* Posts by cirby

87 posts • joined 24 Jun 2008

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Trump tramples US Constitution by blocking Twitter critics – lawsuit

cirby

Re: No-brainer

You're right - you can't block citizens from seeing it.Which Trump hasn't done.

You can still view his Tweets, even if he blocks you.

You just can't reply directly to him - which he was going to ignore anyway.

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Good luck building a VR PC: Ethereum miners are buying all the GPUs

cirby

The GTX 1080 is a 9 teraflop card. not 6.5. The 1070 is about 6.5.

The Xbox One X has about the same bandwidth as the 1080, not 50% greater. Again, 1070.

Basically, you were using the 1070's specs to compare to the Xbox One X.

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cirby

Re: Other problems for VR - not really

There isn't much (if any) VR content that relies on direct video streaming like that.

Generally the "40 ms" issue in internal to the VR system, and doesn't touch the network. Interactions between players by pass that, for the most part, and don't impact play any more than any other online game.

If you have a long delay (40ms+) between the time you move your head and the time the display updates, that's a problem, and people start to get "VR sickness."

If you have a long (300 ms+) delay in person-t-person game interactions, it just makes play seem clunky.

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cirby

Re: Silly prices for 8GB RX480's on Ebay

A 1070 is currently $525 to $600+ - the one in my VR machine cost me $399 last year, but is going for $649 now...

A new 970 (up to $450) is more expensive than a 1070 was in January.

(I had a lightning strike kill this computer last week, and I was panicking at the thought of replacing the graphics card - luckily, it survived.)

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Nokia touts future of virtual reality ads... but who's the audience?

cirby

Re: Purchases in VR

Not even close. You can use the Vive's built-in camera to open up a view window on the display on demand, at least in a lot of software.

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cirby

Re: Almost there

You haven't actually used any of the current VR systems, have you?

Resolution is not "shit," by any measure. I'd like it to be higher, but it's certainly enough to get past the "suspension of disbelief" part. Yes, the "screen door effect" is obvious when you start playing, but in the middle of a session, that awareness goes right out the window.

Tracking is great on the Vive (not so with other systems). Millimeter-scale accuracy. That's better than you can manage with your own hand.

Framerate on my Vive is 90 FPS, and yes, that's "silky smooth." It's better than the human eye can discern.

And as pointed out above, the current Vive gives you several square meters of play room, not one.

It sounds like you guys have been playing with Google Cardboard systems instead of the real thing...

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cirby

Almost there

The current generation of VR hardware is almost good enough for widespread acceptance. Resolution is good, tracking works great, and the content is ramping up at an amazing rate. Developer's tools already support VR quite nicely, so the software side isn't going to hold it back.

That said, VR won't be that common until we get higher resolution in the headsets (already in the works, from all reports), and cheaper hardware (also coming, but somewhat slower).

The thing to remember is that the "expensive" VR rigs (like my Vive) really aren't, when you look at the total market and the history of computers. I spent about $3000 on a completely ridiculous overkill-type system (Vive + PC to run it) - but when you compare it to the Apple IIe I bought in 1983, it's about half as expensive. The Apple was about $2400, which is about $6000 in today's dollars when you account for inflation.

Right now, that "too expensive" Vive rig is comparable to buying a Commodore 64 with a floppy drive in 1984... and you can buy prebuilt VR systems for about half of what I spent. You can get a Playstation VR system for about $1000.

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Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

cirby

Re: Sound Design

That's why the next generation of VR "movies" won't be like linear films - they'll be a file format that keeps track of where sounds should be. More of a program than a movie. Basically, they encode object location (in 3D) in the soundtrack.

That way, when you turn your head to look at something that made a sound, the sound keep coming from the correct direction.

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cirby

Sound Design

While there are some well-shot 360 videos out there, there are almost no 360 sound designs in those videos.

One of the biggest cues we have for "look behind you!" is sound. Until more producers start using the available 360 sound tools, people aren't going to look around too much - they'll look where the plain old stereo effect tells them to. Two people having a conversation in a car? The viewer will look straight at them, instead of gawking at the landscape outside the window (unless they're really boring, which is another issue).

