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Comment: Re:Lest we forget (Score 0) 225

by real gumby (#48652891) Attached to: GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

...whereas it deported its religious nutcases to North America.

If only it were true. Australia is where the nutcases go when they consider the US intolerant. Case in point: New York-born Mel Gibson, whose nutjob dad brought his brood to Australia looking for the "freedom" to practice his (even more) loony brand of christianity...

Comment: Re:Why only to police? (Score 1) 191

It's probably worth pointing out that these are not "given" to police. They are "loaned".

Therefore police depts that accept this gear are required to pay for maintenance [...] and are forbidden from selling them [...]

And they are required by 1033 to use the equipment and (according to that wikipedia entry) are allowed to sell some of it.

Comment: Re: Really? (Score 1) 196

by real gumby (#48516875) Attached to: IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

I'm sympathetic to the marketroids on this one. Most people think a "computer" is a thing with a keyboard and display (hence the strange confusion over whether a phone or tablet is a "computer"). And people do understand that a network is a way for computers to talk to each other.

But the idea that you might have a microprocessor in a light bulb is plain weird to most people, hence the new name. And at least it's better than "the washing machine network". Now if only they would turn their thinking caps to the part where you actually think up uses for networked frogs that normal people care about....

As for "cloud", yeah, that's a perfectly good technical term stretched and abused by marketards. At least it bears some resemblance to its original meaning (unlike, say, "broadband", much less "narrowband" -- you mean "baseband" you fuckwits).

Comment: Re:obviously they should track the sun (Score 1) 327

by real gumby (#48512151) Attached to: You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

Actually, trackers are pretty expensive in $/W, and this is even after you take advantage of the increased yield (you're paying money to avoid the cosine effect so you better generate more power than the cost of your tracker). If you're going to do this you might as well use higher yield panels, which again increases capital cost, thus...

The economics of PV solar went this way:

  1. First the panels were expensive so the cost of installation was not a big deal. Thus plenty of 2 axis (typically azimuth/elivation) tracker companies sprung up to optimize the produced electrons/m2.
  2. Then the $/W fell below a dollar (panels were so lucrative a huge amount of factory capacity came on line in China and drove the cost down, just like the DRAM business). Now the cost of installation (still a couple of bucks back in 2012 IIRC) was the dominant cost.
  3. At this pont the panels are so cheap that cutting installation by 2/3 and just putting in more panels was cheaper than a tracker.
  4. Plus trackers had op ex (maintenance) much more than a fixed installation

For a while single axis tracking was worth it, but the price of PV has come down so far it no longer matters.

There are specialized applications (mainly where space is required, or concentration can benefit in other ways) where tracking is worth it and smoe people are still at it. Since the tracking motor itself is expensive, one strategy was to make a robot that went along moving each panel one by one. (QBotix). I don't know how well that has worked out.

Comment: Not really sure why this means they're not snobs (Score 1) 376

by real gumby (#48445587) Attached to: Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

They simply foolishly don't fear our feline overlords. While Americans practice, training themselves to recognize the enemy.

Seriously, having lived in both France and the USA: most people in France will ignore the critics but yes, books and culture are seen as more important to people then they are in the USA. Being a public intellectual is considered a reasonable and high profile job.

Note I said "seen as more important" -- don't forget we're talking about the country that invented celebrity culture and "celeb journos", and in which the most popular restaurant is McDonalds. Nevertheless, the French are anti- a lot of things, but being intellectual isn't one of them.

Comment: Re:So, it is hard and flexible? (Score 4, Funny) 203

by real gumby (#48444305) Attached to: Corning Reveals Gorilla Glass 4, Promises No More Broken IPhones

Please tell us how they achieved this feat or materials engineering.

Oh you silly slashdotter. Sure, you may have studied materials science and engineering, but do you have the real world experience? In the modern corporation it's all about teamwork. Well-managed teams can do more than any one person possibly could. In this case, the engineers make the glass hard. Then marketing adds the flexibility. See? Teamwork. Oh yeah, and management makes it all happen and does extra janatorial tasks like mopping up the excess bucks.

(Actually, cynicism aside, it's simply that hardness and flexibility are orthogonal axes in materials science).

Comment: TFA misses the point (Score 3, Insightful) 60

by real gumby (#48394947) Attached to: AT&T Stops Using 'Super Cookies' To Track Cellphone Data

The way to end this is not to say, "Would be nice to hear something similar from Verizon" like it's some sort of game.

TFA (and the summary) are silent on the real question is which is, "What right do they have to fuck with my traffic?"

It's like they are asking to be reclassified as a Title II common carrier.

Comment: population control through fear mogering and intim (Score 5, Insightful) 698

by real gumby (#48368611) Attached to: US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

From TFA:

Suzanne Kennan, a resident who lives across from the school...supported the investment anyway.

‘‘Unfortunately we’re at a point where we have to do something like this,’’

Yes, we're at a point where the level of violent crime is at its lowest in 40 years but apparently a crazy response is needed regardless.

Needless to say, there's no discussion in this article. Simply a visit to the school for the demonstration, a quick chat with the cops, and a thoughtless quote from the neighbor.

I have a kid in school and frankly I think all this pseudo "security" is more dangerous for shaping future civic involvement than the anhistorical gibberish in the history books.

Comment: Uhh...I doubt it (Score 3, Insightful) 252

by real gumby (#48177155) Attached to: Apple's Next Hit Could Be a Microsoft Surface Pro Clone

These are the same analysts who said that apple needed to make a netbook or they would die (or who each quarter predicted a netbook was coming).

Apple has placed an alternative bet: that the devices can overlap capabilites and responsibilites (e.g. via handoff, or less intensely as with iwork) but have fundamentally different jobs to do, and try to make each do its job well. I don't commute to work in a tank, but some people find tanks useful. The surface, and W8, are neiher tank nor motorbike, and really do neither job well.

Apple changes their mind (and never admits it, as with phablets!) and they also make brain damaged decisions, but there is some method to their madness. Analysts generate quotable sound bites; that is the method behind their madness.

Comment: Re:Journalists have less time... (Score 3, Insightful) 165

If you want evidence that current journalism is worse than previous generations, just look at the number of absurd hoaxes that get reported as fact. Back when it took a little effort to gather information, people took it more seriously.

There have always been hoaxes, small and large. I'm just saying I haven't seen any study (though I would hope such a study exists) showing if the quality has gone up or down or is unchanged. My comment (and yours) are simply anecdote.

A sense of declinism (things were better "in the old days") has been a recurring theme for millennia.

Comment: Re:Journalists have less time... (Score 5, Interesting) 165

...because they're busy doing what?

At first I read this comment as throwaway snark about listicles and the like, but then it raised for me a pretty interesting question:what evidence do we have that current reporting is less rigourous than it was in the past?.

I recently looked up the newspaper from the day after I was born and found it full of trivial stuff (except my birth announcement of course!) and articles that looked like they uncritically repeated what one source had told them. I am not sure the quality of reporting, in reality, was ever any better than now.

"Laugh while you can, monkey-boy." -- Dr. Emilio Lizardo

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