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For New Yorkers, Cablevision Introduces a Wi-Fi-Centric VoiP Network

crow WiFi? Google Voice (43 comments)

If you only want to make calls over WiFi, then the solution already exists. Sign up for a Google Voice number, then install the Google Hangouts Dialer, and you're all set.

The potential value-add here is not the voice or texting service, but access to the WiFi network.

3 days ago
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UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

crow Why not 4K? (332 comments)

Why did they not support 4K?

This is the same vertical resolution as 4K, but slightly lower horizontal resolution. Why not support both 4K and double HD? It just seems silly not to try to match the resolution that movies are being produced in.

5 days ago
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Linus Fixes Kernel Regression Breaking Witcher 2

crow Re:Who cares? (126 comments)

Real gamers use paper, pencils, and dice.

5 days ago
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New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

crow Re:Required vaccine? (178 comments)

That's the problem with becoming dependant on a behavior that you want to prevent.

The same issue comes up with self-driving cars. What do you do about all the lost ticket revenue when you stop having traffic violations? How do police react when they lose the ability to use a traffic stop as an excuse to find drugs in cars?

How do you fund roads with a gas tax when cars become more fuel efficient and eventually switch to electricity (often generated at home with solar panels)?

Changes happen. Policies will adapt to reflect them.

about a week ago
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New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed Where Others Have Failed

crow Required vaccine? (178 comments)

Assuming this is effective, should it be added to the required list of vaccines for attending school? Imagine if it were impossible for anyone to become addicted to nicotine in the first place. The smoking rate would drop to essentially zero.

What if China required it for everyone?

This has the possibility to completely destroy the tobacco industry.

about a week ago
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Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

crow LTE (101 comments)

I think Google only really cares about data. Perhaps the Google-branded service will be LTE-only, including voice over LTE. If so, then they don't really care about CDMA or GSM. They may even ignore voice and tell people to use the Google Hangouts dialer with Google Voice.

That would be a pretty reasonable strategy for Google, since they're certainly going to be mostly interested in the data side of things anyway.

about a week ago
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Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile

crow no choice (101 comments)

They may be afraid of being made irrelevant by a deal like this, but they're much more afraid of being made irrelevant by a deal with their competitors. Imagine how different the market would be today if the original exclusive iPhone contract had been with someone other than AT&T.

Besides, one likely end scenario if this goes huge is that Google buys their partners.

about a week ago
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Chevrolet Unveils 200-Mile Bolt EV At Detroit Auto Show

crow Re:Cost? (426 comments)

That's going to kill the resale value of the existing Leafs, so if you want a short-range electric vehicle at a good price, there are going to be some great deals in the next two years.

about two weeks ago
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'Silk Road Reloaded' Launches On a Network More Secret Than Tor

crow Re:i2p has been around for a while (155 comments)

I run a Tor relay, but I set it up to also allow exit for specific sites, such as Google.

I don't use Tor much myself, but I figure I'm a step ahead of the game by being in the habit of opening most links in a private browser (killing tracking unless I'm tethered to my phone--thanks Verizon).

about two weeks ago
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Would You Rent Out Your Unused Drive Space?

crow Yes, please! (331 comments)

I just set up a file server (NAS4Free), and it currently has tons of extra space. I would be more than happy to get something back for the extra space until I need it.

For security, I would hope they set up the file servers as Tor dark sites, so even if the encryption fails, there would be no easy way to track down where the storage is.

about three weeks ago
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3D Cameras Are About To Go Mainstream

crow HTC EVO 3-D (141 comments)

Remember the HTC EVO 3-D? It had a 3-D screen and took 3-D photos and movies. Remember how the revolutionary technology completely took over the market? No, it was pretty much ignored.

I had the HTC EVO 4G which preceded it, and it was a pretty good phone for the day (though Sprint's 4G coverage was horrible--I used it once in the years I had it; too bad they didn't start out with LTE).

3-D has always been a gimmick to attract consumers that has mostly failed. Hollywood is still trying it as a way to get people to have a different experience in the theater from home, but few people seem to care. TV manufacturers jumped on it, but they didn't sell. It's just not something people care about.

about three weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

crow Re:SF Economic Plausibility (300 comments)

There's a big difference between making irrational choices and presenting a future world where the systems simply wouldn't work as described. From a writing standpoint, you want your readers immersed in the story, not distracted by inconsistencies that suggest the world as described was not given much thought.

about three weeks ago
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Why We're Not Going To See Sub-orbital Airliners

crow SF Economic Plausibility (300 comments)

Yup, this raise one of my big complaints about some SciFi stories: lack of economic plausibility.

Science Fiction is great for looking at how we might deal with various potential technologies. Readers are perfectly happy to suspend disbelief and accept whatever technology is proposed. What readers aren't willing to do is suspend disbelief and accept people behaving implausibly.

To write good science fiction, you need to accurately portray people. You can make up the technology, but you have to get humanity right. And that means you have to get the economics right.

This is exactly the problem I had with reading the Hunger Games. Everything worked, except why would a society with hover cars and other advanced technology have need of the services of the districts? Surely they didn't need coal, and yet they had a whole district dedicated to mining it. The lack of economic sense pulled me out of the book. Instead of thinking about the characters, I was thinking about why the society that was described didn't make any sense.

about three weeks ago
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AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Catching Up To and Beating Windows

crow Re:Video Playback? (136 comments)

Thanks, that's good to know. So many people talk about gaming performance, and at one point the open source drivers were getting good at some 3D without the video acceleration piece.

