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Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 1) 243

by Theaetetus (#49359489) Attached to: Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad Thinks He Doesn't Use E-mail

No way in hell!

She is part of the problem. Old, corrupt, polarizing, etc.

Literally every president - and candidate - since Reagan has been called "polarizing". Look at Romney with his whole "47% of the country will never vote for me, so we need to focus on the remaining 53% to win" thing. Why is it an issue now?

Comment: Re:Truth in Labeling: Require a sign on the door. (Score 2) 873

by Theaetetus (#49339883) Attached to: Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill

Proposed: Any store can refuse service to anyone. "No shirt, no shoes, no service". And to make this effective, the store must post its refusal criteria on the door, or within (x) feet of the door, in letters at least 3 inches tall, clearly legible before a customer enters the store, in order to avoid any misunderstandings.

Yeah, that's never been abused before...

Comment: Re:This test is impossible and pointless. (Score 1) 515

by Theaetetus (#49337825) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

well, my team is a product team within a big software company. We aren't allowed to actively pursue hires. There's red tape and stuff. We've been given the green light to hire only 2 times in the past 4 years. Our candidates are handed down from HR. I don't believe that our lack of female team members has anything to do with my team. But I DO think it is strange that I have never even seen a female candidate since joining this team.

Maybe it's an issue with HR at your company, not passing resumes of women to you.

Comment: Re:This test is impossible and pointless. (Score 1) 515

by Theaetetus (#49335231) Attached to: A Bechdel Test For Programmers?

I work on a team of 10 people. my understanding is that about 15% of the entire software workforce is women. given those numbers, it is unsurprising to me that a random sampling of 10 software engineers will contain no women.

Sure, but your earlier comment was that you haven't even seen a woman candidate in years. Unless you've also never seen any male candidates and have maintained the same team through that period, than that random sampling should be much more than 10. And depending on how many resumes you've received and interviews conducted, seeing no women candidates could start looking very strange statistically.

So, industry-wide, sure, it's a thing for sociologists and educators. But your team personally? Maybe there's something you've missed in your position advertising that convinces women never to apply.

Comment: Re:Would this be a good game to play with kids? (Score 1) 256

by Theaetetus (#49279331) Attached to: SimCity's Empire Has Fallen and Skylines Is Picking Up the Pieces

I have a 9-year old and 11-year old, both into Minecraft, and I thought this might be a fun way to spend a few hours a week together.


I think you'd be fine. As people mentioned, the roads can be a bit difficult, but take your time (put the game on pause when doing a bunch of road building) and have fun.

Comment: Re:I know we don't like EA... (Score 3, Insightful) 256

by Theaetetus (#49279213) Attached to: SimCity's Empire Has Fallen and Skylines Is Picking Up the Pieces

I can work around em, but yea... when my trains all get piled up it is a problem...

and cars going to the right lane miles before their exit causing a backup with cars merging on is a problem too...

As others have noted, this is realistic. There's also a real-world solution for it - exits should occur before merges. That way, there's an empty lane for cars to merge into. By having a merge before the exit, as highway throughput increases, you experience jams.

Comment: Re:Aren't these already compromised cards? (Score 3, Interesting) 269

by Theaetetus (#49277483) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

But of course, the person who is stealing your credit card info is most likely your waiter, and they have a minute or two with your card over at the POS to copy down the CVV manually.

And this is why the United States needs to move to EMV (Chip & Pin) like the rest of the world. Rather than the waiter taking your card away, they bring you a hand-held terminal, which you then take and perform the last portion of the contract yourself, with the card never leaving your hands.

Yep. Great system, though a little awkward when tipping and they're standing over you staring as you go to push the 10- no, 15- no, [gulp] 20% button. Maybe that's why they don't tip much in Europe.

That said, there's a reason why the US is moving to Chip & Signature cards, but not Chip & PIN. The banks will tell you it's because they don't want to confuse or scare their customers who can't learn new systems, but the real answer is that legally, if there's fraud on regular credit cards or chip & signature, the banks can charge it back to the merchant, who must have failed to verify the signature or ID of the purchaser. If there's fraud on chip & PIN cards, legally, the banks have to eat it. So they're not moving to that until they have to.

Comment: Re:So, not really stereo (Score 1) 82

by Theaetetus (#49277169) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

Not really anything regarding stereo, but how to digitally recreate a 3D space and provide the resultant acoustic signature to stereo headphones? So, you could digitally model Carnegie Hall, or a warehouse, or a coffee shop, and if you know the locations of your point sources of audio you can then create what the room would sound like based on a given listener location and orientation? It sounds (a bit like) raytracing for audio, with the format allowing a standardized way to define the space.

Yes? No? For once, I think we actually need an *article* to go with this abstract, or at least a Bennet Haselton-style rant* as the summary.

*except factual, useful, and correct.

Kind of... You know how, even though you only have two ears, you can still determine whether a sound is coming from in front of you, behind you, above you, below you, etc.? You don't need 5 ears or 7 ears or whatever surround-sound standard you think of, and yet you still get a great 3D image. It has to do with some complicated math our brains are instinctively doing, measuring the interaural phase differences of low frequency signals received at each ear, and interaural timing and amplitude differences of high frequency signals. A signal from your right that gets to your right ear has to travel an additional foot and a half or so to get to your left ear, and that results in a phase difference for a signal with a long wavelength (say, below around 800 Hz) or a time and amplitude difference for signals with shorter wavelengths.
Additionally, your ears are not symmetrical, but have a small reflector at the front, a curved reflector along the top and back, etc., and these reflectors have specific reflective and absorptive bandwidths, so signals coming from different directions (above you, below you, etc.) are filtered in slightly different ways.

All of these features make up the head-related transfer function (HRTF) that acts as a filter on a signal based on its frequency and 3-dimensional position around your head.

As an aside, binaural recordings are typically done with things that look like headphones, but are actually microphones placed very close to the engineer's ears, so that the audio they pick up is affected by the HRTF. When you play the recording back over headphones, you get incredible 3D audio. And Neumann makes the KU 100 head-on-a-stick binaural microphone that actually has rubbery ears and microphones placed where eardrums would be.

This standard defines ways to store and process the HRTF so that recordings can be decoded by binaural processors for playback in earbuds or headphones. Importantly, it allows a recording to be stored in a format capable of multiple ways of decoding, so that you can have one track that you can play in surround sound from your speakers, or load up on your phone and play through ear buds, and still get a great 3D environment (binaural recordings don't work effectively through speakers, and surround sound collapses down to stereo through ear buds; this allows one file to play on both).

Comment: Re:Could be promising (Score 3, Insightful) 82

by Theaetetus (#49277021) Attached to: 3D Audio Standard Released

> but also because I can get much better sound quality out of headphones for a fraction of the price of comparable speakers.

Doubtful. The distance between your ears and your headphones are far from long enough to experience lower frequencies.

That makes no sense, both from a physics standpoint and a common sense standpoint. For the former, sound is varying air pressure over time. Distance doesn't come into it, and you don't need to run around in a space to hear low frequencies.

For the latter, the distance between ear buds and your eardrum are approximately what, half an inch? Sound travels at about 1000 ft/sec, or conversely, has a wavelength of 1 ft at 1kHz, 1 inch at 12 kHz, and a half-inch at 24kHz. If your ability to hear low frequency depended on the distance between your ear and the source, then no one wearing earbuds could hear anything below 24 kHz, right? And since most people can't hear above 20kHz, then ear buds would just be silence generators, right?

Or, if you wanted to hear the rumble of an approaching train in the distance, you wouldn't put your ear on the track because "the distance between it and your ear wouldn't be enough to hear low frequencies" and instead, you'd want to stand several feet away?

In fact, as noted above, the wavelength of 1 kHz sound wave in air is 1 ft. At 100 Hz, it's 10ft, and at 20 Hz, it's 50 ft. How many people have 50 feet between their ears and their speakers? Or even 10 feet in most living rooms?

Your post makes no sense, no matter how you think about it.

Comment: Re:Aren't these already compromised cards? (Score 4, Informative) 269

by Theaetetus (#49276875) Attached to: Fraud Rampant In Apple Pay

I always assumed CCV was designed to offer basic protection against incidental photographs of the card being taken, and other situations where only one side of the card has been compromised.

