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Comment: Re:What's so special about Google? (Score 2) 275

by CaptBubba (#48437817) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Yeah a lot of it is politics but you have to admit it is very difficult for anyone to get off the ground because whenever anyone comes up with something marginally better, usually for a specialized subject (like say flights), Google puts their own version of the same at the top of the Google search results and effectively attempts to use their current dominance in normal web search to completely eviscerate the newcomer's traffic. A nasty "secret" of the search industry is most people will only hit the first result or so because why click further when "eh close enough" is already there right in front of you?

You don't have to be forcing customers to use your product to be exhibiting anti-competitive behavior, using your market position to make sure that no other companies can be profitable is just as effective.

Comment: They don't need fancy gadgets (Score 5, Insightful) 221

by CaptBubba (#47958381) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

This is just puffery because it is trendy to beat up on every government agency now, and the SS in particular after the Columbia prostitute scandal.

They have everything they need to protect the president but they are smart and respond to each threat based on the *actual* threat it poses. The snipers that hang out on the White House roof could have dropped the man before he made it ten feet, but had they done so everyone would be screaming about how they killed an unarmed man when the president and his family weren't even on the grounds.

Comment: Re:DSL paload + ATM = 16% (Score 1) 355

by CaptBubba (#47769767) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling?

This is exactly the cause. The ATM overhead is being counted by AT&T and it has been a problem ever since they started metered billing.

Now they *shouldn't* be doing so because that is a bit like the water utility charging you for 11000 gallons when you only used 10000 to account for leaks in their system or the gas station saying you pumped 1.2 gallons for every actual gallon to cover the fuel used to bring the gas to the station, but until they are regulated like a utility and the appropriate regulator steps in there is just about jack you can do.

Comment: Re:Pitfalls of sharing economy (Score 1) 255

When money changes hands everything changes. Expectations both from the customer and in terms of legal liability are so much higher that you cannot compare gift or free exchanges to a fundamentally commercial one such as Uber or AirBnB. There is all sorts of really interesting research into this from the psychology side showing that things shift the instant people see something as a monetary transaction instead of a social one.

The services like to act as though they are some hybrid between the two (Lyft is particularly over-the-top about this) but they are not. Just as you can't be "a little pregnant" you can't be a little commercial in nature.

Comment: The admins are complicit (Score 1) 390

by CaptBubba (#46796447) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

The article talks about "Stigmas about seeking help" but only focuses on undergrad and the students' internalized stigmas with the school being super helpful. That has not been my personal experience with graduate TAs and RAs. A close grad student friend worked out that his stipend was so low that he (and all other similarly paid grad students int he department) qualified for food stamps. He jokingly told one of the other grad students when he was within earshot of a professor, and got called into a meeting with the department head threatening retribution if he "made the department look bad" by applying for food stamps.

I don't know if there were any real teeth in that threat but grad students can't exactly rock the boat too much if they hope to get the all-important recommendation for post-doc work.

Comment: Re:Already taken care of (Score 1) 184

by CaptBubba (#46740521) Attached to: The Case For a Safer Smartphone

Exactly, but I think they should be baked into the OS and automatically activated (unless expressly disabled in system options) when they detect a car bluetooth pairing (normally detectable by the features supported by the paired device, but you could ask if it is a car upon initial pairing).

Another Android one that is extremely useful because of a hidden feature is A2DP Volume in the Play store. There is a silence all notifications on connect option, settable per bluetooth device. So you hop in your car and your hands-free phone, voice commands, streaming audio, and audio nav will work while incoming texts and alerts are silenced. No temptation at all and if people need you right away they can call. People are normally very understanding of it when you tell them why you didn't immediately respond to their text.

Comment: Re:Poor journalism (Score 2) 258

by CaptBubba (#46384411) Attached to: Inventor Has Waited 43 Years For Patent Approval

It wouldn't do you any good anyway. It is under the old laws where everything is confidential until/unless a patent actually issues on the application.

The new laws were actually put in place because of this guy's actions and the 1990 microprocessor patent (and Lemelson's claims covering all of machine vision of course).

Comment: A real hodpodge for the price (Score 5, Informative) 164

by CaptBubba (#46339233) Attached to: Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)

For $3500 the components are a real mixed bag. Sure no visible battery is nice, but other bikes have that too and 195Whr is very low as far as e-bikes go. A brooks leather saddle is very nice, but Avid mechanical disc brakes are entry-level. That's not to mention the really questionable choices of a belt drive and bamboo fenders.

Compare it to something like the Stromer Elite:

Same price, nearly double the battery (approx 350Whr), no visible battery, a standard shimano sora chain drivetrain any bike mechanic can work on, and hydraulic disc brakes.

Comment: Re:why? (Score 2) 139

It allows for fallback to the stored value on the card if the data connection between the authenticating device and the home station is unreliable, as would be expected in a wide-ranging bus system when these cards were initially deployed.

Also EZPass and the like have the additional advantage of being tied to either a registered name or an easily identifiable way to bill someone (via a photo of the license plate) in case their account is empty. You don't have that luxury when dealing with people getting on and off mass transit.

Comment: Re:350mm (18inch) wafer (Score 5, Informative) 267

by CaptBubba (#45615627) Attached to: Moore's Law Blowout Sale Is Ending, Says Broadcom CTO

350 may bring costs down, but it isn't a process node advancement and won't help cram more transistors per unit area into a chip.

Instead it will just let them process more chips at once in most time-consuming processing steps such as deposition and oxide growth. The photolithographic systems, which are the most expensive equipment in the entire fab on a cost-per-wafer-processed-per-hour basis, gain somewhat due to less wafer exchanging, but the imaging is still done a few square cm at a time repeated in a step-and-scan manner a hundred times or more per wafer per step. Larger wafers however are posing one hell of a problem for maintaining film and etch uniformity, extremely important when you have transistor gate oxides on the order of a few atoms thick.

Comment: A systematic problem (Score 5, Interesting) 306

by CaptBubba (#45567551) Attached to: Dial 00000000 To Blow Up the World

The book Command and Control by Eric Schlosser goes into the issues of the cold war control of our nukes in a wonderful way, detailing just how messed up our control of nukes was and how we are damn lucky that we didn't have an accidental nuclear detonation at some point (there were plenty of accidental conventional detonations that by sheer luck didn't have a nuclear core in them).

Nuclear weapons are "always/never" devices in that they should always work when you want them to and never work when you don't. The military only cared about the "always" side of the equation. So much so that they even nixed the idea of an inertial switch in fusing mechanism of the reentry vehicles of ICBMs that would only connect the detonation systems after detecting the g-forces of reentry.

Further any suggestion of improving the control of the nukes was met with grumpy rage at civilians daring to tell the military how to run its business as well as fights between the Air Force, Army, and Navy over funding and power.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234