pretty much a liquid at room temperature and pressure, but boils if you hold it in the palm of your hand. Unlike R11, negligible Global Warming Potential (GWP), zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP), and super expensive.

Indoor plumbing is the indication of civilizati

By nevermindme • Score: 3, Informative • Thread
Data center cooling is the hard part of data centers. Plumbing is the hard part of cooling. Indoor plumbing is the indication of civilization.

There have been liquid cooled rack solutions for standard servers for years now. Water/Ethanol Glycol is cheap and easily disposed of and deliverable at -30 C. I worked at a data center right across the street from a million gallon tank of stuff held to handle peak chilled water requirement of a city center and convention hall. The data center moved in when it was realized the convention hall had no intent of ever hitting a occupancy rate where the cooling would be needed.

We did not enjoy the costs of full rack solutions solely because of the plumbing contractor costs so we placed coolers at bottom of difficult racks to cool and had a large amount of insulated flex running under the data center floor. The 100+ air handlers were equipped with 2 chilling loops, one entirely internal and one with the utility chilled water. When the costs were figured out, in this very unique case, utility provided chilled water to dedicated air handlers was both more reliable and more cost effective than any other method.

The Utility had less than 20 hours of not delivering chilled water at the contracted temp over a decade, all during scheduled intervals in spring and fall. We had 20 days of the private chillers being out of service for all sorts of issues, including squires and birds. All this was next to lake and a century old infrastructure that had all the 4C year round water that the EPA would allow pumped, that they did not allowed pump citing environmental concerns of a lake next to dozens of cities.

A few years

By ibpooks • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This immersion process has existed in the industry for a few years now

If by a few years you mean several decades. I hear ghosts of IBM, Cray, SGI, etc calling.

Certs needed

By DesertNomad • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Man, now I'm gonna have to get SCUBA certified just to be an IT guy.

Re: Cray.

By thegarbz • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Indeed, tons of people have done this before and all stopped doing it as soon as they could because it's a huge pain in the ass.

Yep and we all know that once you try something once that you *never* try it again. After all nothing at all has changed in the last 50 years, so you're absurd to retry a concept.

China Creates Its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
A thousand years ago, when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now the Chinese government is minting cash digitally, in a re-imagination of money that could shake a pillar of American power. From a report: It might seem money is already virtual, as credit cards and payment apps such as Apple Pay in the U.S. and WeChat in China eliminate the need for bills or coins. But those are just ways to move money electronically. China is turning legal tender itself into computer code. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have foreshadowed a potential digital future for money, though they exist outside the traditional global financial system and aren't legal tender like cash issued by governments.

China's version of a digital currency is controlled by its central bank, which will issue the new electronic money. It is expected to give China's government vast new tools to monitor both its economy and its people. By design, the digital yuan will negate one of bitcoin's major draws: anonymity for the user. Beijing is also positioning the digital yuan for international use and designing it to be untethered to the global financial system, where the U.S. dollar has been king since World War II. China is embracing digitization in many forms, including money, in a bid to gain more centralized control while getting a head start on technologies of the future that it regards as up for grabs. "In order to protect our currency sovereignty and legal currency status, we have to plan ahead," said Mu Changchun, who is shepherding the project at the People's Bank of China. Digitized money could reorder the fundamentals of finance the way Amazon.com disrupted retailing and Uber rattled taxi systems. That an authoritarian state and U.S. rival has taken the lead to introduce a national digital currency is propelling what was once a wonky topic for cryptocurrency theorists into a point of anxiety in Washington. Asked in recent weeks how digitized national currencies such as China's might affect the dollar, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell have said the issue is being studied in earnest, including whether a digital dollar makes sense someday.

Control is too useful to renounce.

By couchslug • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Governments issue currency to manage their economies and the more control they have over it the more power they have.

Control every transaction and you control your people.

The pillar of American power is our military

By rsilvergun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
specifically our Navy. We're imperialists. We just don't like to talk it up like the British empire did.

That said, now would be a good time for some serious infrastructure spending so that we're not dependent on Chinese manufacturing. They're pretty clearly planning to "Belt & Road" us. They keep buying up our businesses and real estate. Maybe having so much of our country owned by authoritarian foreign governments is a bad idea. I kind of like that ownership to be with my citizens who I can sanction with laws instead of bombs.

