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Sony To Offer Partial Refunds For PS Vita

CastrTroy Re:Personal social media accounts (55 comments)

I guess it depends where you work and how high you are in the company hierarchy for this to be effective though. Somebody like Larry Ellison, co-founder and chairman of Oracle, couldn't have a "personal" Twitter account, because he is so well known, and anything he said would be taken under suspicion as being connected to the company. Looking further down the line, you got guys like Scott Hanselman of Microsoft, who tries to maintain a personal blog and podcast, but you still see plenty of people calling him out when he pushes things like Surface Pro or Windows 10. Even if he truly believes that they are great products, some people will still call him a shill for Microsoft.

yesterday
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Is LTO Tape On Its Way Out?

CastrTroy Re:Shyeah, right. (272 comments)

expensive drives that wear out or can mangle the tape

This is my main problem with removable magnetic media. The simple act of reading the data actually degrades the storage medium. And if you have a bad drive, it can actively destroy any disk/tape you put in there. And it's actually hard to diagnose if the problem is with the disk or the drive, so you're likely to destroy a few disks/tapes before you figure it out. I've had floppy drives, zip drives and tape drives that have all ruined the storage media. At least with optical drives, it's very unlikely that the disc will be destroyed by attempting to read it.

yesterday
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How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

CastrTroy Re:What about long-term data integrity? (420 comments)

That's the thing. Most people who need 3.2 TB of space will only write to each location a few times, and data won't change very often. Sure, some writes will be happening, but not even close to the magnitude that you'd need to wear out one of these drives. There might be some cases in commercial applications where you'd need to write that every day, but the typical desktop or laptop is never going to see that kind of usage.

yesterday
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A Toolbox That Helps Keep You From Losing Tools (Video)

CastrTroy Re:checking out stuff? (81 comments)

You could fit every tool with an RFID tag and put a small computer with an RFID reader in the tool box. When a tool it taken out of the tool box, the tool box would check it off the list. When you're done with the tool box, you could get a list of any missing tools before you put the tool box away. If you notice something is missing right away, it should be easy to locate the tool, unless you intentionally what to lose the tool so you can take it home. This could be what's happening. Even then, $35,000 in tools isn't very much. How many workers is this loss rate calculated over?

yesterday
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Revisiting Open Source Social Networking Alternatives

CastrTroy Hard problem to solve (85 comments)

The biggest problem that I found with Diaspora was that even as somebody who already has a hosting service for my personal web site I found that I wasn't able to get Diaspora to actually working on my server. Making it easy to deploy on various web hosts is key if you want people to be about to host it. Also, it has to integrate with existing solutions. It would be great if those of us who chose to use whatever open source social networking is created could still interact with facebook, twitter, and other social networks without having to go to those other sites.

The rest of the problem is actually pretty straight forward. Most social networking sites are nothing more than an RSS Feed of a bunch of content produced by the user. Add in the ability to attach pictures and videos to the posts and you have most of what people use social networks for. Private messages are nice too. We actually have tools that do most of what we need out of a social networking site. The difficulty is putting the pieces together into a cohesive package and getting it to play nice with the other social networks so that people can slowly move over.

2 days ago
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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

CastrTroy Re:Where do you fill up? (280 comments)

Are there any reasons (safety or otherwise) why it wouldn't be easy to install a natural gas compressor in my house? I have natural gas, but that just flows under low pressure to the furnace and hot water heater. I don't think it's at very high pressure. Would having a high pressure tank of natural gas sitting in or near my house sit well with my insurance company?

2 days ago
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Apple To Donate Profit Portion From Black Friday For AIDS Fight

CastrTroy Re:AIDS is bad (102 comments)

So you're minimizing the impact on retail-type people by shopping online, which effectively makes them obsolete and unneeded. I kind of say this in a joking way, but I too do a lot of online shopping. It's just easier. Why would I want to go out to the store, when I can order it from the comfort of my living room and have it delivered in a few days. That isn't to say we don't need any retail. I still like to have physical grocery stores, because even next day delivery is too long, and it's very convenient to be able to stop on my way home and pick up some groceries. And there are advantages to things like clothes, shoes, and bikes, because it's nice to be able to check if something fits. But a laptop, camera, or book is pretty much the same wherever I buy it, and there's very little reason to have it right now.

