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* Posts by Charles 9

3538 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Barnes & Noble chief walks as Nook ereader stumbles

Charles 9
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Disturbing...

This raises a few questions for people still fond of dead trees. I admit to being a ebook lover, but I tend to find other ways to put material in them, keeping the dead tree versions as backup.

The thing is that we're talking Barnes & Noble, the #1 bookstore comapny in America. If the #1 bookstore company in America is struggling (after seeing former #2 Borders just up and vanish a few years ago), one has to wonder about the overall health of the book business in general, though I haven't heard a peep as of yet from current #2 Books-A-Million.

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Inventor lobs spherical, throwable camera

Charles 9
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Re: Nice idea but

For the fire scenario, you're forgetting the rest of the blaze going on which can cause incidental heating of the surrounding area. Also, the fire itself is usually at temperature beyond the useable range of IR systems (think over 1000 degrees when its high end is in the 500s). This would mean that most of the house is in the high end of the scale if not beyond it, even when you start getting the water down, so IR may not get you a quick-enough reaction. Plus, infrared has one nasty quirk—it doesn't transmit well through glass.

IR is used in rescue scenarios that don't involve fire because the buildings in the other cases are cool, making human body heat stand out on the person and whatever they touch. They're also handy for people lost in wooded areas or around water (or in inclement weather). I'd be curious to know its utility in avalanches.

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Charles 9
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Re: Not new though, trival variation

What about a NONtrivial addition of software?

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US Navy coughs $34.5m for hyper-kill railgun that DOESN'T self-destruct

Charles 9
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Re: "..the railgun could usher in the second era of the dreadnoughts.."

There's also the matter of recoil (railguns DO NOT make any attempt at bypassing Newtonian physics). Like it or not, you're going to need some mass to absorb all that kick or a broadside shot is going to seriously list (if not capsize) the platform on which it's mounted.

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Charles 9
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Re: Erm, curvature of the earth, anyone?

"At Mach 7, the rotation of the earth would not be much more than what they already need to take into account while firing normal shells… That is two minutes and a half."

I've been made aware that Snipers sometimes have to account for rotation of the earth when making shots of over a couple klicks. I believe this comes most into play when the gun is being fired ACROSS the rotation (meaning to the north or south) since the target in this case will move laterally just a smidge.

It's not the speed of the projectile that affects this but time of flight. Those sniper bullets I mentioned would be in the are for a noticeable fraction of a second. It will have a greater influence on a projectile with a two-minute time of flight (and this time, even shots with or against rotation—to the east or west, respectively—need to account for this)

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Charles 9
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Re: How effective are they...

Did we mention the skiffs and other small boats that come standard on most Navy warships, including carriers? After the Cole incident, SOP is to inspect ANY watercraft coming within a radius. Your bomb boat would be spotted from a distance and approached by small craft long before it got close.

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Throwing arms let humans rise above poo-flinging apes to play CRICKET

Charles 9
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Re: fastest baseball

"Catchers also have to develop enough strength and accuracy to "gun down" a runner trying to steal second, from a standstill at home plate, throwing the ball almost twice the distance from the pitcher's mound to home."

It's more challenging than that. They're actually starting from a SQUAT, so they have to jump to their feet to make their throws to second. Not only that, they also have to wait on the actual pitch, so they really don't have a lot of time unless the catcher anticipates a steal and calls for an intentional high throw which they take AS they jump to their feet (however, that's an intentional ball so can't be used when there are already three balls—that's why a runner is likely to try a steal on three balls).

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Charles 9
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"But then; so was aiming a ball at the batsman's face."

I assume you mean aiming for the face with a full toss. It's still considered OK to do it with a bouncer. That's why cricket's adopted the term "chin music" from the Americans for such deliveries (in both sports, chin music is usually strategic: meant to unnerve the batter/batsman and force him out of his comfort zone).

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Charles 9
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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

Many Americans would feel the other way, preferring the sharp "crack" of a solid hit with a Louisville Slugger or other ash baseball bat vs. the relatively tame "thump" of willow on a cricket ball. I've personally listened to many home run hits vs. hits for six and feel the same way, though I suspect it's more a matter of what you grew up hearing.

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Charles 9
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Gridiron started adopting armor when tackles became more full-on body collisions and there are increased collisions to the head (so the bigger helmet was brought in to reduce the risk of concussions. In Rugby, Australian Footy, and similar disciplines, tackles above the shoulders aren't allowed, and the general preference in a tackle is not to collide but to grab bodily and wrestle down. This isn't as hard on either player involved so they don't need the additional protection.

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Charles 9
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Re: Nah...

"Pitchers don't have a run up, and lose a lot of this focussing of the energy of the big muscles in the body."

Perhaps, but the natural motion of a big-league pitch means the torso twists in the wind-up. Also, you lift the forward leg into the air for additional potential energy. It's like throwing a punch. You use the rest of your body like a coiled spring and then unleash them in sequence to continually build up speed and power for the final release. Stomp the foot, untwist the torso, whip the arm at the shoulder and then the elbow, flick the wrist, THEN let go. Being able to combine all these momentum-bulding motions and not move your back foot (meaning you're essentially throwing from a standstill) demonstrates that the big-league fastball has considerable science and experience behind it, and cricket with its studies of grips, deliveries, seam actions, etc. is no different in that regard.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Elbow Angle..

Cricket balls ARE rather denser than baseballs due to their compositions. But being hit by either one at speed is going to hurt, PARTICULARLY if the hit comes off their respective bats (players HAVE tragically suffered fatal injuries in both sports as a result of being hit directly by driven balls). As for baseball, many a player have noted that getting literally beaned (hit in the helmet by a pitch) can easily feel as if you've had your bell rung. Hits to the back or legs aren't too pretty, either. No wonder some batters don't take kindly to getting hit, especially if it's not the first time the pitcher's done it in the game. But in the end, that's why there are rules focusing on the safety of the players holding the bats. If things go wrong, we can re-evaluate, but for now let's play as well as safety permits us.

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Charles 9
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Re: Cricket vs Baseball

I've actually never felt any animosity towards either sport. I like both of them, and I'm an American. Each has its intricacies and I fault neither sport for them, and they've both gradually evolved to keep with the times. Whether it's a thrilling nine-inning pitcher's duel or an exciting T20 showdown that comes down to the last ball, if it's your game, you'll enjoy the day. I say pick one, sit back and revel in the marvel of top-class players in action.

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France's 'three strikes' anti-piracy law shot down

Charles 9
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You can't.

Patents and copyrights are, by definition, a government intervention meant to provide an incentive to invent and create, respectively. Without them, content creators and inventors might balk and releasing their works for fear of being immediately copycatted without recourse.

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BBC abandons 3D TV, cites 'disappointing' results

Charles 9
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Re: Huh? The BBC broadcasts in 3d?

"However fans of Who will no doubt remember the 30th anniversary special which was broadcast, along with a few other shows at the time, in a form of 3D that relied on the Pulfrich effect. That sank without trace."

I suspect the Pulfrich effect was the best they could come up with without resorting to anaglyphs. The trick with the Pulfrich effect was you needed constant motion (the effect depends on differing perceptions of motion thanks to a single tinted lens). There were a few attempts at the idea in both television and video games, but the fad soon faded.

But perhaps science fiction has jaded us, leading to disappointment with the current "3D" push. We grew up expecting volumetric television, and we haven't quite gotten there yet. For one thing, we'd have to come up with an actual means of "recording" like volumetric scenes. We can already cook them out with computers, but a live volumetric recording is a whole other kettle of fish.

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Charles 9
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Re: Pseudo Holographic TV - No glasses needed

Or someone on the sofa looking at the TV sideways?

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Charles 9
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Re: It was "stereoscopic", not "3D".

"Lightfield displays* have been invented for true 3d images, they're just beyond realistic mass-market manufacture and there's no content whatsoever."

I believe you're referring to integral displays. There are two problems with them. First, the microlenses require too high a precision for mass production (the effect is lost with imperfections). Second, it has a very narrow effective viewing angle.

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Big Mike's big package oughta be enough for Dell investors - report

Charles 9
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What's to say Mike isn't planning the same thing? Both claim to have plans to restructure the company and keep it a going concern, but can you trust either side?

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Mastercard and Visa block payments to Swedish VPN firms

Charles 9
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Re: Cartel?

The trouble is that it's difficult to block a NATURAL cartel (one that simply developed through capitalist competition—let it run its course and you eventually get a winner). Look what happened with the breakup of AT&T. They naturally came back together to some degree into something only slightly better: an oligopoly rather than a monopoly.

