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Comment: Re:Hilarious! (Score 1) 194

by tlhIngan (#49799791) Attached to: Chinese Nationals Accused of Taking SATs For Others

The SAT is one of the most useless measures of knowledge or capability the world has ever seen. Standardized tests don't work, they've never worked and we know they don't tell us about a persons true intelligence. So if China wants to take a SAT for me, go ahead.

The SATs aren't for measuring intelligence. They're for measuring approximate education on a standard scale. That's their entire purpose - because if you're trying to compare two people who are from two different schools, how can you tell if candidate A's grade of a B+ makes him a better or worse student than candidate B's grade of a A in the same class? Assuming the same curriculum, that is. Is B better than A? Is there grade inflation going on (extremely common)?

In Canada, provinces have provincial exams - which basically test students on the curriculum material. All students take them to get their final mark for the course. There have been many cases where a student may score A/A+ on the course, and only a C on the provincial exam. A few cases have happened where they maybe score a C in class, but A-/B+ on the exams because the teacher grilled them hard, marked them hard and probably churned out better students.

Comment: Re:I Figured It Would Be 1 Drone Following You?! (Score 1) 33

by tlhIngan (#49799633) Attached to: GoPro's Next Adventure: Virtual Reality and Drones

Accessories. Ecosystem. First mover advantage.

Yes, they are cheap pieces of crap. But they caught on. Now even bicycle helmets have mount points for them.

And they're cheap. So much so that many TV shows that are reality-based often have a "GoPro budget" because they know they're doing to destroy a dozen or more of those cameras in the course of filming the series.

One wonders if they buy retail boxed GoPros or they just say they're from Discovery channel and just get a pallet of them shipped sans boxes, accessories (other than batteries and the case) etc.

Comment: Re:useless without updates (Score 1) 82

Assuming that's true, it shouldn't be. Manufacturers shouldn't do proprietary customizations. Why they even want to do this and incur the expense is beyond me.

It's called differentiation. Manufacturers want to make their phones unique, distinct and more desirable on the shelves. So if you're deciding between two phones with otherwise identical specs (same processor, RAM, flash), you'd look to their customizations as the differentiating factor. Because there's only so much a manufacturer can do - processor choices are limited, RAM choices are limited, flash choices a limited, and there's only so much you can charge for it.

So rather than a manufacturer having to compete against a dozen otherwise identical phones and the consumer pretty much randomly choosing one of them, they hope to make theirs custom so the user will choose theirs over everyone else because it works the way the user does. Hopefully.

Comment: Re:Type C or mini B (Score 1) 97

by tlhIngan (#49794005) Attached to: Android M To Embrace USB Type-C and MIDI

As long as manufacturers do not start making Apple of themselves by having their own proprietary port, that's fine.

Rumor has it that the reason we have USB C is because of Apple. Basically Apple got fed up of the USB guys for having rather annoying connectors (especially ones that only go in one way - a royal PITA for mobile devices).

So rather than having yet another designed-by-committee connector, Apple basically gave it to the USB IF for free, with knowledge that it contains all the things Apple likes - like the ability to have A/V data sent through the connector, it fixes the nasty problem of well, having it only go one way, and it's symmetrical on both sides.

Probably Apple looked at what they did for USB 3.0 and decided it was fairly stupid, since now a USB 3.0 cable won't fit in anything other than USB 3 ports.

Comment: Re:Important Question: WHICH DC? (Score 2) 537

by tlhIngan (#49792279) Attached to: How Tesla Batteries Will Force Home Wiring To Go Low Voltage

Call me when you figure out how to run a house air conditioner or full sized refrigerator off of 5v@1A

Therein lies the problem with LVDC in the home. There's a reason why we use high voltage to transmit power - either HVAC or HVDC. You lose a crapload of power at low voltages because losses increase with the square of the current. So double the voltage, halve the current, quarter the losses! (It's called IIR losses). Lower currents also mean your wires can be thinner (though your insulation needs to be thicker - not a problem for transmission lines which are uninsulated).

Running 5V through a house just to power devices may mean easily having to supply 50-60A of current (that's only 300W!), which makes for wildly thick cables. So unless you want to have 6V close to the supply and 4V at the far end of the house...

Hell, take a server that consumes 360W, that's 30A at 12V. If we have a rack of 18, that's 540A. People weld stuff using 100A or so. even a 0.01 ohm junction at 540A is dissipating nearly 3kW! If you do it well and get it down to 0.001 ohm (1 milliohm), that's still 300W in heat generated at the junction (which could be a connector, say).

It's why the battery packs of electric cars run at 400V or higher.

Comment: Re:Android to iDevice (Score 1) 341

by tlhIngan (#49792157) Attached to: The Tricky Road Ahead For Android Gets Even Trickier

Most people I talk to about their iPhones gush about how great it is and I see hardware that is behind "state of the art" for other things. Very few iPhone owners have I been able to have a real conversation with about the merits of restricted hardware platforms vs the innovation nightmare of an open "wild west" hardware environment.

In other words, iPhone users care about the experience of using a phone while Android users care about openness, specs and other things.

That's really what it boils down to - and Apple is going after people who just want a phone. It doesn't matter how many gigglehurtz it has, or superbytes, or wigglypixels. They want a phone. Sure it does things better than their old one, but in the end, teraquads and such don't matter.

Android though is all about the quad/octo/hexa/million cores and terabytes and all that. A bunch of gobbledegook people some people care about (we usually call them "measurebaters" because my device (and likewise ego in some instances) is depending on the numbers being bigger or better than yours. (And you've never see it until you see these tiny Asian women carrying huge phones they can barely grasp with two hands - it's that big).

Don't get me wrong, both are valid ways of selling a product - Apple concentrates on user experience, Android concentrates on openness, freedom, or more typically, specs. Though in Asia you generally have an advantage on Android since running pirated apps is the rule of thumb.

Comment: Re:Consumption's up (Score 1) 127

by tlhIngan (#49792011) Attached to: High Court Orders UK ISPs To Block EBook Sites

so I wonder how much damage this "rise in piracy" is actually doing.

None. Piracy increases income.

I say the answer is actually more nuanced than that.

If you're a popular author, perhaps writing some rather popular erotic fiction, or vampires, or something, piracy probably has a measurable impact on the bottom line. But measurable in the sense that well, so instead of making $1,050,000, you only made $1M. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it's a tiny amount of money.,

For indie authors, piracy does have great positive benefits because the problem with anything indie is well, 99% of it is crap. Doesn't matter what it is - a book, a videogame, music, movies, apps, etc., The vast majority of it is utter crap. The goal is to somehow rise above the noise - which requires either spending money to market yourself, or trying to get your word out there that you exist (usually a more common problem - people can't find you if they don't know about you).

So piracy greatly helps in this case because it helps you rise above the noise that's drowning you out otherwise.

(And yes, 99% is crap. The good thing is, you don't hear about it because no one generally spreads crap so it just dies a silent death).

Comment: Re:This is exactly what belongs in cars (Score 1) 75

These are the equivalent of cars with built-in iPod docks, not aux jacks. Both of these standards are incompatible with each other, brand new, and controlled by companies that change/drop their old "standards" at the drop of a hat. In five to ten years, these systems will be just as obsolete as the cars with slots to fit a first-gen iPod, 30-pin connectors, and firewire level power output.

Cars provided USB power only recently, say 10 years ago.

Apple introduced the 30 pin dock connector 12 years ago, in 2003, which supported USB charging AND Firewire charging. The iPod was only 2 years old at this point. Incidentally, the 3rd gen iPod is the first million unit iPod model shipped, so the Firewire iPods were a curiosity (the 3rd Gen iPod was also the first to support Windows directly).

The 30 pin connector lasted 11 years. In the same time, USB changed from B ports to mini B ports to the current micro B ports. Since few cars used specific iPod cables (most were USB to iPod), the situation is just the same as USB plugs changing.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay also connect to your phone using USB - the same standard USB plug. So when Android phones move to USB C, and Apple still uses Lightning (oh - USB C's coming, time to buy new sets of cables over the next couple of years), it will still all work. Will Apple support USB C? Maybe - Apple gave the USB-IF guys the design for USB C gratis in an effort to make the USB plug more useful for everyone (because it was obvious they were just going to stick with micro USB rather than try to incorporate any useful consumer-friendly things like the ability to not worry which end you plug in which way).

The bigger worry in the end is there aren't many platforms that last over 10 years - PalmOS started in the mid 90s and was wiped out in the mid 2000's, Windows Mobile started late 90s and was wiped out in the mid 2000's. Symbian started in the 80s as EPOC and probably lasted the longest, but again, dead. Ditto say, Blackberry. There's a good possibility that say, 2020 would bring about a new platform or innovation that renders iOS and Android both obsolete.

Comment: Re:Websites are slowly catching on (Score 2) 310

by tlhIngan (#49785565) Attached to: Adblock Plus Victorious Again In Court

I also see those messages, but I don't use any ad blocking software. Java is disabled, plug-ins are disabled, javascript is enabled and cookies are limited to the same domain. Whoever wrote those "ad blocking detection" functions is an idiot.

it's most likely using the JavaScript detection - if you don't run the ad javascript, then you're most likely blocking it (are there any modern browsers that don't support javascript?).

Of course, it's a basic check - there are more advanced checks that could be done. But right now, few enough people do extensive ad blocking to matter.

Eventually you'll probably see things alone the lines of "use an adblocker and it's paywalled" scheme - so if you have an adblocker, you have to pay to view the content, or you can view the ads and get it for free.

The real concern though is that these websites use some sort of common paywall system, which may not have the best privacy protections and is vulnerable to hacking.

Comment: Re:100 degree plus temp and dryness (Score 2) 154

by tlhIngan (#49783111) Attached to: Heat Wave Kills More Than 1,100 In India

Or if people are outdoors, they actually try to drink enough cool water to survive.

