* Posts by cirby

117 posts • joined 24 Jun 2008


Should the super-rich pay 70% tax rate above $10m? Here's Michael Dell's hot take for Davos


They're only partly deductible.

Even if you give a million bucks to charity, you can only deduct up to 60% at best.

Holy crappuccino. There's a latte trouble brewing... Bio-boffins reckon 60%+ of coffee species may be doomed


Umm... nope.

First, they extrapolate that a degree or so of extra warmth is going to kill most of the species of WILD coffee plants. They add in species that haven't been seen for a while to get that "most."

Then, they casually suggest that the ones being cultivated and harvested are going to die off because of possible diseases that aren't actually known to exist, and could only be saved because of wild plants (which probably won't be immune to those diseases anyway).

Coffee production, by the way, is at an all-time high, almost 50% higher than in 2003/2004. So the global warming we've had so far seems to be having either no effect, or a positive one.

RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit


Bad planning

They should have sent a kudzu vine.

By this time next year, it would have covered the place.

If I could turn back time, I'd tell you to keep that old Radarange at home


The reverse problem...

Back in the 90s, I lived in an apartment, and ever day at 6 PM, my TV and cable reception went to hell. Couldn't figure out why, until I also noticed that the guy downstairs came home each day at that time. He had one of the cheaper PC clones (with almost no shielding on the case) that he'd overclocked a lot, and it was emitting enough RF at just the right frequencies that it would hose every TV in the vicinity.

The problem went away when he lined the case with aluminum foil.

Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files



A quarter-million in video footage, and he didn't have daily local backups?

That's like driving a Rolls-Royce blindfolded, with no insurance.

VR going mainstream? Yeah, next year, says Facebook, for the third year in a row



The Vive sold about a half-million headsets in 2016 alone. I think your numbers are a bit old.

Oculus Go is supposedly over the million mark already.

Add up the PSVR, Oculus, Oculus Go, and Vive, and you're well over the five million mark, almost certainly much higher.

From the introduction of the Apple II in 1977, it took about five years before "home computers" hit the five million sales mark (Apple II, Atari, TRS-80, etc).

The Oculus Rift (the first mainstream headset to release) has been out for about 2.5 years.

VR sales are building at well over twice the rate home computers did when they were released.

That scary old system with 'do not touch' on it? Your boss very much wants you to touch it. Now what do you do?


Even the simple things

Once, I had a consulting call - a friend of mine sold Macs, and one of his customers had decided their print server needed to be replaced.

I took the new machine to their office, looked around, and asked where the old print server was.

"What print server?"

I went onto the office net, found there definitely _was_ one, and started a physical search. Found the offending beast in a closet that was hidden behind a tall cubicle partition. Moved the wall out of the way, went into the room, and found an original Mac II, monitor turned off, covered in dust, attached to an ancient lead-acid UPS. Turned the monitor on and checked the uptime.

Twelve years.

It had been a running, non-rebooted print server for twelve years. I felt bad for replacing the poor old thing. Luckily, it was running bone-stock software, so that side of the process was easy enough, but it took three days to train them all on how to use the new process.

VMware 'pressured' hotel to shut down tech event close to VMworld, IGEL sues resort giant


Re: Convention contracts

It's probably more the case that the restaurant assumed the group was part of the main convention, and didn't find out about it until the day of the show.

I've seen worse things at shows. Like a major company shipping their entire $500,000 booth to the wrong continent, and finding out the day AFTER setup was supposed to start.


Re: Convention contracts

The "restrictive rules" are mostly just "pay for a booth, and if you want to host a larger event off-site, pay us some cash to advertise the event."

IGEL did a lot of things wrong, starting with "we're going to host a competing event at one of the contracted hotels for the show without reading the hotel contracts thoroughly."


Re: Convention contracts

Oddly enough, "outboarding" usually IS a basis for action.

When you look at the contracts big hotels make you sign when you do shows, one of those nice little clauses usually mentions outboarding, with "we can shut you down" language buried in there.

...and when you have an "independent" restaurant in a hotel, using hotel resources (like in-house AV), they're controlled by the same sort of language.

It's going to be really interesting when the lawyers for IGEL get to deal with all of the contracts they signed when they set this event up. It'll be friggin' HILARIOUS when they find out how many IGEL people had badges for the VMWare show, and if they were promoting the outboarding event at the show, IGEL could be hosed in even more ways.


Convention contracts

A lot of shows have a problem with vendors trying to take advantage of their shows by hosting events in the hotels the show books (or right next door). For example, instead of paying the tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to book a large booth at the show, someone might host an event at a nearby restaurant.

This is often called "outboarding," and is frowned on by basically the entire trade show industry. Lots of companies have been shut down in very similar situations. Most big convention hotels have policies against outboarding.

Yeah, you might be a "partner" of the exhibiting company, but in this case you're acting more like a competitor - and a somewhat disreputable one, at that.

They probably saved a couple of hundred thousand by hosting this at the restaurant, but now they've pissed off their "partner."

There's a similar practice called "suitcasing," where someone attends a show, doesn't pay for a booth, but runs around selling their products to attendees (spend $2000 for a badge an a hotel room, instead of $30,000 for a booth). Generally, if you get caught you immediately lose your badge, and are usually banned from ever attending that show again...

Make Sammy Great Again: Surprise – Samsung chucks cash at manufacturing



Samsung has a lot of interest in the emerging VR market.

Not as headset makers (though their Windows Mixed Reality headset is probably the best of that type), but as a component maker. They make the displays used in the Vive and the Rift, for example, along with chips and other hardware.

Virtual reality meets commercial reality as headset sales plunge


Christmas Sales

The Oculus Go is pretty nicely set for Christmas. Pricey enough to not be a too-casual purchase, but cheap enough that a bunch of middle-class parents will grab it as their kids' first VR headset. It's probably going to be the Commodore 64 of VR. Not the best, not the fastest, but certainly good enough to get started.

I have a Vive, a Rift, a WMR, and a Go - they each fill a certain segment of the market. The Vive is my favorite, but the Go is surprisingly good for the price. They're all pretty good, though.

...and the true second-generation headsets are no more than a year out. That's when it kicks into high gear.

nbn™ CEO didn't mean to offend gamers, just brand them unwelcome bandwidth-hogs


Gaming bandwidth?

Not likely, pal.

Almost all online games minimize bandwidth. When all you're doing is sending game location and input data, it's a tiny fraction of the size of, say, a decent-quality YouTube stream.

Games companies try to use the least bandwidth because if you do big chunks of data, it nukes the servers that are carrying all of those online games and makes it nearly impossible to get good latency.

President Trump broke US Constitution with Twitter bans – judge


Re: So...

Except, of course, that they can STILL COMMENT.

In many, many places.



When the next President has a press conference and ignores questions from some of the reporters, he's violating the Constitution too, right? Same effect.

A smartphone recession is coming and animated poo emojis can't stop it



3. Slo-mo is incredibly useful sometimes. I used mine for figuring out the RPM of a fan motor just last week, and it's great for troubleshooting some mechanical issues.

4. Not always better, but I do like having a nice big screen.

Nunes FBI memo: Yep, it's every bit as terrible as you imagined

This post has been deleted by a moderator

FYI: There's now an AI app that generates convincing fake smut vids using celebs' faces


Re: Stamping press, meet nail

...except this is for video.

For even a ten-second clip, it would take a ridiculous amount of time to do well - and the results would probably be pretty bad.

For comparison, someone took one of the Carrie Fisher "added" shots from the last Star Wars movie and did their own version with this software, which arguably looks better than the professional version.

Republican tax bill ready to rescue hard-up tech giants, struggling rich


Yeah, that $1000 or so per year I'm going to get to keep sure makes me sad.

Hey, waitaminute...

French activists storm Paris Apple Store over EU tax dispute


Re: Theft or not

You need to remember some things when you read those "US companies don't pay taxes" stories."

First, the vast majority of "companies" in the US are small businesses, and a lot of those companies are basically just one or two people and some incorporation paperwork. A majority of those companies don't pay taxes because they're basically placeholders - companies that either never did business or that are getting ready to start up.

Second, a lot of the rest of the corporations don't make a profit in a given year. A bunch of those are ones that are getting ready to go out of business, and a number of others are ones that don't make a profit in a given year (due to acquisitions or other financial reasons), but make a profit and pay taxes in other years. Quite a few of them also don't pay corporate taxes because they report their taxes under the individual tax codes (quite a few contractors do this).

Third, foreign and US-owned companies often shield their income by keeping their profits overseas, or counter their US taxes by losses in other markets. This is "encouraged" by US tax codes that double-tax US companies that bring their overseas profits back home. The current tax reform bill is supposed to address this.

You also have the situation where a reporter writes "X company didn't pay taxes" when the real story is "X company didn't pay taxes in the second quarter of the year," which is pretty normal.

Want a new HDMI cable? No? Bad luck. You'll need one for HDMI 2.1


Current VR headsets (Vive, Rift) are barely able to run wireless - it's "edge" hardware at the moment, the the few people who use the TPCAST wireless kit are mostly having to deal with a lot of bugs and other issues. I know this because I'm one of them.

The next generation of headsets - 4K per eye monsters like the Pimax, for example - are going to be using DisplayPort, because current HDMI just can't handle the bandwidth on a single cable. They talk about an RF wireless add-on, but that's vaporware at the moment.

HDMI 2.1 will allow 4K per eye, plus be able to push HDR content, which will make more difference than any planned upgrades in resolution.

Wireless for that bandwidth just isn't in the cards right now. I'm betting on optical wireless for the next step, because getting that much 100% reliable radio bandwidth is getting harder and harder.

US government seizes Texas gun mass murder to demand backdoors



"...we need to get into the phone so we can catch him. The dead guy."

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act


Re: I'd like to see more

"professional entymologists will have accounted for any natural cycles"

You don't know many actual scientists, right?

While that seems to be the sort of thing they'd do if they were all interested in getting to the truth about the subject, there's no guarantee of it. A few minutes of skimming Retraction Watch will disabuse you of most of your romantic ideas about modern science.

Well, whad'ya know? 'No evidence' that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower


So much for that Russian collusion story...

That "Trump was working with the Russians" idea was primarily based off of those nonexistent wiretaps.

If there weren't any wiretaps, the whole thing goes down the drain.

(The "Trump Russian Dossier" story also relied on the fictional wiretaps, so it goes away too.)

PC sales to fall and fall and fall and fall and fall for the next five years


Re: Virtual Reality

Data visualization alone is enough for a lot of users, and when you start looking at architectural design and other industries, VR kicks flatscreen straight to the curb.

Training is already a major VR segment, you just haven't noticed it yet, for some reason.


Virtual Reality

We're about a year away from the "business usefulness point" of virtual reality systems - the headsets will be crossing the resolution line, and enough good software will be available. Prices on systems are already starting to drop, and the showstopper bugs are all pretty much worked out.

...and yes, that will mean desktop-level systems, not tablets and phones. Yeah, you can shoehorn enough hardware into a laptop, but at twice the price of an equivalent desktop machine, and you still need at least a small stationary work area.

Sorry, but those huge walls of terms and conditions you never read are legally binding



"Your Honor, I'm not certain this is the same Terms and Conditions I saw on their website. The one I saw didn't have an arbitration clause, for example. I'd like to see the signed and notarized copy, please."

"All we have is the electronic version!"

"Well you seem to have AN electronic version, but unless you have some sort of physical proof that it was the one I agreed to, then I don't see how it can be valid."

Revised 'Broadband 2.0' report: 6.7m Brits suffer 'sub-10Mbps' speeds



We have the same problem in the US: people who whine about other people not having the fastest, nicest, cheapest broadband - but who can't understand just how many people live waaaaay out in the country, or who just aren't interested in having internet access in the first place.

USA to screen tablets,
e-readers and handheld games before they fly


They're gonna love me...

Just got back from a trip - four tablets, two laptops, a handful of portable hard drives, and a few other gadgets.

(Yes, they were needed - work hardware I wasn't going to leave in checked baggage)

Trump tramples US Constitution by blocking Twitter critics – lawsuit


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.

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


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.


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.


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.)

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


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.


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...


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.

Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time


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.


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.

Virtual reality headsets even less popular than wearable devices


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.


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.

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


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."

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


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.

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


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?

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


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.


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?

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


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.

Donald Trump running insecure email servers



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...

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


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?


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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