Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:communications system? (Score 1) 149

So what happens when the breaks do not respond the the pedal and the car ends up in a bad crash? who is at fault and what happens to the victims who have bills that are piling up while the courts are working out who will have to pay them.

If the communication error is from lack of maintenance, then it would be the owner and his insurance company. If it is from a defect in the system then it would be the manufacturer.

For most parts there should be a way for a person to take control if needed.

Comment Re:Hasn't Google been doing that for years? (Score 1) 149

Well that is the nature of technology.

For example, today if we are writing a program, having it display an Image, is a piece of cake. While before you needed to do crazy steps like decode the format, populate a memory buffer then dump that buffer to the screen at the right location. Vs today something like
image.src = "Images/test.png";
image.position = (10, 10);
image.visible = true;

Sure it does all the hard stuff in the background, but we don't need to worry much about it anymore. Because of people who figured it out in the past, now gives us something common today.

Now why is this news... Well it is using cars that don't look like rejects from a 1950's sci-fi flick, and that is is getting common enough for other companies to get in, and not just those eccentric start-ups.

Comment Re:It's simple (Score 1) 452

Why do you think when people get in political trouble, they will use their 5th amendment rights. Because if they are found innocent of the crime they will, then find some inconsistency with their story and get them jailed for perjury. Normally this tends to happen to Middle managers working for the government. If they get caught doing something, they were often the last ones to execute the order, after getting orders from many layers down.

Comment In the US is it what sells ads (Score 2) 195

So over the air networks are regulated by the FCC. Nudity, strong language, etc are all regulated. So they have legal limits they have to comply with. However the cable channels, they can do as they wish. Why then are only the premium ones the only ones with (more than a little) nudity? Ad money. The networks all have standards and practices divisions to work with the creators of shows to keep things such that advertisers are happy, and to work with advertisers to keep them happy. Advertisers worry about their brand being associated with certain things and so the networks have to keep them happy. I'm not saying the advertisers are being sensible, but that is how it is.

This is also why some shows can get away with more than others. If it is a big show, that lots of people watch, advertisers will be more willing to STFU and deal to have their spot played during it.

For that matter, the Internet gets similar things going on with ads. For example Fark used have "boobies" posts/threads with links to naked women. Generally pretty tame and not a large part of their content. However, advertisers kept bitching and some refused to do business, so Fark spun that content off in to a different site and now doesn't allow it on the primary domain. There was nothing legally keeping them doing this, just ad revenue.

Comment Also, with regards so SNR and sampling (Score 1) 440

We've already gone beyond the ability of electronics to deal with. The 144dB afforded by 24-bit recording is more than we can build converters to capture. The very best will get maybe 120-122dB dynamic range in actual operation (components have more but when implemented in a circuit that is about as good as it gets). At that point, you are dealing with the thermal noise of electrons bouncing around in the transistors, there just isn't much room for improvement with current tech.

That is not to mention microphones which have their own inherent noise. most of them it is 20dB SPL or more. Even the really low noise ones from B&K or the like are around 0dB. Your mics will introduce a noise floor there's no way to get around, unless you increase the volume of the music going in.

And those magical reel to reel tape units? Maybe 70dB SNR, if they are really good.

Comment You can indeed (Score 1) 440

While it may not seem intuitive, in fact you can. If you want to see it in operation, have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIQ9IXSUzuM. You can see perfect reconstruction of sine waves near the Nyquist frequency, and see how things work with real analogue monitoring gear and digital signaling.

We really do understand how band-limited systems work real well, and it really does reproduce sound accurately.

Comment And if you want fun with that type (Score 1) 440

Challenge them to try some ABX testing. They get a recording on their reel-to-reel machine. You then record the output of that with a good digital recorder, like an Alesis Masterlink or whatever. Sync up the playback and have an ABX switch. See if they can tell which is which.

They won't be able to, as the digital recorder will capture everything, including the flaws, of the analogue mater in all its glory. If you play the tape over and over enough to degrade it eventually there'll be an audible difference, but if you make the digital copy and then do the test, it'll sound identical.

Our technology is better than our ears these days. The challenge is in how to capture a good sounding recording, not in how to store it.

Comment If you want low frequency, digital is it (Score 1) 440

Digital goes straight down to DC with no issues. The only limit on the low end is that most devices aren't DC coupled, for various electrical reasons, and roll off on the extreme low end. However it is generally VERY low. A Benchmark ADC-1 goes down to 2 Hz and if you want, you can find DC coupled ADCs. Now try and find a microphone that can pick that up, and better yet, try and find an analogue tape that goes that low.

Digital is king of bass and that's part of the reason we've seen an increase in the use of heavy bass in music, is that digital allows for it. You couldn't do it very well with analogue, and not at all with many of the systems (like phonograph).

In terms of high frequencies, well you can record those with digital if you want, we just generally don't bother because there is no point. You can't hear it, you can't feel it, etc. Really, this is something that is pretty easy to test, and indeed has been tested. Our ears don't do that high, we can't hear it.

However it CAN be a bad thing, as what you can get is aliasing. Your gear may not be able to handle those high frequencies properly and your speakers or amp may generate aliased subharmonics that you can hear. So you end up getting distortion, sound that wasn't there in the recording that your setup is playing because it can't handle the ultrasonic content. Hence band limiting can be quite useful.

So digital sound is generally recorded at 48kHz (or 44.1kHz) because there is no reason to waste space recording the higher frequency content, which there is very little of anyhow (look at a spectrograph of it some time if you are interested), cannot be heard, and can cause problems on lower end gear, and even some high end gear.

Problems with recording and reproduction vs reality do not have to do with the digital storage medium, rather they have to do with the analogue recording and playback components (mics and speakers) as well as dealing with placement issues. If you want something that sounds quite real, get yourself some binaural recordings, and some good headphones to listen to them with.

