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Comment: Re:The idea was a good one, the execution poor (Score 1) 180

by tlhIngan (#49165537) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Honestly, I'm still baffled so many people were upset about getting a few album from a popular, well respected, rock band, simply because it found its way directly onto people's devices. It's not as if it woke you up at 3am and started playing it!

Well, you're looking at several phenomenon combined into one.

First, it's Apple. Apple is newsworthy. If you need ad clicks, mention Apple. Did I mention Apple generates traffic? It's at the point where I'm sure we'll see headlines like "Apple CEO Tim Cook Scratches Butt During Keynote" soon enough.

Second, law of big numbers. Let's say only 0.1% of people hate U2 to complain. Out of half a billion iTunes users, that's half a million people. It doesn't take much to think one of those people has a blog that's worth anything. And combined with the first, well, boom, all over the news.

Third, well, people only really complain when they have a complaint. If 99.9% of the people liked free music, they probably won't all post "cool, free stuff!" online. No, those people who have an issue with it "oh noes, free stuff, don't want!" will post all sorts of messages about it. Combine it with the first and second, and it explodes.

Hell, I'd expect if an error in a factory production line caused a fingerprint to be left on the screen it would be a massive national disaster. Even though one could easily just wipe the offending fingerprint off.

Comment: Re:Nice resolution (Score 1) 88

by tlhIngan (#49165365) Attached to: Valve and HTC Reveal "Vive" SteamVR Headset

But remembering interviews with Occulus developers there is more to VR than a good resolution and tracking. Things like ridiculous low latency needed to prevent motion sickness and screen artifacts caused by rapid panning. Has Valve solved these things in record time in secret or will this be a better specs on paper but worse in practice product ?

Or you're looking at the fact that VR is being super hyped up, and it's only a matter of time before some company comes up with a consumer product on the market. I mean, Occulus has been around for how many years now releasing devkits but no consumer hardware.

So it's leaving a huge gap in the market - which two scenarios are going to play out. Either VR is going to fizzle out because the public is so tired of seeing Occulus this, Occulus that and nothing is available to actually buy (other than what Samsung releases) that they get tired of the hype and it dies as vaporware. Or someone sees that they can make a quick buck and releases crap, and the public buys into it because Occulus has been hyping it up as the next big thing, but someone else releases a product to get first-mover advantage and satisfy pent up demand. Doesn't matter if it's crap or it makes people sick, people will see it as a Occulus competitor and assume that it'll be representative of the state of VR.

And if it makes people sick, guess what? People will think Occulus isn't all that based on what people experienced with what they could buy.

Remember, the public is going to latch onto what they can get first

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 219

by tlhIngan (#49165213) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

It's really interesting how quality feel and real quality mismatch. Bendy plastic absorbs drops way better then solid stainless steel. Steel mostly transfers the energy to the screen, which cracks. Or it deforms permanently. Properly designed plastic pops off and can then be popped back.

And that's the thing. Plastic is cheap - it's why the vast majority of cheap crap is made from plastic. Nice stuff is made from metal, which isn't as easy to work with (you can't really injection-mold metal very well - you could with liquidmetal but that's Apple-exclusive), so building out of metal already costs a lot more to build. When you're spending $600, you sort of want to feel like you're getting your money's worth.

Going from metal to plastic is considered the #1 cost cutting measure in industry - consumers generally view going from metal to plastic as a move that cheapens stuff because plastic is tackier.

Building a good device out of plastic is quite hard - you need to pick the right surface finishes otherwise your plastic can lead to interesting long term issues. You need to assemble it correctly - there's nothing more disconcerting than buying something for $600 and it creaks at the slightest bend (usually a sign of poorly-fitted parts).

Comment: Re:I should think so! (Score 1) 99

by tlhIngan (#49165089) Attached to: Blu-Ray Players Hackable Via Malicious Discs

With both the BD+ vm and the BD-J stuff, there is a lot of attention paid to 'ooh, the an unauthorized player attempting to do unauthorized things with the content on the disk?!'; but the contents of the disk are largely treated as trusted and the playback device is treated almost entirely as a potential adversary, not as a potential target, either from the disk side or the network side.

