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NASA Study Proposes Airships, Cloud Cities For Venus Exploration

MaWeiTao Re:As with all space missions: (200 comments)

I really don't understand what the hell you're talking about. Every time I've ever heard the flat earth myth brought up it's been by people trying to discredit religion, to remind us of how oppressive and stupid the Church was during the Middle Ages.

about two weeks ago
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Why Elon Musk's Batteries Frighten Electric Companies

MaWeiTao Re: Are they really that scared? (461 comments)

In my state, and I assume many others, it's illegal to cut off utilities like gas and electricity for lapsed payment. From what I've seen, it even takes a while before power gets cut to vacant homes.

about three weeks ago
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The Sony Pictures Hack Was Even Worse Than Everyone Thought

MaWeiTao Some perspective. (528 comments)

Wasn't Lockheed hacked a couple of years back? My understanding is that quite a good amount of data regarding a variety of weapons systems, including data on the F-35, was stolen. I don't know how the volume of data stolen compares, but it seems to me like a far more significant hack than stealing a bunch of shitty film scripts and some employee data.

about three weeks ago
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Obama's Immigration Order To Give Tech Industry Some, Leave 'Em Wanting More

MaWeiTao Re:I bet Infosys and Tata are dancing in the stree (186 comments)

I'm curious to know what countries you're talking about considering that the United States has some of the least restrictive immigration policies on Earth. Furthermore, east Asian nations (Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) would contradict your claims as they've got highly restrictive policies and enjoy extremely low unemployment. Hell, it was less than 15 years ago that Taiwan even allowed foreigners to sign up with a mobile phone plan under their own name. Japan, with a long stagnant economy, is at 3.8% unemployment, Taiwan is at 4% and South Korea is at about 3%.

There are significant benefits to immigration, but those are felt in the long term. Immigrants offer a diversity of ideas and talent for the host country. That, however, doesn't mean that every random individual who tries to enter this country deserves to be here.

about a month ago
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Elite: Dangerous Dumps Offline Single-Player

MaWeiTao Re:Real investments come with guidance (473 comments)

In fact, investors typically have a hand in critical decisions like these. When that company decides they need to change their business model or alter some fundamental aspect of their core product they have to get buy in from the board. They make a case for what they want but it's up to the board to give the go ahead.

Now, you could argue that thousands of Kickstarter backers don't equate to a board of investors comprising maybe 8 guys. But en masse it's essentially the same thing. If the argument is that Kickstarter backers aren't investors then the acknowledgement is that Kickstarter is basically a glorified pre-order.

I suppose people should know better by now. But changing things up this late in the game does feel very much like bait-and-switch.

about a month ago
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President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

MaWeiTao Skeptical. (706 comments)

Given that Comcast's CEO has golfed with President Obama, he's attended private fund raisers held by other Comcast executives and they, along with Time Warner, have donated heavily to Democrats I find this all very interesting. Is he pandering to certain constituencies by taking on something he knows for a fact is a losing battle? Or are broadband as a utility something ISPs actually want?

Superficially it sounds good, but you don't have to look very far to see that it's fraught with risks. I can't say my experiences with utilities is a positive one. They hold a legal monopoly even more entrenched than what Optimum or AT&T enjoy in my area. Ignoring weird resellers a single company supplies electricity in my area. The same goes for natural gas, and in their case there are no resellers.

Those utilities have to get approval from the state in order to raise rates, but I've yet to see a rate hike get rejected. Even if they have to negotiate a smaller increase, they still get something which translates to a few extra dollars on my monthly bill. If I'm not happy with that increase my only choice is to use less electricity or move out of state.

I wonder if like electricity, where we suffer some of the highest rates in the country, if broadband would be comparatively expensive. Also, how would we be billed, by the MB like we pay now for kWh? I can't imagine that being cheaper or better that what we've got now.

