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Comments

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Canadian ISP On Disclosing Subscriber Info: Come Back With a Warrant

by (1706743) Good for them (55 comments)

Unfortunate that respecting privacy to the extent the law permits is the exception, not the norm...

about a week ago
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Coming Soon(ish) From LG: Transparent, Rollup Display

by (1706743) Almost a million megapixels! (64 comments)

From TFA, so it must be true:

The rollable display sports a 1200x810 resolution with nearly 1 million megapixels.

I just wish my bank did that sort of math...

about a week ago
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Coming Soon(ish) From LG: Transparent, Rollup Display

by (1706743) Could this be the year (64 comments)

of the flexible semitransparent display?

about a week ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:The difference isn't the card. (499 comments)

Ah, I think we're talking about different issues: Monoprice is fantastic, and absolutely is proof that you don't need to spend a ton of money to get good cables. I'm just saying that lousy cables -- if you can find them -- are problematic. For instance, RF attenuation is roughly exponential (units are usually dB/m) -- hence the need for Monoprice's Redmere series of active HDMI cables. I'm not saying Monster is better (all of my cables are Monoprice), I'm just pointing out that there are legitimate bandwidth requirements on video cables.

As to VGA, try running a monitor off of a significant (10m or so) length of lousy/old VGA cables at high resolution -- in my experience you get terrible ghosting and whatnot. I've personally had issues running monitors at 1920x1200 over short (~2m) VGA cables, though that could in part be due to the monitor's ADC, etc.

about a week ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:The difference isn't the card. (499 comments)

I know this is a humorous post, but for really high-bandwidth applications, cables do actually matter. For example, driving WUXGA (1920x1200) at 60Hz, 24-bit/px, this is roughly 3.3Gb/s, or a little north of a gigabit/s for each color (RGB). Since each color runs over a single wire (I think), this is comparable to the requirements of gigabit ethernet -- except (I think) gigabit ethernet over twisted pair uses all 4 pairs of wires, as opposed to just a single wire for VGA. And, given that VGA is analog, noise certainly does creep in.

With a bandwidth in the 10s of kHz range, yeah...I sorta doubt audio cables matter much at all =)

about two weeks ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:My sound card is an A/V amplifier (499 comments)

Agreed. It's just too bad that, AFAIK, there isn't great CEC support on desktop/laptop computers -- though this could be an outdated observation. Of course, the $35 Raspberry Pi supports HDMI CEC very well.

about two weeks ago
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Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth the Investment?

by (1706743) Re:Reconcile these two sentences please (499 comments)

I think "performance" might be referring to framerate (i.e., a measure of how CPU-intensive it is to drive the onboard vs. dedicated card), whereas audio quality is considered separately. Not the best writing, I'll agree...

about two weeks ago
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YouTube Issuing "Report Cards" On Carriers' Streaming Speeds

by (1706743) Dupe... (110 comments)

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday May 29, 2014 @10:04PM from the how-do-you-stack-up? dept.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story...

about two weeks ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

by (1706743) Re:consent (130 comments)

So you would outlaw an advertising firm giving out two different coupons for the same food item, listed as "0% fat!" on one and "fat free!" on the other? After all, they are, at the end of the day, running an experiment on you the consumer, to find out which phrasing is more effective.

about three weeks ago
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Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

by (1706743) Re:Interesting... (119 comments)

But what wouldn't a benevolent progressive government pay for the ability to collect more data? Especially from the phones voluntarily plugged-in by unsuspecting residents?

From TFA:

The benches also connect wirelessly, using Verizon’s network, to the Internet to upload location-based environmental information, such as air quality and noise-level data.

I don't think they're trying to upload data through your phone without your knowledge, I believe the "cell phone charging" and "connects to the cell network" are unrelated, aside from the fact that both are supposedly powered via the solar panels.

about three weeks ago
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Facebook's Emotion Experiment: Too Far, Or Social Network Norm?

by (1706743) "Victims" received positive or negative newsfeeds? (219 comments)

According to the WSJ's coverage http://online.wsj.com/articles... ,

The impetus for the study was an age-old complaint of some Facebook users: That going on Facebook and seeing all the great and wonderful things other people are doing makes people feel bad about their own lives.

So although conventional wisdom might say that seeing positive things makes you happier, here there have been accusations to the contrary -- positive things about other people makes you feel lousy about yourself. This study ostensibly looked at that (and I think it found something along the lines of conventional wisdom: happy posts make you post happy stuff, a [dubious!] proxy for your own happines...).

If Facebook knew (and how would they?) that X makes you depressed, then yes...there might be some moral issues with that. But it seems that Facebook asked a legitimate question -- especially so given that it was published in PNAS.

That said, yeah...it feels a little shady. But then, when I log onto Facebook, I am certainly not expecting any aspect of the website to be designed with my best interests in mind!

about three weeks ago
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Ars Takes an Early Look At the Privacy-Centric Blackphone

by (1706743) Apps which require location? (67 comments)

Obviously, if you're concerned about privacy, you should avoid apps which require location, etc., information. However, it would be neat if you could get PrivOS to spoof things like location (and possibly calls, contact lists, etc.).

