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Comment: Re:Study evaluated sacharin vs glucose (Score 1) 288

by Miamicanes (#47952237) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

No. The testing is real and rigorous... at the point in the manufacturing process where the syrup itself is manufactured by Coca-Cola or PepsiCo -- the last stage where they're in a position to enforce total quality control. It's almost pointless to enforce quality and consistency standards at the bottling plant if the syrup itself is variable in quality or consistency from batch to batch.

My point is that there's a HUGE gulf between the amount of processing required to get stevia from harvested leaf to the point where someone could use it in an adhoc manner to sweeten their coffee (with large tolerance for day-to-day variability), and getting it to the point where it behaves as consistently and predictably in bulk manufacturing processes as aspartame, sucralose, or ace-K, and consumers can expect every can to taste exactly like the last.

Comment: Re:Don't use a google account with Android. (Score 1) 125

by Miamicanes (#47945629) Attached to: Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

ARM TrustZone can do it quite effectively... which brings about the opposite problem. The key isn't under the user's direct control, and can't be recovered by the user. The same evil can be used to encrypt proprietary binaries so they can't be pulled off and used with AOSP-derived ROMs. It doesn't matter how nominally-open the operating system is if the hardware it's running on is a black box without public documentation or drivers.

Robust encryption whose key is under YOUR direct control (as the device's owner and end user) is a very good thing. Robust encryption that uses keys known only to the device itself is just another insidious form of DRM aiming to lock down and control the entire user experience.

It's shit like this that's forcing me to leave AT&T and go to T-Mobile so I can have a rootable Galaxy Note 4 with unlocked bootloader. Yeah, in theory, I could buy the T-mo variant and use it on AT&T... but AT&T's new pricing structure unsurprisingly manages to be at least $10/month more than I'm spending now... and that's WITH their alleged BYOD discount. And on the slight chance they allowed me to insure a T-mobile Galaxy Note 4, I'd be completely fucked if I had to use that insurance, because they'd almost certainly replace it with a bootloader-locked AT&T version that's the entire reason for hating them in the first place.

Comment: Re:Study evaluated sacharin vs glucose (Score 1) 288

by Miamicanes (#47944993) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance

Individual bottlers might do their own thing (Pepsi's south Florida bottler for Diet Mtn Dew in 2-liter bottles specifically seems to have some MAJOR quality control problems... at least half the bottles I've bought over the past couple of years have been AWFUL), but Coke & Pepsi THEMSELVES are INCREDIBLY anal-retentive about making sure that the syrup itself has absolutely predictable and consistent taste before it leaves the factory.

Comment: Re:Study evaluated sacharin vs glucose (Score 2) 288

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) 288

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) 489

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) 221

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.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT