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Comment: Who cares, you can just turn them off. (Score 1) 528

by Phaid (#49754303) Attached to: Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users

Tiles are nothing new; I immediately found them annoying and have always turned them off. These new "sponsored" tiles will only appear on the existing tiles page, which can still be turned off:

When you first launch Firefox, a message on the new tab page informs you what tiles are (with a link to a support page about how sponsored tiles work), promises that the feature abides by the Mozilla Privacy Policy, and reminds you that you can simply turn tiles off. If you do turn them off, you’ll get a blank new tab page and will avoid Firefox’s ads completely, including these upcoming suggested tiles.

So, it really doesn't matter.

Comment: Re:Then ID would be required (Score 1) 1089

by awol (#49298761) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

I don't want my forth choice getting in. At some point I might want to waste my vote instead of having it count towards the lesser of two evils. But the system in Australia doesn't allow for that (anymore).

Even under the old regime your empty vote was still a vote for the ones you don't want because once your paper expired it was removed from the pool of votes making everyone elses vote count a little bit more from that point onwards.

Comment: Re:Then ID would be required (Score 1) 1089

by awol (#49298721) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

Except that it only works because where you have no compulsory voting they have no reason to record "who voted" and as such this fraud is trivial. If everyone has to vote then the mechanism that checks your compliance also checks others fraud. Now, in most places it is not perfect (where I am from we don't even have to give id of any kind just your name) and so the attempt at a fraudulent vote will almost certainly get past an initial hurdle of getting the ballot paper into the box. However, the system has a number of natural checks that detect the fraud at later stages of counting/reconciliation of rolls. Such as, total number of ballots cannot be greater than the number of registered voters, collating the rolls from the multiple voting centres and checking for duplicates. In places like India, they stain the finger of a voter to ensure they do not vote more than once. etc etc

CV does not guarantee the absence of fraud (mostly it's old people who forget they have already voted) but it is _vastly_ reduced simply because of the nature of what CV means for the election as a whole.

Comment: Re:Then ID would be required (Score 1) 1089

by awol (#49298647) Attached to: Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US

One big problem with this plan for democrats: Voters would have to present ID to get credit for voting.

Nope, not a problem. I live in a compulsory voting regime. I show up in my electorate (now there's the trick), I give my name (no id) to the person who will give me my ballot paper. They cross it off from a big book (well a set of books, organised by family name). If everyone votes, then proving who you are is less of an issue because if you go to vote and your name has already been crossed off then there is a problem. At the end of the process they check (probably scan) the books for the absent voters, check those against the postal votes/absentee votes and then proceed with enforcement (such as it is).

They probably don't even do any of that until the result for that electorate is within the tolerance of the missing/absentee/questionable votes.

With 200m electors in a presidential election (even given the electoral colleges) you might do better with something a little more electronic. But the key is you don't need ID if everyone votes because everyone that has suffrage is just in the book and you only care about double ups and no shows.

Comment: Re:meanwhile (Score 1) 342

by awol (#49297987) Attached to: UK Chancellor Confirms Introduction of 'Google Tax'

I am a big fan of consumption taxes, however the tax is of itself a regressive tax. The prebate approach is the same that is used in the VAT world, it's just that the household is allowed to treat it's "necessities" as inputs and as such claim the CT, GST, VAT whatever you want to call it on those inputs. It's an interesting one. I have mixed feelings about the approach but it is certainly one way of addressing the inequities of flat consumption taxes.

PC Games (Games)

Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available 192

Posted by Soulskill
from the year-of-linux-on-the-console dept.
An anonymous reader writes: This week the Steam Linux client has crossed the threshold of having more than 1,000 native Linux games available while Steam in total has just under 5,000 games. This news comes while the reported Steam Linux market-share is just about 1.0%, but Valve continues brewing big plans for Linux gaming. Is 2015 the year of the Linux gaming system?

Comment: Physics doesn't work like that. (Score 5, Interesting) 54

The higher the frequency, the less penetration of solid objects you have.

At -that- frequency, it'll work well for extremely short range, indoor, communications. But as soon as you put something even slightly solid, or damp, in the way, the signal will get blocked.

Comment: Re:Cat and mouse... (Score 1) 437

by Phaid (#48730627) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

In a world of physical media, there was at least some plausibility to the notion of export restrictions and region coding.

I'm not sure how it ever made sense. Back in the '00s, I bought a $30 region-hackable DVD player from Sam's Club just to watch "They Live". The reason being, I could either buy the out of print Region 1 version from a third-party seller on Amazon for $150, or the in-print Region 2 version from amazon.co.uk for $5. I probably could have downloaded it from somewhere, but I was willing to throw a few dollars at it to have a legitimate copy (and I liked the idea of a region free player in any case). But hey, the studio made money, Sam's made money, and some Chinese DVD maker made money. Now, with region-locked streaming, they've managed to make it completely impossible to legitimately stream certain movies, so nobody makes money. I guess that's progress?

Comment: Re:What purpose is there for regions blocking (Score 1) 437

by awol (#48728209) Attached to: Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

The content providers license the program to a distributor in the region for >$. In Oz, for example, it is the paytv operator, which then uses that "desirable" program as a draw card for subscribers and hence advertising dollars and hopefully 6) $profit. If people can legitimately buy it from netflix they don't need the paytv intermediary.

So the content providers (HBO et al ) won't license, say, "Trade of Toilets" or "Zombie Apocalypse series 13" to Netflix in Australia since they are already contractually bound to FoxTel (the provider). They will probably always get a better price from the network distributor than the sum of the paid views from Netflix*.

*How soon before that changes? I expect that "unbundling" and IPTV will be the death of these deals so perhaps this is all a shortish term issue.

Comment: Re:Pullin' a Gates? (Score 1) 449

by awol (#48721743) Attached to: How We'll Program 1000 Cores - and Get Linus Ranting, Again

More than 20 years ago I had a full and frank exchange with a macweenie friend of mine where I posited that in the vast majority of cases the core "functionality" of the work we were doing was already within the capacity of the processors available at that time and the advances in speed that will come in the future will all be about enhancing the user experience of that core.

What I meant was that the calculating of the spreadsheet cells or redrawing the document window or .... was already doable by the current processor. It was the handwriting UI, or voice recognition or eye candy (or stuff I couldn't envisage, like parsing my email history to find the right advertisement to display :-) that would consume the CPU advances that were coming. When I say "OK Google what's the weather like today" and my cell phone tells me in a moderately human voice a 2 sentence forecast and displays a detailed weather page for my freakin' suburb. I kinda feel vindicated. When the address I was searching on my desktop is the first entry in the dropdown box on the GPS on my phone when I get in the car later that day. Same. (All points about the invasive nature of that connectivity duly noted).

The parent poster is absolutely right, this trend is ongoing and the amount of "work" that I can get my compute resources to do via more and more sophisticated interactions is only going to increase and the more encompassing that work becomes the more it can be broken down into smaller discrete and hence parallelizable tasks.

Having said all that.... my professional expertise is in quite high performance transactional software and Linus statement is absolutely true. I'll take cache size/control over a proliferation of cores any day, given a certain number of cores and within that all the goodness of branch prediction and ooo execution, four sounds about right. So much so that, we find situations where adding cores actually reduces our performance we suspect due to caching issues.

So in essence there are two trends. Form Linus's perspective he is right, the time spent on parallelism is not worth it. At a more macro level it is. Perhaps that macro level is n application software level rather than a system software level and hence the difference in view point.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.

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