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Comment: Re:We live in the future (Score 1) 26

Too bad the post office isn't as efficient as the weather service.

Actually, the post office is remarkably efficient, given the volumes of mail they carry. USPS alone, in one day carries more than FedEx annually, and in 3, more than UPS. (Take that, late Christmas 2013 presents).

They have to be efficient otherwise the whole system breaks down in short order. And by law of big numbers, of course, they'll run into problems. It ain't nice when it happens via the mail, but FedEx and UPS can be completely hopeless when it's their package. (You'd think with all that tracking information they could easily find a missing or lost package, but no. If a package gets scanned out but not scanned in, you're SOL).

Comment: Re:Not a rule - Not just the FAA (Score 1) 159

The problem with the approach the FAA has been taking on this issue is that the deciding factor is whether money changes hands. If an activity is safe for a hobbyist to perform, why is it suddenly dangerous and in need of regulation when a professional does it? If anything, commercially operated remote controlled planes/helicopters would be safer in a given situation, as the parent company is going to have real liability insurance, and the insurer is going to have all sorts of maintenance and training requirements.

Because once money changes hands, well, they want to make sure you have SUFFICIENT liability insurance, and that your equipment is well maintained.

A realtor probably only has their malpractice insurance - if they crash into a neighbours house, that insurance may not be sufficient, or even covered. The realtor would just close their business, while the neighbour is stuck suing a bankrupt company (they're all "independent franchises").

So the FAA would like to make sure you accidentally kill someone, they can be adequately taken care of.

The other reason is well, drones are getting REALLY popular. The problem with this is how well qualified are these people flying them? A hobbyist probably knows the rules of t heir hobby and is conscious enough to fly it properly.

Some guy with a rich parent buying their kid a drone flying it into traffic and causing accidents? Imagine all those people who can't figure out where the "any" key is flying those things everywhere.

The other issue is well, what jurisdiction is it when clashes happen? If you're flying a drone taking photos of a house, what's to differentiate it from taking photos of hunters, taking photos of nude people on a beach, taking photos of you in your backyard?

Plus, it's easier to go after people with money and regulate that first. Because they're using it to make money, it's easier to go after them for commercial activity than someone who wants to take a neat photo of their kid in their backyard.

It's really only a matter of time before some idiot with a drone goes and misuses it. The FAA is really trying to warn them to not even try so the activity can progress by those who know what they're doing. Want some crazy legislation? Watch it when a bunch of lawmakers get their panties in a knot. It's what led to the awful legislation that banned scanners from receiving cell-band (800 MHz) signals.

They're getting cheaper, better, and are available to anyone with a credit card. And everyone knows there are lot of rich idiots out there who will ruin it for everyone. Especially since the FAA is still trying to come up with reasonable rules that take into account everyone - pilots, law enforcement, commercial interests, the public, etc. Take an idiot with a drone who crashes it into a busy intersection, and you'll have lawmakers screaming "something must be done" and enacting all sorts of overbroad legislation ahead of the FAA.

Comment: Re:Why is the FCC involved? (Score 1) 50

by tlhIngan (#47436913) Attached to: FCC Approves Plan To Spend $5B Over Next Five Years On School Wi-Fi

Building wide WiFi is not something the FCC really regulates. They put some standards on manufacturers to comply with but beyond that there is no interaction at the user level.

Because they manage the fees paid for telecommunication services to be provided to areas where it's less profitable but necessary.

The thing is, the Internet is real. And the modern day student NEEDS access to the internet. But an alarming number of them only get access to it via the "free" hotspots at McDonalds and such - and kids needing to do homework, that's an issue. I mean, you'd think they'd go to the library to do their work and use their wifi, but no, they close at 6pm, so they move to the local McD's because they have WiFi for free.

The parents can afford a computer (they're not THAT expensive these days). but can't afford internet access, so instead of kids having to trudge through the city seeking free internet, why not provide funding for schools and libraries to offer it up so kids can use it.

Sure, it works fine in the city, but when you're out in the boonies, well, wifi may be least of a town's concern and the kids just have to find a local hotspot. Having it be their library and school, can only help matters

Comment: Re:Hi speed chase, hum? (Score 1) 411

by tlhIngan (#47434595) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

Minor collision? The BusinessInsider source claims the pursuing officers had to be hospitalized. That doesn't sound "minor" to me.

Or, basically if you're going 100mph, sideswiping the median, while normally a recoverable incident, becomes one where you can get hurt. Physics! (Remember, the energy in an object increases by the square of the velocity - go twice as fast, energy in the system quadruples).

Comment: Re:Unsafe at any speed (above 100 MPH)... (Score 1) 411

by tlhIngan (#47433833) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

I get what you're saying, but if the "high speeds" were "nearly" 100MPH it's not unreasonable to wonder just how the car got literally ripped in half. I do wonder about the safety of a car like that. A lot of the US's top Interstate speed limits are between 70-80MPH. You're not talking a huge difference in speed at that point, so it's not unreasonable to at least question the safeness of the car and ask for some additional testing/data.>blockquote>

The problem is energy. It increases with the square of velocity. (you know, (1/2)*m*v^2).

The survivability of a crash drops greatly going from 35mph to 50mph, going to 70mph drops it even more. Plus, given it's a city street not designed for such speeds, the chances of surviving go lower still.

Next, he was ejected from the car - usually because he wasn't wearing his seatbelt. Seeing as the car split behind the front seats, that would indicate he was an idiot, and people can die at 35mph being ejected. I don't think it's even survivable at 100mph when the fundamental safety system in a vehicle isn't used (all the others, airbags, etc., derive their benefits only when seatbelts are worn).

Hell, cars split in two all the time, usually going no faster than 55 or less.

Comment: Re:And how does it get these domains? (Score 1) 49

by tlhIngan (#47433715) Attached to: Gameover ZeuS Re-Emerges As Fast-Fluxing Botnet

They just need to register ONE of them to reestablish contact. They might even be able to use "domain tasting" to register a bunch and then cancel within 5 days.

Domain tasting is no longer possible - ICANN started charging 25 cents per domain registration years ago to counteract domain squatting where they'd register a bunch of domains, see if they make money, and return them if they don't.

By charging 25 cents always, it seems to have cut down the practice immensely because you need to register thousands of domains at a time, and that costs real scratch.

Comment: Re:USB DACs (Score 1) 477

There's no need to spend that much. A lot of motherboards have S/PDIF outputs, and with a good coax/TOSLINK DAC (like the ~$40 FiiO D3), pristine noise-free stereo sound is both easier and cheaper than buying an expensive sound card.

If you want only two channel audio.

To get surround sound you need to move up in interfaces, and the only available one is HDMI, which has a bunch of issues in and of itself when you only want it for audio, and not video.


Comment: Re:about time (Score 1) 47

by tlhIngan (#47429393) Attached to: FTC Files Suit Against Amazon For In-App Purchases

All that needs to be said is to compare after it's been taken over by Amazon with the new site the Woot founder started up - (yes, it's called meh).

Hell, if you remember woot's website before the takeover, it bears a closer resemblance to meh than today.

As for Amazon's awful ToS? Amazon is Apple-lite. They have an approval system just like Apple, and that's where Amazon's value-add is.

Remember how we keep asking for someone to do a curated app store to help get rid of the iffier apps found on Google Play? Here's Amazon.

Comment: Re:Samsung's slowing sales... (Score 1) 44

by tlhIngan (#47426487) Attached to: Apple Gets Its First Batch of iPhone Chips From TSMC

Well, the real reason is when you're on top, there's only one place to go and that's downhill.

Samsung's dominance in the Android market is legendary - it's what, 90% of all Android phones? (take Google I/O's 1B unique devices in the past month, that would be 900M of them Samsung. And given sales figures, ~20-30M (2-4%) are SGS5's, 80M or so are SGS4 (9%). All the rest are thousands of lower end models (SGS3, 2, and all the Galaxy S variants that are really just cheap phones with fancy branding).

Like how Apple rode iPod up the growth curve, Samsung rode the Galaxy family (low end phones to high end flagships) up the consumer smartphone curve.

And when you're #1...

Samsung can still be a luxury brand, they just need to act like one and use materials that speak "high end" - get away from the plastics and into more interesting stuff. Metal, for instance - try some more exotic metals.

Comment: Re:Self Incrimination Irrelevant (Score 1) 348

by tlhIngan (#47419655) Attached to: UK Computing Student Jailed After Failing To Hand Over Crypto Keys

What do they do if you don't supply the desk key? They brake into the drawer. What should they do if you dont supply the encryption key? They should brake into the..

Sure, they could do that. And in the meantime, they'll hold you in custody until they do.

Given the length of time it would take to brute force AES and the like, that would effectively mean jailed for life with no parole. And I'm sure that would make the government's life much simpler.

