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Comment Re:What are they up to? (Score 1) 73

... this seems like a glorified turboprop engine.

Which it is.

But without the fancy gearbox of a turboprop or the transmission of an engine-driven rotor. It should be WAY simpler mechanically, much lighter, and need far fewer moving parts. Eliminating the gearbox losses should gain them far more efficiency than plumbing the fast, hot, gas around costs.

Comment Re:Sounds iffy (Score 1) 73

The fluid coupling between the compressor and the rotor can't be efficient.

SURE it can.

What makes you think it can't? It's just a rotating joint with a seal on a hollow shaft. Nothing new here, move along.

In fact there is nothing new here anyhow, unless there's some aspect of it they're not telling us. "Water sprinkler rotor"-style helicopters have been played with for half a century or so.

Comment Re:Actually, it made them money. (Score 1) 64

How is that a failure?

Under that legal regime, if you don't lose a dollar, you can't charge your customers $1.06 to cover it with a little profit.

If Bell Labs spends (for example) a hundred million and makes nothing, AT&T would have charged the ratepayers a hundred six million and made six million dollars. But when Bell Labs spent (again for example) a hundred million and made a hundred and one million licensing their inventions, AT&T doesn't get to charge its customers an extra hundred six million and only makes one million dollars, not six million.

And they get to cry all the way to the bank.

Of course it soon made enough that they were farther ahead of the amount Bell would have made by soaking the customers. But the original plan was a "failure".

I wish I could "fail" that way, even on a somewhat smaller scale. B-)

Comment Except we wouldn't be here now. (Score 1) 768

We could probably survive without #3 though.

#3 was not just about letting the cops use your house for staking out your neighbors or the army using your home for a free bed-and-breakfast.

It was to keep them from planting a spy in your house, to report on all your activities.

IMHO it is even more apropos now than back when the "quartered troops" were redcoats. Now they're spyware or hardware keyloggers planted in your computer, or racks of tapping equipment in server rooms, as with "Study Group 3" or "Prisim".

We just need a supreme court decision that these automated agents, located on people's or companies' premises, consuming their space and resources, and spying on their activities, are "quartered troops" within the meaning of the Third Amendment for it to become as important in the electronic legal landscape as the First, Fourth, and Fifth are in meatspace.

Comment Re:Captain Crunch!!! (Score 1) 64

According to Lapsley's account Draper just tagged along with the real hackers.

I knew him in those days. He really was quite innovative.

But also quite talkative. I have amazed others who knew him when I describe the time he was staying at my place I actually got him to shut up for over a minute in the middle of a technical discussion.

Of course I did it by showing him something with a phone that he didn't think was possible. (He then shut up while he worked out some of the ramifications.)

Comment Re:Millions of dollars of calls? (Score 1) 64

Were hackers really racking up millions of dollars of fraudulent calls, or was AT&T using the same inflated math that the BSA use to calculate loss of revenue from piracy -- by using full retail prices, even though there may have been no loss of revenue or cost to the carrier.

To some extent it was the inflated math case. The retail rates on long distance service were set very high, to generate money that subsidized rural phone service (which ran at a loss, due to line length, but had to be provided as part of the deal that gave Bell their monopoly charter). The Phreaks mostly used the lines at off-peak hours, when the trunks they used would otherwise be idle.

Comment Actually, it made them money. (Score 1) 64

if the last slot was used by a hacker, there was one less slot for a paying customer. ... unless AT&T was building more capacity to support the hacked phone calls, then there was really no real cost to them (except maybe termination charges for international calls)

But the network traffic, like power consumption, varied a lot with time-of-day, and the network had to be sized to handle the peaks. The phone phreaks usually did their deeds at off-peak hours.

Even if they DID have to install extra equipment, that just meant they made MORE money. The arrangement that granted their monopoly, in return for providing universal service, let them (in cooperation with the regulatory bodies) set prices so they received a guaranteed rate of return. The more they spent, the more profit they made. So as long as the phreaks weren't disrupting things too badly they weren't a financial drag.

That, by the way, is apparently the genesis of Bell Labs. As long as they spent money on something plausibly related to improving telephone service, every dollar they spent brought in a dollar and six cents or so. So Bell hired a lot of smart people, gave them equipment, and told them to go to it (and just publish a couple articles a year in the company journal). (Financially, though, it was a "failure": Chartered to lose money, it actually made money, even in its first year, by licensing the technology it developed.)

Comment Sounds like it's still "all pixels" (Score 3, Interesting) 240

Each application does its own rendering? 31-bit pixel counter?

This sounds like it's all pixels, like X, rather than geometry, like NeWS or display postscript.

So if I have monitors with high resolution I still have to tell all the applications to change their size, individually, or use a microscope to read the text, right?

If I stretch a window (intending to scale it, rather than just see more of what it shows) it has to go back to the application for re-rendering, right?

And if I have adjacent monitors with different resolutions they won't match up. Heaven help me if I lay a window across the boundary between two, the T between 3, or the + between four. Right?

Or have I missed something?

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