Comment And digital can be permanent (Score 1) 440

All you have to do is refresh and convert it. So if a new standard is becoming the thing that everyone uses and the old standard is going away, well there will be quite a bit of time when stuff can deal with both. During that time, you convert. You can keep doing this, as often as is required. Same deal with the actual storage medium. In addition to backups, you transfer it to new media periodically.

This isn't theoretical shit I'm talking about either, we do this at work. We have data on our NAS and tapes that originated two decades ago. The original storage devices are long dead but it doesn't matter, it was transferred, and can be transferred again.

So ya, if you have a digital format and you let it sit in a vault for decades, never touching it, then it may degrade and be useless. Of course that is true of anything. Go have a look at the Constitution some day and see the extremes they have to go to to protect it, since age has not been kind to it.

However digital has the benefit of being dead fucking simple to transfer to new media with perfection any time you like. Just do that, and you are good. In fact standards these days are made to make that real easy. Like LTO, any drive must, by the standard, be able to read tapes from two versions prior. So if you buy a new LTO-6 drive, you can load up your LTO-4 tapes, and transfer the data. Then the same deal later when you move to LTO-8. That aside you can go to a completely new/different device just by having them talk over another standard like Ethernet or FC.

I would bet on the long term permanence of digital over analogue any day. Both can be fragile, if you take no steps to protect it, but digital can be perfectly replicated as often as you like, and that gives it a survivability analogue doesn't have.

Comment You probably needn't bother with that (Score 1) 353

The ISP's I've deal with USWest/Qwest/Centurylink, Speakeasy, and Cox, have all been happy to sell a business account for the asking. You need to call their business division, which is separate from consumer, but that is all. They'll put the account in your name (in the case of Cox a business name is required so they just use my first and last name) and life is good. They are happy to get the money. The account costs more, and you can spend money on addon services like multiple static IPs.

It isn't like they try and keep them away from people to be mean, they are just targeted at businesses because they cost more and most people don't want to pay. In my case I pay about the same for a 30/5 as a consumer would for a 150/20 account. However, I have no bandwith cap, no prohibition on running servers (which I do) and 4 static IPs. The consumer plan has a 400GB cap, and they disallow running servers (and block some common inbound server ports, like SMTP).

Maybe some ISPs are jerks, but try it first. Most you just need to look up the number for their business services division and call them. I've never had one say no. Money is money after all.

Comment Also, oversubscription works (Score 1) 353

So long as people play nice. Companies do the same thing. You'll never find a workplace where every desktop has dedicated bandwidth out to the Internet, or even to the central server. However, so long as people play nice and don't slam it with torrents 24/7, it actually works really well.

Like at work we have a Dell Equallogic storage unit that is where people can put important data. Highly reliable NAS, we back it up to tape, all that jazz. However, it only has 2 gbps to its disks on the SAN. We have one array, and it has two gig uplinks. The NAS head itself only has 8 gbps out to the network so even if we get more arrays, it doesn't have a ton of bandwidth. Each and every desktop has a gig link, and we have a several hundred that might want to access that NAS. So we are massively oversubscribed.

However, it isn't a problem. Performance is good. Why? Because we all play nice and share. People access data when they need it, and let it sit idle otherwise. In fact, since most of the data is archival, fairly static, it really has more capacity than we need overall.

Same deal with our overall network. I work on a campus with tens of thousands of computers and only a gig or two of total Internet bandwidth (and 10 gbps of Internet 2). However things are always fast. Downloads fly, pages load instantly, etc. Reason is we all share and play nice. We get what we need and let the connection sit idle otherwise. If someone did slam the connection, they'd get a phone call from network operations.

I will say that bandwidth caps aren't the best solution to making people share and play nice, but other solutions are a good deal harder to implement, and for customers to understand. Bandwidth caps are something that is pretty easy for people to comprehend, and that will give them a reason to keep usage in check.

Comment I've never encountered that (Score 1) 353

ISPs seem to really like money and business class liens cost more money. I've had business class service for about 13 years from 3 ISPs over that time, and all were plenty happy to sell it to me. Cox is who I'm with currently and they had no problem giving me a business account in my own name. Their software doesn't understand the concept, the "business name" field has my first and last name in it, but that doesn't hurt anything, and I get my nice business class Internet.

With wireless, well ya, you are going to have issues with that because there are hard bandwidth limits enforced by power output, frequency availability, and atmospheric noise (look up Shannon's Law) that you just can't get around. Wireless bandwidth will always have limits, particularly when you are talking wide area wireless.


Unmanned NASA Rocket Lifts Off From Wallops Island, On Way To Moon 56

A moon-bound NASA rocket was launched successfully Friday evening from Virginia's Wallops Island. The launch was visible over a wide stretch of the east coast; YouTube videos are beginning to show up. The robotic probe, to study lunar dust, is the first rocket launched into outer space from the Virginia launch site.

Comment Any time you hear only positive or negaitve (Score 1) 417

Nothing is all benefit, or all cost. Nothing is all good or all bad. Everything has tradeoffs, everything has a cost. The trick then is weighing the costs and benefits to decide if something is good or bad overall, and what course of action to take.

Any time something is presented as completely one-sided, someone is pushing an agenda. You can see this with advertising all the time. They talk up how awesome whatever their product is, all the cool shit it does for you. They never talk about any limitations, downsides, etc, unless it is legally required (like the drug advertising). The reason is, of course, they are trying to sell you on it. They want you to think it is awesome so it is all benefits, all the time.

You are correct, it is something to watch for. When people present a very one-sided stance it is often because they are pushing a given point, not because there is no counter-point.

Slashdot Top Deals

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