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Comment Re:the main legit use i can see (Score 1) 259

I presume that this would be integrated with some kind of app on the receiver end. When the truck is dispatched (or, if the depot is in range, when the parcel is ready for direct dispatch), you'd get a message telling you the time window when it will be available. You then signal that you're ready to receive it and give some GPS coordinates. It's then dispatched and sends another message when it's a few hundred metres away. You then go outside (or stand on a balcony) and wait for it to be delivered directly to you. Once it's very close, it can use WiFi from your phone (send your MAC address to the drone and the SSID that you're associated with - or create an ad-hoc network if you're out of range and it can home in on you) to check that it's actually landing by the correct person. Then just tap the 'delivery received' button and it will fly away.

Comment Doesn't matter (Score 1) 19

During the primary you get to spout all kinds of shit. This is also why I tend to shake my head when people claim that Sanders is useful because "he forces Clinton to the left".

No he doesn't, he's just making Clinton pretend to like the left for a few months.

Rubio will be back to "The law is the law" as soon as drug decriminalization is back under discussion. And all of a sudden, any memory of nonsense involving ignoring gay marriages will be history.

Comment Re:How does space elevator save energy? (Score 2) 138

No space elevator designs that are even vaguely plausible include a moving cable. To understand why, consider the mass of such a cable: the energy required to accelerate it and then decelerate it for the cars to start and stop would be phenomenal. You could potentially have a loop that would continuously move in a circle, but you'd still have problems starting it. Just dropping things from the top wouldn't be enough, because you'd need to get them a fair way down before they'd stop orbiting and actually provide force in the correct direction. I don't even want to think about the lateral forces that such a structure would have to endure.

Comment Re:Before I needed 12 different cables (Score 1) 282

Huh, I'm down to three, and one of those is only used with some fairly old devices I have. (Actually, I've only got one of those old devices left in service.) Other than that, I just have full-sized and new-phone-standard minis.

I do have a fairly extensive collection of old cables with a wide variety of sizes and shapes, though. So I feel your pain. :)

Comment Re:Enhanced, but not replaced. (Score 1) 282

You should know that Unicomp, which bought the rights to the model M keyboard design (the original gigantic clacky PC keyboard), still makes true model Ms with a variety of connectors including USB. My aunt swears by them. They're not cheap, but as you have clearly noticed, they also last for ages. So if the one you have does give up the ghost, you've got options.

Comment Re:Salomonic solution (Score 1) 754

I use Firefox despite critical components being designed and written by Brandon Eich, who's a contemptible homophobic jackass (and would have continued to use it even if he hadn't resigned.) I use OpenSSL despite the jackwagon who wrote it being some anti-GNU zealot. Those are two examples, and I'm sure I can find a thousand more utilities written by people I'd never go to a party with.

You're unwilling to work with systemd simply because you don't like the author, and are willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater because you are afraid to deal with your animosity against the author. OK, we get it.

But perhaps you need to reconsider your priorities if your approach to life is to decide what technologies to use on the basis of personality quibbles with people you'll never ever meet.

systemd's great. I can't comment on Poettering because, quite honestly, I've never really followed the guy. He could be as bad as Eric Raymond. He could be as nice as Bruce Perens. I'll bitch about him if I find out something that makes me think he's giving the F/OSS communit(ies) a bad name or is behaving in an exclusionary manner, but I'm not going to reject a long needed technological upgrade that's exactly what we need right now on that basis.

Comment Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 380

No batteries needed if it connects via the Lightning (or micro-USB for generic phones - let's be honest, if Apple goes there others will to) port. DAC and headphone amp will probably add about 25c to the cost of the device.

The only serious issue really is that nobody has these headphones. I don't mind us moving to digital audio transmission, but I'd like all the manufacturers to agree upon a common standard first. Apple unilaterally deciding to go Lightning is about the worst possible outcome.

Comment third of three? (Score 4, Insightful) 71

One of the most important characteristics of a planet...

There's three characteristics, and this is probably the least important. But if you consider all three to be "the most" important, then I suppose it's one of them. That seems like a pretty silly way to express yourself, though. Personally, I'd probably just say "one characteristic".

Also note that we're talking about the IAU definition, which is not necessarily the only definition. Dictionaries still haven't accepted the IAU definition, and may never do so, because the IAU defines a planet as orbiting the sun, while science fiction writers continue merrily talking about planets around other stars, and show no signs of changing.

Comment Re:This! (Score 1) 130

Are they selling an object like a car or a service like access to a fairground?

Even ignoring quasi-legal arguments like software licensing, I'm inclined to feel this is an example of the latter.

This is not like selling costume packs for Skyrim, where both parties were involved in a transaction presented as a purchase of an object (again, legal arguments like licensing aside - user buys a box called "Skyrim", expects that to be the end of their relationship with Bethesda and Bethesda expected that to be the end of their relationship with the user, save for bug fixes and purchases of other products or services)

This is a straightforward "You pay us $X for access to our service.

And as such, just as paying money to access to a fairground doesn't mean you can reconfigure the rollercoaster, likewise you don't get to mod a multi-user game just because you paid money for access to it.

Comment Re:Hydro = from the sun (Score 1) 194

Direct solar may sound nice and work fine in small scale, but collectors would have to cover great areas to be effective

The total world energy consumption is somewhere around 100PWh/year. That's around 274TWh/day. The sunlight hitting the Earth is around 1kW/m^2, so 8kWh/m^2 assuming 8 hours of sunlight. If you assume 100% efficiency in conversion (totally impossible, but we'll start there and refine later), then that means that you need about 3.45E10 m^2 of land devoted to solar power. That's a square about 185km on each side. If you assume 10% efficiency (mass produced photovoltaics are 12-25% these days), then you need an area about 342000km^2, or about the area of Germany, to power the entire world. Now, given the efficiency of power distribution, you probably wouldn't want to put it all in one place, but you could easily fit solar panels enough that, even with transmission losses, you could power all of North America in Utah or Texas without anyone noticing. The difficulty is not the generation, it's the storage.

A good supervisor can step on your toes without messing up your shine.