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* Posts by JLV

306 posts • joined 4 Mar 2013

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Starship Troopers beat Aliens, Robots AND Chuck Norris to WIN in a FIGHT

JLV
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betting on

Warrior-caste Moties

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Read The Gods of War for every tired cliche you never wanted to see in a sci fi book

JLV
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>If SyFy throw a shark, octopus or tornado it could even get better!

I can see the poster already! (Goodshow is a hilarious, British-run, site)

http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/2013/01/city-under-the-sea/

http://www.goodshowsir.co.uk/2010/08/faith-of-tarot/

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JLV
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Alien

Awful? By no means, Amazon says not!

4.5 stars with 8 reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Gods-War-Graham-Brown-ebook/product-reviews/B00M4S2WIY/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

"A very good movie material. Call alert to Alfonso Cuaron and Scott Ridley."

"There’s even philosophical stimulation"

"you can almost see the movie this book could become"

"Good guys, bad guys, people in between"

Several possibilities:

a) $2.75 price means The Forever War or Mote in God's Eye, no?

b) The reviewers are family/friends.

c) The reviewers are morons , easily pleased.

d) The author of _this_ article just doesn't get great SF in the tradition of Clark, Asimov, Banks and Heinlein.

(A comparison to the above authors was the key point of a glowing review of a very turgid SF novel I just read and reviewed negatively)

Advice to those buying cheap Kindle SF, methinks the proportion of lobotomized reviewers increases as price decreases and the number of guns increases. Military, apocalypse and first contact SF seem to attract a number of rabid fans who will devour anything in that field and praise turds as diamonds. I suppose that would be true of zombie SF novels too but haven't dipped my toes.

I love it when you write a negative review and you get a downvote within an hour or two on an otherwise infrequently reviewed book. A suspicious person, which I am not, might almost suspect the author.

That said, I have discovered some very very cool new authors on Kindle, and if you wait for the daily discounts, you can get them for quite cheap. Look at the bad reviews first, get a sense if they are of the "OMG... boring, like no action 4 10 pages, back 2 COD, LOL" or the "cardboard characters, unbelievable plot" variety and try to guesstimate how credible the reviewer is.

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Gaming supremo creates maps that turn real world into Sim City

JLV
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Simcity-inspired?

I wanna know...

if you bulldoze a church do they simulate you a rampaging Godzilla?

Excellent idea they have by the way, verrrry cool.

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Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch

JLV
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>reasonable (by Apple standards)

depends on your definition of that word.

Apple.ca, unlocked, 16/64/128, CAD$:

4.7" - 749/859/969

5.5" - 859/969/1079

Ouch. A $1000+ phone, before tax. Wonder how usable a 16GB phone is, if you use 6-7 gb for mp3s?

My $399 32gb, unlocked, Nexus 5 may stick around for longer than expected. Not that I am all that fond of its battery-guzzling ways, but...

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iPHONEY: Fake iPhone 6 images splattered over Chinese internet

JLV
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IT Angle

slow day?

Come on, with the amount of downvotes re anything non-derogatory said about Apple, your commentard demographic obviously sleeps easily without all this pre-launch hype, gush & speculation.

Really, who cares? It's a phone, just that. And it's not out, yet.

And I don't even mind Apple myself.

Catch some rays, down some suds, chat up up <person of interest>.

Write up launch review @ launch, plenty sufficient.

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Jony Ive: Apple iWatch will SCREW UP Switzerland's economy

JLV
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Facepalm

>tell a fake Rolex from a real one anyway.

True story.

- My, my, Janine, nice Rolex. Cost a lot?

- (giggle) No, got it for a steal in Thailand. Who'd pay the full price for the real thing?

later... at the Paris Rolex service dept.

- Excuse me, my watch has stopped working. Can you fix it?

- Errr, you are aware it it s a counterfeit?

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

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Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

>The rebels may have possessed a single BUK launcher, captured from government forces.

Hmmm, Tom, do all the math you want about BUKs.

I too agree that the immediate blaming of the rebels was a bit hasty, but... someone had to shoot down that plane.

