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Comment: Re:Actually... (Score 1) 117

by jeffmeden (#47695965) Attached to: No, a Huge Asteroid Is Not "Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth In 2880"

If a doctor recommended surgery, and the mortality rate was 1 in 4000, I'd make damn sure the benefits outweighed the risk. And I'd update my will.

Boy are you in for a rude shock. Even a common place apendectomy has a mortality rate of about 2% last time I checked.

Have fun never having surgery for anything!!

You think the odds of surviving the appendectomy are low? Try surviving without one...

Comment: Re:$200MM (Score 3) 107

My balls it is. The only place I've ever seen it as such is on slashdot, and here twice.

Want to see it in action? Look no further than the home page of the world's sixth largest bank:

Hover over "Business" and "Commercial" and you will note that their definition of those two classes relies on the MM suffix. I don't blame you for never having even imagined a context where millions of dollars was relevant, but you will find that it's a big world out there.

Comment: Re:Let developers respond to a review ... (Score 1) 249

Moderation would work better if you could hear both sides. Let developers respond to a review like on Google Play.

Many people seem to use reviews as an alternative to contacting customer support. For legit problems there is some fairness in doing so. However there are times when a user is confused and the develop has no way to contact that user. It would also be useful for developers to respond indicating when a real problem is fixed.

Letting the developers worry about it seems like the only fair solution. Should there really be a market for apps that recreate other apps just a tiny bit better/shinier? If an app is really noteworthy, some venue outside the app store (blogs, tech news outlets, etc) will take notice and promote it.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 450

by jeffmeden (#47677069) Attached to: Web Trolls Winning As Incivility Increases

Its not worse now than it's ever been in the past. Get the fuck over it

Everyone is waiting for this to be "Solved" just like 13 years ago, they were waiting for spam to be "solved" as the ratio of junk email to desirable email kept going up and up and up. Well, put everyone (just about) on the same email platform and presto, you have no more spam! A solution like that for trolling is perhaps forthcoming, but still a ways off. That doesn't stop people from sitting on their hands and wishing for it, though.

Comment: Re:Huh (Score 1) 213

by jeffmeden (#47672687) Attached to: How to Maintain Lab Safety While Making Viruses Deadlier

Reading comprehension is such a lost art these days. It was the H1N1 virus that caused the pandemic, which the Chinese scientists used in their research; not the results of the Chinese research that caused the pandemic.

From the cited article:

a team of Chinese scientists to create a hybrid viral strain between the H5N1 avian influenza virus and the H1N1 human flu virus that triggered a pandemic in 2009 and claimed several thousand lives.

For those challenged individuals, this sentence fragment should be parsed as:

(a team of Chinese scientists) ... (create a hybrid viral strain) (BETWEEN) (the H5N1 avian influenza virus) AND (the H1N1 human flu virus that triggered a pandemic in 2009 and claimed several thousand lives).

There aren't enough modpoints, they should just let you edit TFS. Good thing the Slashdot moderators fact checked that juicy little detail. Apparently "Lasrick (2629253)" is beyond reproach.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 2) 220

by jeffmeden (#47663675) Attached to: Samsung Announces Galaxy Alpha Featuring Metal Frame and Rounded Corners

Modern phones are extremely durable.

I used to think so, and then I started paying attention to the screens of those around me while traveling (airports should be renamed for the most common activity there... "stareatyourphonefor90minutesports") and it's appalling. Among those aged 16-24 (guessing) I counted 2/3 of them have phones with shattered screens. Not just a hairline crack or two, I mean a huge bulls-eye shatter covering most of the face, observable from a good 20 feet away. And they text and twitter and snapchat like it's not even there. Modern phones are indeed durable, if only for their ability to keep all those glass pieces together and somehow not cut up the fingers of the operator. Amazing, really.

Comment: Re:Sniffs out.. (Score 2) 158

... the traces of cocaine that can be found on every single U.S. treasury note.

Presumably the cocaine traces are thanks to this exact smuggling operation; someone gets clean money from their bank, buys some coke, the bill gets handed up and up and up the drug hierarchy and ends up in Mexico to be used mostly to pay gun runners for premium US goods, which then ends up back in circulation in the US. I wonder if they could not only find the money but deduce what kind of drug ring is behind it...

