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Transportation Designs For a Future That Never Came 120

An anonymous reader writes "The recently unveiled plans for the Hyperloop have raised a lot of eyebrows, but this is not the first time someone has proposed an idea for mass transit that seemed too good to be true. Here's a look at a few other ideas over the years that never seemed to get off the ground. 'In 1930, the magazine Modern Mechanix presented a plan for a "unique bus of the future (that would) duplicate the speed of railroads. Recent developments in everything that moves has caused many flights of imagination," it wrote. "The bus between New York and San Francisco will be equipped with airplanes for (side trips). For diversion, billiard rooms, swimming pool, dancing floor and a bridle path would be available. The pilot would be 'enthroned' over his engines, with the radio above. Space for autos would be afforded by the deck." Not surprisingly, it never happened.'"

Comment There's no irony here (Score 1) 87

These are the same people who make tanks and anti-tank missiles. They make airplanes and surface-to-air missiles. They put body armor on their soldiers and hand them guns to shoot other soldiers with.

They know the power of Big Data, so they both try to use it to their advantage and try to mitigate the advantage it would give to their foes.

Comment the proper measure is the money, not the piracy (Score 2) 443

You can't say global release is a flawed model just by the piracy numbers. The key is the financials. If AMC can get more money from international rebroadcasters by offering it to them on a shorter timeframe, then global release has some merit.

And it is possible that the content is considered to be more valuable on the shorter timeframe, because the airers prefer their content be more "fresh".

Comment exetel's service is metered (Score 1) 555

Most of the conflict between "personal" and "business" comes when a service is provisioned for a relatively light load (residential) and then someone runs a business on it. The service just isn't designed to carry that much traffic, that incurs additional expenses which aren't within the residential fee structure.

If the service is metered, as you link to here, then they don't care how much traffic you run, they'll get paid more if you run a server and that'll provide the revenue needed to provision the line up for the higher traffic.

If American ISP service was metered, there wouldn't be much of an issue either. If you use it like a business, you'd pay like a business.

Comment this doesn't amount to wiretapping you (Score 0) 347

Hear me out. Snowden said he could wiretap you with just your email address.

This doesn't amount to that. All this is is a large database. All the data they get they put into a database. That's how they use "big data".

But you can only search for what's in there.

What will be in there is metadata from the metadata drag net (pen register/trap and trace). This includes email from/to, etc, but not the content. It also includes phone call from and to numbers but not the content, although Snowden said email, so I guess he wasn't talking about that.

Also in there will be the content of communications which were captured previously. This is what amounts to an actual wiretap. But they cannot capture these communications between Americans with a drag net, they have to get individual warrants (presumably secret FISA warrants).

So, if you gave your email to Snowden, he could look up everything which is in there, but unless you were already wiretapped, he wouldn't find any wiretap info. If you are American, he cannot put on a wiretap just by you supplying your email address.

So the original denials were correct. Snowden did overstate what he could do. He may not have been limited enough in what he could do, but this was not one of the things he could do.


The Glorious Return of the Twinkie 528

iggymanz writes "The geek food staple the Twinkie is coming back. The sturdy main component of the foundation to the geek four food groups of sugar, fat, caffeine and bacon — with rumored shelf life on the order of the time span to cool a white dwarf to room temperature — the Twinkie, along with Ding-Dongs, Ho-Ho's and Cupcakes, will be returning 15 July 2013 to the shelves under new management of Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulous & Co which paid over 400 mega dollars (U.S.) for the brands."

Comment There is space above and below the package there (Score 1) 464

There could be room for a 2nd package.

But I didn't know about the E5 V2. Maybe you're right and Apple is using that. E5-V2 has 4 DDR3 memory channels, Apple would only have to put two DIMMs on a memory channel to have 8 DIMM slots. They have two DIMMs on a memory channel in the current MacPro.

But I suppose it's more likely Apple is going to just stick with 4 DIMM slots, given that memory per DIMM availability probably has at least doubled since Apple selected 8 DIMM slots for the last Mac Pro (2010? 2008?).

