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* Posts by Charles 9

3537 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Robowagons roll! US Army tests all-drone supply unit

Charles 9
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Re: Seems pretty pointless

Reach, perhaps? Suppose there isn't a friendly airfield nearby? And B-52s are too big to take off from carriers, which is why they're exclusive to the Air Force. Plus there's the matter of the fuel costs. Ground transport almost always uses less fuel than an airdrop.

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The TRUTH about LEAKY, STALKING, SPYING smartphone applications

Charles 9
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Re: ACLU and EFF

And if users get control of the permission, what do you think will be among the first things turned off for adware apps (unless the app itself needs it for normal function)? Network access. This will probably start app devs packing some ads into their programs so they can't be blocked.

The point is, the app devs want the control, so you have a tug of war between the users who want control of their device and the devs who want control of their app, and Google's position will have them favoring the devs (they pay Google more both directly and through the ad network). Apple can dictate terms since the iDevice line is vertically integrated and has that mysterious "We Must Have It, Here's Our Life Savings" draw. Google lacks that level of control and can easily lose the plot if devs decide to defect.

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Charles 9
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Re: ACLU and EFF

The Devs will simply respond, 'OK, then. Back to the Apple store.'

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Charles 9
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How do you do that without breaking the permission model that convinced devs to come to Android in the first place? Break the model and fewer Deva may develop for Android. There are still plenty of apps only available in the Apple store.

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Google Glassholes, GET OFF our ROADS, thunder lawmakers in seven US states

Charles 9
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Re: Once upon a time....

The lock disengages the catch from the door handle's wire. If the handle wire gets pulled during the accident (distinct possibility if the door gets bent and it goes taut), it could engage the catch and open the door Here, it isn't just me. NHTSA follows this philosophy. In addition, it wants to prevent doors opening while rolling. Read up:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/rulings/DoorLocks/DoorLocks_NPRM.html

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Charles 9
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Re: Once upon a time....

The *lock* merely prevents the handle from opening the door. It thus makes the frame no stronger in an impact, but does prevent rescuers from getting to casualties.

Which can engage in the twisted metal of an accident. See my point? Plenty of people have had their unlocked doors open and then get thrown out and killed as a result.

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Charles 9
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Re: Once upon a time....

The locked door debate is a tradeoff. The thought behind it is that a locked door makes the door part of the car frame in the event of a crash, making the side sturdier and better able to absorb impact: meaning the passenger compartment is less likely to crumple and trap the passengers. Also, a locked door has the risk of coming open during the accident, and in the event of no seat belt or a failure of the belt, someone can get thrown out of the vehicle then: statistically much more likely to result in a fatality.

OTOH, I can spot the other side of the coin. Some people want the door to loosen and tend to open out in an accident since there's the risk otherwise of the door physically jamming into the frame and making it impossible to open: itself a fatality risk in the event of a fire or sinking.

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Charles 9
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Re: Simple

Steering wheel may not be visible from the driver's POV so that's no guarantee? And gear shift? Automatic transmission anyone? It'll be identical for driver and passenger. And position is no guarantee since driver sides depend on the country.

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Charles 9
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Re: "I don't see the problem..."

If you can't drive while holding a conversation, how the hell are you able to drive at all?

Simple. You don't let conversations distract you. At least in-car passengers have environmental context and can adjust their own conversations to wait for less-dangerous situations.

I would say holding a phone is more distracting than actually talking, because your hand is off the wheel. and common sense means you stop talking if you need to do something and focus on that task.

Try telling that to the other side of the conversation, who doesn't have the context and may keep talking or insist on continuing even when you need to put it down. Plus there's the matter of sensory compartmentalization regarding a conversation, especially with someone not physically present with you. Our brains just don't multitask well; it's already been shown. It's not like one can pay attention to a movie while writing a non-pertinent letter at the same time. Driving while having a non-pertinent conversation (one that isn't about the actual driving) poses the same problem.

Basically put, handsfree is no panacea. Here's one from the Telegraph last year of a fatal accident with a handsfree device in use.

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Charles 9
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Re: "I don't see the problem..."