This is an unfortunate part of the Blu-Ray standard - the only people who are supposed to be able to author a Blu-Ray disc using BDMV profile are... studios. Initially, back during the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray war (who I found out that they did actually want to unify the two into one rather than go to battle it out - they just couldn't agree on BD-Java vs. JavaScript (HD Interactive) and dug their heels in), HD-DVD was AACS-optional, allowing for home authored HD-DVD discs which played everywhere.

  But Blu-Ray was designed to be an exclusively Hollywood format with content dictated by the Blu-ray association (Sony proudly declared they were never going to make porn Blu-Rays, for example back then). AACS was mandatory, which meant you couldn't make a BDMV profile disc at home - you were given the BDAV profile instead which allowed for non-AACS content. In fact, it was so bad that if you mastered a BDMV disc, it would play in some Blu-Ray players but not others.

These days, either through lax enforcement or explicit standards, AACS is optional on Blu-Rays and you can author basic BDMVs. But early players did not allow BD-R's to be BDMV, not by physical limitations, but software.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 219

by tlhIngan (#49162255) Attached to: Samsung Officially Unpacks Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge At MWC

Battery cases are like having a broken leg but instead of going to get a cast you get a pair of crutches and call it a day.
Never mind that your battery is too weak or that you have a broken leg, crutches FTW!

Having used both removable batteries and external battery bricks, the external battery brick is FAR more useful.

First of all - how do you charge a removable battery? Very, very, very few phones come with an external battery charger, so if you want to charge your batteries, you have to charge the battery, then turn it off, remove the charged battery, stick in the low battery, then put it on charge again. That's annoying and requires discipline.

An external battery I just plug its adapter into the wall, then plug the output of the external battery into my phone, or my phone into its won charger. Boom, two fully charged batteries and zero intervention other than plugging them in when I get home. None of this having to check it, if it's done then swap, nonsense that gets dull the second day.

The phone I had previous to the very first iPhone I had 3 external batteries for. Keeping all three charged was a royal PITA. (I had to have extras because a bug meant using the camera killed battery life unless you remembered to reboot it). Having used external packs for the iPhone, it was way easier and more convenient.

Plus, I didn't have to worry about my external packs shorting out and creating a fire. Something extra batteries have the danger of since the contacts are exposed and easily bridged.

Comment: Re:Relatively high temp... (Score 3, Interesting) 58

So when they talk about high temp semiconductors, it is still around -211F

What does this mean in practical terms?
Is this an easy temperature to maintain?
What techniques or materials could we use to keep that temp?
How does power generation and pulling off waste heat factor into it?

A "low temp" superconductor relies on liquid helium to keep it cool (approx 4K). A 'high temp" superconductor relies on liquid nitrogen to keep it cool (77K).

Liquid nitrogen is stupidly cheap - tons of places use liquid nitrogen for a lot of non-superconducting purposes including packaged food preparation, cooling, experimentation (a lot of "cryo" experiments use liquid nitrogen, including the ever popular frozen rose, frozen banana and other science demonstrations).

In fact, to get rid of a small dewar of liquid nitrogen, it's usually just dumped on the table after the demo is done creating a nice effect. A more controlled evaporation is simply leaving the lid off and letting it boil off naturally.

No one keeps stuff cool by liquifying nitrogen onsite. Instead, they just have Air Liquide and similar companies come by every week or so and top off the cryo tank. The cryo tank provides the supply of liquid nitrogen that's needed for the equipment (MRI machines use it in superconducting magnets). Most labs have it available freely as well.

Liquid helium is much more expensive. Liquid nitrogen is so cheap that having it transported and even any wastage is considered "meh". Hell, schools probably buy way more than they need simply because to make it worthwhile you end up with a huge dewar of it.

Comment: Re:Sounds a lot like what I saw last week (Score 1) 34

by tlhIngan (#49162193) Attached to: Pharming Attack Targets Home Router DNS Settings

At the beginning of last week, I saw a number of fake emails "returned" to my ISP email account. A day or two later, I received a phishing email requesting me to change my password for that email account.