But hey, I could be wrong. It's difficult to trust anything the government proposes nowadays when there are always monied interests involved.

about a month and a half ago
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Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

MaWeiTao Looks promising. (135 comments)

I can always rely on Slashdot to crap on anything Microsoft does, even when it's actually a good product. Not that it's unique to this site, but at least others have the decency to just not bother mentioning it at all. Early reports already indicate that the Band is a hit; it's sold out online and apparently people have seen lines in the stores. That one is a first as every Microsoft store I've ever seen has been a ghost town.

Anyway, as a fitness band Microsoft's implementation seems to get the essentials right. It's packed full of features, works with all mobile platforms, and everything seems integrated quite nicely. That's a far cry from anything else currently on the market. It looks like it's obsoleted the more expensive FitBit Surge before it even hits the market.

I guess we'll see how it stacks up against the Apple Watch and Android's various smartwatches. They definitely offer a lot more utility, but they're also more expensive and relatively bulky. At this point I also think they suffer from being a solution in search of a problem. The utility of a fitness band is a bit more clearly defined.

I think the question here will be how much of a niche Microsoft manages to carve for itself. I expect the Apple Watch will be a big success no matter what, if for no other reason than because it's Apple and they're playing up the luxury angle. You can't really underestimate how irrational consumers get with luxury products. On the other hand, I don't really see people wearing those watches while exercising and that's where Microsoft could make inroads.

about 2 months ago
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Hungary's Plans For Internet Tax On Hold After Protests

MaWeiTao Re:Do any of us know how much we really use? (48 comments)

He might indeed be a stupid hick, but imposing taxes on every little thing is not something right-wingers typically do. That's primarily the purview of left-wing "progressives".

Europe, or the rest of the world for that matter, doesn't share the all-or-nothing approach of American politics. Over there it's typical for political parties and politicians to be staunchly conservative on some policies and hard-left socialist on others.

about 2 months ago
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Apple A8X IPad Air 2 Processor Packs Triple-Core CPU, Hefty Graphics Punch

MaWeiTao Re:Let's shit all over the customers (130 comments)

I upgraded my iPad 2 to iOS 8.1. There are occasional glitches and some things seem to take slightly longer to respond, but all in all it's not too bad.

Safari, unfortunately, is next to useless if you're using more than a single tab. Crashes don't seem quite as frequent as they were in iOS 7, but switch back to the other tab and the page reloads, every single time. I've switched to Chrome because this was getting too frustrating.

One interesting thing is how there is some framerate drop in transitions and overall things don't feel as snappy as they used to. Sometimes you do something, in settings, and it just sits there with no indication that it's working. It's something I've observed even on the iPad Air, although it's obviously less prevalent. I find it ironic considering Apple devotes have long been critical of the same thing in Android. In fact, in terms of overall performance my iPad 2 feels a bit like old Android devices. Serviceable, but not great.

about 2 months ago
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Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own

MaWeiTao Re:The Windows Phone failed. (172 comments)

It seems you're living in the UK. Windows Phone has had more success there than in the US. American consumers are fairly close-minded; they, by and large, follow the herd and refuse to consider alternatives. Android is gaining traction, but I still come across people who chose that platform only grudgingly; they prefer the iPhone but aren't willing to pay the premium to get one. They're painfully ignorant of other platforms, as evidenced by all the fanfare over ApplePay and the way people talk like Apple has invented NFC payments.

The problems for Windows Phone are exacerbated by atrocious retail and carrier support. Microsoft talks extensively about partnerships but carriers do little to promote the platform and most retailers don't care their phones at all. The only place you'll find them are carrier stories and there employees, either due to ignorance or pressure from management, actively steer consumers way from Windows Phone.

about 2 months ago
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Navy Tests Unpowered Exoskeleton

MaWeiTao Looks familiar... (79 comments)

Conceptually, it seems similar to the kinds of rigs the movie industry uses to support cameras. I'm a bit surprised they haven't done this sooner considering I don't see anything here that's particularly exotic.

about 2 months ago
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The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

