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Comment: Or You Could Just Not Drink To The Point of Intox (Score 3, Insightful) 134

by rsmith-mac (#48580143) Attached to: Facebook Offers Solution To End Drunken Posts

Not to be preachy, but it always strikes me as odd to what lengths some people will go to mitigate the damage their drinking does, rather than exercising just a bit of self control and not drinking to the point of intoxication. Having to make computers take care of us in this fashion and stop us from harming ourselves just seems silly.

+ - Why women's bodies abort males during tough times->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "In times of trouble, multiple studies have shown, more girls are born than boys. No one knows why, but men need not worry about being overrun by women. An analysis of old church records in Finland has revealed that the boys that are born in stressful times survive better than those born during less challenging periods. The work helps explain why women may have evolved a tendency to abort certain males and could lead to a better understanding of miscarriages."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Yes, let's get rid of alternatives. (Score 1) 139

by rsmith-mac (#48571591) Attached to: California Sues Uber Over Practices

I don't think anyone wants to get rid of the alternatives.

A lot of aspects of Uber are great. GPS and billing aspects for a for-hire car service are a massive step up from traditional taxis and make the system far more convenient for the end-user. The cars are almost always nicer than taxis as well, as even though there are taxi standards, Uber drivers generally hold themselves to a higher standard.

However there are also some real downsides to Uber that need to be dealt with. Their flippant attitude aside, they do not take sufficient (and legally required) steps to insure the safety of their drivers and vehicles. And their surge pricing, though a very traditional microeconomic solution to demand, is not appropriately transparent to all riders.

But the sad thing is that the things that make Uber great and the things that they do wrong are not diametrically opposed to each other. Uber can still offer a superior way to hail and track cars while making sure their drivers are suitably monitored, insured, and investigated. Uber could meet all of these regulations and still offer a great service, yet they don't because of only what can be described as unrealistic cost projections combined with the mother of all superiority complexes.

There's no reason we can't have our cake and eat it too in this situation.

Comment: Re:Is there any... (Score 1) 93

by rsmith-mac (#48442667) Attached to: Samsung Seeking To Block Nvidia Chips From US Market

Is there any evidence (or even suspicion) that either side here used either the patent filing or actual stolen technology to create their product? If not then the laws are clearly broken when we are allowing non-revolutionary ideas to be patented.

NVIDIA holds a very large graphics patent pool. In a lot of ways they're the successor to SGI, and in the interim have picked up companies such as 3dfx, which has further enlarged their patent pool. Which makes it very, very hard to efficiently implement a GPU without violating some of those patents. Proving malice may be difficult, but it's hard to imagine building a competitive GPU and not infringing on those patents.

As for whether the patents are revolutionary, that's a trickier point. If you researched into the same problems as NVIDIA a lot of your solutions would be similar/identical even without seeing how NVIDIA does it. But for a number of these patents the solutions are non-obvious; it's only after doing research and a lot of simulation do you come up with the same answer.

Comment: Re:Today I realized... (Score 1) 60

by rsmith-mac (#48391001) Attached to: FCC Says Net Neutrality Decision Delay Is About Courts, Not Politics

If that were the case, more of us would get mod points more often.

What happens is that the moderation system is biased against frequent visitors. Visit more than once a day and you'll basically never get mod points. Go away for a day or two and you'll come back to a heap of them virtually every time.

I'm not sure why Slashdot does this. One would think frequent visitors would be the people you'd want modding - someone who will see a story before it's too old - but perhaps they want someone a little less fanatical? Or maybe the mod points are to entice you to stay?

Comment: Re:TV on the pocket screen.... (Score 4, Informative) 40

by rsmith-mac (#48330975) Attached to: Aereo Shutting Down Boston Office

Why can't the iPhone have a ATSC chip inside it?

Standard ATSC (8VSB) actually doesn't perform very well when the receiver is in motion. Multipath is bearable for static receivers, but the addition of motion and doppler shift hammers the resulting signal strength.

There's actually an ATSC addendum to deal with this - ATSC-M/H - but to the best of my knowledge it has never been widely implemented. Of course even if it was, I'm not sure if Apple would want to spend the space on the receiver and the antenna (UHF is fine, VHF is not).

Comment: Re:Firefox better get their act together (Score 3, Informative) 152

by rsmith-mac (#48299941) Attached to: YouTube Opens Up 60fps To Everyone

No this is Google favoring new standards before some browsers are quite ready for it.

Just to add to this, 60fps works fine in Internet Explorer 11 and in Safari as well. In fact both have supported it for some time. Of the major browsers, at this point Firefox is the odd man out.

Comment: Re:Which way are the bits going? (Score 1) 97

by rsmith-mac (#48296959) Attached to: Real Net Neutrality Problem: 'Edge Provider' vs 'End User'

It's like that because of the artificial restrictions placed on upload speeds by the DOCSIS and ADSL protocols.

Huh? There's nothing artificial about it in the case of DOCSIS. Cable was originally designed to multicast video using a shared medium. Putting Internet on top of that is a very clever hack, but it doesn't get around some of the fundamental assumptions and designs of the system.

To download data from the node to the user you merely need to put it on one (or more) 6MHz channels, and the user's modem picks up packets destined for it while rejecting the rest. It's functionally no different from cable television; if you can get a clean TV signal on any given channel, then you can receive packets.

However uploading data is an entirely different beast. The cable infrastructure was not initially designed for 2 way communication, as it was optimized for one strong node/head-end talking to many clients. The importance of that being only one device had to do the talking, and that it could do so loudly to make up for signal degredation. However once you're talking about clients uploading, you now have to deal with signal and scheduling issues. Long story short, the only practical way to do that from a signal integrity standpoint is to use a lower bandwidth, more error tolerant encoding scheme (QAM64 up vs. QAM256 down), and furthermore you have to do it in the lowest frequencies because higher frequencies attenuate too much.

The net result is that while you potentially have 100 downstream channels, you only have around a dozen upstream channels. Which operate at a lower bandwidth and have to be shared among many clients. Consequently you simply cannot do a symmetrical network over cable due to the benefits and drawbacks of the shared medium. The laws of physics get the final say here.

Comment: Barrier? (Score 1) 81

by rsmith-mac (#48283845) Attached to: Integrated Circuit Amplifier Breaches Terahertz Barrier

Barrier? I think the word you're looking for is "threshold" or even "mark."

It's not a barrier unless there's some property that allows you to hit 999GHz but not 1THz, which in turn requires extraordinary effort to surmount.

Just because you have achieved something new does not mean you have broken a barrier. At best you have broken the English language..

Comment: Re:Bad news for OTA folks (Score 1) 31

by rsmith-mac (#48231871) Attached to: FCC Postpones Spectrum Auction Until 2016

There is debate as to how much money the broadcasters will get in compensation, but there clearly isn't anyone looking out for the OTA viewer. I like some broadband too but this is the new titan fighting the old titan...

The problem is that both OTA TV and mobile communications are good - but not great - uses of limited wireless spectrum, so you have to weigh the pros and cons of each rather than having one or another that's an obvious better use.

OTA is a one-to-many transmission, making efficient use of the spectrum, but the transmitters and receivers are basically fixed devices. Mobile communication on the other hand is truly mobile, but it's one-to-one transmission. Neither is the ideal use case - one-to-many mobile - so you have to pick between one-to-many or mobile.

But the fact of the matter is that because TVs are fixed device wired is a perfectly viable alternative for them. Whereas a wired cell phone wouldn't be nearly as useful. So you won't find much support for OTA given the fact that most people find mobile communications more useful than OTA television.

Comment: Re:Hopefully data only (Score 4, Insightful) 96

by rsmith-mac (#48012765) Attached to: Mobile Phone Use Soon To Be Allowed On European Flights

From which uncivilized backwater do you hail that teaches its citizens to assault nearby people for having a conversation?

The same one that pitches airline seats just 30 inches apart. The rules of common courtesy tend to grind to a halt once you're inside someone's personal space, be it physical or acoustic.

When a Banker jumps out of a window, jump after him--that's where the money is. -- Robespierre