In all the frequent blames and name calling of the rebels by the Ukrainian authorities, generally playing up to whoever will listen the hardware used by the rebels, no one ever claimed the rebels were operating aircraft. Because, for one thing, aircraft are complex to operate and require airstrips. Russia might have chosen to operate them, but at that point was being discrete.

Now, if you can, try to balance out your fairly justified doubt about who is telling the truth. Balance it out with a big question: if your enemies are not operating aircraft, why would you shoot anti-aircraft missiles? Why would you shoot a plane whose flight path is coming from your own territory? Which party had recently bragged about shooting down a bunch of aircraft, some of which were not that different in aspect from airliners?

Now, that doesn't tell us who did it, it really doesn't. And, yes, the glee with which the Ukrainian government took PR advantage of it was distasteful.

Occam's Razor does not much support your theories however.

Ah, but I forget. Black flag operation, the answer to all questions.

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JLV
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Re: Sanctions

>Time and again the history proves it to be the case

Gee, you forgot South Africa and Myanmar.

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JLV
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Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

>all are on the wrong side.

Bullshit!

Bloody Ukrainians should know better than to carry out their own foreign policy. They are, after all, part of the Russian near-abroad, places where Russia has special interests. What's this about wanting to kow tow to Europe? What's this about protesting about corruption?

And, darn right, 20-30% of ethnic Russians, moved there in the glorious heyday of the Soviet people's brotherhood, definitely can decide to secede when they feel like it. After all, Russia is a great power and the little fish surrounding it need to respect it.

Latvia, Georgia, etc... take note.

Send in the PzIIs into the Sudetenland, sorry T72s into Donetsk, to rescue our ethnic brothers!

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Apple 'fesses up: Rejected from the App Store, dev? THIS is why

JLV
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Re: Suggestion for another rejection criteria

"the OS"? which is that?

I use both. Neither do what I want, putting them together would be better.

iOS has what you say, but only on few access rights. Location, contacts, calendars, reminders, photos, bluetooth & mic. However, they do allow you to disable those access. Does it mean the apps have no possibilty of access to other items (sms, to take an example)? Does it mean that that access is un-reported, so as not to worry us?

I dunno, but the list the of access rights has increased, slowly. That list used to be even shorter before. Again, does it mean that that possibility of app access did not exist? Or was just unreported?

Take an example - security boffins have reported some success in guessing lock passwords from reading accelerometers. & accelerometers are accessible from the iOS apis. Does my barcode scanner need 3D access? I wouldn't know if it asked for it.

Android has lots more detail, but doesn't allow you to muzzle access. Yes, I can see "full network access" for my barcode scanner, but I can't turn it off, unlike iOS. Android's Plenty of Fish has a looong list of things it likes to look at: device & app history, identity, location, photos, camera, wifi connection info, phone info, full network access, vibration control, prevent phone sleep.... That's a fair bit, no? And, way more detailed than iOS's limited list.

So, no, neither iOS 7 nor KitKat is happy land for me. I'd like any app chatting outside of its own processing and files, or its own servers on the net, to report its intent. Whether it is to access another app, the network, sms, etc... And I'd like the OS to reject undeclared interactions outright.

Then again, I am the kind of paranoid fool who won't use banking apps on a mobile ;-)

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JLV
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Re: Suggestion for another rejection criteria

Hey, don't take my post as an endorsement for Android either. I would like to see this stuff radically locked down, on both platforms. My take is Android, or at least Play, is slightly better at showing you the scope of the problem. I am satisfied with neither.

What I would like is a fake access capability. Wanna see my contacts? Sure, I'll pretend you can see them, but in reality the OS only gives the app access to a locked down sandbox. i.e. you can't really see my contacts, you only think you can. Ditto pretty much everything and reviewing access logs might be most informative as to what was attempted and whether an app could actually be trusted. Additionally, it would avoid an install being an all or nothing decision - you take the app, but you knowingly limit some of its functionality. Last but not least, you'd get security conscious users warning each other about abuses.

Likely to happen? No, but one can dream, no? And, no, I definitely don't care to root my phone to achieve any of this.

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JLV
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Black Helicopters

Suggestion for another rejection criteria

"apps that require permissions above and beyond their stated use will be rejected"

Thinking of...

sms access for non-sms apps

location access for most apps non-navigation/non-social/non-local game mode apps

contact information for most apps

etc...

At least you see better transparency about the required permissions on Play. But there, or on the Apple store, it seems very little is done to restrict the "ask for the kitchen sink" approach to privacy of most app devs.

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Siri: Helpful personal assistant or SERIAL APP KILLER?

JLV
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Joke

Idiocracy II: Siri, the return

Siri, gemme sum tirst mutilatoh.

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China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE

JLV
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Alert

What could go wrong?

Nifty research, don't get me wrong.

But if the bubble collapses somehow, you end up hitting a brick wall in short order.

Fine for a torpedo, but as a passenger, I'd be a tad worried.

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No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate

JLV
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>Anti-religious bigotry

what, exactly, is "religious" about IS? Enlighten us, please.

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JLV
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Somebody else also has a branding problem :(

Archer.

Far as this somewhat risque material goes, satirizing this lot of fanatics is a good way to start. Harder to be a martyr when you are a laughingstock. And, make no mistake, IS is all about PR, as well as being as unequivocally evil as we haven't seen much of since the Nazis and Pol Pot.

Good show.

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Obama's healthcare.gov savior says: 'No suits please, we're techies'

JLV
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Re: It matters not

>Its time IT had a regulatory body to drive up standards in our industry to something akin to a professional level.

Totally agree. Starting with sartorial standards which are the most important by far.

You are sooooo right and I'll go further. Dress code is a bit like the 'broken windows' theory introduced in NYC policing: how can you not have crime if there are any broken windows or graffiti?

In IT it becomes, how could you possibly produce bug-free code wearing jeans & Ts? Obviously not, when you think about it and our, under-appreciated, managers have long shown us the way.

Or, as we French like to say: l'habit fait le moine.

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What happens in Europe, doesn't stay in Europe: US giants accused of breaking EU privacy pact

JLV
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Black Helicopters

Hosting providers in Canada and Germany

Hey, love the place, but you gotta be realistic.

As a Canadian, I wouldn't give Canada's companies the benefit of the doubt. If anything, we usually lag behind compared to the US when it comes to consumer privacy (do not call lists and credit card # on receipts came in 2-3 yrs behind US initiatives). Lobbying by big corps is even more effective here.

As far as gov snooping goes, doubt they'd keep much of US hands either. Esp w Harper.

Mind you, Canadian hosters love to drum up US privacy concerns to whip up business. They would, of course.

Now, Germany I would be more inclined to trust.

Really, what some small country needs to do is to become the Switzerland of hosting. Laws yes, but privacy first.

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Anonymous wifi the latest casualty of Russia net neurosis

JLV
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Re: What about forriners?

>never trust them, nor take them at face value.

And what do you make of Putain's 80% approval rating? If that is untruly reported, fine, another buttress to your argument that we in the West are being manipulated.

If his approval is anywhere near those numbers, then consider that Western national-level politicians can only dream of an 80% approval rating.

Outside of national emergencies or wars, which are conveniently present right now. Which would make your "cynical and clever" Russians pretty similar to us in their propaganda absorption quotient, would it not?

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Yosemite Siri? Apple might plonk chatty assistant on your desktop - report

JLV
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Joke

instead of working on the patent, how about working on the hottie avatar bit?

Apple is really lagging behind on the 'hottie' bit of Siri.

Check out http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/08/12/cortana_in_windows_threshold/

Cortana is... fetching all right. Whether or not I would want to have a chatty assistant is uncertain, but at least she doesn't look like a paperclip. In fact, the Cortana avatar is one bit of synergy MS can show between its XBox division and the rest*. Lots of $ later, but hey.

So, Mr. Cook, where's Siri's avatar at?

How about striking a deal with Dan Simmons and using the persona from Remembering Siri in the Hyperion books? She's a surfer girl on a planet called Maui Covenant who becomes their PM by the end, so no scatter brain. Plus, surfer girl has a lot of avatar sexiness potential, methink**. And Simmons can use the cash, having been on a downtear in his more recent books.

