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Cisco and iRobot Create Sheldonbot-Like Telepresence System

Fred Ferrigno Re:iRobU (123 comments)

A show about factor workers would have those factory workers performing different hijinks at work. There would be different guest stars, but there'd still be guest stars. Different ingredients, same formula. And if you pay attention, many of the jokes only use science references as window dressing, when the real punchline is often something like Raj's inadvertent gay innuendo.

The Big Bang Theory is one of the highest rated shows. It is not a niche show that only appeals to intellectuals because of its sophisticated humor. It is a mass-market show that tries harder than you realize to appeal to a broad base.

about a year ago
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Hackers Spawn Web Supercomputer On Way To Chess World Record

Fred Ferrigno It's still unethical (130 comments)

Whenever you visit any web page with Javascript enabled, you are inherently agreeing to execute some code on your system.

Just because you tricked the user into running your code doesn't mean it's OK to do whatever you want with their system. Users would never agree to run such code if they knew what it did ahead of time. If your software relies on lazy users who don't understand what they're agreeing to, then congratulations, you're a malware author.

about a year ago
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Could Bitcoin Go Legit?

Fred Ferrigno Re:Offshore (300 comments)

If that's your definition, though, the real question is "why is legitimacy necessary?"

If they want, the US government can make exchanging dollars for Bitcoins in significant quantities very hard. They can also prevent law-abiding US-based businesses from accepting Bitcoins in exchange for goods and services. The utility of Bitcoins would be severely limited for most Americans.

What will happen is probably what has already happened to other areas that have been persecuted by the US government at the behest of incumbent industries: they'll just move off-shore.

Look at what happened to online poker. The US didn't stop it entirely, but they effectively cut off the American customer base by cutting transfers from US banks. It's to the point that Antigua filed a WTO complaint against the US and won the right to ignore US copyrights as retaliation.

about a year ago
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Will Legitimacy Spoil Bitcoin?

Fred Ferrigno Re:Transactional Currency, not Safe Haven Storage (490 comments)

However, mined Bitcoins required Electricity and Hardware, very real assets to produce -- it is unlikely that large miners will be willing to release their BTC for a price significantly lower than the cost they incurred to generate the BTC

The cost/difficulty of mining is not constant, but adjusts in response to the number of nodes mining at any given moment. If the value of Bitcoins go down and people stop mining, the network responds by making it easier to mine so people start mining again. That way, Bitcoins are created at a predictable rate, whether Bitcoins are valued at $100 or $0.01. The price floor effect you're talking about won't happen.

about a year and a half ago
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Apple's iWatch Could Come With IOS, Earn $6 Billion a Year

Fred Ferrigno Re:Rewriting history (327 comments)

It was "totally new" in terms of being the first commercially viable product of its kind. There were flash-based players that held a few songs, laptop-drive based players that held more music but were not pocketable, and even MP3-capable CD players with the same problem.

The point is that you have to remember to compare those devices with the iPod of the same era, which was the 1G. And the 1G wasn't that much better, especially when you take the price into account. I think people have a tendency to recall what the iPod later became, not what it was at launch.

they were just the first practical ones for the mass market so they get the gold star.

The 1G didn't achieve mass-market success. It was a very expensive product that couldn't work with 98% of computers.

about a year and a half ago
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Google Looks To Cut Funds To Illegal Sites

Fred Ferrigno Re:One word: Bitcoin (347 comments)

Whatever currency your money is denominated in, at some point you have to transfer it out of a bank account regulated by the government to an entity that is not regulated by the government.

about a year and a half ago
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No Transmitting Aliens Detected In Kepler SETI Search

Fred Ferrigno Re:Is there any reason.... (197 comments)

The tighter they are, the less likely you are to be in the path of the transmission. Plus, the Earth is a moving target, so you might only cross the path of the transmission for an instant... while your antenna is pointed in the wrong direction.

about a year and a half ago
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The Top Paying Tech Companies For Interns

Fred Ferrigno Re:It's what you learn, not earn. (133 comments)

Did you look at the list? They're the same top companies from every list of tech companies: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. They're not looking for mindless grunts. They're all very aggressive about recruiting top talent, which often leads to them competing against each other. The wages reflect that.

about a year and a half ago
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The Top Paying Tech Companies For Interns

Fred Ferrigno Re:should be apprenticeships not tied to being in (133 comments)

should be apprenticeships not tied to being in school and being in a tech / trades / Community College should not lock you out.

The standards for interns are lower because they're not done with school yet. If you're not in school, you'd be expected to apply as a regular employee and already have skills comparable to someone with a degree. Theoretically, you can do this without a degree from a top university, but in practice recruiters use the university as a first line filter, particularly if you have no experience.

And if they are full time jobs then forcing some one to be in school with the college time tables does not really work.

