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Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

tlhIngan Re:Satellite not needed (79 comments)

There is no "national firewall." You may be thinking of China. Or more likely not thinking at all. It's fascinating how people will invent or repeat the most badly-informed (I'm too polite to say stupidest) things about Cuba and think they're intelligent.

Well, a large number of countries have some form of censorship or surveillance system for the internet. A completely free internet is available to few people.

So there may not be any firewall now, but that doesn't prevent them from implementing it later.

45 minutes ago
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Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic

tlhIngan Re:Do not give lasers as gifts to children (89 comments)

And when you do let children use a laser you own, make sure you supervise them closely.

I have a great t-shirt from Meredith Instruments that reads "DANGER! LASER RADIATION! Do not expose beam to remaining eye."

Sadly, most of the arrests have been people in the age of majority - perhaps they had the maturity of children, but they aren't children. Plus, given how expensive they are (several hundred bucks), it generally isn't a children's toy.

As for those claiming that it's not a problem because no one's lost a life yet - really? Aviation already is built upon the blood of many people, some of whom lost their lives over something as stupid as a light bulb.

And no, it may not be a direct cause, but it may be the last link of a chain of events that leads to an accident. Every mishap has been a chain - if any one of those things were different, it wouldn't have happened. Perhaps the pilot is in bad weather already trying hard to find the runway and then a flash comes across the cockpit. He blinks, it goes away, and he continues, but what he thinks is the runway is a after glow spot (similar to how a flashbulb causes temporary spots) and boom, crashes the airplane into a building along the glidepath.

And perhaps someone you know is on that plane.

about an hour ago
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Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

tlhIngan Re:What are the implications for the textbook mark (167 comments)

Since I don't know your specific situation, I could be completely misinterpreting what you mean. But it seems you have 0% "figure out the problem".

Math isn't a subject that has to be learned the way foreign language or geography has to be learned. If you don't have something described to you in a book, then you absolutely need another reference to learn most subjects (such as a TA, Lecture, or Internet).

But with math you never need a reference for anything but definitions, and most definitions should be obvious anyway. There is always a first person to solve a math problem, and he had no references.

Like I said, I could be completely misreading your situation, but from what you wrote, it sounds like if there isn't a template for how to solve every single problem type that you give up. If all you know how to do is follow methods and change numbers around here and there, then you aren't learning math.

The greatest instruction anyone can give a person who pursues math is simply to ask a question that they can solve if they try. Many of us who study math seriously love nothing more than to be given a problem that's just barely out of reach.

That and Physics is the same way.

It's probably why those subjects are "hard" because they require creativity and inspiration to actually do - it's problem solving at its simplest level and it's what those in the engineering fields thrive on.

Anyhow, if you're struck trying to do math problems, you have to realize that they all follow the same pattern. After the subject is introduced, the first few problems will be solved by direct application of the lesson. Then the next few will be ones applying the current lesson and previous lessons. It all accumulates until the final set of problems involves a bunch of skills from the text, from your past math education, and so on.

And if you're struggling, the goal is not do just the required problems, but to start at the beginning of the problem set.and do them all. Yes, it's beyond the assignment, but you have to realize that the assignment is just the tip of the iceberg - a good prof already tells you that the problem set they assign is hard, and to really do it, a good student needs to do the entire set.

Same goes for physics problems. The first few questions directly apply equations and formulas from the chapter. Then the next ones apply several concepts together until you get to the mega one that pulls in multiple methods. And many even have multiple ways of tackling the problem that are correct. (Previous problems will lead y ou down each path thent he final one lets you decide which one you use). On an exam, that's a lifesaver because it lets you try both ways and if you don't get the same answer, you messed up.

The goal is to realize that the text is giving you the tools, the probme is to string those tools together. It's like programming or engineering.

And sometimes the most satisfying problems are the ones that look like they're impossible,but when you start realizing what you have, where you need to go, and little brain power and then AHA!

Hell, one trick I do is you write down everything you know that was given in the problem. Then figure out what you need to answer, and figure out what gets you there. And draw pictures, schematics, whatever to illustrate those factors you know, what you don't, and the pieces you do have. And the pieces that are implied

2 days ago
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Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware

tlhIngan Re:How? (83 comments)

This malware relies on weakness in wetware rather than software. No general-purpose operating system can save you from PEBKAC issues, at most partially mitigate them. Unix-style execute bit rather than Windows' extensions reduces the number of vulnerable idiots by like 2-3 orders of magnitude, but you can bet that if the webpage kindly provides instructions, a good number of marks will still manage to get infected.

It's really just another form of Dancing Pigs social engineering attack. You give the user a plausible reason for downloading and installing software, and you'll find users go out of t heir way to install it.

Doesn't matter the OS. And it can be anything - be it porn, a "private porn browser" or other such tool and any OS is vulnerable. (Yes, "private porn browser" - download now and browse your porn in privacy and even your wife won't find out...).

4 days ago
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Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

tlhIngan Re:Does the job still get done? (658 comments)

There has always been a small percentage of aristocrats in society who do not have to work because of their amassed wealth. Looking at how they spent their time is probably a decent indicator of how most of the population will spend their time 50-100 years from now. My guess is most people will put far more effort into their hobbies, and many of those hobbies will turn into part time jobs. All basic and even most non-basic needs will be covered by social welfare programs paid for by publicly owned mostly-automated industries. People will only work because they want to, and the very few undesirable jobs that can't be automated will pay excessively well.

At least that is the best possible outcome. Their are plenty of dystopian possibilities as well.

AI replacing jobs is fine - as long as they're getting rid of grunt work jobs people hate doing and replacing them with higher quality, higher paying jobs that are more challenging.

Crap work jobs are the kind that offer no form of mental or physical stimulation or physical challenges that generally embody "good work". Physically demanding jobs like oil rig workers, (crab) fisherman, etc., appeal to few folks who really do enjoy the physical punishment and pain for a challenge they can do with their hands, while more creative industries like technology and culture appeal to those who wish to use their mental powers.

Crap jobs AI can probably take over would be stuff like janitorial work, simple assembly line style work where there is no physical challenge other than repetitive-strain injury and barely any mental stimulation.

As for the outcomes, unfortunately, the masses who toil will be the ones out of work and homeless while the rich buy up the land. Money is power, and power is not something that an AI really replaces. (It's actually those in power that will use AI to replace jobs to save on labor costs. The former employee is now jobless and has less money and thus power than when they were employed).

That's not to say it isn't impossible to have a place where humans are able to do work for the betterment of humanity than just toil around, but it needs to be a carefully designed and planned environment.

See Marshall Brain's Manna.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Should a Liberal Arts Major Get Into STEM?

tlhIngan Re:Peripheral STEM career - technical writing (279 comments)

With your current background, you could get a job in technical writing. Every firm that does engineering needs people like you who:

* Understand the subject matter
* Can write about it readably

Exactly. An English major already has a leg up provided they can communicate in writing. And the more engineering classes you can take related to the field your company works in, your writing's only going to improve as you're able to understand the engineers better and write fairly decent documentation.

Heck, get a job in communications with a company that does STEM work you like - sure you'll write PR and all that in the beginning, but that's the point - skills like communications are VERY valuable, and if you can better yourself by understanding more about what the company does by taking classes in the field, you can only go up from writing marketing copy to documentation, both internal and external.

If you can augment it to interfacing with customers, you're instantly a manager - able to take vague notions of what customers want and translating them into nice neat requirements that the engineering team can understand.

Practical arts skills like languages are typically undervalued everywhere, but are extremely useful. Businesses need to communicate, both internally and externally so you've already got positions you can slot yourself into. Just find a company doing the STEM things you like and try to fit yourself in.

5 days ago
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Apple Wins iTunes DRM Case

tlhIngan Re:I'm shocked. (191 comments)

Anti-trust concerns usually do benefit the consumer in the short term. And as the article points out, the jury specifically wrote that the features have an immediate benefit to the consumer.

Usually anti-trust problems are not immediately bad for the consumer. In the short term the consumer sees a lower price, easier access, and other conveniences.

In the long term the market ends up with monopolies and oligopolies, a loss of vibrancy, a slowdown in innovation, less desire to follow expensive advances, and worse customer experiences. Think of your local telco and cable companies as prime examples.

Or in this case, rendered utterly irrelevant.

Because iTunes sells unprotected music. Just like Amazon and many other music stores. iTunes is still #1, but their market share is sliding.

The iPods are on life-support - they don't make Apple much money anymore but Apple keeps them around because there's still a tiny demand for them.

And streaming services have basically taken over music sales - sales from iTunes and other stores is far lower nowadays while streaming services like Pandora and others are rising.

