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Astrophysicists Identify the Habitable Regions of the Entire Universe

CastrTroy Re:A few hundred extrasolar planets (68 comments)

This is another thing that bothers me. If we can see stars as far away as the universe is old, then we (or the matter we are composed of) must be moving away from them at very close to the speed of light, since we were once very close to them. I've heard explanations that we are not really moving as fast, or faster than the speed of light but that it's space that is expanding?

What is the difference between space expanding such that the distance between them increases by 14 billion light years in 14 billion years and 2 objects actually moving apart at the speed of light. The definition of speed is (x1 - x0)/(delta t). If the two objects are now 14 billion light years apart, and we it took 14 billion years for them to get that way, then they must be travelling at the speed of light.

5 hours ago
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Astrophysicists Identify the Habitable Regions of the Entire Universe

CastrTroy Re:A few hundred extrasolar planets (68 comments)

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic, but I really don't like how they do this extrapolation stuff. Like the universe is currently expanding, and based on the current rate of expansion (or the rate of change of that expansion) we assume it has always been expanding and that 14 billion years ago everything was crammed into something the size of a golf ball. I'm not anti-science, but that seems to be making a pretty big leap.

5 hours ago
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Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

CastrTroy Re:Spot on (155 comments)

Anytime the "official" store had better prices than some retailers would get as their cost price it would be (rightly or wrongly) seen as favoritism, and the other resellers would be livid. And it would happens. It happens all the time. Amazon and Best Buy get much better prices from the manufacturers and distributors compared to the small time shops because they sell so much volume. The little guys complain but nobody listens because they are so unimportant. But it would not be a good idea for the "official" store would not be able to undercut Best Buy or Amazon, because they have the clout to complain to the manufacturer and get a similar deal.

9 hours ago
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

CastrTroy Re:This is silly (348 comments)

Exactly. I will not buy a device that doesn't have cheap, easily available removable memory. I've always been that way. I bought a Minidisc player when MP3 players were starting to get popular because Minidiscs were $5, while 128 MB cards which held about the same amount of music were around $200. Sony really could have maintained the market on portable music for at least 5 more years if they didn't put so much DRM on their Minidisc players. They could have made them as easy to use any other MP3 player, and they would have outsold everyone because you could bring so much music with you. They would have eventually lost out as flash drives got cheaper and larger, but for the initial period when MP3 players first came out, there's no reason why anybody should have been buying them at all.

3 days ago
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Native Netflix Support Is Coming To Linux

CastrTroy Re:But the movie selection still sucks (177 comments)

For $8 a month they offer a pretty good selection. I remember when blockbuster was still around, and they were charging almost as much for a single rental. Renting a single movie on iTunes will set you back around $5. Premiums channels like HBO cost $15+ a month, and you have to already have a cable subscription. Sure Netflix may not have everything, but they have a pretty good selection given the price they are asking. I definitely get my $8 worth every month. I guess it would be nice if their selection were better, or if they had an option for $25 for every movie and every TV show in existence, but that option doesn't exist anywhere. If Netflix isn't good, who offers a better deal?

3 days ago
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Native Netflix Support Is Coming To Linux

CastrTroy Re:When will it work in Seamonkey and Firefox (177 comments)

Really this is the answer. To use Netflix, you need to pay for an account. And it has TV shows and movies. It's not like Youtube where somebody links you it and you just go watch a short clip and go back to your browsing. Things like Netflix don't need to run in a web browser at all. They just need to make full applications (or plugins in the case of XBMC and others) for all the platforms worth supporting.

3 days ago
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

CastrTroy Re:This is silly (348 comments)

I think the problem with Apple going to lossless, is that people would soon get really irritated with the very small amount of space that Apple gives you with the base model of their devices. From some basic searching it seems that FLAC is somewhere around 700 kbps. It could be less or more depending on the file, because it's lossless and will take as many bits as it needs, but I think that's a pretty good estimate. The last 16 GB iPod I bought came with 12 GB usable out of the box. That means you could probably fit about 40 albums (at about an hour and album) on an iPod assuming you used it only for music. You'd have no space for apps/games, or photos, or videos. 40 albums is quite a bit to be carrying around in your pocket, but when other devices allow you to carry around hundreds of albums, your 16 GB iPod is going to seem pretty weak.

