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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

enos Re:Anthropometrics (819 comments)

Which 3 would that be?

You have United, Delta, American, Southwest, Virgin, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier, plus many smaller ones.

about 3 months ago
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3 Recent Flights Make Unscheduled Landings, After Disputes Over Knee Room

enos Re:Anthropometrics (819 comments)

Rail is only competitive on a few shorter in-country routes. People fly medium-long distances, just like in the US.

about 3 months ago
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Prototype Volvo Flywheel Tech Uses Car's Wasted Brake Energy

enos Re:Not Really - (262 comments)

You're missing WindBourne's point.

What systems like this do is take a very complex mechanism and make it more efficient by making it even more complex. Yes all the engineering problems can be solved, but the point is that you have an already complex regular car PLUS all this stuff necessary for the flywheel. The complexity adds cost, increases weight, and reduces reliability.

An electric car instead removes a lot of complexity. It's just an energy store and a very simple electric motor.

about 9 months ago
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Flash Is Dead; Long Live OpenFL!

enos More than vector graphics (166 comments)

Flash became dominant because it filled many real needs. Vector graphics is just one. It also brought creation tools so artists could work with it, it brought a scripting environment fast enough to use in a browser. Like you say, it also brought commonality to all the different browsers. This means that Flash brought a lot of features to the masses:
  - browser games. These were known as Schockwave or Flash games.
  - usable online multimedia. Yes there were video sites, but they became far more usable and reliable with Flash video.
  - rich design. As much as we hate them for all their inherent problems (and I do too), the fact is that before HTML+CSS caught up the only way to implement a crazy design was with Flash.
  - rich typography. We've only got proper font support very recently. That means the website can define its own font, not simply choose among the handful of Web fonts one could assume were available on the client.

Yes you could do video with native plugins like WMPlayer. Do you remember how terrible that was? Half the videos wouldn't play because of some unknown problem with codecs or such. When FLV came in it was great. Despite its problems, it brought reliability. I don't think YouTube would have become as successful as it is without Flash. Same with audio.

Despite its many problems, Flash brought a rich, standard interface to the web when nobody else could.

about 9 months ago
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Ubuntu's Mir Gets Delayed Again

enos Display server is a forced choice (241 comments)

This Mir/Weyland/X debate is NOT another KDE v.s. Gnome or Emacs v.s. VI. In those debates every user is able to choose what they prefer.

The display server choice is made by the software writer, not the end user. If the end user wants to use a particular piece of software, they will have to use the display server that the software requires. There is no choice.

about 9 months ago
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RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

enos Re:Radioshack's main problem... (423 comments)

The problem is "inventory is expensive". For a store to have a cabinet full of resistors and switches, they have to buy them from the manufacturer, put them in little plastic bags, then send them out.

So? Plenty of items are sold like that, with profit. Any hardware store sells fasteners like this, with much more variety and niche sizes. With today's metal prices I bet the fasteners are more expensive to produce, yet are sold at a fraction of RS's components. The electronic components cost pennies to make, like you say the cost is all their overhead. The fasteners are also low volume (because if you want a lot you'll buy them in bulk) but the difference is that you know they won't be absolute junk. So if you need one, you go to the store. That means the low volume is high enough to be profitable.

The problem is that RS has carefully trained every one of their serious customers that any alternative is better. So if you need one, you head online. You also don't buy incidentals.

about 9 months ago
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RadioShack To Close 1,100 Stores

enos Harbor Freight? Really? (423 comments)

If you want to see a store that is on the ball (and now another great place to buy batteries) is Harbor Freight.

Harbor Freight prove the premise that there's nothing more expensive than a cheap tool.

Out of the half dozen or more of their tools that I've used, not a single one was fit for its intended purpose. Not one. There's the rotary tool with a shaft so crooked and unbalanced that it's useless for all but the most coarse jobs, the torch that stops working within days, the brake bleeder that can't keep vacuum (and comes with accessories made of such cheap rubber that it falls apart halfway through their first use). HF tools belong next to my Radio Shack soldering irons that don't get hot enough to solder.

about 9 months ago
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Scientists Build Three Atom Thick LEDs

enos In this case, UW == Univ. of Washington (54 comments)

To be clear, only two authors are from the University of Washington. They have many collaborators, including from Univ. of Tennessee, Oak Ridge NL, Germany, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Submitter: University of Wisconsin and University of Waterloo are also known as "UW". It's worth expanding on first use.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

enos Re:Symbolic characters are on the decline. (876 comments)

counterpoint: emoji. brand-new. symbolic.

if you look at western civilization, some of the earliest writing forms were cuneiform and egyptian hieroglyphics. both evolved to become more abstract and less ornate as time evolved. greek, english, german also simplified over time. both structurally, and by dropping letters. so it's easy to be whiggish about this. but emoji is a brand new hieroglyphic augmentation. i think this is a serious challenge to the view that languages tend to evolve toward syllabic and alphabetic.

