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Comment: Re:If they hadn't brought their drone (Score 2) 1127

by bill_beeman (#39111421) Attached to: Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group

The actual unstated major assumption here is that the RC helicopter actually was fired at. We have nothing more than the claim of a spokesman for these "activists."
Where's video of damage consistent with birdshot on the RC helicopter?

I note that their supporters seem to have a major knowledge deficit regarding firearms; notice the inability to distinguish between rifles and shotguns, and between birdshot and bullets.

Comment: Re:Hours (Score 2) 997

by bill_beeman (#34871566) Attached to: Are 10-11 Hour Programming Days Feasible?

I've worked this sort of schedule, and the quality of output falls.

I've also had a job or two where it was more watch-standing instead of requiring constant high level thought. You can get away with it longer there.

Were I asked to do it now I would immediately start job-hunting. It might take a while to get something better, but any manager that would ask that now, with no significant additional compensation offer will be a problem forever.

Comment: Re:Hmm (Score 1) 941

by bill_beeman (#31191356) Attached to: PA School Spied On Students Via School-Issued Laptop Webcams

I absolutely don't feel sorry for the local taxpayers who have elected a board of such staggering incompetence as to bless this administrative voyeurism project. There should be personal liability for the administrators who have been peeping away, both civil and criminal.

If we turn idiots loose to govern in our name, we're ultimately responsible for their actions...in this case by the taxpayers of that district taking a (hopefully) heavy hit in the pocketbook.

And I don't excuse the tech folks that implemented this scheme. They had to either be totally blind to the implications of this, or knowingly complicit. They should share in the liability as well.

Comment: Re:That would be all well and good (Score 1) 461

by bill_beeman (#31178804) Attached to: FCC Proposes 100Mbps Minimum Home Broadband Speed

At least in California that 'focus on forcing the telcos to expand broadband coverage" has been futile. After the SBC (now AT&T) takeover of Pacific Bell the promised expansion flat died.

The current California PUC has been persuaded that reselling Hughes Satellite service is equivalent to real broadband. If you've ever been stuck on satellite you well know that it is clearly not true broadband, between the horrible latency that is inherent in the technology, and the narrow caps of usage that are go with satellite.

Officially, AT&T broadband is coming. Unofficially, AT&T techs say they've been told that 'never' is the correct term. So yes, I'd like to see them prodded. And I'm not too particular whether its the state PUC or the FCC.

Comment: Re:VOIP sucks. (Score 5, Informative) 426

by bill_beeman (#30606230) Attached to: AT&T Readying For the End of Analog Landlines

Actually, a very large number of us. Since the entity now called AT&T acquired Pacific Bell, extension of broadband to rural areas has ground to a halt, their public relations comments notwithstanding.

There's no cell service at my location, no terrestrial IP provider, leaving me with satellite. Given the high latency and bandwidth caps it's not a real substitute. I'd cheerfully abandon POTS, but we're screwed if we do. VOIP over satellite doesn't work. Comcast came through the neighborhood a couple of years ago, putting brackets on the line poles, but abandoned the project as soon as AT&T quit talking about expanding DSL.

I'm hardly in the back of beyond...just a few miles from Grass Valley in California, and my situation is not unusual.

So yes, the answer is that real, usable IP is out of reach for many of us.

Comment: Re:No fair way to write regulations? (Score 1) 636

by bill_beeman (#30438602) Attached to: "Loud Commercial" Legislation Proposed In US Congress

multisync above hit on one of the major problems, but it is more than simple compression of commercials.

First, there are significant psycho-acoustic effects...material delivered in an urgent tone of voice is perceived as louder than material delivered in a relaxed pace.
Second, almost all material you hear has had significant processing...more than simple compression.
Third, we've been trying to develop a means of metering audio levels that allow the metered level to actually correspond to perceived loudness for as long as I've been in broadcast engineering, with no success. We can meter peak levels easily, average power levels with some difficulty, and perceived loudness not at all.

If you wanted to ban all audio processing you could get closer, but still not have a way to account for the psychological part of the equation. The advertiser may have an incentive to make his or her stuff louder, but you don't really sell product by irritating the potential customer. And the broadcaster has no reason to jack up commercials. Some of the apparent increase in this has come in recent years as the master control operations for both cable, satellite, and terrestrial broadcast has become more automated. If the automation is well done you decrease some classes of errors, but there is seldom a trained ear paying attention any more.

There is no distinction between any AI program and some existent game.

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