Instead, the kid gets 6 months

Comment: Re:Why yes, we should blame the victim here (Score 2, Informative) 309

by tlhIngan (#47418135) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

Don't want your nudes to end up in public? Don't take nudes that you wouldn't want the public to see. Then you can be a true victim. The whole concept of "revenge porn," insofar as it applies to nudes and porn freely made and disseminated, is ever so much "I want my freedom.... but I don't want my choices to have consequences of which I don't approve."

We have a term for that behavior. It's called behaving like a child.

Technically true if she posted the photos on Facebook or something.

Instead, what happens is she and her boyfriend do stuff like sexting and sharing rather private photos that way. They break up, douchebag boyfriend decides he's innocent and posts those private photos online.

It's why the German courts I believe say if you do that, you're not only responsible for any damages, but also for taking it down (ha, ha) since those photos were not posted with permission.

Basically, every teenager with a cellphone and a camera is vulnerable to this (I think the numbers were what, 60% of all texts and other messages were of a sexual nature?).

It really is a modern technology thing - if you took nudie pictures of yourself, you had to get them developed, etc., and you mailed them off. If your ex-boyfriend wanted to embarrass you with them, it would take a lot of work to get them published widely. These days, digital photos make it easy to share with your friends, and ex-friends.

Comment: Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (Score 1) 78

by tlhIngan (#47415913) Attached to: Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big.

No, the American people need a passion project for space. The space race happened because it was "Us vs Them" and when you got the people behind you, politics generally gets out of the way.

But when you don't have the people behind you, politics gets in the way and you end up with stuff like the Shuttle and people opposing you on purely ideological grounds.

Hell, try doing any pure science research, and it's heavily politicized.

The only way to do stuff like mine asteroids or go to Mars is to somehow light a fire that gets people excited enough to actually do it. And that generally takes an external threat. I mean, WWII is an example of how you can do into massive deficit spending and have everyone "suffer" (rationing, wage controls, etc) for the "greater good". Ditto the space race - can't let those Ruskies win, after all, so full speed ahead, damn everything else.

These days we're all engaged in piles of petty squabbles - science vs. religion, taxation, spending, climate change, conservation, oil, etc.

Comment: Re:Come now. (Score 1) 102

by tlhIngan (#47415857) Attached to: How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

Spreadsheets are actually tools of terror!

You jest, but they actually are - a lot of terror groups use them to keep track of funding and expense tracking (Al Qaeda being one of them), and ironically, for corruption protection. Because they're not necessarily flush with cash, and keeping spending down and wise means your terror group can do more with less.

Basically, a terror group happens to also be a business and businesses need to keep track of their accounts.

Comment: Re:Classic 100 years from now? (Score 1) 138

by tlhIngan (#47415803) Attached to: Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years

The thing that always amazes me is while simple games like chess, weiqi, checkers, etc., all seem to have unlimited playability and intricacy, computer games generally don't.

Tetris comes to mind as a computer-only game (you can really only play it on a computer - a real life version is sorta difficult and messy).

And it's been going strong for what, 3 decades now? (The only reason the rules change is because the Tetris Foundation or whatever needs to keep themselves relevant, but the original is still as fun and addictive as ever).

Comment: Re:Multiple PCs and multiple copies (Score 1) 209

I'm surprised there are console games that allow you to buy one copy and play on more than one console at the same time, as tepples seems to imply in the GP post.

Two on PS3/4 and Xbox360/One - the "master" console (which can be changed on either) which lets the game play offline, and the subsidiary one, which lets the game play while logged in online (though only one login per account).

But it's true, right? If a cheap Dell off-the-shelf computer was far better than the current generation, that would definitely show how terrible the current consoles are. Instead, you need to spend maybe $800 minimum, you probably want to build the computer yourself and therefor need to have the time and the knowledge to build the computer yourself and then deal with any potential issues...

Are you kidding? Dell's $500 SteamBox entry was a pathetic i3 entrant. And $500 gets you an Xbone with depth-sensing camera. You could save $100 and get a PS4 or Xbone without.

Someone needs to explain to Valve and everyone that if SteamBoxes are to be the "next big thing in consoles" that they need to cost like one. And to be stuck with it because people don't want to upgrade it yearly - if I spend $500 on a SteamBox, I expect to be able to play the latest games on it for 5+ years at 1080p with the same quality (or better - console graphics typically improve through its lifespan as people optimized).

And if a SteamBox is supposed to be a gaming PC and not a console, well, geez, how about selling it more as a PC than as a console.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.