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* Posts by Charles 9

3631 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Google's driverless car: It'll just block our roads. It's the WORST

Charles 9
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Re: Tell me I’m wrong.

But then, not even the ROADS obey the rules all the time. Think spontaneous incidents: unmarked holes in the road, kids or animals suddenly darting in front of you in a road with no swerve space, a tree begins to fall on the road (We can see the tree is falling and react before it actually blocks; how will the car hold out on something that irregular?), blackouts that take out the traffic lights or other situations where the traffic control isn't done by a machine but by a human using gestures or signs that may not even be well-coordinated.

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Charles 9
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Because of tunnels and urban canyons, GPS systems usually carry these neat little things called accelerometers. Any Android phone worth its salt carries a set, too. Even if the GPS signal is lost, the mapper can use the accelerometers to compensate until it gets the signal back. It's pretty old tech at that. Submarines have relied on similar tech for decades since any form of radio navigation falls flat underwater.

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Tech that we want (but they never seem to give us)

Charles 9
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Re: Palm Sync

It got better with WiFi-enabled Palms since you didn't even need to cradle them to sync them. You can call a sync right from the program.

I think some analogut to HotSync is available for download on Android, but much like with different collaboration programs on Windows, there isn't one format to rule them all, and they're competing so will never agree to a standard.

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Charles 9
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Re: Passwords consigned to history.

Considering how prevalent physical identity theft is (get mugged, your IDs stolen), I don't think you'd want any kind of fob. And biometrics can't be altered in case someone manages to duplicate your bio-signature.

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Charles 9
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Re: Standard batteries

They've been doing that for some time (the Ryobi One+ series, for example). Thing is, for competition reasons, the battery packs aren't compatible between manufacturers. Plus, as power demands increase, battery packs get redesigned, creating planned obsolescence for the older devices.

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Charles 9
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Re: Keys.

For another, they all rely on electricity. Better hope they still work mechanically in case the batteries fail or the mains goes out.

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Charles 9
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Re: Free WiFi

It's not worth the cost when the police later come to investigate you because some malcontent wardrove you and used your "free" connection to commit some wire fraud or whatever.

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Charles 9
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Joke

Re: Emotion detecting jewlery

An iRing Mood, IOW?

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Charles 9
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Re: an affordable, clever, home amplifier that "gets" the internet and Hifi

I would think an easier solution for you would be to get a cheap Android tablet with WiFi and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth handles the music retrieval and playback, which you can then route via Bluetooth A2DP to the receiver.

OK, so it can't do more than two channels ATM, so an alternative would be an SFF PC (lower power) with XBMC installed on it to act as an HTPC unit, which you can then route to the receiver. I've tried using a Pi but XBMC on it still seems a bit sluggish.

Perhaps a decent Android device (tablet, set-top box) with an HDMI connection...

Point is, don't put everything in the receiver since things change. That's why most people stop using the "smart" part of their smart TVs.

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Charles 9
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Re: Voicemail sent to my mailbox as an MP3 attachment

I found Asterisk a bit overkill for my needs. A voice modem, vgetty, a simple Upstart script, and a follow-up shell script seem to do the job for me. I even route the voice messages to my e-mail.

And my service does have a Visual Voicemail. Whoever doesn't have it may wanna look into switching providers, though it should be noted this tends to be a premium feature, meaning cheap prepaid services usually won't offer or allow it via call forwarding.

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Charles 9
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That can get complicated, because the 9:30 stop may be time-sensitive, meaning if you miss the 9:30 stop, you may want to skip it instead of go to it next. Google Now is heading somewhere in that direction, though it raises privacy issues.

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Charles 9
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What kinds of systems do you use that don't agree on the Delete key above the left arrow (MacOS may use different nomenclature, but the key above the backslash/pipe generally acts the same as its PC counterpart, and both in turn mimic typewriters, so it's not that hard to acclimatize)?

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Charles 9
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I'd be for the first, if they can keep the power under control.