2 days ago
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The Man Who Made Tetris

CastrTroy Re:Tetris is based on a Russian board game (37 comments)

The appeal of Tetris is that it was done well. There are a million Tetris clones out there, but how well the game is programmed really makes the difference between and enjoyable game, and one that is extremely frustrating. I'm not sure what the original Tetris was like, the the versions for the NES and Gameboy, which a lot of us remember playing were done very well. It's like going back and playing Mario Bros, and then going to some cheap knockoff that some kid programmed in a few weeks. The underlying game is basically the same, but the experience of playing the game is completely different.

5 days ago
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Does Being First Still Matter In America?

CastrTroy Re:First in what? (246 comments)

Also, the computer predicting the weather is only as good as the algorithms running on the computer and the data fed into the computer. Garbage in = Garbage out as they say. Maybe the correct approach isn't to build a giant supercomputer, but to build a better and more densely distributed set of sensors so that the existing computers have more and better accurate data to work with.

about a week ago
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Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

CastrTroy Re:How much does the device weigh? (167 comments)

A water bottle which can hold .75 litres probably weights at maximum 100 grams, so just using a regular water bottle on your bike, which it usually has room for anyway. Most bikes have room for 2, so you can carry 1.5 litres of water with 1.7 KG of bottles. If you're looking for lightweight ways of carrying water, a water bottle is probably close to optimal.

about a week ago
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US Marshals Auctioning $20M Worth of Silk Road's Bitcoins

CastrTroy Re:But the case hasn't even started! (119 comments)

I can't think of a good reason why anybody would want to pay rent with cash. First, there's a big liability walking around with that much cash. Even if you're just carrying from the bank to the rental office, that's a huge amount of money to lose. Also, there's no record that the transaction took place. If I pay with a check, or using a debit card, there's a record that the money went from my account to the building management account. With cash there's no direct record. The best you can hope for is that they issue you a receipt, but even then they could say you forged it, and that they have no record of the payment. Plus, I can really understand why the building wouldn't want to take cash. Otherwise, they would have a huge amount of money on hand at the beginning of the month. They would have to take a lot of precautions to ensure that the money was not stolen.

about a week ago
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Toyota Names Upcoming Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

CastrTroy How do I refill it? (194 comments)

This car is going to have a major problem with most people because there are no stations that carry hydrogen to refill it. It's hard enough for the Tesla to gain traction because you can't refill it in as many places as a standard gasoline powered car, but at least in that case you can charge it every night at home, and it has enough range to last you for the day. You won't be able to generate or store hydrogen at your house. And until there's enough hydrogen stations across the city, it will be very inconvenient to own one of these cars. Even a couple in every city wouldn't be enough because nobody wants to go 20-30 minutes out of their way just to pick up fuel for their car.

about two weeks ago
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Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

CastrTroy Re:Horribly sexist ! (641 comments)

Yeah, but you could make a game just to illustrate how stupid the double standard is. Make a game with only female lead roles who are portrayed in a very positive manner and have all the men in the game be bumbling idiots who are constantly causing problems.

I wonder how such a rating would be applied to a sports game like such FIFA/NFL/NHL, in which no women are actually players in these sports. Is it sexist to now allow females to be created when creating custom characters? If it allowed creating female characters, would it be sexist to not allow the stats to be above the level of the best woman players to keep it in touch with reality?

about two weeks ago
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Facebook Planning Office Version To Rival LinkedIn, Google

CastrTroy Re:This article is useless (91 comments)

If you look at all those technologies, the real advantage to the employer is that they allow you to make your employees work when they aren't at work. Knowing employees had phones at home was great because you could call them up at a moment's notice and get them to come in after hours. Personal computers aren't really necessary at the office. A mainframe would work just as well in many cases, but having employees with computers at home meant you could ask them to work from home, connecting to the mainframe if necessary. Email and Internet allowed employees to all be in touch and communicate when they were working at home. Cellular/Smart phones allowed people to be contacted even when they weren't home, but were out shopping, out on a date, or at the park with their kids. Having social networking at the office is just another way for employers to demand even more of our free time, without explicitly writing it out in the contract.

about two weeks ago
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Ars Dissects Android's Problems With Big Screens -- Including In Lollipop

CastrTroy Re:while he is right... (103 comments)

The problem I find is that Android wasn't designed for the tablet. It was designed for the phone. The whole model OS was built with the assumption that it was going to run on very low spec hardware on a very small screen. Hence the limitations such as requiring all apps to run full screen, and the operating system's ability to kill an application (or the activity) at any time, leaving the developer to jump through hoops to make sure that information isn't lost. Tablets (and many phones) come with 2 GB or more of RAM, so there's very little need to manage applications in this way. Of course, they left out an easy way to actually close applications, so going back on that decision now seems difficult.

