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Comment: Re:Study evaluated sacharin vs glucose (Score 2) 245

by Miamicanes (#47936937) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Stevia might be "naturally occurring", but by the time you've processed it enough to transform it into a bulk ingredient with predictable & consistent taste & sweetness, it's practically an artificial sweetener itself.

There's no grand conspiracy against stevia. The fact is, people expect ${THIS} can of Diet Coke to taste EXACTLY like ${every_other} can of Diet Coke, with zero acceptable variation from batch to batch and can to can. That's a MUCH harder problem to solve on an industrial scale than "add a drop or two to your coffee until it tastes sweet enough". Coke & Pepsi actually do double-blind QA taste tests comparing every batch to at least one other batch, and consider a batch that can reliably be distinguished from the reference batch to be an official failure. They experimented with stevia when it first came out, and almost immediately concluded that no presently-available stevia-based sweetener was capable of giving them the kind of flawless consistency they insist upon.

Comment: Re:Study evaluated sacharin vs glucose (Score 3, Interesting) 245

by Miamicanes (#47936821) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Saccharin isnt used in diet drinks anymore for the most part

Actually, it IS... in the fountain varieties. AFAIK, there are at least three varieties of "fountain" Diet Coke... all-saccharin (popular with convenience stores and low-volume users who prefer it for its long, relatively temperature-indifferent shelf life), saccharin+aspartame blend (used by most fast food restaurants & 7-11 -- still has a reasonably long shelf life, but has to be kept cool to prevent the aspartame from prematurely breaking down) and all-aspartame (AFAIK, it's classified as a "specialty item" manufactured on demand only for the largest clients, including McDonald's and Burger King), which has a relatively short shelf life (~3-6 months).

In theory, most restaurants probably have enough product turnover to use the all-aspartame version... but Coca-Cola doesn't want the burden of having to actively engage in the kind of aggressive inventory management and rotation they'd have to do to make the all-aspartame more widely available. I believe it was actually McDonald's that approached Coca-Cola and convinced them to make it for them as a special product, then a few years later Burger King used it as a bargaining chip when negotiating their switch from Pepsi products to Coke products (basically telling Coca-Cola, "You're already making it for McDonald's... going forward, make enough extra for us whenever you make a batch for them.")

As far as I know, sucralose & ace-K aren't used by ANY Coke or Pepsi fountain drink. I believe the problem was that syrup is a low-margin cost-sensitive market segment, and restaurants wouldn't pay significantly more than current prices to get diet drinks made with sucralose & Ace-K.

Anyway, that's the real reason why "diet coke" from gas stations & nightclubs tastes like complete shit, and why Diet Coke from McDonald's and Burger King tastes better than fountain Diet Coke from just about everywhere else.

Comment: Re:This isn't scaremongering. (Score 4, Insightful) 486

by Miamicanes (#47929781) Attached to: Scotland's Independence Vote Could Shake Up Industry

We do have something similar, although it is called Texas.

Not quite. The treaty under which Texas-the-Lone-Star-Republic joined the USA gave it the right to secede at will... and it did.

After declaring independence, Texas proceeded to join the Confederate States of America, actively participated in warfare against the USA, and was conquered along with the rest of the CSA by Union troops & annexed by the USA as a vanquished military district.

Had Texas remained neutral & kept out of the war, it could have legitimately asked to rejoin the USA after (or during) the Civil war under freely-negotiated terms. As a conquered enemy land, Texas was in no position to negotiate anything.

Comment: Re:Then I guess you could say... (Score 3, Interesting) 215

by Miamicanes (#47914853) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

I've always wondered whether someone experiencing audio hallucinations they couldn't distinguish from real sounds could use software as a prosthetic. Say, write a program to continuously sample sound, display the past 5 minutes or so of waveform history on-screen, do realtime speech recognition, and annotate the waveform display with a transcript of what it thought it heard... so if they thought they heard something really disturbing, they could look at the display to see whether there was an organized waveform a few moments earlier, and listen to it again if they wanted to be sure..

If someone with schizophrenia did that, would it help? Or would it stimulate the development of new neural pathways & eventually make matters worse by inducing visual hallucinations on top of the auditory ones in an attempt to bring their physical perception of reality in line with their mental one?