As for the debt we owe them, there's an easy solution: Pass the Medicare for All bills, use the savings to pay off China.

Re:Of course it is

By Rick Schumann • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Exactly. The main reason they want to do this is to tighten the noose around their citizens' necks, track every single thing they do, even if it's buying a piece of candy for their kid.
Personally I think the Chinese government would like nothing better than to cut their citizens off from the rest of the world entirely like North Korea does. No one goes in, no one goes out, you never hear anything about the rest of the world, and you're even raised to believe there's nothing out there, nowhere to go.
Here in the U.S. we may have our problems but we're not evil like that.

Re:Of course it is

By Lord Apathy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Not to mention China's activity in Africa. The Chinese are buying up vast amounts of land in Africa.

High price for Chinese banking

By laughingskeptic • Score: 3 • Thread
Chinese banks are going to pay a high price for their government's expansionist objectives. They are being cut out of the transaction loop by their own government.

Amazon Is the Target of Small-Business Antitrust Campaign

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
Merchant groups are forming a national coalition to campaign for stricter antitrust laws, including measures they hope could force Amazon.com to spin off some of its business lines. From a report: The effort is being launched Tuesday by trade groups that represent small hardware stores, office suppliers, booksellers, grocers and others, along with business groups from 12 cities, organizers say. Merchants plan to push their congressional representatives for stricter antitrust laws and tougher enforcement of existing ones. The groups, which collectively represent thousands of businesses, want federal legislation that would prevent the owner of a dominant online marketplace from selling its own products in competition with other sellers, a policy that could effectively separate Amazon's retail product business from its online marketplace. Members of the House Antitrust Subcommittee are considering legislation along those lines as they weigh changes to U.S. antitrust law, though no bill has yet been introduced. The merchant groups also want tougher enforcement of competition laws and legal changes that would make it easier for the government to win antitrust lawsuits against big companies.

E3 2021 Announced as 'Reimagined, All-Virtual' Event Coming in June

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
E3 will return in 2021 as a "reimagined, all-virtual" event, organizers announced Tuesday. E3 2021 will take place June 12-15, and will feature content from Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games, and Koch Media, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) said in a news release. From a report: Game developers and publishers will showcase their games at E3 2021 "directly to fans around the world," the ESA said. E3 2021 content will be free to access, thanks to unannounced global media partners. "We are evolving this year's E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games," said Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA. While this year's E3 will be virtual, organizers say they are planning for an in-person E3 2022.

Who cares...

By SirSpanksALot • Score: 3 • Thread
E3 hasn't been relevant in forever - PAX is the gaming conference that matters.

Why Shortages of a $1 Chip Sparked Crisis in Global Economy

Posted by msmashView on SlashDotShareable Link
To understand why the $450 billion semiconductor industry has lurched into crisis, a helpful place to start is a one-dollar part called a display driver. From a report: Hundreds of different kinds of chips make up the global silicon industry, with the flashiest ones from Qualcomm and Intel going for $100 apiece to more than $1,000. Those run powerful computers or the shiny smartphone in your pocket. A display driver chip is mundane by contrast: Its sole purpose is to convey basic instructions for illuminating the screen on your phone, monitor or navigation system. The trouble for the chip industry -- and increasingly companies beyond tech, like automakers -- is that there aren't enough display drivers to go around. Firms that make them can't keep up with surging demand so prices are spiking. That's contributing to short supplies and increasing costs for liquid crystal display panels, essential components for making televisions and laptops, as well as cars, airplanes and high-end refrigerators.

"It's not like you can just make do. If you have everything else, but you don't have a display driver, then you can't build your product," says Stacy Rasgon, who covers the semiconductor industry for Sanford C. Bernstein. Now the crunch in a handful of such seemingly insignificant parts -- power management chips are also in short supply, for example -- is cascading through the global economy. Automakers like Ford Motor, Nissan Motor and Volkswagen have already scaled back production, leading to estimates for more than $60 billion in lost revenue for the industry this year. The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Re:Live by JIT manufacturing

By timeOday • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
I don't see how "not outsourcing" is an option. There are a small handful of large-scale fabs worldwide, and thousands upon thousands of companies who need chips. It's like suggesting buying a Boeing 737 to avoid getting a middle seat.

