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Comment Re:laid to rest? (Score 1) 63

[...] if the firmware can be changed, we want an open source version of that too! we also want to be able to run our own code on it. signed firmware is a hostile statement saying that you don't want anyone else to be able to write firmware for this card.

The signed firmware is not intended to interfere with the consumer / user, in fact one of the key justifications is continuing to provide post-manufacture updates of the video card firmware to provide fixes and enhancements, while preventing counterfeiting where low-end cards are re-flashed with bogus firmware that factory overclock it and reports itself as a more capable higher-end (more expensive) model. Nvidia claims to have found unauthorized manufacturers / re-packagers selling such cards in Asia.

Users / non-Nvidia developers do not have the necessary technical documentation to produce their own firmware, so there is no lost of functionality or flexibility. Their video cards designs, ASIC, and firmware are all proprietary design, with almost no technical documentation available to open source developers.

I'm not aware of any cases of independent edited / patched binary firmware for video cards, since they all provide an API to adjust the clock frequencies via their host drivers. There is no need to adjust clock frequencies (i.e. end-user overclocking) via firmware.

Comment Re:Six men (Score 1) 232

You joke but it's actually a serious problem in medicine that drugs aren't being sufficiently tested on female subjects.

I believe the problem is that because of various historic factors, but I suspect that there may still be normal to that specify healthy adult males as being the only suitable test candidates in phase 1 trails, partial because at that stage the researchers want to minimise possible complications including unknown / undisclosed pregnancies.

Comment Re:You gotta love this industry (Score 1) 249

Their business model is so screwed up. I mean, no other industry responds to potential customers abroad willing to buy their stuff by making it extra hard for them to do so.

Actually they do. Particularly in luxury goods where perceived value is ephemeral and often largely based on the image of rarity or exclusivity.

In the US, luxury good from Europe is perhaps most familiar example, whether sports cars, jewellery, or haute couture clothing.

Comment Re:Prediction (Score 2) 249

IP rights are extremely complicated in the entertainment industry -- especially for older works where all parties didn't decide up-front what residuals would be from "streaming media" which didn't exist at the time of filming. [...]

This is moot, this affects the media companies' entire back catalog, and in practice they have repeatedly been demonstrated to often make no effort to make payments of owed residuals for older works, even domestically, and even in the case where the contracts provides terms. The media companies have financial incentive to license their back catalog (i.e. profit) for distribution in alternative mediums whether videotape, DVD/BD, streaming, or merchandising of an old brand / image, so it's hard to feel sorry for a company that profits first (does license the content), and doesn't pay its employees and actors even when it is specified in their contract.

Lots of actors get X up front, a percent of domestic, and a percent of global through DVD, Bluray, theatres, syndication on TV networks, and many also have Netflix/Hulu/streaming percentages as well. The US Tax code is probably less complicated.

So your entire issue actual becomes whether the actors are paid at a domestic or international rate, where the international is normally a smaller percentage. So in fact, for US actors, they actually benefit from foreign Netflix users using geo-proxies to access Netflix as if they were US customers, as it means the calculated Netflix domestic audience will be larger, and they will receive a larger residual cheque.

Comment geo-restrictions vs. globalization (Score 1) 249

For those who complain about content geo-restrictions, look at it from the other side of the coin. If you are a TV network that has just paid up big for the rights to a new show, the last thing you want is for people to be able to get it via Netflix USA and kill your revenue (ad dollars, subscription fees, whatever)

The problem is that conflates that paying for exclusive broadcast (and/or streaming) rights, also grants exclusive rights to the audience as well.

Or from a different point of view, you can't have globalization only when it benefits yourself (or said TV broadcaster in this example).

Comment Re:Latex and Our Choice (Score 2) 148

First, it annoys me to now end to have to read a 'science' book published in a word processor. It looks ugly and unprofessional and incompetent.

While I strongly encourage science, technical, and academics to consider using TeX / LaTeX for technical or academic documents, not everyone will. There is a learning requirement, and while in my opinion the productivity gains of dealing with equations in TeX rather than in a word processor (even if it has an equation editor) will normally offset the time to learn such new / different system, not everyone will make same conclusion, even with the modern TeX / LaTeX editors / IDE such as TeXmaker, TeXstudio, Lyx.

I certainly have read technical books and articles written in a word processor that were ugly and far less polished looking than the default output in LaTeX, correctly prepared word processed documents can produce adequate output.

It has been a while since I've last looked, but at that time none of the e-readers devices supported MathML embedded in EPUB3, and the most common formats required equations be included as images (poor legibility) in order to be reliable across readers from different vendors, or even readable across user font selection in a single e-book reader.

