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Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 2, Informative) 143

Do you have friends and/or family with Apple products? If so, then this is a window into their little world of seamless messaging, something that is a complete shitshow on Android. Basically, once you've got a person's Apple ID, you can send them a message and it will appear:

On their iPad
On their iPhone - and the backend will switch to SMS if necessary to deliver it, if you're without data.
On their iMac, or whatever their desktop/laptop line is called now.

And they can reply to and follow the complete conversation on any device.

The biggest thing about iMessage is that it's been consistent for years across IOS devices. One consistent messaging interface, compared to Android and it's pile of apps that attempt to substitute for the missing OEM unified messaging app. Here's a few that I can think of off the top of my head :

Messages (and any aftermarket SMS app)
Facebook Messenger

There's no one app that can do messaging via data or SMS across the desktop and phone space. Apple users don't have to deal with this fragmentation. Everyone's got iMessage. And it's pretty damn slick.

Comment Re:No news! (Score 3, Interesting) 95

Every time one of my friends on facebook shares something from some crap aggregator site like "SuperInterestingCoolFunFacts", I go to the little drop-down menu on that post and select "hide all from SuperInterestingCoolFunFacts".

Turns out that most of my friends only get their daily dose of drivel from a few sites, so after a couple of rounds of that the signal to noise ratio improves considerably.

Comment Good times. (Score 1) 136

NCSA Mosaic and the coffee pot with the camera on it.

My ISP - Ozemail - had a reasonably good home page. All the shareware archives were great - Simtelnet. AARNet for me (the Australia Academic and Research Network) - they held good mirrors of shareware sites.

A lot of tiny little user pages linked via webrings, although that was a little bit later.

Searching sucked. Google really cleaned up that space.

Comment Re:Underwater cables (Score 4, Informative) 177

You don't even have to cut it, just bend the strands enough so the some leaks out the side of the glass.

I've got a fiber tester here that does exactly that with normal fiber patch leads, and it can tell me which direction the light source is coming from, if there is modulated data on it, or if there is one of it's own light source ID modules on the end of the fiber.

Super handy for fiber test work and only $1000. Imagine what you can get when you've effectively got an unlimited black ops budget.

Comment Re:What is "the network?" (Score 4, Informative) 84

It's 12 bytes every 10 minutes. 96 bits. Not much for a tweet, but you can stuff quite a lot of data in 96 bits.

For example, say you're tracking fragile cargo :

2 bits - battery level (2 bits - 4 values, high / med / low / replace)
2 bits - status of 3 tamper switches (00 - all ok, 01/10/11 - a switch has been triggered).
6 bits - a temperature range of 64 degrees, in celsius, from starting from -14 to 50 degrees, 1 degree resolution.
6 bits - humidity (64 values stretched to 0-100, gives us about 1.5% resolution)
2 bits - whether temp or humidity has gone out of bounds since last transmission (and a spare value here).
6 bits - current speed 0-64 m/s (0 - 230 kmph/ 144mph)
6 bits - max speed since last transmission in m/s
48 bits - lat and longitude, good to about 11 metres globally.
18 bits - max g-force sustained in the last ten minutes (6 bits/64 values for x/y/z, scaled to 10g, so good to 0.15g)

Tada, 96 bits, full of info.

Comment Two good reasons (Score 1) 343

1. Closure for humanitarian reasons. People want to know what happened to loved ones, there might be remains that can be properly interred, things like that.

2. Finding out what happened. What if there was a sequence of events that happened on that flight to cause the crash that could be easily repeatable on every other plane of that model? There are about 10,000 late-model 737's in service, at about $90 million each. If there's a problem, that's a lot of hardware at risk.

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