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Comment: Re: Idiots (Score 1) 138

The US taxpayer gave away airwaves to broadcasters in exchange from free service. The broadcaster can recoup costs and make a profit through advertising. Cable companies pay because they collect all signals and transmit to everyone. Aero rents an antenna and a DVD and records specific shows. I think the SCOTUS only looked at present revenue, no the long term impact of limiting broadcaster viability in the age of the internet. I have the right to place an antenna anywhere and receive a personal signal or recording of the signal. If the broadcasters are not going to honor the original mandate, they should give our airwaves back.

On a related note, broadcaster have been increasingly ignoring the public service mandate, and our government has been complicit in this. Aero is just another example of the giveaway of public resources to the privileged few.

Comment: Re:speed is not really what they're lacking (Score 1) 203

but to a kid speed is all that matters. It is fast, are the explosions cool. The thing with a 3D printer is that the layers have to be laid accurately. I suspect any 3d printer can go fast if you leave accuracy. The same is true with inkjet, where my old $500 epson is not as fast as a $50 cannon, but it renders images better.

Comment: Re:Profit before subsidy? (Score 2) 245

by fermion (#47383981) Attached to: Tesla Aims For $30,000 Price, 2017 Launch For Model E
Many vehicles are subsidized. For instance, one reason there were so many Hummers on the road were because of the tax rules that applied to the purchase for business use. While passenger vehicles are depreciated at a normal rate, something like a Hummer can be depreciated much more quickly. And while something like and F350 is clearly a utilitarian vehicle, a Hummer is simply a loophole to have the taxpayer fund your luxury vehicle.

Comment: Re:First "OMG the common sense" post (Score 5, Insightful) 185

by fermion (#47377039) Attached to: Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online
It is because he was a cop. Recall that people have sent to jail for creating 'terrorist fantasies' because the FBI gave them the means and opportunity to carry out the fantasy. The courts do and have sent people to jail for fantasies. It is called conspiracy. In this case the fantasy targeted specific females, while the cop had means and opportunities to make those fantasies a reality. Remember that he went as far as using the police database to compile a list of real women he fantasized of eating, and was convicted for misuse of that database, so the fact this was moving out of fantasy has been proven. This is not a flight of reason. I am sure if a common person used a database to collect information on the judge or the judge's family and then wrote a detailed plan of how the family was to be murdered, we would not be getting of with a simple misuse of private information. This is clearly another case of no consequences for cops who break the law.

Comment: Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (Score 1) 104

The advantage to the customer, I don't know. But it seems like a massive data leak waiting to happen. It would not seem difficult to transmit corporate information, in a way that the APP would just ignore, but so that someone standing outside of window could capture. Definitely, at this point, movie plot threat, but something to consider.

Comment: Re:And this surprises... who? (Score 1) 191

by fermion (#47364529) Attached to: 30% of Americans Aren't Ready For the Next Generation of Technology
Yes, most anyone over the age of 40. I know people in their mid 40s who can't figure out how to get a USB printer to work. OTOH, my mother who was born more than 20 years before the invention of the transistor had to learn to use to use a CRT terminal to look up information to help patrons, then a microcomputer, then had a computer in retirement for investments, email, and general web surfing. I think the difference is the expectation of education. If you just learn basic skills in high school, if you go to college just looking to get trained for a better job, then when new stuff comes around you aren't prepared to deal with it. There are people, however, who realize that during your high school years you can really learn general skills and processes, and in college you can use your core classes to learn to think deeply about things, and I think these people are the ones who can deal when something totally new comes along, with hardly blinking an eye. Of course some people have such skills more innately than others.

Comment: Re:They where acting like the cable co / CATV (Score 1) 93

by fermion (#47342097) Attached to: Bye Bye Aereo, For Now
So when you drive your car, you should have to pay for every toll road in the country, not just the toll roads you use?

Here is the difference between Aero and Cable, and the reason the so called loop hole is valid. Cable collects all the broadcasts signals and retransmitts all those signals along to all subscribers. The fee is the right to collect and retransmit en masse.

