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Comment Re:The Cloud? No thanks. (Score 2) 140

I don't know exactly why Google wants them. Presumably, as a corpus to improve their image processing technologies.

And as a way to improve their facial recognition software, because you'll tag people and then Google will be able to identify the same individuals in other photos. Heck, one feature of Google Glass was to have it upload the photos and Google recognizes everyone on the street. The only way this can happen is if Google has a large corpus of faces so they can identify people in every photo.

Comment Re:Mexico City: Got it for quite some time already (Score 1) 60

FWIW, forgot to mention, the typical reaction time we have is around one minute. Usually too little to have everybody evacuated from premises... But we have history on this regard, and it has proven a very important development.

One minute is not a lot of time, but if you get a warning, you can do a lot of things in that minute that will save lives and reduce the disaster.

For example - gas pipelines can be depressurized and isolation valves closed, so any fires that start from the gas is limited to a very small amount of gas.

Elevators can be set to stop at the next available floor so passengers can get out. (one minute is more than enough for an elevator to go to a floor and evacuate its passengers).

Electricity can be shut off as well to limit the amount of fires that get sparked. Emergency power off functions may be activated in data centers to save critical data and perform quick power off to reduce fire risk.

Trains and public transit can be slowed down or stopped - depending on the system, it may not be possible to evacuate the trains in time, but once stopped, there's a much lower chance of derailing

And humans can go and hide in the strongest part of their building for safety.

One minute is not a lot of time, but a lot can be done to minimize the amount of risk and even reduce post-earthquake fires.

Comment Re:Gas (Score 3, Interesting) 57

"Passed" isn't quite the right word. These prices are something Saudi Arabia is doing on purpose to try to run all the US shale oil producers out of business. If their plan works (Mwaahahahah! Good kitty), presumably they will then be able to go right back up to the higher prices they were selling Oil at 5 years ago.

You missed right after they buy up all the bankrupt shale gas producers.

The middle east is running out of oil. Countries like Dubai are investing heavily in alternative markets to deal with the impending end of black gold - Dubai is basically trying to be a high end tourist resort, for example.

Saudi Arabia is trying to do it another way - buy up the next set of oil producers so the profits can be taken that way - bankrupt the existing oil producers in North America, buy them all up, and then jack up the prices and let the profits flow into the country. So even when they run out of oil, they still own all the companies producing oil in other countries, thus ensuring prosperity of their own.

Plus, I think they also want to bankrupt Iran who because of the nuclear treaty can sell oil on the market again.

Comment Re:Extra battery? (Score 1) 270

would like to suggest one better: If your phone is one that allows you to remove the batter (i.e. not an Apple or a OnePlus or a few others), just get a spare battery of the type that the phone takes. When your phone dies, reach into your pocket, pull out the spare battery, and switch it for the one that is in the phone. It's instant, efficient, and doesn't require you to juggle your phone plus another box for whatever length of time it takes your phone to charge./blockquote>

And how do you charge the spare battery? Do you expect people to plug in the phone, wait two hours for it to charge, then swap the batteries and charge it again?

And that's the problem with removable batteries. In the early days of AMPS phones, yes, the charging dock had spare slots for extra batteries so you can charge the phone's battery and one or two spares at the same time without having to swap them.

These days, the vast majority of phones only have the phone itself to charge the battery (some phones do have dock accessories that let you charge a battery outside the phone), so to charge spare batteries entails remembering to periodically check the phone, see the battery is full, then swap the battery and put the phone on charge again. Forget to do this and you'll find you have been carrying a spare battery that's dead.

With an external pack, they always can charge at the same time as the phone - just get another charger, and put both on charge together. No worrying about waiting for the phone to finish charging then swapping batteries - both will charge simultaneously and it'll be ready in the morning.

Plus, if you're carrying batteries in your pocket, you worry about them shorting out. External batteries are protected against that.at least by random keys and such you find in pockets.

Comment Re:....why? (Score 1) 156

I can understand why one would need to use that date as test data for an application, but why would anyone set their system date to that in the first place? (Not that I'm apologizing for Apple, that's a pretty stupid bug...)

Even better - why even let the user set the date to a time that far back? If you're going to ask for the current date and time, there should be no reason to be able to set it before the software release date. Maybe set it long in the future, but if you release the software in 2016, there will be no way the current date will be before 2016.

Comment Less than zero is a valid timestamp (Score 0) 156

The thing that bothers me about all of the summaries I've read, is that a timestamp less than zero (which is Jan 1 1970) is still valid - otherwise how would you represent dates before 1970???

I don't know what is going on but a timestamp being merely "less than zero" seems alone to not be a problem, it's how some other part of the system is dealing with this timestamp. Perhaps someone somewhere in the system frameworks shifted from a timestamp (which is really a double internally in iOS) to some kind of large unsigned int?

Comment Re:Stacking errors (Score 1) 137

A bigger question is - why didn't they count frames?

We know there are two HD resolutions for OTA - 1080i60 (60 fields per second, or approximately 30 frames/sec), and 720p60 (60 frames per second). These two resolutions and framerates have the nice property that they have the same pixel clock and data rate, so you can choose between resolution and framerate - for traditional TV programming you often just want resolution, so you use 1080i, but for fast action, you want framerate, so you use 720p.

Now, it's easy to see what framerate the camera runs at - take a spot in the game, and count frames while an onscreen timer (like say, the game clock!) ticks away. Then you move to the part of the video in question, then count frames. Since it's less than a second, it would be less than 60 frames in total, so it should be possible to manually hand count how many frames elapsed between the disputed times and then you can compute how much time has elapsed.

This way can also be used to verify that the camera timer is ticking away at the proper rate.

Comment Re:Great (Score 2) 44

Gigabit LTE means that you'll be able to use up your entire high speed data quota in less than a minute, unless the carriers finally update their data pricing models.

How is it that we've ended up with $10 for 10Gb or less of data now for about ten years? In the meantime, we've gone from inefficient EDGE to unbelievably efficient LTE, with HSPA+ available now for, what, the last five years on most GSM family networks?

Yet the data prices haven't budged. The carriers have more bandwidth than ever, more efficient ways of using it than ever, but they still think they're running ancient EDGE or cdma2000 networks.

Easy - profits.

Remember just a few years ago when people paid 25 cents per text? And some even paid another 25 cents to RECEIVE a text? Same reason - it was a massive profit center

Then texting stopped being a thing - with many ways to avoid it been iMessages and IM apps and Hangouts etc which used much cheaper data instead of SMS. Plus competition made it such that carriers started offering unlimited text plans for $20 extra. And of course, they realized they had a new profit center - data. Even better, they charge by the kilo and not kibi, and for good measure, they toss in the OTA headers as well in the byte count.

So yeah, they're charging because they can because it makes them massive amounts of money. On the bright side, they do adopt the new technologies quickly in an attempt to make you overuse your data plan and pay even more outrageous overage charges.

Comment Re:Uh... let me think about it (Score 1) 569

Stupid truckers routinely follow their GPS up Tail of the Dragon.
They blindly drive right by the BIG YELLOW signs that basically say

"If you take your semi past this sign, you are an idiot, you will get stuck, please don't kill any motorcyclists with your stupidity."

They do get stuck way more often than that.

The solution is a truck specific GPS, which they do make What makes them special is they contain height information - before you start route planning, you enter in the height of your rig - the GPS will actually route with that information in mind - avoiding tunnels and routes where overpasses are too low to make it. (This may even entail taking an exit just to get back on the onramp).

The problem is, truck-specific GPSes are expensive and their map data even more so, so truckers often buy much cheaper car GPS units, or just use their phone's GPS system. None of which take height into account.

Of course, getting stuck and the subsequent tow, damage repair and other stuff suddenly makes the extra cost of a truck specific GPS a relative bargain.

Comment Two Seconds (Score 1) 569

Just take two seconds after you get routing directions up to zoom out and verify it's going about where you want to go.

I've driven in Iceland before and it's impossible to not go to Reykjavik if you pay even the least attention to signs, or just look at the map where you can see where Reykjavik is in relation to where you are driving.

I really like using Waze to guide me, not even by giving directions (which I often ignore) but just to see what roads are around me while driving so I can quickly adjust pathing to something that makes more sense.

One gripe I have with all modern nav systems is that I really wish I had a lot more control over the routes - like "avoid highway if possible" or "Your traffic predictions are always wrong, do not believe their lies". At least Apple Maps gives you three different routes to choose from, that's a nice start but I'd like to be able to guide it further.

Comment Re:The U.S. is much more civilized (Score 1) 40

I find it interesting to see how Europeans get so testy whenever any other country is mentioned. Seems like you are projecting quite a bit there!

This post should make you happy since it only talks about Europeans, even only the failings, unlike the ability of Americans to consider a bigger picture.

Oops! Ha Ha, just did that to goad you further obviously. If you don't want buttons pressed you may not want to wear them on your sleeve.

Comment Picture is misleading, so is affected system desc (Score 2, Interesting) 74

For the few of you that actually bothered to click on the article link, the picture shows some kind of really short cord with a plug at the end...

I don't know what the hell that is but it cannot be the cord the article is about, because the cord MS is sending is just the cord that goes between the power brick and Surface Pro, so it doesn't have a plug.

Also worth noting that the article summary might lad you to believe this was about the current Surface Pro, but it's not - Surface Pro 3 and older. Even then it does not apply to a Surface Pro 3 you'd buy new from Microsoft now, they ship with fixed cables already. It doesn't affect the Surface Pro 4 at all.

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