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Comment: And done elsewhere (Score 1) 199

by Sycraft-fu (#47440405) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

In Tucson 10%ish of the drinking water comes from reclaimed water (aka filtered sewage). Makes sense in an area with not a lot of fresh water resources. Also in those areas you can have different kinds. You can purchase a non-potable (not for consumption) water source for irrigation. Again, reclaimed water, but it undergoes less filtering and thus is cheaper. Plenty of larger places get a hookup to keep their watering costs down.

It is a very sensible way of doing things and you actually have more control of purity than water that comes out of the ground.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 477

The big thing I see now, is the Most Music is saved as a wav style format, where the music is recorded. The old days sound cards needed a strong MIDI support to allow for the music to sound better, as it would be synthesized music not recorded.

We could still improve MIDI sound quality. However it isn't used as much anymore, and often can be emulated by software fast enough.

But for the most part, you get better sounds if you have better speakers.

Comment: Re:sounds like North Korea news (Score 4, Insightful) 108

by jellomizer (#47430979) Attached to: Google's Experimental Newsroom Avoids Negative Headlines

Here is the problem:
Bad news is more interesting than good news. When people hear bad news it is a call to action that something needs to be done to stop it. Good news means you should just continue on and do what you have been doing.

Now we get flooded with Bad News and that makes news junkies become paranoid and thinking the world is about to end, and this over extradition of the problem will cause them to try to do drastic action to try to fix it. Tea Party, Occupy Movement, Radical groups.

Countries like China and North Korea, tries to give a bunch of good news, as a way to pacify the public. There is no interest in roping people in to watch the news every hour. So they do good news, to try to keep people passive and do what they already do. Ignoring real issues that are going on, causing the culture to stagnate.

We really need a happy middle. Where we know what important is going on, without it seeming like the End of the World.

Comment: That and DACs aren't the issue anyhow (Score 2) 477

It is easy to make good DACs these days. Basically any DAC, barring a messed up implementation, is likely to sound sonically transparent to any other in a normal system. When you look at the other limiting factors (amp, noise in the room, speaker response, room reflections, etc) you find that their noise and distortion are just way below audibility. Ya, maybe if you have a really nice setup with a quiet treated room, good amps, and have it set for reference (105dB peak) levels you start to need something better than normal, but that isn't very common. Even then you usually don't have to go that high up the chain to get something where again the DAC is way better than other components.

Now that said, there can be a reason to get a soundcard given certain uses. For example you don't always want to go to an external unit, maybe you use headphones. In that case, having a good headphone amp matters and onboard sound is often remiss in that respect (then again, so are some soundcards). Also even if you do use an external setup, you might wish to have the soundcard do processing of some kind. Not so useful these days, but some games like to have hardware accelerated OpenAL.

Regardless, not a big deal in most cases. Certainly not the first thing to spend money on. If you have $50 speakers, don't go and buy a $100 soundcard. If you have a $5000 setup, ok maybe a soundcard could be useful, but only in certain circumstances.

As a side note, the noise in a PC isn't a big issue. Properly grounding/shielding the card deals with it. A simple example is the professional LynxTWO, which is all internal yet has top notch specs, even by today's standards. http://audio.rightmark.org/tes...

Comment: They don't care about the cards (Score 1) 349

by Sycraft-fu (#47409003) Attached to: Here Comes the Panopticon: Insurance Companies

They track you using your credit card. The cards are because people want them these days. Albertsons finally knuckled under and started offering them. Not because they needed them for tracking, like I said they already did that, but because customers whined they weren't getting a "good deal". So they raised their prices, and introduced a card.

Comment: Also (Score 1) 110

by Sycraft-fu (#47408593) Attached to: YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

It doesn't take in to account the net speeds that people have. So you might well have a provider who has no problem doing HD video from Youtube all day every day, on lines that can handle it. However they sell slower lines and some customers have that, so that skews things.

Like say a phone company offers ADSL and IDSL for customers who are way out in the boonies, but VDSL for people in the city. Well those slow connections will bring down their stats, even if their network is quite fast and makes them look bad, despite them actually being the only option for some people.

A somewhat similar deal with cable companies can be people using old hardware. DOCSIS 2 cable modems only use one channel per segment, and those can get saturated these days. Well cable providers tend to be DOCSIS 3 to deal with that... but not everyone has a new modem. The cable company can recommend they get one, but if it is your equipment they can't make you (I guess other than cutting you off but they don't wanna do that).

Comment: Re:No exhaustive.. (Score 3, Funny) 283

by jellomizer (#47407791) Attached to: The World's Best Living Programmers

Now these guys may not be the best programmers out there. As programming is different for every type of job.

Someone who can compile a nice compiler may not be able to make an OS as well. Or an OS developer may not be able to make a clean User interface for a web site.

There are so many details out there that makes a comparison near impossible. What this list captures are the Most popular programmers. Who's popularity is often due to their personality that makes their program popular.

We as programmers tend to come up with new innovative solutions to problems all the time, and often all this work isn't noticed by anyone, because it works so well that no one ever notices.

Comment: Re:And when the video feed dies... (Score 0) 464

The window leads to a lot of mistakes as well, probably far more than a video feed dying.
Cases have been documented when flying over an large body of water pilots can get disinterested and confuse their up from down, and fly their plains upside down, until they crash.

In the rare case where the feed dies, there are a bunch of other instruments available for them.

 

Comment: Re:Expert System (Score 1) 160

by jellomizer (#47399363) Attached to: The AI Boss That Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers

To much Science Fiction and not enough Science Fact.
A common theme in Science Fiction is the idea that technology will replace humans, which is often true. However most SciFi usually takes this idea and follows the slippery slop to a far more interesting to read, but most likely not possible worst case situation.

SciFi books about say a middle grade analyst having to change careers in his mid 40's because technology had made his current job obsolete. Is rather dull. But if that system some how became the all knowing overlord, picking who lives and who lives on a global scale. Now that is interesting, and allows conflict with a rag tag team of Humans in their seemingly impossible task in out thinking the super computer.

When you read a cautionary tail, it isn't about stopping progress, but opening your mind to other options, if these options are bad, put insurances to protect the bad stuff from happening.

Comment: Re:No shit (Score 1) 203

Where their are the rare cases where a kid who doesn't have the mental block on this is how we need to do things can come up with a much more innovative solution. However most of the time, the best they achieve is creating something that other engineers have though of before but had rejected the idea, because of the trade-offs it can bring, being too expensive, doesn't meet quality standards, parts are hard to replace, cannot purchase the right to use a patent, excessively dangerous, etc....

I had invented a lot of crazy stuff as a kid, I was lucky I never started a fire with the designs. (A lot of wire cloth hanger that are not isolated were often my primary material)

Comment: No shit (Score 5, Insightful) 203

Slashdot needs to knock it off with these "Child genius is going to totally upstage all those stupid companies and make something amazing!" stories they run some time. The thing is, they are essentially never true and we as geeks should know better.

Smart kids often have the problem of thinking they know everything. They have the brains to be well above their peers at pretty much everything, and so have a confidence in their knowledge and intelligence, but lack the experience to understand the limitations of both in the larger world. Hence they'll think that they have found an "obvious" solution to a problem in the world that nobody else has managed to think of. I'm sure most of us felt like that at one time or another as children.

However, it turns out that smart kids become smart adults, and those smart adults get job making the thing we use, solving the problems we have, and so on. So, usually if there's something that hasn't been solved, the reason is that there is NOT a simple solution. There isn't something that a kid will just say "Oh look, here's a better way to do it." Rather it is a complex problem and thus the solutions are complex.

So Slashdot needs to quit with stories on shit like this unless there' something to back it up. A printer actually gets released based on this kids design? Ok that's a story. Some kid says he can do way better than anyone else? That's not a story. That is, to quote the Reapers, "A confidence borne of ignorance." It's not news.

Comment: Re:Not a ranking of what is the best language (Score 1) 196

by jellomizer (#47392329) Attached to: IEEE Spectrum Ranks the Top Programming Languages

Figuring out the best programming language is just an opening to a flame war.
1. Different languages have chosen a different set of trade offs as to meet the problems they solve. Speed to run vs speed to code. Compiled vs interpreted. Verbose descriptive command vs quick to type but cryptic commands.

2. Different platforms. Are you coding for Windows or Linux perhaps for Apple. How much do you want to take advantaged of the platforms features?

3. You tend to favor what you know. Why do you think most of these top languages are C like. They are just variants on what you know.

Having had the choice to choose a language for a project there are a lot of factors. To say this language is superior then the rest is silly because the other languages were made for a reason.

Time is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen at once. Space is nature's way of making sure that everything doesn't happen to you.

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