Of course, sound is one of the biggest issues in general in live-capture VR. You can't have a nice expensive boom mike on each person in the shot if you can see in all directions at once. Directionality means that the camera is going to have to do the audio capture, as well as the video capture - or every bit of dialogue will have to be redubbed in post production.

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Virtual reality headsets even less popular than wearable devices

cirby

Re: VR and assistive technology

I've seen posts from people with vision problems who use VR, and the comments have been pretty positive. It has the illusion of depth, but the actual image is "close in," so people with extreme myopia and other vision issues don't seem to have much problem with it.

Your comment about "presumably works by jiggery-pokery of the image to give you the illusion of depth" is odd. It works by straightforward "putting an image up for each eye to give the illusion of depth." It's not particularly strange - people have been doing similar things for well over a century with stereoscopy.

If you're not sure about your wife's capacity to enjoy VR, try out the Google Cardboard with a standard smart phone. They're incredibly cheap - I have a nice little one (from a company called Eightones) I got for $5.99 US, and a slightly fancier setup that cost me $29.99 US. If she can use those well enough, then the better models would just be improvements.

One of the best things about VR is that it lets people with health and movement issues enjoy things they would never get to experience. Google Earth on a fancy system like the Vive is pretty amazing, for example, and there are some impressive (and free!) VR experiences out there.

A final note: while stereo vision is one of the best parts of VR, it's not necessary. Plenty of people with vision loss in one eye still have and use VR headsets.

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cirby

A few caveats...

The cry of "you have to buy an expensive computer" rings a bit false. According to Steam, 25% of their users already have Vive/Oculus-capable computers (more than 30 million out of 125 million users). That's a LOT of people who are already gamers, and have the capability of running VR. Another 25% or so are mostly just a $200 graphics card update away - that's over 60 million potential users right there.

The other thing to consider is that "expensive" price, considered historically. In 1983, my Apple IIe cost about $2400 (with color monitor and floppy drive). Accounting for inflation, that would be about $6000 today. Even if you went for the much cheaper Commodore 64 with floppy drive (mostly "just a game computer"), you'd be spending about $900 in 1983, or $2300 today. That's certainly enough to buy a nice Vive system - and there are VR system bundles for $1500 that will do the job.

Basically, the same people who think "VR is too expensive" are the same people who would have thought "wow, home computers are too expensive, they'll never take off!" VR is not really that costly, but once the price drops really kick in, things will get very interesting, and most of the bugs have been squashed already due to the early adopters.

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Hackers emit 9GB of stolen Macron 'emails' two days before French presidential election

cirby

Business as usual

The early comments from Macron's people seem to be pretty predictable - "It was all perfectly normal internal communications, except for the bad stuff, which was all made up."

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It's Russian hackers, FBI and Wikileaks wot won it – Hillary Clinton on her devastating election loss

cirby

Re: Comey was required by Congress to inform Congress

Her predecessors handled email much, much differently than she did, in many ways.

Most obvious is that they didn't send classified information through their non-government email. Some staffers sent some very low-level information to Rice, but were corrected immediately. Clinton actively encouraged her staff to bypass classification, according to her own emails.

Less obvious is that, when Powell and Rice did it, they still used their government accounts for the bulk of their work, with very few used through their other accounts. Clinton completely relied on her private server for all of her work emails.

Clinton also lied flat-out about it, from first claiming that the server didn't exist, to claiming that it was only one unsecured email device - when it turned out to be over a dozen, some of which were lost, and others destroyed AFTER the investigation found out about them. That sort of action would land you in jail if you tried something similar when dealing with evidence in a government investigation...

The last part - and the part you managed to miss - is that between the time Colin Powell and Condi Rice held office and the time Hillary and the Democrats took over, the law changed, making it illegal to use private email servers. Hillary knew this.

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CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

cirby

No VR advances?

You mean, aside from the wireless adapters announced for the HTC Vive? There's the HTC one and a few others...

Or the Vive pucks that you attach to things so you can (for example) have a fully-tracked rifle in VR, with working trigger?

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CompSci Prof raises ballot hacking fears over strange pro-Trump voting patterns

cirby

Re: Vote Fraud? Are you CRAAAZY?

"Some academic" who just happens to be a Democrat.

