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Google On-shores Manufacturing of the Nexus Q

ebuck Re:"Experiment" (326 comments)

The real issue with this thing is it is too limited. Why does it not also act as a googletv?

Then it could run onlive, netflix, google play, etc. You could also side load your own apps. Instead this is a streaming media player for way too much money.

Why does it need a good amp? I have a receiver, that is where the good amp lives.

You know, GoogleTV has had a few bumps in the road. Basically, if it is to have much value to Google in the future, Google needs to get more companies committed, as Google isn't in the business of boutique products (like Roku is). Perhaps by releasing this device, they intend to bolster confidence that GoogleTV isn't a niche to be avoided due to market penetration.

This could be Nexus One of the GoogleTV crowd. Not really poised to dominate the market, but poised to show there is a market, and poised to provide a good dev platform to attract the developers that will keep that market happy.

more than 2 years ago

Supreme Court: Affordable Care Act Is Constitutional

ebuck Re:So from here on out ... (2416 comments)

Bullshit. The tax is only on those who refuse to get insurance. That will be an infinitisimally small number of Americans.

What about those who would like to have insurance but still can't fucking afford it? That's the question I would like answered as it pertains directly to me and yet I can find no discussion of it.

Maybe you misunderstand why insurance is being offered to those who can't afford it. It is a cost savings plan.

Every state already has laws to the effect that you must treat an emergency prior to ascertaining ability to pay. The poor know this, so when they get sick, they cannot sechedule a doctor's appointment (because the doctor will ascertain ability to pay prior to treatment). Instead they go to the local emergency room.

The hospitals then get stuck with a bill that cannot be paid by the individual. Laws to prevent individuals from being forced to file bankrupcy can also limit the rate at which the cost can be recovered to less than the person's disposable income. Many large bills are being paid back at a rate fo $10 a month (or less).

Hospitals cannot operate with such legally mandataed losses, so they bill the state governments, which in turn designate "charity" hospitals which cannot turn away the indigent but are paid by the state for treatment.

In effect, you were already paying for the poor, just you were guaranteeing payment instead of providing insurance. With the "insurance plan" dressing on the previously guaranteed support, at least now the poor can go to clinics, reducing the bill significantly. This means that cheaper treatement plans are at least now possible, and two radically different billing systems (bill the state / bill insurance) can be reduce to one system (bill insurance), with a single new insurance provider.

The main problems in perception revolve around the populace not realizing that they had already been paying for free healthcare to the indigent. They think the new plan offers more to the poor, and in a way it does (clinic visits, etc); but, it only does so by forcing them to abandon the use of the most expensive medical treatement plan possible (go the ER for all healh issues).

Of course the bill is laden with other items, like requiring insurance providers to not drop the insured after they are discovered to require an expensive treatment; but, don't let that get in the way of a good rant that your money might actually keep someone else alive (which is probably the most noble thing your tax dollars could go to.).

more than 2 years ago

Dotcom Search Warrants Ruled Illegal

ebuck Re:It's no surprise.. (316 comments)

That investigation and raid must have cost a lot of money to put together... why not do it properly?

One distrubing issue on why such raids are handled so sloppily has to do with the laws covering the seizure of assets under certain circumstances. If they found any evidence of drug trafficing, for example, then the raid would literally have been profitable in the "you just lost all your assets to police auction" sense (after they use the assets to convict.

Of course, that probably wouldn't happen in a foreign country as easily; but, it is the culture of police work that american police forces bring with them. More raids means more funding, and eventually you get desensitized to the relative merits of a raiding X over Y when they all are affordable.

more than 2 years ago

Majority of Americans Think Obama Is Better Suited To Handle an Alien Invasion

ebuck Re:NatGeo channel's really gone downhill (305 comments)

This used to be one of my favorite channels. Along with "Wild" Discovery, History, Scifi, and Animal. The last one's not too bad, but NatGeo and the others have turned-into reality shows.

Tell me about it - we had "Nostradamus" or some such nonsense on NatGeo (or 'History'). What the heck....