Two, look at the Push Pop press technology which published Al Gore's Incontinent Truth, now called Our Choice. [...] I am pretty sure it publishes the book as an APP, but as mentioned an ebook is an extremely limited format, especially on a kindle.

Yes, all the advanced and/or interactive science or technical electronic books that I've seen have been published as Apps, not in an e-reader formats (epub, mobi, etc.), and in particular I believe they have been all iOS-only apps.

Comment Re:Latex and Our Choice (Score 1) 148

I love LaTeX, but in several years of using it, I'm yet to discover how to make the text flow if I reduce the window of the viewer size. I can't read a latex generated PDF on an ebook because I have to keep scrolling sideways because the text won't adapt to the screen size.

I'm not an expert on PDF or LaTeX, but as far as I know PDF documents are outputted to a fixed (virtual) page size, and don't do adjustment (reflow or resizing) beyond possibly US Letter to/from A4. PDF documents don't reflow if you rotate them either (i.e. switch from Portrait to Landscape).

Comment Re:Stephen Wolfram's greatest talent (Score 1) 105

How does one get a degree with 6+ years of prerequisites which are only available after getting a high school diploma, which requires wasting time in high school [...] Something simply doesn't add up about these 20 year old PhD wunderkinds.

[...] before believing that it's possible to, completely unaided by corruption, money, and connections, earn a PhD at 20 on merit alone.

Simple, don't waste years getting a high school diploma, and rapidly get (e.g. in ~1 year) or skip getting an undergraduate degree.

Thousands of young teens (under 18) get advanced placement in universities every year. The mainstream media generally has a story of some wunderkid getting a PhD by the time (or before) they are old enough to get a driver's license (i.e. 16) about every 5 to 10 years. They generally have to get a medical doctorate or such to be particularly newsworthy.

University admissions is primarily based on merit, not pre-requisites. That is, nearly all of admission requirements can be waived if the Admissions department believe the candidate will be successful. In the case of Stephen Wolfram, his published papers demonstrated his academic maturity.

In all the cases I'm aware of, influenced admissions was for average-aged or mature students with weak test scores, and/or behaviour problems, but with money or political influence.

Personally, I was granted non-degree (part-time) admissions to university before I graduated high school, when I was 16, and that wasn't anything special.

Comment Re:Good! 8 more years of time working correctly. (Score 1) 143

If programmers want an exact time system without leap seconds, use TAI, that's what it's for.

No, it is not intended for programmers (as a monotonic clock without daylight savings and leap seconds), or as an alternative to UTC. The TAI, International Atomic Time, is a time standard based on the coordination of approximately 400 atomic clocks from government labs around the world (50+ counties). It has never been intended to be a time standard for general usage.

Universal Time (UT) in its several variants (UT0, UT1, UT1R) are more likely to be appropriate, but UTC is still the best solution for being a time standard used as the basis for legal definition of time.

Just as programmers have been repeatedly chastised for making short sighted assumptions about only storing the final (two) digits of the year, as well as making errors about leap years by hand coding checks rather than using well tested libraries, using everyday approximations and assumptions (e.g. every minute is 60 seconds, or assuming a year is 365 days) causes serious problems in many areas of programming not just with time, dates and calendar.

Comment Re:Apples to apples please (Score 1) 184

I believe many if not most games on Steam For Linux are actually windows versions literally wrapped in what amounts to their propriety/in-house branch of the wine environment.

AFAIK I don't think any Linux games are based on wine (I'm assuming you mean TransGaming?, but don't know of any reason why anyone would target Wine emulation. Some developers or published admitted their titles worked under Wine but make no effort to target or support it), but most are more likely to be based on OpenGL porting for Mac or OpenGL ES porting for mobile targets (phones and tablets).

A number of major and minor game and graphic engines include Linux targets (Unity, Torque, Unreal - with caveats, Moai, Unigine, Source) is perhaps the largest source of titles under Linux.

Comment Re:VHS tapes in bulk? (Score 1) 103

Modern VHS tapes are complete crap, like modern floppy disks. [,,,] (Emphasis added)

Huh? I thought both floppy discs and their drives have been out of production for some time now. I thought retro-computing types have been hording their magentic media for the purists who don't use adapters to solid-state storage (CF, SD card, etc.) for some time now. I don't think you can easily find [USB] floppy drives in stock at online computer retailers any more, except for refurbished units on eBay.

Comment Re:Blinders Much (Score 1) 103

True enough, but maybe I don't want to just toss all my old camera bodies. I reckon that if somebody came up with a digital replacement back for a few standard brands, they could make a killing off of old geezers like me.

Digital backs for still cameras have been around for medium and large format film cameras for twenty years or so. I don't think there were any popular / successful for 35mm (still) film cameras.

I don't know much about cinematic cameras, but I believe companies like Panavision have adapted their own models of cameras to include digital backs retrofits.

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