Comment: Re:Most of us have some weakness (Score 1) 267

by jeffmeden (#47625589) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

If you passed the standard screening test in school, you probably thought you were perfect in this regard. Actually, most of us have some weakness and there are tests for that. Try this one. It was rather tedious for me; one of the hardest perceptual tests I've taken. You need patience, so set aside some time. I got a TES (Total Error Score) of 12. YMMV because of monitor quality and other factors. The official version of this test uses actual physical tiles, and specifies what kind of lighting to use in the room.

Good news, everyone! The results of the color blindness test are in, and we also have a new policy regarding who is no longer allowed to change the tail lights on the ship...

Comment: Re: Other explanations (Score 2) 72

by jeffmeden (#47625267) Attached to: Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

I've found that MANY hotels (as of two years ago anyway) seem to only have a t-1 line (symmetrical 1.x mbps at 4am being my best speed tests).

Many hotels (or at least the company they pay to manage their network, like Windstream) have at least a slight sense of service management, and cap single hosts to about a T1 worth at any given time. These days a 1.44Mbit downstream would be crushed after 2 users tried to get on Youtube at the same time.

Comment: Re: How much is due to Congestion (Score 2) 72

by jeffmeden (#47625149) Attached to: Expensive Hotels Really Do Have Faster Wi-Fi

I've found this matches my experience flying too.

Southwest charges very little, and it's not even worth it. But us air charges 2-3x as much and is a decent value ($4/hour about on a cross country flight).

Its a joke on Southwest because they are busy piping DirecTV to all the passengers (as a paid advertisement for DirecTV service) so even if the backhaul isn't saturated, you will have to fight for bandwidth on the WLAN.

Comment: Re:Panama Canal took 33 years, 4 countries (Score 2) 322

by jeffmeden (#47625021) Attached to: With Chinese Investment, Nicaraguan Passage Could Dwarf Panama Canal

France, US, Columbia, and Panama. Jungle diseases of workers was a huge problem at beginning.

What they dug the panama canal with:

Modern version:

See your mistake?

WTF? They dug the canal with rigs like this (posted in anther reply):

And to be true, the current equivalent is this beast:

A pretty stark comparison but the Panama canal was not dug (the bulk of it anyway) by hand.

Comment: Re:Still a hurtle (Score 1) 41

by jeffmeden (#47607947) Attached to: Open Source Pioneer Michael Tiemann On Open Source Business Success

The unspoken assumption behind your comment (and much else on the page) is that it's important for 'open source' to be accepted by big business.


Because some things (for this thesis let's say it's a crypto algorithm) work much better when they are visible to all parties, and those with a vested interest commit themselves via development time instead of cash. If you need a good crypto algorithm and you pay a closed source company for it, either you or the company you paid had better employ an army of mathematicians in order to validate that the process is secure, otherwise it could have (probably does have) a flaw just waiting to be exploited. Your investment, as a business, can only go so far. With an open source solution, everyone can see the algorithm and offer their input on its efficacy.

Open Source is the ultimate economy of scale in the information business (driving cost per unit down while selling/utilizing more) so every business with even a modest investment in software should care. There are plenty of ways to innovate in closed ways (at least, ways proprietary to your company) while taking advantage of open source technologies. The problem (to expand on the original summary) is that most uninformed decision makers jump to the conclusion that if the software was developed for nothing, it's worth nothing and furthermore that anything they do with it will be worth nothing because their innovations will somehow get gobbled up by the open source monster, too. For someone who doesn't really add anything (companies trying to get by in niches, strongarming markets, exploiting cronyism, etc) there is plenty to fear. Meanwhile Google, Apple, Facebook, IBM, Cisco, etc would casually disagree (and gladly sell you some open source software).

Comment: Re:Where are the buggy whip dealers? (Score 1) 544

The old Henry Ford saying goes (not that he necessarily said it) "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses".

Of course faster horses weren't an option. And what were the early cars, other than bare-bones "horseless carriages"? It's not as if the Model-T was a Ferrari in an age of wagons.

Consumers almost always choose "cheaper" when the price is significant. Designing the cheapest possible car, within the confines of the engineering of the day, seems like an obvious choice, and basically what they did.

That's based on the premise that the model T was less expensive than a horse (even after a few years of TCO) yet, they weren't... Consumers could have kept using horses, but chose to switch to cars in huge numbers because of other advantages (they could do things like travel farther distances, ignore daily maintenance, etc) that were not really obvious at the time. Sure, it's easy to look back and say "of course the car was popular, its *the car*" but that was not a sure statement in 1908, otherwise Ford wouldn't have been the only one in the USA doing it so cheaply/successfully for the better part of 10 years.

Make sure your code does nothing gracefully.