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Comment Re:Unanswerable question (Score 1) 298

Which version of Android is most preferred by users?

How would anyone know? The decision is made by the service provider, not the user.

This is no less true with Apple, who is the "service provider" for iOS, and pushes updates to users just the same. If you looked at Tim Cook's "adoption rate" chart, it followed a natural log curve almost identical to that of a capacitor charging, rather than something that relied on pure sociological factors...most everyone simply tapped "OK".

Comment Re:To the author: (Score 1) 274

In auto racing, cars are often taken to vibration rigs to analyze damping and suspension packages. There are a LOT of numbers spit out, and ultimately reduced to: Pitch and Heave coefficients, Hub Natural Frequencies, and something called CPL, or Contact Patch Load (Variation), which is a number that defines how much the tire is working or "being worked" for grip. Those numbers can be EASILY be reduced by a defined value (like 60%) if proper active tuning is applied.

Active systems were banned from motorsport in the 90's in order to reduce cost and prevent computer failures that could be catastrophic, but I'm sure by now active suspensions would be cheaper in annual cost than the amount of vibration testing and damper development that is done today by every team...


Submission + - Google's Search Copying Accusation Called 'Silly' (

itwbennett writes: Google's Bing sting, reported in Slashdot just days ago and subsequently denied by Microsoft, is now being called 'silly' and 'petty' by search industry analysts and execs. The reason: it would be impossible for Microsoft to use the copied results to reverse engineer Google's search algorithms. And in fact it is more likely that Microsoft was conducting competitive research. Charlene Li, founder of technology research and advisory firm Altimeter Group, saw Google's actions as a misguided response to a real threat from a competitor in its core search business. 'Google isn't used to having competition. You look at this incident and you wonder why they are doing this. It feels amateurish in a way, a kind of 'they're not playing fair' attitude,' she said.
The Internet

Submission + - Is the Internet Causing Male Sexual Dysfunction? (

Hugh Pickens writes writes: Davy Rothbart writes in New York Magazine that easy access to internet porn is not only shaping men’s physical and emotional interest in sex on a very fundamental neurological level, but it’s also having a series of unexpected ripple effects. "The initial symptom for a lot of guys who frequently find themselves bookmarking their favorite illicit clips appears to be a waning desire for their partners," writes Rothbart. "For a lot of guys, switching gears from porn’s fireworks and whiz-bangs to the comparatively mundane calm of ordinary sex is like leaving halfway through an Imax 3-D movie to check out a flipbook." Psychiatrists have coined a name for this particular dysfunction — sexual attention deficit disorder — and it appears to be on the rise with catastrophic effects on relationships. One user insists that he’s still attracted to his wife of twelve years but he says, she can’t quite measure up to the porn stars he views online. "Me and her, we still ‘do it’ and everything, but instead of every day, it’s maybe once a week. It’s like I’ve got this ‘other woman’ and the ‘other woman’ is porn."

Comment Re:TV shows? (Score 1) 757

Think back to the TV shows of the '50's and '60's. We had an Astronaut/physics guy as the main character in I dream of Jeanie, A senior marketing executive as the husband of a witch in Bewitched, and many many others. The key factor was, they were all intelligent.

The 50's and 60's also had TV shows about a bus driver (Ralph Kramden, "Honeymooners"), a night club singer's wife (Lucy Ricardo, "I Love Lucy"), and the owner of a talking horse (Wilbur, "Mr. Ed"). The main characters were often in encounters that exemplified their stupidity or naivete.

Today, we have popular TV shows about theoretical physicists ("Big Bang Theory") and electro-mechanical designers that build clever, working projects ("Mythbusters").

Hindsight may be 20/20, but it is often rose-tinted as well...

Comment Mind your sects... (Score 3, Informative) 645

Be careful how you use the term "American Baptists". The American Baptist Churches of the USA are a fairly liberal and ecumenical bunch that believe in religious freedom (and humility) better than Richard Stallman believes in software freedom (and humility).

There are other baptists sects in America that are considered stricter groups and might be more likely to fit your stereotype, so beware how you capitalize "American".

Sure we believe in God, and I won't deny there are some zealots among our ranks, but as a denomination, we believe in autonomy, and the members certainly cannot be categorized the way it's being used here. ...if you're interested.

Comment Re:Goodbye Hulu (Score 1) 434

The normal Hulu isn't going anywhere. Not with a lackluster deal like that!

Ah, this deal is NOT will suddenly see the quality of available shows on ""free" Hulu drop dramatically.

Everything of any worthwhile value to Hulu viewers (full episodes, latest episodes) will go to the "pay" side and the "free" side will be random short clips of "Differ'nt Strokes" and the episodes of "Punky Brewster" where the old man has another heart attack.

It reminds me of when our local grocery store started a "Discount Card" program that is now ubiquitous. Literally overnight as the program was implemented, prices around the store on many items TRIPLED without the Card!

Your savings was simply paying regular price, but now you add the privilege of being tracked by their database.

The "Old" Hulu will now be the "Pay" Hulu, so I think "Goodbye" is a fair term to use here.

Comment JavaFoil (Score 3, Informative) 105

Basically, this is similar to XFoil, which is the standard 2-D CFD software for beginning Aeronautical Engineers (after they made us write our FORTRAN77).

