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Comment: Games? (Score 4, Interesting) 162

by nine-times (#49547273) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

Ars has an article about the difficulty of making games for the Apple Watch

Honestly, I think games are a bit of a stretch. Maybe I'm just a stupid old man, but I kind of feel like smart-watches should do very little, but everything they do, they should do in a simple, obvious, transparent manner. If you want to play games, just pull out your phone.

Now of course someone is going to say, "What's wrong with extra functionality? If you don't want it, just don't use it." All I would say is, if I had my say in the design, I'd make the UI as simple as possible, and make the battery last as long as possible. Adding a bunch of unnecessary features and games that require a bunch of processing power are likely to run contrary to both of those goals. If you gave me the choice of being able to play Angry Birds on my watch, or shaving off a couple of ounces while extending battery life for 5 hours, I'd definitely choose the latter.

Comment: Re:"Full responsibilty?" (Score 1) 331

by NewtonsLaw (#49540055) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

But if you listen to the FAA... drones *could* kill people and therefore we must fine their operators huge sums (Raphael Pirker for example) and we must enact new regulations that says they can't be used by terrorist organisations such as or DHL without expensive and difficult to get permissions. What do you mean that's a different type of drone? You mean the ones that kill can be used by the US government with impunity against the evil and the innocent alike -- while the ones that don't kill are increasingly restricted and constrained by regulation?

Good work America! (NOT).

Comment: Re:Dubious (Score 1) 676

by nine-times (#49535983) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

I am well beyond millennial status and I approve of what Snowden did so I am not sure I believe the survey results.

Nobody is saying the survey conclusively proves that nobody approves of Snowden's actions. That's not how these things work. The summary says:

Among those aged 35-44, some 34 percent have positive attitudes toward him. For the 45-54 age cohort, the figure is 28 percent, and it drops to 26 percent among Americans over age 55, U.S. News reported.

So even if this survey is accurate, that still leaves a significant percentage of people in those age ranges who do have positive attitudes. In that context, it doesn't really make sense to say, "Well I'm in that age group and I have positive attitudes, so this survey must not be accurate." Maybe you're just part of the minority.

Of course, the survey could be inaccurate or misleading. Most polls are.

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 1) 163

Good point. And then someone is going to say, "Well why don't we just change the laws that allow incumbants to redraw district lines to improve their reelection prospects?" It's the same catch-22 problem. The people who have the power to make it illegal are the same people redrawing the lines.

And note that this kind of thing isn't new. The Ancient Greeks complained about the same kinds of catch-22 problems regarding politics.

Comment: Re:We can learn from this (Score 4, Insightful) 163

But is the problem that we can't identify what's wrong, or is the problem that we're powerless to do anything about it?

My understanding is that you could find plenty of people with enough expertise to lay out exactly what the problem is, but the problem is essentially, "There are a bunch of legal loopholes that effectively make bribery legal, thereby handing control of our government over to those who can pay the most."

You might ask, "Well if we know what the problem is, we can fix it! Why not close the loopholes?" The fundamental problem there is that the people in position to close the loopholes are the ones receiving the bribes, and they want the bribes to keep coming. The only thing that could get them to change the law would be if their corporate overlords, i.e. those providing the bribes, bribed them to make it illegal. The problem with that is that the corporate overlords also want the bribes to remain legal, so that they can influence public officials.

Finally, you might say, "Well why not just vote those bribe-takers out of office?" The problem there is that the bribes are used to buy elections. Without that money, you can't run ads, you can't get on TV, and you can't even participate in the public debate.

It's just a catch-22 situation. The only solution would be for voters to somehow elect someone who they've never heard of, who basically can't campaign, and just hope that that new elected official is both honest and effective. And then that has to happen in a couple hundred other elections at roughly the same time.

Comment: Re:My B.S. Detector is Going Off (Score 2) 76

by Bruce Perens (#49515639) Attached to: Old Marconi Patent Inspires Tiny New Gigahertz Antenna

If the end of the coil that is hanging is grounded (earthed), it becomes an autotransformer. As it's shown, it's a variable inductor and the disconnected end is irrelevant and has no meaningful physical effect at the frequency a spark transmitter could have reached.

This comment seems to get closer to what they actually mean in their scientific paper. But the article about it is garble and the paper might suffer from second-language issues, and a lack of familiarity with the terms used in RF engineering.

Comment: Re:Epic? (Score 1) 143

by nine-times (#49514005) Attached to: Astronaut Snaps Epic <em>Star Trek</em> Selfie In Space
Or maybe I'm just putting too much stress on the "Star Trek" aspect of the whole thing...? If you want to say that taking a selfie from the space station, with the Earth and SpaceX's Dragon supply capsule in the background, is itself 'epic', I'd be more likely to agree. The headline makes it sound like it's big news that she's wearing a Starfleet costume, which... yeah, it's fun...

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel