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Comment: It's the exceptions that crash the system... (Score 1) 273

by Collin (#46667921) Attached to: Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

Your assumption is that all license plates have the same format. They don't. Different states do them differently. In California, there are 7 digit places in the format:
NAAANNNN (Where N = numeral, A = Alphabet character). So right off the bat, your system fails because all California plates don't end in a letter. Ok, so you say, change it to the second (or third or fourth) character instead. But then some other state might have a different format, then you need manpower to adjudicate exceptions, which takes more time and slows up the line, etc.

You also assume that each segmented population can be processed through within the time allotted. Some segments may have more members than others, making this another bottleneck to work through.

Comment: What happened to Google and Oracle? (Score 1) 334

A few weeks ago, the press did a bunch of reporting that the Gov had reached out to Google and Oracle to come help fix their website. Haven't heard anything else since. Anybody know what happened with that move?

Given what was in this article, I wouldn't be surprised if the Google engineers showed up, looked at the mess and said, "yeeah. good luck with that." and walked out. Maybe even said, "We'll help you if we get to throw out everything and rewrite it clean in a couple of months and host it on the Google-plex."

Comment: Re:industrious dad (Score 4, Interesting) 204

i agree...the summary sounds like he's a regular guy with no biology training that self-taught himself so that he could help his daughter, leaving out these tidbits from the article: "...who had trained as a clinical geneticist..." "...Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where Rienhoff trained as a geneticist..." "Rienhoff had long been tapping experts such as Dietz for assistance..."

I'm not taking anything away from the dad's effort and dedication to his kid, just the "industrious dad" angle.

Comment: Phone tech support? (Score 2) 103

by Collin (#43940499) Attached to: Google Loves <em>The Internship</em>; Critics Not So Much

Of all the glaring tech and business inaccuracies, this one stands out the most: one of the team challenges the interns must face is going on the Google tech support phone lines to give good customer service. I wonder if anybody ever told Vaughn during a script review that THERE IS NO PHONE SUPPORT AT GOOGLE. Or EVEN DIRECT EMAIL SUPPORT. Or maybe the idea of such a huge, profitable, reputable and non-evil company not having personalized tech support was so unthinkable that nobody ever bothered to check.

I understand why they don't have it, because of the high-costs of humans versus help pages and forums, but sometimes you really do need direct help.

Example: when I first got my Google Voice account, friends would complain that calls to the number would not go through. A bit later, I got some calls from wrong numbers. I started talking to the wrong number callers and found out they were dialing their intended number correctly, and that number was my Google Voice number. Finally, at one point I got a call and it was the daughter of the 90 year-old lady who has had my Google Voice number for 50 years or more. I have no idea how Google issued me a duplicate number. Since GV didn't have phone or email support and obviously there is no self-help page for "My Google Voice number is a duplicate for an old lady's," I had to settle for making a forum post and hope a Googler would see it and respond. None ever did, but the problems went away and I'm left wondering if I'm screwing over an old lady's incoming phone calls (and wondering if she's getting some of my calls) by keeping this GV account. If somebody can prove me wrong by pointing out Google Voice direct support contacts, please do so.

Anyhow, I saw the Internship movie on a preview and found it mildly amusing and pretty much like all the reviews said: standard, run-of-the-mill buddies out of water comedy filled with standard archetypes and a non-techies perception of techie companies. I also did wonder if Google sponsored the film because it was so sanitized.

Comment: Re:USB displays (Score 1) 141

by Collin (#43892579) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Portable High-Resolution External Displays?

well, they do have a 1080P 21" version, so it's unlikely bandwidth is the gating issue. DisplayLink has been doing this for a while with USB video adapters. I am not exactly sure how they implemented the link protocol, but it likely isn't pushing raw pixel data since it needs special drivers. It likely sends API calls for the chip at the other end to execute and only sends raw pixels for bitmap areas like photos or videos.

Comment: USB displays (Score 5, Informative) 141

by Collin (#43886405) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Portable High-Resolution External Displays?

I'll take my guess at what the OP is asking. He refers to USB-powered displays, but complains that they are too low-res. They really are a great idea and I could see a bunch of uses for them.

Here is a 16" USB-powered display, which combines a DisplayLink USB display adapter with a flat-panel LCD display. The problem is that its pixel resolution is only 1366 x 768, which is pretty low density for that panel size. It's like a typical entry-level 15.6" laptop panel. If you look at 15.6" laptops, they start at 1366x768, then as you move up the model range, the pixel res goes up to 1600x900, then further up, 1920x1080 is about as high as it goes at this size.

I suspect that the OP would like a product just like this display, but with a 1600x900 or 1080P display panel like those used on higher-end laptops. This would totally make sense, but some quick searches didn't turn anything like this up on Amazon. So his real question is if anybody knows of one of these types of displays that has a higher-res panel. Personally, I'd consider one of these as well for on-site video editing.

There is a similar 21" USB-powered display which does run 1080P but it's up to the OP as to whether he still considers that portable or not.

Comment: Online updates (Score 1) 422

by Collin (#34382022) Attached to: The 5-Year Console Cycle Is Dead

Another factor is updatable firmware and OS over the internet. The console makers of this generation can fix bugs and add whole new capabilities that they could not do prior to this generation. Think of how Sony has kept the PS3 updated as a blu-ray player with compatibility fixes, adding lossless audio, 3D support, etc. Or how all the console makers have added Netflix streaming client capabilities, something that wasn't even on the horizon when these models were designed. Or how Sony and Microsoft were able to add motion control abilities. All this adds of to being able to extend the life of the current generation in ways that would have required a whole new platform before.

A good follow-up question would be: what astounding new capabilities would it take to motivate a next-gen console?

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