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Comment: Re:Bullshit... (Score 1) 121

by Ambvai (#46203225) Attached to: On the Practicalities of Counterfeit-Proof Physical Bitcoins

It's a bit of a fluff article, but there are certainly enough relevant examples of cell phone usage being an active element in improving the lives of 'rural farmers in 3rd world countries': http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/13/...

(Also, came across this article, which is a bit more recent and covers specific products: http://www.ventures-africa.com...)

Comment: Re:Ever-Growing Accumulation (Score 1) 126

by Ambvai (#45780557) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Long Will the Internet Remember Us?

One may wish to consider the short story 'Ms Fnd in a Lbry', by Hal Draper. (http://folk.uio.no/knuthe/msfndinalbry.html)

Summed up, it's a report of an archaeological document discussing the collapse of a previous civilization due to information overload and how index upon index made it impossible to verify information and linkages if anything was ever misfiled... with the added addendum that the document in question appears to have a bad reference...

Comment: Re:control (Score 2) 305

by Ambvai (#45570621) Attached to: Bitcoin Thefts Surge, DDoS Hackers Take Millions
"The reward for solving a block is automatically adjusted so that roughly every four years of operation of the Bitcoin network, half the amount of bitcoins created in the prior 4 years are created. 10,500,000 bitcoins were created in the first 4 (approx.) years from January 2009 to November 2012. Every four years thereafter this amount halves, so it will be 5,250,000 over years 4-8, 2,625,000 over years 8-12, and so on. Thus the total number of bitcoins in existence will never exceed 21,000,000. Blocks are mined every 10 minutes, on average, and for the first four years (210,000 blocks) each block included 50 new bitcoins. As the amount of processing power directed at mining changes, the difficulty of creating new bitcoins changes. This difficulty factor is calculated every 2016 blocks and is based upon the time taken to generate the previous 2016 blocks"

Comment: Re:dreamworld (Score 2, Informative) 305

by Ambvai (#45570577) Attached to: Bitcoin Thefts Surge, DDoS Hackers Take Millions
Interestingly enough, a lot of the small/medium businesses I work with that do business internationally have the exact same concerns with international currencies. (Dollar, Yen, Euro, Pound are accepted as safe... but even a currency as significant as Renminbi makes some people skittish.)

Comment: Re:That's not exactly right... (Score 3, Interesting) 206

by Ambvai (#45469921) Attached to: Xbox One Controller Cost Over $100 Million To Develop
Very likely. If they did a good job testing things, then they had to actually design and produce, in limited quantities, all the actual controllers to be given to be people, or at least have them with interchangeable parts when possible.

I participate in surveys and focus groups when I can and they can be quite interesting, and expensive on the part of the tester. A few months back, I had the opportunity to try various formulations of a hard cider produced by a major beer company. (I want to say it was Coors, based on the demo packaging, but that's probably wrong.) One at a time, they gave me sealed cans of slightly-different ciders in nondescript packaging with instructions to pour it into a (new) cup, munch on various snack foods, fill out the survey, call the guy in for the next can, repeat, for a total of 8 different versions. For my trouble, I got to keep the half-eaten bag of crackers, drink all the cider I wanted until I decided to leave (or got drunk, I suppose), and 50$ cash.

Another time, I got a steak dinner, with dessert, and a voucher to some mail order company where I got a free set of pots and pans. What were they actually testing? Steak sauce.

There's a lot of random stuff in R&D... and paying the subjects are an area that can add up to be intriguingly costly.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 3, Informative) 206

by Ambvai (#45469877) Attached to: Xbox One Controller Cost Over $100 Million To Develop
Left-handed writer, right-hand mouse, right-hand scissors, left-hand golfer and... left-handed Wiimote user. It didn't really occur to me that anything was particularly unusual until I was playing one of those dance games that uses the Remote+Nunchuck and I kept failing everything because I was holding them in the "opposite" hand. (Thankfully, a lot of games will either auto-calibrate for that, or have control settings to pick. This one... didn't.)

We can defeat gravity. The problem is the paperwork involved.