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Comment Re:Human element needed (Score 1) 241

until someone writes the script

`/dev/rand | chooseplay`

Interestingly, one reason that the 49ers under Bill Walsh were so good was Walsh's insight that defensive strategy (going back to when Tom Landry was an assistant coach for the Giants) was largely based on charting play calling tendencies in down and distance situations and that the best way to attack that was to make your play calls with as little correlation as possible to down and distance. That was the major reason that Walsh scripted the first several (at times over 15) plays of the game (the average number of offensive plays a team will run in an NFL game is about 60 so 25% of the plays were randomized (from the perspective of down/distance)) and the success of Walsh's 49ers has made such scripting a standard component of NFL strategy (and I'd suspect that many NFL offensive coordinators run software that looks for tendencies in their past scripts).

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 200

In practical terms, BSB no longer exists - it was "merged" with Sky, but the result was a renamed Sky with a lot more capital.

BSB still exists... ever hear of Sky Sports (which is, IINM the single biggest driver of subscriptions for Sky), formerly The Sports Channel on BSB (Sky thought that Eurosport was sufficient!)?

The operator's Internet streaming services are, in practice, much more popular than the satellite services they were originally formed to create.

And yet 80% of the service's subscribers are only paying for the satellite service (internet streaming is not included in the base subscription)...

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 200

The US also has Sirius/XM, Satellite radio systems that, like the digital radio systems, have proven to be wildly unpopular. Again, these systems were not developed by any governments. The developers/operators of the two systems have had to merge just to keep afloat

The UK had Sky and British Satellite Broadcasting, satellite TV systems that, like the digital radio systems, have proven to be wildly unpopular.... the developers/operators of the two systems had to merge just to keep afloat.

The reason the two satellite radio operators nearly went under was because they went into a few years of trying to outspend each other on premium content and marketing, just like what happened with Sky and BSB. Merge and the dicksize wars go away and profits follow in short order (Sirius XM is one of the few American radio operators that's currently profitable).

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 200

If Nokia had introduced a digital broadcasting standard, they'd have had devices on the market, but who would have been transmitting? People who bought broadcasting equipment from Nokia? Would the BBC have bought into a single-vendor solution like that? Absolutely not. And if they'd got other companies on board, they'd have needed a similarly long standards process (see WiFi) to get them all to agree and to avoid incompatibilities between implementations.

North America's experience with satellite radio (20m paying subscribers after 8.5 years) vs. HD radio (barely 1m units in the wild after 5 years (5 years into satellite radio, there were over 10m subscribers)) plainly indicates that a more integrated hardware design/hardware distribution/broadcasting/content complex is a pre-condition for success.

Comment Re:Hmm, I wonder (Score 1) 200

On the other hand, there are advantages to satellite radio from a public safety perspective. Katrina took out nearly every radio tower in some places when it hit, but satellite could still be received. XM set up a special channel (with the American Red Cross) for emergency announcements for Gulf area responders and residents.

Also, a major component in the uptake for satellite radio is that because the broadcasters control the hardware they subsidize the cost of the radios and recoup the subsidy from the recurring subscription revenue (similar to mobile phone operators, though Sirius XM doesn't generally require you to commit for anything more than a month to get the subsidy). Even now, they spend about $50-$60 per radio on subsidies. With DAB and HD radio, the broadcasters are unwilling to fund hardware subsidies (or even to give digital radios away as contest prizes) while the only chance for the holders of the patents on the radios is to get those from the sale of the radios.

Comment Re:Hmm, I wonder (Score 1) 200

US satellite radios have a much less surprising UI.

Turn it on. If it's getting a signal with a sufficiently low BER (roughly indicated with a mobile-phone-style set of bars), the last channel you listened to is playing. Want to change to the next channel up or down? Twirl the knob one way or the other. If you want to tune the way that DAB is (by seeing a list of other channels and selecting from there) that's also available (handy when there's about 150 channels to choose from), though that method also has the benefit of allowing you to see what's being broadcast on the other channels before you tune (like an EPG for radio). There's also a feature to allow you be alerted whenever a song or artist you set is being played anywhere on the service (and a few radios let you set it to record those songs and put them into custom playlists, although the RIAA got those units taken off the market).

Comment Re:Satillite (Score 1) 200

A commentator once said that it's actually perhaps more instructive to think of Sirius and XM as operating a network of 100 (Sirius) to 1000 (XM) terrrestrial digital radio towers with satellites to fill in the coverage gaps (as opposed to the standard explanation that they have the terrestrial repeaters to fill in satellite coverage gaps).

At some point, Sirius XM will probably get the FCC's approval to put different content on the repeater network from the satellites (e.g. Sirius currently allocates about 400kbit to a collection of channels with continuous traffic reports because the FCC license requires that the all channels have to be offered nationwide... if they could have one traffic channel but have it be locally broadcast terrestrially only, then that would free up bandwidth).

Comment Re:Hmm, I wonder (Score 1) 200

Ditto for satellite... XM uses aacPlus (v1, though 90-some-odd percent of the receivers in the wild support v2 as well), while Sirius uses a heavily tweaked PAC codec (originally from Bell Labs... most technical reviews I've seen place that codec as roughly on par with AAC or Vorbis... 64 kbit Sirius channels are roughly as good as 128 kbit MP3s in my experience).

Comment Re:Hmm, I wonder (Score 1) 200

There are incentives to compress dynamic range of digital audio... Sirius and XM both use DRC as part of their audio processing (Sirius uses Orban Opticodecs, XM uses Neural Audio), with the major reason being that listeners complain if The Boneyard is noticeably quieter than Symphony Hall (or vice versa) (also on XM, the processing regime theoretically makes the audio more compressible by an HE-AAC encoder).

Comment Re:iDon't want app censorship (Score 1) 430

Have mainframes disappeared?
Have minicomputers disappeared?

Apart from being renamed "servers" and "clusters" and such, they haven't. They don't rule the roost to the extent that they used to, but the desktop didn't kill them: they found their niche in doing things that desktops weren't suited to.

So it will be with desktops compared to laptops: they'll handle the computing tasks that aren't practical with laptops (gaming, media editing, etc.).

And so it will be with laptops and netbooks and such: they'll handle the tasks that tablets and smartphones aren't suited to (e.g. writing code for the tablets and smartphones)

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