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* Posts by Charles 9

3632 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Google nuke thyself: Mountain View's H.264 righteous flame-out

Charles 9
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Bad timing last time?

I don't think it was so much MPEG-LA's presence that allowed H.264 to win but more the idea that Google was simply late to the party. By the time VP8 came out, h.264 support was baked into too much hardware for Google to shake the tree. It's hard to beat H.264 when phone, vidcam, and other small hardware makers use chips with the codec baked in. This time, however, Google has a chance to disrupt H.265 before it can gain momentum: with VP9. Consider why MPEG-LA couldn't get a patent pool for VP8 rolling. While there are patents for them, Google probably owns the key ones since they got them along with On2. And Google's a big enough company that they would be willing to (1) take the fight to court and (2) challenge MPEG-LA's patents with its own, starting a patent war. And since Google isn't using the patents as a way to make money, any patent nullification would be neutral to Google if not beneficial (if an MPEG-LA patent is nullified).

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First Cook, now Intel bigwig pokes Google in the eye over Glass

Charles 9
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Re: The reason it is not see-through

Don't the latest jets already have helmet-mounted displays (HMDs)? These would have similar issues to transparent Glass, wouldn't they?

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Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

Charles 9
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Re: Watches

My reason for not wearing a watch is a little more practical: they tend to sweat on my wrist.

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Charles 9
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Plus I would think a savvy robber would be on the lookout for the telltale bulge on the wrist of a long sleeve that indicates someone is wearing.

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Charles 9
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Re: @AC "People either wear glasses to see or glasses to reduce glare from the sun"

Whatever happened to photosensitive lenses like Transisions that shade when exposed to sunlight?

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Apple cored: Samsung sells 10 million Galaxy S4 in a month

Charles 9
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Re: not sure i see what Apple has to 'fear'

T-Mobile is a major carrier, one of the first to sell the S4, and it doesn't do contracts directly. They use hire-purchase (installments) to lower the sticker shock. Walmart also sells the T-Mobile version of the phone, and its phone plan is contract-free post-paid, so it sells all its phones at face value.

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'Catastrophic failure' of 3D-printed gun in Oz Police test

Charles 9
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Aren't the genuine plans signed with a hash? AFAIK, not even the music companies have had much success poisoning file-sharing networks with files that have hashes matching those of the originals, and poison files with unique signatures can be quickly ratted out (eMule, for example, has a reputation system).

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Charles 9
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How does a ceramic/stone bullet in a carbon fiber casing sound? No metal in sight.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not bake the gun

So you make a quick-replace barrel. Variation on the Derringer.

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Charles 9
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Re: When did?

When the enemy within became worse than the enemy without. That's when. America was founded on the premise of enemy within (they just broke away from a government—they didn't trust government). That's why it's government and Constitution are structured the way they are.

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Charles 9
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Re: Why not bake the gun

Here's the thought: use the 3D printer to make a MOLD, then CAST the gun parts from it, harden as appropriate (bake ceramic, use chemical hardener for plastics, etc.). Nice part is that you can probably make more than one set of parts from one set of molds.

As for a nonmetallic bullet, use stone or ceramic (and yes, you can make them hard enough to withstand firing—once upon a time we used stones for cannonballs). And what about carbon fiber for the casing? They use that in place of aluminum in aircraft, so it must be flexible.

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Charles 9
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Re: @SuccessCase

Can it kill at ten feet while getting past a metal detector (think a courthouse hit)? I'll work on making this plastic gun stronger and still nonmetallic (replace the firing pin and bullet).

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Oi, butterfingers! Drop your mobe in a pint? Hope it's not an iPhone

Charles 9
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Re: EXPLODING PHONE?

METALLIC Lithium, yes. But most rechargeable batteries don't contain metallic lithium but rather a lithium compound (which means the lithium is already reacted and more stable in the presence of water).

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Charles 9
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Re: Destruction tests

*Had* to be destroyed? As in confidential data that had to go? Whatever happened to just removing the storage medium and dealing with it as appropriate (I've been partial to fire myself--even if you don't destroy the drive outright, the heat alters magnetism)? Just curious.

As for a test, it's best to find a source that performs a standardized test and describes, precisely, what's involved in each test. For the drop test, I would expect it to be performed from at least a 2m drop (say, a tall man drops the phone while holding it up to his face) and face-first (worst-case scenario, usually). Perhaps also a sit test involving the phone being tightly wrapped around a 30Kg round weight (simulating being stuck in the back pocket of skintight jeans) which is then set down on solid wooden bench such that the phone is between weight and wood (and then sitting on it).