Location information could still be very useful for apps that need it, if you have a sane spoofing policy (either manual or automatic). If you, say, travel to another city for a week, you could have the OS spoof a single location in that city for the duration of the trip. The privacy implications of, "Bob is in San Francisco" are somewhat different than, "Bob is at 14th and Valencia."

Of course, I didn't RTFA, so I have no idea if something like this is implemented/in the works/impossible...

about three weeks ago
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In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions

by (1706743) Re:consent (130 comments)

But surely users are allowed to be put in an A/B test used for *commercial/advertisement* purposes, right? Is doing something for academic purposes somehow worse than for business purposes? Personally, I would rather my online behavior be used for a purpose which nominally increases our knowledge than for a purpose which increases someone's bottom line.

That said, I do find this whole thing to be a little shady...but I'm not sure it's a particularly rational reaction, given that I rarely care about A/B testing when it's being used to shamelessly make money off of me...

about three weeks ago
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Germany's Glut of Electricity Causing Prices To Plummet

by (1706743) Re:Aluminium (365 comments)

...pumped hydro...has an input-to-output efficiency of about 65 percent.

I think that's a pretty low number, perhaps typical of older designs. Newer designs can have efficiencies upwards of 80%: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...
http://people.duke.edu/~cy42/P...
http://www.colorado.edu/engine...

...and nuclear generation doesn't need storage to be useful and meet demand...

I believe nuclear tends to be quite bad at load following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

Of course, it is excellent for always-on power, but not ideal for surges or lulls. In certain cases -- L.A. in the summer, for instance -- solar power, although intermittent on the whole, is intermittent in the most useful way: on a nice clear hot day, there's the biggest demand for A/C and the best solar power production.

...but no-one ever adds the cost of storage to the cost of renewables when comparing prices.

Well...staunch proponents with an ax to grind may not include such costs, but then, staunch proponents of coal with an ax to grind will ignore any externalities related to airborne toxins. Any legitimate study of renewable energy should really include storage costs.

With all that said, I really think Germany did the wrong thing with the whole anti-nuclear energy thing. To paraphrase that quote about democracy, nuclear is the most dangerous form of energy generation, except for all those other sources we've tried ( http://physics.kenyon.edu/peop... ).

about three weeks ago
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Exploiting Wildcards On Linux/Unix

by (1706743) Re: PowerShell (215 comments)

> echo you need to use an escape sequence > \*
> cat \*
you need to use an escape sequence
> rm -i \*
rm: remove regular file ‘*’? y
> echo $SHELL
/usr/bin/zsh
>

about three weeks ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

by (1706743) Re:As true as "hybrid cars get 400 MPG" (461 comments)

It is neither physically nor mathematically impossible to power the world with solar power -- it's just financially difficult.

The amount of sunlight falling on the Earth per year is around 3,850,000 EJ and the amount of energy used by humans per year is around 600 EJ -- covering 0.05% of the Earth with solar panels that are less than 5% efficient would yield more than enough energy. The Sahara desert makes up almost 2% of the Earth's surface area, and solar panels can easily exceed 5%. (And surface area / distribution gets to be less of a problem if you add in parts of the US's southwest deserts, some of Australia, etc.)

Yes, storage and distribution are Big Problems, but there are ways of solving these problems (hydro storage, molten salt storage, electrolysis of water to hydrogen, etc.). Storage (or conversion to hydrogen, etc.) comes at a loss, but there is so much solar energy hitting our planet that, if properly managed, we could have enough juice to spare.

In the short term though, yes -- I completely agree that we need to ramp up nuclear energy use, and "prudent" use of fossil fuels seems sadly to be required, until we start investing serious money in alternative (or even conventional nuclear) energy.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

about a month ago
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Half of Germany's Power Supplied By Solar, Briefly

by (1706743) Re:What is a gigawatt per hour? (461 comments)

Nice to see some numbers =)

While I agree that capacity factor is important, there are some cases -- probably not so much in Germany -- where it sort of goes in the right direction. Take Los Angeles in the summer, for instance; on a clear day you'd get near peak production, and with all the A/C being used in the city, you'd also be getting near your peak usage. Clearly this is not the whole picture, but there are some cases where solar's output is sort of matched to power usage.

about a month ago

Submissions

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DIY SMS controlled power outlets

by (1706743) by (1706743) writes  |  more than 4 years ago

by (1706743) (1706744) writes "Although proprietary solutions do exist, it's possible (and easy!) to control power outlets/lamps/etc. via SMS – with no special hardware and no subscription fees (I'm not affiliated with any proprietary solution — no Slashvertisement here). All you need is an SMS-capable cell phone, a Google Voice account, ssh access to a box with an email account, an old computer, some relays/TRIACs, and a little time to kill. Aside from the cell phone, and possibly your email server, there are no monthly costs. In addition to switching off lights and appliances, you can run arbitrary commands on your computer this way (yes, there may be a few security implications with that...). Here's a simple howto."
Link to Original Source

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