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Comment: Re:A smart phone is rarely convenient (Score 1) 248

by VanessaE (#49052129) Attached to: Smart Homes Often Dumb, Never Simple

You're right that a timer's a bad idea for your use-case, so how about something else? This seems simple enough, if a bit simplistic:

You've always got your smartphone with you, or most people do - certainly just about anyone who would have any interest in the "smart home" market, I would think. In any case, put the phone to work in the *right* way: there are apps that use the radio in the phone to triangulate its position to within a few dozen meters based on cell towers and neighboring wifi hotspots. Make another such app, or hook into an existing one, adding a function to calculate line-of-sight distance from your phone to your house's coordinates on the map.

At home, your smart-home controller would have a live, secure connection to a central server of some kind, waiting for commands.

* Triangulate the phone's position once per minute, in a background task.
* At each interval, if the location resolves to within some "close enough to the house" distance, say 5 miles, send an event the main part of the app.
* That event would cause the app to make a secure connection to the aforementioned server, over which it would send a single "power up the climate control, lights, etc" packet. The triangulation event would then be set to, say, 1 hour.
* The app also could listen for an event from the triangulation routine for "leaving home" also, with a threshold that's a bit more distant than the "coming home" value, say 6 miles. The triangulation interval would reset to 1 minute and a "turn everything off" packet would be sent at this point.

Options to immediately send "power up now" and "power down now" packets (setting appropriate polling intervals in either case) could be offered.

Such an app should show a clear indication of its distance calculation and what the last command was that was sent, and if possible, some status info from the house's controller.

Comment: Re:Action movies are boring. (Score 1) 332

Same reason I never understood the "Gold Pressed Latinum" nonsense. Even if you couldn't replicate it, what would you buy with it? Everything is free.

Because not every culture used replicators to the same extent as Federation cultures did. Remember who were the biggest proponents of latinum-based economics? The Ferengi, who were all about gaining wealth by pretty much any means; their entire culture is built around gaining material wealth. A replicator needs feedstock in addition to energy, and those don't necessarily HAVE to be free.

Voila, there's your money-based economy in the face of replicator technology.

Comment: Re:Revelation 9:1 (Score 2) 129

by VanessaE (#48529111) Attached to: How Astronomers Will Take the "Image of the Century": a Black Hole

Except....that a black home has a bottom. There's nothing infinite about them, except in some formulas (i.e. the _mathematical_ singularity at the center). If the black hole is big enough (around 150 billion solar masses), you could even stand more or less comfortably on its surface, normal earth-like gravity, provided the radiation doesn't kill you.

Comment: Re:What PSY is costing YouTube (Score 2) 164

by VanessaE (#48520013) Attached to: Gangnam Style Surpasses YouTube's 32-bit View Counter

If the values are straight storage, well that's an extra 4 bytes per video for the count. Some quick googling turns up a couple of figures that aren't too terribly old, and which don't actually add up to much:

As of 2008, there were around 83M videos on YouTube, so that's 332 MB for storage for the counters, assuming every video's record were updated and the count data is stored uncompressed. I'd guess double that amount for 2014, but I couldn't find a reliable figure.

Currently, about 4 billion videos are watched per day (!), so allowing for four extra digits on the displayed "watched" count, that would add up to 16 GB of added bandwidth, were every one of those videos to significantly exceed the former 32-bit counter.

Comment: Re:Humans are supposed to be vegan (Score 1) 252

by VanessaE (#48451601) Attached to: Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood

Just because YOU say humans are somehow supposed to be vegan does not make it "normal" either; humans don't have razor sharp teeth and claws, but we evolved the intelligence to develop simple weapons and tools to make killing for food and cooking it efficient enough for humanity to thrive.

Your argument is invalid.

Comment: Re:A few hundred extrasolar planets (Score 3, Informative) 80

by VanessaE (#47966011) Attached to: Astrophysicists Identify the Habitable Regions of the Entire Universe

Well for starters, the observable universe is something closer to 90 billion light years across, not 14 (or 28). The universe's *age* is about 13.7 billion years or thereabouts. You can thank the inflationary period after the Big Bang for that difference. It's the space itself that's expanding and *pushing* or *carrying* the matter with it.

Space can expand/move far faster than the speed of light - that universal speed limit simply doesn't apply to the fabric of spacetime itself. Same idea that makes warp drive so appealing.

Comment: There are alternatives... (Score 2) 174

by VanessaE (#47947911) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

I don't mean to advertise here, but if language, "adult content" and so on is as big a problem as it's being made out to be on Minecraft servers, you might want to try an alternative game instead.

Those of us who run Minetest (the open source game/engine) usually very careful about policing the users on our servers, to the point at least that adult discussions are usually not tolerated at all, and coarse language/cursing is usually equally shunned. Sometimes, depending on the server, it's okay to "blur" your curses if they're not directed at someone in an insulting manner.

Some servers have PvP enabled, but I guess most server owners have that turned off.

We're small, and we're not Minecraft, but I think we do okay, and besides - its fun.

Freenode channel #minetest or http://minetest.net/ if you want to take a look. And no, it's not supposed to be a Minecraft clone and it does not use any code or assets from that game. It's just supposed to be similar enough to appeal to same "sandbox" audience.

Full disclosure: I am a modder and texture pack author for this project and have contributed a couple of small things to the engine.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir

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