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Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US?

Chibi Merrow Re:A brazilian point of view (432 comments)

The climate on the gulf coast is too stormy, so the cane grown there is more fibrous than the stuff they grown in Brazil. As a result, the amount of sugar per ton of plant is embarrassingly smaller. We shouldn't be growing sugar cane in the U.S., and we should take off any import duties on sugar. Everyone would be better off.

I come from of one of those sugar growing areas. While I'm nostalgic about the cane fields near my home, as an adult I realize the only reason that cane exists is because of crazy tariffs and the state and local governments willing to look the other way on safety regulations.

about 2 months ago

OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

Chibi Merrow Re:Too good to be true? (196 comments)

A truly "free" OS would not have a "monopoly" market place for apps

Well good thing I can install alternative app stores on my Android phone, then.

about 3 months ago

FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Chibi Merrow Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (218 comments)

You should look at U.S. Law 112-95 Section 336. In particular, it says to be an RC Plane:

In this section, the term ââmodel aircraftâ(TM)â(TM) means an unmanned aircraft that isâ"
(1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating
the aircraft; and
(3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

This guy doesn't meet those requirements, hence his aircraft is treated as a UAS, and for those the FAA requires individual certification and a LOA.

about 3 months ago

FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Chibi Merrow Re:It's been a lot longer than 2007 (218 comments)

There is no reason that they need to be incompatible. Just require that all aircraft have a functioning ADS-B transceiver and TCAS, both manned and drones. Require drones to obey resolution advisories. That will eliminate most of the midair collision that exists today, manned or unmanned.

ADS-B is not some sort of magic bullet, despite what they've told you. It *may* increase safety (though studies have shown all the glass we've put in cockpits probably does the opposite), but it's not suddenly going to prevent all collisions.

In addition, STUFF BREAKS. Your UAS that depends on ADS-B for sense-and-avoid isn't going to see that Bonanza with a transponder failure. If all the electrical systems in a manned aircraft go out, the pilot can still at least bring it down where it won't hurt anyone, the same is not true of a UAS. If you really want to be terrified, you should look at some of the FAA's results on simulating GPS system failures in a future, ADS-B only scenario.

And that's all irrelevant anyway, as there is never going to be a requirement (at least probably not in my lifetime) for manned aircraft to have an ADS-B transponder anywhere they don't already need a Mode C transponder. That will never fly, pun intended. The vast majority of private pilots will never need ADS-B out, as they don't fly where it matters. There are huge swaths of airspace you can fly in WITHOUT A RADIO, much less a transponder. This is a matter of philosophy: the airspace of the United States belongs to the people, and they should have free use of it. The FAA is only supposed to provide the minimum amount of regulation and oversight to keep everyone safe.

Finally the reason this stuff costs so much is the certification overhead (and the low production numbers). Sure, we could make it cheaper by cutting out certification requirements, but that goes back to my original statement: We'd have to accept lower safety levels. There is a legitimate argument to be made that the current certification regime may not actually result in increased safety, and that maybe it would be better for more aircraft to be equipped with SOMETHING, even if it's not certified, but that will require years of study to determine.

And as a final aside, the costs aren't quite that bad. The company I work for makes a pretty good ADS-B in/out solution for about $4k. You need a compatible transponder, too, but those aren't that bad. And a compatible display if you want TIS-B/FIS-B. Otherwise we have an ADS-B-in only solution that's battery powered and integrated w/ an iOS or Android device for about $600.

about 3 months ago

FAA Shuts Down Search-and-Rescue Drones

Chibi Merrow It's been a lot longer than 2007 (218 comments)

And they're nowhere near coming up with guidelines, as I'm pretty sure there's honestly no way to do this AND maintain current safety levels. At this point I'm pretty sure that manned and unmanned flight are just fundamentally incompatible.

about 3 months ago

Did Facebook Buy Oculus To Counter Google Glass?

Chibi Merrow Nevermind Google Glass isn't even AR (108 comments)

It's even dumber than that. Google Glass doesn't 'overlay' anything. It's a screen above your field of view.

How do stories like this get approved?

about 4 months ago

Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group

Chibi Merrow Re:all of IT needs an union (107 comments)

And yet it's not happening, because?

Oh right, much easier to sell this sort of thing as evil governmental abuses that only feed the lazy.

Actually, no one in power is trying to "sell" Universal Minimum Income. It doesn't fit their paradigm, and gets rid of the power structure around things like Welfare, Unemployment, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.

The reason the Senate voted it down back in the 60s was an error in statistics convinced some Senators that it made the divorce rate go up.

That's ok, as long as you pay for the benefits you receive, your effective membership isn't needed.

Yeah, good luck with that.

about 4 months ago

Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group

Chibi Merrow Re:all of IT needs an union (107 comments)

Oh then you want Basic income and universal healthcare.

Honestly if we had a universal minimum income then unions could become completely irrelevant. Then if your working conditions aren't acceptable, you just quit. Honestly it's a much better solution.

Especially since you'll never get someone like me to join a union...

about 4 months ago

Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Chibi Merrow Re:Have you actually *read* the Constitution? (360 comments)

You do NOT have the inalienable right to "repeat [my] story/song/whatever" in front of a paying audience while that story/song/whatever is still protected by copyright.

