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Comment: Re:Taiwanese (Score 1) 303

by Netssansfrontieres (#41978395) Attached to: Foxconn Begins To Assemble Its Robot Army

Taiwan is China? Same way that Japan is China and Vietnam is China and Korea (all of it) is China. Ethnically, Han; culturally not.

Taiwan was administered as a Chinese territory for only seven years of history - and spent rather longer (over 50 years) under Japanese rule. The only land you can see from any part of Taiwan (the island) is ... Japanese. The dominant ethnic groups are Han, the dominant languages are Chinese, but the dominant culture is Japanese. The island's dominant population until early in the 20th century was of the aboriginal groups (tribes?) which are not Chinese at all, but Austronesian. Taiwan has a vigorous and messy democracy, parties vie energetically for power. Rule of law, mainly, pertains, with corruption at a level comparable to the US.

And Taiwanese of many ages now think of China as having both the past - an historic link to culture - and a present and future - China the nation as a terrifying borg-like entity, not at all as being "we're China, we just disagree on where the capital". They think the capital of China is Beijing, and the capital of what should be the independent nation-state of Taiwan is Taipei.

And, while I'm white ... I live in Taiwan.

Comment: Re:Voice IS data. (Score 1) 177

I should have made more clear.
I was talking about value to the customer / user.
You're talking about costs. The incremental costs may become small (but they're not yet, see - for example - Gettys work on bufferbloat).
Meanwhile, lots of folks buy Apple computers for 2x the price of a more powerful Windows machine because, well, perceived value. Apple has high margins. Perhaps, in your worldview, we should regulate Apple's prices and margins?

Comment: Re:Voice IS data. (Score 2) 177

A rather silly over-simplification.
Of course, voice is carried as data. However, it requires more than low latency - it requires that the latency be sustained as low. And it requires low error rates.

The reasons are buried deep in human behaviors.
Delays easily realizable in IP networks with error correction are perceptible to the listener. Then, however, they're not ignored (as they are in a video stream being re-aggregated for playing) but are heard by the listener as hesitation.
The Q&A: "do you want to go out for dinner on Friday?" A: "yes" ... becomes "do you want to go out for dinner on Friday?" A: (slight pause) "yes".
In human interaction, that silent pause is extra information.

(Of course, the degradation of voice quality on mobile networks means that the Q&A leads to answers like "huh? what did you say?")

There's a BIG difference between saying "voice is data" and the fact "voice is carried as data".

Comment: Re: Many classics (Score 1) 228

by Netssansfrontieres (#33121864) Attached to: String Quartets On the Web?

Some of this loss, doubtless, *is* caused by the copyright nuts.
However, another part is caused by the decline and fall of curated media (good record stores, good radio stations) in favor of search engines whose algorithms are basically popularity contests, gamed to sell ads. These show the fallacy of the long tail argument (tm), because - as this /. thread shows - the search engines, and predictive algorithms (if you liked xx you should like yy) herd people into more tightly knit winner groups. The interwebs haven't hurt Lady Gaga; they've crushed lots of minor classical ensembles.

Comment: Re:iTunes doesn't suck (Score 5, Informative) 228

by Netssansfrontieres (#33120108) Attached to: String Quartets On the Web?

IMHO: iTunes is (or at least was ... I stopped looking last year) pretty pathetic. Here's why. Suppose you want to listen to Bach suites for solo cello. Sure, they've got a version or two, but I want a version played by a master on a great instrument. Casals? Check, but old. Rostropovich? Nope, sorry.

Or, I want to listen to something (a lot) more current: Kronos Quartet? Some. Alarm will sound? ok. Bang on a Can? Nope, sorry.

It *does* seem to have both Glenn Gould recordings of Goldberg, which is an improvement (and, yes, they're very different).

This, especially the latter observation is surely connected to the recent /. discussion about use of computer-controlled instruments. It seems to have taken iTunes a very long time indeed to understand that two recordings of the same piece, by different ensembles or performers, using different instruments, under different circumstances, reveal the piece in entirely different ways. They're not the same thing.

Comment: The reasons firms do this ... (Score 2, Interesting) 646

by Netssansfrontieres (#32964306) Attached to: Does Anyone Really Prefer Glossy Screens?