The sad thing is that I can imagaine a really good Nostradamus program that focuses on the ebb and flow of his popularity, the way in which he was "rediscovered" by the counter culture movement, and the scientific underpinnings on why so many people tend to associate his overly vague statements with current (or near current) events.

Instead, they just focus on the "could be hit" predictions, with an allusion that if those are foretold, what about the other predictions.

more than 2 years ago

Minnesota Supreme Court Rejects DUI Challenges Based On Buggy Software

ebuck Re:Too Bad (391 comments)

This isn't about safety, its about the perception of safety.

This is about safety.

Drunk driving kills approximately 40 times as many people as terrorism

I have to stop listening to you after that remark. The center of disease control and prevention keeps statistics on deaths per year classified by categories. In both 2009 and 2010 they added (due to regulation) the new terrorisim categories. There has yet to be a death associated with terrorisim, so 40 times zero is just still zero. You're pulling statistics out of your ass.

The total number of deaths (estimated, final counts take a few years) in 2010 was 2.5 million. That said, alcohol induced deaths top off just over 25 thousand (or about 1%), but that includes all alcohol induced deaths (liver failure, etc.) Motor vechicle deaths seem to be down as a whole in 2010, at just over 37 thousand (about (1.5%).

All disease of the heart combine to about 595 thousand (about 22%). Tumors took another 573 thousand (another 20%). If you really want to live longer, stop trying to stop the unlikely but horrible events from killing you and start working on the likely but seemingly innocuous events from killing you. Put down the hamburgers, stop eating the fries, and get serious about combating pollution. You are going to get (statstically speaking) a 40,000% return on your efforts compared to stoping a cause that amounts to less than one percentage of deaths.

Don't believe me? Read the reports yourself.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Watch TV In 2012?

ebuck Re:the best way to watch tv (479 comments)

Another big difference is that in the 90's most of the shows to watch were on TV, in the 2000's they moved to cable, not they're mostly on premium cable channels.

more than 2 years ago

Robot Hand Beats You At Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% of the Time

ebuck Re:Puny humans no match for robohand. (225 comments)

Human deletes code. Robohand lose.

Robohand deletes human. Robohand always wins. DELETE! DELETE!

Source code isn't the issue here, the binary is already running!

At least you had the courtesy of being deleted and getting it over with, some people get the torture of being "Controlled, altered, and then deleted".

more than 2 years ago

Robot Hand Beats You At Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% of the Time

ebuck Re:What would happen... (225 comments)

Nothing will happen as they both wait for the other to make the first move. Because that's how they cheat: wait for the human hand to make a move, and react to that.

Unless there were some vibration. With vibration, one would attempt to match the predicted outcome with the necessary winning hand, which would cause the other to adjust to the next winning hand, which would cause the other to adjust to the now-winning hand.

Motionless, it is a stable waiting game; but, the mechanics of the cheating mecanisim should become unstable with sufficent noise in a feedback loop.

In which case, the machine with the higher reliability would win, after the other blew a capacitor or melted a servo motor.

more than 2 years ago

EU Court Upholds Microsoft Antitrust Fines

ebuck Re:EU bailout (126 comments)

Uhhuh! Let's ponder this for a moment and then have a good laugh.

The logical consequence is that MS doesn't sell software in Europe anymore. Now, please name one at least halfway sizable company that can get around MS, be it because of OS or Office package. Sad as it may be, we're entirely dependent on that crap.

And MS knows that damn well, and they know the EU will not put the hammer down in this case.

Actually, out of all the applications you could have picked to make this argument sound, you picked the worst set of applications to support your point.

Operating Systems and Office packages are flooded markets with alternatives, and the alternatives are good enough that nobody has notice I haven't been using MS Word or MS Excel for the past eight years.

