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Comments

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Netflix Rejects Canadian Regulator Jurisdiction Over Online Video

David_Hart Re:In Canada... (116 comments)

It is generally the case up here that in order to watch many shows online, you generally have to verify that you have a cable subscription, This is often done through a sort of google+-ish login on each individual broadcaster's website that verifies your cable account with the cable provider that you claim to use.

Now this isn't true for all shows, but certainly true for many... and by my own observation, seems to be particularly applicable for shows that happen to be US-made, and where (obviously) a local broadcaster has paid for the rights to air that program in Canada.

I suspect that if Netflix required such verification, they would not likely be having this problem. It would also not be a problem if the person was watching something that was not a show being aired on a Canadian network (eg, a movie, or else an old tv show that is no longer on the air).

Yes, but requiring a cable subscription is purely to receive the content for free. For example, if you want to watch a streaming episode of Game of Thrones you need to verify that you have a cable account to prove that you have already paid for access to the content. It has nothing to do with the CRTC and everything to do with the show owner making sure that they are getting paid. Your subscription, for that show, is your cable bill. Otherwise, you need to pay for the content through iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Netflix is like a monthly subscription to the old Blockbuster video stores. Instead of paying a rental fee per movie or TV show you pay a monthly subscription to take home as many movies as you want. The CRTC had no jurisdiction over video rental stores. It should be the same for Netflix.

1 hour ago
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US Revamping Its Nuclear Arsenal

David_Hart Wrong Nuclear Technology... (288 comments)

The US should be revamping Nuclear reactors for power instead of nuclear weapons. But hey, the stupidity of NIMBY and keeping Yucca Mountain closed continues... Of course, Yucca Mountain funding was cut under President Obama's watch as well.

I get that the Nuclear arsenal needs to be replaced as, like most things, age degrades both the weapons and the systems. Technology moves forward and old parts can no longer be manufactured and old systems no longer interface with current technology. Plus, I'm sure that targeting systems and other electronics have drastically improved.

Like others have commented, I agree that it would be good to continue to see a reduction and an eventual elimination of nuclear arms. However, this isn't going to happen in our lifetimes, so the more practical move is to decommission the old weapons and replace them with more reliable versions. Maybe along the way we see how much is being spent and rethink about whether it's worth the cost.

yesterday
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Why a Chinese Company Is the Biggest IPO Ever In the US

David_Hart Re:more direct connection to producers (190 comments)

The reason Alibaba will take over from Amazon and Ebay is simple. Two things.

First, scale. It moves more product than Amazon and Ebay COMBINED, and that's before even entering the US market. The network effect will dominate.

Second the vast majority of what Amazon and (especially!) Ebay sells is made in factories in China anyway. Alibaba will allow cheaper prices for the same products without having to go through the middlemen and let Ama/Eba skim off profits in the middle.

If i can buy a part directly from the manufacturer in China for $3.99, I'm not going to pay $11.99 for Amazon to deliver it to me or even $5.99 for an Ebay reseller.

Alibaba will have a price advantage on the other big players, and that's what'll matter in the end.

I sure wouldn't be wanting to hang onto Amazon or Ebay stock right now (assuming either have stock, sorry I don't keep track of things like that).

Right... So, people have stopped buying monitors from Dell simply because they can buy similar Korean monitors direct on eBay? No? Oh, right, because people like to have warranties and have the ability to get stuff replaced in a timely manner when it fails.

Also, you're wrong about Alibaba's business model today. They are the middle men between the manufacturer and the storefront. They do have an eBay style system, but it's used by independents, not Alibaba, to sell products. And yes, they also have a Paypal type service, but it would have to clear a large number of hurdles to become trusted in the US.

3 days ago
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Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

David_Hart Re:Good (99 comments)

Trusted computing was always destined to be vaporware. Nobody wanted it.

Except for the armed forces and DOD....

I could be wrong, but I thought that Trusted Computing was originally developed for the military. Only afterwards was it corrupted to include DRM, etc...

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

David_Hart Re:Expert. (349 comments)

Dear Bono,

If your song can be played, it can be pirated. Maybe it would be difficult to pirate the album artwork as it's interactive, but 99% of the time people are listening to music on devices that are stuck in their pockets. So, a screenshot would work just fine. If DRM and copy prevention mechanisms worked, how do you explain the fact that each and every one has been bypassed?

I, personally, am willing to pay for the music and media that I consume. Mainly because I believe that the artists deserve to be paid. But I am only willing to pay once!!

Because of this, I am completely against DRM and the concept that the consumer is paying for a license to listen to the media vs. ownership of that copy. DRM is used today to trample on consumer rights, to prevent making backup copies of their media, and as an attempt to force consumers to pay for the same media in multiple formats. The concept that it is being used to stop piracy is pure fantasy.

In other words, its simply being used as an extortion mechanism, much like the mobs of old.

So... stop it and go back to writing songs....

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

David_Hart 10,000 hour rule... (234 comments)

It's been proposed that it takes about 10,000 hours to get really good at anything. At 10 hours per week, 40 weeks a year (dropped to 40 to account for breaks), equals 400 hours a year. 10,000 / 400 = 25 years. So, if you keep at it, by the time you get to be about retirement age you would be at the point where you could contribute back to the field. Plus, on retirement, you could dedicate more time...

Some things take less than 10,000 hours to master. However, astronomy is a wide open concept with a lot of moving parts (literally)...

Good luck and, most important of all, have fun....

4 days ago
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How Flickr Is Courting the Next Generation of Photographers

David_Hart Re:All that matters on the phone too (97 comments)

Photography on a cell phone does not equate to photography with a digital camera -- knowing what f-stop is, or shutter speed, or focal length, or a LOT of the other of the fine-grain minutiae

1) the technical aspects are not really photography - they are details of a tool. They are not composition nor lighting nor mood nor concept.

2) The iPhone with iOS8, and version of Android for a while I think let you control all of those aspects in advanced camera apps (well focal length you had to add adaptor lenses, but lots of people do use those).

Knowing the craft of f-stop, shutter speed, etc. is only a part of photography. People can take really good photos without knowing these things. The difference is that someone who is well versed in the technical aspects can take a good photo in more challenging conditions. In addition that person will also be able to be more creative and produce images using techniques that the camera computer would fail miserably at.

In general, photography has come a long way. Digital photography has allowed people with little to no skill to take good photos. SHowever, an excellent photo still requires people with a combination of artistic eye and technical ability.

5 days ago
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I think next winter will be:

David_Hart New England... (147 comments)

Last year we had lots of snow with a few heavy snow storms mixed in. I got to play around with my new Jeep Grand Cherokee in the snow... (grin)

The leaves started turning color early this year. My thought is that we are going to have an early winter with lots of snow again this year.

about a week ago
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The Growing Illusion of Single Player Gaming

David_Hart Multiplayer & Solo, the right mix... (291 comments)

Personally, I like single player games. I find that multi-player games today tends to have two major flaws. The first is that it's hard finding players who are at or near the same level that you are, unless you are playing with a bunch of friends or a clan/group. In most cases there is too much of a divide in skill level. The second is that most multiplayer games require too many players to be on the same team to complete quests, etc. I really enjoyed the days of Quake CTF clans because most teams were limited to 6 players per team. It was much easier to co-ordinate and get to know the other team members.

In my opinion the best single player game that blended a bit of online multi-player is Dark Souls II. There were places in the game where other players could "invade" and cause a battle with you on one side and the monsters/invader on the other. The game also allowed you to summon other players to help you out in difficult spots and during boss levels. In my mind, it was a good mix of solo play with some dynamic online play.

As for Destiny, I haven't tried it yet. I'll probably get into it when my brother-in-law or Nephews get into it. That way we could play it together.

about a week ago
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Technological Solution For Texting While Driving Struggles For Traction

David_Hart Re:bullshit (326 comments)

His "solution" is utter bullshit, trying to capitalize on "think of the children", helicopter parenting, and potential legislation.

It's usually easy to tell whether a driver involved in an accident was texting and the penalties can be stiff (including manslaughter or vehicular homicide).

Furthermore, the right company to partner with are insurance companies, but they already have a better mechanism for monitoring in place: they don't care whether you text per se, they care whether you drive erratically for any reason. For lower insurance rates, you can agree to monitoring. Nice voluntary solution and incentive.

Finally, if there is a technical solution to be developed, it's a good voice-based, hands-free texting app that lets you text with a Bluetooth headset. Phone calls and voice interfaces are legal in most places, and will likely remain so. That's also something many people would use voluntarily because it is both safer and convenient.

My car has voice texting capabilities. Unfortunately, it's tied into the subscription model for the car computer. You can get texts read back to you for free but you have to subscribe to enable the voice text feature. Until car manufacturers offer this for free, no one is going to be any safer.

The solution that this guy developed is dead on arrival for the same reason. No one is interested in paying additional money just to have their cell phone shut down and their vehicle tracked on a cloud computer. No to mention privacy issues...

about two weeks ago
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iPhone 6 Sales Crush Means Late-Night Waits For Some Early Adopters

David_Hart Re:"Early adopters"? (222 comments)

Is that how we need to call them, in order to be politically correct?

Sigh.

No, it's simply a misuse of the term. An early adopter is someone who is willing to take a risk on a completely new technology. The iPhone 6 is a new product not new technology.

For example, people who bought the 2014 Sea Doo Spark jetski this year (like I did) would be considered early adopters because they are taking a chance on the all plastic hull design and it's durability. It's new technology and a new product category. However, someone buying the 2014 Sea-Doo GTX Limited 215 would not be considered an early adopter. All of the technology in the 215 already existed, they just tweaked it to produce a new product.

about two weeks ago
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Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

David_Hart Difference between ruling and Judges comments.... (421 comments)

I agree with the ruling that people who do not want to run Windows on a PC should be able to get a refund since the vast majority of PC makers do not sell bare systems, essentially creating a monopolistic market. If I remember right, it's like $20 back.

That being said, no one is being forced to buy a Windows PC or a PC from a particular vendor. As such, the rest of the comments about customers being forced to buy other non-free apps is just bull. It's like saying that because all cars come with tires that I'm being forced to accept one with a tow hitch that costs more. No, there are alternatives. It doesn't take much to google for MS Word alternatives.

Here is my question, if the Free Software Foundation and the open source guys believe so much in having free software on PCs, why not start up a company that only sells PCs and Laptops with free software installed? Why is it the established vendors problem to solve? Begin by launching a fund raising campaign on Kickstarter, find a hardware supplier on Alibaba, and open a web storefront. It's not that hard...

about two weeks ago
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Scientists Capture the Sound Made By a Single Atom

David_Hart Re:forest (100 comments)

If an atom falls in a forest and no one hears it, did it really make a sound?

No... by it's very definition a sound is something that can be heard. According to the article, the vibrations that are made cannot be heard, just measured at some infinitesimal level. Perhaps quantum physics has a different definition of the word sound. But if you expect to hear the pitter patter of little atoms, you, and I, would be sorely disappointed... at least until they figure out how to scale it up to a 10,000 watt quantum sound system.... (grin)

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

David_Hart Re:iPad as verb, Apple, mission accomplished (405 comments)

Let me Google that

Hand me some Kleenex

Clorox will take that out

I need to make a Xerox copy

My show's are TiVoed

FedEx it

Velcro will hold that together

Stuck at my desk on my PC

Walking around with my iPad

I bought a pair of Dockers and a pair of Levis. Oh, and no one wears Polos any more...

Can I have a Coke?

Yes, there are many examples of brands that define a category of things and are used as a shortcut to get concepts across. However, somehow I don't think that the announcers were using iPad in the generic term. I might be in the minority, but my opinion is that they actually thought that the coaches were using Apple devices.

about two weeks ago
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Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them iPads

David_Hart Re:football can cause brain damage (405 comments)

USB port? Why is that important? I don't carry mice, keyboards or even thumbdrives. USB is the new Floppy. About the ONLY thing I use USB for these days is charging my peripherals. Wireless (Bluetooth, WI-FI) are much more important features to have, and quite honestly, are ubiquitous on devices. Heck properly configured Projector uses Ethernet for displaying, no Display Port dongle needed.

Obviously you do not travel much or you take your laptop with you when you do. I only take my tablet and use it to back up my photos to USB sticks and watch video (Micro-SD cards) on the airplane. I agree that Bluetooth is better for connecting mice and keyboards. However, USB sticks are much more useful and universal for transferring data.

What's more telling is that every tablet vendor that does not have built-in USB ports have USB adapters. The only reason why they don't include a USB port (likely a 25 cent part) in their tablets is because they realize that they can make more money on selling the peripherals.

In the same theme, having a micro-HDMI or DisplayPort is a must have for me as well. I use it to hook up to TVs when on vacation to watch movies.

about two weeks ago
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AT&T Says 10Mbps Is Too Fast For "Broadband," 4Mbps Is Enough

David_Hart Re:Seriously? (533 comments)

F your ISPs in the US and F your corrupted "FCC"

I agree, but not because of this particular issue. No matter what the FCC calls it or what the rates are set at we still have the same problem: Collusion among the ISPs to ensure that they have monopolies with little to no requirement to roll-out new infrastructure and increase services. This is just a smokscreen for the FCC not doing their jobs and taking care of the big stuff...

Until this is fixed all they are doing is arguing over whether the last peanut butter chocolate chip cookie in the cookie jar is peanut butter cookie or a chocolate chip cookie when what we really need is more milk...

about two weeks ago
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Deadmau5 Accuses Disney of Pirating His Music

David_Hart Mickey Mouse should be in Public Domain... (137 comments)

While I understand the similarity to the Mickey ears, people are highly unlikely to confuse this guy with Mickey Mouse or with Disney.

That being said, Mickey Mouse should be in the public domain by now. Disney keeps "donating" to enough politicians that every time their copyright is about to expire they extend it. Copyright law was originally designed to give a company the opportunity to earn a profit on their creation but the tradeoff was that the works would become public. It was balanced such that companies were forced to innovate. Now we have lifetime monopolies that can last several generations....

about two weeks ago
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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

David_Hart Re:Seriously? (145 comments)

Too damn hard? I don't even know how to begin to reply to that.

My wife doesn't want to switch our ISP because her main e-mail address uses that at the domain name, and maybe a thousand friends, business contacts, and acquaintances have it as her contact info.

Yes, she could change to a gmail account, and after a while the people who need to contact her would change the address in their address books. Eventually. Most of them.

* (She's a freelancer. In general, when they fail to get in contact with a freelancer, customers usually just go to a different one rather than bother to spend the time to look up the new address.)

Easy to fix...
- Set up a new domain and email address for her.
- Configure the old email to forward to the new one.
- Keep the old email for a year or two.
- Have her send out new business cards and an email change notice to all clients, add a vCard .vcf attachment to make it easy to add to contacts
- Use the new email address to send all replies and to remind customers to update their contact lists if they send to the old address.

Eventually all active clients will have the new email address. It takes time, but it does work....

about three weeks ago
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How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

David_Hart Re:RPN FTW (359 comments)

I bought my HP48SX in 1990. I wish they still made them, because I've finally worn out some of the buttons. QQ

I tried whatever "spiritual successor" to the HP48 model came out in the early 2000s. It might have been the HP49? That thing sucked donkey balls, and I returned it because my 48SX was still better.

Aside from RPN, the most important feature for a calculator is how the buttons feel. I'm not interested in squishy keys. I want pop. Can anyone tell me how the HP50 series compares to the HP48 in that regard?

I received a free HP48G as an award for having one of the top 10 grades for first year university students in the CS program at our university. I loved it because it was programmable, had a stack so you could mimic stack operations in a computer, was great for solving statistics problems, and I could play pac-man on it... (grin).

I hung on to it for a few years after university, but never found another use for it. I eventually sold it on eBay. The person who bought it was very happy as theirs had died and the HP48 was becoming hard to find, even in the used market.

about three weeks ago
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The Frustrations of Supporting Users In Remote Offices

David_Hart Re:Patience is the key (129 comments)

For me it's important to keep in mind, I get paid the same regardless, so it's not worth getting twisted up about it. Communicate slowly and clearly, use simple instructions, ask politely for feedback (what do you see on your screen now?) and you'll eventually get there. Unless your remote user is trying to defuse a bomb, how long this takes probably doesn't matter much in the long run. So relax.

Once, at 3AM or so, modem out of commission, no way to log in, I talked an operator through editing a backup script that another admin had broken. (Made a change, didn't test it.) It took a long time, but we got it done and I didn't have to drive in. In his favor, the operator was excellent at following instructions and telling me what exactly he was seeing on the screen.

In some ways I got lucky. One of my first jobs was supporting point-of-sale systems and pump controllers at 100 gas stations, about 30% were 24-hour. There is nothing like walking a minimum wage cashier through resetting a pump controller and being woken up at 3:00am in the morning as trucks are lining up and they can't pump gas... If you have the patience to do that, you can support just about anything...

It taught me how to be patient, professional, to ask all kinds of questions, and to pay attention to any and all details that are provided. It also taught me how to put myself in the place of the person on the other end of the phone and how to calm them down.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Sony Cuts PS2 Price By 23%, PS3 untouched

David_Hart David_Hart writes  |  more than 5 years ago

David_Hart (1184661) writes "Sony is reducing the price of the PS2 by 23%, from $129 to $99. The price of the PS3 remains untouched, despite an anticipated $100 price reduction. Analysts now expect the price of the PS3 to be reduced in the next 60 days."
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