There are two reasons firms do this:
1. The devices look prettier. This is the triumph of "industrial design" over function, similar to the way (it seems) Apple's industrial designers over-ruled the antenna / RF designers on the iPhone4. Same consequence: it's less easily usable, you have to learn to use the screen despite its failings.
2. Specsmanship. Glossy screens (called in the industry "glare screens", which really summarizes the issue) have higher contrast ratios - if the contrast ratio is measured in a perfectly dark room. Colors look nicely saturated. That way the vendors get to put very high contrast ratios on their specs and it's an arms race. Gottaproblemwiththat? Sit in a dark room, silly.

Of course, the only screens designed for reading (e-Ink, Pixel Qi, Sipix) do NOT use glare / glossy screens.

Comment: About AUO (Score 1) 155

by Netssansfrontieres (#32068022) Attached to: AU Optronics Asks For US Ban On LG LCD Sales

The patent troll reference in the parent article is irrelevant. Patent trolls are, in legal parlance, non-practicing entities. AUO is one of the big four makers of LCDs, with about $14B a year in LCD revenues. It has its own labs, does its own research, spends billions on fabs. Not sure why the first /. responses are ranting about the failure of the patent system - building an LCD fab is a huge financial risk, and finding a firm that is violating your IP and thus undercutting your market is a major challenge.

Comment: Re:The big question (Score 4, Informative) 100

by Netssansfrontieres (#31505142) Attached to: Scottish Wave Energy Plans Move Forward

We sometimes forget just how heavy water is, or how much energy ocean waves carry.

Some time ago, I did some statistical analysis of wave heights in Scapa Flow, not far away from the site proposed here in northern Scottish waters. It has very steady, large swells.

Imagine a wave (or swell) of 10m peak height, extending 2 km across, and 50m front-to-back. That's a nice 0.3 * 10^6 kg of water ... move it forward at 30kph ... repeat every 10 or 20 seconds, and you've got 10^9 Joules/second, about 1GW. For the surface wave. (More energy is transferred more steadily by sub-surface currents.)

Lunar tidal flows are so much larger than these that the prospect of drawing enough energy from open waters to do anything to earth - moon movements seem to be off by many orders of magnitude.

Full disclosure: I used to be a pretty good physicist, but that was a long time ago.

Comment: It's fun to blame AT&T but ... (Score 1) 441

by Netssansfrontieres (#30385672) Attached to: AT&T Moves Closer To Usage-Based Fees For Data

Perhaps phone companies really ARE evil, don't know.
But here's the way some of this works as a business:
1. Spectrum auctions (and landlords charging for antenna locations) are economically perfect mechanisms to drive the business case for wireless services to nearly non-existence. Spectrum auctions almost necessarily push telcos to pay nosebleed prices, just to participate. (The UK auctions were manically unhinged: they had a rider saying that BT would lose its GSM license unless it bought 3G spectrum. In consequence BT just about *had* to pay whatever it took, just to stay in business.) Auctions are not about valuing assets, they're a hidden tax. The cost of equipment is not nearly as critical a cost factor as the cost of cell sites (~100,000 per major carrier in the US) and the spectrum; both lack competitive supply/demand forces to contain them.
Likewise, landlords are armed with economic models and consultants that drive every last red cent out of business models too. Hey, that's how business works.
The cost of equipment is not nearly as critical a cost factor as the cost of cell sites (~100,000 per major carrier in the US) and the spectrum; both lack competitive supply/demand forces to contain them. Operating networks with tens of thousands of nodes in the USA's large landmass ain't cheap.

2. Along come smartphones and these and and apps, (and misleading marketing) create soaring basic demand;

3. Bloated apps (Skype, ugh), IP and (e.g.) the Van Jacobsen quickstart algorithm then take said traffic and inherently drive it to network saturation.

So: perhaps telco execs are satanic, let's get pitchforks and blazing torches.

But, the economics and technical dynamics of the marketplace are in inherent conflict. US gov't policies are at least as much to blame. And so are landlords.

The analysis can get much deeper - but without revealing a useful solution for the US, alas.

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

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