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Comment it is new... in a way. (Score 2, Informative) 111

Sure backscatter has been done... But it always used known frequencies as the signal source. This will pick up any ambient ref noise and use it to generate a new signal.

Essentially, you could embed a transmitter anywhere without concern for a power source (assuming there are other transmitters around).

Comment This is the definition of progress. (Score 1) 140

Just a few decades ago, and for thousands of years previous, there were very few great advancements that did not put someone's life in jeopardy. In my mind, that is where NASA went wrong.

I would wager we could build a space shuttle replacement for 1/10th the cost but with double of the failure rate and still have the best and brightest clamoring to get aboard!

Today, there are billions wasted and many opportunities to learn missed in an effort to prevent catastrophe. Though I understand the logic, I think that risk avoidance is what has brought so many exciting government, and private sector, programs to a slow crawl.

It wouldn't be difficult to find someone willing to travel to Mars on a low budget/high risk mission. Sure they may not come home, but they would go anyway. I'd bet you could find someone to take a one way flight to the outer solar system, just for the sake of exploration. A few hundred years ago, humanity had great respect for explorers and scientists who were willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of progress. How many discoveries were made when men and women risked, and often lost, their lives exploring uncharted territory, or trying risky experiments.

I applaud this effort and hope that people start realizing that there are 6 Billion people on this planet, one or two lives for the sake of progress is a small price... and one that would likely be paid willingly just to go down in history as "the first".

Comment Re:what is the point, exactly. (Score 1) 370

A container format is a necessary evil. There is much more to any media file than just the content. Potentially in any media file there may be metadata, timing information, synchronization information, subtitles, multiple language audio streams, multiple video streams, 3d video streams, surround sound information, interactive content, etc.

A good container format is one that allows all of those things in a way that developers supporting that container format can utilize in a standard predictable way.

If you did away with the container, your issues with .avi now would be severely compounded as your software must determine how to combine several files into one complete presentation. This is what many editing packages do... and even ones costing hundreds of dollars can have a hard time of it sometimes.

Comment Re:Flamebait much? (Score 1) 370

Sure you could... but would those 10 meet the needs of developers, content creators, and everyone else to whom the container does matter.

Most container formats are limiting on the users of the format... and they must be to ensure that someone can develop for them, if there weren't rules, then it wouldn't be a specification. The best format is the one that imposes the right limitations while remaining very flexible for future technologies and uses.

While there are a multitude of container formats, few have met the ideal balance between flexibility and restriction. I haven't read the linked article, but I suspect it will highlight how OGG is to restricting and/or not flexible enough to stand the test of time.

It would be trivial to create a completely unrestricted container format, but no one could use it as there would be no standard for reading the content contained within it.

Comment Re:When 10's of thousands of screaming fans... (Score 1) 261

This is assuming that the "pop" music industry is sustainable. I argue that it is not.

As recording companies continue to gouge consumers and musicians, as consumers continue to demand lower prices and alternative sources (especially free ones), as music becomes easier to produce and major labels simply manufacture stars, the consumers gradually look outside the pop scene.

There will likely always be stars in the recording industry, however i think that eventually those recordings will not be able stand on their own... they will REQUIRE royalties from TV/Movies/commercials, revenue from performances, and other unforeseen sources other than record sales in order to be profitable.

The recording studios have already demonstrated that it doesn't take much talent to achieve super-star status. And as technology progresses, any average creative person may be able to create music that rivals even the best musicians of today... the future is bleak for the recording industry.

All it will take to topple the pop scene is for a handful of independent artists to to achive superstar status without a major label. This will entice radio stations and record stores to shop talent and try to be the first to introduce the next star. Radio stations will not be competing to play the same music the most, but instead compete to play artists that nobody has heard of but their listeners enjoy. It will happen eventually. The Internet is already making it trivial to locate and sample new talent; TV, Radio, Movies, and Commercials have all given independent artists much more attention in recent years... and I don't see the trend changing any time soon.

Comment When 10's of thousands of screaming fans... (Score 1) 261

When 10's of thousands of screaming fans pile into a local stadium to watch a computer shred in the style of Jimi Hendrix... then I'll be concerned.

Until then, music is starting to return to it's roots... it's a PERFORMING art and is meant to be an experience not just background noise.

Sure people will always listen to music, but eventually musicians will become rich by putting on stage shows and recordings will merely help them develop a following. It's already trending this way with the rise in popularity of indy music, the increase in "illegal" music downloads, and recent stories I have read that say musicians are making more than ever on their tours. (

Comment Connectivity and standards are the solution (Score 1) 195

If Internet connectivity were ubiquitous and cheap and proper standards were developed and encouraged, we would see a tremendous improvement in efficiency.
1. It takes a very minimal amount of power to use hosted applications, so the end users devices would be low power.
2. Data centers have serious incentives to be efficient, when your annual electric bill is in the $100,000+ range, even a 1% improvement is worth considering, when was the last time you cared about saving 1% on your electric bill.

