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Comment: Re:They talk very big (Score 1) 62

Or, "you're going to the Grand Canyon for the day, so why not rent a higher resolution camera module." If you don't do photography every day, maybe the cost would be too great for a high-res camera mod (i.e., over time camera will no longer be a discrete instrument, but will become part of the mobile kit (don't worry, you will still be able to get a camera-like platform for the usability it offers)), but if you're taking a special trip (or going to a wedding), it might make sense to rent the mod for something as low as $10 per day.

Comment: Tortious interference of contract (Score 1) 341

by HobophobE (#33112900) Attached to: Does Net Neutrality Violate the Fifth Amendment?

Even if it were taking place entirely on private property (which it isn't: their lines run across public land, and they are already giving up some rights to control that property due to that fact), they still must not interfere with the individual's right to contract. The exchange of information via IP is a voluntary exchange between two legal entities, and the exchange amounts to a contractual relationship (ie, the initial request is a unilateral contract). For an ISP to do any more than simply route that exchange is tortious interference of contract.

Even though the ISP might block the relationship before it exists (ie, preemptive network bias such as forging packets or simply dropping the initial request packets), it will still fit the terms. The contract is unilateral, so in the initiator's view the contract exists unless the receiving party fails to act of their own accord (letting the request time out, for example) or explicitly declines (sending a HTTP status code in the 400 range, for example).

Tortious interference, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships.

Wikipedia: Tortious interference

Comment: Barnacles. (Score 1) 451

by HobophobE (#31980682) Attached to: Best Alternatives To the Big Name Social Media?

A lot of the comments here say that the ... let me just quote one:

The thing that makes "social media" useful is its userbase. You could never have found/kept in touch with your old friends if you weren't signed up for a service they were also signed up for. Trying to find a smaller service by definitions means it's not going to be as useful to you.

slashdot.org: #31978746 Missing the Point by thePowerOfGrayskull

But e-mail is a federated medium. Anyone can run a server, and anyone can send/receive. Their argument wouldn't hold water for e-mail, but it currently does for social networks.

That needs to change, and it will change in time. Many of the technologies to make it happen already exist: RSS, OpenID/OAuth, pingbacks, etc. They just haven't been coordinated and solidified.

There are certain artifacts of the old web that remain affixed like so many barnacles. They include the little buttons that litter major websites, beckoning you to spread their content for them. Not to say you shouldn't, but that it shouldn't be button-based. That's where the user agent is supposed to do the work, not each website implementing its own sharing widgets.

Like I say, it'll go away, but it will require a federated system. Your friends will subscribe to an RSS of your statuses. If they comment, it'll send you a pingback. And so on.

Comment: Old Tech, improved (Score 1) 107

by HobophobE (#31498226) Attached to: Blind Soldier Uses Tongue To "See"

Though Google seems to have lost most of the articles, I remembered this from back in 2002, and I was able to find at least a few results such as Eyes in the Back of Your Mouth. It sounds like this article is talking about improvements (more refined matrix, portability) and deployments of the same technology. A quote from the link above:

His latest technology sends visual data through the tongue, which is jam-packed with nerves and coated with conductive saliva. A video camera worn on the forehead sends images to a laptop, which dumbs down the picture to 144 pixels. That signal is sent to a soviet-gray box, called a Tactile Display Unit, which converts the image to electrical impulses. The current winds up on a matrix of electrodes that tingle the image onto the tongue. In lab tests, the system enabled blind people to recognize letters, catch rolling balls, and watch candles flicker for the first time.

Comment: Re:Science or Religion? (Score 1) 1136

by HobophobE (#31165466) Attached to: A Warming Planet Can Mean More Snow

All I've heard from people that are "skeptical" of the current climate science is that the science is faulty/incomplete/etc. Where is their alternative?

My understanding of science is that it works a lot like the kids' game 'king of the hill.' Whichever hypothesis/model fits the data best is the king, and remains king until either a better hypothesis/model (ie, one that fits the data better) arises or new data comes along that either fits the king so poorly or fits an existing contender better.

Various scientists get ideas for experiments that could knock the king down or help it stay up, others have ideas that could get their contender to the top, and they fight to do just that.

Science is about alternative possibilities. There's the way things are, and there's the way things look. The latter a shadow of the former. It's in our best interest to try to extrapolate from shadow to form, but it's tricky. We go with the best we have for now, and we improve as we continue. If you've got a better idea, let's hear it.

As to particular data that would debunk the anthropogenic hypothesis, that is defined by the hypothesis itself. Data showing the emissions to be smaller than thought, or that the emissions from human activity have some peculiarity that exclude them from significant contribution to the climate, etc. would be necessary to take down the current hypothesis. Data would have to show that man's activities do not significantly contribute to climate.

Comment: Re:Congrats TSA/Al Queda (Score 1) 888

by HobophobE (#30565956) Attached to: TSA Wants You To Keep Your Seat, and Your Hands In Sight

Back when I was in grade school some middle school kid in the same school district cut off the tip of his nose using scissors (it was reattached). They banned regular scissors for all kids through middle school and we all had to use these stupid, feeble scissors that barely worked. I assume that to this day the kids at those schools still are deprived decent scissors over what an outlier did a couple of decades ago.

As you say, it's asinine. It completely defies any understanding of science and statistics. But there's more to the story: they are doing this out of fear of lawsuits. If they hadn't banned those scissors and another kid had done a repeat, the parents would have sued and might have won. The lawyer would have stood before the jury and railed about how just months or years before the same thing had happened and the school did nothing. In this case, if they make no change and someone gets hurt in a repeat then there will be a lawsuit and the lawyer will do the same thing: paint it as if the airlines and government should have changed the rules.

Comment: Happy (Score 2, Insightful) 187

by HobophobE (#30333338) Attached to: Microsoft Tweaks Browser Ballot As EU Deal Nears

The object of this ballot system is to let users know that a choice even exists. It's not to promote any specific competitor. You seem to overlook the fact that there are people out there (and quite a few, I might add) that don't know they have a choice. They don't know what a browser is. They just know they click that specific icon to get on the internet. They don't know there is an internet separate from the web. A lot of computer users have very limited knowledge.

As to why they should know, that is everything to do with economics. You can go read about that in depth, but the gist of it is that information is the lifeblood of a market (particularly an information market). The more nuanced an understanding the average participant has of the marketplace, the healthier that market will be. This is because as sophistication grows in the market, the options must become refined to compete. To put that in terms of browsers, as more browsers compete they all become standards-compliant and have to differentiate on other factors such as speed, security, extensions, portability (both the browser and the data), and so on.

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 2, Insightful) 396

by HobophobE (#27566725) Attached to: Was the Amazon De-Listing Situation a Glitch Or a Hack?

[...] tragicomic to see otherwise-intelligent people peddle false information and conspiracy theories when actual, real data is out there.

It's also tragicomic to see an otherwise-intelligent company not get ahead of a problem like this from a PR standpoint.

I can accept that it was a technical mistake and not a policy change or a gaming or breach of their systems. But it's very hard to accept that they wouldn't immediately cop to the problem and give an explanation. Other sites take pains to inform their users of technical difficulties and disabled features.

At the very least there should be a window of time after a title has been de-listed from sales rank that it includes a notice explaining that has happened. It's very difficult to trust a system that may change arbitrarily at a moment's (lack of) notice.

Comment: Re:Extremely unprofitable (Score 1) 897

by HobophobE (#26238561) Attached to: Can the Auto Industry Retool Itself To Build Rails?

Err, the road construction isn't heavily subsidized?

While I agree we can't just build a whole rail system overnight, I think there are places it makes a lot of sense (especially to take some burden off of heavy-traffic roads).

But no, I don't buy the subsidy argument when we're subsidizing the current system (and paying a lot of hidden costs to boot) already.

Windows

+ - Microsoft plays monopoly again with Vista!

Submitted by
mike95
mike95 writes "I just started playing around with voice recognition on Windows Vista and I was very happy with the results — at last, accurate dictation ...UNTIL. I tried with OpenOffice Writer. Complete failure. I was stumped. Is this an OS feature or a Word feature? It's promoted as an OS feature. I pulled out the trusty notepad and the accuracy and results were the same as in Word 2007! What the heck?

I double checked, I triple checked and quite frankly it cannot be so obvious they are wielding their monopolistic practices by being biased when making this operating system feature available.

How many people would cry foul loudly if the network connectivity OS feature was crippled for Firefox? I just cannot see a valid argument here so I created a video of my experience and just posted it on youtube.

I used the same microphone to record the video as dictation, so what you hear in the video is same sound offered to both the video recording software and voice recognition and any claims to background noise, etc. are without merit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMdbbvzocuU

Sincerely,
Michael Olivero"

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments

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