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Comment: Re:2014 (Score 1) 67

Twitter shows you comments in most-recent-first mode, which is sometimes confusing when news breaks. A few weeks back my twitter feed was filling up with things like
"[dog emoji] [knife emoji] [knide] [knife] !!!"
and it took a while to get down to the comments about "there's a new vulnerability called 'Poodle' out today."

Comment: Medical / nursing school capacities (Score 1) 616

by billstewart (#48283129) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

Maybe Obama did something about this quietly, but I'd think one of the first things he should have done was worked to increase medical school capacities for training doctors and nurses, along with making it easier for immigrant doctors and nurses to get licensed here. Sure, it's a long-term activity that wouldn't significantly improve health care costs or availability during his two terms, and maybe the next batch of Republicans would take credit for it, but it's still critically important.

A lot of us baby boomers are going to be retiring, or even if we can't afford to retire we'll still be getting old and decrepit. And a lot of doctors are boomers, partly because everybody recognized that as a good job when we were growing up (both financial and social good), and it was before the tech booms turned everybody into software entrepreneurs, and also we had fewer kids than our parents' generation (the Millennials are catching up demographically, but with the economy and student loan problems, fewer of them can afford med school, and med school capacities are still limited.)

Comment: It turns out to work really well (Score 1) 616

by billstewart (#48283045) Attached to: Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare

I have several friends who were keeping their old jobs for the insurance, and Obamacare has let them leave their jobs to do other things. One's a writer who was able to go full-time writing, and the usual software/computer consultants who are now on their own or starting startups. The lawyer who started a small partnership with a couple of friends could have done that anyway, but since she's got kids, the difference in insurance costs was significant.

Those aren't the heavily-subsidized plans - they're just the "you can buy an individual plan at similar rates to what a large company gets" plans, plus the "not denying your coverage for pre-existing conditions" effects.

Comment: Phone navigation vs. Car Radio (Score 1) 27

by billstewart (#48227451) Attached to: Deutsche Telecom Upgrades T-Mobile 2G Encryption In US

My car radio has Bluetooth. Works really well for phone calls, and has a good microphone built into the car ceiling near the driver. Unfortunately, it doesn't get along with the navigation applications in my phone; they're not phone calls, so it doesn't play them. (Maybe it would if I set the radio for MP3 mode or something, instead of radio? But then it wouldn't be playing the radio, whereas my Garmin doesn't care about the radio and just talks, and I pick the snarky British GPS voice because it usually doesn't sound like anybody on the radio except some BBC programs.)

Comment: Sacrificial Altar, vs. Butcher and BBQ? Words. (Score 1) 109

by billstewart (#48208339) Attached to: 6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine

The difference between a sacrificial altar and a butcher shop / BBQ joint is the words people say when they're there, and the article says that culture didn't have writing. If the person in charge asks the customers what favors they want from the gods, it's a temple; if they ask whether you want regular or extra crispy, it's a BBQ joint, and in some cultures they're going to thank the gods for the life of the animal even if it's a BBQ joint. In a temple, it's more likely that some parts of the animal will get burned instead of eaten, and in a BBQ joint, it's more likely that there'll be spices on the meat, and maybe priests get paid a bigger share than a butcher and cook, but none of those are universal across known cultures.

Also, the article says it was a two-story building; just because it's underground millennia later doesn't mean it was underground at the time.

Comment: Good luck, as carriers stop using 2G (Score 1) 27

by billstewart (#48208053) Attached to: Deutsche Telecom Upgrades T-Mobile 2G Encryption In US

My Garmin Nuvi GPS no longer gets traffic data, and can't use a few other 2-way features like Google Search, because the 2G wireless network it used will be going away early next year, and the carrier's no longer renewing contracts for them. So it's back to being a dumb GPS, with maps and built-in data points, but no live search.

Carriers really want to reallocate their 2G spectrum to 4G or at least 3G, because it lets them get more calls and a lot more data in the same amount of bandwidth, and because the movement of users to newer standards means that their remaining 2G bands are very underused.