The WWW is getting us on the right track, but what we really need is to develop a new Internet protocol for hosted applications. I see little reason that we need to continue to try and add complexity to the WWW, HTML was never really intended for Web 2.0+ apps. If this new protocol were properly designed, and very open, and had strictly enforced standards, hardware could be made to accelerate its more power hunger aspects (sound, video, 3d, etc.). This would result in very low powered components that do one thing very well, coupled with a very low powered cpu you could have a full featured machine that consumes minimal power.

Comment Re:Gamecube Support? (Score 3, Informative) 17

For the same reason it supports any platform... someone wanted it to.

Though I would wonder at the wisdom of investing time and energy on making it run on a Gamecube, I'd imagine it was actually a pretty simple matter and someone did it as more of a novelty than because they had a legit need for it.

A lot of people seem to think that it takes a ton of effort to make Linux work on a new system, but often it's just a matter of having the kernel detect that it's running on that system and load or not load certain modules. Most hardware platforms use standard parts and technologies from various manufacturers and simply combine them. So if all of the individual chipsets are supported, then the entire platform is as well... though it may need a tweak.

Comment Re:Fonts are too small (Score 1) 198

There is much more making Gnome/KDE less than ideal for an ARM processor than the graphical element. Though it's the OP's fault for bringing that up and not yours.

E17 is a very low powered Desktop Environment... meaning it consumes very little CPU time, ram, swap, GPU, graphics ram, etc.

When designing an ARM system you could say, screw it and slap on Gnome, enable all the eye candy and deal with a system that is more sluggish and wasteful of battery power. Or you can run a lean Desktop Environment and potentially extend the battery life and improve the responsiveness of the system.

No one is suggesting that modern ARM hardware cannot run Gnome or KDE... just that doing so comes at a cost.

Comment Re:When do people get this (Score 1) 613

I have never used a Video Editing or Photo Editing package that didn't require that you specify a directory for it to use as it's cache. I think those kinds of apps know that even a pagefile is often not adequate when working with the volumes of data in question and they don't really even use them (except where the OS does it for em).

Comment Re:It's only fair (Score 1) 402

We don't borrow money from China.

We offer bonds with very low interest rates on an open market... one of the largest buyers of these bonds is the PRC.

Owning a bond, or several billion of them, does not entitle you to anything but the agreed upon terms set when you purchased the bond.

If you buy stock in a company and those shares don't come with voting rights, you can conceivably own a majority of the company's wealth and still have ZERO power over the company. For example, Google has shares that are given 10 votes per share, owned mostly by the founders of the company. If any single entity owned every share other than those 10 vote shares, they still are not entitled to control the company.

Finally, national debt isn't a debt in a traditional sense. Bonds are issued against wealth that is not liquid in order to use that wealth to promote further growth. People pull out equity on their homes to make improvements all of the time... their net worth can actually increase even though they actually owe the bank more money. The fact that the US is considered to have so much value that we can issue bonds to the tune of Trillions at 0 interest goes to show that our nation is doing VERY well financially, we haven't even begun to over extend ourselves. True, at some point we will have to repay the bonds, but the hope is that when we do, our nation will be worth more than before due to the investments made with the cash we received from their sale. To repay, we just sell more bonds.

Any 2nd year business major can tell you that a corporation that doesn't leverage its assets in order to gain capital for further investments is a corporation that is poorly run. Corporations cannot operate on revenue alone, they need to sell stock or take out loans against the value of the company in order to capitalize their growth. Thats what the US does, and should be doing. Part of me would love to see just how much cash we could rake in if we tried... can you imagine how it would effect the value of our nation if we instantly doubled our investment in education, research, and infrastructure. Those are investments that we should be making and the way to do it is to leverage our worth.

Comment Re:Stunts? (Score 1) 470

OK.. perhaps that wasn't the best choice of words.

My wife and I don't have "traditional" romance in our relationship. For us, romance is not what most couples would consider romantic.

V day is the one day of the year that I do something that is traditional and stereotypical. And though she doesn't require it to know how I feel... she enjoys the flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinner as that's not something we would ever do except on V day. In fact, if we did it more frequently, she probably wouldn't enjoy it so much.

I guess it's just the change of character she enjoys. Just like she loves Mothers day because she is worshiped by the kids for a day.

Comment Re:Note to /. readers... (Score 0) 470

I meant "real" as in human women, as opposed to the cliche' mothers-basement-dwelling slashdot reader's imaginary relationship with an half-elven mage princess.

And I don't doubt that there are women out there who don't care for flowers and/or chocolate... however I am confident that there are far more women who would be upset about a "stunt" that didn't quite go as expected.

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