When did I mention a paying audience? But even if there were a paying audience, it's entirely possible for me to legally do so if my work is transformative.

The Constitution, by granting Congress the authority to create and manage copyright, is explicitly contradicting the statement you made, because if they can limit it or take it away from you it is not an inalienable right.

Except that the first amendment specifically prevents Congress from limiting speech and overrides earlier sections of the Constitution, including the Copyright clause. And that is why there is fair use: Copyright cannot interfere with your inalienable right to free speech.

You have SOME rights to use PARTS of the story/song/whatever, but you do not have the inalienable right to repeat that work -- until the copyright expires and those rights do, indeed, become yours.

But I do have an inalienable right to repeat a story. As far as you know, I'm doing it right now as I type to you. Copyright doesn't cover "repeating a story".

And they do not become yours due to the first amendment, that is a red herring. They become yours because the copyright has expired.

Nothing "becomes mine" due to the "first amendment". No amendment to the Constitution grants rights, it only protects them from the government.

about 5 months ago

Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Chibi Merrow Re:Have you actually *read* the Constitution? (360 comments)

I have the natural, unalienable free speech right to repeat your idea/story/song/whatever.

That was the original assertion.

about 6 months ago

Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Chibi Merrow Re:Have you actually *read* the Constitution? (360 comments)

And THAT, dear sir, proves that you do NOT have an "unalienable" right to use ideas as you see fit.

But I do. I can totally repeat the entirety of the dialogue from Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail from memory. And doing so is my inalienable right. Copyright prevents DISTRIBUTION and/or DUPLICATION of a published work, and even then only in very specific circumstances.

Also the First Amendment DOES trump Copyright. In situations where someone is being prevented from engaging in protected speech by Copyright, the courts almost without fail fall on the side of Free Speech. That's what the concept of "Fair Use" is about.

As I've said before, commercial speech has always had limits.

No, it hasn't always had limits. Such a statement is just silly. And even now, it only has very specific, targeted limits. Fair use of a copyrighted work is not prevented solely due to the commercial nature of its use.

about 6 months ago

Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Chibi Merrow Have you actually *read* the Constitution? (360 comments)

The US Constitution disagrees with you.

No, it most certainly does not. You need to go read the Constitution. It does not establish copyright. It gives Congress the power, if it so chooses, to establish a LIMITED system whereby creators are given TEMPORARY monopolies on their ideas, EXPRESSLY for the purpose of encouraging the creation of new works. Copyright exists to enrich the public domain, as per the Constitution.

So, essentially exactly what the grandparent poster said...

about 6 months ago

Google Removes "Search Nearby" Function From Updated Google Maps

Chibi Merrow Liar! (255 comments)

I pull out the phone and click maps. No need to plug my address in the phone will centre in my current location. I search for "restaurants" and I get a list of restaurants starting with the closest one with good reviews.

Now I know you're lying. Google obviously bogosorts every result list I ever get back from Maps on my phone. "Closest" restaurants are always at least ten--if not twenty or thirty--results down.

Hell, half the time I search for something, it shows me something completely unrelated in Portland (which is an hour away). No, I am shocked at how abysmal Maps has become in the past year. I think I still have it rated at one star in the Play store. It's an embarassment!

This is what I used to brag to my iPhone toting friends about!?

about 6 months ago

Supreme Court To Hear Aereo Case

Chibi Merrow Re:I'm torn... (211 comments)

Look up the Cablevision decision, where the supreme court ruled such a remote DVR service was legal. Then think about what you said.

Aereo was designed specifically with obeying the letter of the law as set by Cablevision.

about 6 months ago

Police Pull Over More Drivers For DNA Tests

Chibi Merrow Criminals are bad. Uniformed ones are worse. (562 comments)

Or bad compared to a gang member, a warlord's soldier, or even security consultant?

Do you mean the NYPD? Those are all pretty apt descriptions of them.

about 7 months ago

Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers

Chibi Merrow Re:"Tech Savvy People" (418 comments)

Well this was 2006 by my best estimation, not fifteen years ago. I was ripping DVDs of Slayers: Next if I remember right, and turning them into iPod formatted MP4 files with the subtitles burned into them. There wasn't a free, push-button solution solution that I could find at that point in time that would do all that. Sure, there were tools that would rip a DVD into DiVX format or something. But I needed them resized, transcoded into h264 (or whatever), and the subtitle track extracted and added into the video stream graphically, as the Nano didn't support subtitles. That required a script--so no, I don't believe it was an exaggeration. There's a big difference between simply "ripping DVDs" and "Turning a DVD into something properly formatted for an iPod". :)

And as far as Handbrake, looks like they removed libdvdcss from it, so a default install can't remove DRM from DVD videos anymore.

I think I used MakeMKV the last time I had to rip a DVD. If it's the software I remembered, it did a damn good job. But then again, my Nano broke years ago so I don't need iPod compatible video files anymore. MKV containers work fine on Plex, XBMC, and Android.

about 7 months ago

Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers

Chibi Merrow Re:"Tech Savvy People" (418 comments)

It wasn't intended as an advertisement. You could fairly assume it was an unsolicited endorsement, I suppose, but I don't know anything about Cucusoft's current offerings to be honest. This was a long time ago.