Whatever harm iTunes did, seems to have resulted in a far more vibrant marketplace now than it was years ago.

5 days ago
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Graphene: Fast, Strong, Cheap, and Impossible To Use

tlhIngan Re:Mass production ? (187 comments)

When you say pencil, I'm pretty sure you mean "graphite". A lovely and useful substance, to be sure, but not especially close to graphene.

Actually, graphite is merely disorganized graphene - the layers of graphene in graphite are in general layers (which let you lay down a line fairly easily), but they're not particularly big nor particularly long - it's really a disorganized heap of graphene molded together. When you write with a pencil, the line is composed of a lot of little pieces of graphene.

Heck, one of the first production methods involved regular tape and pencils - the pencil was rubbed onto paper and tape applied to the spot which lifts off the graphene.

5 days ago
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Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

tlhIngan Re:Interesting, but ... (150 comments)

Language also embeds within it history. And history is important for many reasons (many of which are related to "if you don't study it, you'll repeat it").

Europe's an interesting study - you have the Barbaric English, the Germanic Germans, the Romantic French/Spanish/Italians, and so forth. All of which reflect the interesting history and empires of Europe. (Romantic - sure we like to think of the French as good at love, and that may be the origins of the word "romantic" in English, yet it refers to the more practical Roman Empire roots which is why they're quite similar today, despite millennia of independent evolution).

Heck, the modern day is shaped by culture too - internet memes manage to worm their way into our language. The rise of smartphones brings about the rise of the use of the word "selfie" (despite cameraphones being popular prior to the smartphone, and many often had mirrors to enable selfie taking, the word itself pretty much arose post-iPhone).

Language is culture. If you want to learn a language without culture, you need to go for an artificial one. Learn Klingon. Or Esperanto.

Even in the Internet age language is evolving to accommodate new aspects of internet culture that crop up. To claim it all as empty and vapid really denies the fact that languages evolve because of the culture of the day.

5 days ago
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Jaguar and Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

tlhIngan Re:You mean Tata (191 comments)

It takes about 15 years of steady progress to get from "shitty ______ car" to "I'd consider ______ cars these days"

The Korean cars are very acceptable in quality, and the price difference between them and the Japanese of similar models is almost enough to make the switch.

For a manufacturer perhaps. For a consumer who got bitten by buying a "sh*tty car" well, it can take far longer to never.

I know back in the 80s when Hyundai first went into cars and introduced the POS Pony to North America. A car that would only start if you managed to twiddle the radio knob, the phase of the moon was right, it was sunny outside and you blinked the headlights 3 times. And maybe even honked the horn.

Oh and yes, sunny day required. If there was a hint of moisture, it would stall.

These days though, Korean cars aren't too shabby - they took a lot of design cues (and designers) from Europe, a few engineers from Japan and end up producing decent looking and performing cars with quite high quality.

5 days ago
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Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

tlhIngan Re:Perhaps the need a bigger highway? (594 comments)

Eminent domain those house and get some more lanes in.

Probably better to put a new highway in off to one side or another, considering it's LA go with both.

Actually, LA is the #1 example of trying to out-build congestion. And traffic engineers have observed and pretty much concluded that traffic expands to fill all lanes. Build another lane and it's full and congested in relatively short order.

So no, trying to build more lanes of traffic just leads to ever worse traffic in the end as it expands to fill the new space up. The goal instead is to try to promote more efficient use of the road - a whole city block of (single occupant) cars can be cleared up by one bus carrying the same number of people.

about a week ago
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Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

tlhIngan Re:I think the relevant points got left out... (114 comments)

Very forward looking behavior from apple. You're going to need 64 bit to use more than 2GB of ram without major pain (32 bit addressing is a bitch and workarounds are slow) By the time the rest of the industry is going to be faced with the inevitable transition apple will already have years of experience with 64bit in their mobile platform.

Actually, Apple didn't do it for memory, they did it because AArch64 is a more efficient architecture. I.e., it's a lot faster. ARMv8 over ARMv7 running 32-bit code is only around 10-20% faster. But run the same code in 64-bit mode and it screams.

It's how people got the "2x faster" figures on the A7 SoC - in 64-bit mode things are way faster on the A7 than if you ran it in 32 bit mode.

Android will get similar speedups once it's fully 64-bit...

about a week ago
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Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor

tlhIngan Re:Really.. (114 comments)

Samsung is a Korean company and manufacturers ICs in Korea.

