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Comment: Something fishy here? (Score 2) 149

by mhocker (#44927391) Attached to: BlackBerry Will Sell Itself For $4.7 Billion

Is it just me, or is this somewhat fishy? First, the company posts an almost billion-dollar loss on Friday then botches the BBM to iOS/Android rollout. And then once the share price is driven down to almost $8, sells itself for $9 / share.

And of course there is this: http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/08/16/blackberry_ceo_thorsten_heins_could_get_556_million_if_ousted_after_sale.html

Comment: Re:Never (Score 1) 194

by mhocker (#44281561) Attached to: I use a screen protector ...

+1 this.

I started my (pusher, Rotax 912) airplane engine, did a run-up (4000 rpm), taxied out, flew back and shut down.

Only then did I wonder where my fully glass fronted phone was. (I won't name the brand!)

Answer? On the table where I left it. Right behind said chaos that I had unleashed. Well, it wasn't exactly on the table, it was in the corner on the floor having been thrown around a lot. With everything else!

Undamaged, unhurt. Pretty darned impressive.

Comment: Re:It's not radio, it's a jukebox (Score 1) 143

by mhocker (#43449585) Attached to: Apple Near Deal For Radio Service

That's a surprisingly good point about what makes good radio, and well taken. However, I'd like to offer a counterpoint, and a rebuttal. Ha, I said rebuttal.

What happens when the time of day is no longer important? The Internet is global. I'm someone who goes between GMT-8 and GMT+1 on a regular basis. That's 9 hours of difference. Should we all keep zulu time for our playlists?

And what if we don't want to hear the "segues" and actually just listen to the music? My understanding is that commercial radio requires the chit-chat so that people can't just record the music. I've always resented it and it is a big part of the reason I don't listen to broadcast radio.

Finally, about "spontaneity". Again going on my unlikely-to-be-exactly-correct understanding, but isn't commercial radio the exact opposite of spontaneous?

Personally, I don't care about who brings it to me, but since I've left university, I really appreciate services that let me try and then buy (or not - I'm a paid monthly streaming subscriber) rather than being out of the economy entirely. I spent more last year in my streaming subscription than I had in the previous 5 years on CDs.

Maybe this type of service isn't so bad after all.

Just my opinion.

Comment: Panama has already minted $1 USD coins (Score 1) 943

by mhocker (#42154711) Attached to: Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

A little background first: Panama uses the US Dollar but calls it the "Balboa". 1 Balboa = 1 Dollar and they look exactly the same because they are actually US dollar bills. Doing this has given Panama an economic stability unheard of in Latin America and contributes to the consistent annual 9% economic growth that the country enjoys, all while keeping inflation low.

A couple of years ago, Panama started to mint their own $1 coins. See here: http://www.thepanamanews.com/pn/v_17/issue_02/economy_12.html. Now granted, they can't be used outside Panama and were actually minted in Canada, but the "Martinellis" as the Panamanians call the coins, named after the president, have some significant advantages over dollar bills:

- In a country where dollar bills do not get replaced frequently and are usually filthy, Martinellis are clean and durable.
- $1 in Panama can get a lot done for you: groceries bagged and carried to your car, a parking space from a "bien cuidado", and two of them will get you a taxi ride in the city. So dropping one or two coins is a convenient way to pay.
- Martinellis represent money that stays inside Panama and can only be used to pay for goods in Panama, thus reducing capital outflow (but of course, not by much as there aren't that many in circulation)

However, this money is minted independently of the US, so it actually represents Panama's own currency. I'm not sure if this is good or bad though.

Space

+ - In Space, Cambridge Will See If Someone Can Hear You Scream->

Submitted by mhocker
mhocker (607466) writes "Science is all about testing theories to validate them and students at Cambridge University are doing exactly that with a long-held theory that "In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_(film). The team from the Cambridge University Spaceflight (CUSF) society are launching a smartphone into orbit that will play videos of members of the public screaming in a variety of ways. As the videos are played, the team hope to find the answer to the question of whether or not anyone can hear you scream in space. More here: http://www.screaminspace.com./"
Link to Original Source
Programming

The Struggles of Developing StarCraft 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the requires-more-vespene-gas dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Patrick Wyatt led production efforts for several of Blizzard Entertainment's early games, including Warcraft 1 & 2 and StarCraft. Wyatt has just published an in-depth look at the development of StarCraft, highlighting many of the problems the team encountered, and several of the hacks they came to later regret. Quoting: 'Given all the issues working against the team, you might think it was hard to identify a single large source of bugs, but based on my experiences the biggest problems in StarCraft related to the use of doubly-linked linked lists. Linked lists were used extensively in the engine to track units with shared behavior. With twice the number of units of its predecessor — StarCraft had a maximum of 1600, up from 800 in Warcraft 2 — it became essential to optimize the search for units of specific types by keeping them linked together in lists. ... All of these lists were doubly-linked to make it possible to add and remove elements from the list in constant time — O(1) — without the necessity to traverse the list looking for the element to remove — O(N). Unfortunately, each list was 'hand-maintained' — there were no shared functions to link and unlink elements from these lists; programmers just manually inlined the link and unlink behavior anywhere it was required. And hand-rolled code is far more error-prone than simply using a routine that's already been debugged. ... So the game would blow up all the time. All the time.'" Wyatt also has a couple interesting posts about the making of Warcraft 1.

Comment: Re:RIM, you're not paying attention (Score 1) 299

by mhocker (#40617509) Attached to: RIM CEO On What Went Wrong

There is a company that already does exactly this - Good Technology. I investigated using it for our company and it seems to offer exactly what we would need to replace Blackberries with iPhones. But there are some problems that are preventing us from switching:

1. PIN to PIN messages. Unbelievably, these insecure messages are very popular with some users. No other platform supports them because they are the native protocol of the Blackberry.
2. BBM. WhatsApp is a good alternative but you have to convinced all your contacts to get it.
3. No integration of Good with the rest of iOS. So no Siri, calendar integration, etc. It lives in its own little box. Really not ideal.

So between the network effect (1,2) and lack of integration (3) some customers are not yet switching.

Comment: Wouldn't this actually INCREASE bandwidth usage? (Score 2) 164

by mhocker (#35502368) Attached to: US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth
My first thought about what it would be like to be a user in this situation is that, upon seeing the "site blocked" message, I would simply go hunting around for a similar site - maybe MSNBC instead of CNN for example. It's the content I'm looking for after all - news in this case - that matters. I might have to Google around a bit to find that content of course and try a few alternative sites. So wouldn't this approach actually increase the bandwidth usage? As noble as the cause is, this approach doesn't seem very effective to me.
Microsoft

+ - MSDN or not?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "MSDN and sub sites have vanished... dos'ing or dozing techies? — you decide!"
Quickies

+ - TGV breaks speed record

Submitted by zeux
zeux (129034) writes "While testing the new Paris — Strasbourg line, the TGV broke a 17 years old speed record (babelfish translation), travelling at 553 km/h (343 mph). The last record, of 515 km/h (320 mph), was set on May, 18th 1990. According to the French National Railroad Company (SNCF) the testing campaign will continue and speeds up to 570 km/h (354 mph) could be atteigned by June of this year."

"Is it really you, Fuzz, or is it Memorex, or is it radiation sickness?" -- Sonic Disruptors comics

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