  One thing that the Israeli army has right is they require their soldiers to take regular water breaks if conditions are safe to do so, and they enforce that enough water is drunk each break. It's amazing how high the temps can be and still be survivable if one isn't dehydrated.

That's fine for Israel, a modern developed country with good infrastructure, and relatively civilized people who don't try to treat everyone as slaves.

Indie is far less developed, and access to water itself is scarce. Even electricity is scarce - if you have it, you only have it for a few hours a day, especially if you're not in the city. (And during the worst heat, even that's not guaranteed).

Couple that with bosses who don't care and consider breaks to be the sign of a lazy workforce...

Comment: Re:I am amazed (Score 1) 242

by tlhIngan (#49783023) Attached to: A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot

No testing provides 100% coverage, especially for the number of combinations of possible Unicode characters in a 160-character/byte message. Only a complete moron would blame this bug on lack of testing.

Let's not forget that Unicode is a standard that's constantly evolving - new glyphs are constantly added (there's already a new proposed set for Unicode 9 including glyphs for "selfie", "avocado" and others)

People keep arguing that /. doesn't support Unicode, when it really does - it just uses a narrow whitelist of characters. The reason for this is obvious if you think about it - to prevent situations like this from happening.

Heck, there might be strings out there that will crash any Unicode library implementation, just we haven't found them yet because the search space is huge.

Comment: Re:Already has (Score 1) 157

by tlhIngan (#49782849) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Will Technology Disrupt the Song?

The "sound" of a badly encoded MP3 is already influencing the way people sing - it's almost as if they think those artefacts and unwanted harmonics are something that makes a voice a good singing voice, because that's what they hear when someone holds a long or high note. Bloody hateful.

The other scary thing is, if you played back the MP3 and the original lossless source material, you'll find the new crowd prefers the lossy encoded one.

I'm not saying using LAME on 256+VBR, but crappy encoded 128kbps stuff where there are audible differences.

Listening to poorly encoded music in poor listening environments has changed the preferences of the music. Even the recording engineers now have to optimize their music for the lossy encodes with reduced dynamic range and pre-echo distortion.

There's still a few who go by the "if it's clean going in, it'll be the cleanest it can be coming out", while others are realizing that they need to adjust their mixers to sound better.

Comment: Re:Alternate story title (Score 1) 441

by tlhIngan (#49782777) Attached to: Creationists Manipulating Search Results

Bing returns the same results so unless both knowledge graphs are operating the same I would imagine it's a much simpler explanation: both sites rely on "answer" websites for answers. If you ask any question most often the results are Yahoo.Answers, and wikihow. My guess would be that "Answers in Genesis" overloads their weighting for "answers" URLs associated with "Questions" on this topic.

If they actually overloaded the Knowledge Graph it would appear in a special box at the top of the results. In this instance it's still just a link. If you search "Circumference of the earth" you'll get a knowledge graph result with an "official answer".

FTFA, it was in a special box - there's a screenshot of the result right there.

It wasn't just a set of links, it was an actual knowledge box with the answer being found in Genesis.

Links, fine, that's just a SEO thing. But this was being presented as facts - Google returning it as definitive "truth" and answer, and appearing before the actual search results.

Comment: Re:How to promote without really promoting (Score 1) 147

by tlhIngan (#49775295) Attached to: Apple Design Guru Jony Ive Named Chief Design Officer

He might have been a disaster as a manager. Now they want to replace him.

I doubt it. As a VP, he's not really having a direct hand in managing his subordinates, more like general guidelines who his direct reports then interpret and control. And in his new title, I doubt he even has many direct reports at all.

If anything, it's likely in his new position he's given more creative freedom to test out and experiment without having traditional business issues get in the way. He's free to travel, seek input, explore and examine materials.

Maybe he was a terrible manager, so they moved him in a spot where he doesn't have to manage people and is more free to do as his creative wishes desire. He's a designer after all, so he does need space in order to be creative.

Comment: Re:E-mail client? (Score 1) 84

by tlhIngan (#49775171) Attached to: Attackers Use Email Spam To Infect Point-of-Sale Terminals

So, WTF is an e-mail client doing on a POS terminal in the first place? It doesn't need one, it shouldn't have one. Ditto a Web browser. You don't have to worry about vulnerabilities in software that isn't present on the machine in the first place. There are of course other things to be looked at, but those are a good starting point.

In a small business of 1-4 people, the POS system is usually the only computer on the premises. POS systems are cheap and readily available and help businesses out, at least with stuff like inventory management. (This is especially tricky with stores where there's a breadth of products, but not much depth).

And being the only computer, it's often used for online commerce - the store may have a simple Shopify style website that sells products, and thus have email and everything. Do it right and the two can often work together, so online sales draws down from the inventory database.

And no, these companies are way too small to have a proper client-server POS solution, and often don't have the space for more than one computer, period.

Though, usually they're also too small to have an integrated POS solution - a manual terminal to process card payments is usually the standard rather than even working with the POS system...

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