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Comment: Florida voters support normalizing relations (Score 1) 424

by cje (#48621489) Attached to: In Breakthrough, US and Cuba To Resume Diplomatic Relations

The conventional wisdom that it's political suicide in Florida to support normalization of relations with Cuba just isn't true any longer. 56% of Americans in general support it. That number increases to 62% if you focus only on responses from the Hispanic/Latino community, and it increases to 63% if you just ask people from Florida.

Here's the poll.

The "angry Scarface extra" demographic in Florida is dying (both metaphorically and literally.) The times, they are a-changing.

Comment: Denser traffic? (Score 1) 133

by cje (#47202797) Attached to: <em>Grand Theft Auto V</em> For Modern Platforms Confirmed

While some of the proposed changes (e.g., better draw distance, more detail, etc.) aim to make the game better on modern hardware, it seems like adding things like "denser traffic" would have the effect of changing the gameplay itself. While denser traffic would certainly make the game's Southern California setting a little bit more realistic, I'm not sure that it would make the game more enjoyable. In particular, it seems like a change of this nature could make some of the game's high-speed chase missions and side events into a big pain in the ass.

The fact that you can do something doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

Comment: He doesn't get it. (Score 4, Interesting) 572

by cje (#43367721) Attached to: Microsoft Creative Director 'Doesn't Get' Always-On DRM Concerns

The issue is not "intermittent Internet connectivity." Most of the people who are spun up on this are concerned about the principle of always-on DRM in general. Even if people had an iron-clad agreement with their ISP that they would provide them with five-nines uptime on my WAN connection, it doesn't change the basic principle that lots of people are miffed that their Internet connection is being used on a 24-hour basis to demonstrate that they are, in fact, not thieves.

Of course, this doesn't even address the fact that the most reliable Internet connection in the world is completely useless if the server(s) that you're attempting to connect to are down due to incompetence, unanticipated demand, DDoS attacks, etc.

Comment: Apple II graphics / text "Venetian" interleaving (Score 1) 612

by cje (#41515389) Attached to: Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

Anybody who programmed the Apple II back in the 1980s is familiar with the interleaving "venetian blind" effect due to the relationship between locations in both the text/low-resolution and high-resolution video RAM and their actual locations on-screen. I seem to remember reading that this was a conscious design choice by you early on and that it resulted in somewhat simpler hardware. Can you shed some light on how the Apple II's graphics structure came to be?

I spent so much time writing code to generate lookup tables to map locations in video RAM to their on-screen counterparts that at one point I had the hexadecimal 6502 machine language sequence memorized. This, sadly, is now gone (replaced by quotes from Seinfeld reruns and meaningless football statistics.)

Comment: Re:Note to TSA (Score 5, Insightful) 335

by cje (#41386915) Attached to: TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners

The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale. It works because Israel is a tiny country with only one major international airport (Ben Gurion) that needs to be secured. This type of massive security infrastructure (extremely tight physical perimeter around the airport, security personnel with extensive psychology training, countless constantly-monitored security cameras, legions of plainclothes guards, etc.) is not a realistic scenario when you have hundreds of major international and regional airports like the US does.

Comment: Bad security questions (Score 1) 408

by cje (#40932347) Attached to: Secret Security Questions Are a Joke

Not only are some of the "standard" security questions bad because they're easy to research, some of them are bad because there are multiple correct ways to answer them, and it can be difficult to remember how you chose to answer.

My least favorite security question is "What street did you grow up on?" Depending on the answer to this question, there could be four completely valid ways to answer it. For example, I grew up on 5th Street. So depending on whether or not I feel like the word "street" ought to be included in the response, there are four correct ways to answer this question:

"Fifth Street"
"5th Street"
"Fifth"
"5th"

Now, I'll choose one today, when I provide my initial answer. But when I'm asked this question six months down the road, am I going to choose the same one? Maybe not.

The key is not just choosing good security questions that are hard to research and/or guess. They also should have unambiguous answers.

Comment: Personally, I don't want them bigger (Score 1) 660

by cje (#40713369) Attached to: Don't Super-Size My Smartphone!

I have an IPhone 4S, and it's about the right size for me. Most days, I wear jeans to work, and anything bigger than the IPhone would be uncomfortable to carry around in my front pocket (not to mention cumbersome to take out when I need to answer it). I can see the benefits to having a larger screen with a higher resolution, but the bottom line is you have to drag it around with you.

There's always the option of using a belt clip, which would make it easier to carry around a phone with a larger form factor, but I just don't like that from an aesthetic perspective. To me, it's a compromise between screen size/resolution and convenience, and I'm perfectly happy with the 3.5" screen.

Comment: Protection from space-based radiation (Score 5, Interesting) 107

by cje (#40639651) Attached to: Ask Joseph Palaia About Building Lunar Machines and Living On Mars

One of the biggest impediments to long-term settlement of Mars is the fact that it lacks an Earth-like magnetosphere to protect surface dwellers from solar flares/CMEs and other forms of energetic particle radiation. Similarly, the very thin Martian atmosphere provides little of the protection that the Earth has from photon-based radiation (e.g., UV/X-rays, etc.)

How much of a problem is space-based radiation for future Martian settlers, and what would be the best way to deal with it?

Hold on to the root.

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