Thin Clients, The Walking Dead Of Computing

“In those early days, even as we swapped the serial cables for network ones, shrunk the cases, and doubled the performance, it didn’t take long before thin clients were banished to niche use cases, becoming the territory of call centers, nurses’ stations and manufacturing plants—often to those workers’ disappointment.
 
Until recently, this was the status quo. The experience gap compared to PCs made it tough for thin clients to reach any deep level of market adoption, despite their power saving, cost and security benefits.
 
But here in 2018, that experience gap has all but closed, just as the rise of the mobile workforce has made security substantially more difficult for IT teams. Suddenly, thin clients seem like a pretty great idea.”
 
See Closing the PC/TC experience gap for good
Thin clients always seemed like a great idea for me. As Moore’s Law worked to ramp up power in the servers, the lowly thin client just had to show the pix and send the clicks. It was a match made in heaven. Upgrade one system and bless them all. It didn’t work very well for heavy multimedia but for everything else it was the right recipe to minimize costs and maximize performance. I used them in schools to great advantage. 8 year old PCs made great thin clients and we could buy a few newer servers to run the place. I felt like Superman…

Well, thin clients have progressed a lot. Folks are loading them up with computing power and graphics out the wazoo. Networks have moved on from 100 mbits/s to 1000 and stuff just happens faster. RAM is cheap and plentiful for servers as is computing power and storage. Most of us are doing a lot on the web anyway. There’s not much difference between a web-application running on a server somewhere or a desktop application running on a server in the building. Thin clients just won’t die as much as haters wish.

Posted in Linux in Education, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 92 Comments

Trump Isn’t Leading The Revolution So He Must Follow Or Get Out Of The Way

“Clean, low-cost energy is transforming the U.S. economy. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the payoff from nearly 40 years of federally funded research and development on clean energy. From wind and solar power to electric vehicles and LED lighting, clean energy technologies are dramatically declining in cost and benefiting more homes and businesses—while reducing pollution and creating millions of new American jobs. Clean energy is delivering solutions to help us meet important federal health and environmental safeguards in an increasingly affordable way. The United States must continue to invest in clean energy because today’s technology breakthroughs are building the energy system we need to fight climate change.”
 
See Revolution Now
Chuckle. Trump has commanded Pruitt to order the sea to fall back but that’s not happening. The US economy and many of the US trading partners have committed to clean energy. Costs have come down. Supply has gone up. Demand is skyrocketing. Trump, get out of the way.

Posted in investing, politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Best Laid Plans

When things go wrong despite reasonable planning it’s embarrassing. I’ve never blown up a structure but these guys got it wrong somehow. They weakened the structure severely and then blew out the last supports. It actually began to rotate in the desired direction but hung up on stuff and headed for the library… Ouch!

I suspect it will turn out that the door frames at ground level stood up too well. The demolition guys should have used a bit more explosive to wreck those. Steel is amazingly strong. That’s why it’s used around openings in concrete structures. This view from the opposite side shows two serious doors that may have held things up…

Posted in technology | Tagged | 3 Comments

Going Backwards

“As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, despite claims that strong standards were too difficult to achieve, automakers have in fact exceeded their regulatory targets, developing technologies – including improved compression ratios, more efficient engines, eight- and nine-speed transmissions, innovative new materials and start-stop systems – that weren’t even anticipated when the standards were written.
 
According to the UCS, since the current fuel economy standards came into effect, US consumers have saved nearly $57 billion on gasoline. By 2030, existing standards are projected to create some 650,000 American jobs, and eliminate more global warming emissions than virtually any other piece of climate regulation enacted to date.”
 
See Trump administration prepares to roll back vehicle emissions and efficiency standards
Never reluctant to shoot himself or his country in the foot, Trump is looking at rolling back efficiency standards for motor-vehicles which have long since been incorporated smoothly into the economy. Every automaker of note is building EVs and cranking out smaller more efficient vehicles. The internal combustion engine is in its heyday of efficiency but will be overtaken by electric batteries and motors. Everyone knows that but Trump and his sycophants. While new technologies are busily creating jobs which Trump promised, Trump now plans to disrupt advances.

Well, I hope business does not take the bait. Keep on keeping on folks. Move along. There’s nothing to see from the Trumpists. Let them run around in their ignorance. There will be no law forbidding you to make cars and trucks more efficient than your competitors. Just carry on.

It’s sad that USA elected a demented old man to be POTUS. He’s not leading USA forward but backwards into the mistakes of the past. Ignore him and you’ll be OK. Expect impeachment to sweep him from office within a year. Now, about Pence…

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 157 Comments

Remington etc. On Shaky Ground

“Remington Outdoor Brands has filed for bankruptcy.The bankruptcy filing allows Remington to stay in business while restructuring its massive debt. The company has been planning to reduce its debt by $700 million through the Chapter 11 process and contribute $145 million to its subsidiaries.”
 