Good example, and I think it will be interesting to see how Emoji changes over time.

But I'll argue that at this point Emoji is more akin to punctuation than a symbolic written language. You don't use Emoji to transmit facts, you use it to transmit how you feel about them, much like you use the '!' symbol to signify your excitement. You also wouldn't, for example, use an Emoji icon for the moon to talk about months, something that Chinese and Japanese do.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

enos Re:Symbolic characters are on the decline. (876 comments)

Typing Chinese characters usually means typing out the pronunciation and then selecting the character.

I think the point that symbolic characters are on the decline is very valid.

It's true that symbolic (logographic) writing systems have various disadvantages. However there are also advantages. For example, whilst reading Chinese is harder to learn, once learned it's easier to read quickly because there are fewer characters needed to make up a word. You can squeeze up a lot of meaning into a very space. A good example has appeared fairly recently on the Chinese intertubes. They have a Youtube-like service which shows pirated TV shows over which are laid viewers' comments, which scroll horizontally across the screen. Many different comments are floating across the screen at the same time. The idea is to poke fun at the plot line, etc, etc. Now the interesting thing is that you're only allowed very few characters to make your comment, I don't recall how many but I think it's about 3 or 5 or so. That's easily enough for them to make a witty point. This just wouldn't work in, say, English. The comments would take up too much space and you'd likely only ever be able to read one at a time.

I used to think that too, because from an information theory standpoint it should be. Like CISC vs. RISC, the complex characters should mean fewer characters. And in some instances, like maybe microblogging that's true. But look at any product packaging, instruction manual or form written in several languages. English almost always takes up the least amount of room.

There are probably lots of reasons for that that I can think of: The characters need a larger font size due to their complexity. Maybe there are a lot of concepts that don't match a single character, so then you have to have combinations and that takes space. Also language tends to evolve short words for commonly-used concepts, so a phonetic language will likely use short words a lot. Written Chinese doesn't benefit from this as much, because you need to have an integer number of (large) characters.

Also, Chinese words are short in general, even when spelled phonetically. So the savings might not be that high to begin with.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

enos Re:Symbolic characters are on the decline. (876 comments)

Chinese is a unique situation.

Probably the largest contributor to keeping a highly symbolic written language is the fact the various spoken Chinese languages ("dialects") are mutually unintelligible.

If you have symbols, anyone that knows the characters and the grammar can read letters/printed material, no matter how they end up pronouncing those characters. Or no matter how many distinguishing tones they use (anything from 4 to 6 seems to be in use there).

Very good point. I'm also wondering how they handle the borrowed words among the different dialects, because their symbolic meaning is, well, meaningless.

I also find this "dialect" phrasing strange, because they really are entirely different languages that just happen to share a writing system. A Mandarin speaker cannot communicate verbally with a Cantonese speaker. Also, we call Swedish and Danish different languages, but a Swede can speak to a Dane in Swedish, and the Dane can reply in Danish, and they will likely understand each other perfectly.

BTW, I believe Cantonese has 9 tones.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

enos Re:Symbolic characters are on the decline. (876 comments)

And yet, the Japanese had the opportunity to switch to the Latin alphabet, but they didn't. Look up Nihon-shiki.

Nihon-shiki and other romanization schemes are more for fitting Japanese into foreign worlds than the other way around. It's difficult to do business with foreigners if they can't even spell your name. These schemes are all on the "good enough" scale, but don't quite match the Japanese language. If they decided to switch to a phonetic writing system they'd probably simply drop Kanji and use Hiragana and/or Katakana instead. The cultural shock would be much smaller, something that's important for a very conservative culture like Japan, and Hiragana matches spoken Japanese perfectly (the romanji schemes don't).

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Why Are We Still Writing Text-Based Code?

enos Symbolic characters are on the decline. (876 comments)

>surviving languages use symbols representing sounds
over a billion people have a few symbols with you...