3 days ago
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Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

CastrTroy Re:Spot on (155 comments)

This is the big question. What does the dealership do other than sell cars for Tesla? Dealerships make a lot of their money doing regular maintenance and warranty repairs on cars. With an electric car, there is a lot less maintenance to be done. And they are much more reliable. They have an 8 year, unlimited mile warranty. No other IC engine car can offer that, because they simple aren't as reliable, and by their nature, never can be. Most of the problems with Teslas have been software bugs. Once they get all that figured out, there's very little that can go wrong. And fixing software bugs can most likely be done by the end user at home, just like they do with their computers, phones, TVs, and game consoles.

3 days ago
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Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

CastrTroy Re:Spot on (155 comments)

The manufacturer likely could sell for less but in many cases they don't want to get on the bad side of Amazon or Best Buy or whoever else is selling so many of their products. Most manufacturers know very little about good marketing and how to ship a product to the end customer. They simple aren't set up for such tasks. Amazon and others actually provide a very good service to many manufacturers. All the manufacturer has to do is send truckloads of their products to Amazon's warehouse. And Amazon will send money to the manufacturer. Amazon will handle all the complicated stuff like running website, sending out emails to let people know about the products, advertising on websites so people know about the products, search engine optimization to ensure people find the product they are looking for, taking payment from the customer, shipping the product out to the customer. Very few businesses could offer the level of service that Amazon and other online retailers do if they were tasked with it themselves.

3 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

CastrTroy Re:HEY NOTCH!!! (104 comments)

This is kind of how I got interested in building levels in Descent. In Descent, all the levels could only be made of cubes. You could make larger rooms by joining cubes together. You could make things look not completely square because you could move the vertices around to make the cubes skewed, but everything was made of 3 dimensional shapes with 6 sides that were all quadrilaterals. It made building levels really easy. You could make a curved hallway by making one side of a cube a bit shorter, and attaching it to another that was the same, and repeating this pattern. And it has tools to make repeating patterns really fast. Once you got the hang of using the tools (really only took a few hours) you could build new levels extremely fast.

3 days ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

CastrTroy Re:Don't Miss The Point (104 comments)

It's a toy.

Which is fine though. Plenty of people spend plenty of money on "toys" to make this a viable product. $1000 for a 3D printer which is really just a toy isn't all that bad. The XBox One was $500 when it came out. By the time you get a second controller and a few games, you're probably getting close to $800. And the XBox One, or PS4, or any other console is really just a toy. You can't even run your own code on them. You can pretty much just play games. The new iPhone just came out and it's $650 for the cheapest one. And while there are some business uses of an iPhone, the vast majority of people I know with an iPhone use them solely for personal use and could do just as well with a $200 phone (or less).

Personally, I can't see the point in owning a 3D printer. The number of objects that I'd want to print out is quite small. It would make much more sense for me to go down to Home Depot and pay them to print out my parts on a $10,000 printer (assuming such a service existed), because I'd probably get better results and it would cost me less and take me less time. It's the same reason I don't own a photo printer. I can get a much better job done much faster by just taking my memory card into Walmart. If I feel like getting some really high quality prints, I can take them to a better photo place and get them printed better. But there's no way that I would have the money to afford that level of quality for my own personal use.

3 days ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

CastrTroy Re:Shetland and Orkney (192 comments)

Yeah, but Alaska and Hawaii haven't changed status in that regard. They knew they weren't connected when they signed onto the deal. Also, going across a border to effectively travel between 2 places in your own country makes things problematic. You now need a passport just to drive from one end of the country to the other. What about shared resources like power plants and bridges that exist between the two countries. New agreements will have to be written up for how they are maintained and how they are policed. There's thousands of people who commute between Ottawa and Gatineau that would have to move to one country or the other. All the government offices in Quebec including the main tax center in Shawinigan as well as countless other buildings would have to be moved. It would not only be a major burden on Quebec, but on the rest of Canada as well.

4 days ago
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An Open Source Pitfall? Mozilla Labs Closed, Quietly

CastrTroy Re:No suprise... (111 comments)

With the existence of Outlook you really can't depend on somebody's email client being able to render HTML. Just about the same time when IE got a passable HTML+CSS rendering engine, they started using the Word HTML engine for Outlook. The result: completely terrible support for normal HTML in Outlook. The better solution would have been to incorporate the IE rendering engine into Word and Outlook. But for some reason, they made the exact opposite decision and decided to keep using the MS Word rendering engine, and switch Outlook to use that. So it's probably not a big deal that Thunderbird has a few small problems rendering HTML.

4 days ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

CastrTroy Re:Shetland and Orkney (192 comments)

This is always the problem. What happens to those who don't want to separate? What happens to those who are cut off from the rest of the country by a nation in the middle of 2 parts of the same country? As a Canadian, this constantly comes up. If Quebec separates, what happens to the Atlantic provinces (PEI, NB, NS, NFLD)? What happens to the people in Quebec who voted against it? The people who voted for separation get what they wanted, but there's no compromise to satisfy those who wanted things to stay the way they were.

4 days ago
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iOS 8 Review

CastrTroy Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (215 comments)

Ideally all this would be handled by the XBox itself. Developers shouldn't have to deal with what happens when the storage device is disconnected when trying to save a game. The XBox OS (whatever it is) should have a function to write out a saved game. It should be transactional so that even if it breaks part way through writing, you can still just use the previous version. All saved games should be "signed" so that they can detect if the file was corrupted or tampered with. This would prevent bugs in reading saved game files that were tampered with from allowing exploits in the system (this happened on Wii, allowing modified save games to execute code). Also, all saved games (every transaction) should be backed up to the cloud so that the user can recover their saved games if the storage media becomes corrupted or malfunctions. Saved game data is so small that all this should really be easily possible.

4 days ago
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On Independence for Scotland:

CastrTroy Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (192 comments)

Sure they have a right to self governance, but with the country being so split, it's hard to make such a case. I could see if 80% of the people voted in favour of independence, but the split seems to be somewhere very close to 50-50. People have jobs, homes, and friends. It's not so easy to just pack up and move if you don't agree with the idea of independence. In cases like South Sudan, where the result was over 98% in favour of independence, it makes complete sense.

This is an issue that I've had to think about a lot being a Canadian, and Quebec constantly talking about separating. There doesn't seem to be a real consensus in the citizens that they want to separate. And I can only see things going downhill financially for them if they choose to separate.

4 days ago
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iOS 8 Review

CastrTroy Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (215 comments)

then you also have to handle the case where the data is corrupted

. No matter where you are storing the data, there's always a chance of the data being corrupted. And as far as users removing the storage card, computers have had that problem since as long as there have been personal computers. I'm sure most people could deal with it. People understand that they shouldn't just pull the card out randomly. If they lose their data by being stupid, then that's their own fault. They shouldn't cripple the entire user base because some users may do stupid things.

5 days ago
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iOS 8 Review

CastrTroy Re:no wonder apple dropped 16GB machines (215 comments)

But it shouldn't cost $100 for the difference between the two anyway. It's a $650 phone. It should have 64 GB by default, or have 32 GB and have the option of an SD Card. You only say that 16 GB is fine because it's $100 for the next level up. That's almost the same price as a 128 GB micro SD Card (currently 109.99). There's no reason why they should be charging you $100 for 16 GB upgrade in the first place.

5 days ago
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iOS 8 Review

CastrTroy Re:Not answered in review (215 comments)

I guess if you have the 64 GB or 128 GB version of the device this may be a problem, but most people won't install so much stuff that they need folders inside folders for launching their apps. Every level of folders you add requires another tap to bring up the folder. And there's more taps if you end up going to the wrong folder. I really like the Android/Windows model of just listing everything in alphabetical order and giving you a way to add a quick launch of the stuff you really need to access all the time.

5 days ago
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iOS 8 Review

CastrTroy Re:Keyboard (215 comments)

I know there's a lot of hate for Windows 8, but the onscreen keyboard for my Surface 2 (RT) is probably the best on screen keyboard I've ever used. I simply can't stand my Android phone keyboard anymore. I don't have an iDevice, but whenever I go to use my wife's iPad, I cringe at how bad that keyboard is. Always showing the keys in capitals so you can never figure out if you are typing in capitals is probably the most annoying part. Having left and right arrow buttons on the default keyboard for the Surface helps out so much. Also, having Ctrl key is extremely nice because I can use Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+Z, just like I would on a regular keyboard.Tab needs 2 clicks, but it's still much easier than clicking on the next form field. You can switch to the full keyboard for those times when you really want access to all the keys, although I don't use it all the time. The iOS and Android keyboards might work OK on small screen 4-5 phones, but on a 10 inch tablet, where you have the extra room, there really should be some extended functionality. The iPad keyboard really needs to be different than the iPhone keyboard.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Microsoft Shuts Down 'Flight Simulator' Game Stud

CastrTroy CastrTroy writes  |  more than 5 years ago

CastrTroy writes "Microsoft confirmed Friday that the software giant has shuttered ACES Studios, the developer of the Flight Simulator series of games, whose latest incarnation is Flight Simulator X. The simulation is considered Microsoft's oldest product, whose original version first shipped in 1982.

However, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that while the studio has been closed, the software company remains committed to the Flight Simulator franchise, without explaining how future products can be launched without a dedicated software development team backing them."
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India Threatens to Ban BlackBerry Devices

CastrTroy CastrTroy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

CastrTroy (595695) writes "As yet another reminder of how much the communications industry business model is influenced by regulators and lawmakers, India's Department of Telecom has suggested it might forbid use of the Research in Motion BlackBerry device in India unless RIM hands over its encryption keys for possible use by India's security services, reports the Economic Times."
Link to Original Source
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Good games for babies and toddlers?

CastrTroy CastrTroy writes  |  about 7 years ago

CastrTroy writes "I have a 16 month old girl, and another baby one on the way soon. I've been looking for some good keyboard bashing games for her to play. She shows a lot of interest in the computer, since we spend lots of time on the computer. I've been able to find a lot of flash games, and I have some old windows 3.1/95 software which works quite well, but most of them have the problem that my daughter eventually finds a way to escape the game and start affecting the rest of the computer. Are there any games, that block out all keys so that she can just bash the keyboard, and we don't have to keep pulling her away from the keyboard every 30 seconds while we get her back into the game. The usual culprits are the windows key, alt+tab, Windows+L, alt+F4 and many of the other key combinations that will kick her out of the game. Something free would be nice, but we're planning on having 3 kids, so I'd be willing to pay for a game if there was any that actually provided what I was looking for. I'm not so worried about her messing up the computer, but the problem is more that once you leave the game, things get a lot less interesting, and hitting all the keys stops doing interesting stuff, and she tends to get frustrated when we keep pulling her away to get back in the game."
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Wii Has Outsold XBox 360

CastrTroy CastrTroy writes  |  about 7 years ago

CastrTroy writes "According to the stats at VGChartz.com the Wii has now outsold the XBox 360. It has also sold more than double that of the PS3 which was released at the same time. Current numbers as I'm writing this show 10.57 million for the Wii, 10.51 million for XBox 360, and 4.32 million for the PS3. The Wii was only released 9 months ago, and the XBox 360 had a full year as the only new console on the market, yet it seems as though the Wii will win the popular opinion poll this generation. Good graphics or not, hardcore games or not, people are buying this thing in droves."
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