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Comment Re:if your strength relies on the weakness of othe (Score 1) 130

I'm not exactly sure what you think they're going to do to us in this or the next generation,

You seem to have mistaken me for one of the people in the article. I was merely explaining to article to someone who had misunderstood it (actually, a apparently a number of people who had misunderstood it--seeing as the mistaken comment was highly rated).

I have not done my own analysis of Chinese vs. US capabilities, and even if I had it wouldn't have been based on whatever these people supposedly saw at the conference (since I wasn't there). Maybe the observations expressed in the article were correct, maybe they were mistaken, or maybe they were even lies.

When you write...:

China is nearly half a century behind us in military tech.
by the time they actually catch up - even if we merely matched their budget - we'd be back to where we were 50 years ago with Russia - neither defensively able to counter the other's offensive capabilities, thus "mutually assured destruction" being the deterrent

Considered that perhaps the people behind the statements in the article may simple not agree with your premise that cold war is actually a desirable state of affairs. And that's probably in some part due to the fact that "mutually assured destruction" only works as a deterrent on people who aren't suicidal or otherwise find with their victories being pyrrhic; consider, for example, the conversation that Robert McNamara says he had with Fidel Castro in `The Fog of War'--something like:

I asked him 3 questions. One, "did you know there were nuclear warheads in Cuba?" Two, "would you have recommended to Khrushchev to use nuclear missiles in the event of an American invasion of Cuba?" And three, "what would have happened to Cuba?" He said, "One, I knew the missiles were there. Two, I would not *have* recommended it, I *did* recommend it! And three, we would have been totally obliterated"

Another consideration is that 50 years can actually be either an incredibly short or incredibly long period in terms of political relations, military technology, and military capabilities (where "capabilities" isn't actually quite the same thing as "technology"). And part of that consideration is that you may actually not get to choose whether 50 years is `short' or `long'.

And yet another is that, once you get to that `equilibrium' of mutually-assured destruction, even if you assume that everyone else with heavy arms is perfectly sane, it's still not a stable state. e.g.: what if the other if both you and the other guy have enough nuclear ICBMs to ensure mutual destruction given current launch- and early-warning technology, and current levels of strategy and tactics..., and you're not actually at the absolute pinnacle of all of those things yet? What if ICBMs aren't actually the quickest way of obliterating your enemy that will every be possible, and if there are new breakthroughs in strategy or tactics possibly just around the corner?

Comment Re:if your strength relies on the weakness of othe (Score 1) 130

if your strength relies upon the weakness of others, then it isn't really strength. I know, "without light there is no dark" "without up there is no down" "without weakness there is no strength" - no. China is just 1 country, and has 6x the number of people. There are plenty of other countries that are in poor shape, if we (in the US) really feel we need to be "superior" to someone else. Until then, this kind of crap is a waste of tax dollars, under the thinly veiled cover of nationalism

Except it's not about some vague notion of the "strength" (whatever that means) of the US or the "weakness" of everyone else, or being "superior" in terms of some sort of abstract `virtue'. It's about security vs. vulnerability, which are in fact appropriate to define in terms of the capacity of others to do you harm.

The concerns here are things like:

* China being more capable than the US of running the sort of simulations involved in developing advanced weapons systems, such that China could become invulnerable to US weapons tech while simultaneously meaning that the US is would become increasingly vulnerable to Chinese weapons tech.
* China being more capable than the US of running analytics such that they can circumvent US surveillance capabilities while simultaneously surveilling the US and its allies in ways that the US cannot circumvent.

We're not talking about being on the beach and being jealous of the guy with the big muscles because all of the girls are fawning over him, and figuring that if he'd just leave and let you be the only guy there then surely all of the girls would be fawning over you. It's more like thinking "that guy with the attitude problem has been working out and turning into a real bruiser; pretty soon I might not be able to keep him from kicking my dog anymore".

