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Comment: Swell (Score 1) 179

by DriveDog (#48584669) Attached to: LG To Show Off New 55-Inch 8K Display at CES

Huge pixel count. Great. Seriously, I like it. I can view DSLR photos in full resolution.

But it's going to take a long time for bandwidth available to most folks to catch up with the needs of 3840x2160. Hard to imagine the data flow necessary for 7680x4320 being available to most of us for years. In fact, that's about the fastest being rolled out to residences today. Then what? Then there'll have to be sources. Netflix's servers don't provide 1080p for me now, having an ISP that doesn't interfere and 50Mbps bandwidth on DSL, which should be just about enough for even uncompressed video.

Hey, at least the focus is on pixel count instead of idiotic curved screens and 3D. What would be real advances? Holographic 3D and quality programming. Now we have who knows how many TV channels and networks, but only about the same number (very few) of quality shows as we had 50 years ago, not long after the FCC head's "television is a vast wasteland" comment.

Comment: A good sign (Score 2) 233

by DriveDog (#48583189) Attached to: Ford Ditches Microsoft Partnership On Sync, Goes With QNX
Funny, I wouldn't have given Ford the credit for recognizing the wisdom of such a move. Kudos to them. Wish my IPTV provider would ditch the Cisco/Windows set tops for something based on QNX, as they're seriously horrible. Part of what's smart about this move by Ford is that it avoids their cars being associated with the frequent complaint of how bad MS stuff can be, whether correct or not. There's no such conversation among other than geeks about QNX. It has numerous supporters and very few detractors for any reason other than it's not free. The only downside I see (aside from there being used cars out there with Windows) is that others—GM, Fiat/Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan—are likely to hesitate to move to QNX. There's still quite a bit of NIH syndrome.

Comment: sense of the word (Score 2) 195

by DriveDog (#48436945) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Hackable Car?
I think of hacking as almost anything to alter almost anything about the car, but it sounds like you're thinking mostly interfacing with the electronics to get there. I can't answer who's best, but I know for sure that some manufacturers make accessing and interpreting CAN bus information a lot easier than others. Search for CAN bus interface info for various makes in which you're interested and see how much is out there and how difficult it looks. When I find time (yeah right) I want to grab events from pushing steering wheel buttons and use it to control my own devices. So I'm not really looking to put messages on the CAN bus, just read from it. In general, models that have cult followings (not just "ricers") will have a lot more info out there that their owners have accumulated and shared. MINIs are not among the easiest cars to interface with (as with other BMWs), but there's a lot of info out there because of the interest among owners. On the other hand, something like a Camry, popular as they are, is unlikely to have been explored as much because they're appliances that people buy to reliably get them where they want to go and not for providing fun or making a statement.

Comment: Re:Skip Oracle. (Score 1) 147

by DriveDog (#48379727) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Choosing a Data Warehouse Server System?

SAS may be the best answer to "query huge amounts of data in sometimes rather odd ways". Using SQL Server for storage is fine, but not using anything else in front of it (SSAS is useless) is bringing a knife to a gun fight. Trying to do everything in a relational way means tying a hand and a foot behind your back. The real world doesn't neatly fit the model, hard as you might try to make it, so performance suffers greatly and doing unusual ad hoc things takes longer to figure out. Get SAS to send pure relational operations to the DBMS to do but perform other operations within. SAS's own SQL engine gives the user much more convenience since it supports SAS's functions and macro language, far richer than plain DBMS's, but I haven't found it to be particularly quick. In interoperability, SQL Server continues to improve, but SAS still works better with many more other applications. It has always been a best choice for moving data around. Organizations often choke on the licensing model, since most do "capital investments" every few years instead of paying a "licensing fee" every year (hefty, but does include some of the best support going). All this was about plain SAS. SAS/BI is really the product SAS will try to sell you to do what you describe; I haven't used it so can't rate it.

As far as those comments about writing code with SAS being "terrible", well, it can be inconsistent, but mostly those people have just never grasped the somewhat unique models it uses of handling observations. I find T-SQL to be seriously lacking for many tasks. If going all-MS, get VS and use a regular procedural language along with SQL Server.