* on the flip side, Halo I, which I loathed as a game, came from Bungie, which once upon a time, had really nifty games like Myth. A great loss for gaming, Bungie => MS.

** Let's not focus on the PM bit of her career, she's aged considerably by relativistic time debt by that point - methinks a Lady Thatcher hottie avatar calls for mind bleach.

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China cracks down on instant messengers: Users must hand over REAL NAMES

JLV
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Re: "slander and rumours"

Not to say anything good about the Pinochet mess. Or the Central American death squads which are more recent. Or whatever the US has been up with the war on terror in addition to Guantanamo.

But isn't that comparing apple and oranges? violence against your own citizens is considerably more blatant than against faceless people in another country, most of which your propaganda can dismiss as not-quite-innocent.

A better USA comparison to Tianamen, where the police of a state shot its own citizens in a largely peaceful demonstration, would be the Kent State shootings in 67, with 4 deaths. Not quite the same intent, the same fatalities or the same results.

Tianamen is quite in its own league, even in a nation as populous as China. It makes more sense against their background of forced labor camps in the 60s and 70s.

As much as anti-Americanism, somewhat deserved as a result of Bush Jr, is rampant in these here parts, Russian and China have never even really pretended to be places where human rights are very important. Russia is reminding us of that these days, but remains an impotent backwater with dreams of geopolitical relevance.

China... can go both ways. They certainly will become the dominant superpower in our lifetime. They can develop and be kind to their own citizens and to the world. That's in many ways their best interest. But their government also lacks legitimacy and is very prickly about criticism, as this shows. Tibet, and more importantly, the western Chinese Muslim regions? Not exactly cuddly/huggy behavior.

A good way to retain public goodwill is to engage into easy adventures against foreign enemies or perceived slights. Spratleys, Taiwan, all sorts of potential powderkegs.

It's dicey. Designed-for-China-wars kit like the F35 family sends a signal that they should not trust us. But, can we trust them? Their government is a huge part of the problem, but face it, most of the world abused China in the 19th and 20th century. Will Joe Average there be willing to forgive and forget? Will China be content to merely bully its backyard?

Interesting times indeed, but this is not a good sign, no sirree. I still think the West should go out of its way to de-escalate military competition with China, but we may yet rue the advent of a potentially even less restrained superpower.

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Surfing the web from Android? We KNEW it – sorry, iOS fanbois

JLV
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>Would you refuse to buy a house... Yes!

Glad to see we all agree. Preposterous to think people would be that silly.

I mean, it's not like hugely accelerated house price inflation has ever happened, at a national level, ever, izzit?

What those Case-Shiller guys smoking? And we all know Euro house prices have been moderate in the last decade, don't we? Canadian house prices? A study in mature, astute, moderation.

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Quicker, easier to fly to MOON than change web standards ... OR IS IT?

JLV
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WTF?

Re: We went from NCP to TCP/IP overnight.

>CSS in general is really not all that important

Yeah, right.

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Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms

JLV
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Re: Serval Project is much more interesting

>Wi-Fi interfaces

can you remind us again about wifi ranges? good if your nodes are close, less so if they are remote. i.e. better in cities, less so outdoor.

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JLV
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wondering about all the negatives

Has this been done before? Apparently, yes. Is this better than sms, no? Radio-freqs - apparently contentious outside of the US.

But, if you take this as a mesh-capable text-only system, I think it does have potential.

- piggy backing on your cellphone allows their system to be stripped down to just the radio bits and allows you to carry your cell and one small device and integrate its use with your cell (the offline map example being one significant bit).

- I mostly use texts anyway myself, so this is 75% of what I would want.

- In the appropriate locations (and I am not sure line of sight would be that favorable in a cellular-down New York scenario), this could come in plenty handy in certain circumstances. Camping/hiking comes to mind. Marine situations not so much because you would use a VHF set instead. Search and rescue? Dunno, again because of LOS, but tracking searched locations automatically might speed things up quite a bit over voice comms.

