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Comment Re:What is "computer-directed flight control"? (Score 2) 353

You're right. If it existed, it would have been a mechanical computer, likely gyroscopically controlled. Norden had an autopilot coupled bombing computer in production in the very early 30's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N...
Indeed autopilots are almost as old as the biplane.

"Computers" as we think of them today simply didn't exist then. The nearest things to that would be the Bombe and Colossus later in the war.

The Courts

Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed 179

It seems the harsh words from District Court Judge Philip Gutierrez on Wednesday had their intended effect; prosecutors in Matthew Crippen's Xbox modding case have now dismissed the indictment. Quoting Wired: "Witness No. 1, Tony Rosario, was an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association. He told jurors Wednesday that he paid Crippen $60 in 2008 to modify an Xbox, and secretly videotaped the operation. Rosario had responded to Crippen’s advertisement on the internet and met Crippen at his Anaheim house. All of that had been laid out in pretrial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes. But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. ... [Prosecutor Allen Chiu] conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense."
Social Networks

Xbox Live Now Allows Gender Expression 348

Last year we discussed news that an Xbox Live gamer was banned for identifying herself as a lesbian on her profile. Microsoft said at the time that nothing sexual in nature could appear in Gamertags or profiles. Now, they seem to have reconsidered their stance, and they've updated their Code of Conduct accordingly. Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten wrote: "[The update] will allow our members to more freely express their race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation in Gamertags and profiles. Under our previous policy, some of these expressions of self-identification were not allowed in Gamertags or profiles to prevent the use of these terms as insults or slurs. However we have since heard feedback from our customers that while the spirit of this approach was genuine, it inadvertently excluded a part of our Xbox LIVE community. This update also comes hand-in-hand with increased stringency and enforcement to prevent the misuse of these terms."

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles 361

darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."
XBox (Games)

Modded Xbox Bans Prompt EFF Warning About Terms of Service 254

Last month we discussed news that Microsoft had banned hundreds of thousands of Xbox users for using modified consoles. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now pointed to this round of bans as a prime example of the power given to providers of online services through 'Terms of Service' and other usage agreements. "No matter how much we rely on them to get on with our everyday lives, access to online services — like email, social networking sites, and (wait for it) online gaming — can never be guaranteed. ... he who writes the TOS makes the rules, and when it comes to enforcing them, the service provider often behaves as though it is also the judge, jury and executioner. ... While the mass ban provides a useful illustration of their danger, these terms can be found in nearly all TOS agreements for all kinds of services. There have been virtually no legal challenges to these kinds of arbitrary termination clauses, but we imagine this will be a growth area for lawyers."

Comment Re:This is so true - the UK plug is ridiculous (Score 1) 1174

Nope, it was designed in a time when there were not many appliances, and those that existed had much higher current draws that they typically do today.
Note, there was at a time a much smaller alternative British plug used for lamps...i.e. lower current devices. ("Type D 2A")
If the only things you are likely to be plugging in are 12 or 15amp beasts, then the British plug is a pretty good design. Doubtless it is overdesigned for our solid state low current devices, but they didn't exist when this plug was designed.

Comment Re:Arbitrage (Score 1) 487

No, I don't feign confusion at all. I know precisely what you and for that matter most US residents mean when they say "America". Moreover, I am perhaps only a little less guilty of using the work in that sense than you are. I have however lived, visited and spoken the languages of perhaps a dozen other countries that do not use the term so ethnocentrically. Plenty of Canadians are well educated enough to assert that they also live in America, just not the United States. Despite your wish to the contrary, being the "biggest" (you're not), richest country in the region does not entitle you to dictate to others what they think.

For that matter, it may piss off the Irish no end, but Eire is correctly described as part of the British Isles from a geographic perspective. Likewise, many Finns are surprised to learn that they don't live in Scandinavia. Misunderstandings, no matter how widely held, are still misunderstandings.

My comment was merely an attempt at a little wit. I did not mean to shatter your, so easily threatened, sense of national importance.
And, look, I managed to do it without calling anyone an "asshole".

Comment Re:Arbitrage (Score 1) 487

The UK doesn't have sovereign power in America.

Theoretically, the UK does indeed have plenty of sovereign power in America. Thirteen states from Canada to Guyana all recognize her Majesty to a greater or lessor extent.

I think you meant in the United States

Comment Re:Expensive, but saves on devices (Score 1) 289

Not really. This is how an application must behave in order to get approved for the Apple Store.
Moreover, we can assume that Tom Tom are not beholden to the regular Apple agreement, since that also prohibits developing turn by turn voice navigation applications.
It's foolish to make assumptions about the behaviour of the OS from the terms of Apple's agreement, especially when Tom Tom are clearly a special case.
Plenty of applications available through Cydia can background.

ObComment: yes, way too expensive. I'll stick to xGPS for free from Cydia.

Comment Re:Rarely the diplomate (Score 1) 909

Agreed, it's a simple rule of management: if someone is acting earnestly, you don't describe their work as a "pile of sh*t."
If their work is a "pile of sh*t" as a general rule, then you dismiss them. How you do this for the Linux kernel, I have no idea. How long is the queue of (competent) people begging to be cursed by Torvalds ?

Comment Re:can Americans tell me.. (Score 4, Informative) 436

No, most hospitals are required by state law to treat folks without insurance for emergency care. So, by the point you are actually dying you'll get treatment. And, by that point it's only palliative.

But, hey, at least the US doesn't have socialist health care! Those socialist fire fighters do such a terrible job putting out our houses when they're on fire, and don't get me started on those socialist training camps called public (US sense) schools.

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