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Comment: Re:Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (Score 1) 109

by itamblyn (#47990493) Attached to: Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video
Interesting. I didn't realize it was the tariff that was the issue (for the moment at least). To be honest, I am OK with a tax of something like $1 / month that goes toward producing Canadian content. And something like an on-demand model, where my vote is recorded based on what I watch, seems like a decent way of deciding which content is supported. I agree with you that this current business has less to do with supporting Canadian content, and more to do with the fact that incumbents are scared by Netflix. I don't have a cable subscription and never will. Most of my friends are in the same boat. Paying for low quality content mixed with commercials feels like having a newspaper delivered to my doorstep every morning. Fun if you're pretending it is 1972, but otherwise pretty silly. Unfortunately, the CRTC, historically the place that former media executives go to retire, is unlikely to see it this way. They are basically in charge of regulating their old buddies.

Comment: Re:Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (Score 2) 109

by itamblyn (#47988957) Attached to: Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video
In Canada it is a bit more complicated. We have a policy here which mandates that a certain percentage of all broadcast media be Canadian content (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_content).

It means that radio stations have to play Canadian music, and that television networks must show Canadian shows.

As you can imagine, there are strong opinions about this. For example, what constitutes Canadian content? If it is an American made show that is shot on Canadian soil (Toronto playing the role of Big-American-City), should that count? Or if the writers are Canadian, but the show is produced in the US, how should it be counted? What about a celebrity gossip show, primarily about Hollywood stars, that is hosted by Canadians? I'm not making these examples up by the way.

In radio, Can-con can lead to odd things too: when there is a new Canadian band, airwaves become oversaturated with their music quite quickly, to the point where the domestic audience gets tired of them. DJs want to play popular music (mostly of US origin), but must also meet Can-con rules. A new, popular Canadian band can actually be hurt by too much exposure in a short period of time.

So the CRTC here isn't just about issuing licenses for limited airwaves. It is also about enforcing rules on the content.

My personal opinion is that Can-con (mandating some % of material be broadcast) is probably not the best approach to supporting Canadian artists. I don't think it makes sense for TV, radio, or internet.

That said, it is pretty clear to me that under the current rules, Netflix and Youtube should fall under the same umbrella. I don't see an argument how the government has the authority to set rules about radio and TV but not the internet. I suppose you could claim that wireless spectrum is a public space, therefore within the purview of the government. But that arguement falls apart since most people have cable anyway. To give you a sense of how inconsistent things currently are, if you have a cable modem, part of the signal (TV) is subject to Can-con, but if you stream (internet) it is not.

Again, I'm not coming out in favour (note the u :) of Can-con on any media provider, but the current case against Netflix etc is consistent with the law as it is written.

Comment: Eye tracking + swipe? (Score 1) 552

by itamblyn (#47076845) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

On my android phone, I can type words by swiping between letters, rather than simply poking at them with my fingers. I'm amazed how well this tech works and how fast I can write with it.

I know that eye trackers exist (and that one can select letters by hovering over them) but does eye tracking + swipe exist? If it doesn't, it would be straightforward to prototype it easily (originally you had to buy it, but now it seems to be part of the main OS. http://www.swype.com/

...actually, after a bit of googling it looks like others have thought of this: http://sciencenordic.com/texti...

Other human computer interaction options would be the various brain wave headsets which are now appearing (e.g. from google I see http://neurosky.com/ http://interaxon.ca/ etc). They tend to be less accurate, but are probably useful for things like controlling the environment (lights on and off) etc. It wouldn't be difficult to interface them with some basic home automation hardware.

I would think that finding a mix off input devices would be ideal in terms of preventing fatigue.

Once a bit of time has passed, you might consider spending some time looking through the faculty pages at your local University's CS Department. Get in contact with them. There is a lot of work (and funds) going on into HCI right now. This seems like the type of project that would get a lot of support from graduate students and faculty.

Please come back to us with a follow-up post. Don't forget to include a fundraising link for equipment costs. I would certainly contribute.

Comment: If only there was a country to the North... (Score 1) 870

by itamblyn (#46580437) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate
If only there was a country to the North with which to compare. Minimum wage in Canada is north (heh :) of $10 everywhere except in Alberta where it is $9.95. I can assure you we do not have robot janitors and our coffee and fast food is served by humans. The economies and purchasing power of the two countries are similar enough it's a valid comparison. While there clearly must be a point at which labour costs outweigh purchase + operating costs of automated solutions, for the types of jobs being discussed here, the break point is not $10/hour.

Comment: S != T != E != M (Score 5, Insightful) 491

by itamblyn (#46345633) Attached to: Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?
A large part of the problem stems (heh :) from the fact that the disciplines are not interchangeable. Policy makers typically do not have backgrounds in _any_ of the fields, so they see little distinction between a computer science student, software engineer, math, physics, etc. While we can all agree that those disciplines are technical in nature, the fact is you do not learn the same set of skills. When employers say then need more STEM grads, they aren't looking for a generic chemistry or biology student. They want a C++ coder, or they want someone that can build an antenna, or someone that can operate a mass spec. The learning outcomes from different STEM degrees are vastly different. Notwithstanding issues related to wages, H1-B etc, the acronym itself is a big part of the problem.

Comment: I should be able to log in and out of Chrome (Score 1) 482

by itamblyn (#44499731) Attached to: Chrome's Insane Password Security Strategy

Currently I am able to log in and out of gmail on a friend's laptop without any (reasonable) fear that my email will keep living on that machine (and is unencrypted). Obviously keyloggers etc could grab my password, but let's assume I'm not _that_ paranoid.

I do not have this option with the Chrome browser itself. At best, I can log into Chrome (and am encouraged to do so at first startup) and at the end of the session, I can delete the profile (rm -rf .config/google-chrome). This certainly deals with the problem, but is pretty clunky. The should be a login / logout feature to the browser, not just my email.

Compare this to Chrome OS. Here the functionality is built in; you don't have to delete your user account at the end of every session. Encrypted files are stored on the local drive which you can then access the next time you log in. It's quick and painless. This needs to be built into the standard Chrome browser.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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