Yes, you may well be at an increased level of risk when you make handsfree phone calls, but you are at an incredibly high level of risk if you are looking at a screen.

Actually, the growing trend is to disallow any conversation while driving, even if handsfree. Research has shown that the conversation itself is the distracting factor, not the act of holding the phone.

I have to agree to some extent with the lawmakers. The apps as they are now are too easy of a distraction for drivers. If we wish to use Glass apps while driving, they need to be specifically designed for the task and only for the purpose of assisting a driver. So that would limit apps to things like Augmented Reality driving guidance that keeps a speedometer and direction guidance in a less-distracting way.

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Charles 9
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Re: HUD? - modern satnavs

For the BMW that would be a safety measure since keeping a car with sufficient fuel is a legal responsibility for drivers in Germany. It's actually a traffic offense to get stranded on the Autobahn by, say, running out of gas.

As for the idea of a HUD in general, consider the possibility of an AR driving HUD, projecting lane guidance or other things that blur the line between distraction and useful information.

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Sprint to buy T-Mobile US? Not so fast, says antitrust official

Charles 9
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Re: NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo!

Thus why I've stayed away from AT&T for a number of years now. T-Mobile's coverage may be subpar, but the price can't be beat. Even now they're offering the closest things to a no-strings-attached 3-way unlimited plan for $70 a month, no contract. And if you want to skimp in places, they offer various lower rates in exchange. No other big-name plan I know can match, and this comes with WiFi Calling and Visual Voicemail.

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Charles 9
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Re: NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo!

"T-Mobile has outstanding customer service, poor (but improving) coverage and are trying their damnedest to break up the pricing, including getting the other three to acknowledge PAYG. (yes, those prices above are with a contract)"

Actually, that's par for the course. Contract rates include the installments for the phone you bought. It's only recently that T-Mobile separated the two so you know how much went to the plan and how much went to the phone.

Show me a company with rates that high for a no-contract plan, and I'll show you a company with little time to live.

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Charles 9
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Re: oh woh is me...

Not in a primarily-capitalist country. Big companies are pretty much the natural result of unfettered capitalism. Buit since too many Americans are afraid of the "S" word, I wonder if they'd take a natural monopoly as the lesser evil.

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Charles 9
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Re: Huh?

What happens is that the fewer viable competitors you have in the market, the more likely these competitors will start to collaborate and engage in cartel behaviour so as to keep out potential market disruptors. This is especially true in an industry like this where all of a key infrastructure element (in this case, bandwidth) is already pretty much spoken for. The big boys may choose to act like an oligopoly so they can concentrate on each other and not have to worry about surprise challenges. Thing is, cartel behaviour can easily break down if one of the players breaks ranks, and the more players you have, the better odds someone will upset the apple cart.

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Boffins build electronic tongue that can distinguish between BEERS

Charles 9
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Re: American beer rocks (Just not Bud, etc)

There's been a trend towards beers like IPA (which is by design heavily hopped) due to curiosity and demand, but it's definitely not like it was in the 80's. Thanks to relaxed brewing regulations, there are lots of microbreweries, and many of them like to experiment. For example, the state of Virginia boasts at least four microbreweries of note (O'Connor in Norfolk, the Alewerks in Williamsburg, Legend in Richmond, and Starr Hill in Charlottesville) and lots of small regional ones.

Here, some people have even started work on a map of these American breweries.

BTW, according to this map, even Utah has a few breweries in it like Zion Canyon and Epic.

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Charles 9
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Re: American beer?

WW2 grain rationing put a real crimp on those breweries that survived the Depression. It was around that point that Americans got used to thin beer out of necessity and are only recently growing out.

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Judge: Google owes patent troll a 1.36% cut of AdWords' BEELLIONS

Charles 9
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Re: Incentive to invent??

Yes, because the early inventions were geared to survival and genetic advantage. Both of those are moot in a modern society, so you need a different incentive.

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Charles 9
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Re: @ Charles 9

One's an exception to the rile. The difference engine was commissioned by the Crown, thus making the work property of the Crown and subject to different rules.

The other breaks the rule. The analytical engine was never commissioned at all and has never actually been constructed to completion. Thus there was nothing to patent.

So what about anything from a private party?

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Charles 9
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Re: @ Charles 9

If that was true we would still be banging rocks together instead of exchanging messages via t'internets. The fact is there are some powerful incentives that exist independently of patents, e.g.: survival in a hostile environment.

ONLY in a hostile environment. Take that away (by being in a modern civilization), and you need a new incentive. Money works, but that is too easy to lose if you're prone to copycats.

Getting paid to do a job is hardly news, believe it or not that happens without patents too...

Name one invention that was commissioned but not patented. Most of the things I referred were unique works subject to copyright, but you can't copyright a technique.

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Charles 9
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But you don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Without the incentive to invent, you're not likely to see many inventions. Even the greatest works of art had incentives behind them: most were commissions.

And don't diss the drug companies. Just about every patent they take out is a gamble, and few of them pay off, yet without them, we're likely to look at a day where medical tech will head back to the bad ol' days as germs/virii/whatever adapt beyond them.

As for software patents, they wouldn't be such an investment if they didn't have such a long term attached to them. Cut nonphysical patents down to about 3 years and they won't be worth investing speculatively anymore.

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Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

Charles 9
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Re: Easy fixed

But what about kicking back and reading it with a tablet now, flicking the pages with your finger?

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Charles 9
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Re: Easy fixed

We've been trying to do the "paperless" office for decades now. It hasn't worked out too well to date, and you have to wonder why.

As for the unimportant ephemeral crap, I suspect more than a few are actually legally mandated in case of lawsuits or government inspections.

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Charles 9
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Re: You can't be serious

Forget sponge baths. Most sci-fi writers figure lasers or ultrasonics to replace water for showers in places where water is at a luxury (such as in space).

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Altcoins will DESTROY the IT industry and spawn an infosec NIGHTMARE

Charles 9
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Re: I'm mining Litecoins as we speak...

I think that the thing most likely to kill BTC is its own success. Should it ever get to a position where World+Dog is buying their beer and gum using it then the blockchain may well be so silted up that the verification lag per transaction will become unacceptable for larger sums.

This more than anything else has been what's turned me off Bitcoin. Keeping up with the block chain was actually seriously eating into my network bandwidth.

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Charles 9
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Re: Aren't the ASICs so fast because they're, well, ASIC?

It's not so much that as it is that, given the knowledge you got from making mining ASICs, you can make a codebreaking ASIC, tape it and such in a short period of time. IOW, it's becoming a lot quicker to turn out NEW ASICs because the Bitcoin boom forced everyone to find ways to speed up IC development.

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Charles 9
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I recall Litecoin was specifically designed to not be GPU-friendly. Other coin proof-of-work algorithms could be tailored to make other specialized computations less optimal, although the AS part of ASIC means they can ALWAYS create a specialist unit. Question is, at what point does the algorithm make ASIC not worth the specialization vs. a general-purpose CPU?

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Charles 9
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Re: All your passwords are belong to us!

That will depend on the algorithms used to encrypt them. Some of them are still computationally infeasible even with modern tech (a matter of degree), barring exploits (a matter of kind).

As for the laboratories, I'm sure cheap GPUs will start being looked at by universities interested in a HPC cluster (since they've been using hybrid kits for a few years now).

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Charles 9
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Re: The new renaissance

Perhaps, when all the fuss over bitcoin dies down, all this excess power can be harnessed into something useful. My proposals would be proper speaker-independent voice recognition and maybe the ability to do some real-time processing on HD video streams. You know the sort of thing: replace the news-reader's head with a talking cat, remove all their clothes, have yourself playing centre-forward for your favourite football team.

We're working on the voice recognition part. I think the stumbling block here is the "intuition" factor: being able to make accurate educated guesses based on incomplete data. That's a "hard" problem right now because the human brain and a deterministic computer don't work the same way. We've made progress in the field using neural nets, but translating this progress to discrete computers again isn't as easy as it sounds.

