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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

sd4f Re:Moo (469 comments)

I asked for an opinion from a decent pianist that I know on why are steinways so expensive, albeit quite a while ago, and he never commented on sound. The main comment was getting the balance between a good action to play on, and one that lasted with significant use. Pianos do wear out with use. Old pianos generally should be considered like an old car.

One thing for certain is, marketing certainly plays a major role. Having big names use or endorse the gear certainly sells units. Certainly in the case of beats headphones and monster cables, that's completely marketing, while the cables are overkill, the headphones suck.

When it comes to luxury items, the french seem to have it mastered, particularly with alcohol, where their drinking end price range isn't particularly good at all (I'm Australian, local wine becomes quite drinkable if you spend >$20 a bottle), then their cognac or champagne, it's all marketing by having a it named after a region and protecting it so viciously.

about two weeks ago
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Functional 3D-Printed Tape Measure

sd4f Re:Let me know when... (134 comments)

It is making some large inroads in some industries, CNC technology in general is being heavily thrown into dental, for instance. A lot of the cast parts such as teeth and crowns are being milled, while I've also seen 3D printers being used to make other parts as well, such as dentures.

However, in general, the 3D printers aren't really brilliant yet. Problem with the original article is that it doesn't describe what machine it was made on. The quality of the print, and the ability to print all assembled indicates that it's a very expensive commercial model, rather than the cheaper consumer ones. Reality behind it is, why bother 3D printing those parts if the machine costs tens of thousands of dollars, and material costs hundreds of dollars per kilo.

about a month ago
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Aussie Attorney General's War On Encrypted Web Services

sd4f Re:Insanity (151 comments)

lol at the arts funding, he didn't tell them they "don't have the right to refuse funding from corporate sponsors whose ethical values conflict with those of the artists", he just said that if they do refuse corporate donations, the government shouldn't be filling in the fiscal shortfall due to the protest they are making.

If artists want to make a stand over something, good for them, it's their right to do so, but they shouldn't then be able to just fall back on taxpayer dollars by shaking the money bucket, every time they feel their purity is under threat. And even then, the government is the progenitor of this stand that they're taking, considering it's asylum seeker detention which they are against, so taking government money would, in a sense be, hypocritical.

After all, only the impotent are pure...

about a month ago
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In Ukraine, Cyber War With Russia Heating Up

sd4f Re:extremist comparisons (256 comments)

The problem is during WW2, Ukrainian nationalists sided with the Nazis. So while it is insulting for most Slavic nations, it's a bit hard to say the same for the Ukraine because there still is the same nationalistic mindset, with strong support for Stepan Bandera and the groups who carried out massacres.

The western media isn't really covering this fact, while the Russian media is dwelling exclusively on this. So no matter what, people are getting a skewed outlook on what has been happening, but one thing for certain is that the nationalists are large in number, and the Ukrainian 'opposition' isn't distancing themselves from them at all.

about a month and a half ago
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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

sd4f Re:Ain't no body got time for that (606 comments)

That's a surprising thing about the US. I live in Sydney, Australia, and it used to be, about 30-40 years ago that the inner suburbs were slums, but now its the outer suburbs which are not the best and the inner city is heavily gentrified and absurdly expensive.

about 2 months ago
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"Microsoft Killed My Pappy"

sd4f Re:Change (742 comments)

Got any links? I particularly can't find Schneier's resignation letter, but would be also curious to read the industrial history you are referring to, since I'm not an American.

about 2 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

sd4f Re:Scholarships, you mean (321 comments)

Well we had a Mr Whitlam, who abolished junior rates. Not that it's the same thing, but in hindsight it basically meant, untrained juniors were then to get full salary, so why would anyone employ an untrained person when they could get an experienced person for the same pay?

about 2 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

sd4f Re:In the UK, we used to give grants to study. (321 comments)

Everybody happy because education good!

No truer words written. I'm seeing it in Australia, where the government provides loans for tuition, the universities grow with more students, get more money, employ more people, etc, everywhere they want more and more people to come out with a degree. So then you have this ridiculous situation where child care workers are no longer in child care but rather early childhood education and care. The absurd part of it is, people are starting to need to go through training to do something which they may be already perfectly experienced at by virtue of i don't know, but maybe being a mother, just for example.

You also get the situation where doing clerical work, particularly for the government as a public servant/employee, now requires a degree. Doesn't matter what, but a degree is necessary. It beggars belief that they don't care what you studied, but a degree is necessary to do work which requires on the job training.

about 2 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

sd4f Re:delayed gratification was the original model. (321 comments)

That's my experience in Australia. I'm a mechanical and mechatronic engineer. My university requires me to complete two 6 month internships to graduate. I've completed all my subject, and one internship. This final internship is proving to be rather obstructive for me graduating. Most places just don't want to look at someone who's fresh out of university, even though I have worked for a manufacturing company (who unfortunately went broke, as many are in Australia at the moment) and was employed for longer than my allotted internship time. For the very few ads, 5 years experience and for the ones which aren't, they'll be larger companies who have some extremely repugnant HR department who manage to narrow a field of applicants into ones who present the best in interviews and that's about it.

I might come off as jaded, but I'm getting rather annoyed. I'm passionate about engineering, I actually enjoy learning but it seems that no one is interested in employing anyone to do actual engineering work. The university has careers expos, and the last one I went to, only had two companies who were interested in consulting work. The others, were either foreign engineering companies who were after technical sales people, like as if I'm going to spend all those years at university, just to become a sales person, and the other mobs were financial institutions such as banks and 'professional services' companies. The logic being that it's easier to train an engineer on business related matters and finance, than a business or economics graduate, maths and problem solving.

