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Comment: Re:What really is happening? (Score 2) 188

WTF? "Sleeping" should draw way less. It doesn't take a lot of power to keep a couple of sticks of SDRAM alive. Okay, probably also the NIC and a MCU to monitor the remote. I bet your console is reporting to the mother-ship or something.

First off, a power supply is less efficient at the low end than at the high end. A 200W power supply may be 80% or 90% efficient when running at its design load of 150W, but when you want 5W in standby mode, you can easily get into the 50% or lower efficiency range.

And 5W is probably perfectly reasonable for keeping SDRAM alive and refreshed, the NIC and other bits alive. It's just the power supply is only 50% efficient, so it draws 10+W at the wall.

Comment: Re:Item 1 is all I need to read (Score 1) 14

by tlhIngan (#49363869) Attached to: Europe Agrees On Regulatory Drone Framework

Or in other words "fuck you CAA you don't need £3000+ of training to fly a £1000 1kg drone"

Ha. Given how Europe is a mess with fees on GA aircraft (flying in Europe is pricey if you want to do GA thanks to tons of taxes, levies, fees, etc. Europeans are jealous as to how much flying in North America is better because there is so much less burdens).

You may not need UKP3000 in training, but I wouldn't be surprised if you're not hit with a UKP500/year license, a UKP100 take off and landing fee, airspace fees, etc. etc. etc.

Comment: Re:FTA (Score 2) 188

by tlhIngan (#49363857) Attached to: Best Buy Kills Off Future Shop

Because Amazon Canada's selection is pretty terrible compared to Amazon USA.


Amazon Canada is the whole reason why Canadian online shopping is such a terrible experience.

First off - Amazon Canada is NO CHEAPER than retail. I'd find stuff cheaper at Future Shop/Best Buy than at Amazon. Most Canadian retailers are like that - online prices generally aren't great - if you're savvy, you can find it available at the brick and mortar cheaper and available right there. And, save the shipping since few Canadian retailers other than the big guys (Future Shop/Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, etc) offer free shipping.

Then there's taxes, you're not saving there either since everyone charges at least GST or HST. And many places insist you pay PST as well. So shipping and taxes, which means it has to be either hard to find locally, or at a really good price.

Occasionally, shopping at, despite the shipping and import charges, comes out cheaper.

I know I just had that happen to me - in the end charged me $42 for an item with EXPRESS (2 day) shipping. In Canada, it was $60 with STANDARD shipping from a zShop. That $42 was what it came out to in Canadian dollars it was $35 US or so.

Online shopping in Canada is not necessarily cheaper or more convenient - either Canadian retailers know how to adapt to an online world, or online Canadian retailers are just plain terrible.

Hell, even Best Buy/Future Shop isn't necessarily terrible... I've lost out a few times because they beat Amazon pricing, and even my preferred online retailer can't beat their price.

(Nevermind that Best Buy/Future Shop are one of the few retailers that let you buy online and return/exchange in store to save shipping costs)

Comment: Re:So You are Saying (Score 1) 68

by tlhIngan (#49363837) Attached to: Another Patent Pool Forms For HEVC

That MPEG2 had hundreds of patents would suggest that there is a problem. That makes it sound as if basically every step had at least one patent, possibly more. If that's the case, then meaningful competition is going to be impossible.

Every standard has patents. When you make standards by committee, whether it be video encoders, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, what have you, it's really a give-and-take of patent and technology holders trying to squeeze their thing into the standard. Sort of the "I'll let your patent go in, if you'll vote for mine in too"

Now, MPEG patents are typically not a problem - because MPEG set up the MPEG-LA that serves as a patent pool - instead of trying to negotiate with 500 patent holders on licenses, you go to the pool administrator, pay the appropriate fee according to the fee schedule and walk away with the licenses.

It's why you rarely see patent holders suing licensees over patent violations - Motorola suing Microsoft being about the only one for h.264 - every other licensee has paid MPEG-LA and thus licensed the appropriate patents.

Cellphone companies, though, haven't created a patent pool which is why you have everyone suing everyone else.

This HEVC alliance will be interesting because it'll be interesting if them and the MPEG-LA will respect each other's licenses. If not, this could easily tank HEVC if people can't figure out how they're supposed to license the patents. VP9 could easily squeeze in the gap despite HEVC being acknowledged as the next-gen codec - but if the licensing agreements can't be worked out between MPEG-LA and HEVC-A, then people wouldn't dare use it.

Comment: Re:Ikea good points (Score 4, Interesting) 65

by tlhIngan (#49363819) Attached to: Ikea Refugee Shelter Entering Production

You don't need to have the best quality or be the cheapest, even from a customer perspective. As long as you offer the best value for money. Ikea does pretty good there as long as you know what to buy there and what to avoid.

