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Comment: Re:"clinging to dialup" (Score 1) 153

by NulDevice (#49682601) Attached to: Closing This Summer: Verizon To Scoop Up AOL For $4.4 Billion

Yep, in 2015.

My parents live about 5mi outside a tourist town in rural WI, and their only broadband option is data-capped satellite, and even that was prohibitively expensive until last year. The local Big Telco (VZ) stated definitively that "it wasn't worth the investment" to run the lines and hardware outside of the city limits, and the smaller local telcos don't have the money to do it (a few experimented with wireless and a few other ideas, but the heavy foresting and hilly terrain make stuff like that a challenge).

Meanwhile literally hundreds of resorts and vacation spots can't get broadband. It's demonstrably hurting the local economy.

Comment: Re:skating on the edge of legal? (Score 1) 302

by NulDevice (#49640357) Attached to: Uber Forced Out of Kansas

Well, they're breaking existing laws sort of, but also not sort of.

The problem I've seen is that all the laws specifically say things like "taxi" or "livery" or "limo service" etc.

Uber says "we're not one of those things. We're a ride-sharing service. Ergo the laws don't apply."

States/Munis/etc come back and say "wait, but you're giving rides to people for money. That's functionally a taxi service, and you're subject to taxi service regulations."

Then Uber stomps their feet and says "no no we're a ride-sharing service and your silly laws don't apply to us!"

So these new laws are essentially clarifications to existing laws, just with the scope broadened to include "ridesharing" services, so Uber can't crawl through the "we're not called a taxi, so we're not a taxi" loophole that the older laws have.

Certainly, some taxi regulations are awful. The whole million-dollar-medallion thing in NY is kind of insane from the perspective of elsewhere in the country. But not all taxi services are evil and incompetent, and not all taxi regulations are onerous. My own municipality has pretty decent taxi services, including a few app-enabled ones, and they're subject to regulations that I consider pretty reasonable - you have to serve the entire city, not just the rich parts (and the city subsidizes low-income riders), all drivers need to be trained to work with disabled passengers, and everybody needs insurance.

Frankly what bugs me most isn't that Uber wants to change laws, it's their way of doing it. Their shoot-first-check-the-laws-later methodology I think makes things a lot harder. Certainly here if they'd sent a rep to the city council and said "we'd like to start operating here" half the alders woulda fallen all over themselves to write exceptions into the laws and so forth. Instead, they just started running, thumbed their noses at the city regs, and basically alienated all the people who could make their lives easier. They might be able to pull that in big markets, but it's a lot harder in smaller ones.

Comment: Re:Some good data... (Score 2) 434

by NulDevice (#49630447) Attached to: Google Can't Ignore the Android Update Problem Any Longer

Ostensibly when you buy an iPhone/iPad, you expect it to have Apple apps as part of the deal, and you expect them to be supported (for varying definitions of "supported") by the manufacturer.

When you buy a Android phone, you expect the standard google apps and all that. But what you get is a ton of stuff added by Verizon or USCellular or their "marketing partners" that is a pain to remove (if it's possible) and often gets in between the user and the core functions of the device/OS, making support a crapshoot (what good are updates on Google Play if your regional carrier tries to route you to use their own MyPhoneCoAppStore instead?). People complain about vendor lock-in on iOS but it sometimes feels worse with Android - not because of lock-in to Android itself, but because the carrier tries to functionally lock you into their usually-worse and often-patchy ecosystem.

Comment: Re:Sort of dumb. (Score 2) 553

by NulDevice (#49622071) Attached to: Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks'

There's a large employer in my area that basically staffs entirely with college grads. I've seen the compensation packages they're offered and they're not awful, but given the hours they generally work and the demands placed upon them they're not really fair. Part of the company's repeated excuse for not hiring more experienced devs is "it takes us too long to break them of the habits they picked up elsewhere." Which doesn't speak well of their development practices, frankly - if all you get from experienced developers is "bad habits" the problem may not be with the devs...

Also, "hire a 23 year old" also means "hire someone who is less likely to have a family and demands outside work." It's lot easier to convince someone to work a 12-15 hour day if they don't have to pick up the kids from school.

Comment: People overthink things (Score 1) 292

by NulDevice (#49226813) Attached to: Do Tech Companies Ask For Way Too Much From Job Candidates?

I'm an IT development contractor, and if I had a dollar for every ridiculous req I've seen come across my desk I would have retired long ago.

It's common to see a requirement for 10 years of experience in a technology that's only existed for 5. It's equally common to see requirements for proficiency in technologies that, when actually examining the architecture, have no business being on the req document (i.e. asking for additional proficiency in VB when the entire codebase is in Java. I mean, sure, there's an argument to be made for skills-flexibility and such, but at the end of the day you still need a Java programmer)

Sometimes it's just naivete on the part of the req author - they got a project from some technical folks they're told to help staff, they don't understand the project needs, and they punt. Programmers know the difference between Java and JavaScript; your average HR person may not.

Often, it's politics and/or money - the project leads have grand plans for upgrades and improvements, but the budget and timeline ends up being tight and the edicts from management-on-high become "just paste over the cracks for now" - and then "for now" balloons to 10 years.

Worse still, it often comes down to ego. A requirement could be perfectly acceptable - hey, you want someone with Hibernate experience? Awesome. But then some lead developer who's owned the non-hibernate ORM code for a decade gets butthurt and blocks every attempt to change things, as though it was some personal attack.

The upshot is that it ends up costing a lot of money for people - they write these outrageous requirement documents and end up paying the hefty sums that someone who fits the bill can command, and then have him or her doing the kind of work that a much cheaper junior dev could be doing.

Comment: Re:Loudness race (Score 1) 433

by NulDevice (#48602317) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

Sort of?

Compression happens at various stages in the mix and master. In this case, it's the mastering stage we have to worry about.

There's a lot of compression involved in vinyl. But it tends to be more band-limited, since vinyl is lousy at reproducing high and low frequencies. And it's not really in service of loudness, it mostly rolling off of some frequencies, stereo width, etc so the lathe and the needle will track. Vinyl actually has a *lower* available dynamic range than CD, in practical terms, because of the limitations of a needle. (play back with a scanning tunnelling microsocope, though, and WOW fidelity! :) )

Because CD/Digital can handle much louder singals, a master for digital can run a lot hotter, and with a lot more high and low frequency information. What some people call "digital harshness" may just in fact be "those frequencies over about 15khz we had to roll off for the vinyl." Now of course, this can be entirely abused, and starting around the 80's, record execs started pushing mastering engineers to make it louder, and make it stand out more - so we'd get things like high-loudness heavily-limited tracks with a lot of high-end harmonic exciting done to it, so a track would sound bright and loud compared to its neighbors on the radio.

It was an arms race, but it wasn't a requirement of the digital medium, just a requirement of the people running the industry (and let me just say, mastering engineers aren't fond of it either...they like undamaged hearing...but we've all got bills to pay).

Comment: Re:Speakers (Score 1) 433

by NulDevice (#48602121) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

And most homes are acoustically terrible, too. Even the audiophiles I know couldn't convince their spouses to let them plaster their living rooms with diffusers, broadband absorbers and bass traps instead of pictures of the family, home furnishings, etc.. So you're going to have standing waves, comb filtering, flutter echo, etc etc.

(Unless Russ Berger designed the living room.)

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 1) 433

by NulDevice (#48602087) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

Very few things in nature or music require the full spectrum of dynamic range. Going from the threshold of hearing to the threshold of pain is something that just doesn't happen very often. Even the most dynamic classical music has a far, far narrow dynamic range. 16 bits can encompass the dynamic range of just about everything we hear (and most stuff is recorded at 24 these days, so there's no audible loss during processing and engineering).

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 1) 433

by NulDevice (#48602035) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

I want to see how you could produce a stairstep-pattern in a speaker. It'd require your tweeter to actually teleport between states.

What I believe you're referring to is aliasing noise. It's not the stairstep, it's just noise caused by conversion or other signal processing. And that WAS an issue with older DACs, and was sometimes within the audible spectrum.

Comment: Re:Not really missing vinyl (Score 1) 433

by NulDevice (#48601947) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

A lot of the "warmth" of vinyl comes from the limitations of the format - bass basically needs to be in mono to keep the needle in the groove, there's an effective limit to the high frequencies that can be reproduced, and there's a limit to the dynamic range reproducible by vinyl. I mean *theoretically* it's all infinitely analog and so forth but in practical purposes there's a crapton of compression and equalization done to keep the needle doing what it's supposed to and to keep the cutting lathe from slicing right through the acetate.

Comment: Re: Alright smart guy (Score 1) 504

by NulDevice (#47965675) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

My plain-old 5 seemed a little sluggish for like a day afterwards, but I assume that was because all my auto-udating apps were auto-updating and pulling down a crapton of data. So far I haven't really seen much of a difference, except in a few older esoteric apps I occasionally use that have crashed on me. I'm keeping an eye on that. I was worried for that first day, but it hasn't really made a difference. It's probably slightly slower but I don't notice because I don't type fast enough.

My iPad Air has been stellar thus far.

I'm not touching my old iPad 2, unless one of my MIDI controller apps requires the update for something.

The question of whether computers can think is just like the question of whether submarines can swim. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra

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