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Comment Here's a thought... (Score 1) 119

Say I'm being unreasonable, but here's my immediate reaction: infrastructure providers, whether they're fiber or cellular, should just provide the infrastructure. Voice service should be decoupled from the physical infrastructure. It should be competitive VoIP products based on open standards. The expectation should be that I can get a phone on Verizon's network, but my phone service might be through services like Google Hangouts or Skype, but that Google Hangouts and Skype can talk to each other the same way that Gmail can send email to Office 365. Same with video calls and messenger apps, frankly.

If you start from that viewpoint, then it's not about forcing Verizon to filter calls. All the questions boil down to "What should these open standards look like?" and "How do we get people to agree to use these standards?" If you have a set of good, secure standards, then you should have better luck verifying the identity of the source of the messages, and thereby identifying abusers. You'll still have some of the same problems we have in filtering spam, but (a) if you're building these standards from the ground up with modern knowledge, we can do better than what we've done with email; and (b) if you don't like your spam filtering, you can easily switch to a different provider that does a better job, and providing a good spam filter becomes a competitive edge.

Of course, this isn't going to happen. Everyone wants to lock their users into walled gardens. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are all trying to strong-arm users into using their services rather than giving them a free choice to use the best provider. If the web were being designed today, it would all look like the early AOL, with everyone walled into the garden that they signed up for, completely unable to access content or services unless they are offered by their ISP. It's absurd.

Comment Re: Doing Trump's work for him (Score 1, Troll) 437

The only difference is that democrats want a safety net that they can't afford, whereas Republicans simply want their roads, their military, and their Medicare and want to live tax-free, apparently paying for the programs with manna from the sky.

So Democrats want a safety net they can't afford while Republicans want tax breaks they can't afford. Meanwhile a lot of the Republicans also want to have our government run as a theocracy, having our laws based on morals gleaned from their experience handling snakes and speaking in tongues.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

I don't need to stand by the rotation theory. However, the 2.5 degrees that the Earth rotates are about equivalent to the downrange distance.

The first stage is going about 1/5 of the target LEO orbital velocity at separation. While you might well model the trajectory as a parabola over flat ground, given the lack of fuel I would expect that SpaceX puts a lot more care into their trajectory. So far I've failed to attract the attention of the person responsible for Flight Club, the most trusted modeling of SpaceX flights, but I'll message him directly.

Comment Re:Pokemon Go to rake in nearly $13 Billion (Score 1) 78

These games always disturb me a bit-- the "free" games that let you buy some sort of credits. I haven't played the game, so I'm wondering what you can get with "PokéCoins".

Because it seems to me that a game where you buy credits would fall into one of two groups. Either (a) the game developer intentionally included some game mechanic that is unpleasant, that most people would not want to spend time on, and is selling the credits as a method for bypassing that mechanic; or (b) the game developer intentionally made some portions of the game impossible without additional assistance, and then sells you credits as that necessary assistance.

Now I'm not going to buy those credits, which means that in scenario A, the developer has made a boring/annoying game. In scenario B, the developer has made an incomplete game. What's the deal here?

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Well, Alastair, you should probably not get snotty and ad-hominem, unless you want me to comment on how a one-time sci-fi author and the Unix guy at Dish doesn't really have more authority than the random person one might find in the SpaceX group on Reddit.

It happens there are a few people over there who are rocketry professionals, have the math, and have followed SpaceX long enough. So, sure, their opinion can indeed be trusted.

So far, we have a suggestion from one of the lesser folks there that raising the apogee takes advantage of the Earth's rotation. We'll see if we get the attention of the right people.

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

It seems to be a common misconception that orbital mechanics somehow knows when you are in orbit and does not work otherwise. But that is as silly as saying that relativity only works near light speed. These things always work regardless of speed, it's just that their effects are macroscopic at greater speeds.

Comment Re:VPNs FTW? (Score 1) 450

I've canceled my Netflix and gone back to torrents. It was the total lack of screeners on Netflix that turned be off. Hell, screeners are great -- it's just like being at the theater. If I can't see the heads of those in front and hear cellphones ringing two rows back then it's not a true movie experience.

Damn you Netflix! :-)

Comment Re: drone ship landings require a lot less fuel? (Score 1) 101

Here's an illustration of the boost-back to RTLS trajectory. You can see that it very definitely goes up. And to prove from observation, you can actually see where the two trajectories separate in photos from yesterday's launch. It's a rather dim curl up, and another continuing East, in Jason Ruck's photo and John Kraus's photo.

At the speed of stage separation, they rocket isn't going fast enough to stay in orbit, but it is definitely in the regime where orbital mechanics has a macroscopic effect. If you think about it, this is going to be the case at some reasonable fraction of orbital velocity.

Comment The perspective of a 3D animation professional (Score 5, Interesting) 300

This is just like the way people whined that color film had ruined the medium, and the ones before them who whined about talkies and yearned for the days of silent films.

I started at the NYIT Computer Graphics Laboratory in 1981 and left Pixar in 2000. These days I produce or am on screen once in a while.

While I was at NYIT they weren't story oriented, and thus all you see of them is demos. Pixar, on the other hand, always put story first. We knew that we could not make a film stand up on effects alone.

Today, a good 3D animation house can make absolutely any scene they like. And thus there isn't anything special about doing so. It's there if it needs to be there to tell the story, and not otherwise.

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