Actually, Samsung owns a fab in Texas that makes Apple SoCs - and that's all it does.

And that's been the case for a few years now, even through the Samsung-Apple patent spat.

It's a complex relationship, to the say the least -

about a week ago
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Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future

tlhIngan Re:Sounds like Interac in Canada (156 comments)

Except that Interac has been doing realtime debit transactions for many years, across all Canadian banks, both at point of sale and at ATMs. It's good news if the US is moving in this direction, because it is an excellent system, but it would be a stretch to call it the bank account of the future when it has existed for years.

The thing is, in most places in the world, Canada included, there aren't that many banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. The number is small enough that they all can rapidly agree on new standards and proposals and all that. Heck, the vast majority of banking in Canada is done by the "big three" banks.

In the US, that doesn't hold - there are literally tens of thousands of banks and credit unions and other financial institutions. If you ever wondered why US cheques don't seem to be taken at a lot of places ("money orders" only or the sort of thing), well ,that's why - getting it all sorted out is a mess.

So a problem is just getting all of them to talk to one another and cooperate. And some of these are literally some old lady sitting around with a ledger whose only excitement is having to connect the computer to the phone line and downloading the day's transactions.

And given how independent-minded Americans are, there's probably a ton of those kind of banks who are basically run by 2-3 people.

about a week ago
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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

tlhIngan Re:Terroir (876 comments)

Fundamentalists. They hate us for our chocolate.

I understand, once I tried Lindt chocolate, too.

Given the chemistry of chocolate, conching and termpering take place at VERY specific temperatures or you get poor results.

Notice how hot the middle east is? Well, it's so hot that chocolate just doesn't conch or temper at all without cooling, so if you keep chocolate outside, it gets nasty.

So yeah, they don't have good chocolate at all.

(While the actual temperatures are closely guarded, tempering is usually done around 31.5C, while conching times and temperatures are proprietary trade secrets for every company)

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

tlhIngan Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

You ain't telling me nothing because I have a customer who has all the early Kiss albums on the very first CD releases and he came to me complaining that "These new CDs don't sound right, I think my PC is messed up" but when I threw an MP3 rip of Strutter from his first run CDs in Audacity? There was peaks, valleys, actual HEADROOM on the recording. Took the exact same song from the exact same album from his recent box set? it was just a fucking wall, literally it was just slammed to the max from the first note to the last and sounded like shit.

I have a compilation CD that was obviously from various masters. There was one track on there that was notable in Audacity - because while all the other tracks were squiggly with peaks, valleys and stuff, this one song was a solid blob on the timeline; And the CD was normalized, so the solid blob didn't touch more than 70% or so.

Was such an interesting sight - you had songs and then you had this solid blob in the middle of it.

about a week ago
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Judge Rules Drug Maker Cannot Halt Sales of Alzheimer's Medicine

tlhIngan Re:1968? (266 comments)

why in the world is it still under patent?

You're not understanding how patents work.

For drugs, the drug (chemical) itself is not patentable. The process used to make the drug IS patentable. That's what's actually patented.

You see, part of the problem with making chemicals is the process you use. You want a process that uses little energy (energy costs money), has high yields (every chemical reaction has an equilibrium point and for some processes, it means your desired product is only 10% of the entire thing at the end), etc. etc. etc.

So when they tweak the process to produce slightly modified versions of the drug, that can generate a new patent because the patent describes exactly how to produce that drug - start with raw materials A, B, C, ... Z, then mix A and B and heat, ... etc.

In fact, it's possible for a generic drug manufacturer to come up with a different way of making the drug before the patents expire.

about a week ago
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Apple Antitrust Case Finds New Consumer Plaintiff

tlhIngan Re:Boring lawsuit (39 comments)

Android and Apple's own OSX are proof that this is not a death sentence to the company.

So, your example is to show that only Samsung is really making profits (HTC and the rest are struggling), and only by carpetbombing the market with hundreds of phones (seriously - Samsung has released 2 new smartphones per week in 2014, and 1 tablet per week).

And your other example is in a market that's declining (Mac sales are declining to stable, but far far less profitable than iOS).

