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Comment Re:International Bandwidth. (Score 1) 63

Indeed. There is a direct Perth-Singapore transit, but most East Coast-Singapore data goes via some combination of Guam, Japan, and Hong Kong, and the latency is the same or worse than to US West. I believe Internode set up some special routing via Perth for one particularly latency-sensitive application that is hosted out of Singapore for Australian customers (Starcraft II).

There's a new Perth-Singapore cable due to come online next year, though I can't find any information about progress of the build. When that cable lights up we should see more traffic taking this route, and hopefully better latency to Singapore for all Australian users.

Comment Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (Score 5, Insightful) 161

Technicolor wants to sue companies to force them to license their patents. (this is how the patent system is supposed to work)

Apple wants to sue companies to prevent them from creating competitive products (THIS is an example of a broken patent system)

What? You have it completely backwards.

The patent system is exactly designed to prevent the creation of competing products. You invent something and you get to sell that thing exclusively for a limited time, in return for donating the "secret" of its construction to the public domain at the end of that period.

It's the concept of passively sitting on a idea and then trying to extort money from anyone who actually brings a product to market that stifles innovation and acts against the interests of society. If I had my way, the patent system would be use-it-or-lose-it. If you don't make a genuine effort to utilize a patent, you'd have to sell it (not license it) to someone who will or it would become void.

Comment Re:Really? Pangolin? (Score 1) 543

I believe you can turn off unified menu (by uninstalling the packages) independently of switching window/session management from Unity. At least, that was the case in 11.10.

Unity has other quirks that make it irksome to me though. For example, the single icon for all windows of the same app makes it very difficult when working with sets of similar-looking windows - terminal emulators, for example. Also having no option for a second click on the launcher icon to hide the application is annoying. Sometimes it's handy to have an app that you want to look at for reference then close quickly. In GNOME you can click-read-click without moving the mouse and get back to what you were doing before. With Unity you have to jump through more hoops.

It does look like they've fixed a few of problems I had with Unity in 12.04. For example, alt+tab cycles windows on the current workspace only, and the default "spread" of windows behaves likewise. Sadly, icons for applications running only in other workspaces still appear, cluttering up the launcher wherever you are.

Comment Re:result of "many worlds" being true? (Score 1) 465

The thing you have to remember through all of this is that in the photon's frame of reference, all these events occur simultaneously. The measurements of Alice and Bob, the configuration of Victor's apparatus, and the point of creation of the photons are a static system, existing at a single point in time. No causality is violated as far as the light is concerned.

Just like the EPR paradox, this only becomes interesting from a practical point of view if it can be used to transmit information. Show me a machine containing Alice and Bob that prints letters on a ticker tape based on correlated polarization, and let the delay be such that a message is printed, in its entirety, before the other photos reach the experimental station manned by me, Victor, which is situated right by the tape (but sight of which is blocked). After the printing stops, I input my message, then compare with what was printed on the tape. If and only if this experiment works can you be said to have sent information back in time.

Comment Re:wifi forward error correction (Score 1) 105

There is one other problem: TCP assumes that dropped packets mean the link is saturated, and backs off the transmit rate. But Wireless isn't like that: frequently packets are lost because of noise (especially near the edge of the range). TCP responds by backing off (it thinks the link is congested) when actually it should be trying harder to overcome the noise. So we get really really poor performance(*).

In this case, I think the kernel should somehow realise that there is "10 MB of bandwidth, with a 25% probability of packets returning". It should do forward-error correction, pre-emptively retransmitting every packet 4x as soon as it is sent. Of course there is a huge difference between the case of lots of users on the same wireless AP, all trying to share bandwidth (everyone needs to slow down), and 1 user competing with lots of background noise (the computer should be more aggressive). TCP flow-control seems unable to distinguish them.

Shouldn't this be handled at the datalink level by the wireless hardware? If there's transmission errors due to noise, more bits should be dedicated to ECC codes. The reliability is maintained at the expense of (usable) bandwidth and the higher layers of the stack just see a regular link with reduced capacity.

Comment Re:Not a surprise (Score 2) 172

The EB games at Broadway in Sydney actually had some real gamers on staff - at least for a while. I had a good chat with a guy there about where to buy retro games (PS1 and earlier stuff) and he seemed knowledgeable and interested.

The retial price of games here is crazy though. It's a relic from the days of poor exchange rates. The dollar went up 50% in value, but the price of games stayed the same. It doesn't surprise me that physical game stores that don't work hard to add value are in trouble though. Most people evaluate games through reviews and downloadable demos - not by browsing a shop and reading box covers. Even if prices were comparable to online, the stores need to do more with in-store events, playable demo boxes, maybe the odd LAN party. The kinds of things that pen-and-dice and miniature gaming shops do.

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The means-and-ends moralists, or non-doers, always end up on their ends without any means. -- Saul Alinsky