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Comment: Re:I don't understand this... (Score 1) 20

by Thagg (#47770517) Attached to: Google Buys Zync Cloud Graphics Rendering Service

It turns out that the software used in VFX rendering is pretty darn expensive. Licenses of RenderMan, for example, were several thousand dollars a node (RenderMan just lowered their prices, it's true). Nuke, Maya, and other tools were similarly expensive.

The companies that created the software typically wouldn't consider licensing on shorter terms than six months; which made scaling up for a big movie very expensive. Zync managed to negotiate deals that would allow them to license software on an hourly basis. That is their real innovation.

Comment: Are you sure of what you are watching? (Score 2) 335

by Pathwalker (#47769711) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do About Repeated Internet Overbilling?

It sounds like you are watching traffic inside of your network, and not the interface between your edge router, and the ISP device.

You could be missing many things; incoming traffic that your edge router drops, retransmissions between your edge router and the ISP device, and firmware/config updates for the ISP device.

We really need more detail.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 310

by Thagg (#47764537) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Curious. Back in the stone ages (12 years ago) we had a 53 GB 12-platter drive (The box said "Solve your disk space storage problems forever!") that had a head fail. I was able to recover 22/23rds of the data, but it was clear that the data was recorded from one platter to the next all the way through the stack, and then the heads moved. Back in that day (I don't know if it's still true) one side of one of the platters just contained alignment information.

Comment: Replacement batteries are nearly useless (Score 1) 131

by rnturn (#47735085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can I Find Good Replacement Batteries?

I have some cordless phones that have served our household well for a number of years. The original batteries lasted a couple of years before they wouldn't hold much of a charge. I was able to work via the cordless phone via the speakerphone for over an hour before the batteries gave out. Now, a couple of replacement batteries later, I consider it a good day if I can stay on a phone call for, say, 20 minutes and that's using a battery that's only a couple of months old. It almost makes me wonder if they're not selling used batteries. With the replacement batteries costing $15+, it's not likely that we're going to do it any more. The missus is the last major user of the cordless phones and she's switching to mobile next month. The crappy battery life is one of the reasons she's switching.

I have worries that I'll run into the same battery rip-off with my laptop. And those batteries run upwards of $100. Given the track record of the supposedly equivalent batteries we've been finding for our phones, I'll probably go with an original manufacturer battery for the laptop.That's probably no guarantee but I'm guessing they won't be as bad as the third-party batteries.

Comment: Re:Drew is cowtowing to someone. (Score 1) 735

by bughunter (#47704279) Attached to: News Aggregator Fark Adds Misogyny Ban

Spot on.

Only seven stories later on the main page, Fark announced a partnership with several university and private media research centers. Lots of farkers believe it's related:

Of course, given that it's named DERP institute, even more people believe it's a joke.

Comment: Re:You only have two ears. (Score 2) 197

by Thagg (#47686953) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

We have two ears, but you might notice that the ears have fairly complicated geometry. Why would that be? Well, it turns out that the various parts of the ear bounce sound, and sound coming from different directions, both azimuth and elevation, bounces differently. Your brain is very good at figuring this out. This wikipedia page on Sound Localization is quite informative.

It turns out that humans have among the best direction-sensing hearing of any animal.

[disclaimer -- I work for Dolby, but in their imaging group]

Comment: Re:OCO2 is one of the most important sats that ... (Score 2) 143

by bughunter (#47664281) Attached to: NASA's Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures 'First Light'

Thank you for the intelligent comment. I worked on the original instrument design at Hamilton Sundstrand over 10 years ago, and it was heartbreaking to learn of the original launch failure. A lot of us suspected but had no evidence that the failure was someone's desired outcome... now that OCO-2 is on station and collecting data we finally feel a sense of accomplishment.

And we'll not only learn who's contributing CO2 to the atmosphere, (and when, and where) but also what's consuming it, so we can not only reduce emissions but we can also sequester it better (e.g., by planting forests in the right places).

I guarantee we'll learn something we didn't expect. And scientists, being scientists, will embrace the surprises rather than reject them. This instrument will help us understand the problem better, produce better model forecasts, and plan better solutions.

Comment: Allergic to peanuts... (Score 1) 267

by Thagg (#47628247) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

I drove across the country with a good friend, who is severely red-green colorblind. About once a day, he would offer me peanuts, even though I'm deathly allergic to them, and then he'd laugh, and say "oh, these are really good." After five days of this, as we were driving across Colorado after a storm, I stopped to look at a stunning rainbow, and he's like "ooh, ok, fine, whatever"

He's a very successful computer animator and landscape painter. It helps that he is super-smart, but I still can't imagine how he does it.

Comment: Re:Software Documentation is bad everywhere (Score 1) 430

by rnturn (#47602683) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What To Do About the Sorry State of FOSS Documentation?

My favorite commercial software error message fiasco was when I was asked to figure out where a cryptic error message was coming from. The message had no prefix telling which component of the software package was issuing the message. The message did not appear in the appendix where error messages were listed. When I grepped for the error message in the application's "bin" directory it turned out that all the binaries contained the error message; even utility programs that had nothing to do with the operation that was generating the error. It turned out that all of the executables contained all of the potential error messages that might be issued by any of the executables. (An insane use of an "#include" directive or something similar.) So much for the high quality of commercial software and documentation.

The best -- and last -- commercial software that I think had really thorough documentation was back in my IBM mainframe/mini and DEC mini days. You really couldn't fault the documentation that came with those systems at all. Except, maybe, the quantity of it; some serious shelf space was required.

Comment: Re:I've bought stuff from Facebook... (Score 1) 114

by Thagg (#47599921) Attached to: How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

Bill, this advice "make the ad as incipid[sic] and vapid as possible, to save on non-converting clicks." makes so much sense, and is so obvious, that it must be happening already. This was pioneered by the the Nigerian scammers (originally snail-mail, now mostly email.)

It does make me disheartened about the future of the ad-supported internet.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon