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Comment: Re:Why such paranoia ? (Score 1) 249

Imagine if some poor schumck recorded video on his smartphone of that cop in Ferguson shooting that kid. They'd brick the phone immediately, eliminating the video, and only leaving the schumck's word that he had the video.

How is this any different from the police taking the phone and erasing the video? In order to get the information they need to "brick" the phone, they'd need to look at the phone, thus they would have it in their possession and could do anything nefarious that they chose. The only situation where the government shutting down an individual phone remotely makes any sense is if they believe that phone is a required part of a "people are going to die" plot.

The real problem with a mandated remote kill switch is that every script kiddie on the planet would want to break into whatever controls sending out the "kill" order so they could entertain themselves. With current systems where whatever method I choose to have this functionality is not known, and there are a great many options, it's far less likely that somebody will wipe my phone just for "fun".

Comment: Re:Just doin' business (Score 1) 235

by nabsltd (#47711473) Attached to: Comcast Training Materials Leaked

Upselling doesn't occur until their issue is resolved and the call is on track to end.

And that's still a problem. If I call to have a problem fixed, then that's all they should do. The dozens of ads per day they insert into the video, the 2-3 pieces of snail mail I get per week, and the annoying calls that I can't stop because I have a "business relationship" with them are more than enough "upsell" for me.

Luckily, my providers (DirecTV for video and Verizion FiOS for Internet) don't do any a lot of this crap (DirecTV does insert a lot of ads for themselves). The only "upsell" I get from a support call to either one of these is a "is there anything else I can help you with?" at the end. I don't get any snail mail ads from either one, and neither call me. DirecTV tells me about new services by messages that appear on my STB (not intrusive...must be accessed manually via a menu choice), and at least one of which I have purchased.

Comment: Re:McDonallds should sue ... (Score 2) 235

by nabsltd (#47711385) Attached to: Comcast Training Materials Leaked

TV antennas have worked since the 1940s. With the digital switchover is the 2000s, people even further out can get a digitally-perfect picture in higher quality with less artifacts than any cable or satellite provider offers.

I have several antennas (pointed at different cities), and so I can say with a lot of knowledge that you are generally wrong. I'm less than 30 miles from one set of towers and about 40 from the other, and I have far fewer dropouts from DirecTV than from antenna. Not that there's a lot on either, but OTA does have more uncorrectable errors over the long haul. For people farther away (but still in the same DMA, and still needing to get their signal from the same towers), it's even worse.

As for picture quality when there are no errors, DirecTV isn't a noticeable dropoff, now that every OTA station has at least one sub-channel.

And you probably have several times more TV channels available to you than you would expect, possibly several good ones that are not even carried on cable.

There are OTA sub-channels not available on satellite, but many of them are available on the local cable provider (Comcast). I do watch some of these channels quite often, and they do offer programs I can't get anywhere else. That said, if I only had OTA, I wouldn't be able to watch most of the shows that I actually like.

Comment: Re:nuisance fee (Score 1) 375

by nabsltd (#47703397) Attached to: Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

So The ISP has a choice of caving to their demands and getting a kickback or fight a costly battle that they may or may not win.

Or, the ISPs can support being re-classified as "common carriers" by the FCC and then the DMCA requirement goes away, so Rightscorp wouldn't have any leverage of a lawsuit.

Comment: Re:This was the best... (Score 1) 252

by nabsltd (#47691081) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

I can only assume you've never watched "Sons of Anarchy," or, for that matter, "The Shield.",/quote>

No, I haven't, but I'm willing to bet that nobody killed off had front of show "star" credit. A quick look also shows that most of the deaths in both shows appear to be near the beginning/end of seasons, which almost always means that the actor was moving on to something else, and the death was just written in.

Comment: Re:3dTV is a flop? (Score 1) 197

by nabsltd (#47689275) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

what is the remote like?

If you have more than one component in your configuration, you almost certainly need a universal remote, so the TV remote doesn't matter that much.

I've used the same remote through 2 TVs, 3 receivers, 2 DVD players, several media players, cable and satellite STBs, and even my HTPC.

Comment: Re:im a music mixer in hollywood... (Score 1) 197

by nabsltd (#47689237) Attached to: Is Dolby Atmos a Flop For Home Theater Like 3DTV Was?

In any event, preexisting surround systems were not really designed with classical music in mind. The rear channels are low-resolution, which is a problem for classical works (e.g. Stockhausen's Carré, Langgaard's Music of the Spheres, even some Bach organ recordings), as some performers are placed behind the audience and they really need to be heard in the same high resolution as the ensemble coming from the front channels.

Modern loss-less multi-channel codecs (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA) have full-resolution in all channels, so software isn't a problem.

As for hardware, it is true that many installations use smaller speakers for the surround channels, but this does not mean they have generally lower resolution for the vast majority of the audio spectrum. Smaller might limit bass response, but much of the truly low bass is essentially non-directional and is handled by subwoofers instead of the surround speakers. Even so, it's not that hard to add one or two more subwoofers to restore the tiny bit of lost directionality from having only one.

Everything I noted applies only to home installations...professional installations almost always have all the required extras to make the surround channels the equivalent of the front.

Comment: Re:stupid argument (Score 1, Informative) 306

by nabsltd (#47646243) Attached to: New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

CSS & HTML5 ***are*** code languages for programming machine behavior

CSS & HTML5 are data that is interpreted by a computer program. They are not "code languages". The rule of thumb is that without some sort of control structure (if/then/else, loops, etc.), it's just data.

For HTML, this becomes obvious once you see how many real languages (JavaScript, PHP, ColdFusion, VisualBasic/ASP, etc.) have been created to overcome its lack of control structures.

Comment: Re:This was the best... (Score 1) 252

by nabsltd (#47642921) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

That's not true. Off the top of my head, MASH killed Henry Blake, and that was probably the first time a major character was killed off in a major series (other than a cast member dying).

In the case of McLean Stevenson, he quit the show, and instead of just writing his character out, they killed him. This is no different from any other show where the actor's off-screen circumstances (death, etc.) caused the show to have to write around it.

On B5, however, characters that you grew to love (like Marcus) were "dead men walking" from the first second they appeared on screen, because that's what JMS had already written. AFAIK, B5 really was the first to kill off characters as part of the planned plot where the actor had front of the show credit. It's still rare today partially because those actors get paid more money because of union rules, and partially because studios and networks want a more stable cast they can sell to advertisers. Mostly, the "planned deaths" are a supporting character. Person of Interest is one of the few recent shows I can think of that killed off a truly major character, and didn't do it at the end of a season.

Comment: Re:...but there are already films (Score 1) 252

by nabsltd (#47642865) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

The whole point behind babylon 5 was the huge story arcs...two great ones. I will watch the movie...but I don't care like I would about a series.

Perhaps a B5 movie could be a launch for a B5 multimedia universe like the Marvel Universe. The tie-in between the theatrical movies and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show is excellent.

Sci-Fi, fantasy, and comic book are excellent genres for a character-driven TV series with tie-in theatrical movies for the big events that need that kind of FX budget. Even some action/adventure could benefit from this. Imagine a "James Bond universe" where the TV series doesn't have Bond in it very much at all. It could still be very fun, and build up the plot to a movie.

Comment: Re:I've got a better modell (Score 1) 306

by nabsltd (#47635473) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

FWIW, I haven't been noticing stuff like that in what I've been reading, and I'm a pretty good natural proofreader. Perhaps we've been reading books from different sources.

My most recent example of something any editor should have caught is in the new Jeffery Deaver (The Skin Collector).

In it, a book is identified by a scrap of a page, primarily because the hero knew the font was Adobe Myriad, based on the shape of certain letters. Anybody at all familiar with actual print books (like an editor) would know that Myriad would never be used as body text since it is a sans-serif font, and a really good editor would check the claims about the "slanted 'e'" and discover that the font has no appreciable angle to the horizontal strokes.

For repeated character description, look at Command Authority by Tom Clancy, and search for "Midas". We are constantly reminded that this is the code name for a character named "Barry Jankowski", and often when we are reminded, we also get a repeat of something else, like his rank, skill set, former postings, etc.

