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Comment: Re:What are these shiny discs you speak of? (Score 1) 250

by vivian (#46481401) Attached to: Sony & Panasonic Next-Gen Optical Discs Moving Forward

In the case of optical drives, it is certainly not a one time cost. I hate to think how much I have spent on various CD and DVD drives over the years - at an average $40 a pop, which get only used half a dozen times or so, to burn the occasional bit of data or watch a few movies. I think since the 80's, I have averaged at least one or two per year - and am currently now the owner of none that actually work (though I have a small stack of devices I keep telling myself I am going to harvest the lasers out of one of these days)

I look forward to a future when this abomination of a mechanical-opto-electrical data storage device dies forever and is replaced with solid state technology.

Comment: Re:This is what Thatcher was good at (Score 1) 712

I don't get it. you are saying they are doing a terrible job of managing their wealth when they are still ahead of their national debt - yet just about every other western country is in massive debit?

Last I heard, the US clock has something like 17 trillion dollars debit - that's zeroes on it I don't even know what to call it - but it's about 58000 per person in the US (based on about 300 million pop.)
My country is doing it's damnedest to imitate that too, but we still have a ways to go before we rack up that much debit per person.

I'd say compared to that, Norway's looking pretty good! - they still rank in the top 10 of the best places in the world to live. (actually #1 on the list I saw)

Comment: Re:bad engineering? (Score 2) 526

by vivian (#46204885) Attached to: Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

No, the problem is with the design.
A recording of a triangle wave or square wave from a synthesizer at max volume would cause it the same problems. If the speaker really is so crappy as to not be able to handle these transients, all they need to do is add a small 20 cent capacitor to filter out the very high frequency components in parallel with the signal somewhere - either at the output or input. That will reduce the sound quality, but then it's a laptop speaker so sound quality already sucks pretty hard, and convenience and portability is obviously the listeners priority rather than sound fidelity.

Comment: Re:The Private Sector should be paying for this... (Score 1) 229

by vivian (#45612709) Attached to: Australia's $44B Broadband Network May Settle For Fiber Near the Home

physical network infrastructure, whether it be for roads, water, rail, electricity or data, will always be inherently monopolistic, since it does not make sense to build multiple parallel networks.
The physical network is best built and run b the government, with services run on top of the networks by multiple competing providers who pay a maintenance fee for use of the network.
If you think the physical internet infrastructure is better off built by private companies, then do you also think road networks and water networks should be 100% privately owned?

Comment: Re:Uh oh! (Score 4, Insightful) 380

by vivian (#44902511) Attached to: Its Nuclear Plant Closed, Maine Town Is Full of Regret

A lot of the issues point to bad management by the town planners - there are several mentions of overspending in the article, such as for ladder firetrucks when the town has nothing over 3 storeys high, town water to even the most outlying rural surrounding areas, new sports uniforms every year, etc etc.
Much of the tax burden would be to service some of the debt that was incurred while times were good, or support maintenance on excessively built out infrastructure - otherwise there's no need for tax to be proportionally higher than any other place.

Comment: Re:Praise Legacy Data (Score 4, Insightful) 336

by vivian (#44433335) Attached to: How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay

I don't think $451,000 is unreasonable pay for someone who has to look up diseased arses all day to help prevent their owners dying a horrible death - with the prospect of being sued into oblivion if you make a mistake? Sure it's s lot of money, and definitely on the high side, but I think I'd still rather be a programmer earning less than 1/4 of that compared to doing that job. You thik the goatse guy is bad? I reckon a day in the office looking over a proctologist's shoulder would make it look like kittens.

The tens of millions paid for company executives in charge of companies that take a nose dive and have to be bailed out by taxes? Now that's unreasonable.

Comment: Re:My car has a range of 6000 miles (Score 1) 171

by vivian (#43562883) Attached to: Will Future Tesla Cars Use Metal-Air Batteries?

it can be, but isn't - at least not in most smelters in operation today - so obviously this incurs additional costs, that make smelting less profitable, or they would already be doing it. It is not fair to count the transmission losses costs of electricity in the efficiency equation for rechargeable batteries, unless you are also including the gather/redistribute and also lone losses for the smelter plant.
Finally, do you really want your energy system tied to a distribution means that would basically still put you at the mercy of whatever cartel was in control of aluminium battery plate distribution?