They're working on the E-Ink thing. Problem is that ink is the current state of the art has too low a resolution and too low a bit depth to make for a convincing image. Mirasol technology relies on a clever interferometry trick, but IINM can't readily do "half-on" color depth (the same problem e-Ink has). This hasn't been delivered simply because the tech isn't ready for prime-time yet.

Why would you want multiple e-ink pages? Doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of an e-ink display? The flexible display I can go for, though.

I think true haptics suffer from a hard problem: reliably conveying an arbitrary sense of depth along the entire 2D plane. It's slightly similar to the volumetric display problem of projecting something seemingly solid into empty space.

VR will unavoidably cause Simulation Sickness at times because it's caused by the fact it's a simulation. If your eyes say you're moving but your ears (which hold your internal gyroscope) say you're not...well, get the barf bag ready.

I'll agree on Blender. I've been curious about 3D modeling, but have been turned off by Blender's complex interface. Why not take a cue from 3D map editors on how to better manipulate a 3D environment?

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Charles 9
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Re: EMP briefcase

I don't know if that's going to work. See, you forgot about the speakers, which emit EM as a matter of course (speakers rely on electromagnets to work), so it wouldn't be unheard of for the components in the boot to have EM shielding so they don't interfere with each other. Plus there's the matter of having an EMP device compact enough to fit into a briefcase.

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Charles 9
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Re: Household gear

What makes the audio-bomb cars so annoying isn't the music but the bass. They're literally blasting the air around them, shaking everything around them (exactly the intention—gotta be loud to be proud). So I don't know how you can cancel out what's basically a miniature concussion blast without either (a) doing the same thing back to them as anti-noise or (b) having so much insulation you would be too bulky to move practically. Much easier to prevent their sale and use (of course, in the US, that goes into freedom of speech issues).

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Charles 9
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Re: Platforms

Connecting social media together, I use google+ for pictures, my friends use snapfish, FB, and other services, why can we not pool across platforms, why do i have to download and upload,

Because they're competing against each other. Collaborating as you describe is like giving information to "the enemy". Never gonna happen as it would be against each company's fiduciary duty.

I have outlook for skype, google for android, whatsApp, lastFM etc etc why can i not manage my contacts in one place and have a single list of contacts with duplicates removed in all accounts.

Again, because they're competing against each other. That includes Google who's in the best position to unite the contacts, but since some of the apps you list are competing against Google...

Defo want a laptop i can use indoors and out where the battery lasts a full working day.

Depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to play movies on it all day, you'd be talking a battery so big it feels like you're back in the days of the suitcase computer. It's physics dictating this; live with it.

Defo want a phone with just an OS and let me decide what SW to install

You can rule out Apple and Google, then. We can pray for Sailfish, but then again, while Linux has made ground in the backroom, there still isn't a consumer-level Linux distro that can penetrate the mass market. Thus why Microsoft is still in control. IOW, the only companies that can penetrate that market can't be trusted to keep it clean.

If i buy a VW and Apple have shoehorned in their media services, i want use my Android phone in said car not an iPad and vicsa versa.

Only way around that is to not buy a VW. If Apple and VW have a contract, you have to take that into consideration. The contract makes it a Hobson's Choice: Take It Or Leave It.

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Charles 9
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To answer #8, YES. For the money Google makes for rich contact information, you couldn't pay them enough to stop. Plus there are genuine benefits to their crowd-sourced data (traffic maps, et al). So it's basically a deal with the devil with no way around it.

As for the permission, remember it's YOUR phone but it's THEIR app. And they wouldn't have published the app on Android without that level of control. The only way you're going to change the game is to basically make the Android app permission model toxic by either defecting from Android altogether or sticking to ONLY stock apps: not downloading anything. Are you prepared to go the long haul?

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Fuel for jets DOES grow on trees

Charles 9
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Re: Nah.

So if they have family across the ocean, they propose to just leave them to their fate and never visit them (because ANY form of transport to meet them will be fuel intensive, be it ship or plane)?

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Charles 9
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Re: Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

I thought the three rules of thermodynamics were (1) You can't win. (2) You can't break even. and (3) You can't quit.

