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Time Warner Cable Experiences Nationwide Internet Outage

daq man Customer service.. (133 comments)

"TWC's customer service reps are reportedly a bit overwhelmed by call volume at the moment"

So it's just a normal day then? It seems that whenever I call one of these companies all I get is "due to unusually heavy call volume we are experiencing extended hold times".

about three weeks ago

DARPA Wants To Kill the Password

daq man Biometric is great until... (383 comments)

The DARPA verification method would have to use multiple biometric markers since you could always think of a situation where a medical condition renders one or more of them useless. The person with eye problems who can't use retina scan, the person with damaged fingertips who can't use fingerprint, the person with throat or respiratory disease who can't use voice recognition, etc.

It would be much simpler to have a universal two factor token. Something that you enter a PIN into which generates an encrypted token that is then used for login. It would also solve the social security number identity theft problem since you have a unique way of verifying identity.

about a month ago

Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi

daq man Convoluted and riddled with systematic errors (311 comments)

Take a string say 100 times the distance from your toe to your heel. Let's call this 100 feet. Tie one end to a peg stuck in the ground and the other end to your belt buckle. Now walk in a circle keeping the string taught putting your feet down toe to heel.Count steps, divide by 200 and you've got pi. Even if you don't count the fraction of a foot left over it has to be accurate to better than 1%. You can keep the cartridges for the zombies.

If it's really a worry, tattoo pi somewhere discrete while you can remember it...

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Are AdBlock's Days Numbered?

daq man Completely pointless... (731 comments)

I have yet to see an ad for anything that made me think "Ooh, I need to buy that" or "Ooh, I need to watch that TV show, read that book, watch that play, listen to that music etc etc.". Most of the ads I see are either for things I can't afford, like flashy cars, things I don't want, things of dubious value (loan sharks), or the old standby "Local Mom finds way to make a fortune, cure cancer, grow huge breasts and whiten teeth using this one simple trick". It's a waste of time and offensive. Now you could argue that should allow the advertising just to support the poor impoverished website owner. The problem with that is that it is supporting the whole "advertising funded paradigm that I find wasteful and offensive. Sadly, I'm having a problem thinking of what the answer may be (lets face it if I could I would make my fortune) we don't want a pay-per-view web but we also don't want the advertisers peering into our souls to tailor ads to what interests us.

about 8 months ago

EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters

daq man Re:No need for cameras. (732 comments)

The other thing to factor in is the reaction time. When the lead car brakes the next car brakes a fraction of a second later and has to brake a little harder because to stop before hitting the lead car. The next car in line has to brake harder still if you have a long enough convoy of traffic you eventually reach a point in the line where it is impossible for the next car to break hard enough to avoid a collision. The ideal situations are either wide enough gaps that any car can stop in time irrespective of how hard the lead car brakes or short enough convoys that the rear most car still has enough stopping time when all the reaction times are subtracted.

1 year,15 days

EU Proposes To Fit Cars With Speed Limiters

daq man Re:No need for cameras. (732 comments)

This assumes that the data that the navigator has is good. I was recently driving in a 45 zone and the GPS went nuts telling me to slow down all the time. I found out later that the road had been improved over a year ago with extra lanes, a median and an increased limit.Similarly our local interstates had a speed increase to 70 bu there are still stretches at 55 and 65. Relying on the GPS data would be a nightmare.

1 year,15 days

First California AMBER Alert Shows AT&T's Emergency Alerts Are a Mess

daq man Re:Seriously? (380 comments)

Bingo! Yes, exactly what I thought. When I got one about a "flash flood warning" it scared the wife and kids and was for an area a hundred miles away. State wide alerts should be for state wide emergencies.

about a year ago

First California AMBER Alert Shows AT&T's Emergency Alerts Are a Mess

daq man Opted out (380 comments)

This could have been useful but it is so badly executed that I turned it off. I asked around and it turns out so did everyone else I spoke to. My first alert was a week or so ago in the middle of a thunder storm. We get many storms at this time of year and this wasn't particularly bad. Suddenly all four iPhones in the house started screeching the emergency alert tone. Scared the kids shitless. What we got was a "flash flood warning" that had already, and more subtly, been noted on Wunderground and Apps. Worse it was a warning for an area a hundred miles from here. Weirdly we were watching TV at the time and there was no alert on the TV screen so I don't see why it went out to the phones. We've had a couple since and each time it has been for something that I wouldn't class as an emergency requiring such an intrusive alert but was also only relevant miles away from where I am.

There is an old story about a kid that cries wolf so many times that people start to ignore him.

about a year ago

John McCain Working On Legislation For 'a La Carte' TV Channel Packages

daq man Can't wait for an end to the dirty tricks... (614 comments)

...not holding my breath though.

