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Comment Re:There are better ways (Score 1) 559

when i landed in Charles de Gaulle airport, almost the entire staff was apparently on strike. there were a few people milling about doing odd jobs, but no one at debarkation. the French arrivals seemed jaded to it, and the rest of us just shuffled, somewhat confused, through a barren airport and wandered into France without so much as a glance.

When you fly into Marseille, at baggage claim you find a plaque on the wall next to a phone, which translates to "if you have anything to declare, please use this phone to dial extension xxx and request a customs agent". On that trip I returned through Houston, crowded, miserable holding pen with drug-sniffing dogs working the mass of humanity. So what does our paranoia actually get us in terms of a safe society?

Comment Re:There are better ways (Score 1) 559

Most Countries work much harder at keeping track of people in their Country.

Really? Try visiting the EU. Your passport will get checked once when you get off the plane. (And once when you get on, but that's really only to make sure that you'll be allowed entry into the US when you land back here.)

Comment Re:Hard to believe (Score 2) 172

H.264 and JPEG are supposed to output random-looking bytes, by definitions.

Bullshit. JPEG, *by its definition*, after the quantization step, uses a fairly modest & inefficient compression algorithm, because it was designed to be run on embedded systems with very modest processing power.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 5, Informative) 315

So when the economics make sense, investments follow, without the need for governments to step in and choose winners and losers. Who'd have guessed?

That's true. But it's ALSO true that government subsidies can accelerate the development of practical cost-effective technologies, by getting them scaled up earlier.

Comment Model Railroad Hobbyist (Free Online Magazine) (Score 1) 149

If you're not aware of it, check out the Model Railroad Hobbyist (MRH) website.

Just keep in mind that MRH and Model Railroader (MR) magazine are both advertiser-driver... which is a nice way of saying that their business models are to always be trying to convince you to buy the newest and greatest, instead of being happy with what you already have!

Comment Re:an amazing OS (Score 2) 284

Yes I (AC) remember it - it was a fantastic upgrade from W 3.11 for Workgroups: - the new UI/desktop made it much nicer than 3.11, the file manager was much better - the Recycle Bin made it much simpler to 'recover' accidentally deleted files, no more FAT16/32 undelete tools (anyone else remember Revive or was it Revival?) for most mistakes - the Plug'n'Play feature did work ok for well known extension cards, everyone I know found it way cool not to fiddle with deep technical settings just to get a sound blaster to work At the time it looked amazing and although slower (on my old 486DX2@50MHz) it showed a new way to use the computer - the future to the 2000s looked bright.

Although at the last Win 9x in the series - Windows ME - I switched to Linux full time (mostly for stability), I remember W95 fondly.

Comment Looked slick, but so unstable (Score 4, Interesting) 284

Do you remember first seeing or installing Windows 95?

I do.

95 was really slick looking. Its splash screens and on-screen fonts seemed beautiful, after years of having run DOS programs, earlier Windows (2.1 and 3.0) and Desqview.

I also remember that 95 was awful to use for work -- it would crash, hang, and/or start acting erratically, requiring reboots several times during each work day. I also remember having to manually save my work every few minutes, unless I was using a program that could be configured to autosave every few minutes. (I think we were still using WordPerfect in a DOS box back then and WP was one of the few programs that could actually autosave.)

95 was so unstable that, when you purchased a Microsoft language (C, Pascal, etc), Microsoft actually include a copy of NT 4.0 for free. (At my college bookstore, buying a Microsoft language with a NT 4.0 CD in the box actually cost less than buying just NT 4.0 by itself.)

Comment Re:How would they know the order? (Score 4, Insightful) 101

They'd have to be watching them physically to know the order. This is bullshit.

4 digits: 10,000 possible combinations. Know the 4? 24 possible orders, in the worst case with no repeated digits. You really don't think that's important, huh?

And that's assuming that the thermal imaging gives no clues about order, which I suspect is actually not true...

Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success. -- Christopher Lascl