- I assume later-generation multiband emitters could sidestep the US-only bandwidth bit. Later generation kit might be a whole lot cheaper too. Cheap enough might be quite different from purpose-built comm systems just like 10x speed improvements are a qualitative difference in IT systems.

To me, they are not all the way there, by no means. This is still an interesting spin on enabling mast-less comms on cellphones. Done right it has the potential to be integrated in ways voice-only tech like walkie-talkies and UHF doesn't. Even if it fails, it might very well point the way to other systems. Or just serve as an example of what not to try.

Seriously, with the number of dubious startups doing the same things as each other, in order to be the next social network or NoSQL wannabe, I rather applaud them for looking at fresher territory.

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KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer

JLV
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Happy

>Team F/OSS are copying where MS has lead

A nitwit who manage to get it totally backwards ;-)

Whether or not you like Linux, MS had plenty of opportunity to observe and learn from the Gnome3/KDE4 and especially Unity fails of the last few years.

These gripes about massive unsolicited UI changes, touch and usability of desktop vs tablets/phones? Had been going on for years before MS decided to faithfully make the same design errors with Metro. They could have learned from all the Penguin griping going around, but, no, they doubled the ante instead and managed to make Win8 even more hateful with its schizophrenic Metro/Classic personality.

At least, on Linux, and Macs, if all else fails, the command line is a pretty capable interface. Not quite how I would describe the command line on Windows ;-)

For me, KDE 3x was the best. Granted, in that case, it did look somewhat like Win XP, which is not by itself a bad thing.

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Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5

JLV
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WTF?

Re: iShaft

>a new phone every 6-12 months,

Upgrade every 6 months, with new iPhones only coming out every year or so???

Does dislike of Apple preclude common sense & math ability? FUD much?

Typically app updates can be maintained till your hardware loses theoretical/effective iOS refresh ability, about 2-4 years on average. You are at risk of new connectors (Lightning cable) but the flip side is old-style accessory discounts. Ran iOS 7 no prob on 3 yr old 4G.

Signed - for now at least - an Android Nexus5 user.

Siri... seriously? I know I don't wan to use a POS voice agent by any manufacturer, so why would I care? But if I did, standard cost/benef analysis would apply in evaluating purchase.

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JLV
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Re: Not so rare.

Could be worse. Samsung had a perfectly functional, _bug-free_, full-control iOS remote app for my Samsung smart TV.

One day, upgrade 3.0 came out and... dumbed the iOS app down to pretty much volume & channels only.

Love being a pawn in those 2's lawyer spaffs. This is something I'll remember next Samsung purchase eval time.

Nexus phone's remote app works, at least. Maybe Samsung can get more aggressive and make it exclusive to their app store only next time?

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JLV
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Paris Hilton

Confused

What's getting upgraded, the app on the phone or the firmware on speakers as well?

If the app, first you could choose not to upgrade it, so that you don't have this problem.

Second, you _won't_ be able to upgrade if you are on iOS under reqs, update doesn't install. So... you'll have to stick to old app on old device, as per some comments above. I've had that happen, being cut off due to old iOS. Old app stays.

What you won't have is an ongoing set of updates to your old-OS app. And Sonos is being transparent. Is that the storm in this here kettle?

Now, if there's a speaker firmware incompatibility bit to this story, Reg was not being clear about it. and could you... not install it?

All the Apple/Sonos bashing is bit rich from Android users whose vendors are notoriously bad at OS upgrades (one reason my current phone is a Google Nexus cuz at least those get Android updates).

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Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source

JLV
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Boffin

>Engineers know how to fix things. What do beancounters know?

Since we are talking about military drones and military procurement in this instance, when have beancounters ever had much to say about military hardware?

$500 Multidirectional Kinetic Injectors (hammers)?

$150M and up "budget affordable due to procurement scale" (the original intent) F-35 fighters?

how many $B to refit Her Majesty's new carriers with supposedly contractually possible catapult extensions?

I don't mind the beancounter bashing vs engineers, usually.