The real sticking points is the "business applications" which are cobbled together bits of code that generally aren't well maintained. Since they aren't well maintained, you have to put together a team to discover what the application really does, and then port it to a non-Microsoft library stack. Java had some good inroads with their JEE effort; however, they kept trying to improve (make the perfect framework) to the point that now people percieve JEE as an uncoordinated effort with a lot of false starts.

more than 2 years ago

The Death of an HTML5 Game Breeds an Open Source Project

ebuck Re:Props to Wooga (147 comments)

Making it open source is a pretty awesome move. They could have just sat on it for a while, or let the work go to waste.

One of the dirty secrets of open source giveaways is that often there are really good reasons why it was given away, like the quick fixes and workarounds for core problems have finally piled up so high that most changes for the remaining bugs brings the rest of the code down faster than a house of cards.

It doesn't always have to be this way, but Mozilla was this way (prior to the from scratch rendering engine rewrite that took years), as have a few games (Jagged Alilance comes to mind). Eventually a few projects do work their way out of the quagmire, but many die while in process.

On the other hand, some games are released in very good shape, so there is some hope. (I'm thinking of the Quake releases).

more than 2 years ago

'Nuclear Free' Maryland City Grants Waiver For HP

ebuck Re:Movies (277 comments)

I've always thought an emotional purging was educational.

That's where you are wrong. You don't have to learn anything from an emotional outpour. You just get a sense of relief after it is done.

In fact, it would probably be safe to say you are less likely to learn something when experiencing an emotional outpur, but are more likely to do something about it. From my understanding, the only time that people are more likely to accept differing points of view are when they are personaly vulnerable; however, feeling vulnerable doesn't assure that the new point of view expressed is any better than the old one they had.

more than 2 years ago

'Nuclear Free' Maryland City Grants Waiver For HP

ebuck Re:Movies (277 comments)

I don't give a damn. Anything that keeps money out of the military-industrial complex, no matter how insignificant, gets a wholehearted approval from me.

Do you also approve of income tax evasion? Because, compared to what the military-industrical complex is likely to get from the money that HP is likely to get from you in a year, that's peanuts to what you probably already pay in income taxes.

more than 2 years ago

Microsoft's Surface Caught Windows OEMs By Surprise

ebuck Re:Don't Need the Help (565 comments)

Google is deathly afraid of the Kindle Fire. They were counting on the fact that people using Android wanted to be able to use the trademarked Android name and include the proprietary Google apps, which they charge money for. Anyone can release a hacked-up device without those, and while some people did, only Amazon has done so successfully. So successfully, in fact, that it's the best selling Android-based tablet and they can't even call it Android.

Look for Google to counter with a first or second party tablet in the near future. Expect them to push heavily on the proprietary Google services that you don't get on the Kindle Fire.

If they are afraid, that's great. We have had too many players enter the market place well, and then rest on their laurels. I like Google, but even if it is a favorite horse in the race, it still has to run.

more than 2 years ago

Microsoft's Surface Caught Windows OEMs By Surprise

ebuck Re:*** Announcement project*** (565 comments)

They don't have the margins to make big bold bets.

True, but that is in part due to not having the obsene amounts of cash that rolls in when a big bold bet pays off.

Apple has shown that there are so few people willing to make the bets, that they can safely win about 70% of the time. The payoff seems high enough to cover the few misses (AppleTV), which is why Apple is now has a market capitalization of twice Microsoft, fourteen times HP, and twentyeight times Dell.

HP and Dell made the obscene amounts of cash on big bold bets, that's how they came to be. The friuts of their prior successes, like all fruits, don't keep forever.

HP comes to market too slowly, and kills great products before the public can get excited about them. Dell has streamlined manufacturing and custom orderability enough that it is hard to imagine buying a computer without a Dell like experience.

The real question is, what has HP and Dell done lately?

more than 2 years ago

Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot

ebuck Re:UEFI SecureBoot is a catastrophy (393 comments)

My 24" Core 2 Duo iMac has EFI Boot. It didn't stop me from installing Linux Mint on it last month (full format & repartition of the hard drive, not as a "guest"). Can someone help me understand what's the difference?