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Charles 9
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Re: And the cost, in energy terms

Trying to learn more about it. Now, if the plant can be grown in land otherwise unsuitable for food crops, that's a potential boon. A smaller footprint on arable land at least opens the way for some give and take. I'm also particularly interested in the yield: particularly the average final product yield for a given area of land used to grow it.

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Charles 9
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But the article didn't completely answer the question. There are no hard numbers being bounced around. If you, for example, take one hectare of this plant through the fast pryolysis process being proposed, just how many liters of useable fuel will result? Because let's face it; flying is pretty fuel-intensive, to the point that weight is a constant consideration in terms of flightworthiness.

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Senate decides patent reform is just too much work, waves white flag

Charles 9
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Re: What happened to Principle and Common Law?

No, they just played the game to and used the rules themselves to change them. That's the thing about sovereign power: ultimately, the rules are only what you make it. Or as someone put it, "Ink on a page."

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Charles 9
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FAIL

Re: @Charles 9 - You want to reform?

It when they're under considerable pressure to keep up quotas or they get their budget slashed FURTHER. Put it this way, when you're faced with the prospect of being downsized down to just a yes man (or worse a yes-machine), and you're faced with a mountain of applications, all of which has to be done today, what choice do you have?

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Charles 9
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Re: You want to reform?

You realize the USPTO is one of the most understaffed bureaus in the American Executive Branch? If they're rubber-stamping stuff, it's because they lack the resources (both time and money) to do much else. And they STILL get chewed out no matter what they do. Frankly, a position in the USPTO is probably one of the more thankless positions in American government.

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Charles 9
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Re: ... !!! ...

Anyone interested in returning to Congress next January, that's who. These businesses are powerful enough that they can ruin any campaign that goes against them. Campaign restrictions don't bother them, as they have enough shills and shells to conceal their actions and enough palm grease to make anyone else turn the other way.

About the only way something serious will get done is if it hits a crisis level: as in people DIE as a result.

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Why are Fujitsu and Toshiba growing lettuce in semiconductor plants?

Charles 9
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Re: Can you even grow...

It would take a different setup than your usual kit, but there's not much preventing you from hydroponically growing potatoes and other root crops.

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Apple haggles with ISPs for fast lanes to its own websites – industry guru

Charles 9
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Re: Net Neutrality is a weird one

That's what I was trying to argue in my post above. It's a question of private rights vs. public fairness. Where do you draw the line?

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Charles 9
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Re: "...where private networks connect to public networks."

Public/private as in "Can anyone use the connection or not?" As in a privately- vs. publicly-owned company. Google's network is mostly private: for Google's use only. Meanwhile, consumer ISPs are by definition public.

Usually, a service open to the public is subject to fairness laws and such to prevent extortion and scalping. Now, where it gets interesting is when a private (for one's use only) net connects to a public one (that anyone can use).

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Charles 9
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I think where things get complicates is where private networks connect to public networks. Take Google. It has a private network through which most of its information flows. Google tries not to pass the data onto public ISPs until as close as possible. IOW, Google has its own backhaul, but to actually reach the users it still needs to interact with the last mile. Similarly, I think Netflix has contracted out a backhaul connection but still needs to negotiate with the ISP concerning use of the last mile.

Is Apple facing the same situation: trying to connect already-provisioned backhaul to the last mile? If so, how does this fit into the net neutrality debate given most of the networks involved are privately owned and operated. Where's the line between content segregation and overregulation of private not-for-lease lines?

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No such luck: Apple, Samsung say peace talks are off – way off

Charles 9
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Re: Not Cool

Besides, the costs of the lawyers are amortized over the millions of devices each company sells. They SOUND expensive until you compare them to their annual revenues (making it a case of millions vs. billions). For them, lawyers are simply The Cost of Doing Business (tm), and in relative terms not that big a cost at that.