Yeah, it may not be a death knell, but do we need to bring up the "Apple is dying" meme again? Your examples where companies are struggling to exist or product lines that have significantly diminished sales volume doesn't actually provide any backing to your statement. In fact, one could say that other than Samsung, Android isn't a moneymaker, and OS X shows a slow gradual fall.

about a week ago
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How Identifiable Are You On the Web?

tlhIngan Why don't browsers clean it up? (159 comments)

GIven most of the data is what's reported by a browser, why don't browsers filter the data?

Especially if "Do Not Track" is set to on - why don't they limit the data to send back?

Fonts - Microsoft released 6 fonts for the web over a decade ago - just report those 6 across all platforms and maybe a few standard system ones (you can get this from the User-Agent anyways). Make it whitelist of fonts.

Sure, some data is gathered through plugins, but I thought many are now click-to-run so you can't get that data unless you specifically run those plugins.

Is there a reason why browsers like Firefox return everything?

about a week ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

tlhIngan Re:Not really missing vinyl (433 comments)

As for CDs, they seem to be all over the place to me. Early on there were a lot of bad CDs because of bad engineering. Some were released with their vinyl oriented RIAA equalization intact, which is just plain dumb. People like to argue about technology, but I think recording engineering is an often overlooked factor in what comes out of your speakers. I have an MP3 album of the original cast recording of "Hair", and it sounds great over a good pair of earphones. It's not because of some kind of magical MP3 pixie dust, it's because the original recording was done so competently. If something is missing in the original master tapes, no amount of lossless encoding and copper-free speaker cables will conjure it back.

It's things like that which is probably where the "vinyl sounds better" craze got started - then it comes around again in the 90s because overcompressed (DRC) CDs sound noticably worse than the non-compressed vinyls.

As for tubes, it turns out people get very used to the "tube sound" (or rather, tube distortion) at normal levels, while overdriven tubes do sound harmonically better than clipping transistors (hence their use as guitar amp effects).

about a week ago

Submissions

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Apple releaess iMessage eeregistration utility

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a month and a half ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "When moving from an iPhone to something else, if you were an avid user of iMessage, you may find your messages missing, especially from iOS-using firends. Indeed, it has been such a problem that there are even lawsuits about the problem. While Apple has maintained that users can always switch off iMessage, that only works if you still have your iOS device. Unless one also has other iOS devices or a Mac, they may not even realize their friends have been sending messages that are queued up on Apple's services via iMessage. Well, that problem has been resolved with Apple creating a deregistration utility to remove your phone number from the iMessage servers so friends will no longer send you texts via iMessage that you can no longer receive. It's a two-step process involving proof of number ownership (via regular SMS) before deregistration takes place."
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Bypassing Two-Factor Authentication by Hacking Cell Phone Carrier

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a month and a half ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "You, a security minded consumer, enable two-factor authentication on your important accounts (e.g., Google) to ensure that only you can log into it. Many two-factor systems rely on sending you a text when you log in to confirm your identity or to perform and confirm transactions. However, you may have overlooked security of your cellphone carrier — and Grant Blakeman found out the hard way when his Google account was hacked in order to steal his Instagram handle. Turns out hackers enabled call-forwarding on his cellphone (which redirects texts to that new number as well), enabling them to obtain the necessary passcode to log in. Hacker News has a bit more commentary."
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FCC warned not to take actions a Republican-led FCC would dislike

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 4 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Municipal broadband is in the news again — this time Chief of Staff Matthew Berry, speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures, has endorsed states' right to ban municipal broadband networks and warned the (Democrat-led) FCC to not do anything that a future Republican led FCC would dislike. The argument is that municipal broadband discourages private investment in broadband communications, that taxpayer-funded projects are barriers to future infrastructure investment."
Link to Original Source
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Amazon confirms Hachette Spat Is to "Get A Better Deal"

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 7 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Last week we heard that Amazon was withdrawing Hachette books from its virtual shelves including allowing preorders of the new JK Rowling book. Amazon has responded to these allegations, and confirms that yes, they are purposefully preventing pre-orders and lowering stock in order to get a better deal from Hachette. Amazon recommends that in the meantime, customers either buy a used or new copy from their zShops or buy from a competitor. Amazon admits there is nothing wrong with Hachette's business dealings and that they are a generally good supplier."
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Glasshole Googlebombs Restaurant When Asked To Remove Glass