Comment: Re:Cold Fusion isn't like Perpetual Motion (Score 1) 986

No, constructing something impossible, like a perpetual motion machine, is impossible. Science quite often says "definitely" or "definitely not".

Constructing something highly unlikely but not provably impossible, like cold fusion, is highly unlikely, especially if you're doing stuff by accident instead of actually understanding theory, but what science says about cold fusion is "everybody assumed it wasn't possible, but somebody did it, and then we showed that what they did was bogus but interesting, so we're back to assuming it's probably not possible so you'd better do a really good job of explaining what you're doing if you want us to spend our time looking at it again."

Comment: Re:2G-wireless GPSs (re: rant.) (Score 1) 158

Oh, right, I never owned a 90s car :-) My wife's 1985 car lasted until 2001, my 1987 van lasted until 2012 (with one engine replacement), and I never played with the digital busses on either my 2012 car or my wife's 2001 car (which IIRC only had the dumber version of OBD, not the current CAN bus.) I suppose I should try that some time. Both of those cars have the electronic speedometer with analog readout you refer to.

Comment: Network Transparency Use Cases I use often (Score 1) 226

by billstewart (#48174325) Attached to: Lead Mir Developer: 'Mir More Relevant Than Wayland In Two Years'

Many of the remote management applications I used to do with X are being replaced by HTTP interfaces, optionally with AJAX, or sometimes REST APIs, but there are still a number that aren't.

  • - Remote logins to run Unix shell - xterm really rocks for this (these days usually with X over SSH), as long as I'm using a Linux desktop, and it's a bit lame but workable from a Windows desktop (usually using Xming.)
  • - Windows Remote Desktop Protocol remote logins to Windows servers - RDP mostly works, though running any sort of video over it is painful, and audio's worse, even over Ethernets. VNC would be similar, if I were talking to a Unix machine.
  • - VMware console access to Unix or sometimes Windows VMs - the biggest problem here is that too many different applications are carving away chunks of the screen, so there's only 800x600 or maybe 1024x768 left; and I'm usually accessing the VMware server from a web browser on a Windows machine accessed by RDP through a firewall, so there's no real way to compare video speeds or get audio.

Comment: Supporting Mobile Devices on X or NeWS (Score 1) 226

by billstewart (#48174255) Attached to: Lead Mir Developer: 'Mir More Relevant Than Wayland In Two Years'

We definitely have to dumb down protocols to run on mobile phones with 1024x768 screens and only 1 GHz CPUs and 1GB RAM, because they can't possibly run anywhere near as fast as they did on 1152x900 screens with 10 MHz CPUs and 4 MB RAM running X10, or 640x480 screens with 25-33 MHz 386 CPUs and (I forget how much, but not enough) RAM and X11 with Motif.

And yes, there were really good reasons for running NeWS instead of X, because some changes in which work you did on which end of the wire could make a huge difference in responsiveness and speed, and using Postscript meant that what you saw was really what you'd get, and it let you deal with problems like mouse tracking latency a lot better.

Comment: Re:Auto deals worried? Luxury Cars, biz models (Score 1) 158

No, besides disliking competition in general, auto dealers and car makers have two big reasons to try to block Tesla sales

  • - Tesla sells high-priced cars, competing with the other high-priced high-profit-margin cars that dealers like to sell. They wouldn't be as worried about threats to the low-profit-margin econobox sales.
  • - They also threaten the whole business model that US car dealers have, affecting who gets what cut of the car buyer's money. This may bother the manufacturers less than the dealer, but it still upsets the whole value chain, especially if those evil Tesla car buyers then resell their old cars on Craigslist or some other Internet site instead of trading it in at the dealer or at least selling it to a used car lot.

Comment: Re:Too many discrete components (Score 1) 158

I'd expect most of them are sensors for the various battery and motor things, or components to connect the sensors safely to the other electronics (opto-isolators, etc. to keep potentially high random voltages and currents from frying the whole system.) Once you've turned the analog data into bits, even with small-volume production it'd be fairly easy to use an FPGA or programmable microcontrollers to do the rest, rather than building lots of custom discrete parts.

"How do I love thee? My accumulator overflows."