Are you referring to the Asian languages that use Chinese characters?
  - Vietnamese used to be written in Chinese characters, it now uses the Latin alphabet.
  - Korean replaced Chinese characters with the phonetic Hangul 500 years ago.
  - Japanese has not one but two phonetic alphabets to go along with their Chinese characters. They mix all three together, and you can tell a passage is intended to be simple to understand when it will be all phonetic except the simplest of Chinese characters.
  - Even China simplified the traditional characters because they were deemed too hard to learn. School children are taught new Chinese characters via pinyin, a phonetic scheme that uses Latin characters. Since they don't have a phonetic system, when they borrow foreign words then they match the foreign pronunciation with the set of Chinese characters that have the closest pronunciation. The result is a mix of characters where some have their original symbolic meaning, and others that only stand in for their pronunciation. Think "what your name means in Chinese" party trick.
  - Typing Chinese characters usually means typing out the pronunciation and then selecting the character.

I think the point that symbolic characters are on the decline is very valid.

about 10 months ago
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GCC 4.9 To See Significant Upgrades In 2014

enos Re:Irony not lost on me (191 comments)

The only restriction is that if I decide to give anyone the modified code, I have to do so under the terms of the GPL.

Almost. The GPL requires you to provide the source to any derivative binary you distribute. So you're right, Apple could compile OSX with its own derivative of GCC and not have to release the source to that GCC derivative. However, they cannot ship a derivative of GCC with Xcode and not provide the source to it.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can We Still Trust FIPS?

enos it was General Paul Van Riper (138 comments)

A retired General, not Admiral, Paul Van Riper was in charge of the Red Team.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002

While the military definitely has its head up its ass over this, I read somewhere, I don't remember where now, that the charges of cheating did have some merit. It would be things like that the motorbike couriers would arrive instantly and various other guerrilla tactics would always work and happen faster that was realistic, etc.

about a year ago
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2013 U.S. Wireless Network Tests: AT&T Fastest, Verizon Most Reliable

enos Re:Verizon does have the best coverage (131 comments)

T-Mobile doesn't seem to mind what you do. The branded G2X even came with Android's mobile hotspot feature enabled. I spent many months tethering as my primary way to get internet at home, and a friend still does. Note that you need a good phone to have descent Skype, the G2X is too slow. It works much better with the desktop client going through the tether than the Android client.

It seems faster phones give faster service as well. The G2X would top out at about 1 Mbps, but I've gotten 16Mbps/5Mbps (up/down) on my Nexus 4.

The first-to-byte measurements are important, though. I get ping times of 300-600ms. That kind of latency makes VOIP annoying sometimes. I find Skype handles the latency better than others like Viber or Tango.

about a year and a half ago
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Ubuntu Touch Developers Aim for Daily Phone Usability Before June

enos Re:Take the long view, and you'll see: Android suc (83 comments)

You want an encrypted phone? Nothing is stopping you. Android happily lets you replace the dialer with your own. Hell, millions do it already. Just most people value price, call quality and having someone to call over encryption. How is Ubuntu going to improve on this?

Don't tell me about being stuck in the past and then try to claim that Ubuntu is better. A Linux system today would be very recognizable to someone from the 80s. You want earth shattering ideas you don't look toward desktop Linux.

When I said unfinished I mean that it feels like an alpha release. As in it has plain and obvious bugs. Those are finally getting worked out. That window is definitely closing fast, as Microsoft has discovered. Ubuntu is just another incompatible me-too system in this respect, except of course it's all just different enough to be incompatible. In that sense it carries on the Linux tradition, I guess.

about a year and a half ago
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Ubuntu Touch Developers Aim for Daily Phone Usability Before June

enos Re: Android (83 comments)

Android is Linux too.

They just recognize that a phone isn't a server or a desktop; it has different constraints. The input methods are completely different, Watts matter, responsiveness matters, etc. The OS is not the limitation. Sensibility is.

I don't see what Ubuntu brings to the table that Android hasn't brought already.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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enos enos writes  |  more than 7 years ago

enos (627034) writes "Peter Gutmann describes the consequences of Vista's DRM including the intentional crippling of functionality, unnecessary burdens on hardware manufacturers as well as unintended side effects. For example, Vista automatically and silently reduces the quality of audio and video on untrusted devices when "premium" content is present. This can have life threatening consequences when used in medical imaging where the compression artifacts can be misinterpreted."

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