Your EFI Boot doesn't have the "secure boot" option enabled. Perhaps it doesn't even have it implemented.

With secure boot enabled, the motherboard will check that the bootloader is signed, to assure that it is the bootloader that Apple shipped. To do this, it takes pre-stored keys in a ROM chip and compares them with the bootloader. Consider it a kind of checksum, designed to tell one of the origin of the software, not the integrity.

Booting a secure bootloader is silly unless you intend that bootloader to then check the signature of the operating system, and refuse to boot any non-signed operating system. So a secure bootloader is primarily wanted to assure that you boot an operating system who's origin is that of the operating system distributor (Apple in your case).

Right now, you happen to boot Linux on your machine; because, it has not been configured to boot only the verifiably non-modified operating systems. Linux distributors (Fedora) have obtained permission to use Microsoft's key to sign all of their bootloaders for $99 (one time payment). The decision to use a Microsoft key was due to the logistic problems they encountered when attempting to get their key into all of the motherboards manufactured (too many vendors, surely some of them would ship without a Fedora key). With the signed "Linux Bootloader", a EFI system with security enabled, will not reject the bootloader as non-authorized just after EFI does the hardware checks that are familiar to BIOS users.

The only reason this creates any kind of panic, is that in order to prevent pre-operating system rootkits (and there are a few in the wild now), most motherboards are expected to ship with the secure boot option of EFI on. The reason that Fedora opted to have their bootloader signed was to prevent their users from having to boot Windows to turn it off so that they could have a successful Fedora installed.

It has nothing to do with what Apple or Microsoft wants you to boot. That's just Linux FUD. It has to do with booting what was intended, and if you bought a iMAC, at least prior to the first boot, you wouldn't expect (or enjoy) it coming up with something that Apple didn't ship.

more than 2 years ago

Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot

ebuck Re:How much of the 'operating system' needs to sig (393 comments)

Secure boot is stupid because there is a much easier solution: Dont let the bootloader be modified from within the running OS. Require a reboot to a special mode (maintenance mode) or a boot-to-CD (for programs like truecrypt).

If the bootloader could not be modified from within the running OS, pray tell, how would one reconfigure it to boot anything else? Special mode is a "special" running OS, why wouldn't every OS that wants to modify the boot loader deem itself special?

more than 2 years ago

Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot

ebuck Re:The rootkit would just infect the kernel (393 comments)

the bootloader can be configured to load a Linux kernel that chain-loads a compromised Windows kernel

That strikes me as an odd proposition.... The Windows kernel has a lot of requirements out of its bootloader. ...

While that may be true, GRUB has been booting Microsoft Windows for years now. It may have a lot of requirements, but obviously those requirements have been met.

What you might have forgotten is that boot loaders can simply call other boot loaders. It's call chaining, and it is exactly how GRUB boots Micorsoft Windows. You boot to GRUB, which might configure a thing or two (like hide Linux partitions), and then it boots NTLDR (or whatever the latest Microsoft loader is) and the Microsoft boot loader then satisfies all those requirements for the Microsoft Windows operating system.

It's absolutely possible, of course, but the sheer amount of hackery that is required to make it work is just mind boggling... at least to me. Can you link anything that explains your concept?

I won't link, but consider a mail forwarding service. They receive a letter, the might move it internally through a few mail boxes, and then eventually ship it out to you at your new address. What they don't know is that the new address could also be a mail forwarding service. Chaining two mail forwarding services together will still get the mail to the final destination address.

The above example pertains to boot loaders, except that you have the first boot loader set the environment to "boot something" which happens to not be an operating system (actually boot loaders can not differentiate between an OS and a boot loader, because at that level, there are just programs). Without the motherboard configured to only boot signed boot loaders, any number of intermediate boot loaders could be inserted which could then hijack the booting process, perhaps even to the point where they boot a pre-infected (by some means) operating system.

Hopefully this clears things up a bit. I know that boot loaders are only somewhat understood, even by those who use Linux quite a bit. I don't even pretend to be an expert, but it is clear to me that if you want to assure that a certain operating system is booted as it was delivered by the distributor, you need to control the entire boot process from power on to the kernel launch.