Comment: Re:Simple change. What about round abouts (Score 1) 213

by Miamicanes (#47866271) Attached to: Surprising Result of NYC Bike Lanes: Faster Traffic for Cars

There's a bunch of roundabouts in the Fort Lauderdale area (Hollywood, in particular) that are basically 6-lane mini-freeways with a few random minor roads between the two main endpoints, but as a practical matter your chances of safely and successfully going ANYWHERE from one of those minor streets besides a right turn onto the main highway and continuing travel in the same direction is somewhere between "slim" and "none", because you'd have to cut left across 3 lanes of 45mph+ traffic with almost no breaks to avoid being forced to turn right.

Roundabouts are quaint, but if you really need to shovel cars in bulk through the intersection & can't grade-separate it, the next best options are 2-phase continuous-flow intersections (CFIs) or parallel-flow intersections (PFIs). They take too much room to build in older neighborhoods, but in areas where there's ALREADY a pair of 6-8 lane roads with 2 left turn lanes and channelized right-turn lane, the drawbacks of reconfiguring it as a CFI or PFI are basically "none".

Comment: Re: (pre-emptive to 'New-Age' gamers...) GOML! (Score 1) 167

Right? The 'oldies' really are the 'goodies' in gaming, as it turns out.

Well... let's not go overboard here. Even the most nostalgic X'er will admit that the 2600's graphics looked like total ass, even in 1980, and 98% of Atari 2600 games have almost zero enduring fun value. Seriously, play 'em for 5 minutes for the first time in 20 years, and the last minute before you hit reset will seem to LAST for 20 years.

Well, besides Circus Atari & Warlords (the original 4-player "party game"). It's kind of ironic that two of the 2600's least graphically-sophisticated games ended up among the small canon of unique 2600 games that are still kind of fun and have never really been improved upon on other platforms.

It's really a shame Colecovision's short-sighted licensing deals and messy bankruptcy left their games covered in the legal equivalent of toxic sludge that nobody will ever be able to scrub away cheaply enough to make a $24.95 embedded Colecovision-in-a-(joy)stick with the dozen or so most popular games ever viable.

Comment: Re:Switched double speed half capacity, realistic? (Score 1) 316

by Miamicanes (#47762517) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Would it be trivial to design a drive that can be switched into a double-speed half-capacity mode?

There's a word for it... "Velociraptor".

There's even a word for a drive that's "triple" speed... "Cheetah".

In any case, you wouldn't decrease the capacity on account of the faster rotational speed... you'd just use a faster DSP capable of doing its thing in less than half the time as a slower drive. From what I recall, the Cheetah's storage density per platter was basically the same as any other 2.5" drive.

SSDs obviously made the highest-performance spinning disks almost irrelevant, but personally, I used to think it would have been awesome if Seagate had taken the Cheetah platform, added two more independent sets of actuators and read/write heads, and wired it all up to look like 3 SCSI drives with sequential SCSI IDs so you could have single-drive RAID-5 performance in a luggable laptop (think: inch-thick Alienware/Sager/Clevo) or SFF desktop. Heat would be an issue... but really, a Cheetah didn't throw off any more heat than the mini-PCIe discrete video cards found in some gamer/mobile-workstation laptops now. In MY laptop, at least, the GPU's cooling system is bigger than the CPU's.

One thing I'd LOVE to see, and even think there's a market for, would be a single-platter drive suitable for mounting in the optical bay of mobile workstation laptops (say, 120mm diameter, 7mm or thinner). I rarely use optical discs, but having another 4tb or so that's always with me would be nice to have. Basically, it would be 7mm thick Quantum Bigfoot from the late 90s... and Jesus, with that much diameter per platter, just imagine how many terabytes you could pack into a multi-platter drive that fully-consumed a 5.25" quarter-height drive bay. It's almost scary to think about something like a 256-tb 5.25" single-bay hard drive.

I'm also kind of surprised that nobody ever made a thin-but-3.5" drive for laptops (which would obviously need a larger drive bay... but modern laptops, even thin ones, have SHOCKING amounts of horizontal acreage under the keyboard that could easily be put to good use for bigger cheap drives).

Comment: Re:I quit buying Samsung (Score 1) 220

Motorola didn't take "too long" to roll out the "latest version of Android" for the Photon and Atrix2... Motorola promised POINT BLANK circa October 2011 that the Photon and Atrix2 would both get ICS eventually. Then ~8 months later, said, "Ok, we lied. But we'll give you $50 off the purchase of another Motorola phone."

I, for one, can't WAIT for the class-action lawsuit. Motorola's decision to cancel ICS for the Photon sucked, but the way they recklessly locked the bootloader to try and make sure nobody ELSE could do it EITHER was despicable.

Comment: Re:I quit buying Samsung (Score 1) 220

Actually, Motorola does a good job with pushing out updates (at least with Moto X, G, E).

