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Comment: And done elsewhere (Score 1) 229

by Sycraft-fu (#47440405) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

In Tucson 10%ish of the drinking water comes from reclaimed water (aka filtered sewage). Makes sense in an area with not a lot of fresh water resources. Also in those areas you can have different kinds. You can purchase a non-potable (not for consumption) water source for irrigation. Again, reclaimed water, but it undergoes less filtering and thus is cheaper. Plenty of larger places get a hookup to keep their watering costs down.

It is a very sensible way of doing things and you actually have more control of purity than water that comes out of the ground.

Comment: Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (Score 1) 427

by Jeremi (#47436309) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Many police departments now have a policy of not performing chases for non-violent crimes because, statistically, you're more likely to kill bystanders by chasing than by letting the criminal drive off.

Given that it's a Tesla (and a dealer-owned one at that), was a chase necessary at all? I suspect that Tesla Corp could have given the police a live feed of the car's GPS co-ordinates at any time?

Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 490

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards. http://audio.rightmark.org/tes...

Comment: Re:Life on Mars? (Score 3, Insightful) 265

by Jeremi (#47420771) Attached to: Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

No one will EVER live in a permanent space colony. Sorry.

While I share your pessimistic outlook for the foreseeable future, forever is a really long time. Are you willing to say that absolutely nobody will be living in a permanent space colony in 100 years? 500 years? 10,000 years? If so, what makes you so certain?

Comment: Re:Devil's Advocate (Score 1) 309

by CRCulver (#47417535) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service
In US law it has long been recognized that private letters between two living people cannot be published without consent. Only a paraphrase can be published. It's perfectly reasonable to hold that this extends to private photos taken between two parties on the understanding that these will stay published. Case law hasn't been settled yet, and state legislatures are only beginning to take up the matter, so it's not so simple as you make it out to be.

Comment: Re:ridiculous (Score 2) 586

by Jeremi (#47415929) Attached to: Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software

Experience and training is not very important as long as you know how to write good code that's efficient and makes sense to others.

And how did you learn to write good code that's efficient and make sense to others? Maybe you're the rare case of a person that can just intuit what is good code and what isn't, but I think most developers (including myself) learn how to write good code by first writing lots of bad code, and then suffering the consequences until they learn from experience what works and what doesn't.

Comment: They don't care about the cards (Score 1) 349

by Sycraft-fu (#47409003) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 110

by Sycraft-fu (#47408593) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

It doesn't take in to account the net speeds that people have. So you might well have a provider who has no problem doing HD video from Youtube all day every day, on lines that can handle it. However they sell slower lines and some customers have that, so that skews things.

Like say a phone company offers ADSL and IDSL for customers who are way out in the boonies, but VDSL for people in the city. Well those slow connections will bring down their stats, even if their network is quite fast and makes them look bad, despite them actually being the only option for some people.

A somewhat similar deal with cable companies can be people using old hardware. DOCSIS 2 cable modems only use one channel per segment, and those can get saturated these days. Well cable providers tend to be DOCSIS 3 to deal with that... but not everyone has a new modem. The cable company can recommend they get one, but if it is your equipment they can't make you (I guess other than cutting you off but they don't wanna do that).

Comment: Re:Amusing... (Score 2) 283

by Jeremi (#47407395) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

To the people who hired you, the most important thing is getting the product to work reliably so they can start making money with it. It won't matter at all how pretty the chart bubbles are in the design document, if the program crashes or is otherwise unusable. So score one for the talented programmers there.

Which is not to say software engineering isn't important -- only that exactly how important it is will vary with the size of the project. e.g. for a smaller project like a script or a one-off data processing program, just about any design (or no design) can be made to work well enough. For a large program (or one that will eventually grow into a large program), detailed software engineering is necessary to prevent its eventual collapse under the weight of its own complexity.

Comment: Re:GPS on Mars (Score 1) 104

by JWSmythe (#47405685) Attached to: ESA Shows Off Quadcopter Landing Concept For Mars Rovers

I'd love to see something like that functional. It could really change what we're doing there. quadcopter or quadcopter/fixed wing hybrids, could do really well exploring the surface of Mars. It's not like there's a rush to get anywhere. They could lay out with solar panels extended for weeks to charge, and then fly for miles. It wouldn't be practical for moving lots of equipment, but it could grab samples and bring them back to the rover/base.

They'd need to take into consideration those pesky sandstorms though. It's not a great place for an aircraft, unless they can automatically secure it. Like have a screw anchor it to the ground (like a tent screw or dog tiedown), and a cover to extend over it and secure itself. Then there's the matter of digging itself out after the storm without killing the batteries.

Of course you can't flap your arms and fly to the moon. After a while you'd run out of air to push against.

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