Comment the old Mac Pro had 4 RAM slots also (Score 4, Informative) 464

In the one CPU config. That is, one CPU socket package, 6 or 8 cores. If you got the two CPU socket version with 12 cores, you got 8 RAM slots.

The model pictured is one with a single CPU socket and has 4 DIMM slots. It's quite possible that the two CPU socket version of this Mac Pro will have 8 RAM slots also.

I checked, there is no 12 core version of Xeon E5, so presumably to get the 12 cores on this one will use two packages as the last one did.

I don't have any problems putting stuff next to cylinders. I have a coffee cup on my desk, it isn't causing any untoward issues.

This thing has no HDDs. No amount of flash would be enough for video editors, and not even 4 internal HDDs would either. So you will use a Thunderbolt external HDD or RAID array. I just hope those get somewhat cheaper soon.


German Railways To Test Anti-Graffiti Drones 208

garymortimer writes "Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property. The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night. A company spokesman said drones would be tested at rail depots soon."

N. Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales To Prevent "Unfair Competition" 555

nametaken writes with this excerpt from Slate: "From the state that brought you the nation's first ban on climate science comes another legislative gem: a bill that would prohibit automakers from selling their cars in the state. The proposal, which the Raleigh News & Observer reports was unanimously approved by the state's Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, would apply to all car manufacturers, but the intended target is clear. It's aimed at Tesla, the only U.S. automaker whose business model relies on selling cars directly to consumers, rather than through a network of third-party dealerships. ... [The article adds] it's easy to understand why some car dealers might feel a little threatened: Tesla's Model S outsold the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8 last quarter without any help from them. If its business model were to catch on, consumers might find that they don't need the middle-men as much as they thought." State laws imposing restrictions on manufacturers in favor of dealers aren't new, though; For more on ways that franchise operations have "used state regulations to protect their profits" long before Tesla was in the picture, check out this 2009 interview with Duke University's Michael Munger.

Is Buying an Extended Warranty Ever a Good Idea? 329

waderoush writes "Consumer Reports calls extended warranties 'money down the drain,' and as a tech journalist and owner of myriad gadgets — none of which have ever conked out or cracked up during the original warranty period — that was always my attitude too. But when I met recently with Steve Abernethy, CEO of San Francisco-based warranty provider SquareTrade, I tried to keep an open mind, and I came away thinking that the industry might be changing. In a nutshell, Abernethy says he's aware of the extended-warranty industry's dreadful reputation, but he says SquareTrade is working to salvage it through a combination of lower prices, broader coverage, and better service. On top of that, he made some persuasive points – which don't seem to figure into Consumer Reports' argument – about the way the 'risk vs. severity' math has changed since the beginning of the smartphone and tablet era. One-third of smartphone owners will lose their devices to drops or spills within the first three years of purchase, the company's data shows. If you belong to certain categories — like people in big households, or motorcycle owners, or homeowners with hardwood floors — your risk is even higher. So, in the end, the decision about buying an extended warranty boils down to whether you think you can defy the odds, and whether you can afford to buy a new device at full price if you're one of the unlucky ones."

Comment it was a charge card (Score 1) 228

Back when credit cards were still charge cards too. When revolving credit cards (where you don't have to pay each money) changed their names to credit cards (credit is a positive, charge is a negative), AMEX kept the charge card description.

AMEX reminded me of this twice when I didn't pay in full at the end of the month. They said they didn't work that way and I wouldn't be able to charge anything until I paid it off. I replied that I didn't mind because I only used it on corporate trips and I didn't have another one for months, by which point the company would have reimbursed me and I would pay AMEX.

Comment I'm pretty impressed with the passports (Score 4, Interesting) 236

I was very much against them, in fact swearing I would smash my passport's smart chip when I got a new passport that had one.

But having read it with my phone, I'm impressed. You need key data from the printed page to make the NFC work and as you mention, the passports are unreadable when closed.

I think it's really well done. I'm a bit unsure quite what it's good for since it is slower than swiping it, I can only figure it was done just because putting that much info in a barcode was infeasible.

Now let me submit my pic as a link to a PNG or whatever instead of printing out a picture, having them scan it back in and turn it into a JPEG2000.

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