Comment Re:Bad assumption (Score 1) 297

Altavista was the precursor to Google, a search engine for the Web.
Yahoo! was unique in being a homepage for the web - a collector of news and oddities that you could start your day on, and by the way had a search function that was never as good as Altavista or Google.

ISTR that when Yahoo! added a search form, that form actually called out to Altavista. There were a few iterations using different search engines before they had their own, and I'm not entirely sure right now whether Altavista was the first or second one that Yahoo! used.

A lot of people thought Yahoo! had (or even was) a search engine, though--managing to ignore the whole `Hierarchically Organized Oracle' stuff that was all over the website. Maybe Yahoo! should really be famous for that--for being one of the first completely and utterly misunderstood web services.

Comment Some games actually *don't work with without CRTs* (Score 1) 184

CRT renderings of the games was not how the designers wanted them to look, just as musical artists and engineers don't want to sound like a vinyl record. They wanted them to look like modern 4k, photorealistic games but were held back by the technology. No, what will be gone is the experience of the fuzzy-edged, low resolution games people remember playing as children. What we're losing is nostalgia, not veracity or design intent.

Well, kinda. Yes, the original authors probably wanted higher quality graphics, but they designed for hardware that couldn't show those graphics, and they made use of the features of the technology available to them, some of which aren't replicated in the 'better' replacements.

To put it another way, had better technology been available, they wouldn't have made the same design decisions, because design decisions intended to make something like awesome on a CRT can make things look worse on a better screen. Color bleed and interlacing would be two examples of things you make use of, that would make a game seem better on a CRT than not using them, but would make a game look awful if the technology is used on an LCD.

One fairly extreme (but also common!) type of this `design decisions based on existing technology' was games that used light-guns and relied on the specific timing- and redraw-characteristics of CRTs.

There are other techniques now available for making guns that work with LCDs and other display tech that don't work like LCDs do, but it seems like it'd probably be a bigger pain to adapt things so that a newer peripheral will actually work with the older arcade hardware, and I've having trouble even imagining how one would interface that with the old game software that can't be patched.

While there is some subset of old light-guns (that are basically dumb enough to trigger off of lightbulbs) that actually may work with newer display tech, for the others there just seems like such a massive `impedance mismatch' in trying to fit a display without any of the original design characteristics into an old light-gun game that the job is, if not impossible, pretty darned close to impossible.

What am I missing? I guess in the case where all of the original computing hardware has been removed and the whole thing is now running through an emulator, it should actually be possible to fake up a world of virtual CRT scan-timings and convert input from a more modern peripheral that actually gives fuller position/attitude info (extending the emulation to include simulating the both the CRT scanlines and photosensor in the gun); but as far as `restoration of classic arcade machines' goes, that still sees like it at least pretty drastically changes the scope of restoration'.

Comment Why is this hard? (Score 1) 189

It's as if they had to do some big R&D project to figure out how to sync separate digital audio receivers. We've been doing things like this in the open-source world for years now--I hacked together a synchronized multi-sink audio system as a weekend project in 2011, for example.

That was UDP/IP/ethernet, but the same principles of latency-matching apply pretty much regardless of the underlying transport.

I suspect that this actually has nothing to do with "[having difficulty figuring out how to] ensure that both earpieces receive audio at the same time to avoid distortion"--because, frankly, I don't think the people at Apple are so stupid as to think they need to invent latency-matching themselves and then also have difficulty with it.

They're probably just having difficulty sourcing parts from one of their vendors or something, but claims like `oh it turned out to be very hard to synchronize playback wirelessly because we're breaking so much new ground with multiple independent receivers' reads as much more profound to the general public who don't actually even know where to begin thinking through something like that.

Having the universe conspire against you with things like physics and math, vs. having let some plebeian manufacturing house upset your schedule due to retooling-problems or materials shortage or some local holiday you didn't know about... or whatever. Which would you rather have as part of your narrative?

