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Comment: Re:It's theater... (Score 2) 342

by Nexx (#34525832) Attached to: Backscatter X-Ray Machines Easily Fooled

What's staring me in the face? A fucking TGI Fridays.

You tellin' me they don't have knives in the kitchen?

To be fair, the last time I was in O'Hare in the American Airlines terminal, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant's kitchen knives appeared to have been affixed to the workstation with fairly heavy-duty steel cables.

This is not to say getting knives and explosives into the "secure" areas aren't trivial. Security theater indeed.

Comment: Re:Verizon has best coverage... but it's verizon. (Score 1) 395

by Nexx (#30818278) Attached to: Truth Or Dare — What Is the Best US Cell Company?

Fair enough -- I don't claim AT&T is perfect, and far from it. My friend's Blackberry on AT&T will randomly drop calls or refuse data connections in Manhattan, even though he'd have full signal. I'd be sitting across from him in the same restaurant, and my iPhone would be fully functional.

All that says, though, is that his particular Blackberry model + revision has worse radio implementation compared to my particular iPhone model + revision for that exact situation.

As for AT&T refusing service, back when I lived in St. Louis, before they merged with BellSouth's wireless, Southwestern Bell's wireless refused wireless service to me citing their inability to find my address. Since I lived in St. Louis County but in an unincorporated area between Creve Coeur and Maryland Heights, I was not entirely surprised. We ended up going with Voicestream (now T-Mobile), and their GSM coverage was abysmal too, especially outside town. I'm sure things have changed in the 10 years since I've moved out of the area though.

It's similar in Japan, too, or was in 2003 or thereabouts. The #2 mobile carrier, KDDI's Au, had issues with servicing my grandmother's place in a medium-sized city. DoCoMo had no issues, and everyone in town used DoCoMo. Back in Tokyo, Au had completed their 3G rollout, and had far superiour 3G coverage to DoCoMo, who had coverage on paper but their towers were too far apart to penetrate far into buildings. Again, I hear things are very different now that they have ditched PDC and are releasing W-CDMA phones exclusively.

Comment: Re:Verizon has best coverage... but it's verizon. (Score 1) 395

by Nexx (#30804034) Attached to: Truth Or Dare — What Is the Best US Cell Company?

Outside of cities? Which cities are you generalizing about? I'm regularly in NYC, and my vanilla iPhone 3G doesn't skip a beat. However, in Westchester and Putnam counties, I've had issues where my phone will drop out of 3G and stay on EDGE. Up here in Connecticut, it doesn't skip a beat either.

In Chicago, it was much the same. I'd go out to the exurbs, and things sometimes got a little wonky, but then I'd return the next day, and I'm in solid 3G, with solid signal strength.

Comment: Re:Illegible Cursive going away? Oh Noez! (Score 1) 857

by Nexx (#29497737) Attached to: Cursive Writing Is a Fading Skill — Does It Matter?

The entire world is filled with average people. My point in my original post was that most people, for whatever reason, when writing cursive, tend to come out with seriously illegible scrawl. This has nothing to do with their lack of desire -- I have yet to come across people who pride themselves on illegible penmanship -- but the inherent lack of legibility built into the cursive system they've been taught.

So instead of starting from the illegible scrawl, they propose to the reader they start from something more legible. It's like instead of shoehorning functional programming concepts into Java, they start with ocaml.

I'm not discounting the artistic side of this entire endeavour. As a former professional musician, I do not believe everything should be useful. However, if given a choice between teaching my hypothetical children how to write cursive and print, so they can communicate, I'd much rather they were taught to print legiblly than scrawl. If they wanted to take up calligraphy, more power to them, but I do not believe in shoving art down their throats.

Comment: Re:Illegible Cursive going away? Oh Noez! (Score 1) 857

by Nexx (#29487587) Attached to: Cursive Writing Is a Fading Skill — Does It Matter?
Just posting a clarification -- I do not question the utility of writing longhand. It's a skill that is very useful. I do question the teaching of cursive by grammar schools almost exclusively, because italics that's been mentioned the article I linked to is far more legible by more people.

Comment: Re:Illegible Cursive going away? Oh Noez! (Score 2, Insightful) 857

by Nexx (#29487555) Attached to: Cursive Writing Is a Fading Skill — Does It Matter?

To be fair, though, I suspect you've never seen beautiful handwriting, or its effect on the addressee.

If average people were able to consistently create beautiful script, I would be inclined to agree. However, as the article I've linked to shows, even decent cursive results in loopy, unreadable mess.

Perhaps my comment, "deserves to die", was too strong, but the point still stands -- there's a difference between teaching for utility and teaching for art, and it appears that the schools have confused the two.

Image

Carnivorous Clock Eats Bugs 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the little-office-of-horrors dept.
Designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau have created a clock that is powered by "eating" bugs. The clock traps insects on flypaper stretched across a roller system and then drops them into a vat of bacteria. The insects are then "digested" and the ensuing chemical reaction is transformed into power that keeps the rollers moving and the LCD clock working. The two offer another version that is powered by mice and an even cooler machine that picks insect fuel from spiderwebs with the help of a robotic arm and a video camera.

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

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