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Comment: Re: Yep, how the music industry was killed... (Score 1) 191

by steveg (#47503679) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Author Eric Flint makes the argument that it takes practice to get good at anything, including writing. If we want good quality creative work (books, music, etc.) then we have to create an environment where authors and musicians and other creative types can actually make a living while creating.

If they can't, it doesn't mean we won't have books or music, but it does mean we won't have *good* books or music. Plenty of "idiots who want to try" can and will step up to publish albums or books, but Sturgeon's Law will have to be revised to say "99.9% of everything is crap."

Comment: Re:Solution: Get rid of steering-mounted air-bags. (Score 1) 186

by steveg (#47216769) Attached to: Toyota Investigating Hovercars

When I was a poor college student driving a VW bug I had a great manual on everything to do with working on VWs. A hippie classic.

The author thought that everyone should be driving a VW bus, "spread-eagled across the front like an Aztec sacrifice." He figured that would bring the accident rate down sharply.

Comment: Re:I get enough flying priuses already. (Score 1) 186

by steveg (#47216533) Attached to: Toyota Investigating Hovercars

About 40 years ago (when I was a college student) I was pulled over in Michigan while on a freeway.

The cop had three beefs with me:
1) I was exceeding the speed limit.
2) I was in the left lane traveling slower than the flow of traffic and he wanted me to move right.
3) I had out of state plates.

Number three was the one he was most upset about. He didn't write me up for any of them, but gave me quite a talking to.

Comment: Re:The Democrats killed Net Neutrality !! (Score 2) 182

by steveg (#47012241) Attached to: FCC Votes To Consider Next Round of 'Net Neutrality' Rules

I'm not sure if everyone else in this thread watched the same hearing I did.

I don't know what any of the voted for, since I haven't seen the details of the proposals.

But I know what they said. The Democrats argued in favor of Net Neutrality. Not the label of Net Neutrality, but the substance. The Republicans argued against the substance of Net Neutrality.

So if you try to convince me that the Democrats might actually vote for something contrary to what they said, I'll concede the point. Same with the Republicans.

But I'm a bit skeptical of the notion that both voted for the opposite of what they said, in effect each voting for their opponents' stated position.

Comment: Re:32GB is useless because of DRM (Score 1) 216

by steveg (#46990827) Attached to: GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet

Actually, it is. But even inside the center console, I feel safer with the low profile flash drive. The slot is on a ledge about halfway up the front of the compartment, so it's reasonably well protected, but I could still imagine dropping something on it or catching it as I put something in there.

Comment: Re:32GB is useless because of DRM (Score 5, Informative) 216

by steveg (#46984617) Attached to: GM Sees a Market For $5/Day Dedicated In-Car Internet

Are there still cars with built in storage?

Ford included a whopping 10GB hard disk in their fanciest tech package 5 years ago. You can't get that now. Instead you get a USB port in the center console.

I've got a 64G low profile thumb drive plugged in with most of my music collection. Standard MP3s, no DRM issues. There are *other* issues -- the system has only so many slots to hold metadata, so if I add too many songs it will freak out and re-index the USB each time I start the car. But as long as I don't exceed some limit it behaves just fine.

For my purposes anyway, no storage and USB is far superior to built-in storage.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 2) 230

by steveg (#46884119) Attached to: One-a-Day-Compiles: Good Enough For Government Work In 1983

You might be underestimating the cost of a PC. I bought my first PC in 1982 and it came out to almost exactly $3000. That *was* upgraded a bit -- it had *two* floppy drives and they were double sided. *And* I upgraded the memory to 256K, and got a CGA card and an amber monitor.

I was still using punch cards in school (FORTRAN and PASCAL) as of 1978, but turnaround was much faster than overnight. It seldom took more than two or three hours to run my several hundred millisecond program.

Comment: Re:The best the SCOTUS could do is wipe software p (Score 1) 192

by steveg (#46632963) Attached to: Supreme Court Skeptical of Computer-Based Patents

It's both. Copyright is for authors. Patents are for inventors.

Congress later (1909) broadened the meaning of what an author is, so now copyright covers more than just text. Patents are still for inventors.

Whether either actually works to promote progress is another discussion, but it was clearly the intent of the framers.

Comment: Re:Gyroscopic precession (Score 1) 262

by steveg (#46625469) Attached to: Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

Good point, although this effect *is* significant for aircraft (called "P"-factor.) Most of that effect is aerodynamic rather than gyroscopic, but not all of it.

The complication of coupling two flywheels to the drivetrain are minimized if you do it electrically. Flywheels can act as high power-rate batteries, and you would then treat the drivetrain as a "conventional" hybrid. The big difference is that you're not limited by the rate at which you can feed electricity to a battery from the brakes or draw from it while you accelerate, since flywheels are much more flexible in that regard.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"