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Comment: Re:Entering? Cyborgs? (Score 4, Informative) 49

by Anubis IV (#48930077) Attached to: Brain Implants Get Brainier

While some pacemakers are programmable, they are not "smart stimulators that monitor the body for signs of trouble and fire when necessary".

On the contrary, that's exactly what they are. From Wikipedia's pacemaker page:

Modern pacemakers usually have multiple functions. The most basic form monitors the heart's native electrical rhythm. When the pacemaker does not detect a heartbeat within a normal beat-to-beat time period, it will stimulate the ventricle of the heart with a short low voltage pulse.

The earliest ones simply stimulated the heart at regular intervals, but this newer variety that monitors the heart for signs of trouble (e.g. irregular heartbeat) and fires when necessary has been around for decades.

Comment: Re:why the fuck (Score 1) 101

by Anubis IV (#48875281) Attached to: Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

I was speaking purely numerically. Assuming that a customer from AT&T is just as likely to jump ship for Google as a customer from Sprint is, AT&T would lose significantly more customers simply because they're significantly larger. For any losses it takes, Sprint would gain far more by providing Google's coverage for the customers AT&T loses.

Comment: Re:why the fuck (Score 4, Insightful) 101

by Anubis IV (#48872319) Attached to: Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

It's Sprint and T-Mobile working with them: the distant third and fourth place competitors in a four-horse market. Any disruption in the market will hit the bigger two competitors—AT&T and Verizon—significantly harder, and with this deal, the bottom two have positioned themselves to gain from AT&T and Verizon's loss, even if that gain isn't as significant as it would be if they outright won those customers directly. Even the simple act of getting those customers away from AT&T and Verizon is a big win, since it means AT&T and Verizon would have lost the incumbent's advantage when those customers' contracts are up and they're looking around at their options.

Comment: Re:What special about beliefs if they're religious (Score 1) 894

by Anubis IV (#48820799) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression

The elephant in the room is that Islam is fundamentally and irreconcilably offensive to Christians because they say Jesus was not the son of God. There is nothing more blasphemous than denying this fundamental tenant of Christianity.

Quite right. Though "tenet", not "tenant".

If we follow this logic Christian's would be perfectly justified in beating up any Muslim that they happened to come across.

Here's where you and I disagree. I assume you're basing that logic off of the Pope's comment about punching someone else, and if so, it's clear that you've missed some important context...such as the beginning of the sentence, which started with "One cannot react violently". If you follow the links and read the sentence in context, you'll see that he was providing a contrast between morality—"one cannot react violently"—and reality—"he can expect a punch".

Rather than being a justification for violent responses, he was merely making a statement of fact: provoke someone else and you can expect a violent response. That's something most of us would agree with, since morality plays no part in that statement.

I'm not a fan of the papacy, and I'm certainly not a fan of the current pope, but it seems to me that a lot of people are reading things into what he said here that simply weren't there. Even so, his suggestion that there should be limits on free speech, presumably so as to avoid that sort of provocation, is a rather chilling notion and one with which I vehemently disagree.

Comment: Re:Right Place (Score 1) 448

by Anubis IV (#48761639) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

You wouldn't.

But for folks who no longer have a landline and no longer have cable, it's a wash for them in terms of cost since they wouldn't be getting the bundle discount that you're getting. Plus, this streaming service is available for pretty much every common type of device out there (e.g. mobile, desktop, laptop, set-top, etc.), whereas cable TV is largely still relegated to the direct connection between your cable box and TV. Were I someone who had cut the cable but was missing my ability to watch sports, this seems like an ideal package, since I wouldn't care about the fact that it had fewer channels, and I'd absolutely love the added convenience of being able to watch it in more places.

As for me, I won't be subscribing, since I'm not a sports lover, and it really doesn't matter which other channels it does or doesn't have, since I don't miss any of them either.

Comment: Re:Right Place (Score 1) 448

by Anubis IV (#48760199) Attached to: Unbundling Cable TV: Be Careful What You Wish For

Most or all of the decent AMC shows are already on Netflix. I don't know IFC or BBCA, but I believe much of TNT's content is available online too.

Which is to say, at this point, pretty much everything currently on cable TV, save sports, is already available a la carte from one place or another. Sports has always been the biggest holdout, so ESPN being available via Dish is a big deal for the people who care about that stuff. That's not me, certainly, since I was happy to ditch cable years ago (technically, I was forced to ditch it by a cheap landlord, but after a month I loved not having it).

For me, the biggest mental hurdle was crossing from "I want to watch X" to "is something I'm interested in watching available?". Once you do that, Netflix and the other streaming services suddenly get much more compelling, since you've essentially commoditized entertainment, meaning that you're under no compulsion to pay for expensive packages to get X. And I do still occasionally care about a particular show or movie, but it's getting rarer and rarer these days. Even with the licensing ups and downs, Netflix still has plenty for me, and most of the stuff they lose they get back later anyway, so it never really impacts me anyway.

Comment: Re: Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter (Score 2) 136

The newspaper in question beat you to the punch. They published an editorial over the whole ordeal, appropriately titled, "Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter". The first letter of each paragraph in the editorial can even be put together to spell out his name.

Comment: Re:Many games are "stream" only, no download (Score 2) 198

by Anubis IV (#48752149) Attached to: Archive.org Adds Close To 2,400 DOS Games

Except that the exceptions in copyright code that allow public libraries to make copies of works specifically prohibit them from allowing digital copies to leave their premises and place strict limits on the number of copies that can be made, neither of which seem to be being honored here, given that hundreds or thousands of people are likely accessing these files from all around the world simultaneously, each of whom is getting their own copy to play around with.

Comment: Re:17 USC 108 (Score 2) 198

by Anubis IV (#48752127) Attached to: Archive.org Adds Close To 2,400 DOS Games

IANAL, but doesn't subsection (b)(2) of Section 108 carve out an exception for digital copies, specifically prohibiting digital copies made in accordance with Section 108 from being distributed to the public? I could be misreading it, but if I'm not, it would appear that there's an exception to the exception that puts us right back where we started.

Comment: Re:They're allowed to have a dud (Score 2) 155

by Anubis IV (#48752081) Attached to: The Fire Phone Debacle and What It Means For Amazon's Future

Apple's released duds and no one gives them any crap.

"No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." The first-gen iPod that statement was written about was a bit of a dud. It wasn't until they added Windows compatibility a year or two later that it finally took off. G4 Cube? Utter and complete dud. Beautiful aesthetic, horribly overpriced, designed for a niche that simply didn't exist (i.e. professionals who were willing to trade expandability for good looks). Still talked about today as one of Apple's stupidest ideas. Even Apple's non-duds are given crap. The iPad was dismissed as "just a big iPhone" by huge swaths of the press and online commentary at the time. The iPhone was given crap by various people (and continues to be given crap) because it lacks a physical keyboard, Flash, expandable memory, and a host of other features.

All of which is to say, Apple gets plenty of crap too, so Amazon should take this in stride, since it's nothing out of the ordinary. Good companies mess up. It's how they learn from mistakes and do better. Just because the Fire Phone is a dud doesn't mean that Amazon is suddenly doomed, that Bezos is out of touch, or that whatever they try next will also fail. It just means that the Fire Phone is a dud. That's an anecdote, and as we're so fond of saying around here, "an anecdote does not a trend make."

Even so, they need to learn from this mistake, otherwise they may very well make a trend out of it.

Comment: Re:The devil is in the details... (Score 1) 303

I used to live in south Florida (Boca Raton, about an hour north of Miami). The entire place is a tourist destination. Half of the population are the "snowbird" residents, who are basically just tourists from the north that stay there for the winter months. With the logic presented by the FBI, it sounds to me like they could get everything from Orlando down to the Florida Keys declared to be a tourist zone that is exempt from expectations of privacy.

Comment: Re:Oh noes! (Score 1) 335

by Anubis IV (#48705155) Attached to: Out With the Red-Light Cameras, In With the Speeding Cameras

Traffic laws don't exist for their own sake. Their primary purpose, above all else, is to keep drivers safe.

Look, we'd like to believe that, but we know that some of them are bullshit and they're only used to make money.

By and large, I have to sadly agree. Even so, at least in the state where I live, we have prima facie speed limits, which more or less means that it's not illegal to drive over the speed limit if one can demonstrate that doing so was reasonable. A handful of other states also have prima facie limits or else have them for drivers who were caught with speeds that weren't excessively beyond the posted limit. So that's at least a small acknowledgement on the part of the legal system that these laws aren't just there for the sake of frustrating us.

But yeah, uneven enforcement is a major problem. I'm all for letting people off the hook with a warning or letting people off the hook when it simply makes sense, neither of which machines left to themselves understand, but when someone is being unsafe, it doesn't make sense. Thankfully, the laws about the passing lane being used for passing are actually enforced on the stretch of road near here where it's in effect, and it's helped to significantly improve the flow of traffic along that stretch of road, since previously the disproportionately large number of college students in this area would demonstrate their inexperience on the road by not using it how it is supposed to be used.

I'll routinely see good cops like those going 10-20 mph over the posted speed limit, along with the rest of traffic

If there are good cops, why don't they do something about all the bad cops?

A fair question, but let's turn it around to get some perspective: if you are a good person, why don't you do something about all the bad people? Even if you were doing everything in your power (which you may be, for all I know), what measure do we use to determine your goodness? How hard you tried? How successful you were? I think the only answer is that good people aren't always in a position where they can do something about the bad people, and even if they are, we don't have an inside view to be able to tell whether the persistence of the problems is due to them doing their job poorly or because of other problems that are beyond their control.

Comment: Re:Luggage? (Score 1) 349

by Anubis IV (#48704817) Attached to: United and Orbitz Sue 22-Year-Old Programmer For Compiling Public Info

Meanwhile, what you've described as a "gate-check" is what I'd describe as simply "checking your bag", and can only be done at the departing terminal, rather than at the gate.

Umm, if you can't do it at the gate, then it is not a gate check. A gate check is quite literal, as in checking your bag, at the gate, almost always because it won't fit on the plane.

I quite agree, and I'm not sure what I said that would have led you to believe otherwise. I was responding to the previous poster talking about checking a bag and needing to pick it up for the baggage carousel at his final destination, since I've never seen them do that at the gate, hence why I was pointing out that I wouldn't have referred to it as a gate check.

One has to look out for engineers -- they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb. -- Marcel Pagnol