See Remington, one of America’s oldest gun makers, files for bankruptcy
I may have dodged a bullet when I bought my Buffalo Classic which became a Marlin 1895. Both were made by Remington and they’ve had a lot of trouble with quality and now Trumpism. Under Obama, shooters feared supplies of all kinds of shooting equipment being restricted so they stocked up… Seriously, there were whole years when some powder and bullets of kinds I use could not be found anywhere. Governments bought up millions of rounds and shooters bought up the rest every time retailers got stock. Shipments of powder and bullets often took as little as three days to sell and months to replace. Prices of bullets and powder doubled. Prices of firearms rose dramatically. Now, Remington can’t give away rifles and shotguns.

I guess Chapter 11 Bankruptcy could work. Remington will shed workers and plants and equipment they don’t need and cut expenses way back until the market settles down. The mid-term election of 2018 could be a signal that gun-control is no longer a gleam in certain politicians’ eyes but almost a certainty. People are just sick of crazies shooting up the place and ordinary decent firearms owners and users are going to be caught in the crossfire. I plan to restock if prices fall in response to oversupply and low demand. I plan on shooting deer with smaller calibres and lighter loads of powder whenever possible. In reality it won’t worry me much longer. I’m just teetering on the edge of my grave. My grand kids may have a harder time hunting and shooting.

Posted in firearms, politics | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Global Warming On Trial

“Lawyers for Chevron say they will not contest that climate change is real. Instead, they say they will accept the findings set forth in the Fifth Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Chevron’s neither going to overstate nor understate degrees of confidence. Chevron’s simply going to present the conclusions of the IPCC because Chevron thinks that’s the best and the most accurate way of responding to the court’s tutorial request””
 
See In Federal Lawsuit, Judge Asks 8 Questions, Chevron Admits Climate Change Is Real
There are some strange things done in California and this is no different. A famous judge (one who has ruled on several high profile cases involving FLOSS) is asking for clarification of some issues in a trial of petroleum companies by municipalities over global warming. I guess the issue is the responsibility of Big Oil for damage to the climate. Certainly CA has seen some huge issues with weather/fires and maybe even earthquakes but it’s hard to see a court blaming Big Oil outright. Big Oil didn’t build the automobiles. Big Oil didn’t burn the damned black goo. They just pumped it out of the Earth.

Some of the findings quoted from those reports are:
“Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of green-house gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
 
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.”

Still, it’s an interesting case where an oil company does agree that global warming is happening. That’s more understanding/reason than we see from the White House.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Truth, Damned Truth And Statistics

Trump’s term began with a controversy where he claimed the largest crowd ever… That was not the truth. His crowd was way smaller than Obama’s, way smaller than the march of the women and way smaller than the march of the students who are mad as Hell about being shot up in schools. The only thing that dwarfs these real crowds is Trump’s egomania. While these millions march, Trump plays golf. Where’s the leadership? Where’s the great management he promised? Where’s the man? He’s AWOL, slurping at the public trough.

Posted in politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

9, The Measure Of Extreme Fear

Fear & Greed is CNNMoney’s investor sentiment tool that comprises of 7 markets indicators.
 
See Fear & Greed Index – Investor Sentiment
The fear is palpable according to several measures but it’s not yet a panic. Folks are just making sure they know where are the doors.

Investors take risks but when government adds risks to the mix, investors react, sometimes badly, sometimes with due diligence and sometimes with caution. Threatening a trade war with China is bound to break dishes.

Timing is great if you ask me. A trade war takes awhile to have effect. By mid-term elections, this could be ugly if not bloody. I see huge swings in the flow of raw materials, agricultural produce, all kinds of consumer products… This could be good for Canada temporarily. We can sell more stuff to China until the next great recession is triggered. USA is a big part of our trade but if Trump sanctions USA with tariffs against the world, USA’s economy will slump quite a bit. I figure by voting day many farmers and workers and investors who voted for Trump will have more regrets. Tax cuts and pay-raises don’t help people who are unemployed.

UPDATE 2018-03-26 Just to show things can get worse, today’s measure of fear in the stock market reached 5 with all indicators except volatility in stages of “extreme fear”. The market appears poised to blow up. I wonder who/what will strike the match in the powder-keg. Trump has set up conditions for a trade war. I guess that could get really bad really fast. Proximity to the mid-term elections in USA could increase uncertainty. Maybe Mueller will put forth more indictments…

Posted in food, horticulture, politics | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Oh My! Major Change In My Life, A Traffic Circle

“The construction of a roundabout at the intersection of PTH 2 and PTH 3 south of Oak Bluff and a consultation on interim safety improvements for the south Perimeter Highway will ensure Manitobans are better protected on major highways in the province, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.
 
“There have been a number of concerns related to this intersection,” said Schuler. “The volume of traffic has created long lines as well as unsafe merging and crossings. This roundabout is the product of a thorough design process, taking into account speed, driver comfort, future growth and oversized loads.”
 
