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Submission + - Dugway (Bioweapons Center) Locked down (

renger writes: AP, and other media report:
An Army base where military weapons are tested was locked down for several hours to resolve a "serious concern," officials said Thursday.

Submission + - Super Hi-Vision ("8k" video) remote broadcast (

renger writes: BBC reports on a special remote broadcast from London to Japan. NHK used their Super Hi-Vision (7680-by-4320 pixel) system, streaming at 350Mbps.
When do we get some of that here in the USA?
Clearly backhaul is not an issue (250+ channels can fit onto a single optical lambda; 15000 channels onto a single strand). But, last-mile delivery would require innovation. 10GigPON and reduced sizing of PON nodes would be needed. (or abandon PON and run straight point-to-point 10GigE links; XFPs are cheaper than special-purpose 10GPON gear). Alas, I envision the USA will endure low bit rate macroblocking 2k HDTV for a long time.

Comment Over ONE HOUR for IE8 (few minutes for FF & Go (Score 1) 363

It took slightly over ONE HOUR to run the test using IE8. (On my decrepit old Dell D820 laptop w/ 4Gigs)
It took 8 minutes to run on FF 3.6.9 on the same laptop.
It took 3.5 minutes to run on FF 4.0b7 :-)

Google is about 10-times faster than IE8 on this benchmark.
Minefield (FF 4.0b7 nightly development build) is over 20-times faster than IE8.



FF 3.6.9




FF 4.0b7



NAMCO Takes Down Student Pac-man Project 218

An anonymous reader writes "The core of how people first learn to do stuff — programming, music, writing, etc. — is to imitate others. It's one of the best ways to learn. Apparently a bunch of students using MIT's educational Scratch programming language understand this. But not everyone else does. NAMCO Bandai sent a takedown notice to MIT because some kids had recreated Pac-man with Scratch. The NAMCO letter is pretty condescending as well, noting that it understands the educational purpose of Scratch, but 'part of their education should include concern for the intellectual property of others.'"

Comment They want your money, not your IP traffic (Score 5, Insightful) 190

As cable company researchers, their goal is to maximize profits for the cable industry. This includes: reducing (and delaying) the need to invest in new cable-modem equipment, reducing the size of the Internet transit circuits that they must purchase from real IP backbone providers, reducing the quantity of TV channels they must give-up to make room for DOCSIS (cable modem) channels, reducing any competition for video services from (non-cable-company) Internet-video sources, and so on. Cable company executives care about MPAA/RIAA only so far as it affects the size of their bonus checks. It is always about the money.

Let's hope the fiber-based operators kick their sorry coax ass. (And let us be vigilant that the fiber operators don't become similarly arrogant and unresponsive once they assume the throne of dominant last-mile provider.)

Comment Typical Customer Service Department attitude (Score 5, Insightful) 749

Seems true in nearly all industries: The people they hire to staff customer service are so unqualified that they cannot recognize when the caller actually IS qualified. They have no procedures in place to rapidly escalate calls from customers who actually know more than they do.

Businesses lose the opportunity to obtain knowledgeable input, because their call centers are staffed by low labor-cost morons. The need to identify technically savvy callers and hand-off those calls to comparably competent staff members.

Comment Real world operation? Feed of templates? (Score 2, Informative) 353

How would this work operationally?
  • Some anti-spam operators set up a network of honeypots to collect the spam,
  • analyze it using their new mechanism to divine the templates that are being used, then
  • create a subscription feed to distribute the templates to mail administrators to be used in filtering their incoming mail flow?

Divining the template seems to depend on analyzing numerous messages. Presumably, only very large mail servers (or an aggregated network of smaller servers) would be able to collect enough messages to rapidly divine the various templates. It sounds like a small or medium site could not benefit from operating the analysis software themselves; they would not have sufficient spam volume (from each template) to rapidly divine the template.

Comment Re:A better model beats higher bitrate every time (Score 1) 412

Slightly different case here. The receiver (decoder) cannot be arbitrarily upgraded to utilize the new codec. The BBC must deal with whatever codecs are available on the receiver. Maybe the BBC's new encoders are using a longer GOP or other techniques to better-utilize the available bit-rate. But, ultimately, they screwed the viewer. Even AVC will look crappy at 9.6 with high-motion/high-complexity content. AVC is nice, but not a panacea. The consumer shells out big-bucks for a high fidelity reproduction system, and then the content suppliers and distributors cheap-out and send us crappy low-bit-rate content.

Comment None too good on this side of the pond either (Score 1) 412

The pay HD movie channels have terrible encoding, for the most part. HBO HD, SHO HD and so on exhibit significant coding artifacts during high motion scenes. A notable exception appears to be HDnet Movies: they can faithfully reproduce all manner of complex and fast changing content; would be nice if the well-funded big-boys followed suit. Speculation is that the big-name networks utilize bandwidth-constrained HD feeds intentionally. The majority of their last-mile distribution partners (DBS satellite and terrestrial) are capacity limited. Not much use in sending 16Mbps MPEG2 HD signal to Comcast, if they recompress and statmux multiple channels together into an over-committed modulator. The FiOS guys have stated that they will not recompress any feeds they receive; they promise to deliver the full bandwidth that they get from their suppliers. HDnet Movies looks very clean. Wish the big movie guys would provide FiOS with higher-fidelity HD feeds to deliver.

Comment Powered from the Jeep's Alternator? (Score 1) 627

So, what is powering the jeep-mounted laser? It is electrically excited? It seems unlikely that they're using the alternator in the jeep engine? (Or maybe they've got a huge bank of super-caps and they can only fire every few hours, after the caps charge-up?) Note to maintenance: check fan belts before going into battle.

Comment Re:Let me be the first to say (Score 1) 684

Apple isn't any different than AT&T. They just want to make money. Customer satisfaction is only an issue as it impacts macroscopic sales/customer-attrition. Apple figures it can sell more units by partnering with a big provider. The AT&T thinks it can clobber the competition by offering the cutesy Apple mobile terminal. NEITHER gives a rat's ass about the customer. It's only about the money. Even after the big wall street melt down and the huge down-turn in the world economy, business leaders still operate by the same rules: money in their personal pockets. Nothing else matters. Don't expect much relief from regulators; they're running a competition to see how far they can take Laissez Faire. Can they get paid by the tax payer for actually buggering the tax payer. Sure they can.

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