Comment Re:Jill Stein (Score 1) 180

Of course Bernie will support Hillary Clinton because he thinks preventing Trump (or any Republican) from becoming President is the most important thing.

While that sort of thing never surprises me at all, I still get frustrated by it: the reason I voted for Bernie in the Democratic primary was because preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president was the most important thing. The reason I voted in the Democratic primary at all was to try to keep her off the ballot in the general election.

Comment Re:Damnit, it is a MEDICAL INSTRUMENT! (Score 1) 266

The stupidity of some IT people is staggering. We had one case where they put AV on a highly isolated system and then had to compromise its isolation to allow over-the-net updates. When we told them that the system was not isolated anymore and that at the very least the AV vendor could now attack them over the network, they did not even understand what we were talking about. They mumbled something about "all machines must have AV".

Have you asked them if they approach their kids' schooling with the same keen sense of security?

Comment Re:Impossible Project indeed (Score 2) 81

You also can't point/shoot/eject/watch-it-develop like you could the original Polaroid. The Impossible film remains sensitive to light for at least 10-15 seconds if not longer, requiring hacks and tricks to eject it into either a box or under shade to make it develop properly at all.

Those issues have actually--finally--been resolved in the latest generations of Impossible's film; it only started shipping a few months ago.


I haven't tried the new color film, but I have used the "Generation 2.0" B&W film--which does appear to be as much of an improvement as they say.

all for vintage pictures that look like they're 40 years old the minute they fully develop.

I guess it's highly subjective, but that seems to be part of the appeal of Impossible's stuff. When I first saw the way my pictures on the colour film ended up, what really struck me was that it "didn't look real, it looked like a memory". And the experience of "watching a memory develop" was kind of profound.

I wondered whether the uncannily-matched fuzzy hypercolor in the way I experience memories and dreams was perhaps due to my having grown up with polaroids and basically been calibrated to that "being what memories look like". But then I actually found some old Polaroid pictures, and you're right: they weren't like that. So, I don't know where it comes from. But I like it.

Comment Re:Apple buys tesla?? (Score 1) 255

please dont do that apple, I really like Tesla. I dont want apple to be able to remote kill my car if i dont accept their EULA

This sort of thing already made its way into the car industry years ago with OnStar; VW just introduced something similar called "Car-Net"; I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla's cars already include something similar, too.

Comment Re:Really? (Score 3, Interesting) 104

After reading through the list it seems they want me to give my non-techie family a bunch of shit they'll never figure out or have no use for anyway. How cute

Maybe your non-techie family members are different than everyone else's, but in general those non-techie family members will never really figure out their Windows or Macintosh PC, or their iPhone, or Google servicesâ"they're going to lean heavily on their family's designated techie for tech support regardless of what they're using (for learning how to do new things, for remembering how to do things they've done before, and for cleaning up the messes they get themselves into). Might as well give them something that's easier for you to support.

Comment I don't want to know who's stepping down... (Score 2) 92

the news comes in the midst of a global public backlash over the NSA's widespread surveillance programs

I can't find a reliable source for this now, but I seem to remember someone saying recently (on another, less significant matter): "I don't want to know who's getting fired, I want to know who's going to jail."

Of course, we're not even talking about someone getting fired--we're talking about someone retiring....

Submission + - Bringing Wikipedia to kids without access to the Internet (

Rozzin writes: When San Francisco-based product designer Aislinn Dewey and Wikimedia Storyteller Victor Grigas heard about an inexpensive offline reader for Wikipedia, they knew what they wanted: they want to buy ALL of them and give them to kids in remote areas to learn with.

"Every student today who has internet access is using Wikipedia in school to write papers, research assignments and learn about the world they're living in", they say. "Shouldn't everyone have the same access?"

Their ultimate goal? "provide a whole encyclopedia to thousands of kids living in areas without textbooks, computers, or internet to do their homework with."

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