As for video encoding, this has been asked about ever since GPGPU computing has appeared. One problem: motion estimation, probably the most computationally-intensive task of modern lossy video encoding, doesn't suit well to GPGPU because it has a divergent workload: that is, in worst case, it can end up branching into more subtasks than you have compute units on the GPU, and if you have to shuffle the subtasks, you usually end up better off sending it back to the CPU which sees things more generally and has a more direct line to the main memory. I've seen the x264 forums discussing this aspect.

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Android VPN redirect vuln now spotted lurking in Kitkat 4.4

Charles 9
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My problem is that I can't use Android's current VPN system as it doesn't support TAP (bridging) mode, which is the ONLY mode available at my other end.

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Charles 9
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Re: KitKat 4.3?

Indeed. Last I checked, 4.3 was grouped together with 4.2 as Jelly Bean (4.0 and 4.1 were grouped under Ice Cream Sandwich).

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Facebook app now reads your smartphone's text messages? THE TRUTH

Charles 9
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Re: Lame excuse.

For the same reason some people can't set clocks or remember passwords. It's just too hard for some people, and Facebook wants every customer it can (before someone else steals them). Think of it as catering to the lowest common IQ.

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Charles 9
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Ask the developers.

Remember the golden rule about Android App Permissions: they were built at the insistence of the developers because Android was late to the party and needed to convince app developers to port their apps from the Apple store. And once the genie was out of the bottle, there was no putting him back in. Remember, the developers could just go back to the Apple store.

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Charles 9
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Re: iOS?

I guess someone got greedy along the way?

Yes, the developers. They wanted control as a prerequisite to developing the app at all. So it was basically "my way or the highway".

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Charles 9
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Re: Lazy people to blame, as usual

Totally agree that Android's out of the box take it or leave it approach is a little more transparent but ultimately does bugger all to protect your privacy

Remember that it wasn't Google's idea to do it this way. Their original permissions model was at the insistence of the app developers who wouldn't jump from the Apple store unless they had more control over permissions.

Given that environment, there's no turning back with regards to the structure, but we can certainly augment the structure to make it more useful. As noted, perhaps the permissions can be divided into more sub-permissions. Also, I think most would appreciate each permission having a written justification provided by the developer.

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Fancy a little kinky sex? GCHQ+NSA will know - thanks to ANGRY BIRDS

Charles 9
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Some of those permissions are justifiable.

Network access? Movies (not just for ads anymore)

Storage? To record progress.

Phone status? To pause on a call.

Accounts? To sell the addons.

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Run for the tills! Malware infected Target registers, slurped 40m bank cards

Charles 9
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Re: What about the next time?

The retailer needs to know the credit card number in case a transaction is challenged. Otherwise, the credit card company has no way of tying the card to the transaction, and if the trust is moved to the payment processor, what if that's corrupted from the inside so as to alter records and make the retailer appear guilty. The retailer knowing the card number if a trust tradeoff. They need to be trusted with the number in order to answer challenges of that trust.

As for authenticating based on an ID, consider that the American idea of a national ID system usually ends in two words: Big Brother. They don't trust the government with the kind of information available NOW and therefore don't want them to have any kind of unique identification specific to an individual across a country.

(UPDATE: Found it in graphic form. URL: http://www.designsim.com.au/What_Is_Forticom.html) It sounds interesting, but I think it would be bad for people with really bad memories or a poor head for figures. Plus many malwares have taken to screencapping, meaning they can also interpret clicks. Also, while observing one login would not provide enough information, correlating multiple ones would probably help in crytanalysis.

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Charles 9
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Re: Who said the POS system has internet access?

So: POS software is managed by MSC, which is running on servers that very likely have Internet access. And those servers almost certainly can talk to their counterparts in other stores. Get malware on one, and it likely could spread by unpatched vulnerabilities across the network.

Just because a system has MSC doesn't mean it's not exposed to the greater Internet. Many setups I've seen have both the POS devices and the servers with addresses in the 10.x.x.x range, which if you'll recall is an IP range reserved for private nets. So this would mean a corporate intranet at least one step removed from the greater Internet. How big that step is can depend and can have an influence on how much effort it would take an outsider to jump the gap and get into the intranet from the Internet.

What you describe in terms of software IIRC appears pretty typical for an NCR setup. For many years NCR has used POS software based on some form of Windows: either XP or CE and Windows Server systems at the back end.

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MPAA spots a Google Glass guy in cinema, calls HOMELAND SECURITY

Charles 9
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Re: If we really want to protect copyrights.....

n fact such a mind wipe law would be doubly beneficial as no one would ever get bored of reruns !

Damn! The perfect business model. Exhibit entertainment then force everyone to forget the moment they leave! With the right ads you can make people see it again and again. Nearly guaranteed repeat business.

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Charles 9
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Re: Dear America...

A small aircraft or cruise missile with a 100-foot wingspan? Please... Plus if it HAD been a missile, you'd think they'd set up the warhead to explode such that it would cause an IMMEDIATE collapse (No Witnesses...) If the war hawks had wanted endless war, why not just set off a nuke on US soil and make everyone dump their pants? Ultimate nightmare scenario for anyone of age: Cold War turns Hot! Duck and Cover! You'd have the entire US in your pocket.

There are plenty MORE that corroborate with the news footage: not all of whom were American (and thus not subject to American laws--remember, the United Nations is in New York, not far from Ground Zero). Next ask, what happened to the passengers of the flights in question? It would be hard to "vanish" some 200 people without a trace unless things happened just as described.

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Charles 9
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Re: Did he mount his Glass on a tripod?

I encorage you to test for yourself: if you pay attention, you'll notice that at times you actually look away from the screen.

I have. I've also learned I'm perfectly capable of moving my eyes around while keeping my head still. No matter where you position the camera there will be the risk of it being jostled: usually by someone passing the camera's position in one form or another. Not much you can do about that if the theater's crowded.

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Charles 9
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Re: People still go to the movies?

Yes, because NO business will be satisfied with a one-and-done. Repeat business is where the real money lies.

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Charles 9
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Re: Actually old boy,

No, he was fully American: born and raised in Virginia.

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Charles 9
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Re: This reminds me of the old cautionary joke

Then imagine the chagrin when the Ranger informs her he DOESN'T have the equipment, having been emasculated, AND that he's now adding false accusation to the charges.

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Cryptocurrencies now being pooped out by cartoon cat

Charles 9
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I'd have personally preferred a Nekocoin based on a very cute Japanese cat icon from the 90's. But I digress...

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CERN boffins fire ANTI-HYDROGEN BEAM

Charles 9
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Re: serious question - not to be confused with earlier comments/screeds

Even if all the matter and all the antimatter were sent in opposite directions so that they'd never meet? What research is there against that idea?

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Charles 9
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Re: Interesting

The prevailing theory is that antimatter still has positive mass and therefore would react normally to gravity, thus preserving conservation laws.

In contrast to negative matter, which would have negative mass, react in the opposite way, and should never exist in our universe.

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Plusnet is working on a network-level filter to block pirate sites

Charles 9
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Re: Antiblocking tools ?

It's been subverted by the Men In Black because it can't work end to end. Plodd simply take over and start up enough endpoints to sniff most of the traffic.

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Almost everyone read the Verizon v FCC net neutrality verdict WRONG

Charles 9
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What the FCC can (and should) do is reclassify the physical-layer access from the subscriber to the ISP as telecommunications common carriage, so that people can choose ISPs, while leaving the Internet itself unregulated. The Court opinion made it pretty clear that this option -- the Computer II rules in effect prior to 2005 -- was well within the law, and the FCC could go back there if they gave justification. Of course politically they're afraid; AT&T and VZ have too many friends in Congress. So nothing will happen.

IIRC, the real real problem is that, according to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the FCC lacks the authority to make that declaration. Common carrier designations were written directly into the Act with apparently no latitude for extension. Meaning the only authority able to make ISPs into common carriers is Congress, who would have to pass a new Telecommunications Act to redefine the term.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nice Rant, but missed the point

So Ars is saying to look at this as a matter of a trust via vertical integration, in which case precedent does exist for breaking up such: the historic US v. Paramount case of 1948 that broke up the studio-theater relationship, altering the Hollywood studio system as well. If things got nasty, perhaps one could take an integrated company like TWC or Comcast to court using the Paramount case as a basis. Just hypothesizing.

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