Linux's security model protects itself well post-kernel launch, but even Linux could be subverted by sloppy controls over the booting process.

more than 2 years ago

Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot

ebuck Re:How much of the 'operating system' needs to sig (393 comments)

The problem is that any bootloader capable of loading more than one (signed) kernel would defeat the purpose of secureboot.

Yes, it would defeat the purpose, because if the boot loader isn't signed, then you could replace the boot loader with one that didn't even worry about signed kernels.

I mean the official purpose, protection against rootkits, not the actual purpose.

The official purpose is to lock down a computer such that you can be assured that it boots off of the intended software. It is not only protection against rootkits, but that is one item it could help with.

The issue now is that there is no way to differentiate between approved software and unapproved software. Signing is an elegant, tried, and stable solution for identifying origin of software. However, signing requries that your keys are distributed with hardware that guarantees it will only work with binaries that can be unlocked with your keys.

Fedora attempted to distribute their keys to all the major motherboard manufacturers; however, even with positive feedback from the hardware manufacturers, it became clear to Fedora that they would not have their keys in every UEFI secure boot system. So they had to make a choice. Either one would need Microsoft Windows as a prerequisite to install Fedora (by launching to Windows and disabling the secure boot system), or they could use a $99 a lifetime key signing portal to sign their bootloader with a key that is guaranteed to be present (due to Microsoft's market presence) so UEFI could boot Fedora install media without launching Windows.

I think Fedora found the right solution, despite the fact that there is a horrible history with Microsoft. After all, the alternative is to require running Microsoft Windows to disable UEFI. Getting an installation boot loader signed once is far less intrusive than requiring a launch of Windows, I mean, you would have to buy a copy of Windows to install Fedora.

Of course, one might argue that PCs ship with the secure boot option of UEFI disabled by default. This still might happen; however, nearly everyone wants the shipped operating system to be the one that boots, so it is not clear how disabling secure boot would assure people that they are booting what they bought.

... not the actual purpose.

Allusion to a sinister purpose without even describing it is blatant fearmongering. There might be a ulterior motive, there might not be an ulterior motive. If you really suspect ulterior motives, have the balls to detail them.

If Microsoft didn't want any other operating system to boot, then they wouldn't even have offered the bootloader signing portal. If they didn't want Linux to boot, then they would have altered the terms of service to be incompatible with the legal protection structure surrounding Linux. They didn't do either, and their price seems so low that I wonder if the service is being offered "at cost".

more than 2 years ago

64 Drone Bases Located On American Soil

ebuck Re:You're kidding!?! (234 comments)

They send untested multimillion dollar drones over to Yemen where they hand them to an untrained unit and expect them to just figure out how they work in the field?

Well, considering the targets dont shoot back they might just as well do the training in the field.

The idea that our military attacks peaceful targets that don't even bother to defend themselves is beyond ridiculous. You should be ashamed for insuinuating such. You are demeaning the job of the military, and belittling the risk they are taking on your behalf.

Whether you desire the military to be active in a particular location or not, give them the respect due to a person who is willing to follow out the wishes of our government, despite their personal feelings, in the hope that we do make the world a better place.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are Hearing Aids So Expensive?

ebuck Re:I found a good explanation (629 comments)

Don't worry, this topic deserves about three more submissions before even Slashdot deems it not worthy of a repeat.

The electronics must be small, they mustn't be very heavy, and the must do something that is computationally expensive (signal isolation in a noisy background), combined with amplification, all in a custom fitting (to your ear) enclosure.

On the other hand, you have people stating that a mass marketed device which is identical for a run of over 11 million last quarter, with ability to use bigger (lower cost) components, bought in bulk (by the millions) is cheap, so this custom device should be too.

Basically they are expensive for all the reasons the article poster is ignoring, which reduces the article to "I want one cheaper, waahhhhaaahhh!!!"

more than 2 years ago


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