There is also and issue of the broadcasters use of the public airwaves. In exchange for this use, it is assumed that the tax payers of this country have access to free programing. Aero is a service that allows us to access that free content. Cable is a service where you buy access to content. Aero is a service where you specify a program to watch, or to record, and that one program is transmitted to you and only you. Cable is a service where all the programs are transmitted to you to be selected in immediate real time, even switch between channels, or channel in channel.

Here is an example, and everyone can decide if this is illegal. Tivo allows a broad range of remote capabilities. Suppose I opened a service in which I filled a warehouse with Tivos and antennas. End users would enter a contract where they would rent a Tivo and antenna. They would use the TIvo interface to control the content. I would have no control over what was being transmitted. Would that be illegal? What if I built a custom DVR and a custom interface? Would that be illegal? What if I used a Tivo and 'shared' each one so that six different users?

This is why the ruling is so bad. It reduces our rights to do as we wish with the content that we have given up bandwidth to receive. In excange for use of the the public airwaves, we have the right to free over the air content. That means content that we collect using an antenna and then consumer for personal use. We can record it to VCR, take that tape with us on a trip, and watch it elsewhere.

The only appropriate thing for the broadcasters to do in response to Aero, it they did not want aero to add a convince for users, is to stop using the public airwaves. Go 100% cable or stream over the internet. This is second major problem with the SCOTUS decision. If broadcasters cannot deal with Aero retransmitted a single show to a single user, and if they have become so dependent on cable, then clearly they are wasting bandwidth that could be used for other purposes. The best thing that could have happened to US, if the broadcasters are as inefficient as it seems, is that Aero put them out of business and then we would have all this bandwidth that can be sold to firms that can use it efficiently. All the SCOTUS has done is save the buggy whip industry.

Comment: Re:This means nothing without context (Score 0) 265

by fermion (#47324595) Attached to: Tech Workforce Diversity At Facebook Similar To Google And Yahoo
The skills argument is the traditional method used to segregate the workplace, college, whatever. When the pentagon said that women had to be allowed in combat, one thing that was stressed is they had to pass the tests. There was no admission that the tests were somewhat arbitrary, developed not on some absolute basis, but on a subjective set of requirements. It is like the old SAT. If the inner city kids were getting a question correct more than the northern prep school kids, then it probably was not a valid question, because who has the better education?

Really, what this boils down to is if diversity is, in itself, a benefit. Because of the way I was raised and educated, in a very diverse schools where actual skills, talent, and discipline were the primary method of selection, I think that diversity is a benefit. I understand that others do not. I understand that a private firm should be able to select the best workforce for it's situation, diverse or not.

But I also understand that for a long time, and sometimes even today, the white male is considered the bast choice if available. It is assumed that he will command respect, be at work everyday, and not get emotional or get in a fit because of 'oppression'. It could that this is best way to proceed. Or it could be that firms, if they had a employees with wider points of view, different experiences, they might be more successful.

One thing we have seen specifically with major firms like Google and MS is they tend to recruit from very specific schools. This is more a problem for me because this will invariable create an echo chamber and lead to problems we have seen at these firms in which consumer perception is often not considered because a distinct lack of diversity.

Comment: Re:apple homekit (Score 1) 88

Apple promotes Dropcam on it's website, the exact company that Google is going to buy. I don't know what homekit is going to be. Dropcam pretty much requires you to send your personal life to what soon will be Google. The lights require an hardware interface. Presumable Homekit will presumably intergrate the products, if the companies rewrite the software to Apple interfaces. Not to be cynical, but recall the number of Apple ideas that really have not panned out. For instance, I have almost no Apple ebooks.

The problem with google is that it makes most of it's money from advertising. It really has no hardware that is priced to sell, i.e. $1500 google glasses. Therefore one has to assume that at some point your personal home videos will be up for sale in some way. I am looking at y-cam and figuring out what their business model is. The only way to keep your private stuff private is to pay for it. Which is why dropcam was a good choice prior to the google purchase.

