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Comment: Infinite times infinite is macaroni and cheese (Score 2) 217

by RubberDogBone (#48944873) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

This idea that every possible choice I make spawns a whole other universe where I made a different choice has always seemed ludicrous. This sort of thing implies that my choice of every word in this sentence causes a universe -a whole universe with planets and black holes and telemarketers and tofu- to pop into existence, just because I decided to use 'tofu' earlier instead of using "marmalade" or some other word.

This means either the theory is wrong, or that causing a universe to exist is completely trivial and of no particular meaning. Which in turn implies that THIS universe that we live in is just a casual happenstance of some being's choice. Which means the big bang and everything else that we know and that every human being has ever known about anything is just absolute pap.

That may be the case but it's easier to accept the theory is just wrong.

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 0) 236

by RubberDogBone (#48925805) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

Excellent summary, and it points to a couple of the flaws with the Fermi paradox, all based on our own existence.

One, it assumes that advanced civilizations would either not know how to defend against a GRB, or would have no defense against it. A sufficiently advanced civilization, may, in fact, have ways to survive GRBs. Fermi assumes all would be as weak as we are and just drop dead. Is that a safe assumption?

Two, Fermi and basically all other astrobiological research areas focus on the idea that life exists only on planets, generally single planets similar to our own existence in this star system. However, a sufficiently advanced civilization would likely have more than one "home" world and may even inhabit constructed environments such as star ships or artificial planets. Humans even now strive to make these sorts of habitats and our science fiction is crammed full of such things, where the residents have no actual home world and spend their existence on a constructed vessel of some type. Despite embracing this in works of fiction and in our imaginations, we exclude this possibility from the search for life and from things like the Drake equation and Fermi's paradox. We're busy looking for microbes on Mars, not an artificial planet or large ship or Dyson sphere.

If in fact advanced civilizations are able to migrate and move around as they wish, or at least have multiple home worlds, they could certainly anticipate and potentially avoid GRBs or at least the terminating impact. Indeed it could be argued that any civilization that could NOT survive a GRB, would not deserve to be deemed advanced.

Comment: Fear! (Score 3, Insightful) 461

by RubberDogBone (#48911711) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Let me get this straight.

Cops have guns, shotguns, assault rifles, armored tanks, armed robots, tasers, pepper sprays, billy clubs, body armor, police shocks, police engines, police cars, police radios, helicopters, and the power of law behind them.

But they are afraid of an app.

Comment: Re:"The" black box ? (Score 4, Interesting) 95

by RubberDogBone (#48789181) Attached to: AirAsia QZ8501 Black Box Found

Wish I had mod points, but then I would not get to say Bravo for nailing it.

AF447 was clearly CFIT. Nothing stopped the crew from preventing the crash except their own belief that they knew better than the systems they relied upon basically ALL the other time they were flying. But once, over the ocean and in a storm, they knew better.

I never understand how drivers flying heavys suddenly think they can do the seat-of-the-pants thing like they're flying a barnstormer, much less at the very moment when all their skill needs to come to play. But it happens. AF447 was not the first time raw ego flew into terrain and it won't be the last, unfortunately.

This Air Asia plane probably broke up in weather from the sound of the wreckage. Why it didn't do more to evade the weather is going to a good question. Boxes will tell the story.

Comment: The POINT went right over your head (Score 1) 182

by RubberDogBone (#48772367) Attached to: Four Facepalm Bugs In USPS Label-Printing Site

Of COURSE their system is broken! You missed the point entirely.

The purpose of ANYTHING the USPS does is to get you to come to a branch and stand in line. Essentially they want you to be so frustrated and give up that you come stand in line. So they can try to upsell you on stuff you don't want, mainly because you might be weak after spending an hour in line and just agree to whatever is suggested.

This is why the USPS has carefully removed nearly all the stamp vending machines they used to have in every Post Office lobby, why they got rid of the automated mailing kiosks (and those that remain are often broken and simply tell you to go stand in line), and at the same time, they have cut back on the number of clerks working so the line -which you pretty much HAVE to stand in- is as slow and long as possible.

Where a retail store would offer options to customers, open more lines, stay open later in the day or on weekends, the USPS steadfastly does exactly the opposite. The lines are long. YOU HAVE TO STAND IN THEM and forget picking up mail after work. No. You have to take time off. Sucker.

Compare this to Fedex: Their online shipping system is just amazing. And it works. And it's simple. They will come get your package or, at least in town, I can drop it off at their facility as late as 10:00 at night and there's never a line. It just works.

They just added a print kiosk to their lobby so even if you don't have a printer, you can still prepare the entire shipment ahead of time and just scan a QR on your phone to pull up the label, print it, stick it, and done. It's awesome.

The USPS, forget it. I stood in like there yesterday for 40 minutes while the one clerk working argued with a customer about a PO box issue. Nobody opened a second line although there were plenty of clerks standing around behind the counter and a line of customers that grew and filled in behind me, probably 30 deep.


So yes the website is broken. Come stand in line. THAT is your fix. Where is my consulting fee?

Comment: ASCAP/BMI (Score 1) 180

by RubberDogBone (#48687701) Attached to: Sony Accused of Pirating Music In "The Interview"

Normally a standard ASCAP/BMI license would cover using a song like this in a TV show. I don't know how movies handle licensing but supposing it is the same, then Sony has to attribute the song (and supposedly is IS listed in the credits roll), cut a check to the copyright holder and performer, and then cut a check to ASCAP or whichever company is doing the rep for the song. End of issue.

And by TV standards, which again may not be the same as in movies, the production does not need permission to use the song. They just need to properly credit the work and pay the fees. And then the artists won't actually see any money but that is a whole other story.

Sony was probably looking at $50,000 for using this song legally. If they did not in fact pay that fee, it will cost more now.

Comment: Show me the relevance (Score 2) 222

by RubberDogBone (#48630695) Attached to: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

If Yahoo wants to be relevant, they should show people like me how Yahoo matters. Right now, I can't think of any Yahoo products I use even once a year, and this is not new. It goes back years like this.

Possibly the only thing I "use" at all is email through my ISP: they outsourced it to Yahoomail, but I don't actually USE it; I have GMAIL POP it for me and never actually touch the Yahoo interface -which is an ancient address I never actually use so it's not like I even care really. If GMAIL didn't let me handle it, that account would sit for years untouched. Irrelevant.

Anyway, Yahoo, why should I care? How would my life be better if I used Yahoo stuff to do what I manage just fine without? I don't really see it. More importantly, I don't feel like I NEED Yahoo. And what Yahoo needs is people like me to feel like they MUST HAVE YAHOO, and that is exactly what I don't feel.


Comment: Re:So it is not an accurate Documentary Film? (Score 1) 289

by RubberDogBone (#48494855) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

The movie has enough plot problems for several movies. Most of the first half of the movie is pointless and adds nothing, NASA apparently built their meeting room UNDER the nozzles of a rocket motor (ala James Bond Moonraker where they use a similar set to try to KILL Bond), and despite tons of contractors working there, nobody knows about this NASA base.

Then there is the preexisting spaceship (huh?) and the wormhole we blindly trust even though nobody knows how it got there. Going through said wormhole it inexplicably has the same "clanking boat winch" sound effect used in every other Hollywood movie -who knew wormholes sounded like cheap clanking?

And once they find Dr. Mann, he's (golly gee) gone nutso and of course has a sabotaged base waiting. Nobody but Hollywood would do this. An unstable astronaut like that would never get into space. And despite being in space alone for decades he somehow knows how to fly the lander ship and attempt to dock.

But that's OK, later on the hero steals a ship from the far future and somehow knows how to fly it, too. Alone. Back into the wormhole where nobody else in the future has apparently bothered to look, not even once. Huh?

Anyway, the soundtrack is actually fantastic. It holds a huge amount of the angst of the movie, and listened to alone, it stuck me that the film is held together by the moodiness of the music. All the somber, grim bleakness comes from the music because frankly the plot and acting can't hold it together alone. I would not go see the movie again -it is pretty but not worth a second viewing. However the music is going to be on my favorite lists for a long time, but ONLY when I am already in a good mood. Some of the tracks are just so depressing and hopeless.... it takes courage to listen.