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Charles 9
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Re: Bitcoin on Mullvad

Nah, Dwolla was working around the trade regulation. In the US there's Coinbase, which links to your bank account and therefore transacts everything above board.

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Buy a flash kit maker now, Seagate... good ones will be gone soon

Charles 9
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Re: pcie is a dead end, no?

Actually, there's another reason for PCIe Flash: reduced latency. See, if you hook the SSD to the drive channels, you have at least an additional layer of translation to negotiate (PCIe <-> SATA/SAS). Furthermore, neither architecture was designed with flash in mind, so there are inefficiencies. Whereas with a direct PCIe hookup, not only do you cut out the translation, but you can also memory-map the drive's contents directly using the back end of the 64-bit memory space. It's a lot easier to do parallel access this way, which combined with the direct-to-PCIe connection reduces latency, resulting in increased IOPS.

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3-2-1... BOOM: Russian rocket launches, explodes into TOXIC FIREBALL

Charles 9
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Re: No auto destruct ?

I suspect the fuel's a big reason they don't use an auto-destruct. The area around the cosmodrome's pretty barren, so if it falls down nearby, it'll just explode like it did and burn itself out. Given the toxicity of the fuel, it's better to have it on the ground than in the air (where it has more drift potential).

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Apple dodged all UK corporation tax in 2012

Charles 9
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Stop

Re: Should have read

"Of course you can. If someone was dumping raw sewage in your water supply, and that were within the law, you would probably want the law changed but you'd also want to punch the bastard that was putting sh*t in your drinking water."

Until you learn the source of the pollution is in an entirely different country who could care less about the pollution since in their country that's a designated dump.

That's a nutshell description of the problem. Multinationals are pitting countries against each other and using the antagonism to their advantage.

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The future of cinema and TV: It’s game over for the hi-res hype

Charles 9
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Re: Is this low framerate why...

The primary reason many movies kept to 5GB was to avoid going dual-layer. Dual-layer discs are more expensive to press, have lower tolerances for defects, and introduce a bit of a pause in the playback as the pickup laser switches focus between the two layers.

BD drives IIRC are more sophisticated and incorporate a buffering system that allows for layer jumps to occur in the background (the buffer used to cover the transition until the drive catches up). Also, BD discs are more durable and the demand for high-quality 1080p film footage is greater. 25GB (BD single layer) only allows for about an hour of video at the BD specification limit of 54Mbit/sec. As you put extras into the disc, that limit starts dropping. To do something longer, you have to either trim the bandwidth or use the second layer.

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Charles 9
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Re: Is this low framerate why...

It's both. The water spray defeats the motion estimation used to compress the video and as a result you get the quality loss that you describe.

The big reason consumers can't get the full value of high-definition video is that each medium has to keep to a bandwidth budget: a fundamental limitation of the delivery systems. In the case of the DVD, it couldn't deliver a stream faster than 8Mbit/sec (due to the fact the original DVD drives topped out at 9Mbit/sec: 8Mbit allowed a margin for mechanical error). BluRay streams are limited to 54Mbit/sec (to stay within the 72Mbit/sec transfer limit of BD 2X). HDTV broadcast channels in the US are limited to 19Mbit/sec due to the frequency allotment set by the FCC (a 6MHz band), and so on.

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Charles 9
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Re: interlacing

There's a BIG problem with interlacing today that becomes apparent with high degrees of motion: tearing. Basically, if the motion is too, when the interlaced picture is reconstituted, we can actually perceive the different fields.

It's for this reason some networks in the US broadcast sports (infamous for high amounts of motion) in 720p instead of 1080i.

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Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

Charles 9
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Re: That's fine

Black projects are on a strictly need-to-know basis. And they DO intend to store ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING—encrypted or not. Last I heard, their storage capacity was in the yottabyte range if not greater. They're also holding the encrypted stuff for when code breakers catch up (that's where the theoretical black-project quantum computer comes into play, and they may already have it. How long were they in service before the SR-71 and F-117 became public knowledge?). As for the budget, just say, "They're planning something worse than 9/11" or "They've got a nuke and plan to use it over South Dakota" and that should scare anybody into giving them anything they want. Nothing like an existential threat to loosen the purse strings.

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Charles 9
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Re: That's fine

"We have had enough of their nonsense. That's fine if they want to keep everything because effective immediately, we are encrypting EVERYTHING, and we considder government documents to be suspect and subject to publication."

Then what happens when the government fires up their black-project ("it doesn't even exist") quantum computer and start cracking all the communications they've been keeping backlogged in Utah en masse (since post-quantum encryption wasn't and still isn't the norm)? Then they wouldn't care if you encrypted everything; they'll be able to read most of it ANYWAY.

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Charles 9
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Re: Did anyone notice this was all marked secret and released by an it pro?

But that poses a challenge: how do you keep the keeper from becoming a releaser? Who admins the admin, IOW? Because your environment could easily become DTA and you can't even trust the admins. How do you allow an admin to do his/her job while preventing him or her from stealing the data?

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Charles 9
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Re: Yeah!, now they'll get those terrorists sending 'spam'

Whatever happened to code messages using plain old innocuous conversations such as wrapping a plot as a plan to visit their mum and asking how the rest of the family's doing? I mean, if they planned this out properly beforehand, how will the spooks be able to tell the difference between a terrorist plot and a birthday party?

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Charles 9
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Re: Storage

Don't think tapes. Think digitized recordings using efficient voice codes. And IIRC the NSA is building the biggest server farm in existence in Utah

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

(Think exascale machines and a storage capacity of yottabytes).

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Charles 9
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Re: reverse steganography

So start with some cheap-but-huge image, then start encrypting a bunch of innocuous documents against it and come up with a ton of encrypted trash. Should make for a busy day.

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Dish DASHED: No Sprint, no Clearwire, no spectrum. No sale

Charles 9
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Re: Dish Didn't Lose

Thing is, Sprint got it all. Not only do they get Clearwire's spectrum which they can use to improve service and compete better against AT&T and Verizon, but now they also have better financial backing.

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Snowden dodges US agents in Moscow, skips out on flight

Charles 9
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"If the US have been acting legally and have nothing to hide, why all the fuss? After all, as they are so fond of telling everyone, if you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide."

Well, one BIG justification is, to use poker parlance, "telling" the enemy (the terrorist). It's hard to fool or bluuf your opponent when they can see your cards. That's the main reason for black and secret projects: knowledge of its very existence gives the game away. Let's use a historic example: the Manhattan Project was black until at least the Trinity Test. Would the Germans, Japanese, Soviets, etc. have strategized differently if they knew America was actively developing an atomic bomb? Probably. Will rogue agents alter their communications strategies if they suspect America has a massive data store and is working on a quantum computer to crack historic encrypted data? I would think so.

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Charles 9
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Re: It's just a matter of time

He did. That's why he was in Hong Kong, which is technically part of China, a country that would not respect an extradition request from the US (anything from the US would be considered politically motivated to China: grounds for a refusal). Snowden's big fear instead is extraordinary rendition: the CIA simply plucking him out of wherever he's hiding, laws be damned. That's another reason he's in Chinese territory and working through countries like Russia: attempting to perform extraordinary rendition in either country is likely to open a huge can of political worms.

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Charles 9
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Re: What they are fundamentally doing...

Oh? How do they tell the difference between a citizen and a non-citizen when identities on the Internet are so mercurial?

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New material enables 1,000-meter super-skyscrapers

Charles 9
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Re: Bad idea

"My only criticism of the WTC (and most skyscrapers) is their lack of integral firefighting facilities such as sprinklers and substantial roof-level/service floor water-tankage.. Very few jurisdictions require them despite most firefighting systems being unable to go higher than about 20 floors (sprinklers would NOT have helped in 9/11)"

I think the main problem with that is that the WTC towers aren't on a whole very stiff; they were designed to sway in the breeze. Now, water is on the whole a decently dense substance. Dense enough that water tanker trucks need to be careful as they drive as the water's inertia can impart surprise forces on the truck: especially if it sloshes around inside, moving from side to side. So imagine a tank of the stuff the size of a swimming pool being stored about 1,000 feet up a rather flexible structure. I imagine that's going to make it somewhat top-heavy: not a good thing from an engineering viewpoint.

As for being designed to take an aircraft impact, did that include a direct but oblique (thinking angled downward) impact directly on one of the corners (which were load-bearing IIRC)?

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Apple: If you find us guilty in ebook price-fix trial, EVERYONE suffers

Charles 9
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Re: Twisted Economics

A reserve price must be set before the auction opens. If you're holding multiple auctions SIMULTANEOUSLY, you can't arbitrarily reset the reserve prices of the other auctions because one auction fetched a high price.