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Charles 9
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Re: Water damage doesn't have to be permanent

Also depends on the water. Phone drops in fresh water, you have a chance. Drop it in the SEA, however, and you're basically screwed (not only is the salt in seawater an electrolyte, but the dissolved chemicals make cleaning it off afterward a pain; miss a spot and the minerals will deposit).

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Charles 9
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Re: cumulative effect

Simple. It's the way it hits that causes the cracks. Put simply, if the phone lands face-first, the glass is not likely to survive. Similarly, if sat on a sufficiently hard surface, you could probably stress the phone to the point of cracking. Most cracks I've seen, however, radiate from a point in the middle of the glass, indicating an sufficiently-hard direct impact. What struck the glass hard enough to make the impact crack, I can't say.

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Boffins' brilliant plan: CONCRETE COMPUTERS

Charles 9
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Re: useless

You wouldn't want reinforced concrete for a phone casing, anyway, as the most common material used for reinforcing concrete is steel (because it's relatively cheap and highly tensile). It or any other metal would play hobnob with wireless reception, I would think.

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Charles 9
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Re: Liquid cement......

The reason it's frequently called a glass is because the most commonly-used amorphous solid we use in our society happens to be common glass (which is a naturally amorphous solid).

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My, my Pi, did it spy ya? Bye, bye Pi, did it go higher?

Charles 9
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Re: Air traffic safety

"I know the associated story has been debunked by Snopes but, still, I have to add:

"Thaw the chickens first"."

Because the MythBusters showed that hardened, frozen chickens DO tend to wreak more havoc than the soft, fleshy thawed birds. The story itself may have been debunked, but the idea turned out to be plausible.

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Forget tax bills, here's how Google is really taking us all for a ride

Charles 9
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Even the SERVICE jobs are being automated. Think self-checkouts, voice-recognition expert systems, and so on. Pretty soon, the phrase "There's just no place for you" is going to be alarmingly common.

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Reports: New Xbox could DOOM second-hand games market

Charles 9
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

XBONE games are SERIALIZED. Special numbers could be set aside for "rental" discs. Also, it's possible to press custom versions of a game for use in rental machines.

As for trying to exploit the "rental" discs, remember we're talking BD discs with ROM Marks (where the serial #'s likely to be placed). Recorders can't duplicate the ROM Mark.

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Charles 9
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Re: Worry.

Also, Microsoft already allows all-Internet downloads of games on the 360. Expect this to continue in the XB1, making it almost exactly like the Steam model. Since you can now go all-virtual, it can also be more-thoroughly enforced as a subscription or service.

To use an old joke of the late 19th century: "Ticket to Chicago--used only once."

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Charles 9
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Re: Worry.

"The cinema ticket idea suggests the only work around I can think of (ignoring the fact you can sell on tickets), and that would be to sell games with time-restricted licenses."

Thing is, the ticket, like a game disc, is perfectly resellable (even Steam allows you to gift-wrap a game and pass it on by whatever means you desire) UNTIL it's used (when you pass the gate, open the package, activate the code). In all three cases, it's now marked expended and nonrefundable.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Greg J Preece

But there HAS been controversy surrounding the cassette recorder and the VTR, to say nothing of CD and DVD recorders (both PC-based and consumer). So yes, ANY form of media that is not self-contained (like Nintendo's Game & Watch) has been in the copyright grey area of requiring an enabler. Audio cassettes and VTRs were too useful on the consumer end to stop. As for movies, it's a mixed bag. Pirating a movie is still possible, yes, but usually at reduced quality since trying to do a full-quality BD rip tends to work against most users' download allowances.

As for your proposed solution, isn't that what Sony filed to patent with its RFID system? Also, isn't that why more and more games are going to online worlds and a multiplayer focus: to justify continual monitoring?

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Charles 9
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Re: Mad greed

And if Sony does it, too, meaning it's down to the WiiU and the colonoscopy either way? IOW, what happens when ALL of them do it? Abandon gaming?

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Charles 9
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Re: Game resellers as "parasites"

I think the big thing is that books, cars, appliances, and so on are self-contained. They operate completely in and of themselves with nothing else required except maybe for utility supplies (power, water, etc.).

Computer software, OTOH, isn't really self-contained. They require the device to work in, and that's where the grey area comes in. Because now you have the situation of the ENABLER. And in this case, the enabler can be a service or a subscription: something that establishes a contract with terms and conditions that can usually be legally enforced.

Microsoft and Valve can use this angle and in doing so bring in the business software agreement, which isn't always a sale but a lease or service contract, with ink on pen and everything. Doing that can get the business software makers like Adobe and Autodesk on their side (Microsoft actually has play in the business software market as well—with Office). This could force the court to decide between allowing software leases/service contracts or nullifying a number of big business agreements.

