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Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling

Dusty101 Re:Thanks (398 comments)

Web browsing is very busty.

Um... I think that very much depends on which particular pr0n websites the user chooses to frequent...

about 2 months ago

What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

Dusty101 Re:Linux Blu-Ray rip (152 comments)

What have you got against his children? Did they beat you up or something?

about 2 months ago

Favorite "Go!" Phrase?

Dusty101 "Atomic Batteries to power" scores double... (701 comments)

I voted for this, as it's the first one that I thought of before seeing the lists, and it's actually a geek double: not only was it coined for the Adam West "Batman" series, but it also pops up as part of the cockpit pre-launch sequence for the fighters in "Wing Cmmander III".

I remember having a grin a mile wide the first time I saw that in the game...

about 2 months ago

How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

Dusty101 Re:Good. (1037 comments)

Free Will is one of the gifts of being human: The ability to chose how to live your life.

It is a gift because other higher and lower life forms don't have it.

Clearly, you've never owned a cat...

about 5 months ago

Movie and TV GUIs: Cracking the Code

Dusty101 Iron Man's HUD GUI & Snake Plissken's glider (74 comments)

It's been a while since I watched it, but I recall that one of the DVD extras for the first "Iron Man" movie is on the GUI design of the HUDs for the suits. The designers apparently thought quite a bit about the specific HCI issues that might arise for such a usage situation (essentially like a fighter plane, but with more stuff), and so there are nested menus that radiate out from the lower left when the user's attention focuses on that part of the display, without obscuring the full field of view, etc.

The different GUI colour schemes used between the various suits was also considered, although narrative clarity and style were (sensibly) prioritized above functionality in this respect, I think.


Potentially wandering off topic (but sticking with fictional movie aircraft instrumentation):

One of my favourite special effects stories is that back when "Escape from New York" was being made, it was too difficult/expensive to do the computerized 3D wire-frame rendering of Manhattan digitally that was to be displayed on Snake Plissken's glider, so they just made black miniature models of the buildings with gridlines painted on them, and then "flew" a camera over them to get the footage that ended up being displayed on the screen. Back in those days, practical effects based on painted wood were still cheaper than CGI!

See (e.g.)

about 6 months ago

Biological Clock Discovered That Measures Ages of Most Human Tissues

Dusty101 Time travelers (70 comments)

Ha! Now I can *prove* that I'm the one that's supposed to be here! They can now confidently set me free and lock up that other guy.

In your (my) face, Future-Me!

about a year ago

TV Programmers Seek the Elusive Dog Market

Dusty101 My dog chased dinosaurs... (199 comments)

Yup, I've seen this as well.

We had a King Charles spaniel that used to jump up at the screen and bark whenever there was horse racing (flat racing) on the TV.

Even funnier, though, was that he was a *big* fan of "Walking With Dinosaurs" - he used to get very aggressive, bark, & try to face down the dinosaurs on the TV. I always thought that it was a real testament to the computer animation on that show that it could trick him into thinking they were realistically moving animals.

about a year ago

Windows 8 Passes Vista, Hits 5.1% Market Share

Dusty101 Obligatory Eric Frank Russell quote (285 comments)

"For months we have been making triumphant retreats before a demoralized enemy who is advancing in utter disorder." - E. F. Russell

about a year ago

Apple Files Trademark For "iWatch" In Japan

Dusty101 Re:Lets Speculate (82 comments)

A touch control with buttons can work quite well.

I have a Garmin sports watch that has the usual complement of buttons, but also makes use of the round bezel (not the screen, mind) in a similar way to a 5th-generation iPod: sliding the finger one way scrolls down the menus, sliding it the other scrolls up. Touching it in two places simultaneously toggles the backlight. It locks/unlocks by pressing two of the buttons together, so accidental selections are avoided. It works rather well, actually.

about a year ago

I'd most rather, of the following, search with:

Dusty101 Re:Overlord Search - We've got it all. (277 comments)

What the heck is Red Mercury, for example?

It sounds like a sci-fi novel from around 1952...

about a year ago

Telescopic Contact Lens With Switchable Magnification To Help AMD Patients

Dusty101 Yes but... (68 comments)

... does it make The Noise from "The Six Million Dollar Man" when it zooms in?

about a year ago

Reject DRM and You Risk Walling Off Parts of the Web, Says W3C Chief

Dusty101 Re:DRM itself isn't bad (433 comments)

Thanks for taking the time to post a reasoned response to my (admittedly rather flippant) comment. I understand the points you're trying to make, but I've heard these arguments before, and with the greatest respect, I think that they're fundamentally flawed.

I do actually mostly just buy the DVDs, as I prefer the flexibility. I also mostly buy games on disk.

Online streaming-based services like Netflix are not much good for people who (for example) frequently travel internationally, as I do. Such services impose artificial regional limitations of the Internet on geopolitical and financial grounds, not technical ones, so I can't watch the videos I'm entitled to whenever I travel (see also: regional coding). I do have an Amazon Prime account (opened for the savings on shipping costs, but it also means I get access to video streaming), and it'd be a lot more useful to me without any DRM or regional controls.

If I wanted to actually buy videos from these services, I'd end up paying more than just renting them, and I'd still effectively lose them when the authentication servers get switched off. I ran into exactly this sort of problem with a few iTunes music tracks & apps that I bought online back in the day (iTunes in the early days being the textbook example of "DRM done right"). I bought them online, moved to another country, and ran afoul of the DRM.

If I do buy any such things online these days, I now have to very carefully weigh up the fact that in most cases, even if I can travel and use them in some sort of offline mode on a suitably registered device, I'm really just loaning them until someone else suddenly decides that I can't have them any more. Such a consideration has significantly cooled my enthusiasm for any such strings-attached "purchases". I'm not saying I'd never buy games online, but to be honest, I'm much more inclined to spend money on online games purchases *without* DRM. And from a content owner's perspective, that's a win-win: they score both a sale and popularity points with me as a customer, and they don't have to license or operate a DRM system.

Here's the biggest flaw in your argument for DRM, though: it doesn't work.* I could make the oft-repeated point that it's effectively attempting to enforce encryption/obfuscation while still having to supply the key to the very person that is to be prevented from accessing the material, but I think the empirical evidence argument is even more compelling: illicit copies of the content are already everywhere.

I could still watch/burn/distribute from DVDs/Blu-Rays, but I don't do that, because I can afford the disks and think that the producers of the media should get paid for their work. However, because of that honesty, I'm subjected to the stupidity of attempts to impose DRM on the disks (plus annoying nonsense like unskippable menus, self-defeating FBI warnings, etc.). And to add insult to injury, as a legitimate customer, I'm paying more for the inclusion of this nonsense. If I weren't so honest, I could just download the content illegally, and wouldn't have to deal with the DRM at all. I think it's pretty well accepted at this point that DRM-related annoyances like these drive some people to illegal downloading of a copy of the product that is not DRM-encumbered. Making the legitimate customers jump through more hoops than the illegal downloaders is clearly not a sensible way to run a business.

And to answer the question about providing some insurance to the content owners that their stuff won't be illegally copied? In light of my above points, I totally agree that it makes a difference in terms of making the deals between Netflix, et al. and the content owners happen. However, I'd instead argue that DRM is just the snake-oil used by Netflix et al. to loosen the grip of the content owners enough to persuade them to sign their contracts (see Apple and their since-abandoned iTunes Music Store DRM). Netflix, Apple et al. have to be seen to offer DRM as a token gesture to the content owners, but that doesn't mean they're naive enough to believe it'll actually stop illegal copying.

TL;DR: If the Steam, Netflix, etc. model works for you, then great. If the content owning companies genuinely don't want their stuff to be seen by a large number of the rest of us, then that's fine too: they're welcome to stick it behind a paywall which people like me are then free to ignore. However, DRM is a limiting technology, not an enabling one, and consequently has no place being baked into HTML.

* At least, without getting really draconian in terms of baking it in to the silicon, and I'm not buying into any device that does that...

about a year ago

Reject DRM and You Risk Walling Off Parts of the Web, Says W3C Chief

Dusty101 Re:I call your bluff (433 comments)

Mod parent up.

And in the same vein, they need to ditch region coding on DVDs, Blu-Ray disks and optical drives as well.

about a year ago

Reject DRM and You Risk Walling Off Parts of the Web, Says W3C Chief

Dusty101 Re:DRM itself isn't bad (433 comments)

In general terms, Digital Rights Management isn't necessarily a bad thing, and used properly can be very helpful.

With all due respect, I don't think that I can agree with this. I can't think of a single instance ever in which I've thought: "Oh yes! I'll preferentially buy X over Y because it's got DRM with it. Yay!" I don't really think that "DRM done right" actually exists: it's more "DRM just done less obnoxiously than..."

about a year ago

Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Richard Matheson Dead At 87

Dusty101 Re:Why so unknown? (57 comments)

And yes, I just reread the summary and saw that "The Shrinking Man" was already mentioned. Duh. Chalk it up to my enthusiasm for the man's work...

about a year ago

Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Richard Matheson Dead At 87

Dusty101 Re:Why so unknown? (57 comments)

Agreed. I'm actually kind of surprised and saddened that the death of someone as influential in the nerd/geek genres of horror and SF as Richard Matheson hasn't even merited 40 Slashdot posts yet.

As well as "The Twilight Zone" and "I am Legend", he was responsible for (amongst many, many others):

* The Incredible Shrinking Man
* Five Roger Corman /Edgar Allan Poe screenplays
* Hammer's screenplay for "The Devil Rides Out"
* Being a *major* influence on Stephen King (he's credited repeatedly in King's "Danse Macabre").

I guess he was just one of those guys that quietly produced a bunch of iconic, influential work in the background (like Nigel Kneale, but more so). That, and I'm getting old...

about a year ago

NASA Selects 8 New Astronaut Trainees, Including 4 Women

Dusty101 "Riding Rockets" by Mike Mullane (136 comments)

Just a quick book recommendation that addresses (amongst other things) the PhD vs. military tensions during the early period of the space shuttle program:

It also candidly covers some of the pressures of being in the astronaut corps, warts & all. It's also by turns inspiring, tragic, irreverent and very funny, and not at all like many of the officially endorsed astronaut autobiographies. The author became an astronaut via the military track, and describes the mental and sociological adjustments he had to make as an (initially) male chauvinist jock astronaut, training alongside scientists and (shock horror!) women.

Disclaimer: Not affiliated with the author in any way, just a fan of the book.

about a year ago

iPhone Apparently Open To Old Wi-Fi Attack

Dusty101 WiFiFoFun for Jailbroken iPhones & iPads... (90 comments)

... I'd recommend the installation of WiFiFoFum. It's basically like iStumbler for the iPhone, so you can at least see if the local access points are ad-hoc or infrastructure, & other stuff like that. I always run it before connecting my phone/iPad to any public hotspots.

Disclaimer: not connected to the development of this app, just a happy user.

about a year ago

Sony's PS4 To Have Less Stringent DRM Than Microsoft's Xbox One

Dusty101 Re:So this is what it's come to (509 comments)

Wow. That's a pretty damning indictment of the Wii U...

about a year ago



Direct images of another solar system obtained

Dusty101 Dusty101 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dusty101 (765661) writes "An international team of researchers are the first to capture images of three planets circling a star other than the Earth's Sun. The star in question is HR 8799. It is 30 light years from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus and is faintly visible to the naked eye. The images show the presence of three planets larger than Jupiter orbiting the central star."
Link to Original Source

Special effects wizard Stan Winston dead at 62

Dusty101 Dusty101 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Dusty101 (765661) writes "The AP & other sources are reporting the special effects maestro Stan Winston, responsible for many of the physical special effects in films such as "The Terminator", "Jurassic Park" & "Iron Man" died at the age of 62 on Sunday, June 15, 2008, after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma."


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