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Comment: Should I do an ad blocker? (Score 3, Interesting) 89

by Animats (#47561759) Attached to: Which Is Better, Adblock Or Adblock Plus?

I'm behind Ad Limiter, which limits Google search ads to one per page, picking the best one based on SiteTruth ratings. You can set it for zero search ads if you like. It also puts SiteTruth ratings on Google search results. It's a demo for SiteTruth search spam filtering.

This Mozilla/Chrome add on has a general ad-blocking mechanism inside. Unlike most ad blockers, it's not based on regular expressions looking for specific HTML. It finds URLs known to lead to ads, works outward through the DOM to find the ad boundary, then deletes the ad. So it's relatively insensitive to changes in ad code, and doesn't require much maintenance. The same code processes search results from Google, Bing, Yahoo, Bleeko, DuckDuckGo, and Infoseek. (Coming soon, Yandex support, and better handling of Google ads within ads, where an ad has multiple links.)

So, if I wanted to do a better ad blocker, I could do so easily. Should I? Is another one really needed? Are the headaches of running one worth it?

Comment: Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (Score 1) 508

That's based on the premise that the model T was less expensive than a horse

No, it's based on the premise of the Model-T being the cheapest possible automobile.

It's not obvious that the automobile would take off, though the piles of horse feces in city streets should have been a hint. But it is obvious that the best chance anybody has, starting a new market, is to go for the least-expensive possible vehicle.

otherwise Ford wouldn't have been the only one in the USA doing it so cheaply/successfully for the better part of 10 years.

Ford found a way to do it very cheaply, that had escaped all others. There were plenty of other car makers out there, and once they adopted the assembly-line model, they started competing with Ford, too.

Comment: Cell and battery production in same plant (Score 5, Informative) 77

by Animats (#47559917) Attached to: Tesla and Panasonic Have Reached an Agreement On the Gigafactory

The Tesla/Panasonic plan gets cell and battery production back into the same plant. The battery industry has, for a while, had a model where cells were made in one country (usually Japan, Taiwan or S. Korea, or at least with machinery from there) and assembled into device-specific battery packs near where the end device was produced (usually China or the US.) For the Chevy Volt, the cells come frm LG Chem in Korea, and the battery packs are assembled at the Brownstown, MI Battery Assembly plant.

There's no good reason to do it that way now that the era of cheap labor in China is over. As a rule of thumb, labor has to be 4x cheaper to justify offshoring. The coastal provinces in China have reached that level with respect to US/Japan wages.

Done right, this isn't labor-intensive. Brownstown has only 100 workers in a 400,000 square foot plant, and they're doing battery assembly, which is the more labor-intensive part of the operation. Tesla claims to need 6,500 employees for their 10 million square foot plant, but they're probably counting construction-phase employees.

Comment: "Beginning of mainstream 3D printing" (Score 4, Informative) 55

by Animats (#47559309) Attached to: 3-D Printing Comes To Amazon

But this could be the beginning of mainstream 3D printing.

We heard that when Staples did it.

Amazon's 3D printed product offerings are rather lame. They're not offering any of the more advanced 3D printing processes; for that you have to go to Shapeways. All you can get from Amazon is plastic junk.

Comment: No new tools. Low-budget operation (Score 3, Informative) 57

All they're offering are some existing tools, ones you can get for free. The main ones are the Clang static analyzer and Cppcheck. They're not offering free access to some of the better, and expensive, commercial tools.

Cppcheck is basically a list of common errors, expressed as rules with regular expressions. Clang is a little more advanced, but it's still looking for a short list of local bugs. Neither will detect all, or even most, buffer overflows. They'll detect the use of "strcpy", but not a wrong size to "strncpy".

Comment: Re:Bullshit.... (Score 1) 129

by hey! (#47558273) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

It doesn't have to be linear to be useful. It simply has to be able to sort a set of choices into order -- like movie reviews. Nobody thinks a four star movie is "twice as good" as a two star movie, but people generally find the rank ordering of movies by stars useful provided they don't read to much into the rating. In fact the ordering needn't be unique; there can be other equally useful metrics which order the choices in a slightly different way. *Over certain domains of values* minor differences in orderings may not matter very much, especially as your understanding of your future requirements is always somewhat fuzzy (e.g. the future cost of bandwidth or computing power).

The problem with any metric occurs outside those domains; some parameters may have discontinuities in their marginal utility. A parameter's value may be good enough and further improvements yield no benefit; or the parmater's value may be poor enough to disqualify a choice altogether. In such cases such a metric based on continuous functions will objectively misorder choices.

For example Suppose A is fast enough but has poor compression ratios; B is not quite fast enough but has excellent compression ratios. There's really only one viable choice: A; but the metric may order the choices B,A.

On the other hand suppose A has better compression ratios than B; B is faster than A, but A is already so fast that it makes no practical difference. The rational ordering of choices is A,B but the metric might order them B,A.

This kind of thing is always a problem with boiling choices down to a single composite number. You have to understand what goes into that number and how those things relate to your needs. You have to avoid making your decisions on one number alone. But some people *will* fasten on a single number because it makes the job of choosing seem easier than it does. Just don't be one of those people.

Comment: Re:4! (Score 1) 157

The point as I see it is the distinction between version 4 and 5. The poster suggests that they want "the latest" rather than 4, which they CAN find docs for. They are both obsolete, dead even, such that focusing on "the latest" strikes me as odd. Perhaps I came off too sarcastic, but the "logic" is bugging me.

Comment: Re:Arneson (Score 1) 158

by hey! (#47557795) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

After Gygax's treatment of Arneson and the way he attempted to attack other games in the roleplaying hobby, I find it hard to feel much sympathy for him.

Well, if you put yourself in his shoes you might well play hardball with other games in the hobby.

D&D as a system wasn't really all special; there were competing systems back in the days he was at TSR which were every bit as enjoyable and arguably easier to play. But D&D had two big things going for it. First, when the three basic manuals for AD&D were published it had by far the best organized and written materials. The Monster Manual was particularly useful. Second it had the network effect: it was the best system to learn to play because everyone else knew how to play it. You could start a campaign at a drop of a hat -- no need to bring everyone up to speed on yet another set of rules.

So put yourself in his position. The future success of D&D is contingent on no other game reaching critical mass. You're completely dependent on D&D, you have no other marketable skills or assets. You have a company with over a hundred employees (which is surely a mistake on your part), and that company has nothing else bringing in cash *but* D&D products. You've made D&D your life work. It's not a situation to bring out the best in people.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 557

by Mr. Slippery (#47557501) Attached to: Satellite Images Show Russians Shelling Ukraine

Please point to the fascists riddling the current Ukrainian government.

Members of Svoboda, the neo-Nazi inspired party formerly known as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine", hold several government posts: Oleksandr Sych, Vice Prime Minister; Andriy Mokhnyk- Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources; Ihor Shvayka, Minister of Agriculture.

Svoboda is so far right that just three years ago there was a move to have the party banned nationwide: http://www.kyivpost.com/conten...

Comment: Re:Anybody know? (Score 5, Interesting) 222

by RogueyWon (#47555867) Attached to: Free Copy of the Sims 2 Contains SecuROM

So... genuine question...

What does SecuROM actually do to your system and what are the implications?

The wikipedia article, beyond a floating comment that SecuROM isn't uninstalled when the game is uninstalled, is basically silent on this. In fact, let's break it down into a series of further questions?

- Does SecuROM cause security vulnerabilities on PCs on which it is installed?

- Does SecuROM prevent applications - other than pirated copies of the game it is supposed to "protect" - from functioning on PCs on which it is installed?

- Does SecuROM create any kind of "always on" background process that consumes resources and potentially reduces performance on PCs on which it is installed?

If the answer to any of the above is "yes" then obviously there is a fairly major problem here. If the answer to all of the above is "no", then I'm not quite sure what people are getting upset about given that we are talking about a free game (SecuROM being bundled with paid-for games is another issue entirely).

And to emphasise, I genuinely don't know the answers to the above and can't work them out from the links in TFA.

Comment: Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (Score 1) 508

The old Henry Ford saying goes (not that he necessarily said it) "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses".

Of course faster horses weren't an option. And what were the early cars, other than bare-bones "horseless carriages"? It's not as if the Model-T was a Ferrari in an age of wagons.

Consumers almost always choose "cheaper" when the price is significant. Designing the cheapest possible car, within the confines of the engineering of the day, seems like an obvious choice, and basically what they did.

Comment: Re:Submitter should have read this article from 20 (Score 1) 508

Half of your customers buy the iPhone. All those people who said, "Oh, I'm going to buy QWERTY," boom, take them out of the equation."

Funny, because Sprint has pushed the iPhone harder than anyone. The cut-rate prices with the iPhone, even on already-cut-rate services like Sprint's Virgin Mobile, are tempting. They practically PAY YOU to take an iPhone. There were articles about how they were contractually required to sell X iPhones from their deal with Apple, but it sounds like they had to undermine the rest of their business to get it done.

Comment: Re:Phone Scoop's Phone Finder (Score 1) 508

I also specified Android, since almost nobody wants feature phones or Windows, which returned just EIGHT. Then I required LTE, which brought it down to just FOUR:

LG Enact (Available on Verizon)

LG Mach (no longer available, Sprint)

LG Optimus F3Q (Available on T-Mobile)

Samsung Stratosphere / Galaxy Metrix 4G (For sale on Amazon, not listed as available by Verizon. YMMV)

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