* Posts by Charles 9

10413 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

FCC kills plan to allow phone calls on planes – good idea or terrible?

Charles 9
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Re: Carrot and Stick

Yeah, and then we get the situation where the caller is a boxer/bouncer/martial artist. He/she gives you "the look" and you wonder if it's worth it...

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Charles 9
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Re: Bah!

Point is, if you want to go transoceanic in any practical sense, you basically have to bend over. Same if you want to take a long trip, like across the United States from New York to San Francisco. It may be cramped and limited, but you can cross the country in a plane in ~5-6 hours. Any other way and you're looking two days at least, and for many time is more important than money due to hectic lives.

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Charles 9
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"I haven't seen a phone handset in a seatback for easily four or five years now, here in the States."

INCLUDING in First Class?

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Charles 9
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Re: Technical reasons....

But airplanes have metallic shells. Wouldn't that attenuate radio signals somewhat, which is why you usually can't get a lock with a GPS device in a plane unless you're next to the window (firsthand experience)? Plus by placing a picocell on board, all the cell phones focus on it and stop broadcasting willy-nilly?

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Charles 9
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Re: This is just silly

You sure? I thought airlines BLOCKED the likes of Skype.

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Charles 9
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Re: I would even be happy with United Airlines levels of customer service...

"If I had it my way, there'd be no children under the age of 20, no electronic devices and no conversations whatsoever on flights. No exceptions."

So what do you tell FAMILIES going on vacation across the ocean? Or those people BOUND by overbearing bosses who DEMAND permanent on-call status?

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Charles 9
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Re: Bah!

But what happens if you want to jump an ocean? It takes weeks by ship.

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Charles 9
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Re: United Airlines

The FCC can't get involved here because the incident occurred pre-flight, still at the gate. Under the current rules, it's OK to use electronics in this phase because the plane officially hasn't set off yet; they're still officially on the ground. I don't think the FAA and the FCC really want to argue over who has the overriding jurisdiction at this point.

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Charles 9
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Re: Separate seating class

That would add weight to the plane and wouldn't necessarily address the issue due to the crowded nature of the plane. People would STILL be able to hear just as people would still be able to be caught in secondhand smoke.

"As for people with unexpected emergency calls - just exactly how often does that really happen? (And how is it dealt with at the moment?)"

Used to be done with an in-flight phone but what if there isn't one and the caller/receiver is being harassed by an overbearing boss who demands permanent on-call status regardless of situation (cited earlier)...or else?

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Charles 9
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"Which means, I predict, that if the FCC allows inflight calling that they'll charge extra to allow individuals to make calls inflight, and if you're lucky, they'll charge extra to seat someone in a "quiet row" where calls are not allowed,"

Airlines would be called out on such things as False Advertising because the nature of the beast makes quiet rows practically impossible without expensive and heavy additional infrastructure to provide for soundproofing. Anything you can try to apply to cell phone calls you can apply to smoking, and last I checked smoking is universally banned on all US-connected flights and then some.

"And really, isn't sitting belted on a plane the safest place on the planet to BE distracted, unless you're the pilot?"

No, it's one of the worse places you want to be because you're essentially being restrained, and that makes plenty of people snippy. Or haven't you heard of the spate of in-flight altercations lately that have forced reroutes (meaning safety became an issue)?

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

Charles 9
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Re: So this patent dates from 1999 and is therefor 18 years old.

Besides, they can get around the physical limitation by simply implementing it in an IC. The issue isn't that it's an idea. Ideas can be novel, unique, and very useful. It's the fact that the electronics industry moves very, VERY fast, such that derivatives and successors can come along pretty quickly. If you have a great idea and want to take advantage of it, I don't see why it can't be protected for a LIMITED length of time. Like I said, if push came to shove, I could implement it physically (like in a chip) just to dot the I's. But let's focus on the LIMITED part. If the industry you're in moves very quickly, limit the term of an algorithm patent accordingly. I'd much rather let them have, say, three years of fame and then it becomes public domain than they keep the idea in their heads and then take it to the grave.

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Charles 9
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Re: So this patent dates from 1999 and is therefor 18 years old.

