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Comments

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What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

zarmanto Re:Even my DVDs are streamed (152 comments)

... I don't like the relatively labor-intensive process of ripping from DVD, compressing, etc...

I rip nearly everything to my computer as well. Note that it's generally only "labor intensive" for the computer... for the person sitting at the computer, it's really more of an exercise in patience than anything else:

* Insert DVD,
* Open MakeMKV, click a few buttons,
* Wait.
* Open Handbrake, click a few buttons,
* Wait.
* Add resulting file to media distribution platform of your choice. * Done!

What's more, if what you're ripping isn't particularly popular at the moment, then you're liable to find that it takes less time to rip it than it does to pirate it.

about three weeks ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

zarmanto Re:Streaming devices (394 comments)

Except that nobody watching benefits nobody... and that is the reality for the vast majority of those hundreds of channels which are perpetually being multicast by cable companies. I get that the cable companies do not (choose to) perceive the additional cost from multicasting all of those channels... but there are indeed measurable costs to them, and one of those costs is the bandwidth usage of all those unwatched channels, which could otherwise be reallocated to help remedy that network clog issue that you mentioned. In addition, more and more consumers are already shifting their usage from the broadcast model to the streaming model on their own; it's not like the cable company is going to be able to stop the problem from getting worse. Thus, it is ultimately in their best interest to accept the inevitable, and find a way to reliably profit from the changing habits of their customer base. And -- aside from primarily sports enthusiasts -- their customers aren't really watching "live" television multicasts nearly as frequently as they once were. Thus, the case for multicast based systems becomes less compelling, every single day.

In addition to that, your observation brings up an ironic tie-in to the topic at hand, in that broadcast is an always-on technology which perpetually burns up power at both ends of the connection; thus, properly completing the transition to streaming will clearly save the cable companies some not-insignificant sum of money, in reductions to their own utility bills. (Not that customers will see that reflected in their bills, of course.)

about 2 months ago
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Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

zarmanto Streaming devices (394 comments)

The world is rapidly moving away from the cable model... and the cable box itself is no exception. Therefore, the solution to this issue is pretty clear: transition away from big box cable endpoints to Roku or AppleTV endpoints. This moves customers into the future by shifting away from a DVR model to a streaming model, and it shifts away from insanely power-hungry boxes to devices which typically use about 1 to 3 watts at peak use.

(It's actually a simple solution to multiple problems. Unfortunately, the cable industry has been resisting these types of moves for so long, that even though they've effectively already lost this battle on multiple fronts, (for all practical purposes) they still resist just because of muscle memory.)

about 2 months ago
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Netflix Ditches Silverlight For HTML5 On Macs

zarmanto Super HD (202 comments)

This doesn't appear to be specifically broken out anywhere, but I think it's an important point that the Silverlight Netflix client software has never supported greater than 720p at 3Mbps. Adding support for HTML5/MSE/EME to Safari will mean that Mac users can finally view all of those "Super HD" streams in full 1080p on their computers. (I've been chomping at the bit for that one, myself... now, if Apple would just release those darned beta redemption codes, so I can go play!)

about 3 months ago
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Netflix Ditches Silverlight For HTML5 On Macs

zarmanto Re:Linux soon? (202 comments)

... If the Linux client was a pre-compiled binary, it could probably be made reasonably secure against people trying to copy content. At least as secure as a DVD or BluRay anyway.

I'd say, you just answered your own question: If a Linux binary could be made "at least as secure as a DVD or BluRay," then Big Media would instantly label it as a non-starter, because optical media is not even remotely secure at this point; all you need to do is pop open MakeMKV, and those movies will come off of the disk in an unencrypted format in short order, ready to be converted by Handbrake for whatever purpose you might find appealing, from PSP to piracy.

Which, I think, is actually the entire point of going to DRMed streaming media... Big Media is actually trying to make it harder to decrypt their content, rather than maintain the status quo.

about 3 months ago
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How Open Government Data Saved New Yorkers Thousands On Parking Tickets

zarmanto Gotta love Street View (286 comments)

I glanced at the Google Street View link in the ITWorld.com article, and the 2007 imagery for that location shows that the bike lane didn't exist at that time... and likewise, it shows that nobody is parked in front of the hydrant. Move forward, and all three of the subsequent snapshots of that location show cars (which were no doubt all ticketed) parked alongside the newly painted bike lane, directly adjacent to that hydrant -- but more interestingly, the photos also show "no-parking" markings on the street leading up to just a bit before that hydrant. At a glance, any reasonable person would interpret the street markings to indicate that parking there was perfectly legal, and expected. And really, how much more than "a glance" do most people give to their city parking, when they're probably already late for work?

That said: I wouldn't necessarily go straight to NYPD malice for the explanation. Seems to me, someone in the DOT simply wasn't paying enough attention to his surroundings when he designated the street re-painting requirements, (oops) and low-paid NYPD traffic cops simply discovered and took advantage of the situation to easily meet their ticket quotas, without ever really asking or caring about the "why."

about 3 months ago
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BlackBerry To Allow Rivals To Manage Its Smartphones

zarmanto *made* Blackberry special (43 comments)

"...but also seem to kill the last things that make BlackBerry special."

Shouldn't that be made Blackberry special? I mean, I loved my old crackberry as much as the next geek back-in-the-day... but pretty nearly everyone has moved on, at this point.

about 3 months ago
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Favorite Star Wars Movie?

zarmanto I'm cornfoosed... (457 comments)

How exactly did episodes 1-3 even make it on this list? Moreover, who in their right mind actually clicked on them??

about 3 months ago
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Yahoo Stops Honoring 'Do-Not-Track' Settings

zarmanto No effective standard? (300 comments)

"However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.' It looks like this is another blow to privacy on the web."

I don't know about you, but I can think of one fairly effective and extremely easy to use "standard"... AdBlock.

about 4 months ago
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DreamWorks Animation CEO: Movie Downloads Will Move To Pay-By-Screen-Size

zarmanto Re:And projectors? (347 comments)

And how do they propose determining the price for a projector, when a single unit can readily have a screen size ranging from 30 inches to 300 inches?

Easy: they charge the maximum the device is capable of (in this case, 300 inches).

Well, I don't know about you, but I didn't buy a projector because it could project a maximum size of 300 inches... I bought it because it was far cheaper than practically every other remotely comparable large-form-factor television, even when projecting at "only" 80 inches, as I am. Thus, when the price of the hardware is factored into the equation, the amount of dough that you can expect to squeeze out of your viewing audience is dramatically impacted.

Which is to say: if Dreamworks actually goes down this path, then they had better find a way to convince every other studio to follow them... otherwise, I'll just stop watching Dreamworks films entirely in favor of their competition. (Pixar puts out some pretty darned good stuff, after all.)

about 4 months ago
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DreamWorks Animation CEO: Movie Downloads Will Move To Pay-By-Screen-Size

zarmanto And projectors? (347 comments)

And how do they propose determining the price for a projector, when a single unit can readily have a screen size ranging from 30 inches to 300 inches?

about 4 months ago
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DC Revolving Door: Ex-FCC Commissioner Is Now Head CTIA Lobbyist

zarmanto Conflict... or just good business? (170 comments)

The conflict of interest is pretty unmistakable, here... but we have to keep in mind that even absent that conflict, this would still be the most obvious choice for both the former FCC commissioners and for the lobbying groups. The commissioners obviously have an interest in the field, and the lobbying groups would want to hire someone who knows more then a little bit about the inner workings of their "arch nemesis."

I mean... sure, moves like this will always have that sort'a greasy slimy feel to them, no matter how you cut it. But where else are they going to go?

(Plus, there's some pretty darned good scratch in going all turncoat!)

about 4 months ago
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

zarmanto Re:Welders make 150k??? (367 comments)

To clarify... that was 40 years old... not 40k. (Doh!)

about 4 months ago
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Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

zarmanto Re:Welders make 150k??? (367 comments)

My thoughts, exactly. Crud, I still don't make that kind of scratch, and I'm a Senior Software Engineer who is rapidly approaching 40! Frankly, I'd switch to welding in a heartbeat (and probably lower my heartrate considerably) if I could actually get a raise in the process.

about 4 months ago
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Investors Value Yahoo's Core Business At Less Than $0

zarmanto anonymous reader? (150 comments)

I find it amusing that a post suggesting that Yahoo should basically just "close up shop and go home" was posted anonymously. It makes me wonder if perhaps the hands behind this particular post belong to someone at Google... who doesn't want Yahoo to succeed at it's various rumored "come back" plans, such as trying to swipe the default iOS search engine crown, and trying to build a YouTube competitor.

about 4 months ago
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Linux May Succeed Windows XP As OS of Choice For ATMs

zarmanto Windows XP Embedded - 2016 (367 comments)

Windows based ATM machines are almost certainly running on XP Embedded, rather than the retail version of XP... support for Embedded doesn't end until January 2016. Thus, if the financial industry is moving away from XP to Linux, it isn't necessarily related to Microsoft's XP support schedules.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Change Tech Careers At 30?

zarmanto It can be done -- I did it. (451 comments)

I switched technology careers at 30 myself; I went from help desk technician and system administration to web development, and I'm quite satisfied with the results. Of course, it probably helps that I'd already been trying to get into web development for the better part of the preceding decade... but that's not the point. The point is that it can indeed be done, if you have the skills and the drive to get where you want to be. Most jobs outside of the education field and higher sciences aren't nearly as difficult to break into, as people usually think.