With military procurement however, I think a lot more beancounting sanity checks should be happening. Keeping the same defense budgets, that should result in much better gear for the boys n girls in the frontlines and less gouging by the military contractors.

If it makes engineering sense (and I doubt your Glonass idea makes any sense on NATO gear), then inertial sensors will be fitted in. Whether that is at reasonable cost is quite another question.

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Stop begging, startup-land, and start YELLING at Catch of the Day

JLV
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Joke

buzzword

Ah, another spin on my favorite buzzword, proactive.

Which until now I had assumed to be largely meaningless corps-speak, with a vague connotation of 'in advance' or 'to anticipate'.

Using proactive to describe reacting three years late? Maybe it's an entirely meaningless word after all.

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Games industry set for $5 BILLION haircut, warn beancounters

JLV
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Paris Hilton

confused...

usually we get the "PC games are dead" mantra.

now we are back to PC games saving the day???

Far as game quality goes, it's a bit unfair to expect most new games to be brilliant. I can certainly cite a number of game franchises for having overstayed their welcome.

But every so often a new game comes out that does push the envelope. Not really different from movies, where most of the crop consists of duds. And, like movies, if you wait 6 months or so, you'll get it for much cheaper.

The difference is that many good games have good replay value.

It's also a bit unfair to criticize game AI overmuch, it's not like the non-game AI field is doing that great. With the exception of IBM Deep XYZ and cloud-based machine learning.

Back to finishing Dark Souls 2 and when that's done I'll spin up my Shogun 2 again.

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

JLV
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Re: Intoxicated

& probably some of that nasty rock n roll music too.

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Weaponised Flash flaw can pinch just about anything from anywhere

JLV
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Unhappy

>looking at you, BBC

Oh, CBC is _much_ more of a a Flash fan than BBC. Almost all their vids require it.

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Programming languages in economics: Cool research, bro, but what about, er, economics?

JLV
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Boffin

Depends what you are optimizing for...

Assume you are optimizing for _your_ thesis paper.

a) Pick a simple problem and implement it in, count them, 8 languages. After the first implementation, the work shouldn't be that hard, except for figuring out basic language constructs. You can probably peruse the language shootout sites for inspiration as well.

b) Pick a metric that is entirely objective, mathematical and easily comprehended - speed. Maintainability? Who, outside of our profession, really cares about it? In fact, judging by some code I've looked at, a fair proportion of devs don't get it either. Productivity and maintainability are arguable, speed is not.

In any case, you can be assured that the average economics prof won't understand that runtime speed is not that important.

c) Bask in the glory of a well-quoted and argued about paper, where even The Register seems to have had wind of it. If some of your peers disagree with your assessment, you can take refuge behind your hard numbers while refuting their objections as subjective.

Do you really think they got that paper wrong?

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

JLV
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Happy

Re: VP of product at AOL

Funny thing is the Reg ran this exact same storyline about 3-4 years back, with someone trying to cancel his AOL service and recording this exact same BS.

Shows these guys never learn. And, why should they? They can probably browbeat at least some of their customers most of the time.

On the other hand, it does look silly when it gets aired. Then, it is time for the company PRs to earn their salary, do their bit and swear that it was a rogue employee. Not like Comcast, or AOL, would ever condone aggressive and abusive customer retention tactics as a policy, oh no. Cross our hearts.

Scapegoat ahoy!

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Rural mobile coverage: Tweeting twits to join chirping tits in UK's national parks

JLV
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Re: Hooray

>bull.

>Unless you call £53 for 7 days or £88 for 15 days rental expensive ?

Again, one of the cases where a commentard seems to think his needs and wants should be the needs and wants of all other commentards. Unusual, that ;-)

Yes, I would call 7.50 quid a day expensive, if you frequently go hiking.

I live in Vancouver, we are right next to very quickly accessible, but also extremely rugged terrain. Some of it has cellphone reception, most of it does not.

It's not uncommon for us to decide on the spur of the moment to do some trail or other on which we would benefit from having an emergency system. What to do then? Rent a sat phone? Can't - too short notice. And expensive. Buy one permanently? No - it is too expensive.

Now, if I were going up for a week or two in the brush, in an area generally not frequented by many people, then, yes, I would probably get a sat phone. If I were a multimillionaire or if I went out into the deep back country frequently then maybe. But I am just a fairly advanced recreational hiker. Sat phones are not a fit 90% of my time.

p.s. one thing I will agree on in this debate. It's nice that your parks are getting coverage. But don't rely overmuch on a cellphone. They may save your behind, sometime. But they are not foolproof in rugged terrain. For example, one local guy died of exposure 3 years ago because they could not pinpoint his position before his batteries died, after they got his call.

Map, compass, leaving an itinerary and expected return with a buddy. Common sense, esp re sunset in winter.

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JLV
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Re: Hooray

Agreed on the cost. And, like said, it requires planning and you will not be carrying one on a casual day trip, most likely.

My alternative kit is a GPS emergency beacon. It is a one time use device, cigarette pack sized. Got mine for $150, no subscription fees. Batteries are good for 5 years, are replaceable and there is a test switch.

If you need help, you yank out a wire, which triggers it. It bounces a signal to military search and rescue sats and the gps keeps on pinging your location. The company who makes the beacon then notifies appropriate authorities, potentially on the other side of the world.

Other models have subscription fees and can send rudimentary sms, but I fail to see the need. One drawback is it doesn't float, but there is a eyelet on which you could thread a cord attached to a float.

As it doesn't cost anything you can even loan it out to friends when they go out somewhere remote.

re. taking maps on a hike, there are a number of no-network-required apps available for smartphones. Not all of them are very good at trails/topo, as opposed to road usage, but they should at least give you a rough idea of where you are. I wouldn't rely on them for a multi-day remote camping trip, but they are much better than nothing on a casual hike. iOS: PocketEarth, Android: OSMAnd.

p.p.s. If anyone can recommend a really good topo app on iOS, Android, I'd be grateful.

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US authorities round up ILLEGAL DINOSAURS for repatriation

JLV
Bronze badge

Re: In this case

Well, by whose laws was it legal then, exactly?

Laws conveniently put in place by the occupying European nations, where the artifacts now reside? It's not like a country like Egypt or India had much choice in the matter then, izzit?

Not a big fan of Western guilt tripping about most things myself. But in this case, I'd say the stuff should either be purchased or sent back. Canadian First Nation (Indian) tribes got their masks back from Ottawa a while back and that's only fair.

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That 'wiped' Android phone you bought is stuffed with NAKED SELFIES – possibly

JLV
Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Hammer...

Like I said there is very little on that phone that is sensitive in the first place. Which, imho, is best practice. A big chunk of your risk is while you own it, not after disposal. I don't have an overwhelming need to bank on mobile for example. Sexy pics? A rather dumb move regardless of medium.

Now, your needs may differ but I don't want to landfill mine, more an issue than the $ profit. And, if you pass it on rather than sell it, how does change anything and who's to say it doesn't end up on Craigslist later?

Hammers? Great for some users but a thorough wipe, not just a reset, will cover 90% of the rest. Research your own recipe, carry it out and rest assured there are plenty of much lower hanging fruits to be picked, as per article.

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JLV
Bronze badge

Hammer...

Errr.... and how do you propose to sell the phone after that?

I would log off from my email account, do a factory reset. Then, after making sure the memory is almost empty (OS excepted), I would leave it to shoot videos of my wall till it was full again. Could even be bothered to change my email password on my laptop afterwards.

Since the most sensitive stuff I have on my phone is pretty much my email access, that should be good enough. Even if you got in, you wouldn't see that much more incriminating stuff because I keep it the heck off my easily misplaced/stolen phone. No banking happens on it, for example.

Now, if I was doing DoD stuff, then that might be different, but I don't have any Bond delusions myself.

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Dubai to get HUGE climate-controlled DOMED CITY and giga-mall

JLV
Bronze badge
Happy

>wall of ice

I woulda sworn an ex-employer's offices were set up that way.

Chilly in winter, but they kept it even colder in summer. It wasn't the servers, they were in their own room, but just stupid management.