Exactly. Though, I've done other flat packs and by far Ikea is the best. Their furniture might not be the cheapest, last the longest or be the best, but if you're talking flat pack, they are. And yeah, you could get better, but they're usually something that's pre-built and you have to move it as-is. At least flat pack you can break down into sub assemblies that are 100 times easier to move.

And it's incredible - the non-Ikea flatpacks I had were just awful - the holes would NEVER align, they were usually the wrong size for the dowels (too big or small) and when you're done it either was wobbly (see holes), or the entire panel was misaligned and thus you had gaps. It's as if they laid it out in a computer and never bothered trying to assemble it. Or even just seeing if comes close to resembling what it was supposed to be.

It's not like Ikea uses better materials - they pioneered the use of particle board, but that desk... it fell apart in short order. I've got Ikea stuff bought at the same time that's still around made from particle board.

No, putting IKEA stuff together is fun. I've never understood that complaint, and I'd guess that many of the people repeating the meme have never bought anything from IKEA.

I've usually enjoyed it - it's a good puzzle. And you have to admit that the instructions are designed to not use words (which have to be translated) and try to be as neutral as possible while still explaining what to do in across cultures, languages and history. Whoever draws those instructions might actually have insights into the human race.

About the only time I don't like them is when they don't clearly illustrate which way a piece goes around. For the spatially challenged, this can mean they put it all together only to have the wood exposed instead of veneer.

You'd think maybe a red X on the part that's going to end up in a hidden location, followed through with the illustrated X would help identifying which way it goes.

Comment: Re:*sigh* (Score 3, Insightful) 280

by tlhIngan (#49360283) Attached to: Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad Thinks He Doesn't Use E-mail

Because smart people don't seem to want the job.

Let's not make the equivalence between tech savvy and intelligence, because /., is a perfect example of people who claim to be intelligent, yet painfully ignorant at the same time.

Just because you can use a computer doesn't mean you know how the world works. Heck, tech-savvy people are among the worst people in the world for a job that requires extreme interaction with people who are unpredictable, where how you say something is extremely important (more than what you say), and where how you dress and appear is critical.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 2) 373

by tlhIngan (#49357189) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

No, he's saying it should be illegal to keep things like mental instability and dangerous suicidal mindsets secret from the state when the state is what licenses you to be entrusted, day-in, day-out, with the lives of hundreds of people. If you've got mental problems, don't look for a job where that is by definition a disqualifier. It appears this German guy knew that, and was hiding his problems from his employer and the regulatory agencies that license his operation of giant passenger aircraft.

Except if that was truly the case, the economy would take a nosedive - approximately 1/3rd of people are suffering from mental illness (typically depression) at any point in time.

In fact, depression that's treatable is no longer a disqualifying factor - the FAA has just recently allowed a whole pile of antidepressants as safe to take without grounding.

This was done because guess what? Pilots WERE hiding mental illness from the FAA because it was, until recently, a grounding factor.

Truth is, mental illness is wildly under-reported - it's not seen as either a "real" illness, or they think you're headed to the rubber room - depression, etc., are all seen as "just man up, suck it up and get on with it".

So yeah, that's sort of why mental illnesses are problematic - no pilot wants to be associated with straightjackets, rubber rooms, short buses, electroshock, etc., so they're not likely to want to report it, nor take (until recently) medicine that grounds you. Plus well, the whole "man up and be happy" attitude prevails.

Comment: Re:"to provide support for the cultural sector" (Score 4, Informative) 234

And remember, when you're a Quebecer and want to participate in a contest, you're excluded, just like Iranians and North Koreans. Banana Republic of Quebec.

Quebec is an oddity because they have a ton of things that no one else does - they are ... special.

So if you want to hold a contest Canada-wide, you follow basic legislation that applies federally (generally easy) and maybe have to make adjustments for each province (again, easy). But if you want to add QC, you suddenly are beholden to a TON more regulations. Most companies simply choose to avoid it because the benefit of adding QC is very small compared to the burden.

It's also why in Canada you often run into things like "Not for sale in Quebec". Electronic toys are even more fascinating because you often have "Quebec edition" and "Not for Quebec edition" (usually marked as "Not for sale in Quebec").

It's really an independent nation of its own - they just happen to use the Canadian dollar and passport.

