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Comment: Re:As much as I hate Apple (Score 2) 153

by swillden (#47800425) Attached to: Apple Said To Team With Visa, MasterCard On iPhone Wallet

The real problem is the lack of standards. Japan has e-wallets, there is Google Wallet and now it looks like there will be a third and incompatible Apple wallet.

There are standards. Japan is its own world, but the Google Wallet and ISIS (a consortium of mobile network operators and banks who created the ISIS wallet -- yes they're looking for a new name) relies on standard EMV payment protocols -- slightly modified by the US Visa, MC, AMEX and Discover organizations, but not incompatibly so. Apple will follow the EMV standards as well, or they'll get nowhere, because retailers are a slow-moving, cost-conscious group.

Visa and MasterCard announced two years ago that they'll implement the "liability shift" the end of 2015, which means that from 2016 onward 100% of fraud will be charged to whichever entity in the chain (merchant, merchant acquirer, clearing house, issuer) does not have the EMV smart chip technology implemented. Since merchants get stuck with 98% of fraud, and other links in the chain are moving slowly, this will provide a huge incentive for merchants to install EMV-capable point of sale terminals. That doesn't require them to deploy NFC-capable terminals, but they will, and many of them are.

Not even Apple is capable of creating an entirely new payment ecosystem. They'll play ball with the banks and card associations, or they'll go nowhere.

Comment: You can have that... for a lot of money (Score 1) 87

by Sycraft-fu (#47798893) Attached to: RAYA: Real-time Audio Engine Simulation In Quake

For whatever reason, it isn't something there's much interest in, but it does exist. I am aware of three options:

1) The HeaDSPeaker. The cheapest option. A little device from a not very well known company called VLSI Solutions. It handles the head tracking and HRTF, you provide the headphones. Runs about 340 Euro ($450). It can take input either as a Dolby Digital stream, or directly as USB from the computer.

2) The Beyerdynamic Headzone. This is an all-in-one solution from Beyerdynamic. Has a decoder, HRTF calculations, headphone amp, head tracking, and a pair of DT 880s. Costs about $1700. Requires DTS or DD input for multi-channel input.

3) Then the grand champion, the Smyth Research Realiser A8. This thing takes measurements of your headphones, ears, speakers, and room and so accurately recreates the sound it is more or less impossible to tell it apart. The unit handles measurement, decoding, HRTF, head tracking and so on. However it costs $2900 for the unit alone, $3700 with the Stax headphones and amp they recommend for it. Oh and you need a good surround system to measure, so you either need to own one or book time on one. Needs either multi-channel analogue or HDMI input.

So it is out there... but you pay a ton for it. That's all I know of at the moment, it is a topic I keep track of because I have a lot of interest in it.

Comment: Re:Ummm.... (Score 4, Insightful) 160

by swillden (#47798405) Attached to: XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months

His comic appeal to people who merely believe themselves to be above average.


It's got nothing to do with intelligence, or even knowledge in a general sense. It's that his comics so often rely on specialized knowledge. For example, a couple of my favorite strips are the "sudo" strip and the "Bobby Tables" strip. The former is only understandable to someone who has at least a passing acquaintance with *nix system administration, and the latter requires some knowledge of SQL and SQL injection attacks. Neither of those things is hard to understand. They don't require great intelligence. But they're not generally known. And to people who require an explanation, they're not funny (I have t-shirts of both, and I have never gotten so much as a chuckle from anyone to whom I have to explain the basis for the jokes).

You'll note, of course, that I'm not actually addressing your real point, which is a snarky argument that only people who like to feel themselves smarter or more knowledgeable than most would enjoy the strip. That's because it's not worth addressing.

Comment: Re:Skeptic (Score 3, Insightful) 69

by jandersen (#47798383) Attached to: Feynman Lectures Released Free Online

Feynman was a Skeptic.

I'm not sure what your point it, but as far as I know ALL scientists are skeptics; that's why they keep probing the edges of their chosen discipline all the time, in order to improve their theories.