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Charles 9
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Re: The Future of Gaming?

HINT: Microsoft's system is almost a carbon copy of Valve's Steam system, and the 360 ALREADY allows for downloadable games. Bet you pounds to pence the XB1 will ALSO have the ability to download the games off the Internet: no disc necessary.

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Charles 9
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Re: Steam vs Xbox game = invalid comparison

So? The disc is merely a one-time-use key with a copy of the installation so you can do it offline. You can get the same stuff off the Internet. No difference.

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Charles 9
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Re: Xbox modding / rechipping, Gamer Profile hacking...

It might be possible under Microsoft's system. Valve already has a system like that with Weekend Passes: tryouts of certain games once in a while. Perhaps Microsoft can offer Redbox/BBX copies specifically for those machines which, when inserted, ONLY work as long as that disc is in place. Afterward, the installation may remain, allowing you to buy a pass into the full version.

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Charles 9
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But Vernor v. Autodesk was thrown out. Turns out the copies were STOLEN (physically) from the company, who was under CONTRACT to return them to Autodesk for a new version.

Bet you Valve and Microsoft will make their game systems SERVICES and the games merely pay-to-play KEYS (or passes, as previously noted), meaning the resale is merely of a used (and thus useLESS) one-time key. IOW, it's REALLY exhausted.

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Charles 9
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Re: Yes Steam games CAN be given away.

You can ONLY re-gift a game if it's an authorized "extra copy" or it's a gift you haven't unwrapped yourself. Once you activate it, it's yours come hell or high water.

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Now it gets serious: Fracking could RUIN BEER

Charles 9
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Re: Fracking needs to be fully controlled

Not without the specialized equipment and trained experts that went WITH THE OIL COMPANIES they won't.

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Charles 9
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Re: Don't Panic! Lager is NOT BEER! Drink Ale!

Hello? You boil the wort when you brew lager as well. That's right; lager is still BREWED. The cold part only comes in fermentation, when it's chilled down to let the lager yeast go to work.

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Charles 9
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Re: Fracking needs to be fully controlled

He's saying large multinationals (like oil companies) have some leeway to get above the law. You want to scare a government? Threaten to move your wells out of that country. Bye bye big-time tax revenues.

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Experts: Network security deteriorating, privacy a lost cause

Charles 9
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Re: Privacy isn't lost - it only got more expensive

"The options are simple. Do it right, or end up a dead cert for a breach. And stop giving up *before* the battle."

That's the problem. There is NO "do it right". That implies perfection in an imperfect world. As someone else has said, network security is an oxymoron: much like Digital Right Management. The INHERENT risk of making something available on a network is that the wrong person accesses it: either by breaking the defenses (brute force hacking) or by disguising as one of the trusted (phishing). It's like the front door: strong crooks break the door down, clever ones get an impression of your key. Not even the vaunted air gap is 100% effective, as Stuxnet showed.

In the final analysis, network assets should be a value/risk evaluation. How useful is the asset on a network vs. the risk of someone exposing it. Instead of trying to keep hardening the target, the targets themselves should be evaluated to see if they're worth the risk and taken off if not. If the system will fail eventually, the best one can do is to fail safe and minimize the damage.

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Charles 9
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Re: Privacy isn't lost - it only got more expensive

It is BOTH defeatist...AND realist. Network security is like crimefighting. You're never gonna stop ALL of it. It is the case of "you have to be lucky all the time, they only have to be lucky once" AND they outnumber you. It's just that with network security, ONE breach is usually enough.

So the challenge of network security is to prevent ANY breach (since only once is enough to basically ruin you). Only a perfect security solution can achieve that level of success.

However, man is imperfect. Therein lies the contradiction.

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Charles 9
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Re: There's a better way

You can't use Wikileaks as an example because it was striving to stay on the "legal" side of the coin. All their proceeds had to come from legitimate sources or they'd lose their legitimacy. Black hats have no such moral/legal restraint and can use any and all means to obtain money, including but not limited to money laundering, mules, shadow accounts, and investments in other illicit businesses.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem is that our devices are too easily subverted by unexpected inputs.

Plus sometimes there are constraints to consider. There's a reason C and other less-sophisticated languages are still around. More sophisticated languages that build in garbage collecting and type checking inevitably introduce overhead which can cost you in speed, space, or both. If one or both are at a premium, then you're between Scylla and Charybdis. You can be lean or you can be safe but you likely won't have the capacity to be both unless you bodge it yourself. It's like trying to cram a bigger machine into a smaller frame: physics dictates some things won't make into the finished product unless you customize.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem is that our devices are too easily subverted by unexpected inputs.