Since it is not 3-D, it runs MUCH faster and lets them discover the basics of pressure over an airfoil, which is the important part of wing design. The details of taper, sweep, tip shape, twist, and such are a bit too much for a high-school project. Surface area and aspect ratio are the simplest and most important criteria for airplane design. These values can be calculated on paper after coefficients of lift and drag are generated.

Javafoil can be run stand-alone or in an applet. It's free, and fairly straightforward to use.

Best of luck. I'd be interested to hear how quickly they catch on to the concepts.

Comment This makes obvious sense to me (Score 2, Informative) 267

My guess is that pulsar timing is similar in concept to what happened when John Harrison when he tried making an accurate clock for determining longitude.

His early clocks just kept getting larger and more complex, but they were never able to achieve the needed accuracy on a moving, rocking ship for weeks on end.

His solution? He made an very SMALL clock, what amounts to a pocket watch, and was able to achieve accuracy in a variable environment.

Atoms are always going to be more consistent than a celestial object, because electrons can be less susceptible to external forces like aerodynamic drag, object imperfections and inconsistencies, impact bombardment, proximity of other similar objects, and the myriad other things that can affect rotation of an object larger than, say, a cat.

Sure, our "man-made" clocks are more accurate, but that is only because nature has better oscillators that we are capable of observing.

Comment Re:Open cloud vs Facebook, Google, Twitter (Score 1) 226

The largest challenge to openness stares us in the face every day, and nobody seems to notice: Much of our data is stored in proprietary servers controlled by private companies, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

While I cannot speak for Facebook and Twitter (nor do I speak through them because of my mistrust), but I do know that people at Google have noticed, which is why a team there has developed the Data Liberation Front.

Please check them out at:

To get you started, here is their mission statement:

Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to make it easier to move data in and out.

Comment Re:here we have a nugget of scientific observation (Score 2) 336

I do have a couple of small problems with your comments, let's begin:

here we have a nugget of scientific observation

Well, we actually have TWO scientific observations that form a single inference, which if you remember your scientific method, is still capable of being fallible. I'm not making a statement either way on this one, just reminding you that this article is about an inference, not an observation.

political recrimination gets us nowhere. its cold in the house because someone left the window open? ok, so you're going to sit there and scream at each other over who opened the window? here's a new idea: how about someone demonstrating actual responsibility and instead actually stand the fuck up, walk over, and close the fucking window: NO MATTER WHO LEFT IT OPEN

OK, there's something here with which I agree, and something that bothers me about the current political climate. What the recent Copenhagen conference taught us was that, if we are all living in the same house, then it's OK for the "kids" to leave windows open because the "adults" are going to be adjusting the thermostat to compensate. The adults will also pay the now much higher utility bill, because the kids don't make as much money, and they do get chores done around the house the adults don't have time to get done, or are beneath them. The problem is, the adults don't like the fact that, because the kids' bedroom window is open, it's raining in the house and the carpet is getting ruined. But the adults still won't make the kids close their bedroom window, which is causing most of the thermostat problem anyway. Which leaves the adults going deep into debt to add expensive and complex add-ons to the adults' rooms in order to save on their utility bills...but it'll cost 10 years worth of utility bills to install the add-ons, and only saves 10% a month. Did I mention that the kids are complaining about the smell from the carpet, and that they'd like to sleep in the adults' room?

commence with the retarded partisan bickering anyway. meanwhile, us engineers will roll up our sleeves and will actually go and fix your fucking problem while you political assholes do nothing but bicker

more action, less "hot air"

Engineers will never be able to truly fix the problem, because a design can only work if it's implemented, and we have to convince the money man who, by the way, is VERY political, to make it happen. It's why communication is such an important part of the engineering curriculum...we have to be able to talk to various and diverse types of people to solve a problem. Think about how many "Ask Slashdot" articles involve how to properly provide the "hot air" to get the boss to sign off on an action...

Comment Re:Metric? (Score 1) 244

It can't be Indiana...our government is so afraid of being different anymore they now only pass legislation that is requested or approved by the federal government. It's why we adopted Daylight Saving despite lack of public support. (The deciding vote came from a border-county representative whose constituency explicitly preferred year-round standard time. He was cajoled into changing his vote because of party politics, rather than respecting his choice to represent the people who elected him.)

Which is worse; pi=4, or 7am=8am?

Comment Re:I honestly don't get it (Score 1) 117

I believe id is using the web browser/plugin for a couple of reasons. First, they want to efficiently simplify the updating system. Once you login, it always checks and updates files in the plugin to make sure they're up to date. It will also update in-game ads use. Today, this is often done by yet another program to run in the background of your computer (jusched.exe comes to mind).

The second purpose is to unify the user experience. Since Quake Live is designed to be an on-line "community", they want the forums, chat boxes, user profiles/stats, and game searches to be in a single interface. Even if you play the game in full-screen, once your match is completed it takes you back to the "lobby" which is just a nice web page, complete with ads and instant updates.

It does seem silly on the face of it to think that the plugin is large enough to be a stand-alone download, but there are some legitimate business and technological reasons for making it the way they did.

Comment H-P ScanJet Hardware Easter Egg (Score 2, Interesting) 233

A clever group at H-P made a scanner that when powered up while holding the "Scan" button and the SCSI address at zero would play Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". The motor's drive speed determined the pitch of the note played. I loved showing that one off to my friends that were lucky enough to own one, especially because I didn't.

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