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Comments

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Scientist Who Oversaw OPERA's Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Study Resigns

radarsat1 Re:Not the press: OPERA (186 comments)

*you* read the paper.

From your link (emphasis mine):

In conclusion, despite the large significance of the measurement reported here and the
robustness of the analysis, the potentially great impact of the result motivates the continuation of
our studies in order to investigate possible still unknown systematic effects that could explain the
observed anomaly. We deliberately do not attempt any theoretical or phenomenological
interpretation of the results.

They specifically did not make the claim that neutrinos were travelling faster than light. The paper actually contains a lot of detail, and they were asking for ideas on what they might have missed. Did you read past the abstract?

more than 2 years ago
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Firefox 8.0 Released

radarsat1 how will they disable 3rd-party add-ons? (383 comments)

> we are disabling add-ons installed by third parties without your permission

how will they do this, technically? from what I understand, on windows, as long as the program installer can write to your firefox directory (unfortunately this is highly probable), it can put what it wants there, even modify the firefox binary. The only solution I can think of is some kind of hash-based solution where modified files are detected, but that stinks of a flawed DRM-style approach. How will they mitigate ill-behaved 3rd-party installers?

more than 2 years ago
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Samsung Joins Ranks of Android Vendors Licensing Microsoft Patents

radarsat1 why does Android use FAT anyway? (186 comments)

Is Android really using FAT?

The only reason I can think of to use FAT on a device is because you'll sooner or later need to put the SD card into a Windows computer and it won't be able to access it. This makes some sense for SD cards and USB sticks, but Android devices are so good at using Wifi for file transfer (ftp apps, dropbox, http, email, many many options..)

I can hardly imagine really _needing_ to take the SD card out of my tablet and physically inserting it into my desktop computer. So why not just say that this is not a supported action, drop FAT, and use another file system by default?

more than 2 years ago
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Neal Stephenson Says Video Games Are the Metaverse

radarsat1 Cyperownership (176 comments)

A subject that I thought about a lot after first reading Snow Crash was the concept of "ownership" in the metaverse. If I remember correctly (it's been a few years) the main character was sort of rich because he was in on the metaverse early and owned a bunch of virtual "land". I recall trying to get my head around how ownership could even work in a peer-to-peer system where the bits and pieces of the metaverse are running on various computers and mobile devices around the world.

Companies like Linden Lab have taken a centralised approach, but this doesn't really equate with the ideas in the book. Now it seems clear that the answer is something like bitcoin, where a proof-of-work can be used to make copying impossible. If bitcoin could be used to organise a fully peer-to-peer cyberworld then perhaps there could be some mutual benefit there -- a way to organize land ownership, and a way to assign solid value to bitcoin.

I suppose in a way this is what namecoin is attempting to do by organizing a replacement for DNS around a similar concept.

more than 2 years ago
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USPS Losing Battle Against the E-mail Age

radarsat1 email? (734 comments)

I'd like to see evidence that it is really email that is killing USPS. With internet shopping, there are more packages being sent than ever. I don't know the facts, but I imagine that packages must be far more profitable than letters. However, for reasons I just don't understand*, many online shops use UPS or other private services instead of USPS. I would argue that it is competition that is killing USPS, not the internet.

* I always choose USPS when I order things because then the items end up down the street from me and I just go pick them up. Contrast to UPS, where if I'm not home when they drive to deliver (before 5pm of course, who's home at that time?), then I have to somehow get my ass very far out of town to their depot to pick up the package; without a car, this is extremely inconvenient. Sadly, some shops don't even seem to give you the option of selecting the postal service.

more than 2 years ago
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Canada To Adopt On-Line Voting?

radarsat1 Won't affect Quebec (405 comments)

Fortunately, if they stick to their 2006 decision, this can't affect Quebec, who have banned all future ideas related to electronic voting.

On a related note, the only eVoting system I've seen that I would actually trust is Punchscan... note however that it only allows you to later verify that your vote was cast and counted correctly when you come home from the polls. It's not intended for internet voting, which comes with a whole extra set of problems.

about 3 years ago
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Eben Upton Talks About the Raspberry Pi USB Computer

radarsat1 has digital i/O (82 comments)

I was doubting the "robotics" claim because all I could see in any of the descriptions was that it has USB and Ethernet. Usually to control motors one needs more low-level I/O than that.

I was wondering if they would consider having analog inputs or PWM outputs, but I don't think it's the case. Having to use a tx/rx to shell out these services to a small microcontroller would be a crappy, inefficient solution.

However, I found in one of the comments that one of the developers claims they have "roughly 16 3.3V GPIO lines, 2 3.3V I2C and a 3.3V SPI." So you'll need to add your own driver chips, which makes sense, but at least high-speed interchip communication will be available.

about 3 years ago
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Does Quantum Theory Explain Consciousness?

radarsat1 Quantum effects don't remove Turing interpretation (729 comments)

The fallacy here as far as I can tell is the assumption that things which rely on quantum effects on the lowest level have any effect on their _macroscopic_ interpretation of having determinism. Complex systems of probabilities can result in perfectly deterministic computations, when averaged over a number of trials and thresholded. (Otherwise you calculated the probabilities wrong.) There is no theory that I know of that states in a general manner that because something relies on quantum effects it *cannot* be simulated in a Turing machine, i.e., is not computable. Put more tersely, there seems to be an unfounded assumption that quantum effects imply incomputability; where does this come from?

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox On Linux Gets Faster Builds — To Be Fast As Windows

radarsat1 Re:A good summary of Linux on the desktop (306 comments)

> C99 is not even declared.

Yes, and this is extremely annoying, that they won't commit to a much better revision of C. They leave C programmers in the dust on purpose, because they basically don't want people using C anymore. Nevermind that it some problems just simply require it.

more than 3 years ago
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Why People Should Stop Being Duped By the 3D Scam

radarsat1 I really enjoy watching 3D movies. (394 comments)

It seems to be an unpopular point of view, but I really enjoy 3D movies. I've never gotten this headache people talk about. I just really like the immersive experience. It's true that 3D is not always used properly by directors, and that it definitely requires a higher frame rate than is normally used, but these are technicalities that will improve over time. In general I find 3D really makes a movie more immersive, it can be quite captivating. Avatar was an incredible experience.

more than 3 years ago
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Dropbox Can't See Your Dat– Er, Never Mind

radarsat1 So this isn't about the _rest_ of your hard drive (333 comments)

When I first read the title, I thought the article was talking about the Dropbox local utility reading data on the _rest_ of your hard drive. Well, seems everyone is talking about the data you actually put in your drop box, which is fine... simple solution, just encrypt it. (I've been using encfs.)

But considering you're deploying a local program that has access to your whole home folder, and whose only job is to upload data to a server, it wouldn't be such a big stretch for Dropbox to be asked by authorities or even by some rogue employee to access any old file on your hard drive. By installing a closed-source program that is always running in the background, you're basically giving them carte-blanche access to your data, whether it's in your drop box or not.

more than 3 years ago
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Elderly Georgian Woman Cuts Armenian Internet

radarsat1 Re:Not as robust as we think (282 comments)

I doubt anyone outside the affected countries were unable to get to websites hosted on the other side of said countries. The affected countries were the "damage", and they were indeed routed around.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple's Secret Weapon To Win the Tablet Wars

radarsat1 Suggest an android tablet.. (716 comments)

Can anyone suggest a decent Android tablet for app development that is not too expensive?

more than 3 years ago
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Best-Selling Author Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead

radarsat1 Re:big diff: editors are actually important (290 comments)

My ebook reader at least doesn't do nearly as good a job at formatting an ePub as Latex does. For one thing it tends to leave the right side ragged and doesn't have a hyphenation engine. Maybe other ebook readers have better renderers, but in general I like Latex's output and find it the most readable.

more than 3 years ago
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Kinect's AI Breakthrough Explained

radarsat1 Need a more descriptive summary (97 comments)

From the summary it looks like they are basically using a classifier which they spent a lot of time training, and it works well. This is impressive, but I don't know if it meets the story title's claim of "AI breakthrough", since from the summary it sounds basically like, "researchers used classifier for classifying data and it worked!" Can someone summarize in a little more detail exactly what the "breakthrough" entails, other than basically standard use of classifiers for training on data sets?

more than 3 years ago
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Best-Selling Author Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead

radarsat1 Re:big diff: editors are actually important (290 comments)

Downloading, will read. Note: last time I found a free ebook online from an author I didn't know, it was Accelerando and I ended up subsequently reading every other book by Stross, some borrowed, some purchased. So giving away a free sample like this can indeed by worthwhile.

Just a note on formatting: I initially downloaded the PDF, but saw that it's in an awful Arial font which is frankly terrible for eBooks. I downloaded the epub now and will probably spend just a few minutes running it through Pandoc and Latex to get a nicely formatted PDF.

more than 3 years ago
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Iran Unveils Flying Saucer Using Old B-Movie Stock Photo

radarsat1 Re:Actual Picture (174 comments)

+5 Informative.

Damn, I haven't had mod points since the update.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Sues Amazon.com Over App Store Trademark

radarsat1 Re:Oh dear (285 comments)

Agreed. But they're still going to fight for it. Clearly it's worth it to them financially speaking.

more than 3 years ago
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New Film 'Zenith' Now Available For Free BitTorrent Download

radarsat1 Pioneer One ep1 was worth watching. (123 comments)

Downloading.. haven't watched the second yet (didn't know it was out) but the first episode was actually pretty intriguing. It pretty much had no effects, no stunt shots, just actors doing a good job of making us believe that something curious was happening.

It's nice to see homegrown sci-fi being done, since I have no doubt they'll manage to at least equal or even best what we've been seeing out of the networks lately, minus their over-reliance on special effects to "wow" their audience. Good stories can be told without a big budget. Considering the absolutely terrible job that television has been doing lately at making science fiction, it really reinforces the notion that good stories require good writing, above and beyond anything else that goes into a show; although editing, direction, production, etc., are all important, good writing and good acting are more important, and it happens that if you find some good talent, these can be had at low cost if you're careful about how you run things. Often the best art is made under difficult budget constraints.

more than 3 years ago
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Jimmy Wales Declares App Store Models a Threat

radarsat1 Re:Sure, like the one on the iPad (334 comments)

> Problem for who?

Problem for competition, the foundation of capitalism, on which our economy purportedly depends.

It's not a problem for users. It's certainly not a problem for Apple. It's a problem for independent developers, who now need to seek approval from a central middle-man in order to distribute and sell their work. This centralization of the decision-making behind what you can use on what devices enables anti-competitive behaviour, it enables censorship, and generally enables all sorts of things we usually consider "bad" in Western schools of thought.

The idea being promoted by those against the App Store model is not that we should not make computers easier to use; clearly an App Store does that. But it's a value judgement: the loss of freedom and competition inherent in this model are not trade-offs that are worth the increase in usability, however good it might be. We think "free" (in the sense of "freedom to develop and sell what you want") is more important to the economy and society as a whole than making things easier for end users. These are principles worth fighting for.

If an App Store-like ease of use experience can be designed that does not have these trade-offs in terms of centralization of distribution, then we can talk.

more than 3 years ago

Submissions

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CRTC declares Bell throttling no problem

radarsat1 radarsat1 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

radarsat1 writes "The Canadian broadcast regulator CRTC has declared that Bell is allowed to continue throttling the speed of ISP's renting bandwidth. A story on Ars Technica has more information: "The Commission did agree that Canadian ISPs have a 'serious issue to be determined'". I'd have thought this one would be a no-brainer for a clearly monopolistic tactic, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) it seems the government has a harder time seeing things that way."
Link to Original Source
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Automated testing for potential employees

radarsat1 radarsat1 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

radarsat1 writes "A recent post on the Music DSP mailing list describes one person's encounter with an unexpected request to fill out an online automated aptitude test at brainbench.com while in the process of interviewing for a job. Are these kind of online skill tests common, especially after already having had a personal interview on the phone? A slew of questions comes to mind: What are the implications of automated testing in terms of accuracy, and even privacy? Is one to feel insulted at such a request, or will it become a "normal" part of the process in the near future? Alternatively, can such tests scare away potentially valuable employees? And who should pay for the service? Will the presence of a privately created standard test change the importance of public, non-profit tests like the SAT's?"
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radarsat1 radarsat1 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

radarsat1 writes "The Globe and Mail is reporting that Canadian universities are expressing privacy concerns over the "U.S. government's prying eyes". Fear of being misunderstood when researching sensitive topics is causing some institutions to abandon U.S.-based research database RefWorks in favor of homegrown offerings. While it is acknowledged that Canadian government bodies may also have access to research data such as search query information, but "in Canada there is at least judicial oversight." Is this simple paranoia, or is it there legitimate need for concern about what data the U.S. government may choose to track under the Patriot Act?"

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