Re:Error in Summary

By jeff4747 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The project was stymied for a while by the inability of American companies to supply the correct type of screws in the required quantities

This sounds great until you find out they were trying to make a bulk order of cheap screws, and the US specialized into lower production runs of higher-precision screws. Apple's bulk order was not enough to justify buying the lower-quality but faster equipment.

Basically, they could have bought a machine and filled Apple's order in a month. Then that machine would be idle for 11 months, because all their other customers wanted better screws than that machine could provide. Other customers who want cheap screws were not interested in changing suppliers back to the US.

Since the cost of that machine would be entirely on Apple's order, it would cost way too much to buy the screws.

This was spun by people such as yourself as "The US can't make screws anymore!!!". Which isn't true, but sure is truthy.

Re:It's

By pz • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Patents?

No.

Chip manufacturers realized a long time ago that second sources were critical to their business. No serious equipment manufacturer would design in a chip that was available only from one supplier. So the chip manufacturers would license their particular technologies to their competitors who would make exact-copy, exact-spec chips (at least on paper) with the same part number, maybe a different prefix thrown in. So you got, back in the day, genuine TI SN7400 NAND gates or the Motorola equivalent of MC7400, or the National Semiconductor version NC7400. Aficionados would argue back and forth about which versions were actually better, but all of them met the specification for TI's part.

Patents did not prevent this strategy from happening. I'd argue that, in this case, it probably reinforced things and drove progress: without patents, there would be no reason for Motorola or National to have matched TI's specifications, and we'd have had a gazillion different versions of the initial ICs that created the semiconductor revolution. Multiple different specs would have frustrated progress substantially. Instead, because each manufacturer had a licensing agreement which, certainly, including adhering to the electrical and functional specifications of the licensed IP, a designer could be assured that any manufacturer's chip would work. That flexibility was a godsend.

I recall an explosion of TTL chips when licensing expired on the 7400 series from no-name manufacturers and they were, from experience, cheaper but also inferior. You did not want to use them, if you could avoid it.

So, blame lots of other things, but here, in this case here, patents were a win for everyone.

Today, second-source licensing is not nearly as common, and it's one of the many reasons that, for example, I refrain from designing with MAXIM or Linear Technology chips if I can, as those two companies tend to not license their designs. If they are out of one particular device, it can be months before it becomes available again. MAXIM's the worst for supply hiccoughs like that. Sometimes, you can't avoid specifying an Linear Tech or MAXIM chip when there's some specialty feature you really need, but even then, I try to find some other way in my designs.

Re:Live by JIT manufacturing

By sjames • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

What, we have an op-amp shortage as well?

Re:Live by JIT manufacturing

By EvilSS • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Yes, you are correct. Depending on the buffer a non-JIT plant might run longer but once they run through their buffer, if the time it takes isn't enough to ramp up production, they're screwed too. The real problem for the automaker is two fold: 1) they curbed supply orders thinking the economic downturn would curtail consumer spending on cars and trucks. However while sales are down, they are not down to nearly the extent the car makers predicted and right now demand is out-stripping supply. 2) when they reduced orders their suppliers reduced their orders, including giving up fab slots for chips. 3) Due to demand, fabs are running at capacity so there is no slack to allow those suppliers to ramp back up quickly, they had to go to the back of the line and wait.

Honestly, this whole thing has been one of the biggest black swan events in modern times. No one could have correctly predicted everything that happened. Consumer spending definitely did not follow any of the predicted trends. The whole thing has been pretty weird and I'm sure economists will spend the next decade writing papers on it. It's like dropping a bolder into a lake, we're going to be dealing with the ripples from COVID for years. The auto industry did show it learned lessons from the last downturn in 2008, and I'm sure they will learn from this as well and if something like this happens again they will be more prepared for how to handle it.

Results of Debian Vote On Stallman To Be Known By April 17

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter juul_advocate shares a report from iTWire: The outcome of a general resolution proposed by the Debian GNU/Linux project, to decide how to react to the return of Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman to the board, will be known on April 17, with voting now underway. The original proposal for a GR was made by Steve Langasek, who also works for Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and calls for co-signing an existing letter which wants Stallman gone and the FSF board sacked. There has been a lot of discussion around the issue.

Six alternatives have been proposed. The proposals are:
- remove the entire FSF board as in an existing letter;
- seek Stallman's resignation from all FSF bodies;
- discourage collaboration with the FSF while Stallman remains in a leading position;
- ask FSF to further its governance processes;
- support Stallman's reinstatement;
- denounce the witch hunt against Stallman and the FSF; and
- issue no public statement on the issue.
During the organization's LibrePlanet virtual event on March 19, Stallman announced that he was rejoining the board and does not intend to resign again. His return has drawn condemnation from many people in the free software community. Just days after his announcement, an open letter calling for Stallman to be removed again and for the FSF's entire board to resign was signed by hundreds of people.

Linux giant Red Hat has decided to pull funding, while the 'Open Source Initiative' said that it " will not participate in any events that include Richard M. Stallman," adding that it "cannot collaborate with the Free Software Foundation until Stallman is removed from the organization's leadership."

Re:I'm so torn

By DarkOx • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Exactly nobody is decrying the freedom to say "I don't want to work with that guy"

What we have problem with is people who take it a few steps further. Its I won't work with YOU either unless you also refuse to work with that guy. They than act like its some high minded act on their end when its basically just school yard bullying of the "you can't be my friend and friends with Tommy" sort.

Than there are those that take it even farther than that, YOU MUST DENOUNCE such and such or be considered to be endorsing every bad action on their part, and we are going to go around insisting to everyone that you are part of some conspiracy of institutional-whatever-ism because you won't abuse your position of power to punish someone for some unrelated to your activities thing they have decided is a crime.

THAT is cancel culture and it has nothing to do with justice at all. Its about a bunch of little cowards and cry babies who think the world was unfair to them at some point finding out they can form a mob and bully others. The moment they don't have the mob behind them they shrink away. Which is why they have to build 'safe spaces' etc, because they are only brave when they know there is a nearby rock to cower under if they don't immediately get their way.

Re:I'm so torn

By MachineShedFred • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Republicans used to be the party of Lincoln and the civil rights bills.

Now they are the party of Trump and out competing each other to be more Trumpy, and voter rights restrictions and rollbacks because they just figured out that saying "no" to literally everything when a guy from the other party is in the White House isn't something that really excites voters as much as being FOR something. So instead of coming up with policies and ideas that energize people to vote for them, they've decided to change voting rules at the state level to make it harder for people that won't vote for them to vote at all.

Republicans used to be for fiscal responsibility, but now are only for fiscal responsibility when in the minority as an excuse to block any bill that moves. They have no problem with $4+T budgets with a trillion dollars of deficit built in being suggested by a president with an (R) after his name, but as soon as that letter changes to a (D) they can't stop talking about tax-and-spend bills, running up the national debt, etc. Never mind that the debt is being run up by their own misguided 2017 tax cuts which just double down on the same failed trickle-down economics that has never actually materialized in 40 years of trying.

Republicans used to actually give a damn about personal responsibility, but now are only for personal responsibility when they don't like the person they want to be responsible. If it's one of their own, then it's "cancel culture." For example, we were hearing a lot of crying about Governor Cuomo in New York and how Democrats weren't quick enough to denounce him and suggest resignation for alleged sexual harassment; where is the rush on resignation and denunciation for Matt Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking, statutory rape, illegal drug use, and solicitation of an underage girl among other tasteless and reprehensible behaviors reported?

Republicans used to be the party of "Law and Order" until those laws became inconvenient to holding on to power. Now, the leader of the Republican Party, otherwise known as the only citizen of Florida to be impeached twice, is likely to end the year under multiple criminal indictments, and with several subpoenas served to him to be deposed in multiple civil suits ranging from the violence at the Capitol on 6 January to sexual harassment claims, tax fraud, violation of state election laws, and campaign finance violations including something just reported that sounds a whole lot like bank fraud resulting in the return of donations at 5x the rate as the Biden campaign. And what was this money used for? Paying off campaign debt from the campaign that was just lost (and, by the way, what happened to the billionaire candidate self-funding?), and not legal defense or "stopping the steal" or whatever bullshit that was being sold to the donors.