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Net neutrality foes outspent backers by over three to one – and that's just so far

Charles 9
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Re: Similar but slightly different

The US knows that all too well. Infrastructure to the sticks is costly because the US is so damn big. Ever wonder why there are so many local monopolies when it comes to network infrastructure? It was because monopolies were the ONLY way to get SOMEONE to actually care about reaching them all the way in the Middle of Nowhere(tm).

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Charles 9
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Re: Monopoly & regulatory capture vs. Competition

The thing is, there has to be incentive to actually build rival last mile infrastructure. England is not that big a country, so building out to the rural areas isn't as great a stretch. But in the US, you can be hundreds of miles from any community of note. At these distances, communities couldn't GIVE the last mile away because there was basically a first mile, a last mile, but nothing in between. So ANYONE who wanted to reach that community basically had to built the entire linkup from scratch. The costs involved pretty much meant the only way to do it AT ALL was through sweetheart deals.

PS. It's not just cable where you see this last mile problem. Natural Gas is not available in my neighborhood because there's no existing infrastructure and not enough people interested in it to make the infrastructure investment worthwhile.

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Cloud computing is FAIL and here’s why

Charles 9
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Re: So it's not just me?

I bet it's more the case that, whatever they did, borked BOTH the system AND the fallback at the same time. Failsafe Failure, IOW. When Murphy REALLY doesn't like you, no precaution you can make will save you.

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Charles 9
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Re: The schadenfreude has reached a new level of intensity with this

The Bloomberg model, IOW.

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Intel shows off tech bubbles, low-power yacht racing and... a DIRECT solar charger

Charles 9
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Well, at least give Intel props for coming up with a better solar power regulator. It's the kind of tech that can raise tolerances for the kinds of solar cells one can use and can potentially reduce the rollout costs as a result. May not be enough to take us breakeven, but I still call it a step in the right direction.

As for low-power PCs, that's becoming more a plus these days. But it does raise some questions, such as, "What about research into sweet-spot computing that can both crank out serious performance while still avoiding excessive power draw?" Now, I understand physics puts a hard limit, but I personally wonder how close we are to the theoretical limitations of an optimal power/performance ratio.

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Game of Thrones written on brutal medieval word processor and OS

Charles 9
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Re: backups

A hardcopy would be tricky to restore in the event of a loss of data. As for floppies, they're becoming a dying breed. One possible solution could be a Compact Flash interface, since the pinout of CF actually mimics IDE. Doesn't have to be too big, just large enough to allow a backup to the CF "hard drive", then it can be stashed and swapped for a second CF. Someone mentioned CD-R, and there is a suite of CD-Recording tools. Combined with a CD-RW drive, this is another possible backup avenue, though I think there can be longevity issues with both drive and media.

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Comcast exec says wired broadband customers should pay-as-they-go

Charles 9
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Re: Gouging

Ahem, not all phone companies have the means to switch from copper to fiber. About the only two in the US you hear about are Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (uVerse). Some of the cable companies also take this approach with fiber to the node, allowing them to divide neighborhoods and such into smaller nodes that provide more bandwidth between them.

Thing is, sometimes the problem isn't the last mile but rather a different mile: something in the backhaul. That's the kind of problem rural communities have: sorta like trying to connect two four-lane highways with a rickety one-lane bridge. PLUS there's the matter of linking up distant cities since any weak link along the line slows everything along it.

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Charles 9
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"The amount of steps you are taking on the street are not monitored (perhaps) either, nor are obese people charged more on the tube."

The tube doesn't do that because they charge by distance traveled: just another way to meter. And airlines WILL charge you for a second seat if you're too fat to fit in one.

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Charles 9
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Re: Extreme Price Gouging, Extreme Nonsense

They feel they can get away with this because the internet is "different" than cable TV was. No cable company EVER charged consumers for "how much" they watched TV, but somehow feel they can get away with this. It will be more profitable than anything these monopolists have -ever- done before.

