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NASA Announces Discovery of Salty Water On Mars ... Maybe

agwis Face on Mars (204 comments)

Can't wait for the next round of conspiracy theories! Salty tears from the face on Mars perhaps? Mr. Hoagland?!

about 3 years ago
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Internet Downloading Costs To Rise In Canada

agwis rural Canada (433 comments)

I am sick to death of how horrible the industry is in Canada, and the CRTC is not our friends either. I pay $150 per month for satellite internet as I live in rural Canada and don't have any other options...well dial-up, but I don't consider that an option. When I first heard of Netflix coming to Canada I was excited, but not anymore. I won't be able to use it. That's with a $150 per MONTH plan! This plan I'm on is xplornet's second best offering (Kabang). I recently received information from them about how they control are bandwidth usage, through what they call Fair Access Policy (FAP). Here is an excerpt:

On your service the Fair Access Policy is based on an hourly bandwidth allowance. If you exceed your hourly download or upload allowance, your service will go into “Recovery Mode”. While in Recovery Mode, your speed will be restricted to a maximum of 25% (download) or 50% (upload) of your normal maximum speed.

Recovery Mode will continue for sixty minutes. At the end of sixty minutes, the system will reevaluate your usage over the prior 60 minutes. If that usage is below the hourly allowance, Recovery Mode will end and your speed will no longer be restricted.

I apologize for not formatting this table below in a better fashion. It appears I can't use tables in Slashdot's HTML.

Telesat Service Package Maximum Speeds and Hourly Bandwidth Allowances

Package | Maximum Download Speed | Maximum Upload Speed | Hourly Download Bandwidth Allowance | Hourly Upload Bandwidth Allowance
Kazam | 512 | 128 kbps | 24 MB | 2.4 MB
Basic | 1.0 Mbps | 128 kbps | 55 MB | 5.5 MB
Kazoom | 1.0 Mbps | 256 kbps | 55 MB | 5.5 MB
Kabang | 1.5 Mbps | 300 kbps | 88 MB | 8.8 MB
Kaboom | 2.0 Mbps | 500 kbps | 110 MB | 11 MB

It gets better....

As well, there is an additional policy that affects all customers on your platform. This policy operates only during peak hours (between 8am and 1am local time). During this time, we subject traffic related to applications that are considered non time-sensitive (such as peer-to-peer file sharing, including BitTorrent-type applications, news groups, and online data storage (e.g. Rapidshare) to a peak transfer speed of 3% of the unrestricted maximum speed on your package.

In addition, on March 1st 2011 we will be introducing a dynamic congestion management policy . This dynamic policy will respond to congestion in a part of the network by identifying those users in that part of the network who are consuming the most bandwidth and reducing their speeds to approximately half their maximum speed for a period of 15 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes, if congestion in that part of the network continues to be an issue, the system will once again calculate which users have been consuming the most bandwidth in the prior 15 minutes, and implement the speed restriction on that newly-calculated set of users.

I'm completely disgusted by this whole industry and their price gouging. What's worse, there is no competition really. I can't even tell xplornet to shove it and go elsewhere.

I may respond to future replies of my post here, but you'll have to excuse me for at least an hour or so until I wait out 'Recovery Mode'! ;)

more than 3 years ago
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SETI Is 50 Years Old; No Sign of ET

agwis Large Hadron Collider (454 comments)

Lately I've been thinking that the natural progression of any intelligent life form all follows a very similar path. We all do the stone age, bronze age, industrial age, and whatever you call our current age until someone gets the bright idea to try and recreate the 'big bang'! Eventually, curiosity inevitably compels each race to speculate that they can find their "<insert name here> Boson" by hurling particles at each other at damn near the speed of light! Before every race's top scientists can even say 'oops', those minute little black holes that were 'supposed' to degrade don't...and another giant black hole is born. Some day, some race may have a person like that German woman last week who got her lawsuit thrown out actually win in her bid to stop the experiments. That race will be the first! I'll bet that they will go on to find that black holes aren't actually created from stars collapsing in on themselves but that they are the remnants of yet another civilization whose German high court rejected the bid from the only sane person on that planet that only wanted to exercise caution and prevent Armageddon!

As history repeats itself, SETI will likely never discover an artificial radio signal due to the fact that every ET only becomes capable of transmitting the noise we could detect less than a century before their own 'big bang' ;)

more than 4 years ago
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SETI Is 50 Years Old; No Sign of ET

agwis Imagine the arguments a discovery would create! (454 comments)

A significant number of the population doesn't even believe we landed on the moon. Should SETI ever detect artificial radio transmissions then the arguing, debates, and conspiracy theories that would abound are unfathomable!

We can't even agree that we landed on the moon. How are we going to convince the world when we discover an ET version of 'Star Trek'? ;)

more than 4 years ago
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SETI Is 50 Years Old; No Sign of ET

agwis earth like planets (454 comments)

I'm too lazy to look up the links, or the names of the projects, but I understand within the next few years focus is being placed on locating earth like planets (close to our same size, orbiting a similar star at roughly the same distance we are ours, etc.). I just assumed when I read about this the first time that SETI would be very interested and excited to be given locations of planets that actually have a decent chance of supporting life (as we know it) rather than just randomly focusing on a particular area. This should be exciting times for SETI and their followers but I'm surprised there isn't any mention of it in the interview.

I hope SETI is going to be all over this as locations of earth like planets are announced and that that is what Paul Davies means by "time to re-think and expand the search for ET"!

more than 4 years ago
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Quebec Says 'Non' To English-Only Video Games

agwis no surprise here (554 comments)

I'm not surprised about TFA but what I am surprised about is that anyone else in the world cares about this. This is just another stupid act by the 'language police' in Quebec to protect their *culture* and their *precious* language that us Canadians are used too dealing with on a regular basis. It's absolutely reverse discrimination because we'd never get away with pulling the opposite in the rest of Canada. Quebec gets away with it because they continuously threaten the rest of us with separation, spearheaded by the Bloc Quebecois if they don't get their way. The Bloc Quebecois is a federal political party whose sole ambition is to separate from Canada, and to add insult to injury they are supported by all of Canada's tax payers, for those that aren't aware. I've often wondered if anything similar to what we put up with here happens anywhere else on our wonderful planet. I suspect any such attempt elsewhere would be quelled fast and considered treason. Only in Canada eh, pity!

Back to my original point, anyone that wants to do business in Quebec is already aware of these intricacies or at the very least, not shocked when they pop up. Canada is officially a bilingual country and IMHO does more than its share to accommodate francophone's. Go to Quebec though, and it's like you've already entered another country. Reciprocity is not a factor here! I've travelled extensively throughout Quebec and God forbid you don't have a basic grasp of the French language for even simple things like reading construction, hazard, detour, etc. signs on the highway...because you don't get it repeated in English for you (excluding possibly the Montreal area, but not always). Quebec in many parts is downright hostile to Anglophones, especially if you want to conduct any type of business there.

I live in northern Ontario in a small community that is roughly 80% French. Here, they have it right. Signs are in both languages. If you speak English or French, you can get by fine and people are friendly no matter what language you are most comfortable in. There is no *protection* of one language over another here, and contrary to popular opinion, French is not dying out because of this.

One other thing; I noticed a previous comment suggested that not supporting Quebec was also alienating France. I have a very limited French vocabulary and am not certain about this but I believe the French dialect between Quebec and France is quite different. Supporting one does not implicitly mean you are supporting the other as I'm sure there would still need to be quite a bit more translation.

Obviously I can only speak for myself but I do believe my opinion is a popular one in Canada. I just wish Quebec would reign in their 'language police' and let the market dictate the feasibility of supporting French. If language and culture is so important for Quebecers, they can speak with their wallets.

more than 5 years ago
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IBM About To Buy Sun For $7 Billion

agwis Re:mac != unix (699 comments)

I tried really hard to follow your logic, but my head exploded.

more than 5 years ago
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Red Hat Hit With Patent Suit Over JBoss

agwis Natural Progression (201 comments)

Wow! I've read and heard about patent claims that are obvious if not down right frivolous but this is the first time I know of that I've encountered one that hits close to home. Something really needs to be done to clean this up. IMHO, allowing this nonsense to go on just instills fear in developers and possibly inhibits natural progression.

Roughly 10 years ago when I first started with OOP in Java, I got tired of littering SQL statements throughout JSP pages and Servlets (spaghetti code syndrome). I started work on an API to use in all future apps I created that would allow me to centralize all SQL statements. Later when I learned how to use the Java Reflection API, I modified my original API to either populate JavaBeans from an RDBMS row or to create the SQL statement automatically from a JavaBean if I was performing a CRUD operation on the database.

Soon afterwards I discovered two open source programs that were doing a much better job than my homemade project. Ibatis and Hibernate. I don't remember which one stated it at the time, maybe both, but when I was reading the docs on these ORMS they said they were created because basically somebody had an itch to scratch and wanted an easier way to deal with the transition to/from OOP to RDBMS. The same reason I had began my own ORM...although at the time I don't think the buzzword (and obligatory acronym) existed for it. It's simply natural progression, not an invention.

I wonder how/if this is affecting great projects like Hibernate and Ibatis as well now. The current patent system is in a really sad state. If the company in TFA wins this, what does that mean for all the projects I've created using Hibernate or Ibatis, or even the couple that still run with my 'roll your own' ORM? Also, it's going to be in the back of the mind anytime now that when I encounter a fairly unique problem and believe I've cleverly found an elegant solution that is actually a logical evolution in writing code, that someone may have already patented it therefore causing me to suddenly become a patent infringer. It also makes me a little nervous to write a program that others may find useful and release it to the world open sourced because anyone can look at the code and then file their infringement charge. That's sad, it's stifling to innovation, and it sets us backwards.

Even if east Texas is patent friendly, I hope a judge has common sense and throws this right out. Even better, I hope the patent system gets the overhaul it very badly needs, quickly.

more than 5 years ago
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Draconian DRM Revealed In Windows 7

agwis Re:windows, meh (1127 comments)

Up to recently I felt like a battered wife, hating Windows but still using it

I've already posted here or I'd have modded you up. It's probably been said before but this is the first time I've seen it and it hit me as the perfect analogy to explain my experience with Microsoft! No doubt millions others feel the same way. It was hard to let go of MS because I thought I needed it. I didn't think I could survive (business wise) without it. I've long ago learned otherwise but for many others (just like battered wives) it takes much more time and abuse.

Combine this DRM crap with other stupid ideas such as only allowing 3 programs to run simulataneously and whatever else they may have in store I think the average user (battered wife) is going to hit their breaking point and seek out alternatives (women shelters). Microsoft wants to cater to the RIAA/MPAA (other women) and continually neglect their loyal, faithful customers (wife) and thinks they will keep getting away with it. Everyone has their breaking point. I think the next year or two is going to be great for those that have already jumped ship and found another OS (sticking to my stupid analogy run on...those that have found another man!). We are the ones that have seen the light already and now know that we don't have to take this anymore and can help those that are still stuck in their abusive relationship!

more than 5 years ago
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Draconian DRM Revealed In Windows 7

agwis taking it too far (1127 comments)

Wow! I really think Microsoft is in for a surprise if they think they can even get away with this. If I'm understanding correctly, Windows 7 is by default assuming it's owner is untrustworthy and at the first hint of DRM violations, will shutdown and lock you out of the supposed violated software. You get all this and get to pay heftily for it too!