The minister noted this will be the first roundabout on the provincial highway network and will help manage the traffic of approximately 10,000 vehicles every day. Research shows roundabouts reduce fatal collisions by nearly 90 per cent and injuries by as much as 76 per cent, while being less expensive to maintain as compared to traffic signals. The project will go to tender this spring and is expected to be complete later this year.”
 
For all but a few years of my life I have been rolling through this intersection, first in my father’s car and lately in my own. It has been uneventful. Apparently, though, at peak periods it’s a mess. To solve the problem the government intends to create a “traffic circle” aka “roundabout”.

To some this is not a problem. Every few blocks they encounter them and everyone knows the rules of the road. However, I’ve only been in traffic circles three times in my life and I expect it’s dangerous to have me mentally reviewing what to do as I approach one full of traffic of similarly confused drivers. In Winnipeg, my nearest city, I think I’ve only seen one roundabout. Previously, I saw one in some town in Saskatchewan. I really don’t remember which. These were decades apart.

A refresher from the Manitoba Driver’s Handbook:
“When approaching a roundabout you will see this roundabout sign.
 
Reduce your speed to the posted speed limit or slower and be prepared to yield to pedestrians/cyclists and vehicles in the roundabout. When no traffic is approaching from the left you may proceed into the roundabout. When on the roundabout you have the right-of-way over vehicles entering, continue until you reach the street you wish to exit. Signal your intentions to exit before you reach the street you wish to exit onto. As you exit, watch for pedestrians within the pedestrian corridor and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians/cyclists.”

Chuckle. What could possibly go wrong?

Anyway, there is abundant research proving these things are safer. I don’t doubt that, but when this is the first one, ever, on Manitoba’s highway system, I think there will be a period of adjustment. 🙁 I wonder how many fenders will be bent in the process?

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments

Next Month, I Will Be Banned From YouTube

“No videos that provide instructions on making or installing …, ammunition,… or other certain accessories will be allowed.”
 
See YouTube restricts gun videos
No kidding. Along with shady/dangerous/marginally illegal stuff they want to ban videos of making ammunition. I make ammunition, almost all the centre-fire ammunition I’ve ever fired I made. I teach others about it. YouTube wants to ban that.

I have no idea why that should be banned. It’s not particularly dangerous compared to roller-skating, snowboarding, downhill skiing etc. which are OK in their books. It’s not illegal. One can buy tools and components for reloading at Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire. It’s also a form of recycling hazardous materials and reducing littering as the cartridges and lead bullets may be recycled by ordinary folk. That’s good for the environment. It allows one to make better ammunition at a lower price than what one can buy in stores. Is YouTube against reducing costs and increasing performance? Where would they be without such goals? Using dial-up and static HTML?

Give us a break YouTube or I will ban YouTube. I can do that. I control my router. For what it’s worth, I sent YouTube my feedback…

Posted in technology | 5 Comments

Could This Be It?

“SynQuacer™ E-Series is a software development environment compliant with Linaro’s 96Boards open hardware specification. This has been built jointly by Socionext Inc., Linaro and GIGABYTE. It contains one “SC2A11”. “SC2A11” is a multi-core chip with 24 cores of ARM® Cortex-A53. It is possible to construct a high integrated and low power consumption server system. It is so highly efficient chip that it supports from cloud computing to edge computing, which is the key to IoT era.
 
By providing this software development environment, we are accelerating the development of ARM ® based software. We expect the new development environment to help the expansion of ARM®-based software in a broad range of applications including IoT gateway, edge computing and server.”
 
See Edge Server SynQuacer™ E-Series
Could this be the ARMed server board I’ve long been awaiting? It has DIMM slots. It has one gigabit/s NIC. I’d like two, but it has PCI-e. It has SATA. This could be it.

Price/availability exists and we have pictures… The two downsides I see are that the chip uses the aged A-53 core (24 of them in one chip will waste some power but at least it’s not Intel inside) and $1250 USD (shipping not included) and only 32-bit memory access! Do I really need this? It would be pretty cool for software development as intended but it’s still not quite right to replace my aged Beast. I like the general shape of it but it’s still a bit rough.

UPDATE – At the same event, RockChip 960 Enterprise Edition was unveiled. This is nice except that it’s limited to 1 gB port, 4 lanes of PCI-e and 4gB RAM. It has dual SATA and is likely priced about ⅓ as much as the Socionext board. It’s good to have choices.

Posted in technology | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

Cheat, Steal, Collude… Trump Did It All

“Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton.”
 
See Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s data operations team for misusing people’s personal information
Clearly, Trump has no hesitation in hiring the worst human beings on the planet when it comes to human things like having a conscience and listening to it or being loyal to one’s country/government/oath. He’s cheated on his wives. He’s bullied all kinds of people. He catered to Russia to help his schemes for greatness and greed. He has not the guts to tell someone to their face that they are fired, despite “The Apprentice”, and clearly he feels contracts are for other people to follow. His campaign stole data from FaceBook despite terms of service and used it to target voters.

If the GOP won’t do it, the Ds should immediately after they return to power in Congress impeach the bastard.

Posted in politics, technology | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments