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Comment: Proprietary fonts (Score 5, Insightful) 108

by ortholattice (#47251909) Attached to: Unicode 7.0 Released, Supporting 23 New Scripts

Over the years, I've tried to use Unicode for math symbols on various web pages and tend to revert back to GIFs or LaTeX-generating tools due to problems with symbols missing from the font used by this or that browser/OS combination, or even incorrect symbols in some cases.

IMO the biggest problem with Unicode is the lack of a public domain reference font. Instead, it is a mishmash of proprietary fonts each of which only partly implements the spec. Even the Unicode spec itself uses proprietary fonts from various sources and thus cannot be freely reproduced (it says so right in the spec), a terrible idea for a supposed "standard".

I'd love to see a plain, unadorned public-domain reference font that incorporates all defined characters - indeed, it would seem to me to be the responsibility of the Unicode Standard committee to provide such a font. Then others can use it as a basis for their own fancy proprietary font variations, and I would have a reliable font I could revert to when necessary.

Comment: Re:The problem is... (Score 1) 124

If enough people are out of work without some sort of guaranteed income... they'll just eat the robot owners.

Right. Maybe they'll get lucky and the killbots will have a preset kill limit.

We are rapidly approaching the first time in history, when the rulers will no longer need any human servants at all.

Comment: The problem is... (Score 1) 124

...It's not the Engineers who decide whether or not the people get replaced.

We are within a generation - two at the most - of at least half of the population being made literally redundant. Any job they could possibly do, will be done faster, cheaper and better by robots. Basically, if it's a job involving manual labour, it'll be automated, with the possible exception of high-end positions catering to the luxury demands of the ultra-rich. Many management jobs will also go as collateral damage (don't need to manage robots, after all).

Probably a generation after that advances in AI will have taken over a huge swathe of lower-end "knowledge worker" jobs.

With greedy, psychopathic, neoliberal Governments running most of the civilised world, the future is looking pretty grim for the common man.

Comment: Re:Where's The Content? (Score 1) 207

by drsmithy (#47134635) Attached to: 4K Displays Ready For Prime Time

So, how about some evidence for these claims? I'm particularly interested actual double-blind testing of 4K versus 2K displays at "normal viewing distances" which is pretty ambiguous on its own.

The difference between an old 15" MBP and new Retina MBP is easily noticable.

I wouldn't have actually believed it until I borrowed a work Retina MBP for a couple of weeks. Now I'm eagerly looking for an affordable ~27" IPS 4k display to replace my existing monitors.

Comment: Re:How does one determine the difference... (Score 1) 389

It's not that society doesn't want to avoid jury duty because of jury duty. It's because it messes up your life.

You get paid $40/day for Jury Duty, and many employers don't pay for Jury Duty at all. For a typical middle-class American, you lose your $100-$200/day job for a $40/day ($5/hour) jury duty. You can't live on that much of a cut in pay.

The solution here seems pretty obvious, but undoubtedly the usual suspects would cry "socialism!".

Comment: Re:This research should receive enormous funding. (Score 1) 202

by ortholattice (#47128309) Attached to: Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data
What you can do is use quantum teleportation to "transmit" (in a manner of speaking) a real (or complex) number, i.e. a quantum superposition, which in theory could contain infinite information, by using only a couple of classical bits. This real number can't be observed directly - you can only tell whether it's less than or greater than a specified number by appropriately designing your observation - but until you observe it, it can be further processed in its full precision as a superposition at the receiver end using quantum operations. What you can do with this internal (uncollapsed) infinite information is up to you, e.g. as part of a quantum factoring or search algorithm, until you finally collapse it and read out some yes/no answer. All in theory of course; in practice you have noise and other sources of error.

Comment: Re:No. Absolutely not. (Score 1) 113

The ACCC a few years back put in a new law (which Apple fought tooth and nail, source: []) which required every piece of electronics sold in Australia to have a two year "warranty". I put that in sarcasm quotes not because it's invalid (the ACCC has some *serious* bite here, enough to scare Apple into compliance), but because it's not technically a warranty. It's simply: "a reasonable expectation that an electronic product will be fit for purpose for two years from purchase".

I think you'll find that two years is just a minimum.

Which is to say you could probably argue that a high-end mobile phone would be expected by any "reasonable" person to work for more like 3-4, possibly even 5, years.

If I had an Apple phone fail within 3 years I'd expect Apple to replace it without too much haranguing. Closer to the 4 year mark I'd expect to have to get consumer affairs involved, but still succeed.

Comment: Re:Only with a proper HOSTS file (Score 5, Interesting) 355

by drsmithy (#46997691) Attached to: Can Thunderbolt Survive USB SuperSpeed+?

You're confusing usefulness with relevance. Thunderbolt is, and will reman, irrelevant to PCs, largely because PCs have plenty of internal expansion capability and sufficient USB ports, Display Ports, HDMI ports, etc.

Not often I wish for mod points and don't have them, but this pretty much nails it.

Thunderbolt is solid technology - basically PCIe on a cable - but its relevance to machines that don't need PCIe on a cable (or provide an equivalent - ie: a docking station) is close to nil.

The use case for Thunderbolt on Macs, due to their typical design focusing on form factor over other factors, is reasonable.

The use case outside of Macs, is niche (to say the least).

Comment: Re:paper...pencil (Score 1) 170

by ortholattice (#46802087) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?
I do this. Also, once every year or two, I scan all the pages and make a nice pdf file of each volume. I put bookmarks on pages that I think I may want to look up quickly (often these correspond to physical bookmarks such as little sticky notes) and also bookmark start of month or start of new project. My bookshelf, with 5 linear feet of notes over the years, fits on a thumb drive. In practice, I typically look up things in the pdfs rather than the physical notes. I intend to dispose of the physical notes someday, at least the very old ones (ego has prevented me from doing so thus far), but even if my house burns down my notes are safely stored away on a remote backup.

Comment: Video too slow (Score 1) 58

by ortholattice (#46292185) Attached to: New 360-Degree Video Capture Method Unveiled
On my 2GHz laptop, the CPU is pinned to 100%, and all I see are frozen frames that skip through the video every few seconds. The dragging response is so sluggish as to be meaningless since any visual feedback is delayed many seconds. I guess this technology isn't ready for prime time unless you have a bleeding edge gamer GPU or something.

13. ... r-q1