Dubai? It would be an ok idea to diversify, if they could bother their own citizens to have the skills necessary to make money from those diversified businesses. Or at least be employed by them.

As it is, a few rich Doobies will scam money out of it, some expats will milk it, many more Indians & Bengladeshis will be treated abusively to build them. The average Dubai citizen will remain on their version of the dole.

Album Elephantum indeed.

P.S.

"responsible for a lot of carbon emissions"

did Lewis really express concern about CO2? Must. Fix. My. Brain. ;-)

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The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

JLV
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Joke

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Lemme guess. Not a big fan of CLIs, aintcha?

Too bad.

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'iPhone 6' survives FRENZIED STABBING. Truly, it is the JESUS Phone

JLV
Bronze badge

I do wonder...

One major advantage of iPhones, at least for clumsy oafs like me, are the screen repair costs.

Shop a bit and I could get an iPhone 4 screen replaced for 65$ CAD, wo Groupons. 45 w Groupons. iPhone5 are pricier, probably 90-110, but that compares very well to $200+ for most other smartphones*. Ain't broken my Nexus 5 yet, but I dread what it would cost.

So... does this new material mean that we won't ever get broken screens? I tend to take that with a grain of salt.

Or will it mean $200 screen replacements, by Apple only?

* I think the costs have to do with the fact that each iPhone generation has identical screens, color aside. Other manufacturers have many models, forcing repair shops to hold more inventory, which trickles down to us. Plus, you can order an iPhone 4 screen for $40 from China, supposedly.

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Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

JLV
Bronze badge

8 reasons

Is Imperial TV programming the 9th?

Because I don't see it listed there.

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French Senate passes anti-Amazon amendment

JLV
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Re: >dead in the water

Some best sellers picked @ random.

Katherine Pancol Muchachas 3. FNAC 20 Euro, Amazon.fr 20 Euro, Amazon.ca 20 CAD

Le capital au XXIème siècle - 23.75 Euro Fnac & amazon.fr, 33 CAD Amazon.ca

Éléments Pour une Histoire de L'Informatique - Euro 31.03 Amazon.fr, 41.62 Amazon CA

Un jour je m'en irai sans en avoir tout dit - Euro 19.95, 24.91 CAD

Euro CAD : 1.45 currently

So, slightly more nuanced than either one of us are claiming. I'll admit to that on my end.

As far as the bookstores go, I lived in Paris for 10 years, so unless the bookseller base has had large improvements, I'll stick to my guns. Some of them are brilliant, many of them are not.

If you like bookstores, one example that got it 110% right when I lived there is Griffe Noir. These guys don't need protection, they have plenty of customers. Mostly because they do know what they are selling and are passionate about books. Their display window traditionally had a book sitting on top of a loo (as in "this is a piece of s**t"), usually selected from a not very deserving best seller.

http://www.librairielagriffenoire.com

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Librairie+Papeterie+La+Griffe+Noire/@48.809541,2.471424,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x513e91c1b16c6d04

Overall, putting a floor on book prices is just not a very clever idea at the macro level. Richer people can absorb the cost but you don't want to make it harder for people to afford books.

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JLV
Bronze badge

>dead in the water

Would be good if it was true. However, never underestimate the French capacity for dumb regulations to protect the vested interests of small constituencies at the expense of everyone else.

As far as books go, the Lang law unfortunately works just fine. It brilliantly manages to keep costs artificially high in bookstores for just about any books in France.

The people who benefit? Mom & pop bookshops, often tiny things with a fairly shabby selection of crappy SAS paperbacks (no, the Brit SAS), other mindless drivel and tobacco products. Many of them would not know a good book if it fell on their head. The overall effect is that of a large distribution of airport bookstore quality level establishments, well away from airports.

As a result, I used to find that French books, imported in Quebec were cheaper than in France.

If one considers reading and knowledge acquisition to be essential to competition in the modern economy, you can see exactly how clever keeping book prices inflated is as government policy.

Mais, vous savez, le Amazon est Amerloque, donc evil. Sacre bleu! Maintenant il faut reglementer le Kindle, because that ees free sheeping too!

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