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Charles 9
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Re: Only five years?

We'd have to study it in more detail, but the sentiment in general sounds right. Might need to be codified into the law that MFN-type agreements amount to price fixing and cartel behaviour.

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Charles 9
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Re: Amazon cornered the market all right...

Now, if you're a newcomer to the market, and you have no way to loss-lead, how do you undercut Amazon, who is loss-leading up the wazoo? There's a reason excessive loss-leading is frowned upon by market cops as "dumping". If taken to court, Amazon could be found guilty of dumping so as to force out competition like Apple. Just saying two wrongs aren't making a right here. Amazon is bad enough for dumping, but Apple took the low road in trying to combat the dumping.

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Charles 9
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Re: So

They could also theoretically have the case heard before the entire Court of Appeal rather than just the usual three-judge panel. As for SCOTUS, they MIGHT take up the issue if it raises a fundamental question on what constitutes a fair interstate trade agreement (something directly in the federal government's jurisdiction).

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Cuba bound? Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong

Charles 9
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Re: Too close for comfort?

I think the big thing is that by this move Snowden's been recognized by BOTH China and Russia as a political refugee. American relations with BOTH countries are not exactly cordial, so this puts America in a vice. They KNOW about Snowden, and by moving him to a KNOWN Anti-American country, they're basically telling the US to not even think about Extraordinary Rendition. Either one can make things extremely uncomfortable for the US should Snowden "slip in the shower".

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US DoJ: Happy b-day, Ed Snowden! You're (not?) charged with capital crimes

Charles 9
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What if he takes up the offer to go to Iceland? Iceland has ties to the EU so therefore could be safe from extradition there (because he's a political refugee, facing execution for espionage, or both—it'll depend on Iceland's extradition agreements).

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Charles 9
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Re: Snowden joins Pirate Bay in Iceland

Tell that to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Neither were soldiers, either, but both were executed for espionage: slipping atomic secrets to the Soviets. And AFAIK, neither of their disclosures DIRECTLY resulted in the death of an American, since such an action would've brought about World War III rather than just a lengthy cold war. The NSA can construe that disclosing the kind of information he did is a direct threat to national security and likely will lead to the ending of various international anti-terrorism operations and, who knows, maybe the death of American agents. I'd like to see how Snowden's level of disclosure is any less threatening than that of the Rosenbergs.

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Charles 9
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Re: Snowden joins Pirate Bay in Iceland

What he needs is a country that refuses to extradite to the US. Since he now faces capital punishment, anywhere in Europe should suffice, since the terms of their extradition treaties specifically prohibit extraditions for crimes with potential death penalties.

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PC makers REALLY need Windows 8.1 to walk on water - but guess what?

Charles 9
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Re: Computer hardware manufacters continue to blame MS for the lack of hardware innovation

"If you want to sell more hardware, invent something so great that it makes existing desktops and laptops obsolete."

It's a very hard thing to make "good enough" seem obsolete. It would require a computing paradigm shift: a shift on what's considered absolutely essential.

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Microsoft caves on Xbox One DRM and used-game controls

Charles 9
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Re: disks, how quaint

There IS a reason: mass production costs. Mass-producing ROM chips or Flash media is STILL at least an order of magnitude more expensive than pressing a BD disc (which last I checked is down to around $1 each). Multiply that a million times over and you start to see the issue.

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Charles 9
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Re: Until a firmware update

Can YOU buy a "midrange" PC with eight cores and a higher-end GPU with 8GB of memory for £400? Last I checked, something of that spec would be considerably more expensive in a PC, and that's not counting the OS (which still matters at this time due to the dominance of Windows games).

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Charles 9
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Re: RE: Charles 9

1) That's one reason the phones have sigh high price tags. Flash still not that cheap. A 64GB SDXC still runs about $60 for one of decent quality: standard or micro.

2) $20 per (Flash) vs. $1 per (Optical Disc), multipled a million times over or so. BIG difference.

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Charles 9
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Re: 'Sony money

No, PROPER proper physics are strictly in the PC games like GTR. Neither console can properly simulate physics to such a degree, so BOTH have to simulate things here and there. Plus car manufacturers don't like street cars to show proper physics since it can sting them in the showroom (thus why GTR's mostly racing cars).

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