My advice to you would be, very simply, just apply for the job you want, and see what happens. It'll most likely take more than a few interviews before you find someone willing to take a chance on you, and of course, you'll probably have to start out at an entry level position... but if you're coming from the educational field, then you probably won't take too much of a hit to your paycheck.

Frankly, Nike's advice actually works, here: if you want to get a different/better job... just do it.

about 5 months ago
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Flying Snake Mysteries Revealed

zarmanto Flying snakes? (78 comments)

Why does this sound so much like the makings of a B horror flick to me? (When it happens, just remember that you read it here first, folks.)

about 7 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games?

zarmanto Forget video games... what about Legos?? (285 comments)

I have five kids, (ranging from three to eleven years old) and while they do sometimes play video games, (the four year old is almost better at MarioKart Wii than me, and he's only been playing it for less than a year!) my focus for them this year has been primarily Legos. We made a point of scavenging all of my old Legos from my parents house just a couple of months ago, and we purchased hundreds of dollars worth of new Legos for Christmas. And you know what? While only a couple of them have had any kind of a lasting interest in video games, every single one of them is perfectly happy to sit down with a pile of bricks in front of them, for hours on end.

I think there is just something intrinsically satisfying about building something with your own hands. Legos capture that in a simplified "child friendly" form like nothing else I've experienced in my own lifetime. So no: I won't focus specifically on those "vintage" video games... but I will be searching the web for PDFs of my old Lego kit instruction manuals. (So far, I've only found one... the official Lego site doesn't go far enough back in their archive. Yet.)

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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The feature phone is dead... long live the "basic smartphone"!

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  about 3 months ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "The numbers have been telling us for awhile now that (formerly expensive) feature phones have been slowly displaced by ironically more "feature rich" high-end smartphones, so it should come as no surprise to hear that the other end of the market is also receiving active encroachment by low-end smartphones. Now, ARM is suggesting that it's actually quite conceivable for OEMs to produce a "smartphone" for as little as $20 — as long as you compromise a bit on those things which actually make it a smartphone in the first place.

So, is this just more graying of the line between smartphones and feature phones? Or is this an indication that the feature phone (as we used to know it) is finally well-and-truly dead?"
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Netflix ponies up to Verizon too

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  about 4 months ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "With the FCC essentially failing at its job and a Comcast agreement as precedent, we all knew that it was just a matter of time before Netflix inked an agreement with the other gorillas in the room, and now they've accomplished that with Verizon in basically the same fashion as with Comcast.

From the article:

The Netflix/Verizon deal is similar to the one in which Netflix paid for a direct connection to Comcast's network. These "paid peering" deals don't provide Netflix preferential treatment from the ISP's network to consumers' homes, but they do let Netflix bypass congestion at the interconnection points between ISPs and transit providers like Cogent and Level 3.

(Next up: AT&T.)"
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Flashback click fraud campaign was a bust

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 2 years ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "It seems that the Flashback botnet has netted their creators nothing but frustration. Flashback was tagged early on by anti-virus vendors, who promptly sink-holed many of the command & control addresses, and essentially crippled the hacker's ability to control the vast majority of the Flashback botnet... but that's not the best part. The Flashback spawned click fraud campaign resulted in... nada! It seems that their pay-per-click affiliate may be on to their scheme, as they refused to pay out. Score one for the good guys, for once."
Link to Original Source
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US carriers finally doing something about cellphone theft

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 2 years ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "In a move that is so long overdue that it boggles the mind, the FCC and the four largest cellular providers in the US state that they will be joining forces to combat cell phone theft. From TFA:

"Over the next six months, each of the four operators is expected to put in place a program to disable phones reported as stolen and within 18 months the FCC plans to help merge them into a central database in order to prevent a phone from being used on another carrier’s network.""