If Handbrake (for some reason I thought Handbrake was an OS X only solution, so hadn't looked at it recently) has progressed to the point that there's a single button press for "Rip this DVD for my iPod" then that's worth knowing, and it makes the "only technically savvy people..." statement even more silly.

about 7 months ago

Disney Pulls a Reverse Santa, Takes Back Christmas Shows From Amazon Customers

Chibi Merrow "Tech Savvy People" (418 comments)

My Dad asked me once how I got DVDs that I owned onto my iPod Nano, and if he would be able to do it himself. I told him it was a pretty convoluted process involving multiple pieces of software I downloaded and built from source, some shell scripts, and invoking the Nyarlthotep, the Crawling Chaos, at the appropriate moment.

After a few minutes of research, I bought my Dad a piece of software for $20 that with one button click rips a DVD and transcodes it into an iPod-compatible file. I believe it was something from Cucusoft. I then watched him easily rip his entire DVD collection to an external hard drive using that software, This made me realize something important: The saying "Sure, a tech savvy person could do this, but not an average user..." is only true because "tech savvy" people (like myself) are morons and will happily accept a poor user experience and hours of lost productivity to save $20, and then pat themselves on the back because they did something "cool". Meanwhile the "average user" has already been watching their movie for a couple hours.

about 7 months ago



Mass Effect 3 Launch Tarnished by Import Bug

Chibi Merrow Chibi Merrow writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Chibi Merrow writes "Already in the running for Developer Troll of the Year for releasing Mass Effect 3 during the Game Developer's Conference, Bioware has earned a little more negative karma with some of their most dedicated fans due to a character import bug.

As of right now, it seems that a player's character's customized appearance in saved games from Mass Effect 2 that were created by importing characters from the original Mass Effect cannot be imported. The bug affects both the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game, and there are unconfirmed reports it also affects the PS3 (even though the Playstation did not have the original Mass Effect). Note that this only affects the character's appearance, not any of the storyline choices made by the character.

What this means is that players who have spent perhaps over 100 hours of playtime with their own, distinctive Commander Shepard are now left with the option of either playing with the default 'Broshep' appearance or trying to recreate their character's appearance again by fiddling with the customization options in ME3. Of course, the differences in customization options between the three titles means that it probably is impossible to use the ME3 customization tools to perfectly recreate "your" Shepard.

Several news sites have picked up the story. Bioware has provided an official response that they are aware of the problem, and offered suggestions (including copying your save game to a thumb drive, loading it on a PC, and editing it in a save game editor to get the 'appearance code' out of it) to try and work around the problem in the mean time.

Honestly, this is all kind of hard to believe as one would assume the most obvious import path to test would be ME1-ME2-ME3, so it's curious that this bug launched."

Link to Original Source




Chibi Merrow Chibi Merrow writes  |  more than 10 years ago "You're so vain, you probably think this signature's about you."

At work my e-mail signature for the past three years I've been working there has been:

"There are only two things that are infinite, the Universe and Human Stupidity, and I'm not so sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

I work tech support for local government, and this was as much a comment on both the stupid beaurocracy I must work within and the idiotic design of the systems and software I must support.

One day, a user called saying she wasn't recieving e-mail. So while I was on the phone, I fired off a test e-mail to her and sure enough she didn't get it. Went over to her building, was a quick thirty second fix. Told her have a nice day and to call me if she needed anything else. She was a slightly elderly lady who had started working with Environmental Quality less than a week before and a self proclaimed computer neophyte. I made special note to check up on her later to make sure she was settling in well. After three years of sending and recieving mail on the city network, my signature had completely left my mind. It hadn't left hers.

The next day I was called into a coworker's office who explained that she'd gotten a call from the head of EQ that one of her employees was hurt by my signature. The user was upset that Tech Support would "call the people they're supposed to support stupid". Of course I'd done no such thing and the head of EQ said she understood that my signature was innocent, but asked me to voluntarily change it, so that her employee wouldn't pursue the matter further.
My coworker told me she couldn't TELL me to change my signature, but she advised me that doing so would probably save a lot of trouble. So for the time being my signature became:

This space for rent.

I spoke w/ a few other coworkers about it as I passed them in the hall (avoiding mentioning specifics, just that a user had complained and I had to change my signature) which led to surprise and shock amongst them, as most people had found the signature funny and incredibly appropriate. I recieved a few suggestions, but none seemed to fit. And then as I was talking to someone I began humming "You're so vain..." Don't really know why I did, but I did.

So when I sat back down at my desk, I rewrote the signature to:

"You're so vain, you probably think this signature's about you." and fired off an e-mail to the first coworker to bring this to my attention. She found it hilariously appropriate and just warned me about sending it to the user who made the initial complaint.

So a few weeks later this obviously superior signature replaced my old Slashdot signature--a lousy attempt and mis-quoting Newton's laws of motio--and the rest is History.

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