I long ago left the MS world and am a very happy GNU/Linux user that has converted my family and most of my friends to Kubuntu. After the initial learning curve just about everyone I switched over couldn't be happier. That being said, I really don't have a problem with Windows and unlike a lot of Linux zealots, I don't bash or put down MS products every chance I can get. Truth be told, I actually really like XP...but I don't need it as there isn't anything it can do that I can't do with GNU/Linux.

Getting to my point now, the average MS user is going to become entirely dissatisfied with Windows 7 and the ridiculous DRM controls they are ever creating and enforcing. I've found it's been easier and easier to convert Windows users and if TFA is accurate, I may just be able to make a living doing this exclusively. So will every other half knowledgeable *nix user too!

We buy software to perform tasks for us and want it to be as pain free as possible. Now MS wants the general public to pay for their software that caters more to the media industry rather than the end user. Worst of all, the real pirates will still easily get around this while generally the average user will be hugely inconvenienced. All I can say is thank you MS...I expect to pick up a lot more business in the future because of this!

more than 5 years ago
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Edible "Intelligent Pills"

agwis Pain meds (105 comments)

I imagine this is not good news for a number of reasons...but one I can think of personally is pain medication users. Doctors nowadays are hesitant to prescribe schedule II meds because it is closely monitored and there are numerous cases where they have been reprimanded because of it, if not outright losing their licenses and possibly even facing criminal charges.

Chronic pain sufferers that have sought relief from strong meds inevitably build up tolerance to them, and in turn need to take more to achieve the same effect. Many Doctors assume addiction or worse, that patients are selling their meds (because of the high price they can get on the streets for them) when confronted with requests for higher dosages or quantities. Usually at this point, they try to pawn their patients off to pain clinics (which isn't generally a bad thing), refuse the request, or cut the patient off entirely. Either they don't understand titration or they just don't want to have patients who consume large quantities of pain meds to get the relief they need. Apparently certain types of drugs are monitored and one patient that has a high tolerance can affect the Doctors prescribing ratio, sending a red flag that he needs to be watched more closely. Because of this, many patients subsidize their prescribed drugs with street drugs to achieve the relief they need in order to maintain a decent quality of life. Illegal? Yes. Necessary? Sadly, in more cases than people realize.

I've seen where Doctors have forced patients to sign contracts with all kinds of stipulations...the consequence of any being broken that they would be immediately cut off and labelled a 'drug seeker'. When this happens, good luck to them getting prescriptions elsewhere. Surely if these 'reporting' pills are cost effective and reliable...it won't be long before most Doctors are requiring all pain patients to use them. Whether it's a lack of trust or not in the Doctor/patient relationship...they need to protect their livelihood and this may end up being the best method.

more than 5 years ago
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Sirius, XM Merger Gets FCC Approval

agwis Finally! (187 comments)

Ultimately this will benefit the consumer. I've subscribed to both companies and my preference is for talk radio/sports. The competition for paid subscribers forced the 2 companies to continually one-up each other for exclusive content and caused problems for me when one company would win the contract from another at renewal time (nascar, baseball, etc.) At one point I had to give up programming I enjoyed listening too or pay for a second receiver with a second subscription in order to keep it.

In the last few years, I've noticed the quality of the programming has deteriorated considerably as well. Once the companies are merged, all the duplicate costs for talent, administration, customer service, etc. should be eliminated and hopefully benefit the customers with a much improved service. My understanding is that nobody will even need to buy new hardware as the channels will be combined on your existing radio.

This is not a monopoly in the sense that we cannot get similar service from another provider. If you find satellite too expensive, or don't like what they have too offer, then get rid of it and listen to terrestrial radio, or your ipod, mp3 player, etc.

What I would be more concerned about than anything else to do with this merger is the question why did this take so long to pass? Oil companies have merged in a fraction of the time with minimal resistance compared to this one!

about 6 years ago

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