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Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 1) 412

by Chas (#47559805) Attached to: A 24-Year-Old Scammed Apple 42 Times In 16 Different States

It's a system for a company to call into the credit card clearance office and obtain an authorization in case their system cannot contact the CC company (like during maintenance periods, etc). It's had historical use in the past. And yes, it should probably be phased out at some point. The fact is, it exists now and there's a legitimate reason for it existing.

Comment: Re:When going into business with Friends (Score 2) 182

by Chas (#47557107) Attached to: How Gygax Lost Control of TSR and D&D

The arrangement made sense right up until TSR actually started making real money. When you and your friends bust your asses to build a business, and have no substantial income or assets to fight over, running it as a labor-of-love makes perfect sense. But once they started bulk-hiring new staff and pulled off 5000% growth over five years - Why the hell didn't they hire a competent CFO???

It's a NORMAL pitfall in hobby companies.

It starts out as a hobby/lark. And there's a certain looseness in how the company is run.

However, once the company starts employing dozens of people and pulling in multiple millions a year, it's definitely NOT the best way to run the company and things DO need to change. It's just very difficult to see where that jumping-off point is when you're in the middle of things (especially if you haven't encountered this sort of managerial divide before).

This is speaking from experience. A few years ago, a partnership of mine nearly ran our company into the ground. Quite by accident. You go to bed one evening and everything's cool. Then next morning, the books are going "AUUGH! WHAT DID YOU DOOOOOOO!".

We were lucky we caught it when we did (though catching it SOONER would have been nice). And we were able to get the company turned around and working in a healthy manner.

Unfortunately, TSR wasn't able to do the same thing. Mostly from sheer inertia. And then, after the takeover, primarily because Lorraine Williams just didn't care about anything at the company or customer base other than what added to her personal bottom line.

Comment: Re:Idiots born every day. (Score 1) 133

by Chas (#47554103) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

Actually replaced with a better example.

Took an 8.1MB TGA file and did three things.

1: Saved the first off as a PNG file. Resulted in a 1.7MB file with lossless compression.
2: Saved the file off as a high-compression JPEG. Resulted in a 46K file that's noticeably blurry and indistinct.
3: Downsampled to 19x11 and back up to 1920x1080 and saved as a high compression JPEG (36K file) or a lossless compression PNG (114K file). Labelled this method UCCT (Ultra Crappy Compression Technique).

Amalgamated the three images into a single PNG file to eliminate/reduce further compression issues.

Comment: Idiots born every day. (Score 1) 133

by Chas (#47553851) Attached to: A Fictional Compression Metric Moves Into the Real World

Oh boy. A useless metric!

Compression ratio: Sure. But the problem is, it's possible to increase compression ratio by "losing" data. So you can obtain a high ratio, but the images as rendered will be blurry/damaged.

Compression Speed: This is just as dumb since compression speed is partially a function of the compression ratio, partially a function of the efficiency of the algorithm and partially a function of the amount of "grunt power" hardware you throw at it. So one portion of this is a nebulous "hardware norm" factor that can be gamed. The other is a function of the other factor (compression ratio) which can ALSO be gamed (and creates a bias towards lossy compression).

Basically something with a high Weismann number would be extremely lossy compression on high power hardware. Which basically negates the point of high resolution viewing, as any idiot can reduce a 1920x1080 frame to 19px by 11px, and then compress it. I can already take precompressed (and lossy) JPEG files, resample down to 19x11, then back up to 1920x1080. I can wind up reducing a 930K file down to 40K (basically a 95+% savings). And the image is completely indecipherable.

Take a look at an original image versus the same image on the above-described UCCT (UltraCrappyCompressionTechique).

The above image is a PNG to prevent further compression artifacts from creeping into the sample.

The top portion of the image is the original 930K JPEG file.
The bottom portion is the resampled 40K JPEG file.

Comment: Comes down to cost basically. (Score 1) 540

by Chas (#47552509) Attached to: Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

The companies CAN produce them. But not everyone buys one. And it doesn't make as much sense when you have a perfectly usable (and large, high resolution) touchscreen.

Depending on the phone you have, you should be able to find after-market cases with slide-out keyboards that fulfill your needs.

CCI Power 6/40: one board, a megabyte of cache, and an attitude...