Today, someone tried the same thing for my Microsoft account.

It's more creative than usual, but it is still just a phishing attack, and you can easily spot it by the fake URLs in the phishing emails.

Actually, the first is a standard joe-job where they fake the From address. Obviously your ISP isn't using SPF to whitelist the servers that could send the email allowing spammers to use your email as the From address and you're seeing the bounces. Just be lucky most servers don't actually obey the RFC anymore and don't send bounces or other error failed messages because a joe-job like that could easily net you 1000+ bounce replies.

The second I get a lot around the new years and september - basically when school gets back in session so it appears spammers phish the freshmen into giving up their email information. I know they're spam because they're sent to a few email addresses I've never used other than as a honeypot. Oddly, my legit email address gets far less spam than the honeypots

Comment: Re:DL# (Score 1) 46

by tlhIngan (#49157507) Attached to: Uber Discloses Database Breach, Targets GitHub With Subpoena

Sorry but what the fuck are you planning to do with 50,000 driver's license numbers?

Well, two people are very interested in that, one can find out, and the fourth can exert some leverage and get at information.

The first two are your DMV (or other agency) and insurance company. The DMV is interested if there's any commercial operations going on by unlicensed drivers. Penalties for such generally are minor, usually just suspension of the commercial activity to suspension of the license and a small fine.

The second would be insurance companies, who now have a list of people who operated in a commercial capacity. Knowing how they like to weasel out of any insurance payout, they can simply use this to note you did commercial activities on a personal insurance policy and use that as justification to cancel your policy. Of course, they won't do this until you get into an accident, at which point you do get a payout ... of all the premiums you paid from when they cancelled to the accident. Yes, it's a very nasty surprise waiting for people who expect insurance to cover them only to find out they're now stuck with a massive personal liability bill.

Third group would be tax agencies who are very interested to know about your income-generating activities and did you report it on your income tax form. This takes a bit of work since they generally don't have access to the driver license database to look up people. Maybe you find out when you try to renew that someone wants to have a nice talk first.

Fourth, well, taxi companies who exert a little pressure on someone to take the driver license number and put them to names and addresses... and I'll leave that one at that.

The link between person and drivers license isn't only held by the DMV or similar agencies - if you've ever used a driver's license as an ID card, well...

Comment: Re:Am I Missing Something? (Score 4, Informative) 131

by tlhIngan (#49150831) Attached to: Microsoft Finally Allows Customers To Legally Download Windows 7 ISOs

I've got an ISO image I downloaded from Microsoft back in April of last year without having to provide any details.

DigitalRiver has stopped providing those ISOs for a little while now. If you visit any of those links, they just redirect you back to Microsoft.com.

Yes, I tried last week when I had to get a Win7 image for a friend. None of those links work anymore.

Comment: Re:Consumers win (Score 2, Insightful) 206

by tlhIngan (#49149833) Attached to: Lenovo Saying Goodbye To Bloatware

We all win with at least a single computer maker stopping the insane practice of selling their customers instead of selling TO their customers.

Or Lenovo realizes a couple of things.

1) People who buy Lenovo aren't the price-sensitive type, or
2) People who buy Lenovo are corporate clients who wipe the PCs anyways.

Basically, Lenovo's not really catering to the price-sensitive consumer - someone who will spend no more than $500 for a new computer (laptop or desktop). Plenty of companies to fulfill that market segment.

Instead, Lenovo realizes that people buy it for the legacy and thus will pay more for it. So even if the lack of shovelware causes Lenovo PCs to cost $100 more, their customers are such that they will pay for that benefit.

Either that, or they're corporate clients who wipe the PCs anyways.

You want cheap PCs? You're gonna get shovelware. You willing to pay for quality? Less to none.

Comment: Re:MAKE SOMETHING NEW! (Score 1) 159

by tlhIngan (#49149795) Attached to: Can the Guitar Games Market Be Resurrected?