MaWeiTao Re:Ebola threat (478 comments)

Just because socialized healthcare doesn't exist at a national level doesn't mean it doesn't exist at all. At the state level there are tons of programs for the poor that pretty much guarantee that all healthcare is free.

about 3 months ago
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Outsourced Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Being Automated

MaWeiTao Re: Monitoring software (236 comments)

It looks to me like that was the best possible outcome. Too many people have an all-or-nothing mentality which, in this case, would have resulted in the work all being outsourced. In other cases the company just goes out of business, period.

about 3 months ago
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Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista

MaWeiTao Re:YOU'RE AN IDIOT (554 comments)

I noticed performance improvements upgrading from Vista to Windows 8. I can't say the same about OSX or iOS.

about 3 months ago
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Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista

MaWeiTao Re:Hardware isn't Progressing (554 comments)

Not to be pedantic, but I'm almost positive plastic pistons are not used in F1. They wouldn't be able to withstand neither the heat nor the forces. They do incorporate special designs to allow the engines to operate high RPMs. The valves, for example, don't have springs, they're pneumatic. With springs they'd be subject to valve flutter.

The days of 18k RPM are over. Maximum is about 15k RPM but the cars shift at 10k to 11k.

about 3 months ago
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Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista

MaWeiTao Re:tell my 2008 Mac . latest for $35 (554 comments)

You must have gotten your Mac right on the cusp where they went fully 64-bit. Or maybe it's a Mac Pro? I got my iMac at about the same time and I'm stuck 2 versions behind now.

about 3 months ago
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Lost Opportunity? Windows 10 Has the Same Minimum PC Requirements As Vista

MaWeiTao Re:Buy a Mac (554 comments)

My iMac is stuck at 10.7 despite being a 64-bit Intel machine. Some random component inside that machine, related to the BIOS if I remember correctly, is not 64-bit and so I'm locked out of future updates. It sucks, but then OSX and specifically browser performance has degraded with every update. I have a PC that's about the same age, maybe a bit older, running Windows 8.1 flawlessly.

about 3 months ago
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California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

MaWeiTao Re:Oh yes, we were (115 comments)

It's not really surprising at all considering that this reality is demonstrated in Europe and Asia on a daily basis. Once you accept that the government is responsible for the overarching welfare of society it's natural that they would adopt an authoritarian stance and intervene in corporate and economic affairs, all for the greater good.

That both ends of the political spectrum end up adopting similar approaches is probably inevitable. It may violate the original ideology, but bureaucracy makes it inevitable that both sides adopt the same strategy. It's how they market themselves that varies, but what they want is to secure their power base. That their decisions may or may not benefit the people is a side effect.

about 3 months ago
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Users Report Warping of Apple's iPhone 6 Plus

MaWeiTao Re:Third option (421 comments)

Too late... I saw it mentioned on one of the popular morning shows today.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Maker Mojang For $2.5 Billion

MaWeiTao Re:The big question is 'why' ? (330 comments)

I'm not sure what rock you've been living under if you believe Minecraft is last week's news. I might have thought so too until I started noticing that kids are more into Minecraft than at any point in the past. I think the cultural impact of that game has thus far been underestimated.

Outside of Farmville, Candy Crush and that class of social games I've never seen a game cross gender lines like Minecraft. I can't recall every seeing a game with such widespread, universal appeal, period. Super Mario Bros doesn't even come close. Walk through any store with a Minecraft book or toy in hand and you'll have a half-dozen kids comment on it. Every boy I've met under 14 plays the game and seems to do so on a regular basis.

It's possible Minecraft is peaking, but I personally think this is uncharted territory for any game. It's on the level of a Facebook in it's ubiquity. Someone will eventually unseat both, but it won't be easy. In the meantime there's so much that can be added to Minecraft to sustain that popularity, and significant updates still come on a regular basis.

Not that Microsoft couldn't kill the game by sticking everything behind pay walls but hopefully they'll be smarter than that.

about 3 months ago

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