Comment: Re:to sum it up (Score 1) 54

by nabsltd (#47635395) Attached to: How Facebook Is Saving Power By 10-15% Through Better Load Balancing

Or if you're Intel or AMD making millions of CPUs, you think about how to do your systems right.

- what does that have anything to do with the question at hand?

Well, perhaps somebody like Facebook who buys at least thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of CPUs might go to Intel or AMD and have them custom-build (or at least custom tune) a CPU for their use case.

Also, looking hard at the actual usage might help...lower clock speed CPUs with more cores and lower TDP vs. faster CPUs with fewer cores and higher TDP doesn't have a set answer. Perhaps the latter are better because they finish the job quicker and get back to idle, but maybe the former works better because it can handle more user requests per watt when busy. I have no idea, but answering these kinds of questions might save more power than just making sure idle CPUs stay idle for as long as possible.

Comment: Re:Speeds (Score 1) 110

by nabsltd (#47629757) Attached to: AMD Prepares To Ship Gaming SSDs

Current SSDs already HAVE those speeds. So why bother?

It's actually pretty easy to get those same speeds using 5-8 spinning disks in a RAID stripe. Where SSDs really shine is in random reads and writes.

I use both on my desktop...a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO and five 2TB Western Digital Red (5400rpm) drives in RAID-5. Uncached reads and writes are about 400MB/sec on the array, and about 580MB/sec on the SSD. The two biggest differences are the SSD achieves those speeds at pretty much every block size of at least 4KB, while the disks need 64KB block sizes, and the SSD can also do so in random access.

Note that even an "uncached" write is cached with Samsung's "Rapid" mode, and the SSD can sustain "writes returned to calling app" at over 2GB/sec for about 5 seconds, assuming you have enough RAM and a UPS for safety. With caching, level loading in games is almost completely CPU bound on my system, as it has 64GB of RAM.

Comment: Re:I've got a better modell (Score 1) 306

by nabsltd (#47582413) Attached to: Amazon's eBook Math

Formatting the book is a whole lot easier than it used to be, true, but that's only part of what an editor does.

You'd think that, but I returned an eBook to Amazon after their normal return period when starting about 30% through, paragraphs breaks started being random...sometimes there would be no break in 20 lines of alternating dialog, and sometimes paragraphs would break like they were trying to be wrapped to fit a very narrow line. It also had long runs of italics (no closing tag), random font size changes, and run-together words. It was obvious that nobody had read that book after some idiot formatted it.

Also, many eBooks are apparently not sourced from an electronic copy, but rather scans of the print version, as they often have dozens (or even hundreds) of versions of the section separators (like 3 stars) as images. I can maybe understand one copy of the image, but with Unicode and embedded fonts, you can usually convert those kind of dingbats to text.

Or how about this sample (that happens a lot) of how not to do small caps to intro a chapter. The entire span is set smaller than the main text, then the first character is made bigger, and the rest set in fake small caps (by using all caps and shrinking the font). I've seen even worse examples that result in the first words at about 30% of the main font size. These are straight from Amazon, and that's exactly how it renders on a Kindle.

The author is not going to be good at reading for consistency, since the author knows a whole lot more about the fictional world than went into the story (at least, this is my experience writing stuff that isn't really publishable). A casual reader may miss a name change or inconsistent backstory. That doesn't mean that name consistency is unimportant, but rather than a skilled editor will pick up on things that will make the book worse that most people will overlook.

I can tell you right now that publishers either don't have any skilled editors working for them, or they choose to only assign them to books I don't read.

From #1 best-selling authors to the somewhat obscure, I find errors that anyone who read the book at all would have caught. Gems include sections repeated outright in later chapters (character briefly introduced, then fleshed out, but the "fleshing" used copy/paste starting paragraphs that made little sense in the later context), character name changes, spelling/usage errors (I've seen they're/their/there confusion in far too many books), and no knowledge of the character/author (character says "should of gone" as many people incorrectly do, but is "corrected" by the editor to "should have gone" in some but not all instances).

What I'm basically saying is that if you think a publisher deserves money because they provide editing for the author, much of what is being sent out by the "Big Six" shows that you're wrong.

White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.