top Mathematicians Solve the Topological Mystery Behind the "Brazuca" Soccer Ball
The article quite correctly calls the ball a football and never mentions the word 'soccer'.
top Seven ISPs Take Legal Action Against GCHQ
some good guesses and a few very funny answers. GCHQ is in fact the Government Communications Headquarters. Although it's in a completely different location, GCHQ can trace its roots back to Bletchly Park.
In the spirit of the above suggestions, I presume the FBI is the Farming Board of Investigation and the CIA is the Central Idiots Agency.
top America 'Has Become a War Zone'
Even if what you (and others above) say is true, the US still seems to be particularly violent. Whilst violent crime may be coming down, it still seems logical to remove the tools of violence. I can see a use for rifles and shotguns for hunting but handguns in particular have no use or purpose in a civilized country.
about a month and a half ago
top Plastic Trash Forming Into "Plastiglomerate" Rocks
I presume the next layer after this one will be shoes
top UK May Kill the EU's Net Neutrality Law
Most Prime Ministers realise this as well. Sometimes it takes until they get into power before they understand it but the reality is that since entering the EU (the Common Market), no PM (including David Cameron) have been skeptical enough to decide we should leave. It's worth mentioning as well that most of the major milestones to increased membership has been during Tory governments.
top This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions
You're pretty much spot on here. The keyboard would have needed a stylus no thicker than a pin. Surely anyone could see that the picture is intended to be a metaphor.
top Jenny McCarthy: "I Am Not Anti-Vaccine'"
I think she might have had a brain transplant at some point.
top Wozniak To Apple: Consider Building an Android Phone
This sounds an awful lot like the arguments I heard in the early 90s on open systems vs proprietary. Your points are all valid but do they make the iOS platform sufficiently better for it to carry on? Given that Android is actively developed, just how long are the advantages you describe going to be an issue?
For now I see Android competing with iOS but I do think it's just a matter of time before there will be no advantage for Apple to continue developing their own OS. Woz is right, Apple could easily find themselves in the same situation as Blackberry and they need to be ready to deal with it.
top Samsung's First Tizen Smartphone Gets Leaked
This isn't really that surprising. Whilst I realise that Samsung runs a half-arsed app store, it doesn't seem particularly serious to me. In practice therefore, Samsung only make money from selling you the phone. Once that's done, all they have are obligations from a support perspective and those cost money. When Apple sell an iPhone, they will make money from every app you buy. Consequently, they have an incentive to provide updates etc. I don't think Apple actually show any more loyalty than Samsung, it's only about money.
top The Human Body May Not Be Cut Out For Space
Whilst I appreciate the point you make, at some point we're going to want to send people to the planets. Exploration has been done quite well by robots so far. However, if it's for more sophisticated exploration, or colonization, we will want to send people. The problems have to be solved. In principle, many of them are, the problems are generally cost and a bit of time to develop, Nothing I've read says that these problems are insurmountable.
top Apple Devices To Reach Parity With Windows PCs In 2014
I have to say, I'm always surprised that people complain about Betamax tape length. I had both 3 and 4 hour tapes and I expect that if Sony had continue development, I would have had LP and even EP modes. Whilst I do realize that very early on there was a length issue, this was not the case for most of the life of the product.
With respect to VHS being 'open', that wasn't the case either. I'm pretty certain that every VHS recorder sold included a license back to JVC. Now, it's true there were far more manufacturers of VHS recorders but Sony was not the only company to produce Betamax machines. Sanyo and Telefunken also produced them and there are probably others I'm not aware of.
There are far too many myths regarding this sort of thing, each markets had different issues. The practical reality was that Betamax probably was a better product in many respects, certainly the majority of Sony machines were built as premium products. Also, Betamax generally had features before they appeared on VHS (shuttle search, peep search HiFi - not just stereo - sound). However, none of these were enough of a factor in it becoming dominant. VHS, with more manufacturers was often a product you could find cheaper and still had enough features. Although you can have a long argument about picture and sound quality, if Betamax was better, it wasn't enough to make enough people choose that product.
top Ask Slashdot: Life Organization With Free Software?
Thanks to all who suggested to stick with notebooks. I've been doing the same for many years but found it more useful to use the page-a-day diary as it has some relatively intuitive indexing built in. It's possibly because of this advance that I would like to move to something electronic. I can certainly appreciate the benefits to the traditional approach, it has worked well for me and clearly works well for many others. However, I do feel that my notes would become more useful to me, particularly as I want to try and use GTD, if I can use electronic mechanisms to integrate them into a number of different tools.
top New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason
Although I can't remember specifically which Middle Eastern country it was, one of in Richard Dawkins documentaries he did go and speak to some people. I think it was either Palestine or Israel.
top The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu
This is a particularly good point.
To use windows as an example. You wouldn't expect the usage of windows to change that much during your usage of a particular version. XP, probably my favorite (if such a term can be applied to windows), stuck with basically the same layout in terms of desktop, menus and directory structures. It never evolved substantially throughout its life. Ubuntu on the other hand (and a whole host of other GNU/Linux based distributions), can change it's look and feel substantially between different versions (ie, every 6 months). I don't think that windows would have been a success (in commercial terms) if it changed so much so quickly.
Whilst I accept that there are very good reasons to move forward, the issue I see is that not enough effort is put into keeping existing users happy. We want to keep up-to-date but we don't want our experience of the system to change too much. When Ubuntu was still using Gnome 2, you got a fairly nice progression. Gnome 2 improved but did so quite slowly. You also got a chance to say yes or no to wizzy 3d effects. I, and I suspect many others were happy with a slower improvement and this is probably better than the occasional but much bigger jumps that MS would have done with windows.
top PlayStation 4 Released
Do we have reports of other PCs being released? Where's the latest posting regarding a new Dell laptop?
top Britain's Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet
You can always tell when a politician is lying, his/her lips move. They would have said anything to get elected. Whilst I accept that the world is not static and that pledges such as these cannot always be honored, you do feel that there was little intention to keep to them. The problem is that they're all at it. No wonder we distrust politicians so much, they really are lying to us about these things all the time.
top Sony Issues Detailed PS4 FAQ Ahead of Launch
I think it's simply because this function is built into modern TVs. When the PS3 was launched, there was no such thing as a smart TV so being able to stream on the PS3 was a useful feature. Sony just decided to remove an unnecessary piece of s/w from the system.
top Panasonic Announces an End To Plasma TVs In March
Whilst I can't comment on the political issues around the success of betamax, I don't think people manage to compare the situation very accurately. Sony continued innovating with betamax for quite some time and were often first to market with features. All betamax videos had excellent shuttle search function, due to the fact that the tape could remain spooled. Whilst VHS would do this eventually, it took some time. When I first had a VHS video, it seemed like it was constantly spooling and unspooling the tape. Another feature I liked from later models was peep search. This allowed the recorded to start playback of a tape whilst you were doing a ff or rew. I had a VHS that could do the same thing but it took about 5 seconds to spool the tape before it would show a picture. Sony also allowed you to put index points on a tape, very useful when you had 3 or 4 TV episodes on a tape. Betamax was the first to introduce hi-fi (not just stereo) sound. In general, betamax offered features that were ahead of VHS or never available on VHS. I feel I should point out as well that an L-500 tape was a two-hour tape and an L-750 was a three-hour tape, at least that's what I had in the UK. Quality wise, whilst I would generally agree there wasn't a lot of difference between the two, I would still say that at any one time, a new beta was better quality than the equivalent VHS. One last thing, I saw Sanyo and Telefunken betamax players.
top Toyota's Killer Firmware
Whilst there are many aspects about the film I, Robot that I have problems with, this very issue is covered when the female scientist is scared because Wil Smith decides to take manual control of the car they're in.
top Toyota's Killer Firmware
This is how the world will end. People frightened or otherwise wary that they won't be able to do anything without falling foul of an EULA.
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