I think my best option would be to try to create a start up with acquaintances, but even then, Australia would have to be one of the worst countries in the developed world to do that and probably worse than many developing nations. So my future is probably not going to be one in Australia unless I resign myself to a life of mediocrity.

about 2 months ago
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James Dyson: We Should Pay Students To Study Engineering

sd4f Re:Scholarships, you mean (321 comments)

Certainly in Australia as well. I think the effects are starting to show now, with many engineering industries in serious decline here, namely manufacturing. I read that Germany compels companies to spend money on training employees through a tax concession. That's something which could be of significant benefit in Australia.

about 2 months ago
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New 3D Printer Can Print With Carbon Fiber

sd4f Re:Uggh (141 comments)

I thought I'd check your signature, now that is irony!

As the other posts have shown, CNC is a system for control. 3D printers utilise this same process. The real distinction is between additive and subtractive manufacturing methods. That's unrelated to CNC systems.

about 3 months ago
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New 3D Printer Can Print With Carbon Fiber

sd4f Re:Uggh (141 comments)

Irony is, 3D printing is CNC.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Paying for Positive Xbox One Coverage on YouTube

sd4f Re:And? (128 comments)

I wouldn't exclude the possibility of microsoft having no direct involvement. The games reviews industry is in broad terms, quite happy to constantly give good reviews. Just look at all the 7/10's they like to give to awful games. The problem is, a lot of reviewers are reliant on publishers for their games to review. If they don't get them, then they have nothing to review, or worse, they have to pay for them. This is why they don't want to give bad reviews to bad games, it even happened with duke nukem forever, where some guy got blasted for putting on twitter that they would be punishing bad reviewers by withholding things.

ars technica wrote an article on how the games industry also loves to wine and dine reviewers, giving an example for one of the modern warfare games, where the reviewers got helicopter joyrides and a stay in a resort. So they don't have to say anything to the reviewers, anyone is smart enough to realise that if they give bad reviews, they can say buh-bye to their perks.

It was gamespot who sacked a reviewer, names Jeff Gerstmann who gave a (justified) bad review of kane & lynch after the website was plastered in advertising for it.

So did machinima do it by themselves, it's probable, as I doubt any of these companies would formally organise something illegal, but there is certainly an incentive for them to do so, an unspoken incentive which they know they will lose if they change their tune. There are so many examples of this, that I think it's the norm or method of operation of the reviews industry.

about 3 months ago
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Hackers Gain "Full Control" of Critical SCADA Systems

sd4f Re:frosty (195 comments)

Probably is! I worked for a company manufacturing hazardous area heaters, in oz, for the oil and gas industry and many places were still using very old systems. Sure, they worked, but it didn't look like they were designed with the idea of a remote attack in mind, as they generally predated the internet.

about 3 months ago
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Algorithm Aims To Predict Fiction Bestsellers

sd4f What about marketing? (146 comments)

We all know advertising and product placement can make a big difference and return on investment, so what about including paid for marketing and tv show plugs into the modelling? Nothing can be successful if no one has heard of it.

about 3 months ago
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Memo To Parents and Society: Teen Social Media "Addiction" Is Your Fault

sd4f Re:My Anecdote Does Not Support Assertion (271 comments)

It could be that once a certain amount of kids are wrapped in cotton wool and not allowed to leave the house, eventually, any others that still are able, won't have anyone to interact with, hence, it just pushes willing kids/parents to socialise online, anyway.

I heard this idea when it comes to vaccines, that even though you might not vaccinate everyone, since just about everyone around someone who may be unvaccinated, will probably be vaccinated, as a result of that, they remain unlikely to contract a contagious illness and are benefiting from the high rate of vaccination. I'm not saying anyone should stop vaccinating at all, but going back to your concern, if your kids friends weren't able to come over or hang out due to their parents lack of permission, there's not much he or you could do about that.

about 4 months ago
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Italy Approves 'Google Tax' On Internet Companies

sd4f Re:Loophole closed (236 comments)

Google in Australia, naturally, does the same thing. a few years ago, they paid approximately $AU74,000 in tax on about $AU1,000,000,000 in revenue. Yes it's not profit, but the metrics just tell you that it's woefully inadequate for such movement of money. Article for further reading

about 4 months ago
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Open Source 'Wasn't Available' Two Years Ago, Says UK Gov't IT Project Chief

sd4f Re:On inappropriate expectations (113 comments)

Probably not far off the mark. I'm noticing it in Australia, and not just in the public service, that hardware like tablets, don't appear to be solving anything or improving productivity, it mostly appears like as if they're shoehorning them in because people want them or they want to appear like they're keeping up with the times.

about 4 months ago
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Satanists Propose Monument At Oklahoma State Capitol Next To Ten Commandments

sd4f Re:"With its overtly Christian message" (1251 comments)

Nothing came from Jesus since Jesus is a work of fiction. Doesn't mean there aren't "Christian messages".

This is just absurd. There's plenty of non-bible material, or one could easily call it evidence that Jesus existed at the time and was crucified.

about 4 months ago
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Satanists Propose Monument At Oklahoma State Capitol Next To Ten Commandments

sd4f Re:"With its overtly Christian message" (1251 comments)

Depends which Christians. See, 10 is not exactly Christian, because Jesus himself claimed two to be of most importance, and at the last supper gave a new commandment. As a catholic, we don't really dwell heavily in the old testament, but there are other Christians who do, and it really muddies the waters when you group apostolic Christians (i.e. catholic and orthodox churches) with protestants and then evangelicals to complete nutters like the westboro baptist church amongst other nominally Christian sects and cults.

about 4 months ago

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