Patenting algorithms isn't necessarily bad, but it's terms should reflect a fast-moving industry. If they were no longer than three years, they'd be much more acceptable.

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Microsoft raises pistol, pulls the trigger on Windows 7, 8 updates for new Intel, AMD chips

Charles 9
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Re: Stupid

"The more Microsoft does these kinds of shenanigans, the more people will defect even if it means forgoing some windows-only software."

The problem with your theory is that, for many, that Windows-only software isn't just some nice little thing; it's the linchpin to their whole operation. This is especially true of expensive custom jobs that will be expensive again to replace (probably TOO expensive to afford).

Like I said, captive market.

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Charles 9
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Re: The new world where you own nothing - you are the "revenue item"

And you're saying this like it's anything new. This is pretty much standard human behavior because, in the end, barring crisis, we'll find a way to gain a leg up on our neighbors so that it's OUR kids in the next generation, not THEIRS. It's damned near instinct. And it has a historical basis.

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Charles 9
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Re: Stupid

Unless you need a lot of RAM, which leaves little for the host to run, or your job is 3D-heavy as 3D virtualization (especially on Windows guests) isn't all that mature (passthrough is only available for Linux guests). This pretty much precludes Windows gamers since performance-intensive games will probably require BOTH.

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Charles 9
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Re: Two words - Linux Mint

And TF2 and all that, I know. But the Linux Steam library is but a pale imitation of the main Windows library, and most of the new games will never see a Linux version (like Fallout 4, Bethesda has sworn off Linux as too fragmented), and WINE on them can be very hit or miss. As for Blizzard games like WoW and Overwatch, I hear caution is advised because while WoW can work, there are conflicting reports concerning Overwatch, plus the rumors that Battle.net will ban WINE users.

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Charles 9
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Re: Stupid

But for those stuck with Windows-ONLY software (that isn't WINE-friendly), they're kinda stuck, you know? Microsoft figures they've got a captive market, and from the looks of things, they're at least partially right given there hasn't been a tidal wave of defections yet (for the aforesaid reasons).

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Charles 9
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Re: Two words - Linux Mint

You can't play WoW on a console, and the likes of Overwatch separate by platform, and none of the console versions support KB/M input essential if you're a pro. IOW, NOT an option.

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Charles 9
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Re: If only...

"Instead MS seem hell bent on this demented trajectory of 'We want your data! All of your data! Now!'"

Probably because they can get more out of the data than we can ever afford to pay. Why do you think Google and Facebook NEVER provide the option to do telemetry-free browsing for a price? Because practically no one would be able to afford it.

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Charles 9
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Re: Year of the Linux desktop, finally, from Microsoft

"Microsoft is really hurting themselves by using these strong-arm tactics to force everyone onto Windows 10. While it's been free up to now, I'm guessing Microsoft ultimately wants to implement a yearly subscription. Count me out."

They'll do it because they have a captive market. Too many people are stuck on Windows-ONLY software that has no viable substitutes (like gamers--too many won't work on Linux even with help from WINE--or those with custom jobs that can't afford a redo).

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Alert: Using a web ad blocker may identify you – to advertisers

Charles 9
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Re: Blocking at the firewall, then?

Doesn't it use an encrypted connection?

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Charles 9
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Re: Duh

Why wouldn't they? Plus I'm not talking the drivers themselves but the sites on which they're hosted: packed full of mandatory scripts and so on ripe to be drive-by'ed with no viable alternatives if they don't provide high performance drivers to kernels (kernel can't do that themselves many times due to patent-based black-boxing, and as for Windows...).

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Charles 9
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Re: Duh

What about a manufacturer's website for drivers? You can't trust anyone else to not insert malware/aware and the only other alternative would involve plunking down money (maybe A LOT of money).

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Charles 9
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Re: Duh

If they know you're using an ad-blocker, they'll profile you as a leech and perhaps start using ad-gates. Either that or they'll see that as a cue to get more aggressive with the ads by triggering the original website to insert inline same-domain ads, which will be tougher to block without collateral damage. Plus since they'll be able to track you across websites, they can wait for other opportunities to bombard you which you may not always be able to block. Heck, if they can tie you to a social account or e-mail address, they can probably use them to get to you as well.

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Three indicted over sex trafficking operation run on Backpage.com

Charles 9
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Re: Suppressing prostitution never works

And I think part of the problem is the stigma of the profession: legal or not. Most don't go into it by choice; rather they're coerced or do it out of desperation. Either way, the agent/madam/pimp knows he/she can control prostitutes through their hardships. They're also usually not the most attractive-looking as the pretty ones would've been scouted by modeling agencies (even gravure or nude modeling would probably be preferable as you won't have to "get dirty").

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Charles 9
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Be careful. He could be a Top man with the cojones to assert that. He could even start a ring IN prison.

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Charles 9
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Too easy to abuse that way. My opinion is to save for the worst of the worst: the likes of a bin Laden or an El Chapo (the last one I felt met the criteria was Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh).

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Deeming Facebook a 'publisher' of users' posts won't tackle paedo or terrorist content

Charles 9
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"Illegal material is, well, illegal,"

That depends on the jurisdiction, though. What if the post is being made in a country that has no laws on the books concerning the subject?

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Charles 9
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"Instead of targeting Facebook with new laws, as The Times would, we should instead target those who misuse the platform to promote illegal things."

But what does the law do when "those" are hiding themselves behind hostile sovereignty? How does Scotland Yard go after a paedo, for example, who happens to be posting from, say, Cambodia?

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Big Internet warns FCC's Pai: We will fight you all the way on net neutrality

Charles 9
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Re: Something's coming

Why are you saying it's not such a bad thing? Unless you're saying that humans simply can't have nice things at all?

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Charles 9
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Re: not all packets are created equal

But what happens when customers start telling Verizon, "We'll pay a premium for the privilege!"? How would the investors react to Verizon turning down money at that point? That's the kind of pressure that can build if the monopoly decides to cut off access to the most-desired sites/channels/whatever. That's why the incumbent doesn't stoop THAT low, because then Verizon would GAIN the incentive to actually plunk down.

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Charles 9
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Re: Something's coming

Really? Can you enlighten us on what this would be? Because as long as states can control the wires, fibers, and airwaves through sovereign rule and ownership, there's no way the Internet can truly be open.

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Charles 9
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"Seriously, how did people not see that from the beginning?"

The average American, and some would say the average human, isn't bright enough to see past the end of the day.

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Charles 9
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Re: not all packets are created equal

Thing is, that extortion can work BOTH ways. Google and Facebook have their level of power because they're perhaps the 2 most-demanded services on the Internet: to the effect they're like prerequisites. Sort of like how Disney can demand so much from the cable companies because it happens to own ESPN: THE most-demanded cable channel out there. If cable companies start closing their doors to Disney, customers start closing their wallets and looking for other providers. Similarly, Verizon and the rest know they can't really extort Google and Facebook because they minute they try to block access, customers start looking for a new provider.

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Burger King's 'OK Google' sad ad saga somehow gets worse

Charles 9
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Re: Burger King

If they don't, who does?

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Charles 9
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Re: How much brand awareness does the Whopper need?

"To give just two or three common examples of sugar use in non-desserts: brown barbecue sauces (and BBQ rubs or marinades), pickles, or leavened breads."

Adding a touch of sweet to something spicy tends to produce nice complementary effects. That's why you have such things as honey mustard sauce (sweet honey complements the spicy mustard), and as mentioned, a bit of sugar can actually be a good addition to a spicy meat rub. Have you heard of Bread & Butter pickle brine. That's a sweet brine. And sugar is absolutely essential if you intend to have a risen (leavened) bread, as the yeast needs the sugar to feed. In fact, yeast needs sugar to ferment into alcohol to produce your favorite drinks (where the sugar comes from depends, but for example rum comes from molasses).

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Charles 9
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Unless continuing to distribute the materials could put them in legal trouble due to the potential for false advertising charges or the like. Sending off-season T-shirts to foreign parts could result in culture-clash misunderstandings and so on.

As the saying goes, "It's complicated."

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Charles 9
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The smartphone among other things. Social media like Twitter combined with the Internet and ubiquitous cameras held by lots of people is creating a perfect storm for instant rumor mills. What would normally take time as rumors bounce from person to person now can spread at the speed of electricity (not quite the speed of light, but close). This combined with echo chamber mentality creates the electronic equivalent of flash mobs.

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Charles 9
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Re: Please Sir?

It's called "doubling DOWN" because you're gambling double on a card you can't even see (it's dealt face-down and not revealed until after the dealer's hand is resolved). List most things blackjack, there's a time and place for it. Doubling down on a ten or eleven (especially if the dealer's up card is in the middle) is generally a good idea: odds are the dealer will either bust or have a weak stand. If the dealer's up card is a five or six (the most likely to result in a bust), doubling down when you know your next card can't bust you (you're no higher than 11 or soft) can be worth a chance.

The $1/$2/$4 pattern is known as the "double or nothing" pattern. All you need to get back to zero is ONE win, and depending on how the table plays, it may not take that many hands to do it, making it worthwhile especially on a game like Blackjack where a player with reasonable knowledge of the game has a fighting chance on any given hand.

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Charles 9
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Re: American phrase book

A spate of heart attacks and strokes would, though.

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Charles 9
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I thought the quote was, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."?

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Thermostat ransomware

Charles 9
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Re: Who'd Pay?

Boilers cheap? Where? And chucking the thing may well brick the whole shebang.

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Charles 9
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Re: An interesting paper...

"Why would homeopathic medicine be at all expensive?"

One word: marketing. Think "snake oil".

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Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9 Expensive Laughter I wonder

A ten BEEELION dollar lawsuit over an ad sounds frivolous to me, as it's not the type of lawsuit one can expect to prevail by either a judge or civil jury.

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Charles 9
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Re: @Charles 9 Expensive Laughter I wonder

"One lawsuit doesn't make one a vexatious litigant."

Even if it's for a sum as outrageous as ten BEEELION dollars plus over an ad? Isn't that essentially harassing someone through the courts as you say? Not to mention this isn't the plaintiff's first trip to court, already having a criminal record due to a DUI in the past?

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UK boffins steal smartmobe PINs with motion sensors

Charles 9
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Re: Apple already addresses that last year

You should read the article further, as well as these comments. That can be worked around by pretending to be the lockscreen during an instance when the accelerometer IS allowed and tricking the user into entering his/her PIN on that screen. No amount of lockscreen alterations will cut it as the fake screen can simply simulate any such changes such as randomized pads (which have the added detriment of tripping up people who rely on their muscle memory to remember their PINs).

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Charles 9
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Re: APIs not to blame

But the "passive image" attack could STILL defeat that trick by simply using a random but known layout. The attacker would know the pattern and STILL discern the real PIN based on it.

The big problem with side channels is that, most of the time, they can't help but convey information because that's their intended purpose, like how CRIME depends on the very fact that compressed data streams are smaller (their intended purpose). Which leaves you with two choices: cut it off completely or live with it. Like how compression is now generally discouraged for encrypted data streams.

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Financially outgunned in Tosh memory biz sale, WD wheels out contract law artillery

Charles 9
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I won't comment on whether or not the move is proper or not, but it should come as no surprise that if one acquires a partner, that partner's going to get a say in matters. It would seem that, like it or not, WD is going to demand their say. Given the penchant of the lawyers on all sides, sorting this all out is going to take some time.

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Do the numbers, Einstein: AI is more than maths as some know it

Charles 9
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Re: Whoa we've solved the TSP?

TSP is readily solvable from the general case. The problem with it is that solving for the general case tends to take more time than we have available. TSP isn't unsolvable; it's infeasible for large cases. The complexity of TSP increases on a much-higher-than-linear scale (I think the scale is factorial).

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Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

Charles 9
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"You can't buy yet another round of flaming sambucas if you don't have enough cash, whereas there may be temptation to swipe that contactless card..."

You forget the bar tab...

Also, cash transactions above certain values are increasingly considered suspicious.

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