Actually, that can happen in real life. Imagine a sock of just the right material able to slip in through the gap between the tub and the frame, fall into the motor mechanism, and fry it. Congratulations, you just did the mechanical version of a Denial of Service attack: better known as good ol' Sabotage. As for reprogramming it, think of lockpicking or developing a tool to undo one of Apple's screws (or any other "one-way" screw you can imagine).

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Charles 9
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Re: There's a better way

You'll just find that the bankers are in cahoots and in the same black side of the industry (IOW, the hackers simply turned to financial groups who know how to run shadow accounts and the like). Also, there's a very real possibility of the backers (already antagonistic to the sheep) also being the bankers. Does the phrase "state-sponsored cyberwarfare" ring a bell?

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Charles 9
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"Small data, if I don't need it now, I don't need it."

The BIG problem with that is the fear that you drop the big one, someone else gets it, and leapfrogs you. And in a cutthroat environment such as this, NO ONE wants to drop the big one and get relegated into obscurity or (worse) liqudation.

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Charles 9
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Re: More protection - more risk taking?

The problem is when protection gets in the way of productivity. If the guy wants to run down the hallway with scissors because the boss is tangled up in his/her chair wheels, then you better just get out of the way because safety comes second when the boss is involved, otherwise the risk of stabbing will be the least of your worries.

As for hunting the wolves, that's also a lost cause because the wolves have already established havens for themselves in countries antagonistic to the sheep: some of them complete with world-ending weapons if push comes to shove. In fact, some of the wolves are in the employ of those self-same countries. How do you hunt a wolf when he's got an ICBM backing him up?

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Microsoft reveals Xbox One, the console that can read your heartbeat

Charles 9
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Re: No second-hand games

"Simple. Laws have priority over EULAs. It's still illegal to shoot your neighbour, even if a EULA specifies it"

Is it STILL illegal if you shoot your neighbor with a water pistol? Or a confetti shooter? Or a blank round? This is the kind of grey area we're walking into. Can Valve and Microsoft say their software is a service and the game discs merely keys (since the games are also downloadable and subscription-based a-la OnLive)? IOW, is it a sale or it is a service?

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Spam and the Byzantine Empire: How Bitcoin tech REALLY works

Charles 9
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Re: Hight tech Goldbugs

Given that a number of banks have been mistreating people (including its smaller clients), can you blame some people for not trusting banks? I know plenty of people who work strictly on cash and money orders.

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Charles 9
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Re: The problem with real-world currencies is not governments

The trick is that people have to TRUST the money for it to be useable. Inflation degrades that trust because it diminishes the value people have on hand. If inflation grows too high, you start a vicious cycle towards hyperinflation which inevitably removes trust in the currency. That's why many people liked pegged or 100% reserved currencies: there was a surety of the money being backed that you can't get with floating or fiat currencies.

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Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Charles 9
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Re: It's all being done backwards...

Nice thought, but wireless comms are battery eaters. That's one reason for beefy phone and tablet batteries. Plus that bigger battery means heat.

That's why the tech is limited to low-level communications: it minimizes the battery draw (and thus the heat).

Perhaps a more limited version of your idea. Use the watch as an arbiter or initiator. The watch or whatever can act as a central focus for a limited but useful batch of data such as how to communicate with your devices and so on (each device could provide some credentials, etc.). Then when they get near the device, the device verifies it, passes along the credentials to the other devices (so just a a quick burst of data), and they can now talk to each other without having to go through the device.

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James Bond inspires US bill to require smart guns for all

Charles 9
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Re: gets my goat

"I'll be very much happier knowing that there is a *vanishingly* small probability that an intruder is anywhere near as well-armed as I..."

Doesn't matter. You have the knowledge of terrain. You can ambush. It's harder for the perp.

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Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: @ Charles

You FAIL at FAILING.

I was taking ALL GOVERNMENT into consideration.

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Orange customer clobbered with SIX-FIGURE phone bill

Charles 9
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Re: Whilst I fully support "MOP" as a unit of mobile data use...

Even that's variable. You can encode that same minute at different bandwidths. You'll get differing results, but for a porno tube transmission, a rate of ~500kbps would be acceptable. You'll either need to provide a bandwidth or a quantizer setting to make a concrete result.

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Charles 9
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Re: There's only one way to measure data usage

1.5Mbps? Sounds like you could cram HD-level porn in that bandwidth. I would think something more in the neighborhood of 500kpbs video is more to be expected from a mobile porn stream.

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