Verizon FiOS currently has me over a barrel. My family watch shows on only a handful of the 200+ (probably 300 or 400 by now) channels that I'm paying for. Of the three channels we watch most, say A, B, and C to protect the innocent, the lowest tier of FiOS has none. The second tier has A but not B or C. The next tier has B and C but not A. The third tier has A, B and C. So I have to pay for next to the top most expensive tier to get the three channels. Add to that the fact that to watch it I have to rent a couple of "set top boxes" (quotes because it's under the set because you can't balance it on top of a flat screen) despite both TVs having perfectly good digital tuners sitting unused. Why do I need a decoder box when they have a huge box bolted to the side of the house? Can't they decode it in that and let me use my own TV tuner?

about a year ago

DHS Can Seize Your Electronics Within 100 Mi.of US Border, Says DHS

daq man So by extension.. (597 comments)

Does 100 miles from the border also imply 100 miles from the coast? If so that covers most major population centers on the East and West coasts.

about a year and a half ago

Apple Angers Mac Users With Silent Shutdown of Java 7

daq man Disturbing move (451 comments)

Firstly, I have nothing against Apple. I bought my first Mac, a Mac Plus in 1985 and I've owned one or more ever since. I find the current track that Apple is following to be very disturbing. Apple always used to be about the customer experience but that seems to be dead and gone. Yes, there was/is a security hole in the Java plugin but completely disabling the plugin is NOT a customer friendly solution and is disproportionate to the risk. Despite the vulnerability I have yet to hear of ANYONE who has been the victim on a Mac. Despite this Apple disabled a plugin that is critical to many people ranging from people running games like Runescape to companies who have legacy point of sale and inventory systems that use Java applets to access database backends. What is next? Disable Flash because of "security risks" what about OSX Applications? They are already forcing sandboxing and draconian rules on developers wanting to sell via the App store.

Keep this up and this is one Apple customer who is going to be looking for alternatives, and where there is one there are probably many.

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Can I Protect My Android Devices From Hackers?

daq man Obvious answer (295 comments)

" How Can I Protect My Android Devices From Hackers?"

Simple, don't turn them on.

about 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School?

daq man Oh the memories... (632 comments)

Since I was born in 1960 my high school computer lab was very interesting. We had cards with little ovals on them and a soft pencil. We wrote our Fortran or Basic program on paper in a notepad until we thought we had it right then copied each line to a card by shading in the appropriate oval with pencil. The cars were sent off to a nearby college which had a mainframe. The hand filled out cards were passed through a reader that generated punched cards. We got the cards back the next day and corrected errors by hand using a light blocking sticky tape to cover holes in the right place and a hand operated punch to make new holes. The punched cards were shipped off and read in to generate a printout of the program that was shipped back with the cards. We compared the printout with what we originally wrote and if it checked out the cards were shipped back and the program executed. We got back the cards and the result of the execution in the form of more line printer output. If there were no syntax errors and all went well it was the best part of a week between starting to write the code and getting the execution results back.

Nothing like a little instant gratification...

about 2 years ago

Boeing Proposes Using Gas Clouds To Bring Down Orbital Debris

daq man and your chosen subject is the bloody obvious... (147 comments)

This is such an obvious idea that it isn't right that it should be patentable. There are only a few ways of slowing an orbiting object down so that it de-orbits. The way nature does it is by putting gas in the way, called the atmosphere.

about 2 years ago

Images Show Apollo Moon Flags Still Standing

daq man Oh say can you see... (206 comments)

And the orbiter's stare, though there was no air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

more than 2 years ago

U.S. East Coast a Hotspot of Sea-Level Rise

daq man Re:Is water no longer a liquid? (266 comments)

Yes you are missing something. If the sea water was of exactly the same density, which varies with salinity and temperature, and was dead calm, and the rock under the sea was a uniform density so gravity was the same everywhere then what you say is true. Also the sea bed rises and falls too. Just off the East coast shore, we have the Gulf Stream which is a flow of warm, and therefore less dense water moving North. Not only is it moving North but the East coast juts out and it has to flow around the coast. So, the sea level at Cape Hatteras (where the East coast juts out the most) is a complicated combination of the mean sea level, the mean gravitational pull at that point, the flow of the Gulf Stream and probably 1001 other things.

What the article is saying is that MEASUREMENTS show that the sea level there has risen three times more than the world average. If you subtract from that the known motion of the sea bed and various other known contributions to the rise you are left with something unusual that needs explaining. The best explanation that fits the facts is that the difference is due to the Gulf Stream. That is particularly worrying because any change in the Gulf Stream is a big deal.

more than 2 years ago

Time Warner Cable Patents Method For Disabling Fast-Forward Function On DVRs

daq man The problem with TV advertising is .. (298 comments)

The problem with TV advertising is that it's like firing a shotgun into a crowd. You know you're going to hit someone but whether it's the right someone is, literally, hit and miss. In the good old days (if they ever existed) the products advertised were relevant to a large fraction of the population and the hit to miss ratio was high. Now most of the advertising is for cars that I can't afford, investment banks (you have to have something to invest!), drugs with terrible side effects for diseases that I don't have etc etc. I'd have to view hours of advertising to see the one or two that are relevant to my lifestyle.

Ok, the cable companies make money from advertising, I get that, but forcing me to watch irrelevant advertising is a waste of everyone's time.

more than 2 years ago

Canada No Pirate Nation: Global Leader In Music Download Sales

daq man Not surprising (179 comments)

It's so miserable dark and cold for half the year that there's nothing else to do in Canada.

more than 2 years ago

Laptop Heat May Cause 'Toasted Skin Syndrome'

daq man Re:TFA! (195 comments)

One of my kids actually had this. He had been wearing jeans most of the winter and spring so we didn't see his legs until the outdoor pool opened in summer. He had this discoloured patch on one leg. We took him to the doctor who couldn't figure it out. Then we realized that was exactly the spot where he'd been putting his laptop for hours on end while playing WoW. Took him back to the doctor, who agreed that it was probably caused by heat and gave us some cream etc. Now he sits with a laptop cooler under the laptop and it hasn't happened since.

more than 3 years ago


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