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 7 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Katy Kasmai loves her Google Glass. So she took great offense while dining at Feast (a restaurant in NYC) when staff members asked her to remove it citing patron privacy concerns. Her reaction? A call to arms to downvote the restaurant by leaving it nevative one-star reviews. Most were fake, few having actually visited Feast (or even living in NYC), all taking offense over other's concerns about surveillance. Of course, more violent methods of Glass removal have occurred in the past. Do over-entitled Glassholes potentially doom the future of the technology?"
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Google may have more of your email than you think

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 7 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Everyone knows about GMail — Google's web-based email service. And there are a few people who refuse to use it, citing privacy amongst other reasons. However, it turns out Google may have more of your email than you think. Benjamin Mako Hill was curious and analyzed his personal email. He found out that Google handled approximately half of his personal email, despite not having a GMail account. This includes email sent to him, as well as email he sends out. While it shows how popular Google's service is, it also shows how much potential information there is for Google and others (like the NSA) could sift through."
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Titanfall: No Day One DLC, Microtransactions or Season Passes

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 10 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "With big game releases come the usual trail of nickle and diming — from day one DLC, microtransactions, and season passes to get future maps. However, Respawn Entertainment, developers of Titanfall and Microsoft's heavily promoted next-gen Xbox One title (although also available two weeks later on Xbox360), has firmly stated there will be NO day one DLC, no microtransactions and no season passes. No paying a dollar for a pistol — you'll just have to fight your way through and earn it. What you get on the disc is everything — no paying for maps already included. Of course, this doesn't rule out future DLC, like additional maps, but it appears that everyone gets the same content on release day next week and no spending money to get upgrades without earning them."
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Google Admits G+ Created To Mine More User Information

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about 10 months ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "In an admission not unexpected, Google admits to using Google+ as a means to gather more user information. Linking together various Google services to help keep track of your activities across the Internet, it's seen as Google knowing more about you than Facebook (and presumably to use the majority marketshare of advertising to sell you product). Google does not fear a mass exodus, believing that the more people want to use your products, the more you can get away with."
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PS4 vs. Xbox One - PS4 Users View 3 Times as Much Porn

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Well, one metric is in. If you want porn, apparently the PS4 is the machine to buy. SugarDVD, the Netflix of porn, reports 3 times as many PS4 users used its console app over the Xbox One. While it's tempting to guess that the PS4 sold 3:1 over the Xbox One, actual figures don't agree. SugarDVD CEO anticipates the numbers to change, as the Xbox One "offers a more seamless an interactive experience". One theory to the difference is the PS4 is aimed at hardcore gamers, while the Xbox One is aimed at more family pursuits."
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Valve's Steam removes its first game

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Today marks the first day that Valve has removed a game completely off its service. Order of War: Challenge has been not only removed from the service, but it is the first to be removed completely from a user's library as well. Previously, when a game was removed from Steam, it was just removed — as long as a local copy exists in your library, you could always play it, back it up, reactivate it, etc, (similar to Apple's iTunes and App Store — it may be gone, but as long as a copy exists, it'll work). Now it appears that Valve has actually gone the next step alongside Amazon and Google and removed games from a library."
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A new way to monetize mobile apps - Bitcoins

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "App developers have long struggled with ways to make money from their apps — from selling them outright in the app stores to liberal use of in-app purchases and in-app advertising. The problem with in-app ads is obvious — for those on Android, it's the ridiculous amount of permissions required to support it. For those apps that use the Unity framework, Icoplay introduces a new way to make money — Bitcoins. Their Icominer plugin for Unity turns spare CPU cycles of a user's device into mining Bitcoins. It transparently works in the background and promises to not interfere with general gameplay. Unmentioned though is the impact to user's battery life and drain on system resources, especially given how iOS7 now (and Android always) supports full multitasking with background support. The plugin is still in development, and is supposed to cost around $80."
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Apple converting trial and pirated iWork, iLife and Aperture to full versions

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "One aspect about the new OS X Mavericks release was that all Apple produced software was to be downloadable and updatable through the Mac App Store. However, this has the obvious implication of what happens to users who bought the software before Mac App Store? Initial reports showed that the Mac App Store scanned your hard drive for the apps and offered to associate it with your Apple ID, and that the scanning even found trial and pirated versions and upgraded those to fully licensed versions. Even more interestingly, this is not a bug, and it appears Apple is turning a blind eye to the practice and giving away copies of iLife, iWork and Aperture to users who own trial or even pirated versions of the apps. Apple has also recently stopped providing downloadable trial versions of iLife, iWork and Aperture from their web site."
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Samsung Fudging Benchmarks Again on Galaxy Note 3

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "A few months ago, Samsung was caught gaming benchmarks on the Galaxy S4 (International version). They would lock the GPU at a higher-than-normal frequency when certain applications were run, including many popular Android benchmarking programs. These had the expected result of boosting the performance numbers. This time, the Galaxy Note 3 was caught doing the same thing, boosting CPU scores by 20% over the otherwise identical LG G2 (which uses the same SoC at the same clock). Samsung defends these claims by saying the other apps make use of such functionality, but Ars reversed-engineered the relevant code and discovered it applied only to benchmark applications. Even more damning was that the Note 3 was still faster than the G2 when run using "stealth" (basically renamed) versions of the benchmarking apps which did not get the boost."
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Despite global release, Breaking Bad heavily pirated

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "One reason that many people pirate TV shows is "it's not available in my country until months after it airs". Which is why the second episode of Breaking Bad's final season was aired globally within a few hours of each other yesterday evening. Despite this, many users still decided to download it than watch it when it aired locally. Australia users we the top, perhaps because it was on FoxTel. This was followed by US and Canada (who obviously got to see it when it aired), and the UK where Netflix had it within hours of the US premier. Fifth on the list was the Netherlands, where it had aired hours before the US premier on a public channel. It's obvious that despite the global release, the show was headed to top its previous highs in number of downloads. Could this spell the doom to future global releases, since the evidence is people just pirate them anyways?"
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Federal Judge Declares Bitcoin a Currency

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "An East Texas federal judge has concluded that Bitcoin is a currency (can be used as money) that can be regulated under American Law. The conclusion came during the trial of Trendon Shavers, who is accused of running the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) as a Ponzi scheme. Shavers had argued that since the transactions were all done in Bitcoins, no money changed hands and thus the SEC has no jurisdiction. The judge found that since Bitcoins may be used to purchase goods and services, and more importantly, can be converted to conventional currencies, it is a form of currency and investors wishing to invest in the BTCST provided an investment of money, and thus the SEC may regulate such business"
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Google Play Downloads Beat Apple App Store

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "With Android devices outselling iOS ones 4-to-1 or more, it should come as no surprise that Google Play downloads exceeded Apple App Store downloads by 10% in the second quarter of 2013 for the first time since the stores were established 5 years ago. No reasons were given for why Android (which has been outselling iOS since 2010, if not earlier) took this long to overtake iOS in downloads."
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Microsoft allows indie self-publishing, debugging on retail Xbox One

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "Microsoft was the last platform manufacturer to require that all games go through publishers, a much hated policy. Indeed, their approval process was one of the harshest around. But taking a page from Apple, Microsoft will allow indie developers to self publish, and allow retail Xbox One units to serve as developer consoles. Previously, self-publishing developers were relegated to the "Xbox Live Indie Arcade" section, as well as developer consoles often costing upwards of $10,000 with special requirements and NDAs. This puts Microsoft's Xbox One more in line with Apple's App Store, including Microsoft's new promise of a 14-day turnaround for approvals. Microsoft's retail debug console system is to work similarly to Apple's — that is, to run pre-release code, the individual consoles used have to be registered with Microsoft."
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Apple renews contract with Samsung over A-series processors

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "In an interesting move since Apple decided to partner with TSMC a few weeks ago, the Korea Economic Daily is reporting that Apple has re-signed a contract with Samsung to produce the A-series chips Apple uses to power its iPads, iPhones and iPods. TSMC is still to produce chips for Apple, though Samsung is poised to take over from 2015."
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DMCA Safe Harbor May Not Apply To Old Copyrighted Works

tlhIngan tlhIngan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

tlhIngan (30335) writes "On Tuesday, the New York appellate court denied Grooveshark the DMCA safe harbor protection on songs like Johnny B. Goode. What happened was due to an oddity in the law, the DMCA does not apply to state-licensed copyrighted works (those copyrighted before February 15, 1972). What happened was Congress overhauled copyright law to make it a Federal matter, but all works prior to that date still come under common-law and state statutes. The end result is that Grooveshark does not have DMCA safe harbor protection for older works and may be sued for copyright infringement (barring other agreements, e.g., UMG and YouTube), even though they fully comply with the DMCA otherwise, taking down copyrighted materials. Grooveshark is a "music locker" service allowing users to upload music for others to listen to."

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