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Comment Re:A distinction without a difference (Score 2) 82

This is a preview SDK. They're not obliged at this point to retain compatability or to avoid breaking anything. In fact, they can quite legitimately throw the entire API out and replace it with something else.

Anyone developing for Chromecast right now knows this, which meant the original article was dubious, if not intentionally deceptive. The author's program would have broken whether they'd written the app to stream from local hard drives or from Hulu.com.

Ultimately anyone who wants to write their own streaming servers, be they for commercial services or for home hacking, continues to be able to do so, and in a few months they'll have a stable API to code against. Local streaming was never broken.

Comment Re:They just don't seem to get the message (Score 1) 212

The ETag feature is supposed to help caching. That's why it was implemented. It's a unique ID associated with a particular version of a page, the browser sends a code saying "Send me X if the current version isn't $ETag, a copy of which I already have", and the server responds either to say the browser has an up-to-date version or sends the updated version.

Why not use timestamps or something like that, I pretend you ask? Well, because that's a less reliable method, as we've learned over many decades of trying to get that to work. Plus, I hate to mention it, but you can probably profile a user based upon a collection of timestamps if you try...

The network traffic saved is that saved by not sending new copies of every single image and static HTML page every time the user navigates around a website and sees common content. With today's image-heavy web design, I'd estimate it's at least 100k (this /comments.pl I'm-using-to-write-a-reply-to-you Slashdot page alone has over 200k of images, yet is only 11k of HTML), and up to a megabyte, per page, probably constituting more than 90% per click, averaged over pages you've been to, pages you haven't but that are part of a website you've already navigated some of, and pages on websites you've navigating for the first time.

So yeah, it's quite a substantial amount of bandwidth being saved.

Comment Re:USB sucks (Score 1) 280

I think the "Firewire already does it", "PS/2 already does it", "Ethernet already does it" people for the most part unintentionally explain why USB was invented - and why the standard is so apparently ugly.

The point of USB is to be universal, to allow everything to be plugged into a single port. Ethernet wouldn't work for 90% of USB applications because (a) it's kinda bad for things like keyboards with buttons on them to power up the computer, (b) while power over Ethernet is kinda standardized, it's not terribly flexible or useful.

Is it beautiful? Hell no. USB has bits of every standard grafted onto it to make it work. But the thing is it works. It's a "Just works" technology, and that's why it existed. If we'd tried to use Ethernet for all of this, we'd still be hooking keyboards up to PS/2 ports and mobile devices would need a collection of cables and plugs when they're "docked".

Comment Re:fly around the world to hold face-to-face meeti (Score 1) 233

The NSA is currently, reportedly, collecting the meta data of every phone call made through the US. It's all simple source/destination/time/duration information, and they collect it regardless of whether the originating phone is owned by Glenn Greenwald or your mother.

(I'm assuming your mother is not a major whistleblower or some other dangerous subversive the government feels the need to keep tabs on.)

So why wouldn't they collect similar metadata from every airline and other transportation concern in the country about every single trip anyone makes that has a termination or origination or both point within the US? There's going to be less data to store than the phone metadata thing, and it's going to be just as useful.

Comment Re:I should have finished reading before posting (Score 3, Insightful) 524

I'm sorry, but with the conviction and imprisonment of Bradley Manning today, there just aren't any cells left. Regrettably, this also means the US government is unable to prosecute torturers, war criminals, bankers who were responsible for the 2007 economic meltdown, or Dane Cook.

Comment Re:Money and age - Counterpoint (Score 1) 510

Until the government explicitly unbans living efficiently, complaining reform needs to be bottom up is absurd.

I don't drive an SUV, I drive a little Toyota, but I'd rather walk, or use quality public transportation. Unfortunately state and local governments have been exercising a war on walking since the early 1950s, implementing extremist pro-car zoning codes that force businesses to be built far away from the people they serve, and with large spaces between them so they can't be clustered.

There's no evidence that Americans have ever, as a group, wanted to be forced to drive everywhere - they've wanted the option to drive, but nobody outside of a small extreme group actually wants to be forced to drive first thing every morning, or after a hard day's work, or to and from a shop to get a gallon of milk. But with cities deliberately run down until relatively recently, and pro-car nutcases controlling the building of all new developments, that's been the effect.

Comment Re:I get to bust this one out again. (Score 4, Interesting) 209

I have repeatedly requested camera views from publicly owned but privately operated buses in the southern suburbs of the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area.

These cameras exist both inside and outside of the buses but whenever an issue arises which negatively impact the bus drivers or the system itself, the camera feeds are unavailable, usually due to some sort of unknown malfunction: http://www.lazylightning.org/bus-2-0-directs-mvta-driver-onto-dirt-shoulder

However, when they are not at fault, the videos are available to me right away and without question: http://www.lazylightning.org/mvta-rider-alleges-racism-over-bus-incident

Comment Re:Permanent brain damage & unbudgeted revival (Score 1) 254

The five minute meme is a common misconception.

From the linked article:

"Contrary to common perception, brain and other cells in the body can live for many hours after a person dies. There are different estimates on how long cells can survive without a blood supply and oxygen after death: bone cells for four days, skin cells for 24 hours. Although the oxygen and energy supply to brain cells is depleted within four to five minutes, brain cells remain viable but non-functioning for up to eight hours."

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