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Comment Null Island, Pacific style (Score 1) 91

A long time ago I was working with GPS applications and their internal representation of longitude meant our Null Island was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 0 north, 180 west.

We figured out the conventions of the mapping application we were using (no Google Maps yet, and the documentation was vague) by trial and error. Our first attempts to plot GPS fixes from a drive along a local freeway showed a blank area with no freeway, nor much of anything else. We found that we were drawing a map centred on 49 degrees north (correct) but 123 degrees east, out in the middle of nowhere near the border between China, Mongolia and Russia. Nearest town Harbin, China...

...laura

Comment What else is new? (Score 3, Insightful) 170

Step 1: Apple introduced the iPad and everybody was desperate to get one because it was the trendy item to have.

Step 2: people started figuring out what they could do with a handy portable computer.

Step 3: everybody who had a use for a tablet had one and the sales dropped off to replacement level.

Any remotely interesting new product is going to grow at unsustainable levels until the market is saturated. Then the growth stops.

...laura

Comment My TV is a TV (Score 1) 507

I bought my TV to be a TV. I measured the space it needed to fit in, then looked at candidates at the store and picked the one that looked best. It has an ATSC tuner and various inputs with various things (Apple TV, Roku, DVD player) plugged in to them.

My Apple TV and Roku do all the smart TV stuff I've ever wanted to do. I've never seen a standalone smart TV that was worth the money.

...laura

Comment Isn't 640k enough for anybody? (Score 3, Interesting) 117

While you most likely do not need such a large microSD card in your life...

At one time I bought an iPad with 16 GB of storage, since the storage was infinite compared with my ability to come up with material to store on it. Then I discovered new applications like ForeFlight for flight planning. I now use a 128 GB iPad mini in the cockpit.

When I bought my current Mac (admittedly, a few years ago) I figured that 4 GB of RAM and 250 GB of disc space was ample. I bought a GoPro camera earlier this year. Two hundred fifty gigs is now nothing.

...laura

Comment Lawyers vs Engineers (Score 2) 438

Like so many of these things, the lawyers can pass all the laws they want. But this has already been settled by the engineers. The onus is on the lawyers to figure stuff out, because this isn't going away any time soon.

I have a legit account for the Canadian Netflix-lite and may pull the plug soon since there is little of interest on it. U.S. Netflix doesn't interest me, but I use a U.K. VPN to access BBC and ITV streaming content. I'd pay a reasonable amount to access it legitimately.

...laura

Comment Gingerbread (Score 1) 242

I bought a Samsung Galaxy something-or-other from the phone store several years ago when my old phone's battery crapped out. I've since put a new battery in the phone, and plan to replace the whole phone in the not-too-distant future.

I use my phone as a phone (!) and for some texting. For mobile applications like flight planning I use an iPad with ForeFlight. It works fine.

...laura

Comment An idea whose time had come (Score 1) 273

The Victor Hugo quote about nothing being more powerful than an idea whose time has come is, to me, the story of Linux.

In the '90s we had the beginnings of the internet, so people could collaborate in ways they had never done before. We had commodity PC hardware that could do interesting OS things. More.

My first Linux system was a 486/66 with Slackware 96 back in 1997. It worked fine. I use Slackware to this day on my own computers. The standard at work is CentOS. So be it.

...laura

Comment Sounds familiar! (Score 1) 474

Many of these issues apply to the SkyTrain system here in Vancouver. High-tech (for its time), wildly non-standard, minimal adoption by anybody else (Scarborough RT, Detroit Muggermover, partially London DLR), far more expensive than an off-the-shelf system like they use in Calgary or Portland, showing its age after only 30 years...the list goes on.

They had issues when they added a new line in 2002, and the control system suddenly had to handle more than 256 cars at a time.

...laura

Comment Market saturation (Score 1) 301

Like everybody else, I have an iPad. It works well. With no compelling reason to buy another one, I won't.

QED

Actually, I was planning to buy an iPad Mini until I won one in a contest. It's smaller than my regular iPad and a better fit in the cockpit as an electronic flight planning tool.

...laura

Comment Broken business model (Score 1) 194

They can tweak all they like but it won't make any difference. The underlying business model is broken Changes in technology will do that.

I pulled the plug on cable years ago. When I look at what's on cable now it's not even the handful of channels I would watch, it's the handful of programs I would watch, since most of the content is garbage. An on-demand setup like Netflix is a much better fit for me.

...laura

Comment Infrastructure needed (Score 1) 266

I've followed EV development with interest, but the larger ecosystem needs to be sorted out. We need to generate electricity to charge EVs, and we need to distribute it where it's needed. Here in British Columbia we generate almost all of our electricity with hydroelectric dams, so I'm not worried about the carbon footprint.

I'd love to drive an electric car myself, and a Nissan Leaf would cover 98% of my driving. But I live in an apartment building, there are no EV facilities, and in the absence of incentives or legal requirements, the owners aren't interested in changing that.

...laura

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