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Eben Upton Explains the Raspberry Pi Model A+'s Redesign

itamblyn Re:Nice and all (107 comments)

Given the purpose of these devices, cheaper would be better than faster.

about two weeks ago
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Flurry of Scans Hint That Bash Vulnerability Could Already Be In the Wild

itamblyn Use the bug to patch the bug (318 comments)

If shellshock lets remote users execute arbitrary shell commands, should we just run a scan of the whole internet (https://github.com/robertdavidgraham/masscan), and issue apt-get update & apt-get upgrade? Use the bug to patch the bug?

about 2 months ago
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First Shellshock Botnet Attacking Akamai, US DoD Networks

itamblyn Use the bug to patch the bug (236 comments)

If shellshock lets remote users execute arbitrary shell commands, should we just run a scan of the whole internet (https://github.com/robertdavidgraham/masscan), and issue apt-get update & apt-get upgrade? Use the bug to patch the bug?

about 2 months ago
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Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video

itamblyn Re:Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (109 comments)

Interesting. I didn't realize it was the tariff that was the issue (for the moment at least). To be honest, I am OK with a tax of something like $1 / month that goes toward producing Canadian content. And something like an on-demand model, where my vote is recorded based on what I watch, seems like a decent way of deciding which content is supported. I agree with you that this current business has less to do with supporting Canadian content, and more to do with the fact that incumbents are scared by Netflix. I don't have a cable subscription and never will. Most of my friends are in the same boat. Paying for low quality content mixed with commercials feels like having a newspaper delivered to my doorstep every morning. Fun if you're pretending it is 1972, but otherwise pretty silly. Unfortunately, the CRTC, historically the place that former media executives go to retire, is unlikely to see it this way. They are basically in charge of regulating their old buddies.

about 2 months ago
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Not Just Netflix: Google Challenges Canada's Power To Regulate Online Video

itamblyn Re:Netflix / Google's argument is surely valid (109 comments)

In Canada it is a bit more complicated. We have a policy here which mandates that a certain percentage of all broadcast media be Canadian content (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_content).

It means that radio stations have to play Canadian music, and that television networks must show Canadian shows.

As you can imagine, there are strong opinions about this. For example, what constitutes Canadian content? If it is an American made show that is shot on Canadian soil (Toronto playing the role of Big-American-City), should that count? Or if the writers are Canadian, but the show is produced in the US, how should it be counted? What about a celebrity gossip show, primarily about Hollywood stars, that is hosted by Canadians? I'm not making these examples up by the way.

In radio, Can-con can lead to odd things too: when there is a new Canadian band, airwaves become oversaturated with their music quite quickly, to the point where the domestic audience gets tired of them. DJs want to play popular music (mostly of US origin), but must also meet Can-con rules. A new, popular Canadian band can actually be hurt by too much exposure in a short period of time.

So the CRTC here isn't just about issuing licenses for limited airwaves. It is also about enforcing rules on the content.

My personal opinion is that Can-con (mandating some % of material be broadcast) is probably not the best approach to supporting Canadian artists. I don't think it makes sense for TV, radio, or internet.

That said, it is pretty clear to me that under the current rules, Netflix and Youtube should fall under the same umbrella. I don't see an argument how the government has the authority to set rules about radio and TV but not the internet. I suppose you could claim that wireless spectrum is a public space, therefore within the purview of the government. But that arguement falls apart since most people have cable anyway. To give you a sense of how inconsistent things currently are, if you have a cable modem, part of the signal (TV) is subject to Can-con, but if you stream (internet) it is not.

Again, I'm not coming out in favour (note the u :) of Can-con on any media provider, but the current case against Netflix etc is consistent with the law as it is written.

about a month ago
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Blizzard Has Canceled Titan, Its Next-gen MMO

itamblyn Where does it go? (155 comments)

When a project like that gets cancelled, where does all the material go? Does someone just do a rm -rf ./project, or does it just get rebranded into something else?

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

itamblyn Re:fMRI (552 comments)

fMRI will not be a home-based solution. It requires a _really_ big magnetic field. The hardware is big, costs millions of dollars, and is only available at hospitals / research centres.

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Communication With Locked-in Syndrome Patient?

itamblyn Eye tracking + swipe? (552 comments)

On my android phone, I can type words by swiping between letters, rather than simply poking at them with my fingers. I'm amazed how well this tech works and how fast I can write with it.

I know that eye trackers exist (and that one can select letters by hovering over them) but does eye tracking + swipe exist? If it doesn't, it would be straightforward to prototype it easily (originally you had to buy it, but now it seems to be part of the main OS. http://www.swype.com/

...actually, after a bit of googling it looks like others have thought of this: http://sciencenordic.com/texti...

Other human computer interaction options would be the various brain wave headsets which are now appearing (e.g. from google I see http://neurosky.com/ http://interaxon.ca/ etc). They tend to be less accurate, but are probably useful for things like controlling the environment (lights on and off) etc. It wouldn't be difficult to interface them with some basic home automation hardware.

I would think that finding a mix off input devices would be ideal in terms of preventing fatigue.

Once a bit of time has passed, you might consider spending some time looking through the faculty pages at your local University's CS Department. Get in contact with them. There is a lot of work (and funds) going on into HCI right now. This seems like the type of project that would get a lot of support from graduate students and faculty.

Please come back to us with a follow-up post. Don't forget to include a fundraising link for equipment costs. I would certainly contribute.

about 6 months ago
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Google Announces "Classroom"

itamblyn Not until there is a guarantee of LTS (143 comments)

I will not try this nor recommend it until Google states clearly that this service will be maintained for X years. I understand that nothing is forever, but too many projects have been created by Google only to be abandoned within 2-3 years.

about 7 months ago
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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

itamblyn If only there was a country to the North... (870 comments)

If only there was a country to the North with which to compare. Minimum wage in Canada is north (heh :) of $10 everywhere except in Alberta where it is $9.95. I can assure you we do not have robot janitors and our coffee and fast food is served by humans. The economies and purchasing power of the two countries are similar enough it's a valid comparison. While there clearly must be a point at which labour costs outweigh purchase + operating costs of automated solutions, for the types of jobs being discussed here, the break point is not $10/hour.

about 8 months ago
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Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

itamblyn S != T != E != M (491 comments)

A large part of the problem stems (heh :) from the fact that the disciplines are not interchangeable. Policy makers typically do not have backgrounds in _any_ of the fields, so they see little distinction between a computer science student, software engineer, math, physics, etc. While we can all agree that those disciplines are technical in nature, the fact is you do not learn the same set of skills. When employers say then need more STEM grads, they aren't looking for a generic chemistry or biology student. They want a C++ coder, or they want someone that can build an antenna, or someone that can operate a mass spec. The learning outcomes from different STEM degrees are vastly different. Notwithstanding issues related to wages, H1-B etc, the acronym itself is a big part of the problem.

about 9 months ago
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More Details About Mars Mystery Rock

itamblyn It was a janitor (180 comments)

The whole thing is being shot in a Hollywood studio. A night janitor was goofing around with the set and didn't put things back properly. Happens all the time.

about 10 months ago
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Chrome's Insane Password Security Strategy

itamblyn I should be able to log in and out of Chrome (482 comments)

Currently I am able to log in and out of gmail on a friend's laptop without any (reasonable) fear that my email will keep living on that machine (and is unencrypted). Obviously keyloggers etc could grab my password, but let's assume I'm not _that_ paranoid.

I do not have this option with the Chrome browser itself. At best, I can log into Chrome (and am encouraged to do so at first startup) and at the end of the session, I can delete the profile (rm -rf .config/google-chrome). This certainly deals with the problem, but is pretty clunky. The should be a login / logout feature to the browser, not just my email.

Compare this to Chrome OS. Here the functionality is built in; you don't have to delete your user account at the end of every session. Encrypted files are stored on the local drive which you can then access the next time you log in. It's quick and painless. This needs to be built into the standard Chrome browser.

about a year ago
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Smithsonian Releases 128-Year-Old Recording of Alexander Graham Bell

itamblyn It wasn't just the Smithsonian (122 comments)

From the article: "The audio was recovered by a team of scholars consisting of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicist Carl Haber, National Museum of American History curator Carlene Stephens and Library of Congress digital conversion specialist Peter Alyea, among others." See also here: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/science-shorts/2013/04/25/alexander-graham-bell/

about a year and a half ago
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Why Girls Do Better At School

itamblyn ...and yet (690 comments)

they get paid 81 cents on the dollar.

about 2 years ago
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$50 Sound Cards Impress Versus Integrated Audio

itamblyn Distance from the power supply (245 comments)

Most of the improvement is likely due to increased distance between the amplification circuits and the noisy AC/DC power supply.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Is MS cheating on its own HTML 5 test?

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "I just upgraded to the IE 9 RC and decided to see how it did on HTML 5 speed tests compared to the most recent dev channel build of Chrome (11.0.672.2). The result was more than x3 faster performance by IE (using a test created by MS in fairness). Interestingly though, the images and text were somewhat blurry, as if it wasn't being rendered at the full resolution of the window. Is this "legal"? Is Chrome losing because it's not cutting corners, or is this trick fair game and Chrome should be doing it as well. If you have a windows machine, you can do the comparison yourself here: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Performance/SpeedReading/default.html"
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Small island hints at big problem

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 3 years ago

itamblyn writes "BBC is reporting that a small island South of Bangladesh has "disappeared" — underwater. Rising sea levels have solved a longstanding territorial dispute between India and Bangladesh, but hint at a larger issue that would seem to extend beyond just these two countries' interests. Hopefully everyone brought rubber boots to work today."
Link to Original Source
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On-Off Switch for Nanoscale devices proposed

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 5 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Columbia University are studying how electrons flow through a molecular junction-a nanometer scale circuit element that contacts gold atoms with a single molecule. Their findings reveal the electrical resistance through this junction can be turned 'on' and 'off' simply by pushing and pulling the junction-a feature that could be used as a switch in nanoscale electronic devices."
Link to Original Source
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Net neturality bill tabled in Canadian Parliment

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "CBC.ca is reporting the a private members bill will be introduced in the Canadian Parliament today focusing on net neutrality. From the article: "The New Democratic Party's Charlie Angus told the cheering crowd that the private member's bill would protect Canadian consumers from having their internet speeds 'throttled' by service providers. 'You are citizens of a digital realm and you have rights,' he said.""
Link to Original Source
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'$100 laptop' platform moves on

itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 6 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "An independent effort to develop the software originally designed for the $100 (XO) laptop has been launched. Sugar Labs will take the laptop's innovative interface, known as Sugar, to the "next level of usability and utility", according to its founders. It is intended that the free software will be made available on other PCs, such as the popular Asus Eee. "We will continue to work with OLPC but we will also work with other manufacturers," explained Sugar Labs founder Walter Bender. "Hopefully it will mean that these ideas will get out there faster and to a broader community.""
Link to Original Source
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itamblyn itamblyn writes  |  more than 7 years ago

itamblyn (867415) writes "A new sci-fi show is set to premier this spring...on the internets. Sanctuary will star Amanda Tapping (Sam Carter — SG1), and will feature guest appearances from other Vancouver based actors ;) Gateworld has an interview with executive producer Damian Kindler, also of SG1 and Atlantis. The series will be shot entirely with green screen, and there is talk of an interactive gaming experience."

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