I think the real reason is that rhythm games are last gen right now - and there is a small core group of players that really do like them, so it's time to move them to current gen hardware.

Otherwise it'll die out in short order as the PS3 and Xbox360 fade out, and there's nowhere those players will be able to progress to.

And these group of people are worth a lot of money - because DLC for those games was still being released despite the last release being over 5 years ago.

Comment: Re:Video over LAN (Score 1) 83

by tlhIngan (#49149751) Attached to: VLC Gets First Major Cross-Platform Release

BUT - if I dare play a dvd with a video_ts style standard folder, even local playback shows lots of blockiness. I can copy the files to my local ssd and it still acts that way. playing dvd should be EASIER than high def mkv or mp4, right? so what's going on?

Are you playing a DVD rip or a DVD?

If it's a DVD, what you're seeing is DVD copy protection - since you're using Windows, you need to get AnyDVD to remove the copy protection.

Yes, besides the CSS protection, there are other copy protections on DVDs too.

Without a DVD decryptor or AACS decryptor, playing DVD or Blu-Ray from disc on VLC is impossible because of the protections. AnyDVD is what I use because it's updated practically daily.

Comment: Re:WTF with the /. Interface?!?!? (Score 2) 77

by tlhIngan (#49147659) Attached to: Banned Weight-loss Drug Could Combat Liver Disease, Diabetes

Ok, I'd heard about BETA but never had seen it before.
So, is this beta or just something worse till beta comes?

No, it's not beta. Beta's a lot worse (think full of AJAX). This is really a bunch of minor tweaks that kinda-sorta broke whitepacing and other things. Which is probably why it isn't as objectionable - there are still plenty of issues (missing Post buttons and the reply link often overlaps the comments), but it works and is really a bunch of minor changes than the crap that was beta.

Comment: Re:Sick (Score 1) 300

I do not like unpaid sick leave in some industries - particularly nurses, healthcare workers and the like. It means people are more likely to work when they are ill, forced to by financial concerns. Not good when they are dealing with people who are vulnerable. Same is true, to some extent, for bus drivers. Driving a bunch of people around while suffering from fever, etc., is going to effect their ability to drive. There's probably a compromise, such that drivers get 50% pay when ill. But would still prefer to see someone not drive me around while suffering from poor health. So what is good for workers and unions can also be good for customers as well.

The proper name is "Presenteeism" as in the opposite of absenteeism.

And no, it turns out stupid corporate policies often encourage people to come into work sick as well as unpaid sick leave.

Some policies such as requiring a doctor's note to take sick leave - which often incurs a charge as well as hours spent at the doctor's waiting room. Sure $30 might not be a lot, but that and the wait is sufficient discouragement from taking sick leave that even if you're clearly in no position to work, coughing up your lungs every couple of minutes and imitating Niagara falls with your sputum and whatnot, it's still easier to come into work and make the entire office miserable.

And no, doctor's don't want clearly sick patients in their waiting rooms either - they hate these policies too because it means they get exposed to the cold or flu and they don't appreciate having you spread it around their office, either. Some actually have gone so far that instead of billing the employee, they're billing the employer for it..

Hell, during the ebola epidemic, we basically had a joke that went around in the office - if anyone got it, the company would fold because everyone would have it by the end of the day.

Comment: Re:Pull the disk (Score 1) 457

by tlhIngan (#49144931) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem

Get a ide controller and whatever adapter you may need and just plug the hd into your current workstation. Perhaps one of those usb -> ide deals would also be a easy answer. Why make it more complex then that?

That doesn't work, usually.

Modern USB-IDE adapters use LBA mode to access data but that mode is usually implemented on drives larger than 8.4GB or so.

Smaller drives don't usually implement LBA mode and you have to talk to them in CHS mode, and very very very few USB-IDE adapters can talk this way.

It'll look like it works, but nothing really happens.

The best way (the way I did it) was find a PC with an IDE interface - but modern enough to have network adapters (or USB) or even run Linux or Windows. Then just slurp the data off the disk - even modern OSes still have the ability to talk CHS through the controller.

C for yourself.