Maybe... but they actively & intentionally FUCKED everyone unfortunate enough to buy one of their phones before then. As if it wasn't bad enough that they decided to break their promise (advertised, in writing) to eventually ship ICS for the Photon & Atrix2, they ALSO rolled out a trojan update (2.3.4) whose sole purpose was to permalock the bootloader and make sure end users couldn't upgrade the Photon/Atrix2 to ICS on their own, either.

It's widely believed among former Photon/Atrix2 owners that Moto deployed the new permalocking-bootloader with protections to prevent future updates, then discovered (too late) that the new bootloader had a bug that rendered it unable to safely repartition the flash to accommodate the larger /system partition needed by ICS.

I really hope there's an extra-toasty spot in hell where Motorola's execs can burn forever as punishment for what they did to us.

#motofail #neveragain

Comment: Re:Cell phones are insecure. (Score 1) 46

by Miamicanes (#47643097) Attached to: Silent Circle's Blackphone Exploited at Def Con

no reason that an end-to-end secure cellphone network cannot exist.

The problem is, you will never, EVER control every single bit & atom along the signal path between your vocal cords and the recipient's ear. Without PKI, you're vulnerable to MITM. With PKI, you're vulnerable to compromise of the PKI infrastructure itself. Or compromise to the layer that enforces PKI's use. The best you can ever really hope for is to eliminate enough failure points to at least NOTICE the possibility that your communication might be getting intercepted or compromised.

Is absolute security between two people possible? Maybe... IF

* they know in advance that they're going to communicate with each other

* they have a way to securely exchange devices in a way that's not vulnerable to tampering during shipment or after receipt.

* they can implicitly trust everyone who had a role in the software running on the device

* they'd rather be left unable to communicate than communicate with the slightest risk of unauthorized disclosure.

The last one is the biggie. 99.999% of all security exploits exist because someone figured out how to use the emergency backdoor left in the code to deal with unforeseen future emergencies that might otherwise brick millions of dollars worth of hardware. Think of a building... you can armor-plate the windows, and weld all the doors shut except for one that's protected by an army of soldiers... then have 95% of the building's occupants die in a fire because they couldn't get out due to all the escape routes being closed off. OR... you can design escape routes to maximize survivability, then have someone gain access to the building by triggering a false alarm & sneaking in through the escape routes while everyone else is trying to get out. The more you harden something to eliminate vulnerabilities, the more vulnerable you leave yourself to future device and data loss.

Comment: Odroid U3 + separate access point (Score 1) 427

by Miamicanes (#47639897) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

I hate to say it because it feels like partial defeat, but your best bet probably consists of two devices... something like an Odroid U3 acting as your router/application gateway/personal server/whatever, and a separate access point for wifi.

Why the separate access point? Thanks to closed drivers and general lack of proper documentation, it's damn near IMPOSSIBLE to get best-of-breed wifi performance out of ANY open firmware. Go read the forums for any open firmware... broken 5GHz, no support for beamforming, and random weirdness that nobody can properly fix because everything they do is a stab in the dark. So, the next best thing is to hold your nose, isolate out that specific functionality into a separate device, and concentrate on the one part of the equation you CAN control... the router/server/whatever itself.

Why Odroid U3, and not a Raspberry Pi? Much better hardware, and almost meaningless difference in price (once you factor in shipping, case, and everything else you're going to have to buy to make it work). Go ahead and use your Pi if you already have one gathering dust in a drawer somewhere, but IMHO, if you're buying everything new for this, the $25 or so extra is money well spent on better, more-capable hardware.

Comment: Re:They deserve it (Score 1) 286

The problem isn't 1280x720@60fps video... the problem is that 1080i60 source gets butchered by the cheap & nasty way those TVs hacked up the signal to make it displayable on the smaller screen.

Go ahead. Try this experiment. Create a complex animation with lots of motion, reflection, and detail using Blender (or find the source file to one that somebody else has already done), then render it as both 720p60 and 1080i60, and encode both to MPEG-2 with a max bitrate of 19.2mbps. Then view the videos on a LCD TV.

I *guarantee* you'll like the 720p60 version better.

There's a reason why a CRT capable of handling 1080i60 needed ~33.5MHz of video bandwidth, but a CRT capable of handling 720p60 needed 45MHz of video bandwidth. You can't fool mother nature. 720p60 converted to 1080i60 is disappointing, but 1080i60 converted to 720p60 almost always looks like shit.

Comment: Re:They deserve it (Score 3, Informative) 286

720p60 is absolutely true HD... but for various real-world technical reasons, natively-interlaced 1080i60 source that gets transcoded to faux 720p60 is NOT equal to native 720p60.

True 720p60 is a beautiful thing. It's sad to see how many people have forgotten what smooth, lifelike video is supposed to look like, because almost everything on TV now is stuttering 30fps (look at turn signals & railroad crossing lights for the most graphic example of why that's bad).

99 times out of 100, a nominally 1920x1080 60 field/second video is going to REALLY be 1440x1080. To convert it to 720p60, it's treated like 60fps 1440x540, then resampled to reduce the horizontal resolution to 1280, and interpolate the vertical resolution up to 720.

Comment: Re:consolidate the legacy cell phone networks (Score 3, Interesting) 28

I'm sorry, but that's just stupid. If T-Mobile abolished 3G and 4G, they'd literally lose most of their customers almost OVERNIGHT.

It would be equally stupid for Sprint. For one thing, 3G GSM (UMTS/HSPA) is basically CDMA2000-1xRTT with wider channels and some minor refinement tweaks. In fact, with a little software effort, you could even overlay CDMA voice/1xRTT users on top of the same channel used for HSPA in a fringe-rural area (or interior femtocell). 4 CDMA2000/IS95 users, equally spread between 4 channels overlapping a single HSPA uplink or downlink channel, would just look like a second user of the same mode to the other phone simultaneously using the same frequency.

Legacy GSM is kind of brutish with its demands, and EVDO is bitchy in its own way, but 3G GSM and CDMA voice/1xRTT data are "kissing cousins".

If they were ever forced to make an absurd decision between legacy GSM and HSPA, T-Mobile would be better off abolishing legacy GSM, because they'd lose far fewer customers.

By the same token, god forbid, if the FCC approves a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, the best thing Sprint could do is quickly release radio-modem upgrades for higher-end Android phones and iPhones to allow Sprint phones to be Canada-like and use CDMA (from Sprint towers) for voice, but HSPA (from T-Mobile towers) for data when LTE isn't available. AFAIK, every high-end Sprint Android phone since the Galaxy S2 and Motorola Photon has been capable of HSPA. If you really want to split hairs, even the now-ancient original HTC Evo had latent HSPA capabilities (but no SIM card, though I think some guys in India eventually found a way to hand-solder a USIM meant for embedded use into it... score one for the good guys subverting carrier-enforced arbitrary obsolescence...)

Frankly, Sprint doesn't need MORE spectrum so much as it needs BETTER spectrum. Sprint already has more licensed RF spectrum than it fucking knows what to do with. It's just that 100% of it is 1900Mhz or above. Sprint could solve 100% of its coverage problems by throwing more towers at it. And even with more towers, what Sprint REALLY needs is more fiber backhaul. T-Mobile isn't sitting on ABUNDANT spectrum, but with the new spectrum they got from AT&T, they have enough to solve their own problems with more tower sites, too. See, that's the nice thing about CDMA (and HSPA) -- you can solve just about ANY capacity problem by simply throwing more fiber-connected towers at it. It's the killer feature of CDMA-based technologies.

In a rational & sane world, companies like Comcast & U-verse would start building agile picocells into their cable & VDSL2 modems, allocating a few mbps of bandwidth (independently of what's available to customers) to them, and allowing AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile users to roam on them at some cost low enough to be a better deal for cell carriers than deploying more towers (obviously, the carriers would have to delegate a small chunk of spectrum to them, too). If every cable & (V)DSL(2) modem was ALSO a mini cell tower with a few hundred feet of range, even fringe-suburbia would become blanketed coverage zones within a few months. And the reduced penetration of 1700, 1900, and 2100MHz would become an advantage rather than a drawback.

Comment: Re:Strength (Score 1) 62

by Miamicanes (#47567965) Attached to: 3-D Printing Comes To Amazon

Something like a phone case needs to be tough enough to resist abrasion or it will shred in contact with hard objects

Depends. If the case's destruction allowed it to dissipate enough instantaneous kinetic energy to save your phone's display from an expensive repair job, the loss of that 99c case might not necessarily be a bad thing. I've seen drops bad enough to crack the hard inner shell of an Otterbox Defender. Like the time my brother put his phone down on the roof of his car, then forgot about it before driving away. It hit the ground at a *minimum* of 20mph. The case was destroyed, but the phone inside was unscathed.

Asynchronous inputs are at the root of our race problems. -- D. Winker and F. Prosser