Republicans, by and large, used to be respectable. Now they are flailing about with culture wars, bloviating about Mr. Potatohead and Dr. Seuss trying to find anything that will stick as a wedge issue in order to stay relevant, rather than going the way of the Federalists and Whigs. They've even managed to piss off corporate donors who used to be inseparable from the GOP. Any attempt to try to make our society even a bit more egalitarian results in a refrain about "cancel culture" and "leftist extremism" because the only wrench left in the toolbox is fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

This isn't the Republican Party we need in order to keep the more extreme actors in both parties in check. This is a party that has been taken over by the extreme actors, and then accuses the Democratic Party of the same. These guys are populist windbags in public, and then authoritarian wannabe oligarchs in private who see treating people with dignity and respect as weakness, where compromise should be avoided at all costs, and have no problems with lying and hypocrisy. And if they don't cut the cancer out fast, all that will be left are the tumors.

Re:I'm so torn

By bradley13 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

At some point the people running a project need to decide who they want to include and who they want to exclude.

They did. After his resignation, they apparently realized that allowing him to go was a mistake. So now he's back. They have decided.

This has really annoyed the woke progressives, because it calls into question their ability to infiltrate and dominate organizations through sheer intimidation. I hope and trust that the FSF will stay true to this decision, and keep Stallman despite external pressure.

Organizations like OSI that have condemned his return? I do believe we have found a way to identify which organizations have already been infiltrated.

Re:I'm so torn

By Anonyrnous • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The reality is that while I'm polarizing, and may be an acquired taste, I have twice as many fans as foes. I ain't gettin' cancelled unless they use the system they claim to abhor and have me swatted.

Being part of the brain damaged angry mob has always proven to be popular throughout history. You don't think you wouldn't be cancelled in a heartbeat if someone selected some of the less refined snippets of your old posts and posted them out of context? Losing your career and reputation is no biggy though right?

denounce witch hunt against Stallman and FSF

By keneng • Score: 3 • Thread

I'm in favor of "denounce the witch hunt against Stallman and the FSF".

Slashdot should have a poll on this also.

NASA's Mars Helicopter Survives First Cold Martian Night On Its Own

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
"NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has emerged from its first night on the surface of Mars," reports NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was deployed from the belly of NASA's Perseverance rover on April 3rd. In the days to come, Ingenuity will be the first aircraft to attempt powered, controlled flight on another planet. From the report: Evening temperatures at Jezero Crater can plunge as low as minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 90 degrees Celsius), which can freeze and crack unprotected electrical components and damage the onboard batteries required for flight. "This is the first time that Ingenuity has been on its own on the surface of Mars," said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "But we now have confirmation that we have the right insulation, the right heaters, and enough energy in its battery to survive the cold night, which is a big win for the team. We're excited to continue to prepare Ingenuity for its first flight test."

To ensure the solar array atop the helicopter's rotors could begin getting sunlight as soon as possible, Perseverance was instructed to move away from Ingenuity shortly after deploying it. Until the helicopter put its four legs onto the Martian surface, Ingenuity remained attached to the belly of the rover, receiving power from Perseverance, which touched down at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18. The rover serves as a communications relay between Ingenuity and Earth, and it will use its suite of cameras to observe the flight characteristics of the solar-powered helicopter from "Van Zyl Overlook."

Re: Design of the helicopter

By JoeRobe • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

NYT had a neat article last year about how their two-rotor design evolved:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/0...

Re: Design of the helicopter

By jcochran • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If I had a list of activities I wanted to perform and some of those activities had a high probability of destruction if they failed, I'd tend to perform them from least to most risky.

Re:Design of the helicopter

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

no doubt if it works a future mission will have something more like a quadcopter with ducted blades

The problem with a quadcopter on mars is that you need to separate the blades. The blades have to be relatively long for mars, so a quad would have to be quite large. A singlecopter may actually be more complicated overall, but its frame is much smaller. The payoff would be better with multiple singlecopters.

Re:Please forgive the Cynicism, but...

By magzteel • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

... another way of putting this would be, "Hey, this thing we spent $85 million developing (scroll right to the bottom of the linked article) didn't die after being left by itself for a night"...

Obviously I remain hugely impressed by this and other NASA achievements, but come on guys, this is slow-balling, even for you. If you couldn't design Ingenuity to cope with the known environmental conditions [before we get to whether or not it works] then, I'm sorry, but you need to hang up your space hat.

Design and testing in the lab is not the same as testing in the field. Why would you ever need test pilots if it was?

From the article: “This is the first time that Ingenuity has been on its own on the surface of Mars,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “But we now have confirmation that we have the right insulation, the right heaters, and enough energy in its battery to survive the cold night, which is a big win for the team. We’re excited to continue to prepare Ingenuity for its first flight test.”

Re:Please forgive the Cynicism, but...

By OzPeter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

but come on guys, this is slow-balling, even for you. If you couldn't design Ingenuity to cope with the known environmental conditions [before we get to whether or not it works] then, I'm sorry, but you need to hang up your space hat.

But this is testing whether it works. It is testing that solar panels and battery systems and heaters and radio links all work as expected.

Any one of those systems could have been fucked up on the trip to Mars, and no amount of impressive design skills could have stopped any number of fuck ups. So the prudent thing to do is to test them before you start testing the part of the mission that hasn't been done before (the flying bit).

Colorado Denied Its Citizens the Right-To-Repair After Riveting Testimony

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A right-to-repair bill died in the Colorado state legislature on March 25, 2021. After almost three hours of testimony from business leaders, disabled advocates, and a 9-year-old activist, legislators said there were too many unanswered questions and that the proposed law was too broad. Motherboard reports: Colorado's proposed right-to-repair law was simple and clear. At 11 pages, the legislation spent most of its word count defining terms, but the gist was simple: It would let people fix their own stuff without needing to resort to the manufacturer and force said manufacturer to support people who want to fix stuff. "For the purpose of providing services for digital electronic equipment sold or used in this state, an original equipment manufacturer shall, with fair and reasonable terms and cost, make available to an independent repair provider or owner of the manufacturer's equipment any documentation, parts, embedded software, firmware, or tools that are intended for use with the digital electronic equipment, including updates to documentation, information, or embedded software," the proposed bill said.

The Colorado House Business Affairs & Labor committee met to consider the law on March 25. Twelve legislators voted to indefinitely postpone considering the bill. Only one voted for it. "I still have a lot of questions. I still have a lot of concerns," Rep. Monica Duran (D) said at the end of the committee hearing. She voted no on the bill. It was a stunning statement given just how many people testified on behalf of the right-to-repair legislation and how few questions the committee asked them. [...] In their own comments, the legislators repeated lines Apple and other companies often use to defend their repair monopolies. Shannon Bird (D), for example, said that manufacturers have the right to dictate how a customer uses its product. She stressed that Apple can sell licenses to whatever it wants. "Apple Music is different than purchasing a CD," she said. "I have a hard time believing that we would call it Apple having a monopoly on its own product."

Many of the legislators on the committee conflated the repair market with the phone market itself. Others said that a right-to-repair bill would increase the cost of phones for everyone. Rep. Steven Woodrow (D), a sponsor of the bill, explained why this didn't make any sense. "We're not talking about the market for phones. We're talking about the market for repairs, it's a secondary market," he said. "By restricting competition in that market they're engaged in manipulation. The cost should go down. By allowing for repairs you're increasing the supply. Basic econ says that as the supply increases the price decreases."

Misleading Article and other Weirdness

By ytene • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
In the Vice article, journalist Matthew Gault quotes a Colorado House representative, he makes the following observation about House Rep Shannon Bird:-

"In their own comments, the legislators repeated lines Apple and other companies often use to defend their repair monopolies. Shannon Bird (D), for example, said that manufacturers have the right to dictate how a customer uses its product. She stressed that Apple can sell licenses to whatever it wants. “Apple Music is different than purchasing a CD,” she said. "I have a hard time believing that we would call it Apple having a monopoly on its own product.” "

But if you check the actual voting record on this bill (see here), then you can see on the very first vote recorded by Colorado Capitol Watch, that Shannon Bird voted in favor of the bill.

In fact, that page shows that only one member of the Colorado House, Chris Kennedy (D), opposed the vote. Unfortunately, even though the above-linked page suggests that it should also include details of Senate votes, there is not record of the Senate outcome. I had a brief look around, searching for details of the Senate vote, but I didn't find concrete data showing the results. If anyone does find this, perhaps you'd be kind enough to link please?