Comment: Re:Not a computing element (Score 1) 183

by fermion (#47307013) Attached to: How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law
So 25 years ago or so one of the researches in the lab I worked in was really into this. I think he came from ATT. Anyway, he wanted to put vacuum tubes on a substrate. He wanted to make microlevers and the like, the predecessor to what we now know as nano machines. The microlevers have happened, and we are getting some very tiny machines. The vacuum tubes are another story. From what I have seen recently, the Terahetz problem is solved or is pretty much solved. Labs across the country are working in the Terahertz range, and developing some interesting applications. Which is to say that vacuum tubes on a chip are possible, but it seems that it might a solution looking for a problem. As I said, researchers have been looking into this for a very long time. This could be the problem that it solves. The question is does it solve problems better than what is now conventional technology.

Comment: Re:"up to" $650 for a macbook air trade in? (Score 1) 365

This is they same kind of promotion that MS ran before. Give us your Apple, we will give you FMV for the product, and you can have a Surface. If you have a Macbook Air that is still running and is three years old, then this is not a bad deal. Otherwise it is FMV.

So this is a gimmick. The surface pro 3 i7 appears to be a $1500 machine, which is $100 more than the similiar Macbook Air. The cost of the MS license? In any case if they would give 30% of a Surface for any Mac Book Air, that would be a serious promotion. That would also get them converts. I am sure that are a lot of people out there who paid good money for a Macbook Air that died in less than two years(it has happened to me, but I expect it and just replace it with a new one). But others may be less tied to the product.

The thing about the surface is that is still where was where the Macbook was when it first came out. Relatively underpowered for the price. A very light laptop that runs Windows 8 well is $400. A Macbook Air that is going to run windows well is $900, unlike the $1000 Surface.

Comment: Re:I don't get it. (Score 1) 84

How long as someone spent in a small space underwater? In a submarine you have other people, some amenities, probably some recreation. In any case, given that the lab now has additional amenities, it is not really that same thing as Jacques spending 30 days in the lab. It is like the people climbing Everest now with professional Sherpa and gourmet meals and advanced rescue helicopters, and the people who climbed Everest without these things. However, it is still useful because this is the kind of thing we are going to have to deal with if humans are going to leave our local Earth/Moon system. It is going to be people in an extremely confined space for long periods with no way, unlike the ISS, to get back quickly once you get going. This is something we really haven't done, and expected everyone to remain sane and rational. We can't launch anything as big as Naval submarine to Mars. I am not sure if anything as big an ISS module will be launched to Mars.

Comment: Re:Updated info periodically (Score 1) 208

by fermion (#47275065) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Bequeath Sensitive Information?
Here is how this was kind of handled in an automatic case with me. I knew the password to the computer where all the credentials were stored, and access to the file cabinet where all the paper stuff was. All the passwords and information was stored in one of those two places.

For an individual person that may not work, as there may be sensitive sensitive information that you don't want anyone to see. In that case consider a separate account on your computer with the information that everyone will need in an eventuality, and a separate account on your computer. where you can do stuff you don't want people to see.

Here is my take on this. There is a lot of stuff that I don't care if no one every gets to close it. Most of my online forum acounts like /.. I expect everything on my computer to go with me. Creating data sets that are going to expire in a few months seems a bit over the top to me. The solution to this problem is to think about what people need, and assume they are going to have physical access to your stuff when you are no longer here.

Comment: Re:Are thieves that selective? (Score 2, Interesting) 137

by fermion (#47272697) Attached to: Google and Microsoft Plan Kill Switches On Smartphones
I would tend to agree. It may be that people are simply not using the iPhone. To show that the reduction in theft is caused by kill switch, one would have to show the rate of theft is not correlated to the rate of use, or to some other variable such as where of who the phones are used. For instance, if Android is used by younger or older population, it could be that the phones might just be left unprotected or easier to steal. Or if the Android phones are insured,it could be that people 'lose'. I know that some of these warranties cover theft but not screens. That said, there one can easily tell one phone from another if it is out being used. It makes little sense to steal an iPhone, not only because many are shipped out of the US and iPhones are not the most popular phone outside of the US, but also because of the ability to disable the phone. So while the hypothesis is not proven, it makes some sense. There are some stories about phone theft and loss of life. It may be apocryphal, or it may be a repeat of the shoe crisis of the late 20th century where kids were killed for their Jordans. We will see what happens when all phones have the kill switch. It could be a common sense way to make us safer. It could just be a way to stop warranty fraud.

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.