Link to Original Source
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Making it harder to hack for cash

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 3 years ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "As many of you already know, Pwn2Own is fast approaching, and the contestants are all gearing up — on both sides of the field. While hackers will soon be confidently strutting into CanSecWest with their exploits in hand, their soon-to-be victims have been doing everything they can to make it harder to walk away with those multi-thousand dollar cash prizes: On Wednesday Google patched up Chrome, on Thursday Mozilla patched up Firefox, and on Friday Apple announced that it will be following suit by patching up Safari very shortly. So everyone is bringing their "A" game — except for Microsoft. It seems that Microsoft cares more about their schedules then they do about Pwn2Own, as there will be no IE patches from Microsoft this month."
Link to Original Source
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Sprint data rate hikes for (cough!) iPhone users?

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 3 years ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "It appears that Sprint has decided that it's not charging it's customers enough; it just decided to increase the prices for their unlimited smartphone data plans by $10 per month for all new smartphone activations after January 30th. (Of course, Sprint is quick to point out that they're still besting the plans available from other cellular companies.)

So with Sprint making an announcement on February 7th, could the timing of this particular rate change portend a forthcoming Sprint iPhone?"

Link to Original Source
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Telecommuting "Bruce Willis" style

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 4 years ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "Remember that guy who had a remote controlled robot built for him by his co-worker a few years back, to enhance his telecommuting job with pseudo-personal interaction? Well, it looks like the high-level geeks over at Willow Garage are experimenting with mass deployments of robots built around the same premise. From the article:

"Hacked together from spare parts for Willow's PR2 platform, Texas Robots basically consist of a screen, computer, cameras, and speakers mounted on a remote-controlled, wheeled platform. They can run a whole day on a single battery charge, and then autonomously park themselves at a docking station for recharging."

No word yet on commercialization of the Texas Robot... but if someone were to hack all of this together into one of Ishiguro's Androids, it could start to look an awful lot like Bruce's "surrogate" based future. And you all know that someone is going to say it, so I'll just say it now and get it over with: I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords."
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Cellular competition: Do I stay or do I go?

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 4 years ago

zarmanto (884704) writes "Many of you will no doubt have already heard that T-Mobile is dropping the prices on their "unlimited" plans, below those of the other three big cellular providers in the United States. I'm presently a Sprint customer, and yesterday I posted a query about competitive price changes in Sprint's "Buzz About Wireless" community forum, to try and stoke the flames of competition just a bit. (No responses there yet — but then, it hasn't even been up for a full twenty-four hours, as of this post.)

I haven't bothered to call Sprint's billing department with my question, because I'm guessing that they haven't yet had a chance to formulate their "official" response to this new development... but at the same time, I'd really like to get some indication of how long it's likely to take for the slashed prices at one major cellular provider to start hurting the other providers enough that they follow suit with their own price cuts. If it's going to take longer than my "break even" window after eating the termination and activation fees (in my case, only about six months) for Sprint to respond, then I could potentially be saving money by switching over to T-Mobile as soon as possible. On the other hand, if Sprint has a knee-jerk reaction and comes out with new prices next month, then I'd most likely be losing money by switching. It's a gamble either way, and I haven't yet decided which road to take.

So what does the Slashdot community think? Are there other Sprint/AT&T/Verizon customers among you mulling over the notion of eating your termination fee in order to jump over to a new, less expensive, T-Mobile plan? How long do you plan on waiting for your own provider to step up to the plate, before deciding one way or the other?

"Should I stay or should I go, now?
Should I stay or should I go, now? ..."
- The Clash
"

Journals

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Telecommuting "Bruce Willis" style

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Remember that guy who had a remote controlled robot built for him by his co-worker a few years back, to enhance his telecommuting job with pseudo-personal interaction? Well, it looks like the high-level geeks over at Willow Garage are experimenting with mass deployments of robots built around the same premise. From the article:

"Hacked together from spare parts for Willow's PR2 platform, Texas Robots basically consist of a screen, computer, cameras, and speakers mounted on a remote-controlled, wheeled platform. They can run a whole day on a single battery charge, and then autonomously park themselves at a docking station for recharging."

No word yet on commercialization of the Texas Robot... but if someone were to hack all of this together into one of Ishiguro's Androids, it could start to look an awful lot like Bruce's "surrogate" based future. And you all know that someone is going to say it, so I'll just say it now and get it over with: I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords.

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Microsoft hires Seinfeld as new spokesman

zarmanto zarmanto writes  |  about 6 years ago According to the Wall Street Journal, (available via a derived article at Macworld.com) Microsoft has retained Jerry Seinfeld as their new spokesman. Mac users might be quite amused, considering that (like many other TV shows) the set of Seinfeld always had a Macintosh prominently displayed in the background.

Also, as an aside: It seems that good-ol Billy G. himself is going to make an appearance in the new ads! So I guess we now know what the richest man in the world plans to do in his "retirement" years...

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