Something else that is really odd/weird is the number of lobbyist filings for this one piece of legislation. (OK, it seems odd to me, but I've not looked at this sort of thing before). There were 101 filings against this bill from lobbyists... of which 51 were in opposition. Some interesting elements among the opposition - 5 submissions from eBay, 6 from AT&T, 2 from Apple, no less than 5 from the Colorado BioScience Association - and even one from Google.

All of the 10 submissions from supporters of the bill appear to come from local Colorado organizations.

In other words, the significant majority in opposition (5:1 opposed:supported) came from out-of-state giants. The significant majority of the supporters came from in-state groups that would benefit from right-to-repair [like farmers, who are held to ransom on spare parts for tractors, of all things] and so the legislature voted against.

Maybe "...of the people, by the people, for the people..." needs to be amended to "of the people, by the lobbyists, for the corporations..."

Re:Seriously?

By DarkOx • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

There is a line that needs to be drawn really carefully here.

Manufactures have always used specialty tooling for various jobs. I have 30 some year old Alfa Romeo engine I am rebuilding. You *need* a special tool to turn the cam sprockets without damaging them when setting up the timing. The tool is basically a specially shaped wrench that happens to fit in channel behind the front cover and block, with some pins on the end that fit holes in the sprocket. You can buy the special cam turning tool -or- you can weld some pins onto some other spanner. Its designed as it is because it lets them make the chain passage more compact, could they have put a hex shaped apron/crown or something on the front of the cam behind the sprocket - sure but that would have extended it a 1/4" inch which would put that much more stress on the front most bearing. I was valid design choice not a conspiracy to make the engine harder to work on, or to sell $50 wrenches.

We should have no issue with this kind of tooling. Ditto for companies like Apple having some special screen seating tool and adheasive formula or whatever. They should be able to design whatever product they want. What we need to control is the "anti-tampering" bullshit that exists for no other reason then to lock people out. Chrysler is a good example. You can't take the ECU out off a junked engine and use it as a replacement on an otherwise good one. Why not? Because they have some cryptographic lockout setup on it won't talk to the other modules unless an authorized dealer re-flashes it. This total BS there is no legitimate reason for it. They'll tell you its to resist tampering with emissions controls or whatever. Guess what already a federal crime, if you do that. Its NOT they job to enforce the law, that is a excuse to keep people from using used parts and / or force people to buy their factory tooling to re-flash modules that don't otherwise need re-flashing because they are going into and IDENTICAL CAR!

Why would it cost more?

By dwater • Score: 3 • Thread

Companies like Apple put a LOT of effort into preventing their devices from being repaired. It costs time and effort, both in man power and technology/manufacturing. ... And still, somehow, repair shops still manage to perform quite a lot of repairs, though perhaps a shrinking number of them.

So, all that is required is for manufacturers to Stop spending so much money trying to stop their stuff from being repaired... both in the designs of the products and also the legal action taken and secrecy of the repair documents (which likely are needed anyway).

Re:"A right-to-repair bill would increase the cost

By cusco • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The town that I used to live in had three competing companies for trash pickup, two of them small local firms. The county board refused to allow both of the local companies to expand their landfills, effectively putting them out of business. Waste Management on the other hand was allowed to double their landfill even though they had repeatedly been caught violating environmental laws that the others had followed. After Waste Management bought the competition's assets for pennies on the dollar the Republican-led county council said, "With only one provider we expect prices to drop and service to improve." (Almost an exact quote.) Of course the opposite happened, and now they're trying to shut down the local electrical company.

Re: "A right-to-repair bill would increase the cos

By Rhipf • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So you are in favor of a society where if things break you just toss it into a pile in some field and go buy a new one?
If it really takes "millions if not billions" in engineering cost to make your item repairable I think your initial design was flawed any way and you deserve to be forced to go back to the drawing board and redesign it.
Just because there is a right to repair bill in place it doesn't automatically mean that people will take the time and expense to actually get their items repaired and eventually items wear out to the point that they cannot be repaired so there will always be a market for new items. Maybe if corporations had been forced to contend with repairable devices from the start we wouldn't be in a situation where there is a swirling mass of plastic in the Pacific the size of Texas.