And, once again, the Democrats have been telling us for YEARS that there's no such thing as vote fraud - until it benefits them to claim it does.

Let's deal with that first - by requiring voter ID and paper ballots. You know, the things that Democrats have been fighting tooth and nail for more than twenty years, and that Republicans have been demanding.

Once we get that in place, we can talk about the rest of it.

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cirby

Vote Fraud? Are you CRAAAZY?

So, up until a couple of weeks ago, the Democrat party line was "Vote fraud? Don't be ridiculous! Never happens!"

And "People who contest elections are practically traitors, and should be shunned!"

So, to fix this issue, we'll start a major program to go back to paper ballots, voter ID, and lengthy sentences in prison for people who get caught committing vote fraud. Happy now? Hello? Democrats? Why are you running away so fast?

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Zuckerberg says just one per cent of news on Facebook is fake

cirby

This is hilarious...

They made such a big deal about the pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stuff being made up, but they completely ignore the insane amount of anti-Trump and pro-Democrat postings that sailed right on by.

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Donald Trump running insecure email servers

cirby

So...

Which secure government server is he not using because he wants to hide from FOIA requests? And how much classified information has he leaked?

Oh, wait- he's not a government employee, and isn't passing around classified material.

You know, like Hillary was, when she used an insecure server to dodge FOIA laws, and when she put classified information in emails that went through it, instead of using the required government system. And when she deleted tens of thousands of emails AFTER being informed that they were subject to government warrants and such...

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Did Donald Trump really just ask Russia to hack the US govt? Yes, he did

cirby

Re: Treason

Trump was going under the assumption that the Russians ALREADY HAVE the Clinton email, from a server that no longer exists.

If they do, then the Hillary defense ("no security compromise") is a lie.

And if that's a lie, then Hillary's the one who compromised national security and should go to jail.

Trump was calling for the Russians to supply evidence of Hillary's crimes.

You were saying?

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cirby

Hold on there...

Hillary, for the last two years: "There is nothing sensitive or classified on my personal email server, and no emails were missing."

Democrats, today: "Ohmigod, there's SO much classified material on that server and in the missing emails!"

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Microsoft adds useful feature to PowerPoint. Seriously

cirby

Presenter View

If you're using Presenter View, you can jump around in a presentation without a lot of fuss.

If you have particular "key" slides, you can also just type in the number of the slide you want to go to, so all you need to do is note the half-dozen or so that you'd need in any given show.

PPT has a lot of other odd and useful features that go completely unused already. Lots of hotkeys. Shift-F5 to take you from Slide Sorter to Slide Show on the slide you've been editing, for one.

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FBI won't jail future US president over private email server

cirby

Re: What a shocking and totally unexpected result...

Not true at all.

When Colin Powell was running State, he tested private email to see how well it worked. At the time, it wasn't against the rules to use a private account in conjunction with his official accounts. He was also very careful to not put classified information through that account, because he knew it wasn't secure enough. It was his experience that helped create the rules about the use of private email and records retention.

Condoleeza Rice didn't use a private email account.

On the other hand, Hillary's use of her private server came AFTER the rules were laid down. She didn't make any effort to secure her server, and did it to avoid record-keeping rules that applied to all government-related emails. Then she lied about it. She also sent a LOT of classified material (that was, yes, classified BEFORE she sent it). To top it off, she kept using it AFTER she knew it had been compromised. The Russians probably have a more complete list of her emails than we do.

The comparison is almost comical.

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cirby

Re: Interesting downplaying there

Apparently, you're the one who wasn't aware that at least some of it was classified BEFORE it was sent, with the classification marking taken off at her direct order. This is, of course, a crime.

You should also realize that certain materials are "born classified," and should be treated as such whether anyone typed the word on the document or not.

Of course, the fix was in, so they're glossing over that part. Along with insane amounts of other stuff.

The best part of this debacle is that the FBI is admitting, in print, that Hillary Clinton is completely inept and careless with high-level classified information.

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NRA guns down 38,000 Surge.sh sites in anti-parody spray-and-pray

cirby

Lesson learned

It's a shame that those immensely clever people who came up with that parody couldn't manage to make it in the old, time-honored tradition of calling the groups by names that weren't QUITE covered by trademarks, but that everyone knew anyway.

Parody is covered - direct use isn't always...

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

cirby

Oh, yeah...

We set up a Twitter wall for a major convention, and due to the setup it was a pain to get to the computer. We set it to autorun, and it did fine.

...until the second morning of the show, where the Windows 10 ad popped up.

I've also had it come up during major presentations at conventions, too. A thousand people watching the presenter run back to the computer because of this stupid thing.

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What we all really need is an SD card for our cars. Thanks, SanDisk

cirby

Car interior temps

They're speccing these cards to work at -40C (found in some parts of the world during winter) and 85C (which is only about 15C higher than interior temps can reach in the southwest US in summer).

That's why.

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If you're reading this on your phone, pray you're in Singapore

cirby

A number of those "high speed LTE" countries also have fewer subscribers per tower. It's easier to get 40 megabits when less than ten percent of cell subscribers even have LTE phones.

The US, on the other hand, has gone from twenty percent of subscribers with LTE phones to eighty percent - in about two years.

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Disney World-area University admits massive data breach

cirby

Second-largest University...

...in the United States.

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Sorry, Toshiba, speak up ... What was that? A $6bn loss amid an accounting scandal?

cirby

Sad

I've had great luck with Toshiba laptops. I work in conventions, and see (literally) a thousand or more laptops a year. The ones with the best reliability seem to be the Toshibas.

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Google says its quantum computer is 100 million times faster than PC

This post has been deleted by a moderator

ISIS operates a crypto help desk – report

cirby

They tried a help desk for the other stuff, but...

"My bomb vest isn't working."

"Have you tried turning it off and then on again?"

"No. Just a sec-"

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Bacon as deadly as cigarettes and asbestos

cirby

Sorry - what?

" the WHO (based mainly in the USA)"

Ummm... nope.

It's a UN group, based out of Geneva, Switzerland.

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US Treasury: How did ISIS get your trucks? Toyota: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

cirby

Re: Stones and Glass Houses

"You've got to hand it to the US military industrial complex, they came upon a winning business model when they armed, bankrolled and trained the Taliban back in the 1980s."

I know that's a common "hate the US" meme, but it's not true.

The US did fund people in Afghanistan - but they funded a small number of folks who HATED the Taliban. Those guys ended up losing out in the power struggle after the Russians left (their main leader was killed by an Al Qaeda bomb the day before 9/11).

Taliban funding came from Pakistan and the rest of the Islamic countries, not the US. Sorry to burst your bubble. People like bin Laden said nice things for a couple of years (because we were funding some other small groups fighting the atheist Russians), but that was pretty much a side show in every sense, and stopped completely once the Soviets pulled out.

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11 MILLION VW cars used Dieselgate cheatware – what the clutch, Volkswagen?

cirby

Re: European testing

The reason they tested the American versions of the VW was that the same organization had been testing European cars and noticed the discrepancy. When the same issue popped up in the US, they started telling people.

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Well, what d'you know: Raising e-book prices doesn't raise sales

cirby

It's really simple

If you're selling a book priced at $5, I'm much, much more likely to buy it than the same book priced at $10.

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West's only rare earth mine closes. Yet Chinese monopoly fears are baseless

cirby

Re: Other issues

Heh. Didn't even look at your byline before I wrote my comment.

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cirby

Other issues

There are quite a few places in the US with significant deposits of rare earths - and some of those are in the "scoop up and start processing" range for accessibility. If someone is smart enough to stock a few months of rare earths to use while getting production online, a Chinese shutdown wouldn't do much more than raise prices.

There are also - in theory - some other options. You can recover a fair amount from the waste products left over from other mineral extraction processes. The "red mud" from bauxite processing, for example, can be used as a source of rare earths.

Just remember: "rare earth" elements aren't that rare - just hard to extract.

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Would YOU make 400 people homeless for an extra $16m? Decision time in Silicon Valley

cirby

Or...

Take the $55 million and give each resident $40,000 from the overage?

Might even be able to use it as a tax break...

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iPhone case uses phone's OWN SIGNAL to charge it (forever, presumably)

cirby

Physics

So... they're lowering output signal strength to make the battery last a little longer? So the phone will automatically use even more power most of the time to try and talk to the nearest tower?

Do tell.

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iPhone sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple

cirby

Oh, my...

You mean iPhone sales will follow the exact same pattern they ALWAYS do? Millions of people upgrade as fast as the things hit the shelves, then stop buying because they all have new phones?

Horrors!

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DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster

cirby

Or...

You could just buy them a nice bicycle and not need fuel.

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Déjà spew: US would accept higher bills for less CO2 by two-to-one

cirby

"Pay more"

Oh, really, how much more?

One percent?

Two?

Five?

Ten?

You can bet - for certain - that they didn't ask about fifty percent, or a hundred, to get that result.

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Gadget world's metals irreplaceable, say boffins

cirby

Re: Shortage scaremongering

No kidding - for example, world Yttrium production is 600 tons per year - with only about a 15,000 year reserve.

Yes, fifteen THOUSAND years before we run out of the stuff in reserves we know about.

They call these things "rare earth elements," but they're really not rare at all when you get right down to it.

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OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene

cirby

How about

Hypertin?

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Boffins find MEXICAN WAVE pattern in random climate wobbles

cirby

"The IPCC report looks at various solar mechanisms, not just TSI."

They may have "looked at" them - but they didn't seriously consider the issue. They have always had a tendency to look at TSI, and discard without explanation things like the variations in the makeup of that total. Ultraviolet light, for example, can vary greatly - and has a disproportionate effect on things like clouds. No, the IPCC did not even discuss that, past "we don't think it's important."

There's also the cosmic ray issue. Lower solar winds = higher cosmic rays = more clouds = cooler. Higher solar winds = lower cosmic rays = fewer clouds = warmer. Again, a solar-induced change that isn't reflected in TSI.

"For one thing since 1950 solar output has dropped."

Nope. TSI - the measurement you like so much - has not dropped in the last 60 years. However, once you take frequency output into consideration, things change. If TSI remains the same, but UV increases, there's a net warming - exactly like what happened in the 1970s-1990s. When you get a drop in UV incoming to the Earth, things get slightly cooler - just like we've seen over the last decade or so.

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James Bond inspires US bill to require smart guns for all

cirby

One option was suggested...

Make this law - but only after the police have successfully used it on 100% of their weapons for at least five years.

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'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer

cirby

Re: Actually...

So - you assumed that someone who would use a 10mm steel tube would just - what? use a very thin-walled tube, without bothering to get one thick enough?

I'm glad you don't live next to me, either - I'd have to spend all of my time explaining basic engineering to you.

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cirby

Actually...

It's proof that 3D printers, using only plastic components, can't make a good firearm.

The obvious next step is to design a hybrid weapon - one with the majority of the frame and other components made from ABS plastic, but with certain bits made from standard metal components. For example, a 10mm pistol that uses a short 10mm inner diameter steel tube with an ABS frame around it. Use a solid block of steel as the rear of the chamber and drill a small hole for the firing pin - or fire it electrically.

Yes, it will still be smoothbore - but at very short range, that really doesn't matter too much.

For that matter, just make a shotgun. A 16 gauge shotgun round would work pretty well in a 17mm tube, and if you stick with a light load, the pressures and stresses should be manageable - at least for a short time.

You could even go out on a limb and revive the old Gyrojet round...

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

cirby

Adds?

No, it doesn't "add" politics to science funding.

It just changes the political process a bit, so the current people who manipulate the funding process would have to learn a different set of levers to pull. So they're upset.

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Weev gets 41 months in prison for exposing iPad strokers' privates

cirby

Except...

A real "good guy" hacker would find the exploit and demonstrate it - without grabbing all of that data and handing it over to someone else.

Likewise, someone who knew how to pick a lock wouldn't break into the house and rummage through the belongings of the people inside - he'd go to the manufacturer and show them how he did it, or wait and demonstrate the flaw at a conference.

That "companies won't respond" line is pretty much false - it's an excuse given by hackers when they get caught doing something stupid. Usually, it's a lazy but egotistical hacker-wannabe who wants to make the headlines, but doesn't want to bother with actually calling the persons who are responsible for said security flaws. "I contacted the company" usually boils down to "I called their PR department, and they told me it was the wrong number."

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