Comment: Re:Be careful of the term "terrorist attack" (Score 1) 731

by tlhIngan (#49346509) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

it could be as mundane as depression

but then we're talking about depression and overwhelming narcissism here

because depressed suicidal people still know right and wrong: they aren't going to take 150 innocent people out with them. the desire to harm the self for various reasons is not the same as the desire to harm others. so when you're talking murder/ suicide, such as when a dad or mom kills the spouse/ kids then themselves, you're at a level far beyond and far different than just depression and suicide, you're dealing with a narcissistic asshole

if it is simply suicide and not terrorism, this suicidal guy is still a complete piece of shit on the level of a terrorist. to be so overwhelmed with such a selfish egotistical internal drama that 150 lives simply don't mean a thing? wow

man, if this is all because some fucking girl broke up with him... fuck this douchebag

It could even be ... money issues.

Silkair Flight 185 is particularly controversial, but the captain had rather bad money issues so on the anniversary of getting his license. He lost it big during the financial crisis, running up a debt of $1.2M.

I say "controversial" because there are those who believe it was a mechanical failure, despite the only way to reproduce the performance was deliberate inputs. The co-pilot was locked out, and both recorders were disabled (the CVR and FDR were not recording at the time of the dive). It did lead to an investigation that determined if the recorders breakers popped naturally due to a short, the recorders had enough power that they recorded the event - the CVR would record the sound of its own breaker popping. But no such sound was heard.

There was also an Egypt Air flight that was potentially caused by deliberate human inputs, again contested by the authorities involved (usually between the NTSB and the local investigation board). Of course, national pride is often at stake as well as political pressure within the country.

Comment: Re:I'd rather the FAA get it's ass in gear (Score 1) 60

by tlhIngan (#49346341) Attached to: Amazon Blasts FAA On Drone Approvals, Regulations

I'd rather the FAA take a proactive, and active, role in creating rules which allow operations and enforce existing damage and nuisance laws. Letting the FAA "take it's time" is like telling ID that there's no rush on getting Duke Nukem Forever out as long as they do it right.

Drones are tricky.

The FAA has no choice BUT to take it slow because there are a lot of stakeholders to consider - including regular airspace users, air traffic control, etc.

I mean, there's a hobby advisory circular that's just that, advisory. People flying drones under those terms are still deemed to be flying aircraft, and there has been a case where a drone pilot flying their drone in an unsafe manner has been charged under the FARs (it was initially appealed but the NTSB upheld that advisory circulars were not law).

At best, the FAA can apply what they feel is appropriate, i.e., advisory circular rules. But if your drone exceeds it, then it has to be part of the big boys including see and avoid, communications, transponders, etc., if it comes close to controlled airspace.

And then there's the whole controlled part of it - if it's in controlled airspace, then it needs to obey ATC. We've already had issues where drones piloted by people who really do know better still not properly doing their part. Enough so that the FAA had to basically declare areas of airspace as "drones only" because testers couldn't assure that their drones would participate properly.

then there's the whole taxing thing - if drones use ATC, they need to pay for it. Right now aircraft pay for it through fuel taxes (thoughts of user-based taxing keeps coming up as the airlines keep proposing it, though it gets shot down because GA objects - they already pay the taxes for it).

You want agile drone development, you need to go into a place where airspace is controlled and there aren't so many stakeholders. China is one, for their military controls all airspace. GA is practically non-existent (the military has started allowing local GA flights though). Now there the only stakeholder is the military.

Europe works too since GA is suppressed through high taxes leading to mostly only airlines having to be consulted.

Comment: Re:Most degrees from India... (Score 1) 264

I used to do a lot of contractor hiring. I started with the attitude "if you lie on your resume, I won't even consider you". After realizing that I would never hire anyone - I backed off on the attitude. The interview process became an exercise in determining what the candidate knows, while the candidate made every attempt possible to deceive me. It was very disheartening and I hated hiring someone who lied to my face for 60 minutes straight because he lied less than everyone else and was the most likely of the bunch to get the job done.

Well, you simply judge it by the degree of lying. For example, someone who lies about going to a college or university and graduating is far worse than someone who may have minorly overstated their duties at a previous job (e.g., wrote the reporting module for internal application even though they really just integrated a COTS module into the application).

Anything easily verifiable is a lot worse than not verifiable - if you lie on anything that can be verified, you're disqualified. (I mean, you don't blatantly lie like that). Getting a date wrong can be minor or major, depending on how far off - a year is a big deal, but a month is not so much (e.g., I was hired as a contractor for a month before being brought on full time - my official record of employment will be a month less since it doesn't include the month I worked as a contractor).

I've been in interviews where 5 minutes in it was obviously becoming a train wreck. - it becomes a hard decision on whether it was more humane to tell the candidate that they couldn't continue immediately and save themselves the rest of their day and any potential expectations, or stringing them on since they do believe what they're saying.

Comment: Re:my experience: (Score 1) 269

by tlhIngan (#49336039) Attached to: Developers and the Fear of Apple

Professionals working for bigger companies who build apps for millions of users or on commission for businesses get paid pretty well. But for people working alone on in small groups, developing apps for smaller crowds, the income isn't all that good, because they are competing with hobbyists. Another factor is the size of the market: in principle it is nice for any developer to have a market of 10s of millions of potential customers, but in practice it alters the economics and customer expectations to their disadvantage.

There are really two kinds of apps. You have the ones by companies who are selling products incidental to the app - e.g., banking, shopping, social media, streaming media and other apps. The app makes life convenient and increases sales of the core service,.

Then there are apps that are designed for the device itself - which can be subdivided into two more categories - indies and non-indies. Non indies would be the big publishers in your platform - the EA, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Google and others, while the indies are everyone else.

And just like on the PC, indies have practically never made money - sure you get maybe the 0.01% that rise up and become mainstream and make tons of money, but the rest of the crap gets released, forgotten, and doesn't make money. Doesn't matter if it's Apple's App Store, Google Play, Steam (though its curation is even more stringent than Apple, so a lot of the crap is filtered out, but there's still a large chunk), Xbox Live Indie Arcade, or the general entire PC ecosystem.

As for the 30% cut, running your own ecommerce platform isn't easy - if you want to deal with re-downloads/updates, accounts (and security!), merchanting (Paypal or direct credit cards and PCI-DSS) and other things. It's why sites like Shopify and Amazon exist, but surprise surprise, they also have their cut (typically 10% if not more) and you still have to do a lot of work on your end.

You can try to do it yourself, but then you have security issues - ongoing maintenance is expensive and even today there's still a bunch of sites vulnerable to Heartbleed (!). Or SQL injections making them one step away from having your personal information compromised.

Sure 30% seems expensive, but in the end, having a lot of that stuff taken care of for you makes it more worthwhile for a bunch of developers who would rather work on their app, not figuring out why updating the SSL library to fix Heartbleed broke their ecommerce system.

Comment: Re:What makes it so expensive? (Score 1) 56

by tlhIngan (#49335917) Attached to: Stanford Breakthrough Could Make Better Chips Cheaper

PV cells apparently require a lot of material compared to a lot of other potential applications of GaAs (RF? Optoelectronics?).

Well, one look at a silicon PV cell should tell you how much material is used - practically the entire wafer. I mean, the big panels with the blue squares are basically single wafers of silicon. The cheaper ones use cut up wafers which is why they're a lot more irregularly shaped (the wafers are circular for processing, and then sides are lopped off to square them up. Those sides are then used in much cheaper PV arrays which is why they're practically always curved on one edge and straight on the other.

And remember for semiconductor manufacturing, area is everything - the smaller your IC, the more you can stick on a wafer (per IC cost is lower), the chance of a chip being patterned on a bulk defect is a lot lower (bulk defects are small, so they generally only affect one die. The larger the die, the larger amount of the wafer is now useless as the defect scraps that die) so yields are higher, meaning even more good dies, lowering per-die cost.

Modern digital ICs using CMOS technology use big 12" (30cm) wafers since the mid 90s, because bigger wafers mean more dies and lower per-die costs since you can produce a lot more per processing step. It's why CMOS camera sensors are stupidly cheap, and why full frame sensors are practically all CMOS. Non-CMOS technologies still use smaller wafers

Comment: Re:How is this front page worthy? (Score 1) 35

by tlhIngan (#49335791) Attached to: MuseScore 2.0 Released

MuseScore is also one of the few FOSS projects for music that actually start to rival its commercial counterparts.

Far too often we hear the question "I'm a musician and want to use Linux. What software can I use" only to really hear that the reality is the FOSS alternatives generally suck compared to the more polished commercial versions (even the ones that run on Linux).

So MuseScore is extremely important in that aspect. The rest of the programs for music that are FOSS still suck but at least there's one that rivals commercial offerings in quality.

Comment: Re:I'm fine with (Score 1) 282

by tlhIngan (#49333597) Attached to: Ford's New Car Tech Prevents You From Accidentally Speeding

preventing accidental speeding, just as long as it leaves me alone when I'm speeding deliberately.

Well, it does just that since you can override it in the most obvious way possible - give it more gas. So if you need to overtake and speed to do it, you'd probably floor the accelerator which disables the system to quickly pass.

Speed traps are always interesting - I've seen a case where we spotted a speed trap, slowed down, and the guy behind us got annoyed, changed lanes and floored it right in front of the cops. Who proceeded to pull him over.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.