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Comment well.. (Score 1) 215

In a world where autos can be thought of as price points for a certain size and feature set (with most comparable models being in the a narrow power/accessories/size/price range) .. it makes sense that they'd make the software a value-add way to differenciate themselves.

The experience in my Toyota Prius is similar, the 2004-2009 models come standard with a touch screen, and a lot of the functions center around it (backup camera, sound system, battery monitor, engine diagnostic code and testing). It was something that people noticed when getting into the car and added value above what was perceived by competetors. (it's no longer standard equipment btw, several thousand dollar upgrade just to get the camera).

Comment Re:The end of an era (Score 1) 80

Yeah, amazing how a system tailor built for non-persistent network connections (store and forward) can be adapted to regions without persistent network connections.

Last I looked at it, it was still very popular (relatively) in Africa and SE Asia, with the actual nodelist being bigger now than it was in it's heyday .. though the observance of zonemail hour is probably nil and I have no idea if echomail or netmail is reliable in any sense.

I just find it funny that there is still a couple nodes left on my old local 1:280 , one of which appears to be a zombie BBS with the last user listed as logged in being myself from a year or more previously.

Comment Re:public safety (Score 1) 457

Because american corporate style would see fit to wave people onto planes with no screening whatsoever if it saved them a few bucks to pass to the shareholders if they could get away with it. You can't go "oops" with people's lives like you can with the performance or failure of a company's stock.

Comment public safety (Score 1) 457

Sorry Forbes, but public safety is not one of those things that free market economics has any chance of doing better than government standardized or government run schemes.

It'd be almost an exact parallel of health care in the US. An organization responsible for something generally considered in the public interest, but with motivations other than, and sometimes in direct conflict with, that public interest.

As far as grievous things done by the TSA .. yeah, they are grievous and demand changes to only perform functions that directly relate to security.

As far as the specific example .. it's unfortunate, but as soon as TSA says they won't examine women who have had mastectomy is the day certain nefarious organizations start recruiting women who have had a mastectomy to take a defacto one way flight somewhere.

Comment makes sense (Score 3, Insightful) 279

I won't comment on the aesthetics of the building, but it seems a no brainer for a company like Apple to build a thoroughly modern building like this.

At least I don't see Apple going out of business anytime soon and they can practically write a check for the whole thing. The money being an opportunity cost that will pay back over the longer term with less building energy costs and having everyone in one place / no lease costs for other locations.

Only downside might be if they ever did need to sell it or lease space to others in the future. (this doesn't seem structured like say the Sprint Nextel campus in Overland Park Kansas .. where the buildings were restructured for other companies use after the original occupant didn't need them anymore for various reasons.


Submission + - Which is better: Boxee Box or Roku? ( 1

__aajbyc7391 writes: Now that the D-Link Boxee Box has Netflix running and many of its initial kinks ironed out, it's time to ask: which is better, the $200 Boxee Box or the sub-$199 Roku box? In its evaluation of the Boxee Box, DeviceGuru compares the two devices, notes that each has relative advantages and disadvantages, and suggests that which one's best depends on the user's interests and capabilities. What do Slashdot readers prefer? The complexity and flexibility of the Boxee Box, or the elegant simplicity of the Roku player?

Comment different time (Score 2) 741

Ah yes, the education of that day, based on assumptions that are still present in some form today.

Might have been a more refined age, though for today I'm pretty sure your average CS major needs to be able to quote Dante in his original language about as much as he needs an extra heavy bender prior to the big test.

Comment Re:today's reality? (Score 1) 101

The 15 million was from the OP statement of equating data to equivelent text messages.

I wasn't really addressing what the carriers charge for SMS .. they will charge what the market will bear and the market bears around $20USD per month for unlimited SMS service on a contract plan. My main point was that while SMS might be cheap to provide .. it is not entirely without cost.

The paging channel is a finite resource and ramping up the number of sms pages like the OP implied would qualify as a mass calling event like any other (new years, mothers day, natural disaster).

Comment Re:today's reality? (Score 1) 101

.. SMS messages are not like standard data .. while the payload might be 160 bytes of text, the overhead and the delivery mechanism involved is much different than your average TCP session.

Primarily because those text messages have to locate the mobile with a page on the paging channel before sending the actual text itself. Paging channel requires SS7 messages to an HLR, MSC, SMSC and some other machines that do functions other than just text.

Sending 15 million SMS to one mobile would 1. tax the MSC pretty heavily (mobile switching center) and 2. probably get the originating node blocked at the intercarrier connection point pretty quickly.

Comment memories (Score 1) 146

I remember an old Perkin Elmer minicomputer that was used at a laboratory testing oil samples.

The only way to get anything in or out of the thing was kermit over async serial line.

At the time I wasn't quite as UNIX headed .. I thought it very funny that the day that we installed brand new HP high volume / high capacity laser printers was the day I was asked if it had a serial interface available (why they didn't just do LPD I'll never know).

Comment what (Score 1) 978

Does anyone see the irony of charging a fee to someone enrolled or trying to enroll in a program for people without money?

What are they going to do, refuse care to someone who is to obese or too poor to pay the fee.

Comment prepaid and up (Score -1, Offtopic) 116

Look into a deaf/hard of hearing rate plan on one of the GSM carriers. It'll probably include a bucket of text you don't need, but it'll have data service for presumably less than a standard minutes plan. As far as the EU leg of your travels .. since your only charged for outgoing text and calls it shouldn't be too hard to get a prepaid SIM with some amount of data on it.

Though with Sprint/Virgin offering $25 a month unlimited data on a cheap android phone, it might be cheaper just to get two phones, develop on wifi when in the other country and just go with that.

Comment Re:orly? (Score 4, Informative) 120

Your speeds are off by about a decimal place. In mobile data terms and technical terms it breaks down like this

1G = analog / AMPS service or similiar .. 2400bp/s on a good day plus whatever hardware error correction and data compression (MNP10) -- circuit switched technology (your taking a line on the tower
2G = CDMA / GSM(CDPD) base speed data - circuit switched at 9600bp/s
2.5G = packet switched CDMA 1X / GSM GPRS or EDGE .. nominally max 144kb/s .. usually 50-70kb/s .. GSM had different EDGE profiles for higher speeds .. but the base was in this range
3G = CDMA 1XEVDO / GSM HSDPA .. 3.1mb/s on CDMA .. up to 14.4mb/s and higher on GSM (though getting a contiguous spectrum block available for the full speed is problematic when mixed with voice traffic and paging channels
3.5G = current spec WIMAX and LTE .. nominal 10mb/s down .. biggest difference is it scales to higher data rates based on number of users .. whereas say 3G CDMA might have 3.1mb/s per sector .. wimax / LTE can deliver this per user given enough spectrum
4G = most recently published goalpost .. something like 100mb/s sustained mobile and higher in fixed / limited mobility scenarios .. WIMAX2 / LTE Advanced

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Math is like love -- a simple idea but it can get complicated. -- R. Drabek