Comment: Impossible mission (Score 1) 574

by RubberDogBone (#48316923) Attached to: The Great IT Hiring He-Said / She-Said

The company where I work created a new position to gather and present internal statistics for use in forecasting and project management and other things. This newly created job required a degree in something, several years of experience in statistics, and several years of experience in the custom-built statistics engine and toolset we had just created within our company. The product literally didn't exist a month prior to this job being created and it wasn't based on any off the shelf solution.

Also, it was going to pay a pretty low starting salary (we never pay new hires anything worth mentioning; if you can't actually speak any language and may or may not be legal, we love you but we won't pay you jack) and require relocating (not paid relocation mind you), in my case.

My bosses boss put very strong pressure on me to apply for this job. They wanted to hire internally, you know. Not bring in a newbie. I refused on the grounds that the job requirements meant I didn't qualify -and in fact it was not possible for any living being short of a time lord to have had ANY experience with this toolset much less the years experience stipulated. The sort of network access needed to gather the raw numbers needed was also clearly impossible to get and nobody would lift a finger to help with something like this. I could see the fail written all over it, so I refused.

The eventually hired an intern or something. They quit after a week.

Comment: TETRA is now being used in the US, too (Score 1) 215

by RubberDogBone (#48245931) Attached to: "Police Detector" Monitors Emergency Radio Transmissions

TETRA systems are now active in the USA: the FCC approved them under Part 90 two years ago, following trials in NJ and NY, among other places.

It is just going to be another digital option besides MOTOTRBO, P25, DMR, NEXEDGE etc. TETRA gear is cheap and proven so it should sell well, eventually. Pity a lot of it looks like old Nokia 5900 phones though.

Anyway, I question the value of such a detector device. Digital and analog two-way radio is used for so many things that have nothing to do with law enforcement, and/or law enforcement is using them for things other than coming after you, all in relatively close range. The thing is going to be going off constantly for no real reason.

For example, about 10 different law agencies cover my particular area and there's three different police stations within a few miles of me, not to mention fire, transit, and half a dozen other very active users. And that doesn't even include the private radio leasing companies which have their own trunk systems running EDACS. And then there are the stores using handhelds, hams, and who knows what else. Everybody is using two-way.

Basically merely knowing somebody is around using a two-way radio means nothing.

Comment: No incentive = why would they want it anyway? (Score 2) 558

by RubberDogBone (#48238817) Attached to: Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Why would CVS or RiteAid want Apple Pay anyway? If a shopper has bothered to come to the store, select items to buy and then go checkout, chances are they want the items relatively more than someone who hasn't gone to that effort. The stores of course support several different existing methods of payment which work just fine from their perspective. The customer is likely to pay anyway.

Perfect? No. There are middlemen involved in the transaction but it's a system everyone more or less tolerates. Extremely complicated financial deals are behind every card terminal you see in a store. None of that stuff just happens. It's all very carefully planned.

Along comes Apple which puts themselves into play as yet another layer of middlemen, one which the stores have zero control over and one which is outside their established payment process. It also runs counter to their own payment initiative which they have agreed to support exclusively. So what Apple tried to do was an end-run around the established players AND they did it using the existing installed card terminals. NOBODY piggybacks like Apple tried to do without having some major skin in the game. You try stunts like that, you are going to get your hand burned.

So, Apple is at once both another layer of middlemen interference and also potentially a contract issue for the other payment product. Apple was too late to the game. And from the store's perspective again, you have a cart full of stuff, you aren't going to just walk away, you'll probably pay with another method so they have nothing to lose really buy rejecting Apple Pay. Same for GooglePay which I never saw in the wild. Whatever.

Apple has a habit of intruding on entrenched turf and taking on the existing players. They did it with phones. But payment systems are a much more spread out target where everyone has their own idea of what they want and most of them think it works just fine as is, including the customers. Nobody who mattered much was asking for NFC payments. Apple has been pushing this, suddenly, so it's up to Apple to tell everyone why they should want it. It's totally on them. Until they do that, until they make some inroads at the card terminal issuers, Apple Pay is going to be limited.

Time-sharing is the junk-mail part of the computer business. -- H.R.J. Grosch (attributed)