Comment: Re:Gahnew (Score 1) 197

by vivian (#42829397) Attached to: The Book of GIMP

Bad analogy - there is almost no solution where the Bugatti is the right vehicle for the job.

When driving anywhere except for a racetrack, the Bugatti is massively over engineered, wasteful of fuel and basically an exercise in excess.
Even driving around a racetrack, it's not the best choice, because if your objective is to go as fast as possible around a circuit, you'd be better off with a formula 1 car.
The only thing the Bugatti is really good for, is showing how rich you are - and if you have managed to accumulate enough wealth to afford one, yet still have such crushing insecurities, your money would perhaps be better spent with a psychiatrist.

Photoshop is at least practical and useful for what it does - but like the Bugatti, is overkill for most users. I do think the GIMP's name holds it back - and I hate how the select modes work. I do wish these two areas were improved, because other than that, it does nearly everything I need.

Comment: Great idea (Score 2) 330

by vivian (#42773225) Attached to: San Diego Drops Red-Light Cameras

wonder how much a system would cost that could switch my light from green to red if it detected a vehicle approaching from a red-lit direction at dangerous speeds. Can you think of an other alternative uses for these cameras?"

Such a proposed system would quicly train motorists to rush red lights even more than they already do, because they could supposedly depend on the system stopping motorists coming the other way. Problem is, if a red light isn't stopping a guy running a red light in one diection, what's going to stop a like minded driver in the other direction?

The cost wold probably be not a lot more than about 1000 deaths a year, based on but it would have the bonus of selectively knocking off the idiots that think it's ok to run red lights, as more safety concious drivers will be safely stopped.

Dollars wise? probably not too much given the hardware is already mostly in place.

Comment: Re:3000 players you say? (Score 1) 398

by vivian (#42748955) Attached to: How <em>EVE Online</em> Dealt With a 3,000-Player Battle

That feeling is the knowledge that you have just burnt hours of your life that you will never get back - that feeling is trying to tell you to do something worthwhile.

I got that feeling not after a sudden in-game loss in WoW - but rather after many many hours grinding for materials to make some rather insignificant upgrade to my gear. I just woke up one day and decided I'd rather be improving myself by learning new real world skills like playing the piano, kitesurfing and spending more time keeping my technical skills up to date.
I definitely don't regret letting that go..

Its the pain of feeling a year of your life sucked away. Hopefully you have learnt from it before the machine gets cranked to 50...

Comment: Re:We have the same... (Score 3, Interesting) 689

by vivian (#42744191) Attached to: Does US Owe the World an Education At Its Expense?

Scene: Data Models 101... 22 year ago.

Lecturer: "Today we taak abou daita modw and tupw cacuwus"
                              (followed by long string of chinese to the front row of foreign students)
Students, row 1: lots of head nodding
Students, rows 2 .. n: WTF!!?

80% of us failed that subject - which was really just basic SQL and database normalisation design etc. I scraped through but just barely - while getting distinctions and HD's in other subjects. Went well in the assignments, but you didn't pass the exam it was instant fail, regardless of your assignmnent marks. - and it didn't help that a good chunk of the exam was on stuff only in the lectures, not in the book.

Enough people failed that they went to the dean and tried to get the guy thrown out of teaching the course. Unfortunately there was no other chump willing to work for lecturers salary when those same skills were so much better paid out in industry, so they got the same guy the next year.

Fact is, having foreign lecturers is nothing new, and I went on to successfully catch up on the stuff I should have learnt in those lectures - so it didn't hurt in the long run, infact, when working in industry overseas later, it was a lot easier to work with and understand other nationalities better, having already had a fair bit of exposure to heavy accents. God knows my foreign language skills aren't exactly awesome, so you got to cut the lecturer some slack.

Main thing, is if you have a lecturer you really can't understand properly, *insist* on getting access to decent written lecture notes from him, or recordings that you can go through again later. One thing that lecturer was right about though - having good knowledge of SQL and database design really pays industry.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen