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Comment Re:Public Good, Or Profit? (Score 1) 65

"Ahem, you know that IBM Wolrd Community Grid use the BOINC client too, right? And many of the projects there make available the results to every scientists that wants it. The CEP database itself is open to everyone to browse and consult."

I did not know that, and I don't doubt it, but it matters little to me. If they use BOINC anyway, then what purpose do they serve?

My point was that for the most part I trust BOINC, but not IBM. I do not put it past IBM to lie, cheat, and steal as long as it makes them a profit.

Don't get me wrong: IBM has done some great things. And a lot of good research has come out of the Watson Research Center, for example. But it was also done for corporate profit, not for humanitarian reasons. Not that there is anything wrong with corporate profit either, as long as it is honest and socially responsible. In IBM's case, I will not assume that. I would have to be shown first.

Comment Re:Sea of broken images (Score 1) 275

"If you apply same-origin policy to images in HTML documents by default, then I fail to understand how it would be "fairly rare" for you to encounter a page that's a sea of broken images."

In the vast majority of cases, the images on a page that are not hosted by the domain you are visiting are ads. It's that simple. Sometimes you run into other situations, but it's relatively rare.

For example, here is a shot of my NoScript menu for this very page. Granted, NoScript itself is not an "image" blocker, but in reality most 3rd-parth images today are buried in a mass of identifiable JavaScript. NoScript blocks them by default, except for those I have marked "okay" ahead of time. If I think I am missing something, I can go to that list and allow a site that is currently blocked. I can allow it temporarily (until I shut down the browser app), or permanently. But even the one that are "permanently" blocked can be turned on temporarily if I wish.

I also use a Flash blocker (flash ads are HUGE bandwidth thieves), and some other tools.

Whether it is worthwhile to do those things is entirely up to you. But you DO have a choice, and that's a good thing.

Comment Re:Sea of broken images (Score 1) 275

"If you apply same-origin policy to images in HTML documents by default, then I fail to understand how it would be "fairly rare" for you to encounter a page that's a sea of broken images. For example, Wikipedia (, Wikia (, Google (, Yahoo! (, and eBay ( all routinely host images on a separate domain from the HTML document, often to prevent repetition of the user's session cookie in the HTTP headers for each image request."

Because my browser (I usually use Firefox, with some plugins) allows me to allow them or block them on a domain-by-domain basis. is not blocked. Google is. I unblock it temporarily when I need it. Same with Yahoo.

Most images on Ebay are hosted by Ebay, but some people and companies use 3rd-party tools that inject content into their ads. I unblock them on a case-by-case basis.

Does that sound like a pain in the ass? Sometimes it is. But far more often it means relief from trackers, unwanted ads, bandwidth leeches, and more. As I wrote elsewhere, not long ago I temporarily turned off my blockers completely, and I was horrified by the amount of 3rd-party GARBAGE I was inundated with. While it may be a bit more work sometimes, most of the sites I visit frequently are not blocked, and my life is MUCH more pleasant.

Pretty soon you also get used to the little "no image" symbols and the "Hey! Turn on your javascript!" messages where ads would normally be. I'd rather see those than the ads.

But again: since it's on a domain-by-domain basis, you can choose the companies from which you want to receive ads. I don't have them ALL blocked. But the ones I haven't specifically allowed, are.

Comment Re:California Is Wrong (Score 1) 396

"It doesn't have to say that. The state is only entitled to collect taxes and fees, that's why the requirement only applies to that."

I rather think it DOES have to say that. There is nothing in it anywhere to even hint that it is limited to state monies only. It says "tender in payment of debts". It does not say "tender in payment of State debts", or "tender in payment of debts to the State". Considering the complete absence of any indication they meant something else, I suggest the words be taken at face value. And if it does not apply to individuals, why does part of that same sentence say "or law impairing the obligation of contracts"??? Are you going to say that part applies only to contracts with the State? I don't think so.

"However recognition of the state is not required for any other financial activity, in any currency. If you want to buy a widget from me for Euros, or Yens, I will sell it to you. Not illegal. You can even send me those Yens from Japan, and I will receive them through an appropriate, registered and licensed financial services company (PayPal, or just my bank.)"

Yes and no. I retract the bit about "requiring" that it go through an exchange first. But that's actually completely irrelevant. I could pay you in buckets of piss, and if you accept them, fine with me. But a State cannot "make" buckets of piss legal tender. That is the point being discussed here.

The second thing I have to say about that is no, you can't do that through PayPal. I know, because I've done it. You can accept foreign currency into your PayPal account, and you can pay in foreign currency from your PayPal account. But nobody in the U.S. can require you to pay a debt in foreign currency, PayPal or not. Again, that's the point here. And if you are required to pay a debt in local currency, sorry, but you CANNOT pay it directly with Yen in your PayPal account. PayPal will first convert it to dollars (and charge a fee for that conversion), before paying in dollars. I have bitched about that requirement more than once, but that's the way it works. Look it up.

"Businesses do receive foreign payments into USD accounts,"

Businesses receive payments in dollars into USD accounts. But if it's a BANK account, and it's foreign currency, it is converted to dollars before going into that account. In many but not all circumstances they will also charge a small fee for doing that conversion. Banks that do not routinely do Forex (foreign exchange) do not do it for free.

"I can receive payments in CDN, and if they land into the CDN account they won't get converted into anything."

That's true, as as I already stated, that's true of PayPal as well. But it's also completely beside the point. If you want to pay somebody in dollars with it, it is still first converted to USD. And often there is a fee for the service.

Comment Re:Non-poor way to design a mash-up (Score 1) 275

Darn. Slip of the finger there.

I should not have simply written "nonsense" in reply to your other post, because strictly speaking, it's not nonsense. But I've found failures due to 3rd-party blocking to be (A) fairly rare, and (B) usually on sites I have no great need to frequent anyway. Your mileage may vary.

But usually when I block, I simply don't see the image. Or I just see the little "broken image" symbol in my browser.

Comment Re:Non-poor way to design a mash-up (Score 1) 275

"If a web application has a legitimate reason to access resources that are behind more than one domain, what's the non-poor way to design such a web application?"

It's relatively simple. The same way you handle sites that don't have JavaScript enabled, on a site that needs JavaScript to operate properly: show them a message saying that they have to turn it on or the site won't work.

How do you handle

Comment Re: Not A Criticism, But... So What? (Score 1) 30

"But for whistling (as per the original application) or various other sounds, those same three bands will be pretty crap."

I'm not suggesting otherwise. I think you're missing my point, which was that THIS was about voice recognition, not whistling, and he is using a high-tech solution for that where a lower-tech, simpler solution might actually be better.

Nor am I saying we shouldn't do it this way. I'm only saying there are alternatives that might work as well for THIS application, which are also simpler and cheaper.

Comment Re:legit patent suit? (Score 1) 57

"Instead of risking starting a flame war by suggesting that Chairman Mao's policies might have had something to do with innovation, especially in the technical arena, I'll just let the honest reader ponder that possibility quietly."

Well, I wasn't trying to suggest anything that specific. Only that it is well-known that even limited protection for what is mistakenly called "intellectual property" was completely non-existent in China for a long time, by design. I think it is pretty obvious that their loosening of the screws in that area is one of the things that has led to their economic improvement.

Comment Not A Criticism, But... So What? (Score 5, Interesting) 30

In the 1970s, a book was published entitled "How To Build Your Own Computer-Controlled Robot". In fact this was one of the books that first got me interested in computing.

The author of the book, a high-school student, built (with the help of his engineer father, I don't want to downplay that) a small robot that had obstacle sensors, light sensors, and some basic mapping capability so it could find its own charging station (not so different from a Roomba today).

But my main point is: it also had effective voice recognition, for simple commands. And the implementation was pretty simple: the audio input was amplified, then sent through 3 notch filters to separate high, medium and low audio frequencies. Each of the 3 frequencies was digitally sampled at about 40kHz. Repeated samples were averaged and saved in a table in memory.

The CPU (and remember, this was a 1970s-era CPU, if I recall an 8080a or a Z-80 or similar) constantly sampled incoming sounds, and when one sufficiently matched one of the stored templates it meant "command received".

It was a simple scheme, and it worked fine. I don't want to detract from this inventor, but in essence he is doing a similar thing. Except instead of using notch filters, he's using FFTs to do the frequency analysis and build (and then compare to) the templates. The ideas aren't all that different.

But personally, I think I'd prefer the old method, as it demonstrably worked at least as well as this, used only a few $ in hardware in addition to the CPU, and was pretty definitely less compute-intensive to achieve.

Keep in mind: that was 40 years ago. Maybe this newer approach has more potential; I don't know. But it certainly doesn't look much different at this time.

Comment Re:California Is Wrong (Score 1) 396

"What I'm pointing out here is that the constitutional requirement only prevents CA from collecting taxes and fees in other currencies."

No, it doesn't. It prohibits California from recognizing ANYTHING other than gold or silver as legal payment for ANY debt within the state. It isn't just about taxes and fees. It says "make anything but gold or silver a tender in payment of debts". It doesn't just say State debts, or debts to the State.

But I will point out that even if that were true, California is STILL violating the Constitution by accepting U.S. dollars.

Someone else pointed out that dollars are Federal, not State, but that doesn't matter. The Constitution still prohibits a State from accepting them.

As for foreign payments: legally they are supposed to go through a bank or exchange and converted to U.S money before they can be used for payments anyway. So that's not really relevant.

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"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman