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Honda's "Micro Commuter" Features Swappable Bodies

snookums Re:anyone remember demolition man? (96 comments)

Brave New World ... no sex

I think you need to go and read it again.

The dystopian future of Demolition Man might have been without sex and booze, but the Brave New World kept the populace happy with a weekly drug ration and regular orgies.

about 2 years ago
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Amazon To Launch Sydney Data Center

snookums Re:International Bandwidth. (63 comments)

Indeed. There is a direct Perth-Singapore transit, but most East Coast-Singapore data goes via some combination of Guam, Japan, and Hong Kong, and the latency is the same or worse than to US West. I believe Internode set up some special routing via Perth for one particularly latency-sensitive application that is hosted out of Singapore for Australian customers (Starcraft II).

There's a new Perth-Singapore cable due to come online next year, though I can't find any information about progress of the build. When that cable lights up we should see more traffic taking this route, and hopefully better latency to Singapore for all Australian users.

about 2 years ago
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YouTube App Removed From iOS 6 Beta4

snookums Re:Does there need to be an app for everything? (233 comments)

Publishers love to push apps in your face because it gets their branding on your home screen. When I worked in agency-land we were approached by a client who wanted an iPhone app. The RFP was basically "We need an app. We don't really care what it does, just get our icon on the phone."

more than 2 years ago
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Nearly Half a Million Yahoo Passwords Leaked [Updated]

snookums Re:common security pratics ? (233 comments)

If it's not programmer incompetence, it's usually a push from the product manager to have "email me my password" as the password recovery mechanism.

more than 2 years ago
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Technicolor Takes Aim At Apple, Samsung, Others for Patent Infringement

snookums Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (161 comments)

Technicolor wants to sue companies to force them to license their patents. (this is how the patent system is supposed to work)

Apple wants to sue companies to prevent them from creating competitive products (THIS is an example of a broken patent system)

What? You have it completely backwards.

The patent system is exactly designed to prevent the creation of competing products. You invent something and you get to sell that thing exclusively for a limited time, in return for donating the "secret" of its construction to the public domain at the end of that period.

It's the concept of passively sitting on a idea and then trying to extort money from anyone who actually brings a product to market that stifles innovation and acts against the interests of society. If I had my way, the patent system would be use-it-or-lose-it. If you don't make a genuine effort to utilize a patent, you'd have to sell it (not license it) to someone who will or it would become void.

more than 2 years ago
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Autonomous Road Train Project Completes First Public Road Test

snookums Re:Am I going to get rolled over? (148 comments)

As a pedestrian, longboarder and cyclist, I wonder how do those AIs fare with obstacles that are moving but are not cars.

Why are you walking, longboarding, or cycling on the freeway?

more than 2 years ago
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Aussie Politician Threatens To Contact Employers of Satirical Article "Likers"

snookums Re:Not much of a politician (195 comments)

Find the "likers" on facebook.
Find out what other things they like from their profiles.
Introduce legislation to make all of those things illegal.
Mwahahahaha!

more than 2 years ago
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NY Times: Microsoft Tried To Unload Bing On Facebook

snookums Re:Makes more sense than Instagram (230 comments)

The thing is, these valuations are based on users, not technology. If I had an app that all it did was show you a random picture of poop every day, and 27 million people turned on that app and looked at the poop each day, I could probably sell that for $1B too.

more than 2 years ago
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Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Out; Unity Gets a Second Chance

snookums Re:Really? Pangolin? (543 comments)

I believe you can turn off unified menu (by uninstalling the packages) independently of switching window/session management from Unity. At least, that was the case in 11.10.

Unity has other quirks that make it irksome to me though. For example, the single icon for all windows of the same app makes it very difficult when working with sets of similar-looking windows - terminal emulators, for example. Also having no option for a second click on the launcher icon to hide the application is annoying. Sometimes it's handy to have an app that you want to look at for reference then close quickly. In GNOME you can click-read-click without moving the mouse and get back to what you were doing before. With Unity you have to jump through more hoops.

It does look like they've fixed a few of problems I had with Unity in 12.04. For example, alt+tab cycles windows on the current workspace only, and the default "spread" of windows behaves likewise. Sadly, icons for applications running only in other workspaces still appear, cluttering up the launcher wherever you are.

more than 2 years ago
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Quantum Experiment Shows Effect Before Cause

snookums Re:result of "many worlds" being true? (465 comments)

The thing you have to remember through all of this is that in the photon's frame of reference, all these events occur simultaneously. The measurements of Alice and Bob, the configuration of Victor's apparatus, and the point of creation of the photons are a static system, existing at a single point in time. No causality is violated as far as the light is concerned.

