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Malcolm Gladwell On Culture and Airplane Crashes

QuantumFlux Re:but, back to root cause (423 comments)

It's actually the other way around: autoland is typically only used in extremely low visibility (typically bad weather) situations. In most cases, a pilot can land a plane more accurately and smoothly as the human, visually, can account for far more external variables than the autopilot computer.

Just not in this case, apparently...

about a year ago
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FAA Wants All Aircraft Flying On Unleaded Fuel By 2018

QuantumFlux Re:Example: Rotax 912 (366 comments)

Actually, the Rotax 912/914 series are approved to run on up to 10% ethanol. Probably could run them higher, but that's the official number. And in fact, even though they can run on 100LL, the manufacturer advises against it due to issues with plug fowling, etc.

about a year ago
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Ask Nathan Myhrvold What You Will, Live Q&A April 3

QuantumFlux Will you try something neither evil nor douche-y? (124 comments)

As a patent troll, you are both evil and a douche. As a "molecular gastronomist," you're just a douche. Do you have any plans to put your efforts toward something neither douche-y nor evil? Bill Gates has, isn't it your turn?

about a year ago
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The Worst Job At Google: a Year of Watching Terrible Things On the Internet

QuantumFlux Re:Another tough job (535 comments)

They really don't have to watch all day -- a couple of hours probably provides an entire week's worth of material!

about 2 years ago
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Why We Don't Need Gigabit Networks (Yet)

QuantumFlux Copper limited bandwidth (359 comments)

When I was working on large farms of big iron (SGI, Sun, IBM systems) we regularly found that GigE over copper couldn't do much better than 400-500 Mbit/s. These were enterprise-class NICs, not cheap-o home gear. Switching to fiber got us much much closer to theoretical max.

When is fiber going to finally be available/affordable for the home market? I think that will make the biggest difference...

more than 2 years ago
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.NET Gadgeteer — Microsoft's Arduino Killer?

QuantumFlux Re:Nope (241 comments)

I think this could potentially do well in schools, where Microsoft may offer good deals on large purchases. Kids don't care about the whole MS vs FOSS debate -- well, maybe then nerdy kids but they're probably doing their own Arduino development anyway. For the rest, it's a good intro to programming/developing beyond the standard web/Flash-based crap that kids learn these days.

about 3 years ago
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Are Bad Economic Times Good for Free Software?

QuantumFlux Re:Apple proves the proposition false ... (357 comments)

That popularity may be due to Apple's higher (perceived) build quality. If you're going to sink money into a computer or any other large purchase, would you rather buy something you think will last a few years or something cheap, built with cheap parts, that will probably break quickly and cause other headaches?

I think if/when the economy gets REALLY bad, the balance will tilt toward the cheaper end, but for now, people want the most bang for their decreasingly available buck...

about 3 years ago
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Microsoft's SkyDrive Drops Silverlight

QuantumFlux Re:MS hate (358 comments)

And by the way, IT changes fast in general, no developer can honestly expect to code in the same language from college to retirement.

You've obviously never worked in the scientific community -- where Fortran 77 is still going strong, some three+ decades later.

more than 2 years ago
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Hard-to-Read Fonts Improve Learning

QuantumFlux Explains LaTeX (175 comments)

This totally explains why academics love the shit text that comes out of LaTeX (not the layout; it's fine -- I'm talking about that awful default font).

more than 3 years ago
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Big Brother In the School Cafeteria?

QuantumFlux Re:i hate big brother but... (425 comments)

Don't these children know their 7-digit home phone numbers?

Nope, they just scroll to "Mom" in the Contact List of their cell phones. These *are* 5 year olds; they might not be able to tie their shoes yet but they're not savages!

more than 3 years ago
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Why Apple Doesn't Market Squarely To Businesses

QuantumFlux Re:Support (510 comments)

Things like releasing a $3000 workstation then 3 years later releasing an OS update that doesn't support it don't fly well in enterprise environments.

Almost every business I've worked for keeps workstations around only as long as their warranties before they're surplussed. Given that AppleCare is 3 years, it might not make such a difference.

more than 4 years ago
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Apple's Grand Central Dispatch Ported To FreeBSD

QuantumFlux GCD also replaces most synchronization / locking (205 comments)

The other often-overlooked advantage of GCD is that submitting work to a queue is thread-safe, queues themselves are lightweight, and queues can be made internally-serial but parallel to all other queues. Apple's documentation has a lot of good examples of how to use this structure to eliminate almost all locking code (which is usually pretty heavyweight). If you need to serialize access to a resource, just create a serial queue and any other queue can send tasks to it without worrying about any synchronization.

As someone who's struggled with performance from trying to determine how fine-grained to make locks, this seems like an awesome approach.

more than 4 years ago
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CSIRO Settles With Tech Giants Over WiFi Patent Spat

QuantumFlux Slashdot Hypocrisy (92 comments)

If this were a private, for-profit company that was fighting for IP rights, Slashdotters would be up in arms defending those wanting to use the tech with arguments of Free-as-in-Speech, good-of-humanity, etc. But when it's a non-profit research organization doing exactly the same thing, Slashdotters rush to defend them.

Are the ideals here really about freedom and liberty or just thinly-veiled anti-corporatism?

more than 5 years ago
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Fraud Threat Halts Knuth's Hexadecimal-Dollar Checks

QuantumFlux People will still look for the errors (323 comments)

If no one is cashing the cheques anyway, why bother with a cheque? Knuth could just create signed certificates and geeks will still scramble to get them. The guy is famous enough now that there's no need for any monetary incentive...

more than 5 years ago
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Users Rage Over Missing FireWire On New MacBooks

QuantumFlux Some application-specific FireWire-USB possible (820 comments)

You know, it's obvious there's no magic converter to go from USB to Firewire in all possible configurations, but it doesn't mean you couldn't make application-specific dongles.

Potential cases:

- you could have a small microcontroller convert SBP-2 (the Firewire disk protocol) to USB Mass Storage class and vice versa

- you could have a small microcontroller read a DV stream and pump out a UVC (USB Video Class) stream

Seems like there's suddenly a market for such things that didn't exist before; and a shitton of potential money to be made...

more than 5 years ago

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