That's because, until now, the content was never personalized. It was broadcast, in the sense that the same streams were sent to everyone, even in the digital age. Right now, television is trying to negotiate the tradeoff point: what streams should be broadcast vs. unicast. Broadcast is more efficient if lots of people are watching it because you only need to send one stream for all of them while unicast works out for less-watched content because it's not always being watched so you can swich the allocation to something else as the need calls for it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Comcast Bites!!

Google did that because most of the YouTube content flows through their (completely) private net. The public-private interface is the thing Google negotiates so ISPs only have to worry about the part that flows over their own pipes and not having to worry about backhaul.

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Charles 9
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Re: Common Carrier will nip this in the bud.

You assume the problem is that the carriers are cornering the last mile. For many places, especially in the sticks, communities couldn't give away the last mile because there was still the matter of connecting the last mile with the first mile...which at the time wasn't built, either. Many of the sweetheart deals were the only way to get better-than-dialup to these places at all.

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Charles 9
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Re: Gouging

DSL is has an easier time of it because you can more easily increase the backhaul.

DSL has its problems, too: namely switching offices. Even in a city (some would say especially in a city due to issues of existing infrastructure), distances that are just fine for POTS don't cut it for DSL (DSL can only go so far before the signal's too weak, and you can't go as the crow flies). For that, the only solution may just be a new switching office, which raises location and rewiring specters of their own.

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Look out, FCC: R.E.M., Aerosmith, Jello Biafra, 57 others join net neutrality crusade

Charles 9
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Re: Maybe the quotes need more context

How can you go with a competitor in a CAPTIVE MARKET? Most places only have one (two if you're lucky) broadband provider of any substance. It's like trying to find an alternate source of food in a place like a stadium: you simply can't.

PS. And most of these captive markets were the result of Hobson's choices: captive markets were the only way to get IN the market; otherwise, they'd remain disconnected due to the extra infrastructure that needed to be built just to reach them.

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Charles 9
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Re: I wonder

But don't those agreements have breakout clauses if the traffic gets too imbalanced (something Netflix would know about)?

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Charles 9
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Re: I wonder

Scandinavian countries are relatively small. Geography plays a role in bandwidth costs, especially backhaul which is always metered.

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IETF plans to NSA-proof all future internet protocols

Charles 9
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Re: But all the snoops'll do is

But how do they stop detectors for such being built and distributed through networks outside their control such as foreign countries, TOR, i2p, Freenet, and the like?

Heck, given the level of paranoia, what's stopping the gov from requiring an exploit vector be planted in every single piece of a vital piece of hardware (like a video or network card) that's traded in the US? A ubiquitous hardware exploit with direct memory access would be about as good as the NSA types could get it: OS-agnostic and impossible to get around. Some of the mobile paranoids say that's how the NSA taps your mobile conversations: not at the OS but at the radio chip.

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Charles 9
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Re: They'll never beat the spooks

Or a saboteur.

Or simply enough knowledge of the protocols that they can perform side channel attacks. Put bluntly, there's a demand for efficiency in data transmission. But in doing so, you necessarily make your data more unique compared to everything else and easier to identify. It's like a line of balls rolling down a rack. You have a choice. You can make your ball a unique shape or size so you can easily pick it out when it comes along, but then anyone else can do the same. Or you can make your ball the same size and shape as the other balls. They can't pick them out, but then neither can you. Pick your poison.

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Now that's PROPER SCIENCE: Boffins teach robo-arm to catch flying beer bottle

Charles 9
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Re: Maybe it will soon...

Tennis balls are easy to curve because their felt surface is rough and uneven, making it easier to create air turbulence, much as reverse swing bowlers like one side of the ball to look (quoting a commentator) "as if a dog's been chewing on it."

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Charles 9
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Re: Catch unconsciously?

No, because that STILL implies use of the brain. Reflexes don't have to go through the brain.

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Sony bosses will return bonuses as firm preps for BILLIONS in losses

Charles 9
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Re: No focussing on the customer then?

ONLY if they also provide a remote that allows for switching between ANY of those aforementioned inputs with a single press. I can cycle all day, but many others aren't used to the idea and get lost trying to figure out which input they need to be on when they just want to watch the news.

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