Just like the EPR paradox, this only becomes interesting from a practical point of view if it can be used to transmit information. Show me a machine containing Alice and Bob that prints letters on a ticker tape based on correlated polarization, and let the delay be such that a message is printed, in its entirety, before the other photos reach the experimental station manned by me, Victor, which is situated right by the tape (but sight of which is blocked). After the printing stops, I input my message, then compare with what was printed on the tape. If and only if this experiment works can you be said to have sent information back in time.

more than 2 years ago
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Linux 3.3: Making a Dent In Bufferbloat?

snookums Re:wifi forward error correction (105 comments)

There is one other problem: TCP assumes that dropped packets mean the link is saturated, and backs off the transmit rate. But Wireless isn't like that: frequently packets are lost because of noise (especially near the edge of the range). TCP responds by backing off (it thinks the link is congested) when actually it should be trying harder to overcome the noise. So we get really really poor performance(*).

In this case, I think the kernel should somehow realise that there is "10 MB of bandwidth, with a 25% probability of packets returning". It should do forward-error correction, pre-emptively retransmitting every packet 4x as soon as it is sent. Of course there is a huge difference between the case of lots of users on the same wireless AP, all trying to share bandwidth (everyone needs to slow down), and 1 user competing with lots of background noise (the computer should be more aggressive). TCP flow-control seems unable to distinguish them.

Shouldn't this be handled at the datalink level by the wireless hardware? If there's transmission errors due to noise, more bits should be dedicated to ECC codes. The reliability is maintained at the expense of (usable) bandwidth and the higher layers of the stack just see a regular link with reduced capacity.

more than 2 years ago
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UK's Largest Specialist Video Games Retailer Enters Administration

snookums Re:Not a surprise (172 comments)

Whippersnappers!

/me gets out Osborne Computer Adventure Games book and starts typing BASIC code into ZX Spectrum

more than 2 years ago
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UK's Largest Specialist Video Games Retailer Enters Administration

snookums Re:Not a surprise (172 comments)

The EB games at Broadway in Sydney actually had some real gamers on staff - at least for a while. I had a good chat with a guy there about where to buy retro games (PS1 and earlier stuff) and he seemed knowledgeable and interested.

The retial price of games here is crazy though. It's a relic from the days of poor exchange rates. The dollar went up 50% in value, but the price of games stayed the same. It doesn't surprise me that physical game stores that don't work hard to add value are in trouble though. Most people evaluate games through reviews and downloadable demos - not by browsing a shop and reading box covers. Even if prices were comparable to online, the stores need to do more with in-store events, playable demo boxes, maybe the odd LAN party. The kinds of things that pen-and-dice and miniature gaming shops do.

more than 2 years ago
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Australian Consumer Watchdog Sues Apple Over iPad Marketing

snookums Re:Who defines what "G" some thing is? (193 comments)

The ITU

Indeed. And according to the ITU, HSPA+ is "4G" and you can use the iPad 4G on Telstra's HSPA+ network, thus achieving a "4G" connection.

The problem stems from the fact that in Australia only Telstra's LTE network is advertised as "4G", and it is this network that the iPad is not compatible with. So, technically you can get a 4G connection on the new iPad, but Apple may be in trouble if it is determined that their advertising leads customers to believe that the device is compatible with the Telstra-advertised "4G" network.

more than 2 years ago
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Mystery Rising Within Mercury

snookums What about this is unusual? (120 comments)

I didn't see any mention in the linked article about what makes these features particularly odd. It says parts of the crust are tilted and raised by several kilometers in places. This is pretty commonplace geology caused by plate tectonics here on Earth (we call them mountain ranges). If Mercury has a liquid mantle, would we not expect to see similar folding and up-thrusting there? Is this different because of the size, shape, speed of movement?

more than 2 years ago
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Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity

snookums Re:Wrong units... (144 comments)

I once saw an ad for a digital bathroom scale that claimed it "never needs calibrating" and was "accurate to 0.1%". I immediately called bullshit* on this in my head and am glad to know that I was justified in doing so.

* Note that this was in Australia where we actually measure our mass in kg, rather than our weight in lb. It may well have been that accurate as a weighing machine, but not as a "massing" machine.

more than 2 years ago
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A Hacked WiFi Router, an API, and a Toy Bus: It's the Ambient Bus Arrival Monitor

snookums Re:$20 a day expensive? (53 comments)

In Sydney $20/day is the "early bird" rate for people who arrive before 9:30 and want to park all day. Casual hourly parking in the city during the day is much more expensive - anything from $10-20 per hour for a private car park, and $7/hr for government-metered street parking. In any case, parking your car costs more than any return bus or train ticket, before you even count the cost of fuel.

more than 2 years ago
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A Hacked WiFi Router, an API, and a Toy Bus: It's the Ambient Bus Arrival Monitor

snookums Re:Hmm... (53 comments)

how do you do it?

Honestly, I'm not sure. I think it depends a lot on what part of the city you live in, and what other options there are. If the bus is a horribly inefficient but cheap way to get around, then only desperate people will use it. If you have bus-only lanes, pre-paid ticketing and other things to make the bus as fast or faster than a private car, the demographics change. In places like Sydney or London, most of the city's white-collar workforce come in to the city by bus or train/metro.

more than 2 years ago

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