I think that the fact that Samsung has added multiple apps at the same time kind of shows that people really do want this feature, and that Google is being stubborn by not implementing it in standard Android. Even MS has realized that the simple 2 app split screen isn't enough for people, and will allow windowed apps on the desktop in Windows 10.

I think the major problem for MS right now is that Surface Pro is just really expensive. The starting price is quite high. I think next iteration, they should offer a model with an Atom/Baytrail processor (or whatever the current low power x86 option is) without a digitizer and include the keyboard by default, to bring the price down to what more people are willing to pay for a laptop. If they can get it around $400-$500, then I think a lot of people would opt for it over a more traditional laptop, and they wouldn't need to buy a tablet. Or if they bought a tablet it would be a cheap, 7 inch, $100 tablet that they could just throw in a bag and not have to worry about too much, but which really wouldn't be a productivity device. Once you have have 10+ inch tablet, it's really nice to be able to use it for real computing tasks, because it gets expensive enough that it's hard to justify such a high price for something that you're just using to read books, watch movies, and check facebook.

about two weeks ago
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Ars Dissects Android's Problems With Big Screens -- Including In Lollipop

CastrTroy Re:while he is right... (103 comments)

On tablets, the only thing that makes Android better than Windows 8 is the sheer number of apps. Other than that, the actual OS itself is worse in just about every way I can think of. First on large tablets, it's nice to be able to show multiple apps at the same time, and vanilla Android can't do this. It's also nice to be able to map network drives and have all the apps be able to read from them. Android can't do this. Android doesn't come with a command line. Windows has 2. And that's just things that Windows 8 RT does that Android doesn't. Once you get into Windows x86, and the huge list of actual Windows applications it supports, there's no comparison between the two. Android works great on phones, but on tablets it's way too limited, and I'd much rather ne running Windows 8 over Android or iOS.

about two weeks ago
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Overbilled Customer Sues Time Warner Cable For False Advertising

CastrTroy Re:TWC are (surprise, surprise) crooks and thieves (223 comments)

This is basically what happened in Canada. Here's my only problem. Since they are in charge of the last mile, when something goes wrong with the lines, they prioritize based on who is their customer. The only way the other ISPs can communicate with them is via email, and they can't really do too much if the big boys are being slow about fixing the problem. This is why the lines should be taken back, and managed by an impartial third party, who's only job it is to manage the lines, and isn't involved in selling internet service.

about two weeks ago
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US School Installs 'Shooter Detection' System

CastrTroy Re:One problem solved, now the other... (698 comments)

The entire healthcare system in the US is pretty terrible. And even in countries with good healthcare systems, mental healthcare seems to get little attention. So the state of US mental healthcare must be in shambles.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Luxembourg Tax Deals

CastrTroy Re:Simple fix (158 comments)

I need food to eat. If I don't eat, I can't generate income. But I can't deduct it on my personal taxes. I also have to get to work, but I can't claim any transportation amounts on my personal taxes. I need to wear clothes to work, often more expensive ones than I would generally wear if I wasn't at work, but I can't deduct the cost of clothes. But a corporation can claim deductions for any expenses whatsoever. There's almost nothing that a business can spend money on that doesn't qualify as a deduction. Whereas for individuals, only a very small percentage of what I spend my money on actually qualifies as a deduction, and most of it isn't related in any way to my employment. Things like medical expenses and charitable donations are tax deductible, but don't really have much relation to me actually generating income.

about two weeks ago
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Apple's Luxembourg Tax Deals

CastrTroy Re:Simple fix (158 comments)

I think the only way to tax companies is to tax them on revenues rather than profits. The can always reinvest, shift around, or hide profits, but revenues are a lot harder to hide. I don't get to discount all my operating expenses on my personal income tax, why should a corporation be allowed to do the same. Either don't tax the corporations at all, and increase sales and/or income taxes to make up the difference, or tax corporations in a way that they can't avoid them so easily.

about two weeks 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  |  more than 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  |  more than 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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