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Comment: Re:I don't understand this... (Score 1) 20

by Thagg (#47770517) Attached to: Google Buys Zync Cloud Graphics Rendering Service

It turns out that the software used in VFX rendering is pretty darn expensive. Licenses of RenderMan, for example, were several thousand dollars a node (RenderMan just lowered their prices, it's true). Nuke, Maya, and other tools were similarly expensive.

The companies that created the software typically wouldn't consider licensing on shorter terms than six months; which made scaling up for a big movie very expensive. Zync managed to negotiate deals that would allow them to license software on an hourly basis. That is their real innovation.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 314

by Thagg (#47764537) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Curious. Back in the stone ages (12 years ago) we had a 53 GB 12-platter drive (The box said "Solve your disk space storage problems forever!") that had a head fail. I was able to recover 22/23rds of the data, but it was clear that the data was recorded from one platter to the next all the way through the stack, and then the heads moved. Back in that day (I don't know if it's still true) one side of one of the platters just contained alignment information.

Comment: Re:Stupid metric system (Score 1) 139

by Waffle Iron (#47736509) Attached to: 2 Galileo Satellites Launched To Wrong Orbit

In fact 'imperial' system is stupid. It is even retarded.
12 inches to 1 foot, 3 feets to 1 yard, 1760 yards to 1 mile, ...
This is just moronic.
Compare to 1km = 1000m = 100000cm

My theory is that the illiterate medieval peasants who invented those systems had an intuitive knowledge that a duodecimal number system would make a lot more sense than decimal, and they ended up creating various half-assed implementations of it for their measurements. (The mile thing is different; it's a Roman decimal measurement of steps).

Unfortunately we did end up using decimal, and reinforced it with Arabic numerals, which makes those intuitions worse than useless in the modern world.

Comment: Re:My two cents (Score 1) 336

by Waffle Iron (#47736425) Attached to: New EU Rules Will Limit Vacuum Cleaners To 1600W

All you have to do is to tell people. People are not stupid.

Then how do you explain the fact that after well over a decade of people being "educated" that Triclosan in hand soap is useless and probably dangerous, almost every soap on the market is still laced with it?

I'll explain it: such education simply doesn't work. The average person can not hold enough factoids in their brains to make the correct decisions on all of the things they need to purchase in modern life. Morever, the manufacturers are constantly bombarding those same people with misinformation and half-truths to promote their products. (This soap is Antibacterial!!!)

Without a ban, tax tweaks, or large mandatory warning box on the package that says "This vacuum an ineficient power hog. Do not buy.", then absolutely nothing will happen. (I'll also point out that the difference between increasing the tax on one thing and rebating it on something else is purely academic. They're both effectively raising the share of overall tax burden on one set of goods and reducing it on the complementery set.)

Comment: Re:You only have two ears. (Score 2) 197

by Thagg (#47686953) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

We have two ears, but you might notice that the ears have fairly complicated geometry. Why would that be? Well, it turns out that the various parts of the ear bounce sound, and sound coming from different directions, both azimuth and elevation, bounces differently. Your brain is very good at figuring this out. This wikipedia page on Sound Localization is quite informative.

It turns out that humans have among the best direction-sensing hearing of any animal.

[disclaimer -- I work for Dolby, but in their imaging group]

Comment: Re:"Anything more than a runtime and a language" (Score 1) 371

by Waffle Iron (#47633597) Attached to: Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

Just look at the havoc that ensues if your filesync software accidentally removes the whitespace from the beginning of the lines.

In that case, you're not running file sync software. You're running a file transformation program.

The same thing would happen to Java files if you had a file transformation program that removed curly braces.

Comment: Allergic to peanuts... (Score 1) 267

by Thagg (#47628247) Attached to: My degree of colorblindness:

I drove across the country with a good friend, who is severely red-green colorblind. About once a day, he would offer me peanuts, even though I'm deathly allergic to them, and then he'd laugh, and say "oh, these are really good." After five days of this, as we were driving across Colorado after a storm, I stopped to look at a stunning rainbow, and he's like "ooh, ok, fine, whatever"

He's a very successful computer animator and landscape painter. It helps that he is super-smart, but I still can't imagine how he does it.

Comment: Re:I've bought stuff from Facebook... (Score 1) 114

by Thagg (#47599921) Attached to: How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

Bill, this advice "make the ad as incipid[sic] and vapid as possible, to save on non-converting clicks." makes so much sense, and is so obvious, that it must be happening already. This was pioneered by the the Nigerian scammers (originally snail-mail, now mostly email.)

It does make me disheartened about the future of the ad-supported internet.

Comment: Re:Fucking anti-social Millennials (Score 1) 120

by Waffle Iron (#47583697) Attached to: Hotel Chain Plans Phone-Based Check-in and Room Access

I bet you're that guy at the front of the line who misremebers the price of what you bought and makes them send the bagger sauntering to the back of the store for a price check, and then doesn't even start to open his 19th century checkbook until the final tally is rung up, and then fills the whole check out glacially topped off by a pointlessly legible signature, then finally hands the check over so that the cashier can slowly scribble the entire contents of your drivers license over it.

And you wonder why I'm so thankful for self checkouts, even though I'm not even nearly a "millenial".

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

It sounds like this transformer had its center tap grounded and was the path to ground on one side of a ground loop as the geomagnetic field moved under pressure from a CME, inducing a common-mode current in the long-distance power line. A gas pipeline in an area of poor ground conductivity in Russia was also destroyed, it is said, resulting in 500 deaths.

One can protect against this phenomenon by use of common-mode breakers and perhaps even overheat breakers. The system will not stay up but nor will it be destroyed. This is a high-current rather than high-voltage phenomenon and thus the various methods used to dissipate lightning currents might not be effective.

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