Internships are usually in the summer when students wouldn't be in school anyway. There are some longer co-op programs where you take time off from classes but still remain enrolled and even get credit for working. Considering tech internships tend to pay better than a summer job and greatly improve your chances of getting hired after graduation, you'd be stupid not to do it if you can.

about a year and a half ago
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As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow To a Trickle

Fred Ferrigno Re:Demand More (665 comments)

The fact that she's making chicken scratch is a price signal indicating that the world has more cellists than it realistically needs or wants. If more of them would quit and seek more profitable employment, the ones who are left would make more money.

about a year and a half ago
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Accessorize Your Phone With Another Phone

Fred Ferrigno Re:Yer Doing it Wrong (171 comments)

Seriously, some folks are so gadget happy with their oohh-aaahh features on their phones that they forget why they bought it.

I think you're confused about why they bought it. We call them "smartphones" but their primary purpose these days is browsing the web, not making phone calls.

about a year and a half ago
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Accessorize Your Phone With Another Phone

Fred Ferrigno Re:It's backwards (171 comments)

It's just a matter of which device is the one you use most and carry with you all the time and which device is the optional accessory you only carry when you need it. We call them "smartphones" but increasingly they're portable computers that are only occasionally used to make phone calls.

If you spend most of your time browsing the web and watching cat videos, it makes sense to put the connection in the device so you don't have to carry around a hotspot too. Then you have a Bluetooth headset -- which is basically what the HTC Mini is -- for those infrequent occasions when you need to have a long phone conversation. If you're not expecting any calls, you leave the headset at home.

about a year and a half ago
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Accessorize Your Phone With Another Phone

Fred Ferrigno Re:The biggest problem with Smart Phones seems to (171 comments)

It only uses NFC to initialize the connection. After that, it uses Bluetooth. It shouldn't be any more or less of a drain on your battery than a Bluetooth headset.

about a year and a half ago
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Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide

Fred Ferrigno This has deeper roots than the court case (589 comments)

He very clearly struggled with depression for a long time. After he got fired from Wired, he made a blog post about someone committing suicide. He changed the person's name to "Alex" later, but it said Aaron when he wrote it. His friends took this to be a suicide note and called the cops to intervene. Afterwards, he denied that it was a suicide note, but admitted he wasn't in a good state of mind at the time.

He also posted an online 'will' of sorts back in 2002 when he was only 16. For a 16 year old kid to be making such concrete plans in case of his death speaks to his own expectations about his life.

about a year and a half ago
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Chinese Smartphone Invasion Begins

Fred Ferrigno Re:Nope (181 comments)

I just got a Nexus 4 and signed up for a $30/month plan with T-Mobile. It comes with 100 minutes and a soft cap of 5gb at 4G speeds. I use my phone more as a portable computer than a phone, so the low minutes are fine by me. For long calls, I use Google Voice for free with GrooVeIP.

The two year cost including the phone is $300 + $30*24 = $1020. A high-end phone with 5gb of 4G data on contract with one of the other carriers would be about twice that.

about a year and a half ago
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Death of Printed Books May Have Been Exaggerated

Fred Ferrigno Re:An e-book is not a book. (465 comments)

E-books will never replace the feeling of nostalgia from my childhood.

And kids growing up today will have nostalgia for the iPads of their childhood.

about a year and a half ago
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Ouya Consoles Will Start Shipping On December 28th

Fred Ferrigno Re:Suck it down (121 comments)

People forget what the first generation iPod was like. It wasn't the instant hit that Apple is now know for. It was clunky, expensive, and Mac only. It was only in later generations that Apple improved the design, cut the price, and sold a lot of units.

about 2 years ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

Fred Ferrigno It is based on the experience in Canada and the UK (943 comments)

The idea that people hold more dollar coins than dollar bills is based on what happened in Canada and the UK when they replaced their lowest denomination bills with coins. Those countries wound up issuing 1.6 coins for every 1 bill that had been in circulation.

The GAO is predicting that the rate in the US will be about 1.5 coins for every bill.

about 2 years ago
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UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

Fred Ferrigno Re:read what you cut and paste (783 comments)

His wife, who was a Christian, would rather he hadn't said that, but he did. And even aside from that particular line, he repeatedly and explicitly says that he no longer believes in Christianity, denying both the Old Testament and New Testament. There is no need for debate about what he might have believed. He speaks for himself.

about 2 years ago
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UK Government Mandates the Teaching of Evolution As Scientific Fact

Fred Ferrigno Darwin on Christianity: "damnable doctrine" (783 comments)

During these two years [October 1836 to January 1839], I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the noveltry of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished, -- is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, would he permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c, as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament. This appeared to me utterly incredible.

By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is suppoted, -- that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become, -- that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us, -- that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneous with the events, -- that they differ in many important details, far too important as it seemed to me to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; -- by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least noveltry or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight on me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can hardly be denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.

But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; -- I feel sure of this for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeji or elsewhere which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the Gospels. But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlasting punished.

And this is a damnable doctrine.

(source)

He did count himself a theist as he believed in the necessity of a First Cause:

Another source of conviction in the existance of God connected with the reason and not the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capability of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look at a first cause having an intelliegent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a theist.

But it seems his preferred term was Agnostic, with a capital A:

I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble to us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.

about 2 years ago

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