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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.

Apple

Apple Shows Off New iOS 7, Mac OS X At WWDC 607

Posted by samzenpus
from the round-up dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off his company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco with a short video emphasizing the importance of design, particularly that which evokes some sort of emotional connection such as love or delight. But that sentimental bit aside, this WWDC was all business: huge numbers of developers attend this annual event, packing sessions designed to help give their apps an edge in Apple's crowded online marketplace (some 50 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store, Cook told the audience during his keynote). Apple also uses its WWDC to unveil new products or services, attracting sizable interest from the tech press.

This time around, the company introduced Mac OS X 'Mavericks,' which includes 'Finder Tabs' (which allow the user to deploy multiple tabs within a Finder window—great for organization, in theory) and document tags (for easier searching). Macs will now support multiple displays, including HDTVs, with the ability to tweak elements between screens; Apple claims the operating system will also interact with the CPU in a more efficient manner.

On top of that, Apple rolled out some new hardware: an upgraded MacBook Air with faster graphics, better battery life (9 hours for the 11-inch edition, while the 13-inch version can draw 12 hours' worth of power). Apple has decided to jump into the cloud-productivity space with iWork for iCloud, which makes the company's iWork portfolio (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) browser-based; this is a clear response to Office 365 and Google Docs.

And finally, the executives onstage turned back to iOS, which (according to Apple) powers some 600 million devices around the world. This version involves more than a few tweaks: from a redesigned 'Slide to Unlock' at the bottom of the screen, to the bottom-up control panel that slides over the home-screen, to the 'flat' (as predicted) icons and an interface that adjusts as the phone is tilted, this is a total redesign. As a software designer, Ive is clearly a huge fan of basic shapes—circles and squares— and layering translucent elements atop one another."
Censorship

Singapore Seeks Even More Control Over Online Media 78

Posted by timothy
from the eric-holder's-new-consulting-gig dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Currently ranked 149th globally in terms of press freedom, alongside Iraq and Myanmar, the Singapore government has chosen to further tighten its grip on the media instead of letting up. The Media Development Authority (MDA) announced yesterday that 'online news sites' reporting regularly on issues relating to Singapore and have significant reach among readers here will require an individual license from the MDA. Under the regime, website operators have to comply within 24 hours with any directives from the MDA to take down content that breaches standards. These sites also have to put up a 'performance bond' of S$50,000. The Government also plans to amend the Broadcasting Act next year, to ensure that websites which are hosted overseas but report on Singapore news are brought under the licensing framework as well."

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.

Businesses

Top Google Executives Approved Illegal Drug Ads 287

Posted by timothy
from the regulations-trump-free-choice dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that the U.S. government used convicted con artist David Whitaker, owner of an online business selling steroids and human growth hormone to U.S. consumers, to help federal agents in a sting operation against Google when he began advertising with Google with advertisements that included the statement 'no prescription needed,' clearly violating U.S. laws. Google's settlement with the U.S. government for $500 million blamed AdWords sales by Canadian pharmacies, who allegedly were selling drugs to U.S. consumers. 'We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago,' Google said then. 'However, it's obvious with hindsight that we shouldn't have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.' Peter Neronha, the U.S. attorney for Rhode Island who led the multiagency federal task force that conducted the sting, claims that chief executive Larry Page had personal knowledge of the operation, as did Sheryl Sandberg, a Google executive who now is the chief operating officer for Facebook. In 2009 Google started requiring online pharmacy advertisers to be certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Verified Internet Pharmacy Practices Sites program and hired an outside company to detect pharmacy advertisers exploiting flaws in the Google's screening systems."
IBM

IBM's Five Predictions For the Next Five Years 219

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-let's-revisit-in-5-years dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "In each of the past five years, IBM has come up with a list of five innovations it believes will become popular within five years. In this, the sixth year, IBM has come up with the following technologies it thinks will gain traction: (1) People power will come to life. Advances in technology will allow us to trap the kinetic energy generated (and wasted) from walking, jogging, bicycling, and even from water flowing through pipes. (2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will finally replace the password and thus redefine the word 'hack.' (3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction. Scientists are working on headsets with sensors that can read brain activity and recognize facial expressions, excitement, and more without needing any physical inputs from the wearer. (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected. (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."
Piracy

Sony, Universal and Fox Caught Pirating Through BitTorrent 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the hand-in-cookie-jar dept.
New submitter Bad_Feeling sends in a followup to the story we discussed on Monday about a new site that scanned a few popular torrent trackers and linked torrents to IP addresses. The folks at TorrentFreak decided to check IP addresses belonging to major companies in the entertainment industry and published lists of pirated files from several, including Fox, Sony, and NBC Universal. Of course, they used the information to make a slightly different point than the industry usually does: "By highlighting the above our intention is not to get anyone into trouble, and for that reason we masked out the end of the IP addresses to avoid a witch hunt. An IP address is not a person, IP addresses can be shared among many people, and anyone can be behind a keyboard at any given time."
Space

Pristine Big Bang Gas Found 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the drill-baby-drill dept.
New submitter cekerr sends this quote from Discovery News: "U.S. scientists have found two interstellar clouds of original gas, which contain only original elements created moments after the universe's birth (abstract). Unlike everything else in the universe, the gas clouds have never mingled with elements forged later in stars. The existence of pristine gas that formed minutes after the Big Bang explosion, some 13.7 billion years ago, had been predicted, but never before observed."

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis

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