Not really - Amex puts its CCV on the front of the card. The real purpose is that the CCV isn't encoded in the magnetic strip, and isn't embossed, so theoretically, someone using a magnetic swiper to steal data or someone dumpster diving for those old carbon paper-imprint style records would get the numbers but not the CVV.

But of course, the person who is stealing your credit card info is most likely your waiter, and they have a minute or two with your card over at the POS to copy down the CVV manually.

Comment: Re:Funny thing... (Score 2) 229

by Theaetetus (#49219607) Attached to: Listen To a Microsoft Support Scam As It Happened

Windows are a horrible magnet for this because they're popular, not because they're difficult to use. If Macs had the same market share, they would get targeted too.

If so, why aren't iOS devices a target for this?
And Macs are known for being high-priced toys for rich yuppies with more disposable income than sense, hence the $10k gold iWatch, right? Aren't those exactly the sort of people you want to scam, rather than Joe Schmoe with his 10 year old Stinkpad and $20 in his checking account?

Comment: Solution: $5 wrench and the phone company's CEO (Score 3, Funny) 79

by Theaetetus (#49206283) Attached to: FTC Announces $50k In Prizes For Robocaller Trap Software
As per the XKCD comic, the solution is a social one, not a technical one. Spam callers spoof their numbers, which is why they're so difficult to block, but caller ID spoofing is explicitly allowed by the phone companies, who let the spammers specify a "calling from" number to be included in the caller ID data. However, the phone company knows exactly where the real call is coming from and who is making it - that's how they bill the company for the 20,000 phone calls they make every month.

And why does the phone company do this? Because the spammers pay them decent money, and most people don't realize that the phone company's involved, so they get mad at the spammers and not AT&T or Verizon.

So, the solution is to send a burly man with a wrench to the CEO's office and ask him politely to stop letting companies specify different caller ID numbers, if he would like his kneecaps to remain intact.

Comment: Re:I never understood the recent patent reform (Score 1) 99

by Theaetetus (#49181571) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

Switching from "first to invent" to "first to file" makes no sense to me. If you're working on something for several years and some asshat hacks your computer, copies all the data, then files the patent, why should they get credit for it?

If you can show that they did, they won't.

As to why it makes sense - the rest of the world uses a first to file system, only the US was different. This harmonizes patent law and makes it more predictable for businesses, which is a good thing. And finally, despite hundreds of posters on Slashdot telling you how big a change this was and how it guts patent law, the switch from first to invent to first to file affects about 20 patent applications per year, out of half a million filed - there were, on average, only 20 interference proceedings each year, which is where there's a dispute on who invented something first. They were horribly expensive (upwards of $30-50k) and time consuming, and they occurred only after you filed your application and went through full examination... so someone could be already out $25k getting an allowable patent and then be hit with another $50k trying to show they invented it before someone else. Instead, now you can just point to the filing date and save money.

Beyond that, I don't understand how some filers seem to be able to get patents in a few months while others take YEARS to even get reviewed. Something doesn't smell right here.

Not at all - there's a process called accelerated examination, which, for a substantial fee, pushes your application to the top of the queue. People in fast moving technologies like software tend to go for that, while people in slow moving technologies like pharmaceuticals tend to prefer waiting YEARS, since they're in FDA trials and can't actually sell any product. By allowing a fast track and slow track, everyone benefits.

And then there's the patent troll problem. Why has nobody put forth legislation that requires the patent holder to also be the applier of the technology?

Because that would make MIT, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, CalTech, etc. very, very sad and gut their research departments.

Comment: Re:Necissary, not sufficient. (Score 1) 99

by Theaetetus (#49181447) Attached to: Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

The problem with the current system is that the PTO has taken the approach of only rejecting patents if they can find documented evidence that someone has done the exact same thing before. If there is a single independent claim for which they can't find exact prior art in a timely manner, then they approve the patent, regardless of how similar it is to other prior art. They deliberately ignore the obviousness of the patent because they don't want to have to defend subjective decisions against appeal.

The recent Supreme Court rulings have forcefully asserted that this is not acceptable. The law clearly states that obviousness is one of the criteria for patentability and therefore the USPTO and courts must take that into consideration when deciding patentability.

Do you have a citation for any of your claims? Because I've got a half dozen patent applications on my desk under obviousness rejections, and I'd love to be able to push them aside because the PTO didn't actually issue them.

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business