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Comment Re: hey, CBS doesn't promote Fox, either (Score 2) 222

Point of order: You can actually install Amazon App store apps through the Amazon (Store) app that IS available via Google Play. And yes I know that is a horrible sentence to parse. I think you do still have to have "third party sources" turned on for your Android device, but the Amazon App store is not 100% required.

Apple doesn't offer access to its content for non-Apple set top boxes and it doesn't offer even an option of non-Apple hardware for much of anything, but people still eat Apple's shit with a smile on their face.

I own most of the major STB devices aside from Apple's, but in my opinion the larger, not-Stick FireTV is the best of breed option. It works with services I'd actually want to use. It's responsive in its UI and can be used for light gaming. It's open enough to support non-Amazon apps if you're willing to sideload them. If Amazon wants to push its position in that market,I think I'm OK with that.

If Google really wants to push the issue, killing Amazon's API key for Youtube access on FireTV devices would probably be a strong bargaining chip, but having used both Chromecast and Nexus Player as well as Google TV hardware, I think STB devices are still an afterthought and besides, there are still plenty of places to buy them.

Comment SETH is a pretty big assumption (Score 2) 82

SETH is a very big assumption, much stronger than even assuming P != NP. Essentially, the exponential time hypothesis (ETH) says that any algorithm which solves instances of 3-SAT will have worst case running time that is exponential. However, it is conceivable that one could have a whole series of algorithms which each solves 3-SAT better and better. The idea is that there's an algorithm a_i which solves 3-SAT in time O(x_i^n) and as i goes to infinity, x_i goes to 1. SETH is the hypothesis that says essentially that that doesn't happen. Many people are not convinced that ETH is true although it certainly looks plausible. I think most people who have thought about this consider the possibility that ETH holds and SETH doesn't hold to be a deeply weird and generally unlikely option.

Comment Re: I wonder (Score 1) 206

Safari isn't downloading the file to the device if it's being put into Dropbox et al, is it? And if that data doesn't belong in the cloud? If the device doesn't immediately have a viewer, the device can't interact with it, however useful it might be to have on local storage.

I think you misunderstand the definition of the word "arbitrary."

Comment Re:I wonder (Score 1) 206

> Why the F**** o you even want filesystem access? Wouldn't it be nice to not have to deal with all of that BS?

My organization has a couple VIPs who want to use iOS as primary computing devices, which required an almost complete change in the way some data is handled, all for want of the ability to store some data they'd be able to download with a web browser on any other platform.

I also think it's nice to be able to segregate personal and business data instead of lumping
everything together. In addition to missing the concept of end-user access to directories, it also still doesn't have multi-user support. iOS treats data as an undifferentiated lump, which is particularly awesome when you get to see somebody's Hedonism II vacation memories mixed in with photos of in-process construction projects or something (fortunately, that wasn't someone who worked for my company, but it sure did liven up that particular meeting).

> You've been able to do that since iOS 5 or 6, as long as you have an App that will handle the content you want to download, or a storage app that will let you manage and browse arbitrary content (See Dropbox, Documents, etc.)

The keyword here is arbitrary. Dropbox supports a lot of data formats but arbitrary it is not.

Dropbox for iOS won't handle arbitrary content, only content for which it and/or the device has a viewer. Why would you want to copy arbitrary content to an iOS device? Because it has multiple gigabytes of potentially encrypted flash storage, maybe? To keep something that doesn't belong in cloud storage out of cloud storage and on a thing that users are unlikely to lose, break, wash or allow to leave their grubby hands for even a single moment.

> Last time I checked, you don't need to use iTunes for anything other than transferring music & movies. You don't even need it to activate the device...

You CAN need it to copy data on and off the device and assign it to apps, particularly if that data is not directly accessible from the web somehow. This is particularly obnoxious if you have apps that handle the same sorts of data but won't talk to each other. Maybe they both support Dropbox. Maybe.

Comment Re:I have a feeling that (Score 1) 206

To be fair, you also weren't using any special capabilities of your fruit to do that, either. It was a dumb terminal from the moment the VPN connection was negotiated. I can exactly the same tasks you just described on anything with a reasonably high resolution screen and a functional 3G or 802.11 connection, even a Palm or WinCE device.

Where does the "just works" part come in?

Comment Re:I wonder (Score 0) 206

It's a perfectly rational proposition to hate iOS from having to actually use it. Missing filesystem access, not having lower case keys on the keyboard (until today, actually), being unable to download arbitrary content using a web browser, being forced to use a media player for system management tasks etc. It's pretty bad when your OS compares unfavorably to Windows RT.


The First Talking, Artificially Intelligent Surveillance Camera 58

merbs writes: Two NYU AI researchers have created a surveillance camera that, when hooked up to a crude artificial intelligence, speaks aloud what it 'sees'. "Our idea was to raise awareness regarding the omnipresence of surveillance equipment, and the current state of technological advancement with artificial intelligence," Ross Goodwin said. "We wanted to create an entity with its own sense of social awareness, its own eyes, and an ability to communicate with humans, albeit with some glitchiness that underscores the limitations of the current technology."

Comment Pick your poison (Score 2) 508

1) Find old Salvation army computers and toss linux on them. This option is probably the cheapest but requires the most time sink from someone to set up.

2) Go for something like (if you can find cheap/free monitors/keyboards/mice). If you can overcome the expense of the monitors/keyboards/mice (find cheap supply or have them donated), this is probably the best time/cost option. The number of parts are really small, and the kits can probably be pre-assembled on a sunday with volunteer labor if you are afraid putting them together might be too much for the students.

3) Otherwise, as you noted, you're in Chromebook territory. Perhaps a fundraiser/sponsorship or some way of trying to subsidize them for the whole class might bring the cost per unit down into the more affordable range for your under-privaleged students (without single them out)?

Comment Re:Any possibility that sunscreen causes cancer? (Score 1) 210

This is incredibly confused. 103 was the *maximum recorded lifespan.* What matters is the *average lifespan.* It is true that if one takes into account improvements in infant mortality the jump in life expectancy hasn't been as large But even given that, life expectancy on average has gone up by about a decade in the US in the last 200 years even if one only works at people surviving past infancy.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 217

I don't mind if the download process is gated to user authentication, but I'm troubled at using online authentication for rights management for single player, offline games. will let me redownload my media over if I ever lose the file and doesn't force me to use some weirdo client wrapper/launcher/DRM thing just to make games go, but IMO the over-reliance PC gaming has placed on Steam is a serious miscalculation on the part of gamers and developers everywhere.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!