What real scientists are not is closed-minded deniers of any and all facts they don't like, like in 'climate-skeptic' or 'evolution-skeptic', and I suspect you are trying to imply that Feynman is a 'skeptic' like that. Knowing his work, I doubt it.

Comment: Re: traffic apps (Score 1) 159

by rwa2 (#47797829) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

OneBusAway works great for that kind of thing in the Seattle / Puget Sound region. Though I still use Google Maps to provide the best transfer schedule, OBA is then good for tracking if the busses are running on time.

Unfortunately, I found that there are some dead ones where the busses aren't able to check in for a while... So the system might start to assume that a bus is running 15 minutes late, but then the bus will suddenly check in as on time just a few minutes before reaching the stop down the road from me. So. Mrrr

Comment: Re: Who cares about existing apps? (Score 1) 159

by rwa2 (#47797807) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Phone Apps?

We had a lot of good apps back in the PalmOS days. I used to use JPluckX / Sunrise to download a compressed image of the day's Slashdot using the AvantSlash filter. I could even download the front page of any URLs provided as links, so I could even RTFA or see the AC's goatse links if I wanted to. Plucker for palmos was instantaneous on navigating and loading links from compressed data, much faster than using Avantgo at going back and forth between links, which was in turn much faster than downloading crap from 3g networks at the time over a mobile browser, which was in turn so much faster than trying to use the Slashdot beta AJAX / reactive / adaptive / redaptive interface we have now that doesn't even let you use the "open in new tab" feature that modern mobile browsers have.

I could get virtually all of /. on my device each day, ready to entertain me while I was on the subway or even out camping without cell service. And I couldn't make any comments, so everyone wins.

Yeah, I feel badly for you young'uns, we had things so great back in the day.

Comment: Re:Ummm.... (Score 2) 160

by swillden (#47797627) Attached to: XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months

Actually, Munroe's success is really surprising to me in spite of the brilliance of his work, because so much of what he draws is accessible to a relatively narrow audience. Not all of it, not even the majority.

I should have qualified this to point out I'm talking about his comics, more than What If. HIs What If series is very accessible, by design.

Comment: Re:Ummm.... (Score 4, Insightful) 160

by swillden (#47797619) Attached to: XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months

Randal Munroe is evidence that if you draw stick figures for long enough you will eventually gain recognition.

Sure, as long as your stick figures are saying and doing incredibly witty things.

Actually, Munroe's success is really surprising to me in spite of the brilliance of his work, because so much of what he draws is accessible to a relatively narrow audience. Not all of it, not even the majority. But there's enough that is only understandable to people who know more than most about computers, mathematics, physics, etc., that none of the non-geeks I know really like it.

Comment: Re:Where there is a wil.. (Score 2) 218

by michael_cain (#47796775) Attached to: Feds Want Nuclear Waste Train, But Don't Know Where It Would Go
When you go back and read the history of how many potential sites were originally proposed by the DoE, and how those sites were eliminated from consideration until only Yucca Mountain was left, it turns out that both sides are anti-nuclear-waste. When the list had been reduced to three by years of deal-making in Congress, it was cut to one in a naked political maneuver involving a Texas conservative and Washington liberal in leadership positions. Following the closed-door committee meeting where the deed was done, reporters asked the chairman what had happened. The quote he gave them was, "We screwed Nevada." The change was attached to a budget reconciliation bill so that it could not be debated in either the House or the Senate.

A bill to restart the work at Yucca Mountain, or other western location, for a disposal site for eastern nuclear waste -- the vast majority of the commercial power reactors in the US are east of the Great Plains -- is one of the few things that would get the western states' Congressional delegations to vote unanimously, regardless of party affiliation. The last time it happened was for the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

Comment: TFA betrays Ray Henry 's ignorance of planning. (Score 5, Insightful) 218

There is no reason the design of a waste hauling train should wait until a site is identified, thus delaying the removal of the waste from many scattered temporary storage sites. The hauling design and the site identification can proced in parallel.

Indeed: The characteristics of the hauling solution may limit the selection of sites to which the waste could be hauled with acceptable levels of safety. That would argue for the design to PRECEED site selection.

Computers are not intelligent. They only think they are.