Comment: Yes! (Score 1) 234

by DriveDog (#47939523) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?
Probably. I went back around age 45 to get a physics B.A. at a local state university with a small department so I could teach high school science (had 2 prior undergrad degrees in Econ and CS). I wasn't planning to do any astronomy or astrophysics, but I needed a few more hours, and the school had a 32" observatory, a Harvard-trained astrophysicist, and several interesting classes. The teaching gig afterwards didn't work out, but I'm so glad I studied astrophysics. Independent amateur researchers absolutely do contribute, but not very often in theoretical astrophysics. There's a LOT of original astronomy that can and is done by amateurs on smallish budgets. Learn a little nuclear physics and understand what's going on inside stars. Every week there's some new cool discovery in the news (a Thorne-Zytkow star found recently) and being able to comprehend what it's about is great. Many stars don't fit into neat categories, and those are the most interesting. You can use your programming skills in quite a few ways, if you're so inclined. Around here there's a community college with a small observatory run by students and a couple of committed teachers that hosts astronomy conferences and speakers. For some, it's a great opportunity to learn and contribute to the community. I have no idea how common such programs are. If you really want to spend time observing on your own, the DIY community is stronger than ever. Just as with other types of hacking, you could contribute by designing affordable, innovative DIY equipment made of common items. Like to travel? It's a good excuse to go looking for dark clear skies, and many places with dark skies are stunning in other ways. Heck, I'm thinking of taking a scope on a 21' boat to a dark isolated island. I won't discover anything but bugbites, but what a nice outing. Don't let the naysayers bother you, except for this: there probably aren't too many careers available. Keep your day job (literally). Oh, one more thing—don't restrict yourself to light. Radiotelescopy offers a lot of opportunities for amateurs as well, alone or in cooperation with others.

Comment: What's not said... (Score 1) 191

by DriveDog (#47921215) Attached to: Tim Cook Says Apple Can't Read Users' Emails, That iCloud Wasn't Hacked
What did Cook not say? Did he bluntly say "we cannot read your mail"? Or did he just say "we don't have a key"? A general statement like "There is no way for us to read your mail or provide your mail to anyone else" would have more meaning. Reporters could ignore such statements, or at least every time they print one, point out how it could be misleading.

Comment: Re:Smart Watch Apps I would (and do) use (Score 1) 471

by DriveDog (#47881667) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

At some point in the future we'll either talk about how dorky people looked fumbling with their slab phones all the time (I always have) or just think of them like pocket watches—a machine put in use before it was miniaturized. I suspect that in the old days glancing at your wristwatch during meetings was tolerated a lot better than pulling out your pocket watch.

The Pebble is definitely more attractive than most others, certainly more than what the Apple looks like so far. Surely the fans will buy Apples, but I'm guessing Apple won't dominate the market or even lead the way this time. Until we have some kind of I/O that displays stuff in our eyes or brain without Glass and reads thoughts, seems like the wristwatch is the least intrusive, most convenient device.

Comment: Just the moon (Score 1) 471

by DriveDog (#47881387) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

I want features that have already appeared in watches: time display, stopwatch, alarm, tides for anywhere not dependent on downloading, barometer/altitude, compass, glow-in-the-dark, survivability from shock/EM fields/water/heat/cold, good styling (very few smart watches are much less than ugly), programmable remote control, good battery life, and durability, all in one. Add to that rudimentary navigation (only signals from GPS satellites necessary, and maybe not even that), Bluetooth, an accelerometer, and a great programming environment for those not wanting the hassle of a ridiculous tool chain.

A fatter version should have something like FindMeSpot functionality—SMS to satellites.

Oh yeah, and a friendly price.

Comment: Not pure electric, arghhh (Score 1) 491

by DriveDog (#47871207) Attached to: To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

City and school buses are the perfect target for hybrid ICE/Electric propulsion (along with FedEx and UPS delivery trucks). They accelerate and decelerate a huge mass every block or so. Recapture as much of the energy as you can while slowing to speed up again. The power of the ICE needn't be anywhere close to what it is currently. Maybe not even electric—some mechanical means of storing energy for short periods would be helpful, and probably a lot cheaper. Just DO SOMETHING to avoid throwing away all that energy put into accelerating every block.

Since there's already a lot of experience using CNG for buses, use that and avoid much of the complicated emissions-control equipment. Buses are so big that putting a reformer on board and fueling them with methane but powering them with fuel cells might be feasible.

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop