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When Customer Dissatisfaction Is a Tech Business Model

erice Re:Not putting up with jerks (257 comments)

You don't have to put up with jerks.

  • Internet provider - DSL. No packet filtering, good support, no nonsense.

For almost every crap business, there's a competitor that isn't crap. Find them.

I like Sonic. But 6Mbps is not fast anymore and that is all that Sonic will likely be able to offer you. (Yes, the service is technically "up to 20Mbps" but unless you share a parking lot with CO, you are not going to get that)

Comcast starts at 6Mbps and goes up to 105Mbps. AT&T is running VDSL up to 45Mbps. Unlike at the ADSL generation, they are not required to share and so they don't.

Any ISP that doesn't run their own wires is doomed to offer increasingly uncompetitive speeds. Sonic has run fiber in a couple of areas but it doesn't seem likely that they will be able to fiber everyone who has service with them now. Or even close.

about a week ago

Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

erice Re:Bullshit (441 comments)

When Google offered me a job, I could not believe how little they wanted to pay me. 67% of what I was making at a megabank

Er, you could probably replace "Google" in that sentence with any company. You're comparing your salary to one at a fucking bank, companies so famous for absurd compensation packages that it triggered street protests ....

Street protests were over compensation of executives. I never heard any suggestion that the lower level workers were overpaid.

about a week ago

If Fusion Is the Answer, We Need To Do It Quickly

erice Big fusion reactor unnecessary for boosting (305 comments)

Fusion reactors capable of producing net power are big, or seem to be being as we haven't actually built one yet.

However, if you just want to produce tritium for a boosted fission bomb, you don't need to generate net power. A farnsworth fusor will do and they are small and inconspicuous.

As for deuterium: Deuterium is produced for industrial, scientific and military purposes, by starting with ordinary water—a small fraction of which is naturally-occurring heavy water—and then separating out the heavy water by the Girdler sulfide process, distillation, or other methods.

So, no point in securing your fusion reactor because the bad guys don't have any real motivation to break in. At least, not to steal anything.

about two weeks ago

Reversible Type-C USB Connector Ready For Production

erice Re:Good. (191 comments)

I know, one more USB connector to have an adaptor for... But this is how the mini/micro and even old USB 'A' should have been from the beginning.

There's nothing worse than having to blind mate USB, and having to flip it four bloody times before it works. (except maybe blind mating 'F' connectors, or sometimes D sub..)

I can think of a few things that are worse, including:

1) Arriving at your destination needing to charge your phone and finding that, although you have the charger and the phone, you forgot the adapter.
2) Having to mate and secure two connections instead of just one.
3) Unplugging phone cable from adapter leaving converter behind. This already happens with car adapters where you can easily walk off with the cable and phone, leaving the 12V adapter behind.
4) Arriving at far off destination to find that you have a new style power adapter (for another device) but old style microusb on your phone with no converter and you may not even be able to get a converter at any price because everyone assumes that people migrate old to new and not the other way.

about two weeks ago

New NSA-Funded Code Rolls All Programming Languages Into One

erice Re:They've re-invented PL/1 (306 comments)

And we know how well that worked the last time.

Nah. They've re-invented Ada.

Ada is when they re-invented PL/1.

Hmm. What comes after strike 2?

about three weeks ago

The ESports Athletes Who Tried To Switch Games

erice Re:Non transferable to another game, (146 comments)

but throwing a ball is use full like all other? if useless means you can earn a living doing it, is it still useless?

Even if you don't manage to make money at it, throwing a real ball around is a good way to stay in shape which is important for overall health. Throwing a virtual ball? Not so much and you are even more likely to need a day job which also will not give you the exercise that you need to stay healthy.

about three weeks ago

My degree of colorblindness:

erice Re:What would true color vision be like? (267 comments)

Even painting would be completely incapable of producing realistic "colors," and we'd all just have to agree than the ochre blob really looks like a rose.

You could still mix the paint to be the color of a rose, since the rose's color is also just a pigment. Worst case, you get an actual rose and try to find some way to stabilize the pigments. We might have developed sophisticated organic chemistry at an earlier stage, simply so we could produce art. More likely, the artist's palette would simply have a lot more colors on it. Mixing would take more time and skill. Paintings would be more expensive. High-end painting was always for the wealthy anyway though, so I don't think art would have been hurt too badly. If mixing colors was too difficult, then the worst case is that art might have been dominated by grey scale techniques for a long period of time.

The task of developing a decent computer monitor sounds harder. Even then though, there would be some binning of frequencies. How much spectral resolution do you need to appreciate music? If I can barely tell the difference between C and C#, I will never be a great musician... but I might still be able to appreciate it on some level. If each pixel had 16 different frequencies and 16 levels, it would obviously not look real to people with high spectral resolution. OTOH, it would probably look better than monochrome. It might be like listening to a scratchy old AM radio--better than nothing.

I think color representation would be like 3D: a fad that comes and goes but never quite sticks because it is so hard to do and because it can never be right.

Color paintings would be mostly highly abstract with a few rare and remarkable specimens painstaking created over many years. Most realistic art would gray scale.

Photography would be almost entirely black and white.

Computer monitors might well have color but, without effective mixing, could only display the actual color present in the phosphors. CGA would be state of the art color.

about three weeks ago

The Doctor Will Skype You Now

erice Or perhaps tomorrow or yesterday (97 comments)

But the last I knew The Doctor preferred/will prefer to use cell phones. It probably isn't important the device use Skype. It may not even be important that the device be turned on.

about three weeks ago

Parallax Completes Open Hardware Vision With Open Source CPU

erice Re:here it is (136 comments)

Here's an open FPGA design:
Put a buttload of OR gates in parallel.
Follow them with a buttload of AND gates

There just isn't that much design in a basic FPGA to open up, not that I can see.

Said the blind man.. What you describe is the end user description of a PAL. FPGA's are completely different and PALs are not actually designed that way either. It is just the end user description, much like knowing the x86 instruction set doesn't mean you know how to design a modern x86 processor.

An Altera or Xillinx FPGA is predominately a sea of small SRAM's but there are also many many muxes, complicated interconnects, configurable special function blocks (like multiply/accumulators, IO cells, and Ethernet interfaces). There is also a great deal of logic just to efficiently move configuration bitstreams into the chip. The complexity per unit area is less than a typical ASIC, which makes FPGA's good subjects for bringing up on new process flows but it is definitely not trivial work. Much is low level and structural rather than logical but that doesn't make it easy.

That said, an open FPGA design would be pretty useless. The hardest part is that low level process dependent optimization and that is just not repeatable without an army of engineers, expensive closed source tools, and access to bleeding edge foundries.

What people want, though, isn't to be able to make their own FPGA's. They just want an FPGA that is fully documented. Xilinx and Altera like to keep certain details secret. You have to use their tools because they won't tell you want you need to write your own and, even if you figure it out, they will sue you.

about three weeks ago

Tesla's Already Shopping For More Office Space

erice Nowhere on the Peninsula is meaningfully closer (100 comments)

The Dumbarton (the closest route from PA) jams up. 237/880 (The route from further South on Peninsula and the South Bay) is a parking lot. It is simply not possible for a single location to be an easy drive from both Palo Alto and Fremont. If Tesla wants their employees meaningfully closer to the factory, they are going to have to put them on the factory's side of the Bay. I.e., Fremont or Union City.

about three weeks ago

Why TiVo's Founders Crashed and Burned With Qplay

erice Re:What? (50 comments)

I love my Tivo, but - I also owned a VCR for the twenty years prior to my first Tivo. Time shifting has been around for 40+ years now.

True, but limited device intelligence and limited tape capacity made time shifting an exception rather than the rule. Most VCR owners, even those who used the time shifting feature, still watched most of their TV programs at the time that they aired.

With Tivo and other DVRs time-shifting becomes the norm and real-time an exception generally to be avoided.

about a month ago

Tesla and Panasonic Have Reached an Agreement On the Gigafactory

erice Re:What makes this a gigafactory? (95 comments)

Its much bigger than a megafactory, that's all I can tell you.

Yes, but is it 1000 times bigger or 1024 times bigger? That's the important part!

about a month ago

Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

erice Discontinued (544 comments)

Did you check to see if any of the these phones were still available?

I searched for sliders with displays of 960x540 and up, i.e., anything with more more pixels that my nearly 4 year old Mytouch 4G. There were four hits: all of them 960x540 and all of them discontinued.

about 1 month ago

Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

erice Re:NO, all candy bar (544 comments)

I suspect they're not producing these kinds of phones simply because, despite the author's assertion, very few people actually do want such phones.

A writer and a submitter does not constitute some vast ignored market.

On the contrary, I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who want keyboards. However, they will buy a new phone anyway, even if there is nothing available with a keyboard so the manufacturers have little incentive to cater to them. The same is true for small smart phones. Almost certainly more people want a small phone than want a slide out keyboard and they still get ignored. Manufacturers get more marketing buzz by pumping out giant keyboardless phones frequently than they would if they slowed down the upgrade cycle to spread their development efforts across niches.

When people stop buying new phones because manufacturers are not giving them what they want then maybe we will see some changes. My phone is 3.5 years old because I can't find a suitable (i.e., modern and not huge) replacement but I don't think there are enough people like me yet to catch the attention of the manufacturers.

about 1 month ago

Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

erice Re:Advanced? (95 comments)

Would an advanced race actually do something so illogical?

By "advanced", I assume the summary meant "technologically advanced". How would any civilization reach a high level of technology without going through industrialization? It's not like anyone enjoys living downwind of a coal plant, but the messier forms of energy production are convenient, cheap, and don't require any advanced materials or science. Try to imagine an alternate history where we emerged from the industrial revolution with effective, sustainable fusion and solar power without ever polluting the planet.

The thing is, fossil fuels run out rather quickly on the cosmic scale. A few centuries and the consequences of pollution become apparent quickly too. A civilization must quickly move to something cleaner or it dies. Either way, the pollution stops. What are the odds that our telescopes will find a planet inhabited by a civilization that just happens to be going through a (likely) one-time few century window of time?

If they exist at all, the average of civilization out there is probably tens to hundreds of million years old. It is unthinkable that a civilization that old would still be producing significant pollution (at least of a type that we are familiar). Maybe we should be looking for efforts to dump excessive waste heat.

about a month ago

Selectively Reusing Bad Passwords Is Not a Bad Idea, Researchers Say

erice High entropy rules on low importance sites (280 comments)

This is why it is infrurriating when low importance sites require high complexity passwords. They create unnecessary exposure for the limited pool of high complexity passwords I can remember. Meanwhile, the bank will take anything.

about a month and a half ago

Seat Detects When You're Drowsy, Can Control Your Car

erice Re:Not foolproof (106 comments)

Perhaps not creepy but, by itself, not foolproof. I have a tendency toward Bradycardia (slow heart-rate). My normal is in the 50's and at times will slow even down to the mid-40's while fully alert and functional. I don't know whether the system in mind incudes other input in order to determine impairment - the article doesn't really say - but heart-rate alone would be far from reliable.

To be universally useful, I think that a "fatigue detector" needs more than just one parameter.

Lane departure should be a good combination. Calibration for the driver would be helpful, too because you are right, heart rate varies significantly from person to person. Conditioned athletes often have resting heart rates below 50, even below 40. On the other hand, a couch potato may start wavering at 80.

about a month and a half ago

Slashdot Asks: Do You Want a Smart Watch?

erice Not of the kind usually talked about but, yes. (381 comments)

Suuntu Ambit2 is a 100m water resistant GPS sport watch that you can run apps on to custom process the data. It doesn't do things that smart phones do but it does not require a smart phone to function and it operates in environments where smart phones can't. It is heavy, expensive, and there are Linux compatibility issues. That is why I don't own one yet. But it is the right direction.

about a month and a half ago

What Happens When Gaming Auteurs Try To Go It Alone?

erice What suprise? (86 comments)

The results, surprisingly, are mixed: while some, such as Double Fine's Tim Schafer, have gone on to far greater success, it doesn't always work out that way

This might be a surprise to people who know nothing about startups or business but it should not be to anyone else. Here's the reality: Startups often fail. In fact, the overwhelming majority of startups fail. Being an "auteur" may improve the odds of a soft landing significantly but it does not remotely guarantee success because there is no way to guarantee success.

The reasons for failure are many including poor business skills (there is more to running a company than running a project) and unconstrained egos. The usual bad luck and mayhem that sink projects can also sink companies that only have one project.

about a month and a half ago



Robot rat beats up on live rats to make them depressed

erice erice writes  |  about a year and a half ago

erice (13380) writes "Scientists researching anti-depression treatments have a problem: they can't tell if the treatment works or not unless their lab rats are depressed. Their solution is a malevolent mechanical rat that ensures that all their real rats lose the rat race."
Link to Original Source

Woman wants to replace her non-functioning hand with a bionic prosthesis.

erice erice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

erice (13380) writes "Injured in crash which damaged the nerves in her arm, she has reach the limits that can what be accomplished with nerve transplants. She can move her arm but doctors have given up hope of restoring use of her hand. So she wants doctors to amputate the hand and replace it with a bionic version that does work."
Link to Original Source

World's largest optical telescope created

erice erice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

erice (13380) writes "Astronomers in Chile linked four telescopes together to form a single virtual mirror 130 meters in diameter. Previous efforts had linked two telescopes but this is the first time that all four had been linked."
Link to Original Source

Doctor trials laser treatment to change eye colour

erice erice writes  |  more than 2 years ago

erice (13380) writes "A US Doctor proposes to change healthy pigmented eyes to blue by destroying the pigment with a laser. The procedure has already been tested on cadavers and then on live patients in Mexico. He is seeking funding to continue clinical trials."
Link to Original Source


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