As to the other question, I'm probably one of the few people with a HTPC who has a tube HDTV that is 1080i. It's really a great TV (36"), and I don't have to worry about the little one knocking it over. Or maybe the HTPC crowd has lots of early adopters, but the rest have moved on to bigger and thinner.

about a month ago
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AMD Catalyst Linux Driver Catching Up To and Beating Windows

crow Video Playback? (136 comments)

The OpenGL stuff is nice for gamers, but what about for the HTPC? How well do the drivers do on video playback acceleration? Can they do MPEG-2 and H264 in HD resolutions with minimal CPU?

I don't suppose they can play a 1080i video and get the fields consistently correct for letting the TV handle the deinterlacing (or keep it interlaced if the TV is an old tube HDTV)?

about a month ago
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New Paper Claims Neutrino Is Likely a Faster-Than-Light Particle

crow Dark Matter? (142 comments)

Could tachyons be where the dark matter mass comes from?

about a month ago
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Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

crow Re:Extended Range (128 comments)

No, they can't legally sell them in the USA anymore without some serious engineering changes. They got a waiver on some of the safety regulations that has expired. They also had a limited contract with Lotus for the bodies.

So to do a new run of roadsters, they would have to do a lot of engineering and essentially make a new car. Right now, they don't have the capacity in engineering or production to make more models; they're struggling to get the Model X out, and they've got their eyes on the III.

I wouldn't be surprised if they make a new Roadster eventually, but I would put it at five years out at the earliest.

Besides, given the performance of the P85D, I'm not sure how much more there would be besides a different body shape.

about a month ago
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Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

crow Still no Supercharger (128 comments)

The one update they really should do along with the battery upgrade is add Supercharger support.

about a month ago
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

crow Re:360K already double-sided (173 comments)

Thanks for finding that source! I was looking at the list of floppy disk formats on Wikipedia to respond, and it didn't have that.

80 cylinder, 96 TPI

This was the second type of 5.25" drive made, and the least popular (and known) of the three types of drives. These double the capacity of the original drive by doubling the number of cylinders (tracks) from 40 to 80. They use the same media as the the 40 cylinder 48 TPI drives, but it is certified (tested) on all 80 tracks, as opposed to the standard disks which were only certified at 40 tracks.

These drives were never common on PCs, although DEC used a single sided version called the RX-50, in the DECMate word-processor, the DEC Rainbow and several other DEC computers, including the PDP-11 and the VAX.

Other than the DEC RX-50, these drives were almost always double sided, and recorded in double density MFM. They had a capacity of around 720K. Like the 40 track drives, they used 300oe media, and the drive rotates at 300 RPM

So apart from one very rare example, if you're talking 5.25" disk floppies, 360K meant double-sided. I expect the vast majority of people cutting out the notches to flip over their disks were using Apple II, Atari, or Commodore computers. In that realm, 90K was SS/SD and 180K was SS/DD. Most users didn't have double-sided drives until the IBM PC started using 360K DS/DD disks.

about a month and a half ago
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Backblaze's 6 TB Hard Drive Face-Off

crow 360K already double-sided (173 comments)

Sorry, punching the tab out on the other side so that you could flip the disk over only worked on single-sided drives.

Single-sided, single-density: 90K
Single-sided, double-density: 180K
Double-sided, double-density: 360K

So if you were already at 360K, you were already double-sided.

about a month and a half ago

Submissions

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Two Lost Doctor Who Episodes Found

crow crow writes  |  more than 3 years ago

crow (16139) writes "Two episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s, thought to have been destroyed in the 1970s, have been found. Both were in the hands of a private collector who didn't know what he had. Like most episodes of the time, these were half-hour shows, part of a four-part story, and portions of both stories are still missing."
Link to Original Source

Journals

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Drinking age, status crimes

crow crow writes  |  more than 12 years ago A friend asked, The drinking ago: pro or con?

I'm of mixed opinion. I'm uneasy about the idea of status crimes. From a pragmatic perspective, I believe (though I haven't researched the statistics) that raising the age from 19 (as it was in many states) to 21 did, indeed, succeed in reducing drunk driving fatalities.

I think the problem is that our culture is not one in which we are taught to drink responsibly. Hence, when first given access to alcohol, the consumption is anything but responsible. By prohibiting such access until people are of an age where they are supposedly more responsible to begin with, such irresponsibility is minimized.

Not the best approach, but I don't see our culture changing teach more responsible behaviour anytime soon. On the contrary, I think we are still moving towards blaming others for our problems.

Of course, as one who doesn't drink, I may not have the best perspective on the topic.

Now on the related topic of the smoking age, I'm all in favor of the movement in California to raise the age to 21. Here my reasoning is very different: I don't think anyone should smoke, and setting a higher age should reduce the number of people who start smoking. This would be a move consistent with the trend to reduce smoking as a part of our culture. (California, like most western states, is large enough that the problem of people crossing the border to buy cigarettes is only an issue in a small portion of the state.)

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Gas Tax at 40%

crow crow writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Today's thoughts on taxation:

The state tax on gas is $.21/gallon in Massachusetts. The federal tax is $.184/gallon. That's $.394/gallon, putting the pre-tax price at the pump under a dollar a gallon at the cheaper stations.

That's currently about a 40% tax.

Are any other forms of energy taxed at anything close to 40%?

Now granted, the government spends a lot of money keeping the transportation system going, but is 40% appropriate? How much does Massachusetts spend on transportation (excluding the Big Dig), compared with how much it brings in from the gas tax? What about the federal government?

Are gas taxes subsidising other government programs, or are other taxes subsidizing transportation? There are good arguements to be made for which way (if either) it should be, but I just don't have the information.

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