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Comment: Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (Score 1) 196

Interesting.

Given MAD, it's hard to imagine another WWII-type scenario (though it would be a bad day if China invaded Taiwan). But I could foresee something like Afghanistan spreading to the entire Middle East, where they couldn't nuke us (at least, not more than a couple of times, not like Cold War-style "nuclear winter" barrages), and we'd be strongly pressured not to nuke them. But the theater would be so wide that we'd need vast, vast number of ground troops.

Comment: Re:Google already has the technology to fix this (Score 1) 128

by ncc74656 (#47432321) Attached to: How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

google broke into internet search with the page rank algorithm whose essential purpose is to combat "search engine optimization."

Yeah. They destroy legitimate businesses with their wonderful algorithms...

SEO isn't a legitimate business. If your website is getting pushed into the search-result basement, odds are you're doing it wrong.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 438

Yeah, the Lenovo T420s has an array of mics up top around the webcam, and in theory they can be used to filter out noise from typing and be tuned to pick up the voice of the talker and not the speakers. But I went through all that calibration and it still sucks... it does filter out a lot of the keyboard noise but it also attacks the voice as well. Maybe someday Lenovo/Conexant will release better, more tunable drivers, but I haven't seen anything positive on any of the Lenovo support message boards yet.

In Lenovo's defense, I bought a z710 for my wife, and it appears to work great with Skype and stuff out of the box (though I've never sampled the audio quality on the far end of the call). It's a nice little desktop replacement box, at the time probably the cheapest laptop I could find with a 1920x1080 LCD and a half-decent NVidia GPU. Of course, it still has an Intel 4000 integrated GPU as well for "hybrid power savings"... you can't disable the iGPU, and the thing would BSOD with any 3D applications using the Nvidia GPU until I installed the right combination of driver updates relatively recently.

Comment: What about the ads (Score 5, Interesting) 115

As I understand it, if they get classified as a cable company Aero will be legally allowed to put their own ads into the stream, overwriting the ads the original broadcaster put in there or maybe removing them entirely if they still want to be an entirely subscription driven service. They could really seriously piss off some OTA broadcasters with this approach.

Comment: Re:And good luck asking for APAP-free medicine! (Score 4, Informative) 131

by ncc74656 (#47431201) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

I think most doctors believe its beneficial but I also think they somehow see acetaminophen opiate formulations as some kind of bulwark against abuse. Either because they believe it is so much more effective paired with acetaminophen and you'll be inclined to take less overall or that people "know" acetaminophen is bad in quantity and it will serve as a deterrent to excessive dosage, especially people with a history of drug abuse.

Also, the DEA watches doctors who prescribe opiates very carefully. If some government goon believes a doctor's handing them out like candy, the doctor's most likely going to be called in for some very uncomfortable questions. See chapter two of Three Felonies a Day for some examples.

The way scripts for opiates are handled is also quite different. My wife's oncologist was able to submit the vast majority of prescriptions to her preferred pharmacy electronically; they would be ready for pick-up a short time after. The one time she was prescribed straight oxycodone (or whatever opiate), it was printed on security paper to thwart attempts at altering or copying. It was signed, and some sort of DEA ID number issued to the doc was printed in the header. I had to deliver the prescription to a pharmacy. Her usual pharmacy didn't have it in stock, so I had to find another that did. Once it was filled, I had to sign for it in a logbook (similar to when you buy products containing pseudoephedrine).

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 438

Not exactly. Yes you do have nutcase audiophiles that must use virgin gold connectors with natural rubber insulation made by Buddhist nuns under a full moon.
But there is a big difference between a good set of speakers and the $5 speakers you get with your new PC.
When I plug my headphones in on my workstation I get a hiss I can hear when no sound is playing and the sound is just not that good. It does not need to by since I am usually just listening to NPR shows.

Comment: Re:Tannenbaum's predictions... (Score 1) 127

by LWATCDR (#47428761) Attached to: Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

Mobile, Routers, NAS, and now servers. ARM is getting very big very quickly.
In computers Attacks come from the bottom up. PC where a joke and could not hold a candle to a real computer like a PDP-11! Forget about mainframes like the 370!
It was not HURD at the time but GNU Unix that was going to be the next big thing.
It wasn't but hey no one is perfect.

Comment: Re:Technically, it's not a "draft notice" (Score 1) 196

The closest we get to that is the airport, where rights have been considerably and visibly curtailed (as opposed to the comparatively invisible loss of rights due to government intrusion in electronic communications). People seem to have accepted that more or less gracefully: they bitch, but it's not seen as a massive imposition on most people's daily lives.

I don't know if we'd ever get to the point of rationing food. Even if we declared a full-scale war, technology means we grow a lot of surplus food in this country. Prices might rise, but I don't think we'd ever see "grow victory gardens" posters as we did in the last unlimited war.

Oil, however, would skyrocket, and technology might be severely curtailed. It would be interesting to see how people reacted to that. It's hard to say whether that would be a bigger factor than outrage at a draft of manpower. In Korea and Vietnam, a lot of the public seemed to take the draft with equanimity since it came without the kind of rationing we saw during World War II.

Comment: Re:Yes (Score 1) 438

Onboard sound sucks.

My work laptop (Lenovo T420s) is useless for microphone audio (some Conexant chip). The company keeps wanting us to use Skype and Lync and SoftVTC to do meetings, but all the people who try to use the onboard audio are inaudible (because the built-in noise cancellation keeps ducking their voice), or if they manage to dig 5 dialogs deep to disable the noise cancellation (with an option that gets reset every reboot), they have lots of system noise over their voices (even if they're using an external mic. ). So everyone dials in via phone for group VTCs and mutes their PCs.

I have an expensive Jabra headset with a USB dongle. That gives me pretty clean audio. Should be able to use bluetooth too, but that takes more driver updates and even then it's still a pain.

My gaming PC has somewhat nicer onboard audio, but even with a S/PDIF link to my Logitech Z-560 speakers, I still get a hiss whenever the OS turns on and "opens" the audio device. Would be nice to be able to input digital audio somehow for Skype, but I ended up just plugging in a cheap USB webcam with a digital mic instead.

Still, it's kinda sad that any cheap mobile phone has a better microphone with AEC (for speakerphone use) and NC than you can get on most computers.

Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 438

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards. http://audio.rightmark.org/tes...

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.

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